airport lounge access swiss credit cards
Accounts & Cards

Is Getting Airport Lounge Access With Credit Cards a Cheap Alternative?

May 14, 2024 - Daniel Dreier

Is getting a Swiss credit card with airport lounge benefits cheaper than joining an airport lounge club directly? Find out in this guide.

Airport lounges provide a welcome retreat during long trips, and in many cases they offer good value for money. Most airport lounges offer complimentary rest areas, drinks, snacks, restrooms, cable TV, popular newspapers and magazines, and internet access. Some offer business facilities like conference rooms, photocopy and fax machines. Other services may include children's play areas, changing rooms, bathrooms with hot showers, and spa facilities. Complimentary buffet meals are also offered at some lounges.

Credit card issuers have long offered airport lounge benefits with their exclusive credit cards. But can you actually save money on airport lounge visits by getting a credit card which offers this benefit? Or does it make more financial sense to buy a membership in an airport lounge club separately and use a credit card with no annual fee?

How much do airport lounges cost?

For a start, let’s take a look at what airport lounge visits actually cost.

A one-time visit to an airport lounge without membership typically costs around 50 francs, but the price may be higher or lower than that depending on the airport in question and the services offered.

Membership in Priority Pass, a network of around 1300 airport lounges, is the benefit most commonly offered by credit cards which provide lounge access. You can buy memberships directly from Priority Pass. The current prices are:

  • Standard membership: 89 euros per year, plus 30 euros on top for each lounge visit.
  • Standard Plus membership: 289 euros per year. Includes 10 complimentary lounge visits every year (30 euros per additional visit).
  • Prestige membership: 459 euros per year. Includes unlimited, complimentary access to lounges.

Important: Airport lounges have fixed capacities. If a lounge is full, you may be denied entry, even if you have Priority Pass membership.

Airport lounge benefits from Swiss credit cards

Now that we know what stand-alone lounge club memberships cost, let’s look at the lounge access offered by Swiss credit cards, and what these cards cost.

A surprising number of issuers offer lounge access as a benefit on their gold and platinum cards, but there are major differences in the lounge access benefits you get with different cards.

  • American Express

The Platinum Card from American Express gives you (and a possible holder of a supplemental card) complimentary Priority Pass membership with unlimited free entry to participating lounges. That is equivalent to a Prestige membership (459 euros) for each cardholder. Additionally, you get access to select lounges from Lufthansa, as well as Centurion lounges, Plaza Premium lounges, and Delta Sky Club lounges. The Platinum Card from American Express costs 900 francs per year (450 francs the first year).

The Gold Card from American Express includes a Standard Priority Pass membership, with two complimentary lounge visits per year.

  • Cornèrcard

The Cornèrcard Visa Platinum includes complimentary Prestige membership from Priority Pass with unlimited lounge visits as a cardholder benefit. Your travel companions also get complimentary access.

The annual fee is 500 francs (250 francs the first year). If you travel alone, getting a Prestige membership from Priority Pass (459 euros) is cheaper. But because you get free entry for travel companions as well, this card can save you money if you frequently travel with your partner or family, for example.

  • Diners Club

Diners Club cards (issued by Cornèrcard) give you access to around 1300 lounges that participate in the Diners Club airport lounge program. Many of the same lounges also participate in Priority Pass. If you charge at least 7500 francs to your Diners Club card every year, you get five complimentary lounge visits annually. If you do not meet the minimum spending, you pay 30 francs per visit.

Assuming you meet the spending requirements, this card gives you similar value to what you get with a Standard Priority Pass plan (89 euros), plus five visits (30 euros each or 150 euros in total). The Diners Club Classic credit card has a 150-franc annual fee (75 francs the first year). So using this card could potentially save you over 80 francs per year compared to getting a Standard membership directly from Priority Pass.

  • Postfinance

The Postfinance Visa Platinum Card has a 250 -franc annual card fee and gives you Standard Priority Pass membership (89 euros) plus two free lounge visits (60 euros) per year.

  • UBS

UBS Platinum Credit Card holders get Standard Priority Pass membership plus four free lounge visits annually (201 euros value). The credit card has a 500-franc annual fee (250 francs the first year). So getting Standard membership from Priority Pass and paying for lounge visits separately works out cheaper, in terms of airport lounge access.

UBS includes Standard Priority Pass membership (worth 89 euros) as a benefit for its Gold Credit Card holders. You still have to pay 30 euros for each lounge visit. The UBS Gold credit card has a 200-franc annual fee (100 francs the first year), so the lounge access alone does not justify the price.

Like the UBS Gold card, the ACS Visa Card Gold Credit Card issued by UBS also includes a Standard plan from Priority Pass, and has a lower annual card fee of 100 francs (the fee is waived the first year). However, it is only available to members of the ACS automobile club.

  • Viseca

The Viseca Visa Platinum card has a 550-franc annual fee and includes Prestige Priority Pass membership with unlimited lounge visits for you and one supplemental card holder. That is a value of up to 898 euros per year.

The card has a 550-franc annual fee. If you use both passes, getting this credit card works out almost 350 francs cheaper than getting two Prestige memberships.

Bank packages can be a cheaper alternative

An alternative is to get a credit card with airport lounge benefits as part of a bank package. Getting a credit card as part of a complete package deal can work out cheaper than getting the same credit card on its own. The Zürcher Kantonalbank’s Platinum package, for example, includes a Viseca Platinum credit card. The monthly fees total 384 francs per year, which is 166 francs less than you pay if you get the Viseca Visa Platinum credit card directly from Viseca.


There are Swiss credit cards and bank packages which can save you money on airport lounge access, compared to getting annual club memberships directly.

But it is important to consider all of the costs and benefits of a credit card or bank package, and not only the airport lounge benefits. You can compare these using the interactive credit card comparison and bank package comparison on

More on this topic:
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Editor Daniel Dreier
Daniel Dreier is editor and personal finance expert at
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