Mastercard Canada Will Replace LoungeKey with DragonPass

In yet another installment of the long-running airport lounge drama, Mastercard Canada will be moving away from LoungeKey and will link up with DragonPass.

This means that Canadian Mastercard holders will regain access to Plaza Premium lounges, which is the predominant lounge operator at many Canadian airports.

Background: Plaza Premium, Priority Pass, and LoungeKey

Until 2021, Priority Pass was the undisputed leading network for independent airport lounges with several Visa and American Express credit card partnerships in Canada, with LoungeKey taking on a secondary role and partnering with Canadian-issued Mastercards.

Plaza Premium lounges, with a significant presence in Canada, were a part of both airport lounge networks. However, in July 2021, Plaza Premium cut ties with Priority Pass and LoungeKey, forming their own independent lounge network known as DragonPass instead.

Air France Lounge Montreal, operated by Plaza Premium

Canada’s Visa cards soon linked up with DragonPass to offer continued Plaza Premium lounge access through at least June 2022. Canada’s American Express cards were largely unaffected, since they already had existing partnerships with the Plaza Premium group.

However, most Canadian Mastercard holders no longer had access to the Plaza Premium lounges across Canada via Mastercard’s LoungeKey offering. Certainly, some cardholders might’ve been tempted into switching to a Visa or Amex as a result. 

Mastercard has finally taken action to address this shortcoming, announcing that the transition from LoungeKey to DragonPass for all Canadian-issued Mastercards with lounge access benefits will take place by the summer of 2022.

Register Your Mastercard for DragonPass

DragonPass is the third major global airport lounge network and an emerging competitor to PriorityPass and LoungeKey. The platform offers lounge access to over 1,000 airport lounges and other member benefits such as discounts on dining, limousines, and meet & greets. 

By the summer of 2022, Canadians with an eligible World or World Elite Mastercard will have free access to the latest Mastercard Travel Pass program via DragonPass. 

Indeed, it’s already possible to register for DragonPass using certain Canadian-issued Mastercards. On the top-right corner of the Mastercard Travel Pass website, you’ll find an orange button labelled “Register.” From there, you’ll be able to input your Mastercard details to set up your new DragonPass membership.

Using my HSBC World Elite Mastercard, I was able to successfully set up a DragonPass account.

Note that most Canadian Mastercards currently only offer a complimentary LoungeKey membership, rather than complimentary lounge visits (i.e., cardholders still have to pay the standard fee of US$32 per visit). The only exception is the BMO World Elite Mastercard, which offers four free LoungeKey visits.

(Generally speaking, the best way to access Plaza Premium lounges is still with an American Express Platinum Card or Business Platinum Card, which provides unlimited lounge visits for yourself and one guest.)

It remains to be seen whether the various Mastercards’ agreements with DragonPass will be more generous to cardholders with some free lounge visits thrown in, now that a broader range of Plaza Premium lounges are accessible.

We’ll also have to wait until the summer to see how DragonPass and Visa Canada’s current partnership plays out – in particular, whether it continues alongside, or perhaps even replaces, Visa Canada’s Priority Pass benefits given Plaza Premium’s much stronger domestic footprint. 

Indeed, with DragonPass now well-positioned to dominate the Canadian credit card lounge access market (rather than the splintered pre-2021 arrangement between Priority Pass and LoungeKey), I’d expect that the eligible Visa cards would eventually transition to using a dedicated DragonPass account as a more permanent benefit, just like the Mastercard side.

I’m also hopeful that some of our Mastercard products might receive elevated lounge access benefits as a result.

Lounge access has certainly been a weak point of Mastercard’s credit card portfolio, and in my view, the network and its issuers would do well to compete on a more level footing with Visa’s offerings now that they may be brought under the same DragonPass umbrella. 


A new partnership with DragonPass will replace the current LoungeKey benefit on Canadian-issued World and World Elite Mastercards, allowing cardholders to regain access to over a dozen Plaza Premium lounges throughout Canada. 

However, as things currently stand, Mastercard’s complimentary DragonPass membership still requires most cardholders to pay a US$32 entrance fee per visit, which isn’t as attractive as competing Visa products with complimentary lounge visits. 

Expect the airport lounge drama to continue in 2022, as Plaza Premium and DragonPass look to build on their dominance in Canada and the networks and issuers jockey for a slice of the pie. 

  1. Erin Day

    My Dragon pass account was comprimised and a fraudulent transaction made to my credit card. Disputing with dragonpass has been a nightmare, dealing with UK timezone. and to date no refund has been given. I assume a lounge agent typed the wrong account in, and i got charged. Will be cancelling card because of this as they have no real way of stopping this happening again

  2. JB

    Worked with my Desjardins World Elite MC to enrol. Not yet with my Brim MC (which I usually use to dodge FX fees, which I’d like to use for USD lounge charges.)

  3. Frankie

    free for cardholder and +1 with their jade world elite card

  4. Jimmy

    Poor wording from HSBC for my World elite.
    “This new program offers unlimited access to over 1,300 airport lounges”
    Unlimited paying access

  5. David

    Once you make an account you can add all your Mastercards to the profile. I imagine in the future some will add free visits too.

  6. zaf

    Don’t forget the HSBC JADE WE MC – it has unlimited lounge visits for the cardholder + guest. It just might be the only MC in Canada with such a benefit

  7. Alex YYZ

    Disappointing to see that the WE by HSBC doesn’t offer any free visits.
    Odd for a card that tries to position itself in a mid-tier travel-oriented area.

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