Exclusive: Visa Lounge Access program expanding to 22 Indian cities

One of the most sought-after credit card benefits I’m asked about all the time is Airport Lounge Access. While initially, this was the mainstay of those who held a Priority Pass or a super premium credit card such as Amex, these days it has become much more liberal thanks to the Visa Lounge Access Program and MasterCard’s initiative on the same lines.

Visa Lounge Access

The Visa Lounge Access program, which has been around for many years now but gained prominence about five years ago, currently provides access to 11 lounges in 5 Indian Cities (Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi). The current program is on offer through September 2018 and allows for Visa Signature and Visa Infinite users to access the lounges.

Visa Lounge Access program is expanding in 2018

It seems Visa has finally realised that this is not enough, given that it leaves out India’s tier 2 cities and most places where Visa cards may be issued. As a comparison, MasterCard has much broader coverage in 12 cities. So, in a current version of the revamped program that is perhaps still under discussion, Visa will most probably expand the program to many new cities in India. Here are all the airports that the new Visa Lounge Access program intends to cover:

  1. Ahmedabad
  2. Bangalore
  3. Bhubaneshwar
  4. Calicut
  5. Chennai
  6. Chandigarh
  7. Cochin
  8. Dehradun
  9. Delhi
  10. Goa
  11. Hyderabad
  12. Jaipur
  13. Kolkata
  14. Lucknow
  15. Mumbai
  16. Pune
  17. Patna
  18. Raipur
  19. Trivandrum
  20. Udaipur
  21. Vishakhapatnam
  22. Varanasi

When implemented, the program will have the most extensive coverage in India for lounges, beating American Express which has 30 lounges across India, and MasterCard Moments, which is spread across 12 cities and 27 lounges.

This is good news for the users of the Visa Lounge Access program, given when this takes shape finally, Visa card subscribers will be able to get lounge access to a far more extensive number of locations. But who knows, because MasterCard has not notified the list for 2018 lounges yet, and maybe all of these are already in the bag for them as well.

What has been your experience with the Visa Lounge Access program and what are your views on the upcoming changes to the program?

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  1. I tend to visit once a year…

    My experience with the Indian lounge at least in Delhi, chennai is getting worse every time i visit. The quality of food is worse and lounge is overcrowded. Some how air india lounge seems less crowded from outside… premium plaza ones are worse..their lounge is loke BA business class… packed without any quality of service…. Most of the people are fighting with front lady to gain access, for more than one person to enter.

    Water bottle are never cold…. because it can hardly stay in refrigerator .. As soon as it is filled …get empty …

    • There is a lounge, but only for minister, judges or other officials only. There is no wifi, no TV, nothing in vizag airport

  2. Outside of Mumbai/Delhi/Bangalore I do not bother with lounges. Most of them are lousy
    Chennai and Pune – Crappy lounges. Goa – Has a queue 15-20 deep waiting to enter.

    • Totally agree about the Pune lounge. I heard it’s going to be renovated so it may improve.

      That said I can barely get a seat in the Delhi lounge on most days.

      More people visiting the same lounges will only make things worse.

    • Chennai lounges are relatively poor but there are multiple lounges for international and two for domestic departures operated by Plaza Premium. So I have seen at least it is not crowded like a railway waiting hall. Also the food tastes better but less variety available.

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