You are currently viewing Free access to airport lounges

Honestly, airport lounges are absolutely awesome. I’ve had access to them for over 5 years now and I’ll never go back to life without them, at least as a frequent flier who travels a lot (and doesn’t really travel in luxury except for airport lounges that is). And it’s so easy to access them for free!

There are 3 cards among the incredible offers currently ongoing that come with some form of airport lounge access in addition to having huge welcome bonuses, so we want to give you an intro on that (we’ll have an ultimate guide with much more info soon).

Best credit cards for
airport lounge access
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
Lounge
passes
Platinum Card from American Express
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $1190
Card Fee: $699
Unlimited + 1 guest
worldwide
Priority Pass + more
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 6 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $1388
Card Fee: $599
Unlimited + 1 guest
in North America
Air Canada Lounges (on *A)
American Express Gold Rewards Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $745
Card Fee: $250
4 passes
in Canada
Plaza Premium only
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Financial institutions are not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "See More" to see most up-to-date information.
Best credit cards for
airport lounge access
Platinum Card® from American Express Platinum Card from American Express
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $1190
Card Fee: $699
Lounge passes: Unlimited + 1 guest worldwide
Priority Pass + more
American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 6 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $1388
Card Fee: $599
Lounge passes: Unlimited + 1 guest in North America
Air Canada Lounges (on *A)
American Express® Gold Rewards Card American Express Gold Rewards Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $745
Card Fee: $250
Lounge passes: 4 passes in Canada
Plaza Premium only
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Financial institutions are not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "See More" to see most up-to-date information.

 

The types of access included with the 3 cards are all very different.

They’re also very different from the 9 other options out there with welcome bonuses, which are listed at the end. Those have lower fees but also lower welcome bonuses, giving you a much lower net value. So it’s not particularly savvy to get those right now just to “save” a little bit and then lose out on way more in rewards. At least if you know how to do the math and if you’ve read the basics of travel rewards. In short, keep those for your next application!

 

Basics of airport VIP lounges

Airport lounges are absolutely awesome.

I’m not going to share all the details today, but at least for travelers unfamiliar with the concept of airport lounges, I’ll share the basics.

At the very least, lounges offer:

  • free food
  • free drinks (alcoholic or not)
  • comfortable seating
  • a good Wi-Fi connection
  • cleaner and quieter restrooms
  • a more relaxed and peaceful atmosphere
 
The Prelidium lounge in Warsaw (WAW) in 2017 (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

Airport lounges almost always also offer:

  • complete hot meals (as opposed to just snacks or cold stuff)
  • a full-service bar (as opposed to just beer/wine)
  • sections to work more comfortably

Airport lounges very often offer:

  • showers
  • separate sections for kids
  • magazines you can read
  • printers

And finally, airport lounges sometimes (but rarely) even offer:

  • à-la-carte meal menu 
  • a station with a chef cooking in front of you
  • spa services like free massages
  • private nap rooms to sleep
  • private closed offices

Lounges you can access for free are mostly independent lounges. That’s how cards are able to offer the most options in the most airports. You get access to 1300+ lounges all over the world with 8 of the 12 cards with this benefit. 

So it’s not standardized, each one is different. The quality varies greatly of course — from decent to exceptional — but it’s always infinitely more enjoyable than a typical airport experience at the crowded gate and in overpriced food venues.

Yes, you’ll save a lot of money on airport food: airport lounges aren’t just for the fun VIP feeling. You can usually sneak a few snacks into your bag for later too. You can also often access lounges on arrival in addition to accessing them before your departure and during your connections, to save on another meal if you’re not in a rush.

(And not being in a rush happens to be the best way to stop being one of the people who wrongly believe in the myth that travel is expensive!)

In short, lounges make travel (and airports) much more enjoyable and comfortable. You can join our free travel rewards webinar on September 12 if you want to talk about airport lounges.

 

Airport lounge access by card (3 amazing offers)

Here are the details for each of the 3 cards with great offers right now, the ones 99% of travelers who want lounge access should consider at this moment.

 

American Express Platinum Card

Platinum Card® from American Express
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $1190*
Card Fee: $699

minimum income required: $0
spend $6000 in 3 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Amex is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.
Platinum Card® from American Express
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
≈ $
minimum income
required: $0


Rewards: ≈ $1190*
Card Fee: $699

spend $6000 in 3 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Amex is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.

 

It’s the card I’ve had myself for 5 years and I wouldn’t go without it as you can see.

It’s by far the best for airport lounge access for frequent travelers, there’s absolutely no doubt about it! So many lounges in almost every major airport on the planet!

How airport lounge access works with the American Express Platinum Card:

  • The largest number of airport lounges all over the world
  • Unlimited access, no limit to the number of visits
  • Access for you AND 1 guest at any time (sometimes more)
  • Access regardless of airline or flight type
  • Access regardless of whether you pay for the flight with your card

Airport lounges accessible with the American Express Platinum Card:

  • 1300+ Priority Pass lounges worldwide
  • 100+ Plaza Premium lounges with a strong presence in Canada
  • 4 Aspire Lounge/Swissport lounges in Canada
  • 14 Escape Lounges in the US only
  • 1 Airspace Lounge in the US
  • 24 Centurion Lounges primarily in the US*
  • 50+ Delta SkyClub lounges in the US*
  • 14 Lufthansa Business lounges in Germany*

*Exceptions: Centurion Lounges will no longer have guests included starting in February 2023; Delta SkyClub lounges are only available if you fly Delta Air Lines and no guests are included; Lufthansa Business lounges are only available if you fly Lufthansa, SWISS, or Austrian Airlines and no guests are included

We can’t list them all since there are so many (check out the full list), but here are the ones in Canada at least:

  • Air France Lounge by Plaza Premium (international non-US) – Montréal (YUL)
  • National Bank Lounge (international non-US) – Montréal (YUL)
  • VIP Lounge by Club Med (all flights) – Québec City (YQB)
  • Aspire Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Ottawa (YOW)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Air France / KLM Lounge (international non-US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic B) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic C) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • SkyTeam Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • WestJet Elevation Lounge (domestic) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Aspire Lounge (US) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Aspire Lounge (international non-US) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Winnipeg (YWG)

It’s absolutely phenomenal! Even in super niche locations like Banjul (BJL) in Gambia, I had a lounge before my flight! In almost all cases, you can even use lounges upon arrival, after your flight! It saves you the cost of one more meal.

The only shortcoming is on the US transborder side in many Canadian airports, because of our US preclearance facilities. And on the domestic and US transborder side in my home airport of Montréal, since the 2 lounges the American Express Platinum Card gives access to are only accessible with an international flight (US excluded) because of the terminal configuration. 

We’ll have a more detailed guide to airport lounges in every Canadian airport soon.

Most lounges are very good, especially outside of North America of course. Anything hospitality-related is always better outside North America. The best lounges in North America are definitely the Centurion Lounges owned by Amex, with premium food from local, renowned chefs. And having the American Express Platinum Card is literally the only way to get in.

Centurion Lounge in Charlotte (CLT) in April 2022 (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

(Note that you don’t need a business to have the “business” version, the Business Platinum Card from American Express, which has the same lounge access and a slightly more straightforward welcome bonus structure if you prefer!)

 

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $1388*
Card Fee: $599

minimum income required: $0
spend $6000 in 6 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Amex is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.
American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
≈ $
minimum income
required: $0


Rewards: ≈ $1388*
Card Fee: $599

spend $6000 in 6 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Amex is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.

 

I’ve been taking advantage of this one too since the record-breaking offers last summer.

It’s really interesting for those who travel mostly with Air Canada

How airport lounge access works with the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card:

  • Only 19 Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges 
  • Only in North America
  • Unlimited access, no limit on the number of visits
  • Access for you AND 1 guest
  • Access only if you fly Air Canada or Star Alliance
  • Access regardless of whether you pay for the flight with your card

Airport lounges accessible with the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card:

  • Maple Leaf Lounge (domestic) – Montréal (YUL)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (US) – Montréal (YUL)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (international non-US) – Montréal (YUL)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Ottawa (YOW)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (domestic) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (US) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (international non-US) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (domestic) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (domestic/international) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (all flights) – Regina (YQR)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (all flights) – Saskatoon (YXE)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Winnipeg (YWG)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Halifax (YHZ)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (all flights) – St. Johns (YYT)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (Terminal 6) – Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (Terminal B) – New York LaGuardia (LGA)

It’s a very limited network, but there’s one for every type of flight (domestic, US transborder, international) at Air Canada’s major hubs like Montréal and Toronto, as well as most Canadian airports.

Having to travel with Air Canada or a Star Alliance member is also quite a bit more restrictive. But if you often travel with them, the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card may be more appropriate, but otherwise, the previous one really is the best though.

Most Maple Leaf lounges are very good, with a menu of hot meals that you can order à la carte from your cell phone, at least in bigger airports (like Montréal and Toronto). You can also visit lounges after landing for an extra meal, snacks, and drinks!

Maple Leaf Lounge in Montréal (YUL) in January 2022 (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

(Note that you don’t need a business to have the “business” version, the American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card, which has the same lounge access and a slightly more straightforward welcome bonus structure if you prefer!)

 

American Express Gold Card

American Express® Gold Rewards Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $745*
Card Fee: $250

minimum income required: $0
spend $3000 in 3 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Amex is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.
American Express® Gold Rewards Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
≈ $
minimum income
required: $0


Rewards: ≈ $745*
Card Fee: $250

spend $3000 in 3 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Amex is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.

 

If you don’t want a premium card, this is the only other lounge access option among cards that give a net value of close to $1,000 with the welcome bonus right now. The minimum spend requirement is also much lower on this card.

Other cards with airport lounge access give hundreds of dollars less as you’ll see below, so it’s a very expensive opportunity cost compared to this one after all!

How airport lounge access works with the American Express Gold Card:

  • Only 14 Plaza Premium lounges in Canada
  • Only 4 passes per year
  • Access regardless of airline or flight type
  • Access regardless of whether you pay for the flight with your card

Airport lounges accessible with the American Express Gold Card:

  • Air France Lounge by Plaza Premium (international non-US) – Montréal (YUL) 
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic B) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic C) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international) – Winnipeg (YWG)

It’s more limited, so it’s obviously not the main benefit of this card. But if you’re hesitating between this one and the American Express Aeroplan Card, which has no lounge access and an offer that’s worth only $30 more, maybe it’ll tip the scales towards the American Express Gold Card.

I tried out the brand new Air France Lounge in Montréal in May 2022 and it’s phenomenal, so if you’re planning to fly internationally from Montréal, it’s going to give you access to a really nice lounge!

Air France Lounge in Montréal (YUL) in May 2022 (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

(Note that the “business” version, the American Express Business Gold Card, doesn’t have the same lounge access, unlike the 2 previous ones!)

 

Airport lounge access by card (teaser for the 9 other cards)

The full airport lounge guide coming soon will help you with other ways to get access to airport lounges for free and a lot more info.

But let’s at least show you the other cards with airport lounge access.

These cards’ welcome bonuses are so low compared to the 3 above that if you want airport lounge access, it just doesn’t make sense to get anything other than those 3 options right now — unless you’re really not able to spend enough to unlock the bonuses (despite our tips).

As you can see, these other options will give you a welcome bonus that’s several hundred dollars lower… which makes your lounge access pretty expensive when you think about it, because you’re losing out on the hundreds of dollars in rewards!

Best credit cards for
airport lounge access
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
Lounge
passes
Platinum Card from American Express
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $1190
Card Fee: $699
Unlimited + 1 guest
worldwide
Priority Pass + more
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 6 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $1388
Card Fee: $599
Unlimited + 1 guest
in North America
Air Canada Lounges (on *A)
American Express Gold Rewards Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $745
Card Fee: $250
4 passes
in Canada
Plaza Premium only
Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 3 mos.
Rewards: $560
Card Fee: $399
10 passes
worldwide
Priority Pass & Plaza Premium
ends January 3rd
CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k in 4 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $492
Card Fee:
4 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k in 4 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $492
Card Fee:
4 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 3 mos.
Rewards: $240
Card Fee: $0 $150
4 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k in 3 mos.
Rewards: $320
Card Fee: $0 $150
6 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
ends April 30th
National Bank World Elite Mastercard
Card:
Bonus: spend $5k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $650
Card Fee: $0 $150
Unlimited + 1 guest
at YUL only
NBC Lounge (intl)
ends January 13th
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 3 mos.
Rewards: $853
Card Fee: $499
6 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
Business Platinum Card from American Express
Card: no business required
Bonus: spend $6k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $1313
Card Fee: $499
Unlimited + 1 guest
worldwide
Priority Pass + more
American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card
Card: no business required
Bonus: spend $3k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $506
Card Fee: $599
Unlimited + 1 guest
in North America
Air Canada Lounges (on *A)
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Financial institutions are not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "See More" to see most up-to-date information.
Best credit cards for
airport lounge access
Platinum Card® from American Express Platinum Card from American Express
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $1190
Card Fee: $699
Lounge passes: Unlimited + 1 guest worldwide
Priority Pass + more
American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 6 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $1388
Card Fee: $599
Lounge passes: Unlimited + 1 guest in North America
Air Canada Lounges (on *A)
American Express® Gold Rewards Card American Express Gold Rewards Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $745
Card Fee: $250
Lounge passes: 4 passes in Canada
Plaza Premium only
Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
ends January 3rd
Rewards: $560
Card Fee: $399
Lounge passes: 10 passes worldwide
Priority Pass & Plaza Premium
CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k in 4 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $492
Card Fee:
Lounge passes: 4 passes worldwide
DragonPass
CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k in 4 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $492
Card Fee:
Lounge passes: 4 passes worldwide
DragonPass
BMO Ascend World Elite®* MasterCard®* BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: $240
Card Fee: $0 $150
Lounge passes: 4 passes worldwide
DragonPass
Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
ends April 30th
Rewards: $320
Card Fee: $0 $150
Lounge passes: 6 passes worldwide
DragonPass
National Bank® World Elite Mastercard® National Bank World Elite Mastercard
Card:
Bonus: spend $5k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
ends January 13th
Rewards: ≈ $650
Card Fee: $0 $150
Lounge passes: Unlimited + 1 guest at YUL only
NBC Lounge (intl)
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: $853
Card Fee: $499
Lounge passes: 6 passes worldwide
DragonPass
Business Platinum Card® from American Express Business Platinum Card from American Express
Card: no business required
Bonus: spend $6k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $1313
Card Fee: $499
Lounge passes: Unlimited + 1 guest worldwide
Priority Pass + more
American Express® Aeroplan®* Business Reserve Card American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card
Card: no business required
Bonus: spend $3k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $506
Card Fee: $599
Lounge passes: Unlimited + 1 guest in North America
Air Canada Lounges (on *A)
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Financial institutions are not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "See More" to see most up-to-date information.

 

We’ll leave the three we’ve already presented to you out. Among the others, there is just one card that is very different: the National Bank World Elite Mastercard because it gives access to just 1 airport VIP lounge.

For all the other options, it’s very similar in terms of access to the VIP lounges themselves.

The main differences are really in the cards themselves:

  • The number of accesses included (4, 6, or 10 passes)
  • The minimum income requirement to qualify for the card*.
  • The actual offer (the welcome bonus and minimum spend)
  • Other features (fees, other benefits, etc.)

*It’s a restriction that doesn’t exist with the 3 Amex cards that have great offers because Amex never has a minimum income requirement and doesn’t exist with the 2 Amex “business” cards because having a business or minimum income isn’t required either

As for the list of airport VIP lounges available and the quantity, it’s almost identical even though the cards participate in different VIP lounge networks.

There are 2 different types:

  • The Priority Pass and Plaza Premium network (only applies to the Scotiabank Platinum Card and Amex cards)
  • The DragonPass network (the other 5 cards)

The 2 networks give access to almost all the same 1300+ VIP lounges, with only a few exceptions.

The only difference in Canada, for example, is that the beautiful WestJet Elevation Lounge in the domestic section in Calgary (YYC) is just part of Priority Pass, not DragonPass. So if you live in Calgary or go there often, the Amex cards and the Scotiabank Platinum Card are really more attractive than all the others.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the cards.

 

Scotiabank Platinum Card

Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
$
Rewards: $560*
Card Fee: $399
ends January 3rd

minimum income required: $12k
spend $3000 in 3 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Scotia is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.
Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
$
minimum income
required: $12k


ends January 3rd
Rewards: $560*
Card Fee: $399

spend $3000 in 3 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Scotia is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.

 

It’s the one with the most passes, 10.

It’s also 1 of only 2 (along with the CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card below it) that are available to people earning less than $60,000 a year (in addition to the 5 cards issued by American Express of course). You must earn $12,000 for this one.

How airport lounge access works with the Scotiabank Platinum Card:

  • 10 passes included
  • Many VIP lounges around the world
  • Access regardless of airline or flight type
  • Access regardless of whether you pay for the flight with your card

Airport lounges accessible with the Scotiabank Platinum Card:

We can’t list them all, but here are the ones in Canada at least:

  • Air France lounge by Plaza Premium (international non-US) – Montreal (YUL)
  • National Bank Lounge (international non-US) – Montreal (YUL)
  • VIP Lounge by Club Med (all flights) – Québec (YQB)
  • Aspire Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Ottawa (YOW)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Air France / KLM Lounge (international non-USAT3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic B) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic C) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • SkyTeam Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • WestJet Elevation Lounge (domestic) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Aspire Lounge (US) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Aspire Lounge (international non-US) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Winnipeg (YWG)

Having 10 passes is definitely better than 6 or 4 on other cards, the Scotiabank Platinum Card is perfect for those who don’t want unlimited access but still travel a bit.

It’s also 1 of only 2 (along with the lower priced Scotia Passport Visa Infinite) that don’t charge a 2.5% foreign currency transaction fee. It’s a pretty major savings for anything you buy while traveling (though it’s less accepted outside of Canada and the US by being on the American Express network – Scotia is the only bank other than Amex that issues cards on the Amex network).

As mentioned, it’s the best if you leave the Calgary domestic terminal often.

 

National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $650*
Card Fee: $0 $150
ends January 13th

min. income: $80k (or $150k household)
spend $5000 in 3 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. NBC is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.
National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
≈ $
minimum income
required: $80k (or $150k household)


ends January 13th
Rewards: ≈ $650*
Card Fee: $0 $150

spend $5000 in 3 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. NBC is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.

 

It’s the most unique: it’s unlimited access… but only to 1 airport VIP lounge. And it has a minimum income of $80,000 (or $100,000 in family income).

How airport lounge access works with the National Bank World Elite Mastercard:

  • Unlimited access, no limit on the number of visits
  • Only 1 VIP lounge in Montreal
  • Access regardless of airline or flight type
  • Access regardless of whether you pay for the flight with your card

Airport lounges accessible with the National Bank World Elite Mastercard:

  • National Bank Lounge (international non-US) – Montreal (YUL)

It’s especially interesting if you often fly from Montreal to international destinations (excluding the United States) and you don’t want to have access to anything else for some reason!

The National Bank World Elite Mastercard also has the highest welcome bonus excluding the 3 exceptional Amex offers above, with $350 in value.

 

Scotia Passport Visa Infinite

Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
$
Rewards: $320*
Card Fee: $0 $150
ends April 30th

min. income: $60k (or $100k household)
spend $1000 in 3 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Scotia is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.
Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
$
minimum income
required: $60k (or $100k household)


ends April 30th
Rewards: $320*
Card Fee: $0 $150

spend $1000 in 3 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Scotia is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.

 

Let’s move on to a card that offers 6 passes. This one has a minimum income of $60,000 per year (or $100,000 in family income).

How airport lounge access works with the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card:

  • 6 passes included
  • Many VIP lounges around the world
  • Access regardless of airline or flight type
  • Access regardless of whether you pay for the flight with your card

Airport lounges accessible with the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card:

  • 1300+ DragonPass VIP lounges worldwide

We can’t list them all, but here are the ones in Canada at least:

  • Air France lounge by Plaza Premium (international non-US) – Montreal (YUL)
  • National Bank Lounge (international non-US) – Montreal (YUL)
  • VIP Lounge by Club Med (all flights) – Québec (YQB)
  • Aspire Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Ottawa (YOW)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Air France / KLM Lounge (international non-US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic B) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic C) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • SkyTeam Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Aspire Lounge (US) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Aspire Lounge (international non-US) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Winnipeg (YWG)

It’s by far the most affordable of the 6-pass cards. But it’s also the most interesting since, as mentioned, it’s one of the only 2 cards that don’t charge a 2.5% foreign currency transaction fee (along with the Scotiabank Platinum Card). 

The current welcome bonus of the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card is quite low though.

 

CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card

CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $492*
Card Fee:

min. income: $15k (or $15k household)
spend $1000 in 4 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. CIBC is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.
CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
≈ $
minimum income
required: $15k (or $15k household)


Rewards: ≈ $492*
Card Fee:

spend $1000 in 4 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. CIBC is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.

 

Let’s move on to the card that is the most interesting for those who travel less and earn less than $60,000 per year: this one gives 4 passes and you just need to earn $15,000 per year.

It’s impossible to send you directly to the page, so if you want to apply, you have to scroll down and select the CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card at the bottom of the CIBC page.

How airport lounge access works with the CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card:

  • 4 passes included
  • Multiple VIP lounges worldwide
  • Access regardless of airline or flight type
  • Access regardless of whether you pay for the flight with your card

Airport lounges accessible with the CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card:

  • 1300+ DragonPass VIP lounges worldwide

We can’t possibly list them all, but here are the ones in Canada at least:

  • Air France lounge by Plaza Premium (international non-US) – Montreal (YUL)
  • National Bank Lounge (international non-US) – Montreal (YUL)
  • VIP Lounge by Club Med (all flights) – Québec (YQB)
  • Aspire Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Ottawa (YOW)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Air France / KLM Lounge (international non-US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic B) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic C) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • SkyTeam Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Aspire Lounge (US) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Aspire Lounge (International non-US) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Winnipeg (YWG)

Like the 3 Amex cards with special offers, the CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card also offers a credit towards a NEXUS card to skip almost any travel line for free, one of the best pro tricks around. It’s for just 1 person though.

The current welcome bonus is pretty much at an all time low though.

 

CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card

CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $492*
Card Fee:

min. income: $60k (or $100k household)
spend $1000 in 4 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. CIBC is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.
CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
≈ $
minimum income
required: $60k (or $100k household)


Rewards: ≈ $492*
Card Fee:

spend $1000 in 4 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. CIBC is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.

 

It’s the same as the previous one, but it’s the version for those who earn more than 60 000$ per year (or 100 000$ in family income). It also gives 4 passes, everything is pretty much the same on the airport VIP lounges, just with some more advantages on the card.

How airport lounge access works with the CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card:

  • 4 passes included
  • Many VIP lounges worldwide
  • Access regardless of airline or flight type
  • Access regardless of whether you pay for the flight with your card

Airport VIP lounges accessible with the CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card:

  • 1300+ DragonPass VIP lounges worldwide

We can’t possibly list them all, but here are the ones in Canada at least:

  • Air France lounge by Plaza Premium (international non-US) – Montreal (YUL)
  • National Bank Lounge (international non-US) – Montreal (YUL)
  • VIP Lounge by Club Med (all flights) – Québec (YQB)
  • Aspire Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Ottawa (YOW)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Air France / KLM Lounge (international non-US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic B) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic C) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • SkyTeam Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Aspire Lounge (US) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Aspire Lounge (international non-US) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Winnipeg (YWG)

The CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card also offers a credit for a NEXUS card to skip almost any travel line for free, one of the best pro tricks in the book. It’s for just 1 person though.

The current welcome bonus is pretty much at an all time low though.

 

BMO AscendTM* World Elite®* MasterCard®*

BMO Ascend World Elite®* MasterCard®*
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
$
Rewards: $240*
Card Fee: $0 $150

min. income: $80k (or $150k household)
spend $3000 in 3 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.
BMO Ascend World Elite®* MasterCard®*
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
$
minimum income
required: $80k (or $150k household)


Rewards: $240*
Card Fee: $0 $150

spend $3000 in 3 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.

 

This card also has 4 passes, but is a little more restrictive: it has a minimum income of $80,000 per year (or $150,000 in family income).

How airport lounge access works with the BMO AscendTM* World Elite®* MasterCard®*:

  • 4 passes included
  • Multiple VIP lounges worldwide
  • Access regardless of airline or flight type
  • Access regardless of whether you pay for the flight with your card

Airport VIP lounges accessible with the BMO AscendTM* World Elite®* MasterCard®*:

  • 1300+ DragonPass VIP lounges worldwide

Of course, we can’t list them all, but here are the ones in Canada at least:

  • Air France Lounge by Plaza Premium (international non-US) – Montreal (YUL)
  • National Bank Lounge (international non-US) – Montreal (YUL)
  • VIP Lounge by Club Med (all flights) – Québec (YQB)
  • Aspire Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Ottawa (YOW)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Air France / KLM Lounge (international non-US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic B) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Salon Plaza Premium (domestic C) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • SkyTeam Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Aspire Lounge (US) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Aspire Lounge (international non-US) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Winnipeg (YWG)

The BMO AscendTM* World Elite®* MasterCard®* welcome bonus offer is slightly higher than other cards that give 4 or 6 passes, with $240 in net value. Nothing fancy. 

This card has just been renamed the BMO World Elite Mastercard.

 

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
$
Rewards: $853*
Card Fee: $499

min. income: $150k (or $200k household)
spend $6000 in 3 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome Bonus (net value)
$
minimum income
required: $150k (or $200k household)


Rewards: $853*
Card Fee: $499

spend $6000 in 3 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.

 

Here is another card that has 6 passes, but is the most restrictive of all: it has a minimum income of $150,000 per year (or else $200,000 in family income).

How airport lounge access works with the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card:

  • 6 passes included
  • Many VIP lounges worldwide
  • Access regardless of airline or flight type
  • Access regardless of whether you pay for the flight with your card

Airport VIP lounges accessible with the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card:

  • 1300+ DragonPass VIP lounges worldwide

We can’t list them all, but here are the ones in Canada at least:

  • Air France lounge by Plaza Premium (international non-US) – Montreal (YUL)
  • National Bank Lounge (international non-US) – Montreal (YUL)
  • VIP Lounge by Club Med (all flights) – Québec (YQB)
  • Aspire Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Ottawa (YOW)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US T1) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Air France / KLM Lounge (international non-US T3) – Toronto (YYZ)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic B) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic C) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • SkyTeam Lounge (international non-US) – Vancouver (YVR)
  • Aspire Lounge (US) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Aspire Lounge (international non-US) – Calgary (YYC)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (domestic/international non-US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (US) – Edmonton (YEG)
  • Plaza Premium (domestic/international non-US) – Winnipeg (YWG)

If you’re one of those who qualifies for this one, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card welcome bonus offer is pretty sweet, with $354 in net worth. That’s a pretty good deal for having 6 VIP lounge passes. 

Being a Visa Infinite Privilege card, there are other benefits for those who love luxury travel.

 

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Sign up for our travel rewards newsletter

 

Summary

The best deals to enjoy free airport lounge access are the ones ongoing this summer. With the American Express Platinum Card, American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card, and American Express Gold Rewards Card, it means ≈ $1,211 to ≈ $915 in welcome bonuses, plus airport lounge access!

What would you like to know about airport lounge access? Tell us in the comments below.

 

See the deals we spot: Cheap flights

Explore awesome destinations: Travel inspiration

Learn pro tricks: Travel tips

Discover free travel: Travel rewards

 

Featured image: Air France Lounge in Montréal (YUL) in May 2022 (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

Advertiser Disclosure: In the interest of transparency, Flytrippers may receive a commission on links featured in this post, at no cost to you. Thank you for using our links to support us for free, we appreciate it! You allow us to keep finding the best travel deals for free and to keep offering interesting content for free. Since we care deeply about our mission to help travelers and our reputation and credibility prevail over everything, we will NEVER recommend a product or service that we do not believe in or that we do not use ourselves, and we will never give any third-party any control whatsoever on our content. For more information on our advertiser disclosure, click here.

 

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 64/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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