Best Australian credit cards for Priority Pass airport lounge access

By Chris Chamberlin, May 21 2018

The independent Priority Pass program provides members with airport lounge access across the globe when travelling with any airline, and a host of Australian credit cards include complimentary Priority Pass membership among their package of perks, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars a year.

Granting lounge access in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and Darwin – and to over 1,000 other lounges worldwide – the program even includes a range of dining options in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, providing a $36 credit towards a pre-flight meal.

Wherever you’re headed, here are the top cards which bundle a Priority Pass membership to help offset the annual fee.

1. American Express Platinum Charge Card

With not one, but two unlimited Priority Pass memberships among its line-up of perks, the $1,200/year American Express Platinum Charge Card is hard to beat when it comes to airport lounge access, even allowing you to bring one additional guest into each Priority Pass lounge at no extra cost.

If you assign the second complimentary membership to your partner, it can come in handy when travelling with a family as you’ll be able to get four people into each lounge when flying together: yourself plus one guest, and separately, your partner plus one guest under their membership.

As if that weren’t enough, the Platinum Charge Card also offers unlimited access to Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines lounges when travelling with those airlines and presenting the AMEX card (not the Priority Pass card), along with American Express lounges globally – such as in Sydney – and more.

Read: Five secret lounge perks of the AMEX Platinum Charge Card

2. Citi Prestige Visa Infinite credit card

In second place, Citibank’s Citi Prestige Visa Infinite credit card offers one Priority Pass membership – as opposed to two memberships with the AMEX Platinum Charge Card – with unlimited lounge access and one complimentary guest with every visit.

While this card’s annual fee is lower than AMEX at $700 (or $749 if you choose to earn Qantas Points), it’s a bit harder to qualify for, with a minimum personal income requirement of $150,000/year and a minimum credit limit of $30,000.

3. Westpac Altitude Black

Giving you two complimentary airport lounge visits every year and the opportunity to pay US$27 (A$36.10) per additional visit is the Westpac Altitude Black World Mastercard.

That’s true whether you apply for the Westpac World Mastercard as a standalone product, or take out the new Westpac Altitude Black World Mastercard + American Express Westpac Altitude Black card combo, with the Mastercard issued and serviced by Westpac, and the AMEX card issued and serviced by American Express.

If you become accustomed to the lounge life, Priority Pass also offers an ongoing 25% discount on its paid membership plans for World Mastercard holders, allowing you to purchase an unlimited ‘Prestige’ membership for US$299 (A$400) as opposed to US$399 (A$534) at full price, which could be more economical for regular travellers than paying per visit.

4. St. George, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA Amplify Signature Visas

Providing you with two complimentary airport lounge visits per year under the Priority Pass program are the St. George Amplify Signature, Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature and BankSA Amplify Signature credit cards.

Any lounge visits beyond that throughout the year cost US$27, and as is also true of the Westpac Altitude Black World Mastercard, this Priority Pass membership can be yours when collecting points in the bank’s own Amplify Rewards loyalty program (or, in Westpac’s case, Altitude Rewards).

If you opt-in to earn Qantas Points directly with Qantas Frequent Flyer, you’ll get two complimentary Qantas Club airport lounge passes instead each year, providing access to domestic Qantas Club lounges and Qantas Regional Lounges, and international Qantas business class lounges (except in Los Angeles).

5. Citi Signature Visa credit card

Another card offering two Priority Pass airport lounge visits every year is Citibank’s Citi Signature Visa credit card, but which doesn’t offer any discounts on high-level memberships or an alternative lounge option for travellers who prefer Qantas airport lounge access.

As expected, any lounge visits beyond the two complimentary entries will be billed to the card at a rate of US$27 per person, regardless of which lounge is accessed around the world.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Michael Kao

Michael Kao

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 340

There is also another one that comes with unlimited PP lounge access: The BOQ specialist visa signature card for $399.

Unfortunately it's not available to the public. I think you have to be a doctor, lawyer, dentist.....etc to be eligible for this card, maybe that's why it didn't make it to the list.

But I guess if you qualify and value PP membership, it's something that's worth considering.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

"... maybe that's why it didn't make it to the list."

Correct: While we reviewed BOQ Specialist a couple of years back, these days, we don't cover credit cards that are only open to people working in specific jobs or professions - in the same way that we don't cover AMEX 'affinity' cards, such as those issued in partnership with the AMA.

(From our perspective, if a card issuer chooses to restrict a product to members of certain professional bodies or industries, the card issuer is deliberately excluding the general public, and we write for a general audience, not just for members of the medical and legal communities, etc.)

lind26

lind26

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 269

The Platinum Reserve Amex Credit card also comes with Priority pass membership.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

This card is no longer offered as a standalone product: it's now only available to 'new customers' as a free companion to the AMEX Platinum Charge Card (which we've written about before): and if you have that, you'll already have two unlimited Priority Pass memberships from the Charge anyway, compared to the 'two free visits per year' offer as comes with the Reserve.

While there may be some affinity versions of this card available via professional institutions, those aren't products we cover (as above), so being a card that most people can't apply for – with those who can already entitled to a better version of Priority Pass – it's not one for us to include here.

lind26

lind26

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 269

I don’t know why it’s been stopped as a stand-alone card, that’s what I have.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

You must have held it for a while... it hasn't been open for general application for almost four years now. :)

Chris Lewis

Chris Lewis

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2018

Total posts 1

Have AmEX Platinum Velocity - does this also qualify for Priority Lounge access please?

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

No: you just get two Virgin Australia single-use lounge passes each year and two yearly visits to AMEX's Australian lounges (Sydney or Melbourne).

Brucanna

Brucanna

Qantas

15 Jun 2016

Total posts 14

I have the St G Amplify Signature Visa card and have received both the Priority Pass membership and the Qantas Complimentary Invitations with the card as per the Amplify website - With Amplify Signature, you'll receive two complimentary lounge passes each year.

Peter Alba

Peter Alba

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Feb 2013

Total posts 14

Just to add a heads up from recent European trips re Priority Pass. It is a great card but in the last six months lounges in Heathrow, Amsterdam and Edinburgh are so full that they are turning people away with these cards. It is becoming common when it very rarely happened in the last couple of years. Have raised this with PP but they say down to lounges. Aspire group feature particularly. Thing is no point in having this if you can't use it so PP needs to take on more lounges.

Brucanna

Brucanna

Qantas

15 Jun 2016

Total posts 14

On our recent European trip we used our PP cards that came complimentary with Westpac Altitude and St George Amplify at Athens, Venice and Amsterdam.

At Athens Hall B the Goldair Handling CIP Lounge near gate B13 - allowed us a 5 hr stay from 9.30 even though the limit is supposably 4. Got busy between 10 and noon. Enjoyed the range of drinks and food.

At Amsterdam Terminal 3 the Aspire Lounge (No 41) - a very long walk from security and back to our gate - 15 min each. Never got overly busy during our 11.00 to 2.30 stay. The most basic food, but has self serve Heineken on tap.

At Venice the Marco Polo Club it was busy and took a few minutes to find seats during the morning peak but it was half empty by 11.00. In fact there is a notice on entry stating that access may be restricted between 9.00 and 11.00. Enjoyed the range of drinks and food.

Sunil Chopra

Sunil Chopra

06 Nov 2018

Total posts 1

Hi, I have seen Bankwest providing unlimited access to lounges for the primary card holder along with guests with their More Rewards Credit card. Isn't it to good to be true

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

Hi Sunil, we don't cover Bankwest More Rewards credit cards as you can't convert those credit card points into airline frequent flyer points, so it's not a product that we can comment on.

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