The Australian credit card market is a competitive space. So, many banks offer additional benefits to cardholders as an enticement to sign up. These include complimentary travel insurance, bonus credit card sign-up points and even free flights.
Another benefit offered with some credit cards is airport lounge access. Around a dozen Australian credit cards offer a couple of complimentary Qantas Club or Virgin Australia Lounge passes each year. Some credit cards come with Standard Priority Pass membership and two complimentary Priority Pass lounge visits each year. And many American Express cardholders are entitled to two annual visits to the international Amex airport lounges in Sydney or Melbourne.
But there are a few Australian credit cards that go one better, offering unlimited access to a network of airport lounges for as long as you keep the card! This can be a fantastic deal, and in some cases, the credit card annual fees are lower than the cost of buying an equivalent airport lounge membership outright.
When comparing products, beware of credit cards which advertise “lounge access” that is not free!
Looking for a credit card with some great lounge access benefits? Here are some of the best Australian cards for lounge access in 2020…
Frequent Flyer Diners Club
The Frequent Flyer Diners Club card not only earns 1 Qantas point per dollar, but also comes with unlimited Diners Club lounge access for the life of the card. The best part? This card has an annual fee of just $150, including a $55 “rewards fee”. Plus, you can add an additional cardholder for $50 more and the additional cardholder will also receive lounge access benefits!
There are now over 1,000 Diners Club airport lounges around the world. This includes six Australian lounges; all three domestic REX Lounges, the Plaza Premium international lounges in Melbourne and Brisbane, and the Catalina Lounge in Darwin.
There is a discussion about this card on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Any downsides on the Diner’s Club Lounge access?
Amex Platinum Charge
With a $1,450 annual fee, the Amex Platinum charge card is naturally a much more expensive option. But its lounge access coverage is also considerably more extensive. In addition to various other benefits, this card comes with unlimited access to Virgin Australia lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, Amex and Centurion lounges, Plaza Premium lounges and all Priority Pass lounges for the cardholder and a guest.
The Citi Prestige credit card offers unlimited Priority Pass lounge access for the cardholder and one guest. While not quite as impressive as the benefits afforded to Amex Platinum users, it’s still fairly comprehensive. There are more than 1,200 Priority Pass lounges around the world, including eight in Australia.
Although Priority Pass members that have membership via an American Express credit card no longer receive vouchers at participating airport restaurants, this benefit has not been removed for Citi Prestige cardholders. You can still get a $36 meal voucher for yourself a guest each time you depart from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Gold Coast airports.
The Citi Prestige card is quite expensive and doesn’t have a great deal of earning power. If you opt-in to earning Qantas Frequent Flyer points, you’ll pay $749 per year and earn just 0.5 Qantas points per dollar. If you opt-in to earning Citi Rewards points, the annual fee is $700 and you’ll earn the equivalent of 0.5 Velocity points or 0.4 KrisFlyer miles per dollar spent on the card. But if you’re considering purchasing a Priority Pass prestige membership anyway, it’s only ~$100 more per year for a Citi Prestige card. You’ll also get a guest allowance with the Citi Prestige card that doesn’t normally come with paid Priority Pass membership.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures
As mentioned before, there are dozens of Australian credit cards that offer two lounge passes each year as a small value-add. Of these, the card with the lowest annual fee is the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures Visa. This has a $225 annual fee and includes two Virgin Australia lounge visits per year. Amazingly, this is not even the most valuable benefit of this card, which also comes with a free return domestic Virgin Australia flight every year. There are also no credit card international transaction fees.
Would you like to learn more about credit cards?
Frequent Flyer Solutions has an entire training course on Credit Cards. This course will teach you about maximising credit card points and help you to choose the credit card that’s right for you. View course →
There’s also a unit on Credit Card Lounge Access in Course 8 which may be of interest to you. This course contains a full list of the Australian credit cards that come with lounge access benefits, including all cards giving single-use lounge passes.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended as financial advice. Consider your personal circumstances before applying for any type of credit.