Big News! Mastercard Canada switching lounge access from LoungeKey to DragonPass (which means access to Plaza Premium lounges!)

Big news in the world of credit card lounge access! I was visiting the Mastercard Canada website today and noticed a change to the lounge access section for the World and World Elite Mastercards. No longer does the website state Mastercard Airport Experiences by LoungeKey, instead it now has Mastercard Travel Pass provided by DragonPass.  

 This is big news for us here in Canada as if you recall from 2021 there were changes in lounge access due to Plaza Premium cutting most of their ties with Priority Pass. Priority Pass just happened to be from the same company running LoungeKey which meant Canadian Mastercard cards lost access to all Canadian Plaza Premium lounges. When Plaza Premium announced they were leaving Priority Pass they revealed a new partnership with Dragonpass and lo and behold who has Mastercard Canada partnered with now? Dragonpass instead of Collinson (who runs LoungeKey/Priority Pass). 

For some background info here is our coverage from last year:

And sure enough when you register your World Elite Mastercard on the new Mastercard Travel Pass site and then search for lounges, Plaza Premium lounges do show up as options:

A selection of the lounges in Toronto

The program runs the same as LoungeKey which means by having an eligible World or World Elite Mastercard you get free access to the Travel Pass program (normally programs like these charge an annual fee so that’s what it gets you) and then you pay a discounted fee for each lounge visit. This fee tends to be less than what most of these lounges charge as their walk up fees. In this case, Travel Pass retains the US$32 per person that we have all become accustomed to:

There still aren’t a lot of details surrounding this switch such as will these lounges be available for the free passes that some World Elite cards provide annually such as the BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard. I would assume they will be however sites like BMO’s have not been updated yet for the new partnership. All the Canadian Mastercard issuers still list LoungeKey as the provider for this service. I have reached out to some of my contacts to see if I can learn more and will pass along any details as soon as I receive them. 


UPDATE Mon March 28 8:40pm MT

One of our Mastercard sources was able to provide further details as follows:

Mastercard Airport Lounge

  • Mastercard has secured a partnership with lounge network leader Dragon Pass to support our airport lounge benefit. We will be migrating all World and World Elite customers to the Dragon Pass platform in 2022 and Mastercard Airport Experiences will be replaced by Mastercard Travel Pass. This migration will significantly strengthen the value of this benefit with access to over 1,300 lounges globally and dining and spa offers. In addition Canada’s dominant airport lounge player, Plaza Premium, is included in the Dragon Pass network which will significantly expand the domestic lounge footprint to 21 lounges.
  • Pricing: Access to this benefit will continue to be offered on all World and World Elite cards. Pricing of lounge access remains unchanged: each entitlement purchased by a cardholder will be at a rate of $32 USD.
  • Migration Date: Mastercard is making this benefit available at the end of Q1 2022, but the issuing banks have until May 15th, 2022 for migration away from LoungeKey. The current airport lounge benefit provided by Collinson will continue to be supported until the earlier of May 15, 2022 or the date of migration.

Personally I was able to successfully register my WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard on the new Travel Pass by Dragon Pass website so that I could receive a membership and also access the lounge search.

 

You’ll see on the registration page that only four countries the Mastercard operates in have made the switch to this DragonPass membership, Canada, Bahrain, Pakistan and Qatar.

Recommended reading: Rewards Canada’s Guide to Business Class Lounge Access

The next question I have yet to find an answer to but will see if I can learn more soon is how this affects the select Visa cards in Canada that were provided Plaza Premium access for part of 2021 and 2022.

The Visa offers are available until June 30, 2022 so we’ll have to see what happens after that. DragonPass does have partnerships with Visa in other countries so it is entirely possible they may set something up here in Canada as well. AFAIK there’s nothing stopping both Canadian Visa and Mastercard cards teaming up with DragonPass just as how both issuers worked with Priority Pass in the past.

Wrapping it up

This is exciting news for Canadian World and World Elite Mastercard cardholders as they now regain access to over a dozen Plaza Premium lounges in Canada. Some of those were cities where Plaza Premium was the only lounge provider, namely Edmonton and Winnipeg but it also provides access once again to many more lounges in Toronto and Vancouver. All I can say this is a great development for them.

Click here to learn more about Mastercard Travel Pass by DragonPass