How to choose the best credit cards for airport lounge access

Compare credit cards that offer complimentary airport lounge access privileges.

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Airport lounges may seem like they’re reserved for those in business class, but anyone can gain free access with the right credit card. Entry into an airport lounge may open you up to a world of complimentary food and drink, Wi-Fi, amenities (such as showers) or just a quiet place to rest in transit. This guide will compare credit cards that offer airport lounge access as an associated privilege and outline the ways in which you make the most of this credit card benefit.

Compare credit cards with airport lounge access

Name Product Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card
S$337.05 annual fee
S$50,000
Earn 16,000 KrisFlyer miles when you spend S$10,000 within the first three months and an additional 12,000 KrisFlyer miles based on 1.2 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 spent locally. Ends 30 April 2020.
Citi PremierMiles Visa Card
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Receive 37,300 miles when you spend S$9,000 in the first 3 months and pay the annual fee. Terms and conditions apply. Ends 31 March 2020.
Citi Prestige Card
S$535 annual fee
S$120,000
Receive a welcome gift of 62,500 Citi ThankYou Points (25,000 Miles) or Gadget Welcome Gift. Ends 31 March 2020.
Maybank Business Platinum Mastercard
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$180 thereafter
N/A
Get up to S$1 million in Travel Accident Insurance when you purchase flights or travel packages using your card.
Maybank Visa Infinite Card
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$600 thereafter
S$150,000
Get up to 8 complimentary single-trip airport limousine transfers. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2020.
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card
S$0 annual fee for 3 years - S$180 thereafter
S$30,000
Receive an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account with a minimum of S$300 within the first 2 months.
Maybank World Mastercard
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$240 thereafter
S$80,000
Receive an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account with a minimum of S$300 within the first 2 months.

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Types of credit cards with airport lounge access

Airport lounge access can be categorised as a credit card reward or privilege. There are a number of credit card types that provide airport lounge access as a benefit. These include:

Air miles cards

Air miles credit cards offer you the chance to accrue frequent flyer points when using your card. These cards can be great for those that travel often, or even those just aiming to save up for a long overdue holiday. Air miles can often be used to redeem other rewards, such as travel packages and lifestyle offerings, as well as airfares.

Reward cards

Reward credit cards allow you to earn points as you spend. Points can be redeemed on travel, shopping, gift cards and more, depending on the card and the reward point scheme. Points are often calculated per dollar spent. For example, a basic reward card may give you 1 point per S$1 spent, whereas a travel reward card may give you 3 points for every S$1 spent overseas.

Cashback cards

Cashback credit cards offer rewards in the form of cash. Rather than accumulating points for a rewards scheme, you’ll receive percentage discounts on some or all purchases. Cashback credit cards can be a great way to make a steady stream of small savings. Always be sure to check the terms and conditions attached to cashback credit cards, as there may be minimum spend requirements, caps on the amount of cash you can save and limitations on the types of purchases you can earn cashback on.

How to choose the best credit card for airport lounge access

Once you find the type of credit card that offers airport lounge access that suits you best, you’ll need to consider other factors. These include:

  • Rates and fees. You’ll need to compare the annual fees, late fees, penalties, cash advance fees and any service charges. You should do this before choosing any credit card. The best way to get an understanding of all the rates and fees is to read the terms and conditions associated with the card.
  • Rewards. While complimentary airport lounge access is a desirable reward, you should know what other benefits are on offer from your card. You’ll have to decide whether cashback, air miles or rewards points are more likely to suit your lifestyle. All rewards programs have terms of use, so be sure to read the fine print to make sure that you can maximise the benefits on offer.
  • Credit limit. Most credit limits are determined by the bank when you apply for a card. Credit limits tend to be set as a multiple of your monthly income. Shopping around may allow you to get a higher credit limit, but you’ll need to demonstrate the ability to make repayments.
  • Features. If you’re after features such as mobile payments, free global transactions or unlimited ATM withdrawals, be sure that the card you choose provides them.
  • Security. Banks provide credit card safeguards and fraud detection measures as standard. If you’re after additionals layers of security, such as SMS verification or one-time passwords, be sure to discuss what options are available to you with your bank.

Tips for getting the most out of a credit card with airport lounge access

Airport lounge access can provide a level of luxury when travelling. Finder has compiled some tips to make sure that you make the most of your credit card privileges:

  • Know your privileges. This means reading the terms and conditions. Some credit cards offer complimentary airport lounge access but require you to sign up with the company that manages the lounge first. So while access is free, you won’t just be able to turn up on the day of your flight and show your credit card to get in.
  • Plan ahead. This means checking which lounges are open and available at the airports you’ll be travelling through. Some cards only offer complimentary lounge access for specific lounges. Planning ahead and knowing which lounges you’re eligible for can save you a lot of time and heartbreak.
  • Consider guests. If you’re travelling with family, colleagues or friends, you might want to check if you’re allowed to bring guests into a lounge. Some cards allow one guest pass per entry, some allow kids in for free, while others restrict lounge access to solely the cardholder. Read the terms and conditions attached to your lounge access privilege so you don’t face any awkward or surprising moments at entry.

What to look out for

Credit card rewards and privileges often come with terms of use. Here are some common conditions associated with airport lounge access to keep an eye out for:

  • Capped entries. You may only be able to gain free access to an airport lounge a certain number of times each year. This may have an impact if you’re someone who travels often for business or leisure. Be sure to check whether your complimentary lounge access is capped, so that you can decide when best to use it.
  • A limited number of lounges. Your complimentary airport lounge access may be limited to a certain number of specific lounges, in specific countries. If you know you’re going to be travelling to Europe or Australia for example, you may want to double check that your credit card is compatible with an airport lounge in that place. Which lounges your credit card grants you access to should be listed in the terms and conditions of the card.
  • Fees. Credit cards that offer highly beneficial rewards schemes may come with higher annual fees. Airport lounge access may also be dependent on you paying those fees, even if there is an option to waive them. It’ll be up to you whether lounge access and other card benefits outweigh any potential fees. Be sure to check the terms and conditions attached to any credit card before signing up.

Bottom line

Complimentary airport lounge access can be a luxurious and practical credit card benefit. Be sure to properly inform yourself of how credit card benefits work, and the potential conditions attached, before signing up for a card. If you’re ready for a credit card that offers airport lounge access as a privilege, start comparing your options here.

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