What’s the policy on airport lounge-hopping?

Want to visit multiple airline lounges on a single ticket? Here's the restrictions you should know about.

One of the small joys of the miles game is to go lounge-hopping, visiting multiple airport lounges before your flight.

At Changi Airport, for example, Priority Pass has a total of nine lounges available (10, if you count the Changi Lounge at Jewel). Assuming your membership allows for it, there’s nothing stopping you from doing a mini-safari, sampling appetisers in the SATS Premier Lounge and finishing off with dessert at the marhaba Lounge.

Marhaba, SATS Premier, Plaza Premium or Ambassador Transit Lounge at Changi? Or all four?

I personally don’t bother, unless I’m trying to review multiple lounges at one go. You’ll quickly discover that the F&B options at contract lounges tend to be underwhelming — just different permutations of soft drinks and warmed-over buffets — and if you have elderly or young children in tow, it’s not always easy to up and relocate to a different place.

However, it can be a very different story when it comes to airline lounges. I’d happily do a oneworld Lounge safari at Changi, dropping in at the British Airways, Qantas and Qatar Airways lounges in T1, before hopping over to Cathay Pacific in T4 just for the heck of it.

So if you wish to lounge hop, for novelty value or otherwise, here’s the restrictions you should be aware of.

Lounge memberships

The policy on lounge-hopping depends on which lounge membership programme you have.

DragonPass

DragonPass offers members both lounge visits and set meals.

The following time restrictions apply:

💳 Cards with DragonPass Access
CardFree Visits*LoungeSet Meal
HSBC Jade Debit Card2Once per 2 hr.Once per 5 hr.
CIMB Visa Infinite3
UOB VI Metal Card
(+1 guest)
Citi Private Client Debit Card2Once per 2 hr.
HSBC TravelOne Card4
UOB Lady’s Solitaire Metal Card
6
*All free visits are tracked by membership year, except HSBC TravelOne Card and UOB Lady’s Solitaire Metal Card which follows calendar year

Regardless of which card issued your DragonPass:

  • You’ll be able to visit a maximum of one lounge every two hours
  • You’ll be able to redeem a maximum of one set meal every five hours (except cards with the Mastercard Travel Pass, where the limit is two hours)
❓ What if I have a guest?

If you have a guest, you’ll be able to redeem an additional set meal at a given restaurant, but are still subject to the “timeout period” when visiting a second restaurant. For example, my companion and I could each enjoy one set meal at Restaurant A, and after a 5-hour wait, another one set meal each at Restaurant B.

Do note that each guest needs to show a boarding pass, so if you’re travelling solo, you won’t be able to redeem 2x set meals, even if your DragonPass has a guest allowance.

The HSBC TravelOne Card’s visits cannot be shared with a guest.

Do note that the lounge/set meal entitlements are standalone. For example:

  • If you visit a lounge, there is no timeout period before you can redeem a set menu
  • If you redeem a set menu, there is no timeout period before you can visit a lounge

Just be mindful you don’t mistake a restaurant for a lounge, or vice versa. For instance, TGM at Changi Airport Terminal 2 is sometimes mistaken for a lounge, when it’s in fact a restaurant. If you redeem a visit here, it’ll be 2-5 hours before you can redeem another set menu.

Assuming you have no intention of lounge-hopping, could the mandatory 2-hour gap between lounge visits cause issues nonetheless?

The main scenario where I could see this happening is transits. If you’re connecting in a nearby city like Kuala Lumpur for example, and you happen to pop into the lounge just before your flight from Singapore, you might be slightly inconvenienced on arrival in Kuala Lumpur (that said, boarding starts 30 minutes before the flight, and with a gate-to-gate time of about 70 minutes, it’s not going to be a long wait).

Priority Pass & LoungeKey

Priority Pass and LoungeKey offer members lounge visits, dining credits, and set menus.

The following time restrictions apply:

TypeRestriction
Lounge VisitNone
Dining CreditNone
Set MenuNone
(Once per 24h per restaurant)

Lounge visits are pretty self-explanatory, but what’s the difference between a dining credit and set menu?

As a reminder, here’s the cards which offer Priority Pass/LoungeKey memberships.

💳 Cards with Priority Pass/LoungeKey Access
CardFree Visits*
(Per Year)
PrincipalSupp.
Citi PremierMiles2N/A
DBS Altitude Visa2N/A
AMEX HighFlyer Card2N/A
SCB Journey Card2N/A
Maybank Visa Infinite4N/A
SCB Visa Infinite6N/A
DBS Vantage10N/A
SCB Priority Banking VI12N/A
HSBC Visa Infinite
Citi Prestige + 1 guestN/A
AMEX Platinum Charge
+ 1 guest + 1 guest#
*All free visits are tracked by membership year, except Citi PremierMiles Card which follows calendar year
^With min. AUM S$200K. If AUM falls under S$200K, then two visits
# Only available to first supplementary cardholder

Plaza Premium

Plaza Premium has not imposed any sort of time restrictions on visit utilisations. However, only a handful of airports have more than one Plaza Premium Lounge, and they may be dispersed across different terminals, making lounge-hopping less feasible.

As a reminder, here’s the cards which offer Plaza Premium memberships.

💳 Cards with Plaza Premium Access
CardFree Visits*
(Per Year)
PrincipalSupp.
OCBC Premier Visa Infinite22
BOC Visa Infinite4N/A
OCBC VOYAGE
AMEX Platinum Charge + 1 guest + 1 guest
**All free visits are tracked by membership year, except BOC Visa Infinite which is based on 1 Nov each year to 31 Oct the following year

Do note that all Plaza Premium Lounges are also available on DragonPass, and should you access them via that programme, you’ll be subject to the 2-hour restriction mentioned previously.

Airlines

Qatar Premium Lounge, Singapore

In general, airlines have not explicitly imposed any sort of lounge hopping restrictions, though there have been reports that some carriers keep track of this (whether for internal accounting or for future action, who knows).

However, exceptions sometimes apply. For example, last year I flew from Phuket to Singapore on Singapore Airlines. The designated lounge for Business Class passengers is The Coral Executive Lounge, but there’s also a THAI Airways Lounge which I could visit by virtue of Star Alliance affiliation.

When I visited The Coral Executive Lounge, my boarding pass was stamped. When I subsequently tried to visit the THAI Airways Lounge, I was denied entry due to the stamp. This is one way that airlines seek to limit their reimbursement expenses (since they need to pay every time their passenger visits a lounge). 

Fortunately, this does not appear to be a widespread phenomenon yet, which allows you to plan some fun little itineraries, like the aforementioned Changi Airport lounge safari, or London Heathrow Terminal 3 (American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas). Likewise, when you’re flying out of Hong Kong, there’s nothing stopping you from visiting The Pier, The Wing, The Deck (Cathay Pacific) and the Qantas Lounge. 

Conclusion

Lounge-hopping can be a fun way to pass the time while waiting for a flight, though the quality of your experience really depends on which airport you’re at. I personally haven’t found very many contract lounges that impressed me, but airline lounge hopping can be quite an adventure indeed. 

At the moment, only DragonPass has imposed time-based restrictions on the number of lounges that can be visited, though Priority Pass, LoungeKey and DragonPass all imposed restrictions when it comes to set menu redemptions. 

For airlines, it’s more hit and miss. While there’s no official policy prohibiting the practice, you may sometimes run into restrictions like I did in Phuket. 

Which airports are best for lounge hopping?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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