You are currently viewing How to get paid for access to airport VIP lounges

It’s extremely easy to not only access airport lounges for free, but to actually get paid to get access. Oh yes! This is such a wonderful tip for travelers. When I found out about this, I was so sad that I didn’t know about it sooner. So I’m sharing this with you so you don’t miss out any longer!

You can watch the video version of this tip if you prefer.

If not, let’s go.

 

How airport lounges work

First, airport lounges are obviously great. 

It makes the airport experience a lot more luxurious (relaxing atmosphere) and a lot cheaper (free food and drinks).

There are plenty of airport lounges here in Canada that you can access while getting paid to do so (and 1000+ around the world too, obviously).

See the full-size infographic

 

I share a link to a detailed list and more info on what’s in a lounge at the end of this post, because I want you to first understand how this tip works.

 

How to access airport lounges

It’s very simple, at least for those who can follow the most basic rule (which is also very simple): always pay all your credit cards in full on time.

Many credit cards offer completely free access to airport lounges. Either a specific amount of access passes or even unlimited access.

See the full-size infographic

 

That’s how you can get paid for access to airport lounges.

 

How to get paid to access airport lounges

It’s very easy: all these good credit cards offer awesome welcome bonuses that give you a big profit the 1st year. That’s the Flytrippers Valuation of the offer in blue in the table below. 

So if you do the math, that’s like getting paid several hundred dollars PLUS getting access to airport lounges. 

Pretty awesome, right?

Here are the best offers right now.

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 October 31st
CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card
Card:
Bonus: make 1 purchase (no min.)
Rewards: ≈ $220
Card Fee:
4 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: make 1 purchase (no min.)
Rewards: ≈ $220
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
Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k in 3 mos.
Rewards: $260
Card Fee: $139
6 passes
worldwide
DragonPass
National Bank World Elite Mastercard
Card:
Bonus: no welcome bonus
Rewards: ≈ $150
Card Fee: $150
Unlimited + 1 guest
at YUL only
NBC Lounge (intl)
ends August 31st
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 October 31st
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: make 1 purchase (no min.)
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $220
Card Fee:
Lounge passes: 4 passes worldwide
DragonPass
CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: make 1 purchase (no min.)
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $220
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
Scotia Passport Visa Infinite* Card Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: $260
Card Fee: $139
Lounge passes: 6 passes worldwide
DragonPass
National Bank® World Elite Mastercard® National Bank World Elite Mastercard
Card:
Bonus: no welcome bonus
WELCOME BONUS
ends August 31st
Rewards: ≈ $150
Card Fee: $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.

 

(The first 3 end this Tuesday night; offers change continuously and vary widely throughout the year, so it’s important to keep track of our ranking and not just get the right card, but get the right card at the right time!)

Flytrippers readers have now earned over 1 million dollars in travel rewards just from welcome bonuses, so stop missing out!

The card offering unlimited access, the Amex Platinum Card, has the highest offer in Canada right now, plain and simple! And it’s by far the best card for airport lounge access! It’s my favorite card.

 

How to continue getting paid after the 1st year

It’s so simple: you get a new card that pays you for access to airport lounges. 

You’ll get a new welcome bonus AND you’ll improve your credit score too!

Yes, having more credit cards is actually better for your credit rating in the long run, contrary to the very common and very false belief. 

As long as you always pay everything on time, of course, but also as long as you never close your OLD cards, the ones you had before you started your travel rewards journey (so the ones you have now if you’re just starting out) — you can just downgrade them to a no-fee version so you don’t have to pay any fees if they have some.

The new cards you get, these ones you can cancel after 1 year of course (just before the renewal — never before) if they don’t give you any value anymore. 

The idea is not to pay for access to airport lounges. Especially for those who only travel a few times a year, because it’s so easy to never have to pay.

Taking advantage of welcome bonuses is literally the key to travel rewards

It’s not by slowly earning 1% or 2% on all my purchases with just one card that I’ve earned over $20,000 in free travel since I started doing this. It’s by getting lots of welcome bonuses!

And I have an 800+ credit score despite having 10+ cards, by the way, which isn’t surprising; it’s just math. That’s how Equifax and TransUnion calculate scores. 

The advice we often see or hear about avoiding having multiple credit cards is for the majority of people: and sadly, the majority of people don’t pay off their entire balance on time. Of course, for them, it’s terrible to have multiple cards. 

But for those who do pay everything on time, getting more rewards will also mean having a better credit score!!! 

Obviously, don’t get 10 new cards the first year (the world of travel rewards is a marathon, not a sprint), but even with just a few, you’ll increase how many points you earn exponentially. And you’ll be able to get to a pro level of welcome bonuses quickly enough, if that’s what you want.

You can read basics of travel rewards if you want to know more.

 

How to continue to be paid infinitely

Every time we do our free webinar for travel rewards beginners, we always get the question, “But at some point, are you going to run out of cards?”

NO!

I’ve earned over $20,000 in 10 years, does it look like I’ve run out of cards? 😂

You’re never going to run out of cards to get welcome bonuses. Ever. But obviously not all welcome bonuses come with lounge access.

If you travel a lot and want many lounge access passes (like me with my ≈ 70 flights a year, for example; most paid for with points, obviously), then it’s going to take a lot more effort to keep it all free, or it’s going to have to cost you a bit of money.

But for those who travel a little less, the beauty of this wonderful world is that, first of all, there are so many different cards that give free access to airport lounges, as you saw.

Most importantly, all other banks except American Express allow you to receive welcome bonuses multiple times on the same card

Which means that you can always get paid for access to airport lounges… especially if you’re not a solo traveler.

So for example, let’s take the strictest of the non-Amex banks.

Let’s say you get the Scotiabank Platinum Card to get 10 airport lounge passes for the next year (and $161 in profit). Just before renewal, you re-evaluate that card to see if it still gives you value. If not, as is often the case, you cancel it (I repeat, since it’s vital: the old cards you already have, those should never be canceled; this is a new one we’re talking about).

Then, Scotiabank’s rules will allow you to get the welcome bonus again on the same Scotiabank Platinum Card 2 years after you cancel it. During those 2 years, you can quite easily get free lounge access with other cards that offer it, like the CIBC cards, the BMO one, etc.

By the way, CIBC allows you to get the welcome bonus again as soon as you cancel your card (each bank is different and we’ll have more info on that soon). 

So, to get the 4 access passes that come with the CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card or the CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card, you could cancel your card just before the renewal date and get it again very shortly after, and you would still be  in compliance with the terms and conditions (I repeat, because it’s important: never cancel a card before the 11th month, obviously).

That’s convenient, because aside from those who must first learn not to spend more than they can pay back (who shouldn’t be doing this at all), those with an individual income of less than $60,000 per year (or a household income of less than $100,000) are those who have the most obstacles to getting free airport lounge access year after year. 

Because except for American Express, all other banks discriminate based on income as you saw in the details of the best offers table. If you make under $60,000, you have far fewer choice of cards with airport lounge access. In fact, besides Amex cards, the Scotiabank Platinum Card and the CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card are the only 2 cards available if you earn less than $60,000.

However, for cards issued by American Express, you can only get the welcome bonus once for each card (once for the Amex Platinum Card, once for the Amex Aeroplan Reserve Card, etc.) as opposed to being able to get it over and over again on the same card with all other banks.

However, Amex likes to do things differently: they also have “business” cards that don’t require you to have a business. That would give you a 2nd year of unlimited airport lounge access for free, by getting the Amex Business Platinum Card after getting the Amex Platinum Card.

Finally, in travel rewards, the 2-player mode is particularly rewarding. It’s the name given to the strategy when you have a travel buddy!

It makes everything easier! 

For example, instead of just getting 2 years of unlimited lounge access for free with the Amex Platinum Card and the Business Platinum Card from Amex, you’d actually have 4 years if there are 2 of you.

And after 1 year with the Scotiabank Platinum Card, if you got it again right away but in your travel buddy’s name this time, you would have another year with 10 passes. And there would only be one more year left before you could get it back in your name, instead of a 2-year gap to fill.

 

How to actually get paid to have lounge access

This is to give you a general idea of what your strategy might look like with current offers, since many people often ask us concrete action plans.

If you earn over $60,000 individually (or a household income of $100,000):

  • Get a card that offers access in one of your rounds of card applications in the year
  • You have plenty of card choices to have a rotation and always have a few passes each year
  • Get more than one card that has lounge access in the same year if you run out of passes
  • Get the Amex Platinum Card or the Amex Business Platinum Card for unlimited access for a total of 2 years (the years you’ll travel the most)
    • Especially until Tuesday with an offer that gives you a net value of ≈ $1211

If you make less than $60,000:

If you have a travel buddy:

  • Everything is simpler, because each person can get each card in their name in successive years
  • Get the Scotiabank Platinum Card and after 1 year, your buddy get it too, so that’s 2 years with 10 passes per year; after that, there’s just 1 year left before you can get it again and start over
  • You also get 4 potential years of free unlimited lounge access with the Amex Platinum Card or the Amex Business Platinum Card instead of just 2 years, 1 year each for you and your buddy

If you travel a lot like me:

Obviously, all welcome bonus offers can change at any time (and they will; sometimes they go up, sometimes they go down — that’s how it works). But in general, at the very least these cards always have profitable welcome bonuses to make sure you’re effectively paid to access airport lounges.

 

How to find out more about airport lounges

While you wait for our ultimate guide, we’ve got an article that explains how awesome airport lounges are.

 

You can also see the details and list of each lounge in all Canadian airports.


 

You can also see the details of how airport lounge access works for each of the top cards.

 

Finally, as mentioned, we’ll have a detailed guide with even more info on airport lounges. Sign up for our free newsletter about travel rewards to receive it.

 

Interested in the world of travel rewards and all its benefits?

Sign up for our travel rewards newsletter

 

Summary

With the record-high increased welcome bonuses right now (and with a little planning), it’s really easy to get access to airport lounges for several years (and for all intents and purposes get paid to get access).

What would you like to know on airport VIP lounges? 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 Montreal (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: 64/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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