The best credit cards for airport lounge access in Canada for 2024

Choose from a solid selection of credit cards that feature airport lounge access as part of their perks.

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The best credit cards for airport lounge access in Canada for 2024

Airport lounge access can transform an otherwise gruelling layover into a relaxing respite. Depending on the airport and the type of program you belong to, lounges may offer free snacks and drinks (including complimentary alcoholic beverages), free Wi-Fi, plentiful comfortable seating, dedicated work areas, showers, sleep pods and even spa services. It’s little wonder, then, that for many Canadian frequent fliers, lounge access is an especially coveted credit card feature.

Note that only a select few cards offer unlimited lounge access, while others offer a limited number of visits per year. All of the cards featured below come with an annual fee. These fees vary significantly between cards, so knowing how much you fly in an average year, and what other perks you can make use of, will help you determine which card offers the most value.

CardNumber of lounge visitsAnnual fee
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite*6$150
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege*Unlimited for Maple Leaf Lounges in North America$599
American Express The Platinum CardUnlimited$799
BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard*4$150
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite4$139

Best overall airport lounge access credit card

At a glance: With six complimentary airport lounge visits a year, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card offers the most free visits among credit cards in a comparable fee range. For that reason alone, the card pays for itself. Adding to its travel-friendly allure is the fact that it’s one of the few cards in Canada that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction (FX) fee. Other cards typically charge 2.5% on purchases made in a foreign currency.

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Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

  • Annual fee: $150 (waived for the first year)
  • Earn rate: 3 Scene+ points per $1 spent at Sobeys stores; 2 points per $1 on groceries, dining, entertainment and transit; 1 point per $1 on everything else. Plus, pay no FX fees
  • Welcome offer: earn up to $1,300 in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points and first year annual fee waived. Offer ends July 1, 2024.
  • Annual income requirement: Personal income of $60,000 or household income of $100,000
  • Point value: 1 Scene+ point = $0.01 when redeemed for travel, store purchases and food and drink at Cineplex and Scene partners
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 700 or higher
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances, 22.99% on balance transfers

The pros

  • Receive complimentary Visa Airport Companion Program membership, which includes six free lounge visits per year, the most free visits of any travel credit card in a similar fee range.
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made in non-Canadian currency. 
  • It’s one of the few cards that don’t make you book travel through a proprietary booking site in order to redeem points. While you can book with Scene+ Travel, you can also book travel online or with any travel agency and still redeem Scene+ points to cover the cost of your trip.

The cons

  • The highest earn rate of 3 Scene+ points is only available at a few grocery retailers.
  • No mobile device insurance coverage.
  • Scene+ points have a lower value when redeemed for gift cards or merchandise than when used for grocery purchases and travel.

Best luxury airport lounge access card

At a glance: For Aeroplan points collectors who want an elevated airport experience, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege credit card can be a great travel companion. It’s packed with travel benefits like unlimited free access for you and a guest to Maple Leaf Lounges throughout North America.

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TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege

  • Annual fee: $599
  • Rewards: 2 Aeroplan points per $1 on direct purchases with Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations, 1.5 Aeroplan points per $1 on eligible gas, grocery, travel and dining purchases, 1.25 points per $1 spent everywhere else
  • Welcome bonus: You can earn up to $2,700 in value including up to 75,000 Aeroplan points. Conditions apply. Account must be approved by March 4, 2024.
  • Annual income requirement: Personal income of $150,000 or household income of $200,000
  • Point value: Aeroplan points are worth $0.02 on average
  • Anniversary bonus: Plus, as an anniversary bonus, earn 25,000 Aeroplan points when you spend at least $15,000 within 12 months of opening the account. Conditions apply.
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on balance transfers, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Other perks: Access to Maple Leaf Lounges; Nexus fee rebate of up to $100 every two years; priority check-in; priority baggage handling; priority boarding; priority airport standby; priority upgrades; access a yearly round-trip companion pass from $99 (plus taxes, fees, charges and surcharges)

The card also comes with a complimentary membership in the Visa Airport Companion Program and includes six lounge visits, usable at over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide. You’ll really feel like a VIP at the airport with other perks like priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling, and you’ll get peace of mind with an extensive suite of travel insurance.

The pros

  • Includes unlimited access to Maple Leaf Lounges for you and a guest and six free visits per year to DragonPass partner lounges.
  • Take advantage of a Nexus fee rebate of up to $100 every two years.
  • Comes packed with generous travel-friendly perks like priority boarding and upgrades, as well as a companion pass.
  • The included travel insurance is robust—with coverage for the first 31 days of your trip if you are under 65, as opposed to the more common 15-21 days. You also get flight delay/ trip cancellation coverage, common carrier and rental car accident insurance.

The cons

  • To qualify, you’ll need a high personal or household income.
  • Even for a premium card with tons of perks, the annual fee is high, at $599.
  • Many of the travel benefits (like priority check-in and priority boarding) only apply to flights operated by Air Canada.

Best airport lounge access card for frequent travellers

At a glance: It’s one of the most expensive premium credit cards in Canada, but the $799 annual fee gets you access to the most comprehensive and amenity-laden selection of airport lounges worldwide, including top-tier American Express Centurion Lounges. Depending on the lounge, cardholders may have an unlimited number of free visits and can also bring one companion with them at no additional cost. Cardholders can also take advantage of a yearly $200 travel credit, which essentially brings the cost of the card down to $599 as long as you make a point of using the credit.

American Express Platinum

Visit americanexpress.com for details
  • Annual fee: $799
  • Rewards: 2 points per $1 on dining and food delivery; 2 points per $1 on travel, plus 1 additional point on purchases booked through Amex Travel Online; 1 point per $1 on everything else.
  • Welcome bonus: You can earn up to 100,000 rewards points ($1,000 value). Conditions apply.
  • Annual income requirement: None
Visit americanexpress.com for details
  • Point value: 1 Amex Membership Rewards point = $0.01 when redeemed with the Flexible Points Travel Program, $0.015 on average with the Fixed Points Travel Program, and up to $0.02 with airline points transfers
  • Recommended credit score: 760 or higher
  • Interest rates: N/A (as a charge card, you’re required to pay off your balance in full every month)

The pros

  • The card gives you access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection, which is the largest airport lounge collection available, featuring more than 1,300 lounges in over 140 countries. Lounges include American Express Centurion Lounges, Plaza Premium and Delta Sky lounges. 
  • Get a $200 credit that can be redeemed towards a travel purchase made via American Express Travel Online.
  • When staying at eligible Fine Hotels + Resorts, enjoy extras like guaranteed late check-out and complimentary daily breakfast for two.

The cons

  • Comes with one of the highest annual fees in Canada.
  • The travel medical insurance is somewhat lacklustre for such a high annual fee—it only covers you for up to 15 consecutive days (other cards offer 20 days or more) and doesn’t offer any insurance to those who are 65 or older.
  • American Express isn’t as widely accepted by retailers in Canada as Visa and Mastercard.

Best airport lounge access card for occasional travel

At a glance: If you find yourself in an airport even just a few times a year, you’ll appreciate that the BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard offers free membership in the Mastercard Travel Pass program provided by DragonPass, plus four free passes a year. BMO also has one of the most flexible redemption programs in the country, so you can redeem your points to cover eligible travel purchases like flights, hotels and car rentals no matter what travel provider you booked with.

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BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard

  • Annual fee: $150
  • Earn rates: 5 points per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases; 3 points per $1 on dining, entertainment, and recurring bill payments; 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: You can earn up to 70,000 points and the annual fee waived in the first year for both the primary cardholder and authorized users.
  • Annual income requirement: Personal income of $80,000 or household income of $150,000
  • Points values: 1 BMO Rewards point = $0.0067 when redeemed for travel
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases, 23.99% on cash advances, 23.99% on balance transfers

The pros

  • Comes with free membership in the Mastercard Travel Pass program provided by DragonPass, as well as four free passes a year. 
  • Solid selection of travel insurance that includes travel medical, trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, and delayed and lost baggage insurance.
  • BMO Rewards has one of the most flexible redemption programs in the country, and you can redeem points for travel purchases without buying from a specific provider. 

The cons

  • To qualify, you’ll need an annual personal income of $80,000 or a household income of $150,000.
  • The card’s base earn rate of 1 BMO point per dollar comes out to a return of 0.67%, which is considerably lower than 1 % return offered by most comparable cards on generic purchases that don’t fall under a bonus category

Best airport lounge access card for travelling to the U.S.

At a glance: If you frequently cross the border to the U.S. for vacations, work trips or family visits, consider the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite. The card includes membership in the Visa Airport Companion Program and also gives you four free lounge visits a year. Every four years, you get a statement credit of up to $100 towards a Nexus application fee.

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite

Visit cibc.com for details
  • Annual fee: $139 (rebated for first year)
  • Rewards: 2 points per $1 spent on travel through the CIBC Rewards Centre; 1.5 points per $1 on gas, groceries and drugstores; 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: You can earn up to $1,250 in value including a first year annual fee rebate.
  • Annual income requirement: Personal income of $60,000 or household income of $100,000
Visit cibc.com for details
  • Point value: 1 point= $0.01 on average
  • Perks: Visa Airport Companion Program membership with four lounge visits a year; Nexus card fee rebate ($100 value, every 4 years); out-of-province emergency travel medical insurance; flight delay and baggage insurance; purchase protection and mobile device insurance; use Journie awards to save on gas
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances, 22.99% on balance transfers

The pros

  • Includes a free membership to the Visa Airport Companion Program managed by DragonPass, as well as four free lounge visits per year.
  • Flexible rewards program that allows you to redeem points for travel, merchandise, gift cards, mortgage payments and more.
  • Save up to 10 cents/litre on gas at eligible gas stations if you link your card with Journie Rewards, a loyalty program that helps you earn points at Pioneer, Fasgas, Ultramar and Chevron gas stations.

The cons

  • To get the highest earn rate of 2 points for every $1 spent, you must make a travel purchase via the CIBC Rewards Centre.
  • The value of points decreases when they’re not used for travel.
  • There is an $80,000 cap on the 1.5-point earn rate, after which you’ll only get 1 point per $1 spent on groceries, gas and drugstore purchases.

Our methodology: How we determine the best cards

The MoneySense editorial team selects the best credit cards by assessing the value they provide to Canadians across various categories. Our best credit cards for airport lounge access ranking is based on an extensive list of card details and features—with a focus on those that matter to air travellers—including the number of airport lounge visits, annual fees, interest rates, welcome offers, rewards earn rates and redemption options, annual income requirements and perks. We have also considered the pros and cons of each card to help you determine which ones best suit your financial needs. Our rankings are an unbiased source of information for Canadians. The addition of links from affiliate partners has no bearing on the results. Read more about how MoneySense makes money.

Airport lounge access programs in Canada

ProgramKey detailsNumber of lounges
DragonPassIn 2022, DragonPass took over the airport lounge programs for Visa and Mastercard; in Canada, the programs are now respectively called the Visa Airport Companion Program and Mastercard Travel Pass provided by DragonPass. The program includes access to Plaza Premium lounges in Canada, as well as hundreds of different lounge programs worldwide. Lounges feature snacks and beverages, free Wi-Fi, showers and business centres. Cardholders can usually use their free passes for themselves and for a guest, but specific rules vary by lounge.More than 1,200 worldwide
Maple Leaf LoungesAmenities include cell-free quiet zones, snacks and beverages, free Wi-Fi and showers. Maple Leaf Lounges can only be used by customers departing on flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, Air Canada Express or a Star Alliance partner airline. 16 across North America and Europe
Centurion LoungesCenturion Lounges typically feature high-quality meals (designed by award-winning chefs) and beverages (and may even feature a signature cocktail), free high-speed Wi-Fi, plush seating and dedicated working areas. Some feature elevated amenities like spa services, nap pods and showers. Centurion Lounges are often part of The American Express Global Lounge Collection that features more than 1,300 airport lounges in over 140 countries.More than 40 worldwide

How to get free access to airport lounges in Canada

Several travel credit cards offer access to airport lounges for cardholders. Depending on the credit card, you can get a certain number of lounge visits every year in specific countries around the world. If you want to get free unlimited access to airport lounges, consider a credit card like the American Express Platinum Card which includes the American Express Global Lounge Collection. The card comes with a fairly large annual fee, like most credit cards with airport lounge access, but the card’s rewards and benefits may outweigh the fee if you are a frequent flier and value the ability to visit airport lounges when you’re traveling.

DragonPass vs. Priority Pass: Which should you choose?

DragonPass and Priority Pass are third-party lounge access membership providers. Up until 2022, Priority Pass was the primary partner for most Mastercard and Visa airport lounge programs. However, DragonPass has become the partner of choice for most credit card lounge access programs for cards like the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege and the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite. You can still access the Priority Pass program with the American Express Platinum Card, however.

Frequently asked questions

Several different credit cards give you access to airport lounges. Select Mastercards provide membership to the Mastercard Travel Pass program, and some Visa cards offer membership to the Visa Airport Companion Program. Both Visa’s and Mastercard’s airport lounge programs are provided by DragonPass, which features access to over 1,200 lounges worldwide. The American Express Platinum card gives cardholders access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection, the largest lounge collection available.


As airport lounge access is an especially desirable perk, credit card providers generally make it obvious on their websites if they offer airport lounge access. Often, this perk is listed under “travel benefits.” The best way to make sure is to contact your provider directly and ask if it provides airport lounge access, and if any free visits are included. Note that some credit card providers give a free membership to a lounge program but don’t include any free visits. Lounge visits can cost upwards of USD$32 each, even with a membership.


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About Sandra MacGregor

About Sandra MacGregor

Sandra MacGregor has been writing about personal finance, mortgages, investing and credit cards for over a decade.