Denied Airport Lounge Access? You’re Not Alone. Banks Are Cutting Down On These Special Offers

by Tejashee Kashyap
Denied Airport Lounge Access? You’re Not Alone. Banks Are Cutting Down On These Special Offers

In the world of banking and finance, the concept of lounge access has become increasingly popular and valuable for customers. Banks have been offering lounge access as a perk to their high-end credit card holders. However, in recent times, many banks have been cutting down on lounge access benefits for their customers. This change in policy has left many cardholders disappointed and raises questions about the future of such perks.

Denied Lounge Access?

Free visits to airport lounges, which in the past were a major incentive to bring in new clients, are now a hassle. The number of free visits from banks and credit card companies is now declining. The lounge access benefit is typically associated with premium credit and debit cards. These lounges offer a host of amenities, such as comfortable seating, complimentary snacks and beverages, high-speed Wi-Fi, and even spa services. They have become a haven for frequent travellers, offering a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of busy airports.

Airport lounges, which were formerly exclusive to affluent business executives and luxury travellers, now witness lines that sometimes reach the food court. The freebies that banks and credit card firms give their clients are partially to blame for this.

Credit cardholders’ access to lounges within India has undergone modifications, as announced by HDFC Bank. The modifications will take effect on December 1st for the Regalia credit card. The credit card spending will determine the lounge access programme. Users can access the lounge feature by going to the Regalia Smart Buy page. The bank has established a spending threshold of Rs 1 lakh or more in a calendar year. As part of a quarterly achievement, credit card holders can also receive two free lounge admission vouchers.

Similarly, new minimum spending requirements have been implemented by ICICI Bank and IDFC First Bank for certain credit cards in order to qualify for airport lounge access. Moreover, beginning May 1, the September 2022-launched Cashback SBI Card no longer offers access to airport lounges. Needless to say, this has disappointed a few cardholders.

Also Read: From Patna To Indore, Here Are 10 Indian Cities That Will Soon Get Air India Airport Lounges

Why Is This Happening?

One reason many banks are reconsidering their lounge access policies is the increasing cost associated with maintaining and expanding these facilities. As more people have gained access to these lounges through premium credit cards, they have become more crowded and expensive to operate.

The pandemic also prompted banks to reevaluate their offerings to cardholders. With a decreased interest in travel-related benefits, banks began to explore other perks and incentives that would be more relevant to their customers during this challenging period.

However, some customers argue that this shift in priorities doesn’t align with the high annual fees they pay for premium credit cards. They feel that this was one of the primary reasons they chose these cards, and they’re disappointed to see this benefit being scaled back.

The landscape of premium credit card perks is evolving, and lounge access is not immune to these changes. Whether this trend continues or reverses, but it is clear that banks are facing new challenges. They are in delivering this sought-after benefit to their premium cardholders.

Cover image credits: Canva

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