How to Access DragonPass & Plaza Premium Lounges

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Travel

In the recent past, there’s been some serious drama with airport lounge access from Canadian credit cards.

We’ve seen a shakeup amongst all the usual suspects, including Plaza Premium, Priority Pass, and LoungeKey, as well as the introduction of a new player on the scene, DragonPass.

In this guide, we’ll take a deeper look at DragonPass and the partnership with Plaza Premium. Furthermore, we’ll also go over which credit cards give you a DragonPass membership, how to enroll, and which lounges you can access with the membership.

A Brief History of the Airport Lounge Drama

Before we look into DragonPass and Plaza Premium in detail, let’s briefly revisit the recent drama in the Canadian airport lounge access scene.

In July 2021, the Plaza Premium Group cut ties with both Priority Pass and LoungeKey.

This meant that anyone with a Priority Pass membership as a benefit from one of many Visa or American Express cards, or who had a LoungeKey membership through one of many Mastercards, could no longer enjoy access to Plaza Premium Lounges.

Instead, Plaza Premium launched a new partnership with a competing lounge network, DragonPass. Since then, DragonPass has become the official partner of Plaza Premium.

In July 2022, both Visa Canada and Mastercard Canada switched their lounge access partnerships from Priority Pass and LoungeKey, respectively, to DragonPass.

Today, DragonPass has emerged as the sole lounge access program partner with both Visa Canada and Mastercard Canada. Lounge access from DragonPass is offered through the Visa Airport Companion Program and the Mastercard Travel Pass Program. 

In other words, those that previously had a Priority Pass or LoungeKey membership through a Visa or Mastercard no longer have that benefit.

Instead, eligible cardholders may sign up for a complimentary DragonPass membership through their eligible Visa or Mastercard credit cards.

Which Credit Cards Provide Free DragonPass Memberships?

DragonPass is now the official lounge access partner of Visa Canada and Mastercard Canada. Through these partnerships, select credit cards provide complimentary DragonPass memberships, with the only requirement being that you have one of those credit cards.

Visa

Lounge access provided with select Visa cards is known as the Visa Airport Companion Program. DragonPass is the lounge access provider to the Visa Airport Companion Program.

The Canadian-issued Visa cards that provide the cardholder with a complimentary DragonPass membership, as well as a specific number of free visits each year, are as follows:

  • BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card, six complimentary visits
  • CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card, six complimentary visits
  • CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Privilege Card, six complimentary visits
  • CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card, four complimentary visits
  • CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card, four complimentary visits
  • Desjardins Odyssey Visa Infinite Privilege Card, six complimentary visits
  • RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege Card, six complimentary visits
  • RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege for Private Banking, six complimentary visits
  • Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card, six complimentary visits
  • Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Business Card, six complimentary visits
  • TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card, six complimentary visits
  • Vancity enviro Visa Infinite Privilege Card, six complimentary visits

Mastercard

Many Canadian-issued World Elite Mastercards come with a complimentary DragonPass membership as a perk. However, even with the free DragonPass membership, you’ll still have to pay $32 (USD) to access the applicable lounges most of the time.

The following Canadian World Elite Mastercards offer a complimentary DragonPass membership. Unless otherwise noted, no free visits are included with the membership.

It would be great to see more of these products include lounge visits as part of their offering, as it would certainly raise the value proposition from the World Elite Mastercards.

American Express

While American Express cards do not provide a DragonPass membership as a benefit, American Express has retained an independent partnership with Plaza Premium, and some premium Amex cards offer complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounges.

These American Express cards include:

Enjoy free visits to Plaza Premium Lounges with certain American Express cards

In addition to American Express Canada, all US-issued American Express Platinum Cards come with access to Plaza Premium Lounges.

In fact, the US-issued Platinum and Business Platinum cards come with the most generous Plaza Premium Lounge entitlement, as unlimited access is granted for the cardholder and up to two additional guests.

American Express cardholders can access Plaza Premium Lounges simply by showing their eligible card at the lounge’s front desk, alongside an eligible boarding pass and photo ID.

If you don’t enjoy complimentary membership with DragonPass through your credit card, it’s possible to sign up for the program through a paid membership.

DragonPass offers three different membership plans, each at a different cost and with differing complimentary lounge visit inclusions:

  • The Classic DragonPass membership costs $99 (USD) per year and comes with one free lounge visit. Any additional visits, including for guests, can be purchased for $31 (USD) each.
  • The Preferential DragonPass membership costs $219 (USD) per year and comes with eight free lounge visits. Similar to the Classic plan, additional lounge visits cost $31 (USD) apiece.
  • The highest-tier Prestige DragonPass membership costs $399 (USD) per year and comes with unlimited free lounge visits for the member. Additional guest lounge visits may be purchased for $31 (USD).

Note that if you bought a membership plan prior to May 1, 2019, additional lounge visits will only cost $27 (USD) instead of the current $31 (USD) per visit.

All membership plans afford you additional benefits aside from lounge access. These additional benefits include discounts of up to 25% on dining at select airport restaurants, preferential rates on premium airport transfers, and access to a global meet & greet service.

In order to determine which restaurants are eligible for the discount, as well as how much that discount is (it ranges from 10–25%), you can either search on the DragonPass website or on the DragonPass app.

Family and friends of DragonPass members are also eligible to receive the dining discount, as long as they’re travelling with the DragonPass member.

How to Enroll in DragonPass

Customers eligible for complimentary enrollment with DragonPass from their Visa or Mastercard must first register prior to receiving lounge access.

To activate your DragonPass membership as an eligible Visa cardholder, simply head to the Visa Airport Companion website or enroll using the Visa Airport Companion app. The process is fairly quick, and you’ll be given a membership number with immediate access to applicable lounges.

First, you’ll need to enter your card information to confirm your eligibility.

If you have an eligible card, you’ll then need to fill in your personal information and create a password. 

Once you’ve successfully registered, you can view your digital DragonPass card on your account dashboard, as well as a tracker indicating how many complimentary lounge visits you have remaining.

The enrollment process is similar on the Visa Airport Companion app. Once registered, you can easily pull up your QR code in the app.

Similarly, if you need to activate your DragonPass membership as an eligible Mastercard World Elite cardholder, head to the Mastercard Travel Pass website or use the Mastercard Travel Pass app.

On the website, select “Register” and enter in your card information to confirm your eligibility.

Then, enter in your personal information, create a password, and you’re all set! You’ll be given a membership number instantly. 

In order to access airport lounges after you’ve enrolled, simply open the app and present your QR code to the lounge’s front desk staff, and, if required, make a payment for your visit. You’ll also need to show an eligible boarding pass and photo ID.

Which Plaza Premium Lounges Are Available in Canada?

Plaza Premium has a solid lounge footprint in Canadian airports. There are 15 locations across Canada:

  • Edmonton International Airport (YEG)
  • Montreal Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
    • Plaza Premium Lounge (Terminal 1, Domestic)
    • Plaza Premium Concept Lounge (Terminal 1, Domestic)
    • Plaza Premium Lounge (Terminal 3, Domestic)
    • Plaza Premium Lounge (Terminal 1, International)
    • Plaza Premium Lounge (Terminal 3, International)
    • Plaza Premium Lounge (Terminal 1, Transborder)
    • Plaza Premium Lounge (Terminal 3, Transborder)
  • Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
  • Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (YWG)

In addition to the above, DragonPass members also have access to the following Canadian lounges:

  • Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
  • Montreal Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
  • Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB)
  • Ottawa International Airport (YOW)
  • Calgary International Airport (YYC)
    • Aspire Lounge (International)
    • Aspire Lounge (US)

Which Plaza Premium Lounges Are Available Globally?

In addition to the Canadian lounges, DragonPass members can access Plaza Premium Lounges around the world. All available Plaza Premium Lounges, as well as details on the services provided and hours of operation for each one, can be found on the Plaza Premium website. 

There are some excellent Plaza Premium Lounges in airports across the world, and the quality tends to be better outside of North America. 

In order to search all lounges available to DragonPass members, including Plaza Premium Lounges, check out any of the following websites or download any one of their companion apps:

Conclusion

Airport lounge access is a great perk for travellers, and having it included as part of a credit card’s suite of benefits enhances the overall travel experience.

As the airport lounge space has been dramatically altered over the past two years, with some relationships severing and others forming, I suspect we’ll see more changes and improvements coming to the DragonPass network.

For now, I’m happy that Canada’s wide network of Plaza Premium Lounges continue to be accessible with DragonPass, and I’m hopeful that we’ll see more partnerships and available lounges moving forward.

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