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The 7 Best Credit Cards for Lounge Access in Canada for 2023

a lounge with chairs and tables in front of a top large window
    The two types of airport lounge credit cards

    As frequent travellers know, navigating crowded airports can be stressful. However, airport lounges offer an oasis to seek refuge from the chaos. Stepping into an airport lounge feels like entering a new world with comfortable seating, free food and drinks, private restrooms, and, most importantly, a calm atmosphere.

    That said, you’ll need a key to pass the gatekeepers into the promised land. Thankfully, we’ve identified the best credit cards in Canada that open the doors to airport lounges. It’s also worth mentioning that not all lounge programs are created equal; some are significantly better. Although most cards offer complimentary access, a handful offer “lounge membership” with paid entry. We’ve removed these sneaky cards. However, some cards still provide exceptional value and are included on this list.

    The Five Core Airport Lounge Networks

    Before we dive into the cards, it’s worthwhile looking at the types of airport lounge networks. Not all airport lounges are created equal. Some provide relaxing refuge, while others are constantly at capacity. Could you imagine the frustration of waiting in line for two hours? Or worse, some reviewers report being turned away. This section will discuss the five core lounge networks to help you understand the value of your card’s network.

    Lounge ProgramNumber of LoungesKey Details
    American Express Global Lounge CollectionMore than 1,300Best lounge network but only for Platinum cardholders
    Air Canada Maple Leaf LoungesMore than 230Good lounges but mostly in Canada and for Air Canada flyers
    Priority PassMore than 1,400Wide lounge network with generally positive reviews
    Plaza PremiumAround 140Quality varies significantly by location, check reviews
    DragonPassMore than 1,300Reviews are poor, many denied lounge entry

    I) American Express Global Lounge Collection

    The American Express Global Lounge Collection is the best yet most exclusive lounge collection. Eligible members receive access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide. It includes Amex’s Centurion and Escape Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta, and other airline lounges and independent lounges. Unfortunately, this collection is only available to Platinum cardholders.

    II) Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges

    Maple Leaf Lounges provide a comfortable space to relax, eat, and drink with Air Canada and Star Alliance partners before flights. They offer complimentary food and beverages, including alcoholic options. However, the lounge network is primarily based in Canada, meaning there aren’t many available airports. Furthermore, you must fly with Air Canada or an eligible Star Alliance partner. This lounge network is generally provided as a perk with Aeroplan credit cards.

    III) Priority Pass

    Priority Pass is likely your best option, as it provides a vast network with positive reviews. Furthermore, membership is frequently found across travel credit cards. Reviewers cite consistently being allowed entry and enjoying a relaxing atmosphere. However, there are complaints about overcrowding and lounge cleanliness at specific locations. As such, checking reviews of a particular lounge before using a voucher is worthwhile.

    IV) Plaza Premium

    Plaza Premium operates over 140 lounges across major international airports. They offer amenities like free food and drinks, WiFi, showers, and more. Reviews of Plaza Premium lounges are mixed. Some lounges, like those in Singapore and Heathrow, get praised for good food, drinks, and cleanliness.

    However, other locations receive complaints about dirty facilities, poor service, and overcrowding. Checking recent lounge-specific reviews beforehand is advised to avoid potentially lacklustre experiences. Entry is possible through various programs, such as Aeroplan, Visa Airport Companion, and the American Express Global Lounge Collection.

    V) DragonPass

    DragonPass offers access to around 1,300 airport lounges worldwide, similar to Priority Pass. However, reviews could be better, with many denied lounge entry despite membership. Issues include lounges claiming to be at capacity, not accepting DragonPass, or having long wait times. Although offered through Visa Airport Companion, the lack of consistent lounge access makes it a poor choice compared to other programs.

    1. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite – Best Overall Credit Card for Lounge Access

    [Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”5f31a9ab92ec22115033b2c2″]

    The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite stands above other cards when maximizing airport lounge access. You must create an account with Visa Airport Companion to receive benefits. Although DragonPass powers the program, it also includes Plaza Premium lounges.

    The six complimentary lounge visits offset the card’s annual fee. Even better, you can use the lounge visits to bring guests at no extra charge. Although there is no additional cost per guest, each person uses a voucher. For example, you’ll use two vouchers if you visit the lounge with an accompanying guest. After using the six vouchers, each visit costs $32 USD. Beyond impressive lounge access, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite offers an excellent welcome bonus of up to 35,000 Scene+ points ($350 value). This effectively covers the cost of a flight for your next getaway.

    The card also earns up to 3x Scene+ points on groceries and 2x on dining, entertainment, and transit. All other purchases earn one point per dollar spent. With no foreign transaction fees, it’s an excellent fit for frequent travellers who want maximum airport lounge access paired with strong rewards earnings and travel insurance protections.

    Eligibility requirementsDescription
    Credit score (estimated)699+
    Annual income$60,000 personal, or $100,000 household, or $250,000 liquid assets under management
    OtherResident of Canada, Provincial age of majority

    2. TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege – Best Lounge Access Card for Travel Insurance

    [Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”5faebd6ecee9031232939393″]

    With its robust insurance protections and high coverage limits, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege stands out as Canada’s best travel insurance credit card. The card provides unlimited Maple Leaf Lounge access within North America and six annual complimentary Visa Airport Companion passes through their DragonPass partnership.

    This premium card provides up to $5 million in emergency medical coverage for trips up to 31 days, exceeding most travel insurance policies. It also offers substantial trip interruption and cancellation coverage at $5,000 and $2,500 per person. Furthermore, the card’s lost baggage protection covers up to $2,500 per person, doubling many competitor cards.

    The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege also distinguishes itself through an exceptional welcome bonus. You can earn up to 100,000 Aeroplan points ($2,000 value) in the first year by meeting spending requirements. Its extensive insurance coverage and high limits make the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege your best lounge access card for travel insurance.

    Eligibility RequirementsDescription
    Credit Score (estimate)760+
    Annual Income$150,000 personal, or $200,000 household
    AdditionalResident of Canada, Provincial age of majority

    3. Scotiabank American Express Gold Card – Best Lounge Access Card for Rewards Points

    [Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”5f32aa0a63ae8636997fa6a7″]

    With its generous earn rates and flexible redemption options, the Scotiabank Gold American Express stands out as the top lounge access credit card for maximizing rewards. Cardholders can earn up to 6x Scene+ points per dollar spent on groceries, 5x points on dining and entertainment, 3x points on gas, transit and streaming services, and 1x point on everything else. Scene+ points can be redeemed for eligible flight or hotel purchases, making them ideal for travellers.

    The card also offers a hefty welcome bonus of up to 40,000 Scene+ points ($400 value) for meeting minimum spending requirements. You’ll earn points quickly between accelerated earn rates and welcome bonuses. Beyond rewards, the Scotiabank Gold Amex provides discounted Priority Pass membership. Although it doesn’t include complimentary lounge visits, the earn rates significantly outweigh competitor cards that offer free access. As such, it’s worthwhile mentioning this card on the list.

    With flexible redemption options, strong bonus potential, discounted lounge access and no foreign transaction fees, the Scotiabank Gold American Express is the top pick for maximizing rewards and airport lounge access. Its exceptional earn rates make it ideal for frequent travellers who prioritize accelerating their points balance.

    Eligibility requirementsDescription
    Credit score (estimated)669+
    Annual incomeNone disclosed
    OtherResident of Canada, Provincial age of majority

    4. Scotiabank American Express Platinum Card – Best Lounge Access Credit Card for Families

    [Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”62c4512c8e710d4f783b951c”]

    The Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card offers families an unbeatable airport lounge access package. Cardholders receive ten complimentary Priority Pass lounge visits per year. The industry-leading lounge access provides ample opportunity to spoil your family. For a $99 fee, you can add a supplementary cardholder, providing an additional four passes.

    Beyond lounge access, the Scotiabank Platinum American Express excels with insurance coverage. The card lets you protect your family through travel medical, hotel burglary, flight cancellation, and more. You can view the card’s certificate of insurance for a full breakdown.

    When travelling as a family, foreign transaction fees can quickly add up. However, with this card, you can save 2.5% on all foreign purchases. In addition, the card also offers an impressive welcome bonus of 60,000 Scene+ points ($600 value). These points can be redeemed for travel, significantly boosting your next family vacation. With a rock-bottom interest rate and strong insurance protections, the Scotiabank Platinum Amex is an excellent fit for many Canadian families looking to maximize airport lounge access and travel perks.

    Eligibility requirementsDescription
    Credit score (estimated)669+
    Annual incomeNone disclosed
    OtherResident of Canada, Provincial age of majority

    5. BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card – Best for Earning 25% More Points by Adding an Authorized User

    [Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”5ff3cef15b6ac16a9cdc8c6a”]

    The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege card is the epitome of luxury, and it’s not just because it’s a sleek, high-end metal card – it’s all about the impressive perks. To start, you’ll enjoy an annual $200 credit that conveniently offsets the card’s annual fees. But the income requirement to qualify for this card is on the higher side.

    Cardholders have access to participating lounges within the Visa Airport Companion Program. Membership includes 6 free lounge visits per membership year. You can use them for yourself as well as for your accompanying guests.

    What truly distinguishes the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege card are the remarkable travel benefits. You’ll pocket a remarkable 5x the points on travel-related purchases and receive a complimentary membership in the Visa Airport Companion program. Dining and daily errands? Covered. You’ll collect a stellar 5 BMO Rewards points per dollar spent on groceries, gas, drugstore goodies, restaurants, and meal delivery. For all other expenses, you’ll still rack up 1 BMO Rewards point per dollar. Add an authorized user to your account, and you’ll boost your points by a cool 25%.

    With around $2,000 in monthly expenditures, you could amass approximately 180,000 points within a year. To put it in perspective, a trip from Vancouver to Rio de Janeiro would cost you 118,000 points, although the point requirements for travel may fluctuate. So, whether you’re jetting off to exotic destinations or indulging in the finer things, this card has you covered.

    Eligibility requirementsDescription
    Credit score (estimated)760+
    Annual income$150,000 in personal income or $200,000 for the household
    OtherResident of Canada, Provincial age of majority.

    6. Rogers World Elite Mastercard – Best for Cash Back on USD Purchases

    [Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”5f9043f69499f16c55a7c5c0″]

    The Rogers World Elite Mastercard is like your trusty insurance policy, always there to save the day – especially if your tech gadgets act up. And the best part? It won’t cost you an arm and a leg with its zero annual fee. To sweeten the deal, they even throw in a generous welcome bonus of $25 cashback, and all you need to do is make your first purchase within three months of receiving the card.

    With this card in your wallet, you’ll be pocketing a cool 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. But here’s the real kicker: a whopping 3% cash back on eligible purchases in U.S. dollars, which can effortlessly offset those pesky currency conversion fees.

    But wait, there’s more! The Rogers World Elite Mastercard also has your back when you’re globe-trotting. It’s got your back with out-of-province or out-of-country emergency medical care, and it’s your safety net with trip interruption and trip cancellation insurance. You’ll even snag a free Mastercard Travel Pass, granting you access to 1,300 airport lounges worldwide for a mere $32 USD per visit. And for those closer-to-home getaways, they’ve got you covered with collision and damage insurance when you rent a car.

    Eligibility requirementsDescription
    Credit score (estimated)725+
    Annual income$80,000 in personal income or $150,000 for the household
    OtherResident of Canada, Provincial age of majority.

    7. Tangerine World Mastercard – Best Lounge Access Card with No Fee

    [Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”5f344d1b92ec22115033b303″]

    The Tangerine World Mastercard deserves an honourable mention as the best no-fee card for lounge access. Although it doesn’t offer complimentary lounge visits, cardholders receive a LongeKey membership. This allows you to access lounges for $32 USD per visit.

    Beyond lounges, the Tangerine World Mastercard stands out through its customizable 2% cash back rewards in up to three categories. With no annual fee, access to Mastercard Airport Experiences lounges for a per-visit rate, and everyday substantial earning potential, the Tangerine World Mastercard is arguably the top no-fee card for basic lounge access and rewards. Although lounges aren’t complimentary, they provide an affordable way to experience airport lounges for travellers who want to avoid paying an annual fee.

    Eligibility requirementsDescription
    Credit score (estimated)660+
    Annual income$60,000 in personal income or $100,000 for the household or total balances of $250,000 or more in Tangerine accounts
    OtherResident of Canada, Provincial age of majority. No bankruptcies in the past seven years.

    8. American Express Platinum Card – Best Lounge Network

    [Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”5f46c3834726ce7207266a78″]

    The American Express Platinum Card provides one of the only ways to receive access to the best lounge network. As part of the American Express Global Lounge Collection, Platinum cardholders enjoy unlimited access to Plaza Premium lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta, and more. This unrestricted lounge access provides unmatched opportunities to relax or get work done during travels.

    Beyond lounges, the Amex Platinum stands out through its industry-leading earn rates. Cardholders can earn 2x Membership Rewards points on dining, food delivery, and travel. All other purchases earn 1x point per dollar spent. Eligible hotel and car rental bookings through the Amex Travel Online portal earn a bonus point per dollar, for a total of 3 points per dollar spent on Amex Travel. The card also provides a $200 annual travel credit and a $200 annual dining credit, effectively reducing the $799 yearly fee to $399. Additional perks like complimentary hotel elite status and a dedicated Platinum concierge service further distinguish this premium card.

    With flexible points, generous earn rates, valuable credits and unparalleled lounge access, the Amex Platinum is the undisputed leader for the best overall airport lounge network among Canadian credit cards. It’s an excellent choice for frequent travellers who want unlimited opportunities to access lounges worldwide.

    Eligibility requirementsDescription
    Credit score (estimated)750+
    Annual incomeNone disclosed
    OtherResident of Canada, Provincial age of majority

    The Bottom Line

    Amid the hustle and bustle of airports, nothing beats unwinding in a secluded lounge before your flight. The credit cards discussed offer great ways to access airport lounges, but ultimately, the best option depends on your priorities and travel habits. Furthermore, this article only covers one category in our series of the best credit cards in Canada. Ensure to review the master article to learn about the perks that are most important to you.

    FAQ About Airport Lounge Access

    How to check if my credit card has lounge access?

    You can check if your credit card has lounge access by reviewing the benefits and perks of your card. Look for information on airport lounge access in the terms and conditions of your card or on the issuer’s website. Some cards offer complimentary lounge access, while others require paying for visits.

    How to access an airport lounge with a credit card?

    To access an airport lounge with a credit card, you must present your credit card and a valid boarding pass at the lounge’s reception desk. The lounge staff will verify your eligibility for access and grant you entry if you qualify. Some lounges may limit access during peak times.

    Which Canadian credit card gives access to airport lounges?

    Many travel credit cards provide airport lounge access. However, our favourites are the following: Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite, Scotiabank Platinum American Express, TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege, American Express Platinum Card, Scotiabank Gold American Express, and Tangerine World Mastercard. Each card offers different levels of access and benefits, so it’s essential to review the features of each card to determine which one best suits your needs.

    Which credit card gives access to Plaza Premium Lounge?

    Several credit cards give access to Plaza Premium lounges, including the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite, American Express Platinum Card, and TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege. These cards offer complimentary access to participating Plaza Premium lounges in airports worldwide.

    Which credit card has unlimited lounge access?

    The American Express Platinum Card offers unlimited access to over 1,300 lounges worldwide through the American Express Global Lounge Collection. This includes access to Plaza Premium lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, and more.

    Which credit card is best for international airport lounge access?

    The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is a top pick for international airport lounge access. It annually offers six complimentary lounge visits, including Plaza Premium lounges. The card also has no foreign transaction fees, making it an excellent fit for frequent international travellers.

    Disclaimer: American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information, click the Apply Now link.

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    Daniel is an expert on travel, finance, and SEO. He received an Honours BBA (Finance) from Wilfrid Laurier University, then started his career with WOWA. Here, he learned various SEO tactics that were instrumental in quadrupling monthly traffic to one million views. Now the founder of Croton Content, Daniel helps financial companies scale through evergreen content. Aside from Hardbacon, notable clients include Forbes Advisor, WealthRocket, and Hellosafe. Daniel loves to travel when not working. Although based out of Lisbon, Portugal, some of his most adventurous destinations include Rio, Cairo, and Istanbul.