Credit Cards offering Priority Pass Lounge Access

One of the reasons premium credit cards are worth it is because of the airport lounge access that certain cards provide. In Canada, some premium cards provide a Priority Pass membership to cardholders. Typical airport lounges charge $40-$60 for access, which is quite pricy if you’re just looking for an hour of quiet and some food.

Priority Pass Memberships

If you buy a Priority Pass membership directly, three membership plans are offered.

Priority Pass Canada Memberships

Priority Pass Canada Memberships

Unless your employer is reimbursing you, I strongly recommend against purchasing a membership directly. Instead, sign up for a credit card.

Credit Cards with Priority Pass Lounge Access

There are four credit cards I recommend for airport lounge access with Priority Pass. All provide a free membership and free visits. Other cards merely give you a discount on the membership and/or charge you per visit, which is a bad deal.

American Express Platinum Card

American Express Platinum Card

American Express Platinum Card Canada

The American Express Platinum Card is the only card in Canada that provides unlimited lounge access. With each lounge visit, you can bring in an additional guest for free. When you’re flying with a friend or family member, this doubles the value of the benefit. As a frequent traveller, this is extremely important for me. The “money I save” is in the four figures if I paid for everything.

But let’s forget that a moment, and just say the actual value of a lounge (i.e. the maximum amount I would be willing to pay for entrance) is $15. I’ve probably used my Priority Pass 20 times in the last six months, so even with that lower value, it’s a huge benefit just by holding a credit card.

American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco

American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco

On top of that, you can access Centurion Lounges in the US and and Plaza Premium lounges worldwide for free with this card. AMEX Centurion lounges are one of the best spaces in North America, with a full open bar and chef-inspired dining.

Currently, this card has a signup bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after completing minimum spend, which sweetens the deal on top of all the travel benefits you get.

The American Express Business Platinum Card offers a higher signup bonus with 75,000 points, also with AMEX lounge access. However, that card charges for Priority Pass visits, but still, it’s not bad for Centurion and Plaza Premium lounge access.

Lounge access is just one benefit of the Platinum Card – there are tons of travel benefits that make the card an even better deal.

Application Link: American Express Platinum Card

Scotiabank Platinum American Express

Scotiabank American Express Platinum

Scotiabank American Express Platinum

The Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card offers a Priority Pass membership with 10 free passes per year. Each visit after will cost $27 USD. If you already have the AMEX Platinum Card, this card doesn’t really make sense. However, there’s one where it does – Manufactured Spend.

A while back, I wrote about earning 4% back with the Scotiabank American Express Gold Card through prepaid cards. Incidentally the Gold Card offer has improved to a whopping 30,000 points after completing minimum spend, with an annual fee waiver.

Additional Reading: Getting 4% Back on All Purchases – Manufactured Spend

That card has as $50,000 annual limit for earning 4x points on gas, groceries, dining, and entertainment. However, the Scotiabank Platinum card doubles that, offering a $100,000 cap on 4x points. If you’re a heavy spender, picking up this card may be useful. The lounge access is the icing on top.

Application Link: Scotiabank American Express Platinum Card

BMO World Elite MasterCard

The BMO World Elite MasterCard comes with 4 free Priority Pass lounge visits annually. While there is an annual fee, there’s a promotion where your annual fees are waived with certain requirements. This makes it an entirely fee-free option for those who don’t travel as much.

BMO World Elite MasterCard

BMO World Elite MasterCard

This card offers 20,000 rewards points after approval, worth $200. With ongoing spend, you earn 2% in travel rewards, so this is actually not a bad option for straight 2% returns if you want to diversify away from traditional airline and hotel programs.

Application Link: BMO World Elite MasterCard

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Comments

  1. your forgetting to let everyone know due to high volume of PP many airline lounges are limiting access. In many cases limits the card to worthless

  2. OH I think more than 50 or so but never the less many people opted for cards offering PP are located within the continental US and that is where the bulk of the lounges not allowing PP most of the time. Now having said that I have will continue to enjoy PP overseas hell Kilimanjaro Airport lounge is the only public room with a/c!!

    The key is to get the card with more than one access at a time such as the Sapphire Card

  3. Actually, there is one other Canadian credit card offering unlimited lounge access: the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve card. However, at $899, it’s the most expensive publicly-available card in Canada, and seems to have fewer benefits than the American Express Platinum card which only costs $699 — although you do also get Maple Leaf Lounge access, which comes with the Platinum card. I really don’t know who the Reserve card is meant to appeal to.

  4. Being stuck in Ottawa, we don’t have any PP, which makes the first leg of each trip a lounge free affair 🙁

    • For a brief time, YOW had a third-party lounge (not sure if it was part of PP). But it was *outside* security, on the second floor, which made it pretty useless. Chances are, though, if you’re flying frequently out of Ottawa you’re probably an Air Canada person and can use the MLL.

  5. No mention of the Chase Reserve?? Not only unlimited access but cardholders’ traveling companions are also included.

  6. Did the BMO banking application since I was looking to change banks anyway for a fee free option since my student banking expired.

    1st attempt on my iPad: Got to the very end of the questions and it told me they were having technical issues, and to set up my account in a branch.

    2nd attempt on my Mac: Bank account set up, credit card in pending status. I applied for the World Elite under the spend over $2,100 monthly on cards waver. Next day card number was showing under my credit cards tab with a 6K limit which is usually my average for Mastercard. (Typically get $15-20K with Visa, $20K for AMEX)

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