You are currently viewing Free access to airport lounges

Honestly, airport lounges are absolutely awesome. I’ve had access to them for over 6 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 for almost every Canadian traveler!

There are a few cards among the best credit cards in Canada 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 very soon).

 

Best current deals on cards with airport lounge access

First, let’s look at the best cards with free airport lounge access.

Best credit cards for
airport lounge access
Best
Platinum Card® from American Express
Platinum Card from American Express
Card:
Bonus: spend $10k in 3 months
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
Rewards: ≈ $1600
Card fee: $799
Lounge passes: Unlimited + 1 guest
worldwide
Priority Pass + more
Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
ends July 1st
Rewards: $320
Card fee: $0 $150
Lounge passes: 6 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
NEW
American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $7.5k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
Rewards: ≈ $1041
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 $1k/month for 12 months
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
Rewards: ≈ $1180
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
( VALUATION)
ends October 31st
Rewards: $560
Card fee: $399
Lounge passes: 10 passes
worldwide
Priority Pass & Plaza Premium
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
ends May 31st
Rewards: $853
Card fee: $499
Lounge passes: 6 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
TD® Aeroplan® Visa* Infinite Privilege* Card
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $15k in 12 mos. (or $10k for lower bonus)
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
ends June 3rd
Rewards: ≈ $958
Annual fee: $599
Lounge passes: Unlimited + 1 guest
in North America
AC Lounges* + 6 DragonPass
CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card
CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 4 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
Rewards: ≈ $484
Card fee:
Lounge passes: 4 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 4 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
Rewards: ≈ $484
Card fee:
Lounge passes: 4 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
BMO Ascend World Elite®* MasterCard®*
BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard
Card:
Bonus: spend $4.5k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
ends May 31st
Rewards: $330
Card fee: $0 $150
Lounge passes: 4 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Business Platinum Card from American Express
Card: no business required
Bonus: spend $15k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
Rewards: ≈ $1801
Card fee: $799
Lounge passes: Unlimited + 1 guest
worldwide
Priority Pass + more
NEW
American Express® Aeroplan®* Business Reserve Card
American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card
Card: no business required
Bonus: spend $10.5k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
Rewards: ≈ $1172
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.
Best credit cards for
airport lounge access
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
Lounge
passes
Best
Platinum Card from American Express
Card:
Bonus: spend $10k in 3 months
Rewards: ≈ $1600
Card fee: $799
Unlimited + 1 guest
worldwide
Priority Pass + more
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k in 3 mos.
Rewards: $320
Card fee: $0 $150
6 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
ends July 1st
NEW
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $7.5k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $1041
Card fee: $599
Unlimited + 1 guest
in North America
Air Canada Lounges (on *A)
American Express Gold Rewards Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k/month for 12 months
Rewards: ≈ $1180
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 October 31st
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 3 mos.
Rewards: $853
Card fee: $499
6 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
ends May 31st
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $15k in 12 mos. (or $10k for lower bonus)
Rewards: ≈ $958
Annual fee: $599
Unlimited + 1 guest
in North America
AC Lounges* + 6 DragonPass
ends June 3rd
CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 4 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $484
Card fee:
4 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 4 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $484
Card fee:
4 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard
Card:
Bonus: spend $4.5k in 3 mos.
Rewards: $330
Card fee: $0 $150
4 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
ends May 31st
Business Platinum Card from American Express
Card: no business required
Bonus: spend $15k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $1801
Card fee: $799
Unlimited + 1 guest
worldwide
Priority Pass + more
NEW
American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card
Card: no business required
Bonus: spend $10.5k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $1172
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.

 

We’ll explain how they all work and the details in a minute, but I’ll do a sidenote for airport lounge beginners.

 

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, airport lounges offer:

  • Free food
  • Free drinks (alcoholic or not)
  • Comfortable seating
  • Good Wi-Fi connection
  • Cleaner and quieter restrooms
  • 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)
  • 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 
  • 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 1200+ lounges all over the world with 15 of the 21 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 next free webinar about travel rewards if you want to talk about airport lounges.

 

Overview of the types of free airport lounge access

The full airport lounge guide coming soon will help you with everything you need to know about airport lounge access, but I’ll try to at least summarize the different types of lounge access to make all this as simple as possible for you to understand.

Here’s the infographic that summarize which access each card has.

See the full-size infographic

 

Before looking at the cards in more detail, let’s look at types of access.

 

2 cards with unlimited access to a worldwide airport lounge network

There are 2 premium cards with unlimited access to a worldwide airport lounge access. Objectively, these are by far the best Canadian cards for airport lounges.

Here are the cards with no minimum income requirement:

Unlimited access means there is no limit; no maximum number of visits. You go as often as you want. It’s for you and 1 free guest too. No matter the airline you’re flying.

It’s also the most generous airport lounge access among Canadian cards, because no card gives you access to as many lounges: 1400+ lounges all over the world.

The main difference between both cards is that the business version often has higher minimum spending requirement for its welcome bonus. To be clear, you do not need to have a business to get an Amex “business” card. It’s counterintuitive (like many things in the world of travel rewards), but that’s how it is.

 

4 cards with unlimited access to an airline airport lounge network

There are 4 premium cards that give you access to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges (in North America). Very interesting if you fly Air Canada often.

Here are the cards with no minimum income requirement:

Here are the cards with a minimum income requirement of $150,000 (or $200,000 household income):

As airline cards that give you access to airline lounges, there is a unique condition for these cards: you must be flying Air Canada (or a Star Alliance partner) to access the lounges. The other cards give you access to networks of independent lounges so they don’t have this restriction (they give you access regardless of the airline).

On the other hand, as the lounge network for Canada’s most dominant airline, the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge network is the most developed in Canadian airports specifically. 

There are 2 main differences between the 2 Amex cards and the 2 from TD and CIBC. The TD and CIBC versions also give you 6 passes to the DragonPass worldwide network of lounges that we’ll cover in the next section. But these 2 cards have the highest minimum income requirement in Canada, whereas the 2 Amex versions have no minimum income requirement (like all Amex cards).

 

11 cards with a number of free visits to a worldwide airport lounge network

There are 11 cards that give you access to a worldwide airport lounge network with at least 1200+ lounges (either DragonPass or the combined Priority Pass/Plaza Premium network), but with a set number of free visits per cardmembership year.

Here is the card with a $12,000 minimum income requirement:

Here is the card with a $15,000 minimum household income requirement:

Here are the cards with a minimum income requirement of $60,000 (or $100,000 household income):

Here are the cards with a minimum income requirement of $80,000 (or $150,000 household income):

Here are the cards with a minimum income requirement of $150,000 (or $200,000 household income):

The DragonPass network that all but one of those cards have access to is the 2nd-largest in the world. It’s officially called either Visa Airport Companion by DragonPass or Mastercard Travel Pass by DragonPass, depending on the card’s network.

Every card has a different welcome bonus and minimum spending requirement to unlock it. And different benefits. Your income might narrow down your options.

The Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card is the only one that gives you access to the Priority Pass and Plaza Premium networks instead of DragonPass. It has access to a bit more lounges than all the others, but it’s not a huge difference as almost all lounges in those networks are also in DragonPass, with only a few exceptions. For example, in Canada it’s 23 lounges for both networks.

Finally, 2 cards are accessible only in 1 province: the ATB World Elite Mastercard (Alberta only) and the Vancity enviro Visa Infinite Privilege Card (British Columbia only).

 

4 cards with access to a very limited number of lounges

There are 4 other cards with some free airport lounge access, but they only have access to a very limited number of lounges (2 of them only have access to 1 lounge in Montreal).

Here are the cards with no minimum income requirement:

Here are the cards with a minimum income requirement of $80,000 (or $150,000 household income):

The American Express Gold Rewards Card has access to just 1 small airport lounge network in Canada only, the Plaza Premium lounges. You get 4 visits per calendar year, so as many as 8 free visits in your 1st year of cardmembership if your travel schedule lines up with that.

The WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard doesn’t have lounge access by default, but its annual companion voucher can be exchanged for 4 lounge passes if you prefer that. You’d have access to the limited WestJet partner lounge network, when flying with WestJet.

The National Bank World Elite Mastercard and Desjardins Odyssey World Elite Mastercard both have access to just 1 airport lounge in Montreal (YUL), in the international (non-USA) terminal. The National Bank World Elite Mastercard is a superior card on literally every single aspect (not just lounges). In terms of lounges, it gives you unlimited visits with 1 free guest, instead of just 8 free passes.

 

Airport lounge access by card (teaser of the 13 best)

Let’s take a closer look at the best cards.

 

American Express Platinum Card

Platinum Card® from American Express
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $1600*
Card fee: $799

minimum income required: $0
spend $10000
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: 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!)

 

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $1041*
Card fee: $599

minimum income required: $0
spend $7,500
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.

 

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!)

 

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card

TD® Aeroplan® Visa* Infinite Privilege* Card


min. income: $150k (or $200k household)
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $958*
Card fee: $599
ends June 3rd

spend $15000 in 12 months

(or $10000 for lower bonus)

Interest rates:

Purchases: 20.99%

Cash advances: 22.99%

Cash advances (QC): 20.99%

Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. TD is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.

 

Same lounge access as the previous card, but with 6 annual passes for DragonPass lounges as well.

 

Scotiabank Platinum Card

Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome bonus (net value)
$
Rewards: $560*
Card fee: $399
ends October 31st

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.

 

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.

 

American Express Gold Card

American Express® Gold Rewards Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $1180*
Card fee: $250

minimum income required: $0
spend $1000/month
for 12 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 one that has no minimum income at all (a few others have low ones though).

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. 

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 business versions of the other Amex cards with lounge access!)

 

National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $850*
Card fee: $150
ends August 15th

min. income: $80k (or $150k household)
spend $15000 in 12 months
(or $5000 for lower bonus)
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 $150,000 in household 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 apart from premium Aeroplan cards, with ≈ $750 in value.

 

Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card

Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome bonus (net value)
$
Rewards: $320*
Card fee: $0 $150
ends July 1st

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.

 

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


min. income: $0 (or $15k household)
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $484*
Card fee:

spend $3000 in 4 months

Interest rates:

Purchases: 20.99%

Cash advances: 22.99%

Cash advances (QC): 21.99%

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.

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. The credit is for just 1 person though.

The current welcome bonus is great too!

 

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite* Card

CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card


min. income: $60k (or $100k household)
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $484*
Card fee:

spend $3000 in 4 months

Interest rates:

Purchases: 20.99%

Cash advances: 22.99%

Cash advances (QC): 21.99%

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. The credit is for just 1 person though.

The current welcome bonus is great too!

 

BMO AscendTM* World Elite®* MasterCard®*

BMO Ascend World Elite®* MasterCard®*
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome bonus (net value)
$
Rewards: $330*
Card fee: $0 $150
ends May 31st

min. income: $80k (or $150k household)
spend $4,500 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
ends May 31st

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.

 

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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Summary

The best cards for free airport lounge access are the American Express Platinum Card and the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card if you want unlimited passes. And you have plenty of options for fewer passes.

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)

 

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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: 71/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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