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VIP lounges at airports: how to get access

Updated June 27, 2022 by Thiago Khoury

I am writing from the Gol VIP lounge at Guarulhos airport, the champion in VIP lounges at airports in Brazil: currently, with a coworking space, there are ten rooms spread across the three terminals.

VIP lounges exist in airports around the world and have restricted access to certain customers or those willing to pay for single access, which is not always possible.

Having access to a VIP lounge (or “airport lounges” for the gringos) is a great way to pass the time between connections, as well as offering amenities such as snacks, meals, showers, entertainment and a place to rest when waiting. it’s long.

Gol VIP room in Guarulhos
Goal Lounge
Gol VIP room in Guarulhos

Today’s trip is a great example of using a VIP lounge: I arrived at the airport at eleven in the morning and didn’t board until nine at night, is there anything better than eating snacks while it’s not time to board?

How to get access to airport lounges?

Overwhelmingly it is impossible to pay for immediate access to a lounge, you need to pay for a program or be a special customer in some way to get free (or paid) access to an airport lounge.

In general, there are four ways to gain access to a VIP lounge:

  • through your credit card,
  • through the airline,
  • through programs such as Dragon Pass, Lounge Key or Priority Pass,
  • paying for on-demand access (when possible).

I will talk about each one of them, but first I want to leave a link for you to have access to travel insurance with up to 10% discount at Seguros Promo, travel insurance comparator partner of the blog.

Remembering that those who want to receive larger coupons by Whatsapp (for insurance, car rental or any other travel related service), click on this link and then add Rodei’s number to your contacts!

Credit cards give you access to airport lounges

Unfortunately, not all credit cards allow access to airport lounges, usually only the top of the line ones, such as platinum and blackoffer this benefit.

Check directly with your card’s customer service for the benefits it offers for cardholders and dependents.

What I can say is that, regardless of the bank, every Mastercard Black and Visa Infinity allows access to some type of VIP lounge, regardless of whether you charge individually for access or not.

As some banks charge and others don’t, you can have a Mastercard Black of the X bank with unlimited and free accesses while your friend, with a Mastercard Black of bank Y, has only two, four, or no free accesses per year.

the cards Elo Diners Club, Link Nanjing and link graphite from Elo and the cards The Centurion and The Platinum Card American Express also offer access to VIP lounges.

Does Mastercard Black offer access to airport lounges?

yes, all Mastercard Black offers access to over 1,000 airport lounges around the world through the program Lounge Keybut whether these visits will be paid ($32 per visit) or free will depend on your issuing bank. Mastercard Black.

Another benefit of Mastercard Black is that it has its own VIP room in Terminal 3 of the Guarulhos airport. In this VIP room you have unlimited and free access as many times as you want throughout the year.

If your Mastercard Black is the result of a partnership between the bank and an airline, you will likely also have access to that airline’s lounge (if any).

Does Visa Infinity offer access to airport lounges?

yes, all Visa infinity also offers access to over 1,000 airport lounges around the world through the program Lounge Keybut, as with Master, whether these visits will be paid ($32 per visit) or free will depend on the bank issuing your Visa Infinity.

Remembering that if your Visa Infinity is the result of a partnership between the bank and an airline, you will likely also have access to that airline’s lounge (if any).

Do Elo cards offer access to airport lounges?

yes the cards Elo Diners Club, Link Nanjing and link graphite Elo offer access to Priority Pass program lounges at airports around the world, but whether or not access will be free of charge you need to check with your card issuing bank.

What I do know is that the card Elo Diners Club offers, by definition, free and unlimited access to VIP lounges for both its holder and a companion.

It is important to remember that regardless of which of these three top-of-the-line cards you have, the Elo VIP lounge at Congonhas airport allows free and unlimited access for all of them without discounting the annual access limit.

Do American Express cards offer access to airport lounges?

yes the cards The Centurion and The Platinum Card American Express offer access to VIP lounges at airports around the world, but in Brazil they have different agreements depending on the issuing bank, which can be Bradesco or Santander.

Both Bradesco and Santander issued cards offer unlimited access to Centurion Lounges around the world, including the American Express Lounge in Terminal 3 at Guarulhos airport, but only Bradesco cards offer free and unlimited access to Bradesco Cartão Lounges.

Airlines also give access to VIP lounges

Regardless of your credit card, Business or First Class travelers will likely have access to the VIP lounge of that airline (or partner airline and of the same alliance).

Top-tier airline loyalty program customers also have access to the VIP lounges of these airlines and partner airlines, as those who earn the status Diamond in blue, Gold at goal or platinum in Latam.

Airport lounges: Star Alliance
Star Alliance VIP Lounge in Guarulhos (image: Elite Magazine)

Important: If you have achieved high status with an international airline, you will have access not only to their VIP lounges but also to those of other airlines that are partners or that are part of their alliance.

For example: suppose I have never traveled from Latam, but as I am a customer Sapphire of American Airlines I have access to any airline room in the OneWorld alliance.

This is a great benefit of airline alliances: achieving status on a particular airline is equivalent to global status on all other airlines that are part of that alliance.

When an airline is not part of an alliance, it is probably part of some airline partnership, like Azul: who is Diamond at Azul you can enjoy United’s VIP lounges, the same for those who are gold at United.

VIP lounge access programs

There are different programs that work through the payment of annuities that give different types of access to VIP lounges at airports.

According to the program you can have a number (limited or not) of free accesses throughout the year. Excess accesses are paid separately.

The most famous programs are Priority Pass and Lounge Key, but there is also the Dragon Pass which is bigger and more present in Asian airports.

In fact, it is through Lounge Key who cardholders Mastercard Black and Visa Infinity have access to VIP lounges: what a Black or Infinity holder actually has is the Lounge Key.

(update: O Visa Infinity has increasingly migrated to Dragon Pass)

The main difference between the Lounge Key it’s the Priority Pass is that the Priority Pass it has almost twice as many VIP lounges available in its catalogue, but at airports in Brazil we don’t feel that difference.

If you don’t want or can’t afford a Black card, it’s better to join the Priority Passso you have the same benefit of accessing the VIP lounges without having to pay the annual fee for a Black card.

Through this link you can join the Priority Pass 10% off any plan.

different from Priority Passit is impossible to associate with the Lounge Key not being through a Black card.

VIP lounges with paid entry

This is not always possible, but some lounges allow any passenger to enter for an entrance fee.

This fee is often a “day use”, but more commonly it is per access (leaved, not re-entered).

VIP lounges Admirals Club American Airlines usually allow day use access for $69.

American Express lounges for cardholders The Centurion Card usually they don’t allow paid entry, but in the Guarulhos lounge it seems so, I need to confirm this information.

Anyway, you have to research to find out if it is possible to have access to a particular VIP room even if you don’t fit into any of the profiles I mentioned above.

A great way to do this is through the app. LoungeBuddy. In it you put your credit card and flight information to access a list of all the possibilities of VIP lounges along the way, including those with paid entry.

Well, that’s it. I hope I have helped you to travel more comfortably!

Other blog tips for planning your trip:

Already know where to stay? See the list of all the hotels I’ve visited on the “accommodation tips” page and make your choice!

Have you already purchased travel insurance? Insurance is essential especially in times of covid! The Insurance Promo comparator offers at least 10% off for blog readers and even pay on the card!

Can you travel without a cell phone? Do not forget to leave Brazil with your international SIM card with real unlimited internet – and through our link you can take at least 15% off!

For rent a car in Brazil and abroad for the lowest price search all rental companies at once on Rentcars. They have an office in Brazil with service in Portuguese!

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