Best Credit Cards For Lounge Access In India

Credit Card With Lounge Access In India

Even if I only grab a coffee or a light snack, complimentary lounge access before a flight or during a layover makes me happy. Many of the top premium credit cards offer lounge access — but the types of lounges you can use vary greatly from card to card. Many credit cards provide free access to these airport lounges making your air travel pleasant. In this article, I’m listing best credit cards for lounge access which are available in India, arranged by annual fees, to help you select one. So let’s get started to analyse best credit cards for lounge access.

Credit Cards For Domestic Airport Lounge Access

The credit cards listed in this section provide complimentary access to domestic airport lounges only. If you travel mostly domestic, getting one of them would be wise as their annuals fees are comparatively less.

1. ICICI Bank HPCL Coral American Express Credit Card

  • Limit:
    • Domestic: 2 per year
    • International: Nil
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 199
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 199
    • The annual fee is waived off on spending Rs. 50,000
  • Rewards
    • 2.5% cashback + 6 PAYBACK Points per Rs. 100 on fuel spends at HPCL fuel stations, 4% reward rate
    • 2 PAYBACK Points per Rs. 100 spent on all other retail spends, 0.50% reward rate
    • Rs. 100 discount on up to 2 movie tickets per month at BookMyShow

ICICI Bank HPCL Coral American Express Credit Card, though a fuel card, also provides complimentary access to domestic airport lounges. Possessing this card not only saves on your fuel spends but also ensures you to have a pleasant time before taking off.

2. Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card

  • Limit:
    • Domestic: 4 per year
    • International: Nil
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 500
    • Rs. 500 Flipkart voucher as welcome benefit
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 500
    • The annual fee is waived off on spending Rs. 2 Lakhs
  • Rewards
    • 5% cashback on Flipkart, Myntra and 2 GUD
    • 4% cashback on Preferred Partners (MakeMyTrip, Goibibo, Uber, PVR, Curefit and UrbanClap)
    • 1.5% on all other merchants

Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card is one of the newest entrants in the market which provides complimentary domestic airport lounge access. Coupled with a decent reward rate, this is a great card to have in your wallet.

3. ICICI Bank Coral Credit Card

  • Limit:
    • Domestic: 1 per quarter
    • International: Nil
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 500
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 500
    • The annual fee is waived off on spending Rs. 1.5 Lakhs
  • Rewards
    • 2 PAYBACK Points on every Rs. 100 spent, 0.50% reward rate
    • Buy 1 Get 1 free on BookMyShow (up to 2 free tickets per month valued up to Rs. 250 per ticket)
    • Buy 1 Get 1 free on Inox (up to 2 free tickets per month valued up to Rs. 250 per ticket)

ICICI Bank Coral Credit Card is mostly issued lifetime free if you have an existing relationship with them. This card delights you not by providing free movie tickets but also opens access to domestic airport lounges for a great travel experience.

4. HDFC Bank Millennia Credit Card

  • Limit:
    • Domestic: 2 per quarter
    • International: Nil
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 1,000
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 1,000
    • The annual fee is waived off on spending Rs. 1 Lakh
  • Rewards
    • 5% CashBack on all spends/shopping via PayZapp and SmartBuy, limited to Rs. 750 per month
    • 2.5% CashBack on all online spends, limited to Rs. 750 per month
    • 1% CashBack on all offline spends, limited to Rs. 750 per month

One of the recent launches from HDFC Bank, HDFC Bank Millennia Credit Card, not only provides a decent amount of complimentary airport lounge access but also shines in the department of reward rate. You can get this card lifetime free by enrolling in some of the services provided by HDFC Bank like SmartPay, OneAssist etc. within 90 days of receiving the card.

5. Kotak Royale Signature Credit Card

  • Limit:
    • Domestic: 2 per quarter
    • International: Nil
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 999
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 999
    • The annual fee is waived off on spending Rs. 1 Lakh
  • Rewards
    • 4 reward points per Rs. 150 spent on Airline, Travel, Hotels & International Transactions, 0.60% reward rate
    • 2 reward points per Rs. 150 spent elsewhere, 0.30% reward rate
    • Buy 1 Ticket and Get 1 free for all Saturday movie shows at PVR

Though Kotak Royale Signature Credit Card has poor reward rate, it’s one of the cheapest ways to get access to domestic airport lounges for free.

Credit Cards For Domestic & International Airport Lounge Access

The credit cards listed in this section provide complimentary access to both domestic and international airport lounges, however, the limit is relatively lower for latter. These credit cards are suitable for those who travel internationally infrequently.

1. RuPay Select Credit Card

  • Limit:
    • Domestic: 2 per quarter
    • International: 2 per year
  • Joining Fee: Generally ~Rs. 500
    • Joining fee is generally waived off if you have a good relationship with issuing bank
  • Annual Fee: Generally ~Rs. 500
    • The annual fee is generally waived off on meeting the spends criteria
  • Rewards
    • Generally ~0.50%

RuPay Select Credit Cards are issued by many private and public sector banks in India. These credit cards comes with relatively lower annual fees and provide decent amount of international airport lounge access. Check with your bank for details on joining/annual fee and reward rate.

2. HDFC Diners Club Clubmiles Credit Card

  • Limit: 6 per year, domestic and international combined
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 1,000
    • Joining fee is generally waived off if you have a good relationship with HDFC Bank
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 1,000
    • The annual fee is waived off on spending Rs. 1 Lakh
  • Rewards
    • 4 reward points per Rs. 150 spent, 1.3% reward rate
    • 10X rewards using HDFC Smartbuy 10X Rewards program, 13% reward rate

HDFC Diners Club Clubmiles Credit Card is relatively easier to get and gives you access to 800+ airport lounges worldwide, both for primary as well as add-on card members. Unlike other cards, you can just swipe your HDFC Diners Club ClubMiles Credit Card for international lounge access. No need to carry those extra Priority Pass/ Dreamfolks DragonPass.

3. HDFC Regalia First Credit Card

  • Limit:
    • Domestic: 8 per year, using Visa/MasterCard lounge program
    • International: 3 per year, using Priority Pass
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 1,000
    • Joining fee is generally waived off if you have a good relationship with HDFC Bank
    • Welcome Benefit of 1000 Reward Points if not waived
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 1,000
    • The annual fee is waived off on spending Rs. 1 Lakh
    • Annual Benefit of 1000 Reward Points if not waived
  • Rewards:
    • 4 reward points per Rs. 150 spent, 0.8% reward rate
    • 10X rewards using HDFC Smartbuy 10X Rewards program, 8% reward rate

HDFC Regalia First Credit Card provides complimentary access to international airport lounges to both, primary as well as add-on card using Priority Pass. However complimentary limit is shared between the two and usage of Priority Pass for domestic lounges will attract a charge of $27 + GST.

4. HDFC Diners Club Privilege Credit Card

  • Limit: 12 per year, domestic and international combined
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 2,500
    • Joining fee is generally waived off if you have a good relationship with HDFC Bank
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 2,500
    • The annual fee is waived off on spending Rs. 3 Lakhs
  • Rewards
    • 4 reward points per Rs. 150 spent, 1.3% reward rate
    • 10X rewards using HDFC Smartbuy 10X Rewards program, 13% reward rate
  • Forex Currency Markup: 1.99% + GST

HDFC Diners Club Privilege Credit Card not only provides access to 800+ airport lounges worldwide to primary as well as add-on cardmembers but is also one of the best credit cards with low forex markup of 1.99% for international spends. However international acceptance of Diners Club Cards is still questionable.

5. HDFC Regalia Credit Card

  • Limit:
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 2,500
    • Joining fee is generally waived off if you have a good relationship with HDFC Bank
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 2,500
    • The annual fee is waived off on spending Rs. 3 Lakhs
  • Rewards
  • Forex Currency Markup: 2% + GST

HDFC Regalia Credit Card is the most popular credit card from HDFC Bank and provides a handsome limit on domestic as well as international airport lounge access for primary as well as add-on card members.

6. Yes First Preferred Credit Card

  • Limit:
    • Domestic: 3 per quarter, using Visa/MasterCard lounge program
    • International: 4 per year, using Priority Pass
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 2,500
    • Generally issued lifetime free
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 2,500
    • Generally issued lifetime free
  • Rewards
    • 2% on Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Domestic Airlines and Dining
    • 1% on all other categories
  • Forex Currency Markup: 1.75% + GST

Only reason Yes First Preferred Credit Card features in this list because it’s issued lifetime free most of the time. Though the limits for lounge access are generous, the access is limited to primary cardmember which is a little disappointing.

Credit Cards For Unlimited Domestic and International Airport Lounge Access

The credit cards listed in this section provide unlimited airport lounge access and are suitable for frequent travellers. These cards apart from lounge access may also provide additional benefits like complimentary Spa, Meet & Assist etc.

1. HDFC Infinia Credit Card

  • Limit:
    • Domestic: Unlimited domestic access via Priority Pass, 4 complimentary domestic lounge access per quarter through Infinia Visa lounge program or Mastercard lounge program
    • International: Unlimited international lounge access using Priority Pass (add-on card members can avail by producing their Priority Pass)
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 10,000
    • 10,000 reward points worth Rs. 10,000 are provided as welcome benefit
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 10,000
    • Waived off on spends more than Rs. 8 Lakhs
  • Rewards
  • Forex Currency Markup: 2% + GST

HDFC Infinia Credit Card is an invite-only credit card from HDFC Bank which provides unlimited domestic and international lounge access using Priority Pass for both primary as well as add-on card members.

2. HDFC Diners Club Black Credit Card

  • Limit: Unlimited domestic and international lounge access for primary and add-on card members
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 10,000
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 10,000
    • Waived off on spends more than Rs. 5 Lakhs
  • Rewards
    • 5 reward points per Rs. 150 spent, 3.3% reward rate
    • 10X rewards using HDFC Smartbuy 10X Rewards program, 33% reward rate
  • Forex Currency Markup: 1.99% + GST

HDFC Diners Club Black Credit Card is one of the most reward cards in India and it provides unlimited access to 800+ airport lounges worldwide to both primary as well as add-on card members.

3. Yes First Exclusive Credit Card

  • Limit:
    • Domestic: Unlimited domestic access via MasterCard lounge program
    • International: Unlimited international lounge access using Priority Pass (add-on card members can avail by producing their Priority Pass)
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 10,000
    • Generally issued lifetime free
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 10,000
    • Generally issued lifetime free
  • Rewards
    • 12 reward points per Rs. 100 spent on Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Domestic Airlines and Dining, 3% reward rate
    • 6 Reward Points per Rs. 100 spent on all other categories, 1.5% reward rate
  • Forex Currency Markup: 1.75% + GST

Yes First Exclusive Credit Card provides unlimited complimentary lounge access worldwide for both primary as well as add-on card members. Coupled with low forex markup and decent reward rate, this card is a must if you’re a frequent traveller.

4. Axis Bank Magnus Credit Card

  • Limit:
    • Domestic: Unlimited domestic access via MasterCard lounge program
    • International: 8 complimentary international airport lounge access (card member + guest), 4 more on spending Rs. 7 Lakh or more using Priority Pass
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 10,000
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 10,000
    • Waived off on spending Rs. 15 Lakhs in a year
  • Rewards
    • 12 Axis eDGE reward points per Rs. 200 spent, 1.2% reward rate
    • 2X Axis eDGE reward points on MakeMyTrip, Yatra & Goibibo, 2.4% reward rate
  • Forex Currency Markup: 2% + GST

Axis Bank Magnus Credit Card though doesn’t provide unlimited international lounge access, complimentary access to guests is noteworthy. This card also provides 8 complimentary VIP Assistance Services which can come in handy during travel.

5. ICICI Bank Emeralde Credit Card (Amex)

  • Limit:
    • Domestic: Unlimited domestic access via the Amex lounge program
    • International: Unlimited international lounge access using Dreamfolks Dragonpass Card
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 12,000
    • Waived off on spending Rs. 15 Lakhs in a year
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 12,000
    • Waived off on spending Rs. 15 Lakhs in a year
  • Rewards
    • 4 PAYBACK Points on every Rs. 100 spent, 1% reward rate
    • 1 PAYBACK Point on every Rs. 100 spent on utilities and insurance categories, 0.25% reward rate
  • Forex Currency Markup: 1.5% + GST

ICICI Bank Emeralde Credit Card not only provides unlimited airport lounge access but also provides unlimited Spa Access via Dreamfolks Dragonpass Card along with unlimited complimentary access to Boingo Wi-Fi across the globe. These added benefits make this card a must-have for frequent travellers.

Bottomline

As evident from the list above, there are multiple credit cards in India which provide airport lounge access. Some cards apart from lounge access, also prove other complementary services like Wi-Fi, Spa and Meet & Assist which can make your travel experience even better.

Credit Card With Lounge Access In India

If you’re confused on which one to select then you need to see how many times your travel in a year: domestically as well as internationally. Match this number with complimentary access provided by the cards and choose that. You can always get multiple credit cards if one card doesn’t suffice your travel needs. MasterCard has a better network of domestic airport lounges than Visa. Similarly, Priority Pass has better international airport lounge network than Dreamfolks Dragonpass & Diners Club. Choose MasterCard and Priority Pass for better coverage of airport lounges.

Personally I use my HDFC Diners Club Black Credit Card for airport lounge access as I don’t like to carry those extra Priority Pass Cards. So far my experience has been seamless and has never faced any issue with accessing any airport lounge.

Frequently asked questions

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about the use of credit cards for lounge access:

What is Priority Pass and how does it work?

Priority Pass is an airport lounge membership program that provides members with access to more than 1,300 airport lounges — and sometimes non-lounge experiences such as restaurants — around the world. With a Priority Pass membership, you can visit these lounges regardless of the airline you’re flying or your ticket class. This means you can even access Priority Pass lounges when you’re flying in economy class on a low-cost airline.

If you have Priority Pass access benefits through a credit card, you’ll usually need to actively enroll in Priority Pass Select. Different credit cards offer different access policies, so be sure to determine exactly what benefits your card offers. For example, Priority Pass Select memberships for American Express cards don’t cover visits to restaurant lounges and cards with lower annual fees such as the Hilton Surpass and Hilton Business cards only offer 10 free lounge visits per year.

Related reading: The best credit cards for Priority Pass lounge access

Should I have multiple cards with lounge access?

Depending on how frequently you travel, the airports you visit and the airlines you fly, it may make sense to have multiple cards that offer access to different lounge networks. Since you can only access Delta, United and American lounges when flying each airline, it’s important to have the correct credit card for lounge access based on the airports you’re visiting and the airline you’re flying

Which card do you generally use for complimentary Airport lounge access? Or maybe you have a question regarding airport lounge access. Either way, let me know by leaving a quick comment below.

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