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How to Get free Airport Lounge Access Around the World?

Let's explore some easy and free options to get luxury facilities at Airport lounges for free. Travel smart choices are here!

by LilRoot Updated: 22 Aug, 2021, 16:14 IST
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Escape the stress of travel hustle with airport lounge access that offers a great deal of facilities for a pleasant experience. Let's accept this, long queues for check-in, uncomfy seats in the waiting area, constant announcements over the intercom, expensive food can be daunting at the airport. What if you could get access to a first class experience at the airport for free? Yes it is possible and the answer is simple - Airport Lounge!


Free facilities you can avail at airport lounges:
  • Air ConditioningAir Conditioning
  • AlcoholAlcohol
  • Digital Card AcceptedDigital Card Accepted
  • Disabled AccessDisabled Access
  • Flight InformationFlight Information
  • InternetInternet
  • Newspapers/MagazinesNewspapers/Magazines
  • RefreshmentsRefreshments
  • TVTV
  • Power outlet
  • Food
  • Wi-FiWi-Fi


Some luxury benefits like Spa, shower, sleeping pods, conference, massage chairs, fitness centres, video games and pool table can be availed by paying an extra amount at the lounge itself. The access to the facilities can differ from lounge to lounge and also from domestic to International travel. Please check for exact hours of lounge operation, Access time allowance, number of guests allowed before visiting the lounge.

The lounge access is complimentary to first or business class tickets and we do not suggest to buy an expensive ticket to enjoy these luxuries. Here are several less expensive ways to get access to the best airport lounges around the world.

1. Frequent Flyer programme

    Certain airlines provide free access to their own lounges but such lounges could be limited so it’s best to sign up for a frequent flyer programme. Oneworld, Skyteam, and Star Alliance are three major alliances, each having over 600 lounges worldwide. You can get several other benefits like earning miles, priority boarding, check-in, lounge access and extra baggage allowance.

    You can sign up for free; just make sure the airlines you are travelling with is a part of the respective alliance. Also don’t forget to put in your membership number while booking the flight to enjoy the benefits.

    2. Pay per use or yearly membership programme

      Independent platforms like Lounge Buddy, Priority Pass or Sleeping in Airports offer access to lounges at an economical price. They have yearly membership programmes for frequent flyers and pay per use facility to enjoy the lounge benefits. Access to these lounges can be purchased online or directly at the lounge entrance.

      Basic package at Lounge buddy for Mumbai airport starts at $10 which includes free wifi, food and beverages access for 3 hours.

      3. Use Credit card Privileges

        Most of the credit cards have a free priority pass exclusive benefit (worth $99) which allows access to the airport lounge for free. Under the free access service of Priority Pass by MasterCard you would be charged an authorisation fee of Rs 25 for card validation which is later reversed. Visa cards are charged Rs 2 for such validation.

        Have listed value for money; from low fee to high fee range of credit cards below:


        CREDIT CARD FOR DOMESTIC LOUNGE ACCESS:

        Credit Card Joining Fee Annual Fee No. of annual usage free of charge
        Indusind Iconia Amex Nil Nil 2
        Axis Flipkart card Rs 500 Rs 500 4
        Amex Platinum Travel Card Rs. 3,500 Rs. 5,000 4


        CREDIT CARD FOR DOMESTIC & INTERNATIONAL LOUNGE ACCESS:

        Credit Card Joining Fee Annual Fee No. of annual usage free of charge
        HDFC Regalia Rs 2500 Rs 2500 12 (International/ Domestic)
        SBI Elite Rs 4999 Rs 4999 6 - International
        2 -Domestic
        ICICI Sapphiro Rs 6000 Rs 3500 2 - International
        4 -Domestic
        SBI Prime Rs 3000 Rs 3000 4 - International
        8 -Domestic
        Yes First Preferred Nil Nil 4 - International
        3 -Domestic
        HDFC Regalia First Rs 1000 Rs 1000 3 - International
        8 -Domestic


        CREDIT CARD FOR UNLIMITED LOUNGE ACCESS:

        Credit Card Joining Fee Annual Fee No. of annual usage free of charge
        HDFC Diners Black Rs 10,000 Rs 10,000 Unlimited
        Citi Prestige Rs 20,000 Rs 20,000
        Unlimited
        Amex Platinum Charge Card
        Rs 60,000
        Rs 60,000
        Unlimited
        Yes First Exclusive
        Rs 10,000
        Rs 10,000
        Unlimited
        HDFC Infinia Rs.10,000 Rs.10,000 Unlimited



          4. Use Debit card Privileges


          Choosing the Debit card alternative works out much cheaper as the annual fee is minimal or the bank offers you a debit card for free with respective savings/current account. Check for the list of debit cards that offer free lounge access in India.

          Debit Card Joining Fee Annual Fee No. of annual usage free of charge
          Axis Bank Wealth Nil Nil 8
          Jet privilege HDFC Bank Signature Rs 500 Rs 500 8
          HDFC Times Points Rs 650 Rs 650 4
          HDFC Rupay Premium Rs 200 Rs 200 8
          ICICI Bank Coral Rs 599 Rs 599 8
          ICICI Bank Rubyx Rs 999 Rs 749 8
          ICICI Bank Sapphiro Rs.1999 Rs.1499 16
          IndusInd Signature Exclusive Nil Nil 8
          HDFC EasyShop Platinum Rs 750 Rs 750 8
          Axis Priority Debit card Nil Nil 8
          SBI Wealth Card Nil Nil 8
          HDFC Rupay Premium Rs 200 Rs 200 8
          SBI Platinum Debit card Rs 100 Rs 175 8
          Kotak Infinite Wealth Management Nil Nil 8
          Citi Gold Debit card Only for Gold members Only for Gold members 16



          The only drawback of debit cards is that it allows access to the lounges in India only. You have to rely on credit cards for International Lounge access.


          5. Request for a Free Upgrade

          The staff at the airport check-in desk has the authority to upgrade your ticket to a first class or business class ticket owing to the availability of the seats. Usually pregnant women, elderly, or parents with kids are happily considered for an upgrade. So basically no harm in trying to request as who knows it might work out to be your lucky day.

          Best Saving Tips:

          • Always prefer Mastercard over Visa as the number of affiliated lounges in Mastercard is higher than Visa for domestic lounges.
          • Priority Pass for International lounges gives access to more lounges around the world.
          • Ask for a free upgrade of your debit/credit card to your bank that offers most benefits.
          • Get multiple credit cards if you travel more than once a month.


          CONCLUSION:

          The best tip is to estimate your frequency of travel and check for free lounge access with the respective card. As a final verdict, the lounge experience is worth it for the facility it offers; just make sure you don’t end up spending too much for the sake of it. The food or drinks at the airport is expensive and lounges offer a decent variety of food options which can cost you minimum Rs 500 easily, so why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of it! Choosing the right card can help you save a fortune for all your travel needs.

          You can also read related queries and dimer’s expert comments in the threads below:

          75 Comments  |  
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          Deal Subedar Deal Subedar

          Informative.. also add Diners black guys add on card holders also eligible for unlimited lounge access.

          Critic Critic

          @LilRoot
          Which is this HDFC debit card you mentioned? Can u provide link?

          HDFC EasyShop PlatinumRs 150Rs 1508

          Pro Blogger Pro Blogger

          RuPay-DFS card & RuPay-JCB Card also give free Airport Lounge Access Around the World

          https://www.rupay.co.in/l...es

          https://www.global.jcb/en/consumers/platinum/ai...

          RuPay-JCB Card – In-City Lounge Program, International Lounge Program, Domestic Lounge Program -

          https://cdn0.desidime.com/attachments/photos/635768/medium/6913546OwK2WNI.jpg?1599581836

          JCB PLAZA

          https://cdn0.desidime.com/attachments/photos/635769/medium/6913546ZGYFKML.jpg?1599581840

          https://cdn0.desidime.com/attachments/photos/635770/medium/6913546Wke4L8a.jpg?1599581843

          JCB offers LoungeKey™ services (for lounges outside of Japan and Hawaii).

          Please make sure to tell the staff at the lounge entrance that you would like to use the LoungeKey™ service.

          All JCB Platinum card members can use the LoungeKey™ service at JCB-selected lounges.
          Sit back and relax before your departure.

          What is LoungeKey™?

          LoungeKey™ is a service that provides you access to airport lounges. Simply inform the lounge staff that you want to use “LoungeKey” and show your boarding pass together with your JCB Platinum card.

          Food, drink and internet are also available.

          Note: Services provided in each lounge may differ.

          Note: Some services will be charged.

          Using LoungeKey™ -

          ・Please inform the lounge staff that you want to use “LoungeKey” and show your boarding pass together with your JCB Platinum card.

          ・Your boarding pass or flight ticket must be in the same name as your card.

          ・When using one of the complimentary lounges, a credit limit of USD 1 will be held to verify that your card is valid.

          ・This will be released after the end of the issuer hold period (the hold period is determined by the issuer)

          ・If you are using a debit card, a payment of USD 1 will be withdrawn from your bank account. This will then be refunded afterwards.

          Worldwide Airport Lounge Access – https://www.loungekey....en

          Cool Cool
          tnv wrote:

          Informative.. also add Diners black guys add on card holders also eligible for unlimited lounge access.

          how? both have same card number… only different name on card.

          Deal Subedar Deal Subedar

          Good info. Those were the days. Please note hardly any lounge are working now. And I suspect few will go out of business due to pandemic or change policy around free access.

          Deal Newbie Deal Newbie

          Well appreciated efforts and nicely explains the process and requirement to avail benefits in day to day life.
          +1

          Deal Newbie Deal Newbie

          What is the use of priority pass?
          Is it mandatory for international lounge access?
          Can’t we access international lounge with only credit card?

          Deal Cadet Deal Cadet

          Thank you for compiling the list. plus1
          Kg+ VU

          Deal Hunter Deal Hunter

          Very late for me, bro. Wish you had posted earlier persevere
          But vu for the effort!
          hope covid19 goes away soon and we can travel happily again.

          Deal Cadet Deal Cadet

          Can u pls help with a cheapest option. Some have joining fees and others I ain’t eligible.

          Deal Cadet Deal Cadet

          I think best is Regalia, as LTF if 1 utility bill upload, also can get against FDR, also Priority pass can be shared by add on.

          Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
          Admin
          Expand
          Sins1995 wrote:

          As per HDFC website, currently none of the DC has 150 charges bhai. 

          Easy shop showing Phased out.https://cdn0.desidime.com/attachments/photos/635940/medium/Screenshot_2020-09-09-20-54-59-08_e2d5b3f32b79de1d45acd1fad96fbb0f.jpg?1599665399

          Updated now….Thanks smile

          There are a few for Rs 200…seems like that is the cheapest on HDFC
          Buy they offer 8 free visits which is still decent.

          Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
          Admin

          @Sins1995 If u call the cc or visit branch after some pushing there is a chance that they can reduce the charges.

          Can require a lot of convincing here though!

          Critic Critic
          Expand
          LilRoot wrote:

          Updated now….Thanks smile

          There are a few for Rs 200…seems like that is the cheapest on HDFC
          Buy they offer 8 free visits which is still decent.

          The cheapest HDFC DC providing Lounge access is Rupay Premium DC.

          MasterCard starts with min. 500 charges I guess. sad

          Community Angel Community Angel
          LilRoot wrote:

          @Sins1995 If u call the cc or visit branch after some pushing there is a chance that they can reduce the charges.

          Can require a lot of convincing here though!

          Axis MyZone LTF cc also gives lounge access.

          Deal Newbie Deal Newbie

          Any idea if all Bank’s Rupay (except Paytm) Platinum cards have this lounge privilege ? I have a bank account with Lakshmi Vilas Bank, they had given me International Rupay platinum (no annual charges). I have never tested if it works for lounge access or not. I am bit skeptical as there are no annual charges stuck_out_tongue

          replyuser