[Australia] The Cheapest Credit Card with Unlimited Lounge Access AND Guesting Ability

[Australia] The Cheapest Credit Card with Unlimited Lounge Access AND Guesting Ability

Bankwest World Mastercard - The Cheapest Australian Credit Card with Unlimited Lounge & Guesting Ability

Last Updated: 28 July 2018 - added deal rating and included minimum credit limit ($12000)

Deal Rating: 8/10 - It's a great deal if it's relevant to you (i.e. if you travel enough), but it's definitely not for everyone.

Summary/TL;DR

The Bankwest World Masterard is a Credit Card with an annual fee of $270. It's the cheapest Australian Credit Card that provides both unlimited lounge access and the ability to bring in guests. As an additional bonus, the card also waives foreign transaction fees and earns you Bankwest Rewards points!

There is a minimum credit limit of $12000 but no specified minimum salary, but I'm going to guess that it's approx $50,000 per annum.

There's also the Diner's Club personal card with a $135 annual fee, also with unlimited lounge access. The downside? You can't bring in guests, and paying with a Diners Club? It's harder than paying with an AMEX! It also provides access to a smaller network of lounges compared to the Bankwest card.

Which card is for you? Find out below!


Australian readers - there was another topic I forgot to post about before I left. Lounge access on Credit Cards!

I love lounges. There's this feeling about them that makes it feel so cosy and relaxing.

 What's not to love?! Free food, free WiFi, free refreshments (often times including alcoholic ones!), comfy seating areas, and sometimes even free showers/massage chairs!

What's not to love?! Free food, free WiFi, free refreshments (often times including alcoholic ones!), comfy seating areas, and sometimes even free showers/massage chairs!

Before I left Australia, I decided to look at the options available in the Australian Credit Card Market for unlimited lounge access. I felt it was important for me to get something before I left, because it would be a lot harder to obtain if I tried to get it after I left. I also couldn't find a card in Singapore that offered unlimited lounge access at a price I was willing to pay!

The ones that came to mind were:

Each of these cards had their own unique set of "problems". Here's a description of each of the cards. Keep in mind the focus of this post is more about lounge access.

Diners Club

 Diners Club - $135

Diners Club - $135

  • Very cheap for unlimited lounge access at $135
  • Main shortcoming was that it does not include many Sydney lounges. At the time of writing, it only includes the REX lounge in Sydney.

ANZ Black

 ANZ Black - $375 (ANZ Rewards) or $425 (Qantas)

ANZ Black - $375 (ANZ Rewards) or $425 (Qantas)

  • I would argue the annual fee of $375/425 is actually decent ok for unlimited lounge access.. however, read on for the issues
  • As a positive, you can get up to 4 supplementary cards for free, and each supplementary card is granted their own access to lounges, which is handy
  • The unlimited lounge access you get is at "Veloce Lounges". Veloce World is a lounge network, similar to PriorityPass, but much smaller.
  • There are 118 lounges listed here, including numerous that have "Coming Soon" next to the lounges. Also note the date in the URL. Finder have 61 listed, as of "25 October 2016"
  • I know that the list of participating lounges on the PDF is inaccurate and seems to be rarely updated. Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur are no longer participating lounges.
  • Note there is not a single one in Australia. I'm fairly sure the "Melbourne" one never happened (happy to be corrected!)
  • The Veloce World website is not particularly user-friendly - it's difficult to know which lounges are participating.
  • 118 to 61 in 3 years is a shrinking number of lounges as opposed to growing!
  • On the flipside PriorityPass have grown from "over 1000 lounges" (Nov 2016) to "1200 lounges worldwide" (June 2018), including the addition of 141 lounges from June 2017 to June 2018

Summary: The ANZ unlimited lounge benefit is of limited use because the lounge network is relatively small, and it's also a little hard to find out which lounges are still part of the program. This wouldn't be so much of an issue if the lounge network was growing, and/or if Veloce Lounges had a pretty large established network, but it's not the case!

Citibank Prestige

 Citibank Prestige - $700

Citibank Prestige - $700

  • Steep annual fee of $700. Worth it? If you fly enough. But don't forget about the Diners Club option!
    • Compare this to the cost of Qantas Club membership. There's a one-off join fee of $399 for Australians, plus an annual fee of $540 for one year (cheaper if you purchase 2-3 years). But this is limited specifically to Qantas' network of lounges and that of its partners. You also need to be flying on Qantas or Jetstar - it's quite a bit more restrictive than PriorityPass!
      • Ironically, the ANZ Black Qantas card provides a waiver of the join fee
      • You could argue the quality of lounges with the Qantas Club should be higher though, given that they are airline lounges.
  • The unlimited lounge benefit is with PriorityPass, which is a much larger lounge network. I would say - the best lounge network
  • You are able to bring in a guest for free with this PriorityPass membership
  • Other benefits, such as complimentary airport transfers twice per calendar year, concierge and Travel Insurance

Summary: The Citibank Prestige is a decent option if you fly enough, but I feel like the Diners Club would probably be more worth it, purely from a lounge access perspective.

AMEX Platinum Charge

 AMEX Platinum Charge - $1450

AMEX Platinum Charge - $1450

  • Annual fee of $1450. Huge.
  • From a lounge access point of view, it's basically like having 2x Citibank Prestiges in one
  • To elaborate, you have "access" to 2x PriorityPass memberships
    • The first PriorityPass membership is afforded to the primary cardholder
    • The second, is available to a supplementary cardholder of your choice
    • Both of these memberships give you the option to bring in a guest
  • A whole range of other benefits:
    • Access to American Express Membership Ascent Premium Rewards points, which is the highest tier of their rewards points, including the unique ability to transfer points to Qantas Frequent Flyer
    • Premium AccorPlus hotel status
    • High points earn on dining expenditure (3pts/$)
    • Comprehensive Travel Insurance
    • $450 Travel Credit
    • Option to apply for the AMEX Platinum Reserve Credit Card (only available to Platinum Charge cardholders) which includes a further $400 Travel Credit

Summary: It's actually a really good card with a great range of benefits. To be honest, I'd be genuinely concerned if it wasn't, considering $1450 annual fee. Weighing up the benefits, it's actually probably better than the Citibank Prestige, provided you can reasonably use the second PriorityPass membership.


Personally, I didn't feel any of these cards were quite appropriate. It was either too expensive (Platinum Charge/Citibank Prestige), or just not a great offering (ANZ Black). The Diners Club was a realistic option, but it was missing too many lounges in Sydney that the Bankwest World Mastercard included.

Earlier this year, tucked away in an obscure Ozbargain comment, I noticed a reference to "Bankwest with unlimited lounge access".

I did a bit of research and found this - Bankwest World Mastercard.

Here's my summary:

  • $270 annual fee
  • Unlimited lounge access through Lounge Key, which is owned by PriorityPass
    • This includes the ability to bring an unspecified number of guests. The limit is determined by the lounge itself.
  • Waiver of foreign transaction fees & currency conversion fees
  • Rewards points - although the points are nothing to call home about
  • Up to 4 free supplementary cards, each with their own ability to access the lounge and bring in guests

From what I understand, LoungeKey is not quite as large as PriorityPass. However, I've searched in numerous cities and they have the exact same participating lounges.

At double the price of the Diners Club card, is it worth it? It is if:

  • It doesn't include lounges that you know you will use often; in my case, Sydney
  • You intend to bring guests in with you often. Diners Club only grants access to the primary cardholder.
  • You intend to "share" the lounge access with someone else (e.g. family member) through a supplementary card
    • Just be aware that as is always the case with supplementary cards, any expenditure on the card is the responsibility of the primary cardholder
      • The supplementary card has the exact same number as the primary card
    • You can get a supplementary cardholder with the Diners Club for $50/yr, but I am not sure if this includes lounge access. I've had a quick dig through the T&Cs and PDS on their website and cannot find this information.

I've held this card for a few months now and find it to be quite a good card for the lounge access alone. As I said at the beginning, I personally love lounges so I place quite a high valuation on the ability to enter lounges without having to consider cost, and think the $270 fee is well worth it. The waiver of foreign transactions fees and rewards points are just small little bonuses to me.


How do you actually gain access to the lounge using your Bankwest Card?

Typically, the process is the same regardless of lounge

  1. Approach the lounge
  2. Advise that you wish to gain access with "LoungeKey".
    • It's important that you mention LoungeKey, because this is what tells the staff what system/machine to use
  3. Hand over your Bankwest Credit Card, along with a Boarding Pass
  4. They will swipe your card through a machine, which looks similar to a POS terminal. Don't worry - payment is not taken. It is not a payment terminal.
  5. You will be asked for number of guests, and then will be required to sign on the machine using a stylus
  6. You can now access the lounge!

Little quirk to be aware of with LoungeKey vs PriorityPass

I experienced this recently when the machine was down at the lounge I was intending to gain access to.

As is usual, I approached the counter and said I wished to gain access to the lounge via LoungeKey with my Bankwest Credit Card. I was advised that it wouldn't be possible, because their machine was down and they were only taking "manual entries" with PriorityPass. For a bit more context, PriorityPass and LoungeKey actually use the same system.

When the system is down, it seems there is no way for the staff to manually take down information about your LoungeKey membership through your Bankwest Credit Card. However, if you hold a PriorityPass membership, they are able to write down the membership number and expiry date, which is all the information they require to process a manual entry. It's funny actually - it's processed through an extremely old school looking telegraph-like machine.

What's the point of me sharing this? If the machine/system is down, you won't be able to gain access through LoungeKey with your Bankwest card! I'm not sure if this affects the Diners Club Card though.

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