Best Credit Cards for Airport Lounge Access

If you're a frequent traveller, you may have thought of getting yourself a membership to airport premium lounges. Let us do the work! We tally the scores and present some of the best cards in Malaysia for airport lounge access.

Are you a frequent traveler? How often do you find yourself carrying your luggage around the airport waiting for your flight to depart, wishing you could escape the crowd and enjoy a moment of peace away from the chaotic departure hall in the airport lounge?

There, you can catch up with your friends, discuss business matters in a private conference room, or simply just sit back, relax and scrounge free wifi before take off. But sadly, Airport Lounges are not a free for all (and it wouldn't be so comfortable if it was).

airport lounge

Access to airport lounge

Airport lounges are not open to the public. Individuals generally gain access to through purchase of membership, airlines' loyalty programmes, Priority Pass or credit cards.

What is Priority Pass?

Priority Pass is an independent airport lounge access programme. By paying annual fees of USD99, USD249 or USD399, members can gain access to over 700 airport lounges worldwide. Depending on membership plans, members may still need to pay a fixed amount for every visit to the lounge. The major drawback of Priority Pass is that if you are accompanied by a guest, you will be charged USD27 per guest.

How does Priority Pass works?

Before you embark on your journey, you will need to log on to their website to check which airport lounge is accessible using Priority Pass. At the entry point, simply present your Priority Pass to gain admission. Accompanying guests are permitted at the discretion of each lounge and will be charged.

Best credit card for airport lounge access

Owning a credit card is one way to gain access to airport lounges. Some credit cards are designed specifically to cater to frequent travellers, be it for business or leisure. These credit cards usually come with a Priority Pass, or complimentary unlimited access to airport lounges. Apart from airport lounges access, they comes with great deal of travel perks tailor-made to serve the needs of all types of travellers.

These are some of the best cards where lounge access is concerned.

citi amex

Citibank PremierMiles American Express Card
Drawback: 2-hour complimentary lounge visit.
Airport lounge access: Unlimited access to 10 Plaza Premium Lounges within Malaysia and selected Asian countries.
Minimum income requirement: RM60,000
Annual membership fee (principal): RM600
Travel perks: PremierMile accumulation, complimentary rides from KLIA to home, travel inconvenience and personal accident coverage, Home Away content

citi visa

Citibank PremierMiles Visa Signature Card
Drawback: 2-hour complimentary lounge visit
Airport lounge access: Unlimited access to selected Plaza Premium Lounges
Minimum income requirement: RM100,000
Annual membership fee (principal): RM600
Travel perks: PremierMile accumulation, complimentary rides from KLIA to home, travel inconvenience and personal accident coverage, Home Away content. Citibank PremierMiles Visa Signature Card gives you the exact same travel perks and unlimited access to airport lounges as Citibank PremierMiles American Express Card.

The primary difference is the higher income requirement of RM100,000 and additional privileges of discounts and savings on hotels and car rental. If you are a luxury traveler, this would definitely appeal to you. An important reminder is these privileges are up until 31 December 2014 only (although it's likely these banks will extend them if they are popular!)!

citi prestige

Citi Prestige Card
Drawback: Airport lounge access only for principal cardholder
Airport lounge access: Complimentary access to airports worldwide through Priority Pass card
Minimum income requirement: RM200,000
Annual membership fee (principal): RM1,000
Travel perks: Complimentary rides from KLIA to home, travel inconvenience and personal accident coverage, Home Away content insurance, Hotel and Golf privileges. With successful application of Citi Prestige, principal cardholder will receive a Priority Pass card to enjoy unlimited access to airport lounges worldwide without having to pay any membership or lounge pass fees. However the privilege is only enjoy by principal cardholder, any accompanying guest will be charged on Citi Prestige at USD27 per guest.

HLB infinite

[Hong Leong Visa Infinite P] (https://ringgitplus.com/en/credit-card/Hong-Leong-Visa-Infinite-P.html) (By invitation only)
Drawback: Limited to 4 access, and only if retail spending exceeds RM300,000
Airport lounge access: Complimentary access to airports worldwide through Priority Pass card
Annual membership fee (principal): No annual fees for life! Travel perks: Enrich Miles, preferential foreign exchange rates, travel inconvenience and personal accident coverage. Like Citi Prestige, Hong Leong Visa Infinite P comes with a Priority Pass card which grants cardholders access to airport lounges worldwide, but limited to 4 free visits per year.

In the first year of cardmembership the 4 access comes at no cost but in the subsequent years, you need to swipe your card for at least an accumulative of RM300,000 worth of transactions to be eligible for the 4 free access. This is equivalent to RM25,000 per month of retail spend!

Also, as usual, for every accompanying guest or supplementary cardholder, you will be charged USD27.

ambank visa plat

AmBank Visa Platinum
Drawback: Complimentary access only if credit card is charged with 3 oversea transactions within 30 days before or after access
Airport lounge access: Complimentary access to selected Plaza Premium Lounges
Minimum income requirement: RM60,000
Annual membership fee (principal): No annual fees for life!
Travel perks: Airline Miles, travel inconvenience and personal accident coverage. The major pluspoint of AmBank Visa Platinum is that both principal and supplementary cardholder can gain complimentary access to airport lounges. However, this is limited to only 17 local and international airports.

The major drawback is that lounge access is only free if you charged 3 oversea transactions to your AmBank Visa Platinum within 30 days before or after your access. Or else, each visit will cost you RM105.

And there you have 5 of the best credit cards for airport lounge access with tons of other travel perks. We would say that Citi's credit cards top the list with the all the travel privileges and unique complimentary ride home and Home Away content! However, you will notice that these cards are primarily premium credit cards with high income requirements. It holds true to the definition of 'jet-setter': these cards offer only the best perks to their high income holders!

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