10 Best Credit Cards for International Airport Lounge Access

By | December 28, 2016

Planning your next international vacation across the world? How about having a Quiet, comfortable space to relax with Wifi, Complimentary drinks & refreshments before your Flight take off ? Welcome to Lounge Class. Airport Lounges are one of the favorite part of my travel as they give unique experience at airports while saving some money on other side.

International Lounge Access using Indian Credit Cards

If you’re an Indian resident, there are two major ways to access the international airport lounges at free of cost by using the credit card perks. The international lounges can be accessed through two main programme:

  • Priority Pass
  • Diner Club Lounge Programme

Priority Pass is currently the world’s No.1 independent lounge programme that gives access to 1000+ lounges worldwide which means, you can virtually access any lounge with its membership. All you need to access the lounge is a Priority pass card which is given for free as a credit card benefit on some of the premium cards that i’ve listed below.

If you’re new to Priority Pass, check out my Ultimate Guide to Priority Pass Airport Lounge access.

Priority Pass Card looks like this (issued on HDFC Regalia)

Diners Club Lounge access is next best to Priority Pass and they do have quite good number of lounges in their network. Almost all lounges i’ve been to accept both Diners & Priority pass except rare case where Diners is not accepted. For access via Diners Club all you need is the Diners Club credit card itself which will get you the lounge access directly.

Diners Club Black Credit Card Looks like this (issued by HDFC)

Lets see some of the best credit cards in India which can give you complimentary international lounge access through above two programmes.

Best Credit Cards in India with International Lounge Access Benefit:

1. HDFC Infinia

  • Access Via: Priority Pass
  • Free Limits: Unlimited (Primary & 3 Add-on cards)
  • Read Full Review: HDFC Infinia Credit Card

I love Infinia especially for this benefit. Having this card in hand means guaranteed access to you and your family to any lounge in the world via Priority Pass. I wish i have it soon 🙂

2. HDFC Diners Black

This stands almost in par with Infinia except that the lounge access is given by Diners Club itself. I’ve recently accessed international lounges in Malaysia & Bali with my Diners Black credit card and add-on card and it works perfectly fine. The visits are not even recorded in the credit card statement.

3. YesBank’s Yes First Exclusive Credit Card

New entrant in credit card segment but this should work perfectly well as like any other. Its currently being issued lifetime free and its the right time to grab one.

4. Citi Bank Prestige

If you’re happy to pay this card’s annual fee, around Rs.20,000 per annum, know what, you can get upto 4 add-on cards apart from primary card and all has unlimited lounge access benefit through priority pass.

5. HDFC Regalia

  • Access Via: Priority Pass
  • Free Limits: 12 (shared between Primary & Add-on cards)
  • Read Full Review: HDFC Regalia Credit Card

This is one of the most famous credit card in India with which Priority pass card are issued with decent complimentary visits. Recently they allowed sharing the visits with Add-on Card holders as well.

6. HDFC Regalia First

A recently introduced variant placed a bit lower than actual Regalia version, comes with 4 complimentary visits, still holds good for one time foreign travelers.

7. HDFC Allmiles

  • Access Via: Priority Pass
  • Free Limits: 4 (shared between Primary & Add-on cards)
  • Read Full Review: HDFC Allmiles Credit Card

While most of them struggling to get Priority Pass card on Allmiles Card, HDFC is still issuing it with 4 complimentary visits.

8. YesBank’s Yes First Preferred Credit Card

Again a new entrant in credit card industry, though its worth it as you can get this card for lifetime free as a temporary promo offer.

9. HDFC Diners Premium

Apart from International lounge access, it gives unlimited Domestic lounge access which is a good mix for anyone to choose.

10. HDFC Bank JetPrivilege Diners Club Card

  • Access Via: Diners Club
  • Free Limits: Unlimited (Primary & 3 Add-on cards)
  • Read Full Review: Diners Jet Credit Card

A less known card for many, runs on Diners club platform and good for Jet Airways frequent flyers.

While you have a lot of choices, the best way to pick one is based on the annual fee. If you’re able to get any of the above cards with no annual fee, its a go to card. I prefer to have a mix of one Priority pass card and one Diners Club card so you have a backup in-case the other doesn’t work for some reason or other.

Whats your favorite card for International lounge Access? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

23 thoughts on “10 Best Credit Cards for International Airport Lounge Access

  1. Shrey

    Hi Sid,

    Big fan of your blog and regular reader of your posts. Can you review the RBL cards as well sometime? Reviews of Platinum maxima and Platinum Delight would be really helpful.

    Also, I have a limit of 1.85L on HSBC card (had the option of increasing it to 2.47L a few months back but now not being offered) and 2.62L on Regalia (1 month old). Should I go ahead and apply for the Yes Preferred now (card-on-card lifetime free only)? Multiple queries were made on my cibil 1 month back as I applied foolishly for all cards thinking I could reject them later. Wasn’t aware that would affect my profile, my cibil score is still healthy. Please advise.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Shrey,
      Nice to hear. I’m ignoring RBL cards due to its joining fees 😀
      Well, will review them shortly.

      Ofcourse, Yes preferred is a good option as its a lifetime free card.

      Reply
  2. Shrey

    Is the Yes Preferred lifetime free on a card-on-card basis? I can increase limit on my HSBC card by submitting salary slips but afraid it will lead to a hard inquiry on my cibil. What do you suggest should be done? Also, I don’t have an account with Yes Bank

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Yes.
      Generally it wouldn’t put hard inquiry.
      I checked one of my friend’s CIBIL report after HDFC limit enhancement request,
      HDFC was not displayed in the inquiry list. Looks like they have different type of access.

      Reply
  3. Chaitanya Varma

    Sid, small correction- The limits on Yes first preferred is 4 and they are only for primary. For diners premium it’s 5.

    Reply
  4. Abhishek Roy

    Great take on the topic. Ofcourse it’s an often asked question. The only mistake in the post is that there are total number of “5” free international lounge access on the Diners Premium Card against the mentioned “4”.

    Reply
      1. Aditya

        Hey sid, does sbi/indian or any such bank credit cards provide lounge access across the world?

        Reply
        1. Siddharth Post author

          No complimentary access ASAIK. SBI cards have just access though via Priority Pass

          Reply
  5. Abhay

    Visa Signature cards also provide access ro international lounges. Like Citibank Premier Miles.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      It gives access to only Intl Departure lounges located within India. Isn’t it?

      Reply
  6. Abhishek Roy

    If you consider Debit cards then RuPay Premium Debit cards from banks like HDFC and Axis Bank can give 8 free international/national lounge access in a year. Now that’s something from NPCI!! Very few people are aware about this feature.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      But i guess its only for Intl departure lounges in India. Right?

      Reply
      1. Abhishek Roy

        No, Rupay Platinum/Premium debit cards allow lounge access (2) times per calendar quarter per card in any of the 27 domestic airport lounges and over 540 International airport lounges.

        You’ll be amazed to know that this card comes just for Rs 150+ ST. This is better than most debit cards in India at this fees.

        Reply
        1. Siddharth Post author

          Nice find!
          I still wonder what network they use for Rupay Intl lounge access.
          I’ve never seen rupay swipe machines or banner promos anywhere in lounges.

          Reply
          1. Abhishek Roy

            RuPay has tie ups with Discover, Diners Club, JCB (Japan), China Union Pay, Pulse. Where ever you see these logos, RuPay cards will be accepted. Sounds interesting now? What say?

          2. Siddharth Post author

            I guess it so. Am aware of the diners/discover partnership with Rupay and was digging the Terms & conditions of Rupay card, but it doesn’t mention anything.
            Btw, i recently tried charging my Diners on JCB enabled swipe machine in Indonesia but it did not go through.

  7. Abhishek Roy

    Exactly. This is because JCB network works only in Japan. That’s why you couldn’t make it go through in Indonesia. Similarly, China Union Pay works only in Mainland China and Pulse network is only for ATM withdrawal and not for POS. However, Diners/Discover is in any part of the world. If you need the link, do let me know on twitter I’ll DM you as links are deleted from the posts here.

    Reply
  8. Majumdar

    Dear Sidhartha,

    Citi Prestige should appear as No.1 as it has unlimited lounge access for 1+5!

    AllMiles PPs expire wef from March 1, 2017.

    Regards

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      But Prestige has quite high joining fee 🙁
      Yes, HDFC is ditching the Allmiles card in full swing 😀

      Reply
  9. Praveen Perumalla

    Question – Is priority pass membership a one time thing?
    So let’s say I have a PP membership from a credit card and I close this credit card, do I have to apply for a membership again with a different/new credit card or will the existing one be valid?

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      If CC is closed, PP also gets closed. So yes, you need to get a new one with PP membership. You can also get PP directly from Priority pass itself.

      Reply

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