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.
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.