Find out which air miles credit cards in Singapore give free access to Priority Pass and Plaza Premium airport lounges around the world.
Many people think that access to airport lounges is a privilege reserved for regular business travellers, frequent flyers and the wealthy. That is not true! With the right air miles credit card, you too can get complimentary access to airport lounges at Changi Airport as well as around the world, even if you’re not pulling a six-figure salary or a VVIP.
If airport lounge access is one of the main features you look for in a credit card, look no further. Below, we’ve curated the most popular air miles credit cards that offer complimentary access to airport lounges. (Pro tip: Learn how to maximise your air miles once you’ve earned them!)
What’s the big deal about airport lounges?
Airport lounges offer a range of complimentary facilities like wifi, reading or sleeping pods, shower rooms, charging power outlets and of course, food, snacks and drinks, which can include a wide range of alcohol, juices and soft drinks. Airport lounges are a great pitstop for every kind of traveller. If you’re travelling for work or about to go on a long-haul flight, a great place to freshen up, recharge and do some work or reading.
If you’re on a holiday, a great place to review travel plans over food and drinks and start your holiday on the right note. If you’re in transit and between flights, it’s also a great place to spend a few hours in comfort, catching up on some sleep or just resting.
Do I flash my credit card to enter the airport lounge?
This depends on the type of airport lounge and the credit card. For example, with the HSBC Visa Infinite Credit Card, you are required to present your primary or supplementary card and boarding pass to the lounge operator.
Some credit cards partner with airport lounge programmes, who each run their own chain of lounges. Common ones are Priority Pass, Plaza Premium, SATS lounge and Dragon Pass. For most of these lounges, you will be invited to join the particular airport lounge programme a few days or weeks after you sign up for a participating credit card.
It might take a few weeks to process your membership so don’t apply for a credit card the night before you fly off. Membership is usually on an annual basis. In other cases, such as the SIA KrisFlyer Ascend, you will receive airport lounge vouchers which you present at the front desk of the lounge before entry. You might also be asked to present your credit card and boarding pass.
Remember that each bank will issue you a separate Priority Pass, and your free visits are tied to an individual card – so don’t mix them up! Label your cards carefully and note down how many visits you have used on each.
Also, check if your free visit entitlement is renewed each membership year (i.e. the anniversary on which your lounge pass was issued) or each calendar year (i.e. 1 January 2020 – 31 December 2020). The majority of banks award free lounge visits by membership year, although Citibank’s PremierMiles cards award free visits based on calendar year.
Can I bring a guest?
Higher-end cards like the OCBC VOYAGE allow you to bring a guest for free, and cards like the HSBC Visa Infinite issue a Priority Pass for supplementary cardholders that carries the same unlimited visits.
It’s standard policy to count any child above the age of two as an additional visit, but there is no hard and fast rule about enforcement. Some places will close one eye, others will insist on sticking to the letter of the law.
Do I have to pay the annual fee?
For most cards, yes, you will have to pay the annual credit card fee to enjoy the privilege of complimentary airport lounge access. Some credit cards waive the annual fee for the first year (and you still receive the complimentary airport lounge vouchers or complimentary annual membership ) but from the second year onwards, you will have to pay the annual fee in order to receive the same airport lounge privileges again.
Best air miles cards in Singapore with free airport lounge access
We’ve compared 6 different air miles cards in Singapore that offer complimentary airport lounge access worldwide.
|Credit Card||Airport Lounge Access||How to Redeem|
|DBS Altitude Visa Credit Card||2x complimentary access/year with Priority Pass||Apply for Priority Pass Membership (complimentary for cardholders)|
|Citi PremierMiles Visa Card||2x complimentary access/year with Priority Pass||Apply for Priority Pass Membership (complimentary for cardholders)|
|American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card||4x complimentary vouchers/year to participating SATS Premier Lounges Plaza Premium Lounges worldwide |
KrisFlyer Elite Gold Members get KrisFlyer Gold Lounge access at Changi Airport and Star Alliance Gold Lounges worldwide
|Complimentary access to SATS and Plaza Premium Lounges upon Card approval and fully paid renewal of Card membership. |
Spend more than S$15,000 on eligible purchases on singaporeair.com within the first 12 months to get upgraded to KrisFlyer Elite Gold Membership.
|Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card||6x complimentary access per year with Priority Pass||Apply for Priority Pass Membership (complimentary for cardholders)|
|HSBC Visa Infinite Credit Card||Unlimited access to over 1,100 airport lounges worldwide for both primary and supplementary cardholders||Present your primary or supplementary card and boarding pass to the lounge operator.|
|OCBC Voyage Card||Unlimited access to over 80 Plaza Premium VIP airport lounges globally||Complimentary access granted upon card approval and renewal of Card membership fee|
1. DBS Altitude Visa Credit Card
The DBS Altitude Visa Card is a great entry-level air miles card, with an annual income requirement of just S$30,000. It comes with 2 free airport lounge visits per year but you have to apply for your Priority Pass lounge membership the moment you receive your credit card in the mail. With Priority Pass membership, you will have access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide.
SingSaver promotion: New DBS/POSB credit cardholders get up to $200 cashback when apply using promo code DBSFLASH and charge 1 qualifying transaction to the new card within 30 days from card approval date. Promotion runs from 23 July 2020 to 6 August 2020. Find more DBS/POSB credit cards here.
2. Citi PremierMiles Visa Card
Cardholders get a complimentary Priority Pass membership that lets you access Priority Pass airport lounges twice a year. You can use the two complimentary visits on separate occasions or on a single visit with a guest.
Additional visits will cost US$32 per person and will be charged to your Citi PremierMiles Visa Card. The Citi PremierMiles card may also be the most useful air miles card because it has the most transfer partners of any bank in Singapore.
SingSaver promotion: New Citibank cardholders get $300 cash via PayNow when you activate the new card and make a qualifying spend transaction of any amount. Existing Citibank cardholders get $30 cash via PayNow. Promotion valid till 31 July 2020.
3. American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card
The Ascend is the American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Card’s sophisticated older sister. Besides getting a higher earn rate for KrisFlyer miles, cardmembers get 4 complimentary vouchers to participating SATS Premier Lounges in Singapore and Plaza Premium Lounges worldwide. You also enjoy a complimentary one night stay at participating Hilton Properties each year.
If you spend more than S$15,000 on eligible purchases at singaporeair.com on the card within the first 12 months, you’re automatically upgraded to the KrisFlyer Elite Gold Membership tier. This unlocks KrisFlyer Gold Lounge access at Changi Airport and access to more than 900 Star Alliance Gold Lounges worldwide. You also get an additional 20kg check-in allowance.
Current welcome promotion: Receive 36,000 Krisflyer miles + S$100 Grab vouchers when you spend S$10,000 in the first 3 months and pay the annual fee. New-to-bank cardmembers can also get an additional 16,000 bonus miles when you spend another S$10,000 in the 4th to 6th month after card approval (promotion valid from 1 July – 30 Sep 2020).
4. Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card
The Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card is one of the most exclusive air miles credit cards in Singapore. Similar to the DBS Altitude Cards and the Citi PremierMiles Visa Card, you get a complimentary Priority Pass membership. But because this is a Visa Infinite Card, members get 6 (instead of 2) free visits to airport lounges a year. Lounge visit fees of US$32 per person, per visit, will be chargeable for every subsequent visit after the the 6 Priority Pass Free Visits.
Unless you are a Priority/Private Banking customer with Standard Chartered, you have to earn a minimum annual income of S$150,000 to apply for this card.
5. HSBC Visa Infinite Card
It’s easy to see why the HSBC Visa Infinite Card is the crème de la crème of travel credit cards. Both primary and supplementary cardholders get complimentary unlimited access to any of the participating airport lounges. This gives cardholders unlimited access to over 1,100 VIP airport lounges worldwide while guest charges cost just US$32 per person, per visit. Other additional perks include expedited immigration clearance and airport limousine transfers.
To apply for this card, you have to earn a minimum annual income of S$120,000.
6. OCBC Voyage Card
With an annual income requirement of at least S$120,000, the OCBC Voyage Card offers unlimited airport lounge access all year round. Cardholders will receive a complimentary Plaza Premium membership that grants access to 80 airport lounges across the globe. But don’t be dismayed by the low number — these are all VIP lounges, so you can be assured of the highest luxury.
Compare and apply for the best air miles credit cards on SingSaver
Comparing credit cards with the most generous air miles rates has never been simpler at SingSaver. Enjoy the most attractive sign-up offers including cash, Grab vouchers and wireless earbuds!
Besides complimentary airport lounge visits, air miles cards can also offer a whole lot more, if you know how to turbocharge their use to travel further, faster and cheaper. Here’s a simple infographic showing how.
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By Lauren Dado
Lauren has been a content strategist and digital marketer since 2007. She writes about personal finance stories to help Singaporeans save money. Her work has appeared in publications like Her World, Asia One, and Women’s Weekly.