Love to lounge? These travel credit cards could help you hit the airport in style
We’ve all got friends who love to post the “I’m out” pic on instagram, glass of champagne in hand, with a geotag at the airport lounge.
Well, you may not have to be. You could get a complimentary airport lounge pass, or two, with your travel credit card!
A whole bunch of rewards programs include perks like complimentary travel insurance, bonus points, concierge and in some cases, airport lounge access.
However, it is important to remember that these credit cards tend to come with higher interest rates, hefty annual fees and sometimes spending requirements to access the perks. That’s why it’s worth weighing up the benefits and the costs of any card before you apply.
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So if you’re a sucker for the chance to kick back in style before you take to the skys, and are already on the hunt for a new travel credit card, here are a handful that offer complimentary airport lounge passes.
Travel Credit Cards 2020
American Express - Velocity Platinum Card
- Two single entry passes to Virgin Australia lounges each year
- Two single entry passes to American Express lounges each year
- Complimentary Virgin Australia return domestic flight each year (after first spend)
If you’re looking for an award-winning credit card with a whole bunch of travel perks, the Velocity Platinum Card by American Express could be the right choice for you. This card took home a 2019 Mozo Experts Choice Award^ for best Velocity Frequent Flyer Premium Credit Card, and here’s why. Not only is there the opportunity to score 100,000 bonus points when you apply online before 12 February 2020 and spend $3,000 within the first 90 days, but there are also a few freebies that come with it as well. Cardholders are able to earn a free Virgin Australia domestic flight each year after their first purchase, plus two single entry passes to both the Virgin Australia lounge and the American Express lounge every year. Just remember, there is a $375 annual fee and a 20.74% purchase rate so weigh up this cost before you apply!
David Jones - American Express Platinum Card
- Two single entries per year to the American Express Lounge at Sydney or Melbourne International Airports
- 30,000 Rewards or 15,000 Qantas Points (when you spend $750 outside of David Jone in the first 90 days)
- 4 Rewards points per $1 spend at David Jones (2 Qantas Points per $1)
Bit of a DJs fan? Love perks? And also looking for a rewards card? Well, you could roll all those things into one! For customers flying from Sydney or Melbourne to anywhere in the world, the David Jones American Express Platinum Card gives cardholders two complimentary single entry passes to the American Express Lounge at Sydney or Melbourne International Airport. But that’s not all. The card can either be connected to David Jones Rewards or to Qantas Frequent Flyer - which will determine your points earnings. You could end up having the chance to snag either 30,000 Rewards points or 15,000 Qantas points when you spend $750 outside of David Jones in the first three months. Keep in mind, there is a $295 annual fee and 20.74% purchase rate.
American Express - Explorer® Credit Card
- Two complimentary American Express Lounge entries at Sydney or Melbourne International Airports per year
- $400 Travel Credit each year (when you book online using Amex)
- 50,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months
If you consider yourself a bit of a world explorer, the American Express Explorer Credit Card could be your perfect companion. New customers can earn 50,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when they spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of having the card. But that’s not all that’s on offer from the 2019 Mozo Expert’s Choice Awards^ Credit Card Provider of the Year. While there is a $395 annual fee, Explorer cardholders will receive two complimentary American Express Lounge entries at either Sydney or Melbourne International Airports, plus a $400 travel credit every year (just remember to book your travel expenses using your Amex card to access this feature). Also don’t forget, there is a 20.74% purchase rate, so be careful of overspending!
American Express - Qantas Ultimate Card
- Two complimentary Qantas Club invitations per year
- Two complimentary American Express Lounge entries per year
- $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year (for eligible Qantas flights)
The Qantas Ultimate Credit Card by American Express is not only an award-winning card from an award-winning provider, it also comes with a bunch of competitive travel perks.Cardholders receive two complimentary Qantas Club invitations per year, while also snagging two free entries to the American Express Lounge as well. But if that’s not enough for you, with the American Express Qantas Ultimate Card you receive a $450 Travel Credit every year for eligible Qantas flights, which essentially offsets the $450 annual fee, as well as a complimentary Qantas Wine Premium Membership, this card is just oozing in perks! And it’s for that reason that it took out a 2019 Mozo Expert’s Choice Award^ for best Qantas Frequent Flyer Premium Credit Card. Keep in mind though that all these perks come at a price, so watch out for the 20.74% purchase rate on this card.
^For more information on winners check out the 2019 Mozo Experts Choice Awards for Rewards Credit Cards.
What to ask yourself when choosing a credit card with lounge access
Which lounges can I access?
You may have a particular airline you prefer or seen a friend’s post from a lounge you can’t stop dreaming about. If this is you, it’s important to know which lounge your credit card gives you access to. Some of the popular lounges available through credit cards are Virgin Australia, Priority Pass, Qantas Club and American Express, so if you have your eye on one make sure you choose the card that is associated with that lounge.
A couple of lounge rules:
- Most airport lounges require guests to have valid plane ticket (with a departure date on the same day they wish to come into the lounge)
- There is usually a dress code. Guests are generally required to dress smart-casual, so avoid rocking up in tracksuit pants or shorts.
How do I access my airport lounge passes?
Travel credit cards aren’t all built the same, so the way you access your complimentary lounge access pass may be slightly different between rewards programs and providers. In some cases you may need to send an invitation request to your bank or provider before your passes can be issued to you in your name, while in others you may need to enrol in a rewards program beforehand in order to access your passes (in addition to applying for and receiving your credit card).
Also bear in mind, there may be spending requirements on your credit card in order to access perks like complimentary lounge access - so make sure you can realistically spend what you need to, as well as pay it off by the end of the month.
Are there any extra lounge charges you may have to pay?
While you may get complimentary airport lounge access with your credit card, that may not mean all-access. Depending on which card you have and which lounge you are planning on going to, you may still have to pay additional costs to access some amenities.
Also remember, if you are travelling with family or in a group, your pass may not cover everyone - so make sure you read the fine print before you sign up or be ready to fork out extra entry fees.
What are the credit card costs?
Like you would with any other credit card, it’s important to weigh up any potential costs like the interest rate, annual fee or any additional fees, against the rewards you are getting. For example, generally when you get perks like airport lounge passes, you’ll likely face a higher annual fee which can be up to a few hundred dollars. Compare the perks against the fee and see whether it’s actually worth it - keep your eyes peeled, you could find a card that waives or decreases the annual fee in the first year.
Are there any other perks on the card?
The more perks the better, right? If you’re already on the hunt for a rewards card, why not try and snag one that has a few more perks than just free lounge access? Some of these bonus perks could be complimentary travel insurance, travel vouchers or even a bottle of wine when you dine out. You might also be able to snag some bonus points when you first get the card and spend a certain amount in the first 90 days.
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