March 2018, Dr Chee L Khoo
If you earn more than $76,000 per annum and you would like lounge access when flying economy overseas on the cheap, read on. I don’t know about you but I can only afford economy class when flying overseas. I can’t really justify spending 4 times the economy fare to be pampered. Really, I just need lounge access. I am happy to watch movies the rest of the trip.
A recent article in the SMH reminded me about sharing this tip with you. I was a little disappointed that the article in the SMH did not reference an easier and cheaper option. These were the options cited are via Airline Clubs, Lounge Passes or Credit Card access.
- Joining the Qantas club for $399 with annual fee of $540 plus you need to be flying Qantas
- Joining Virgin Australia for $330 (free for Velocity Silver members) with annual fee of $420 ($330 for silver members)
- Purchase Virgin Australia single entry lounge passes for 10,000 points
- Joining Priority Pass for A$126 per annum and $US27 for each entry. This will gain you access to >1000 lounges (usually Plaza Premium lounges) throughout the world irrespective of which airline you may be flying. There is only one Plaza Premium lounge in Australia and that is in Brisbane. In Melbourne and Sydney, Priority Pass holder gets a discount of $A36 to be used in selected outlets at the airport. But to get $A36, you need to pay $US27 each time!
- You can purchase a one off pay as you go access to Plaza Premium lounges at varying prices depending on locations
Credit Card Access
- Owning the right credit may also gain you access to lounge. These credit cards include American Express Velocity Platinum credit card, the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black credit card and the Citi Signature Qantas credit card among others, but free entry is restricted to two visits per year. Of course, you have to include the card annual fee into the calculation. For example, American Express Platinum card’s annual fee is a hefty $1200.
One tip the author of the article omitted is the Bankwest More World Mastercard. In addition to the usual reward points (2.5 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases), there are no foreign transaction fee on online or overseas purchases. It accords you with unlimited airport lounges (primarily Plaza Premium lounges – search location at loungkey.com) for you and your guests. Once again, because there are no Plaza Premium lounges in Sydney and Melbourne, you get $36 to spend in selected outlets at the airport but unlike the Priority Pass members, you don’t have to pay to get $36!
Of course, it has the usual credit card insurance, extended warranty etc that comes with premium credit cards. And it only costs $270 per annum. On my recent trip to Taipei and Kuala Lumpur, I had $36 at Sydney airport, lounge access at Taipei airport en route to KL, lounge access at KL en route to Taipei and lounge access at Taipei on the way home to Sydney for me, my wife and my daughter. I have easily recouped my annual fee. By the way, supplementary cards are also free.
(If you think this article will be useful to you and your family, do drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org)