Everything You Should Know About Priority Pass

Priority Pass is by far the largest airport lounge access company in the world. The company offers the largest selection of lounges and restaurants around the globe. Needless to stay relaxing in a lounge, before a flight can turn your airport experience on its head and take a lot of the stress out of being at a busy airport. So read along to find out everything there is to know about the Priority Pass program.

Priority Pass footprint

Priority Pass has a massive network of lounges and airport lounges spread across the globe. It is present in 140 countries worldwide and features over 1,200 facilities.  Not all Priority Pass airport locations are lounge though. Over the last couple of years, Priority Pass has added a large number of airport restaurants to its network.

Image: Priority Pass

Using your membership at restaurants is pretty easy. Simply head over to your chosen restaurant (some are located airside after security, some are landside), show your card, and then order your food and drink as usual. When it comes to paying you will receive a credit (usually $28) towards your bill.

Photo: Unsplash

While there it seems that Priority Pass is adding restaurants every week, their coverage is not as widespread as the company’s lounges. Most restaurants are in the US, and there are some in Europe. In the rest of the world, though, participating restaurants are scarce.

Membership Levels

Priority Pass has three levels of membership. Three fee-paying memberships, and one complimentary membership. The three levels of fee-paying membership are Standard, Standard Plus, and Prestige.

Airport lounge
Photo: Wikimedia

Standard:

  • Membership costs $99 per year
  • Each visit costs you $32
  • Each guest is charged $32

Standard Plus:

  • Membership costs $299 per year
  • Your first 10 visits are complimentary
  • After your complimentary visit, each visit costs you $32
  • Guests are charged $32 per visit

Prestige:

  • Membership costs $499 per year
  • All lounge and restaurant visits are free
  • Each guest is charged $32 per visit
Image: Priority Pass

If you are interested in purchasing a Priority Pass membership, you can do so directly, or another good option is to find a discount code/coupon from a site like Groupon.com. Although you will have to purchase the code, you will end up with a discount of between 25-50% on your membership fee, or in some cases an additional number of complimentary visits.

Paying With Hotel Points

One thing to remember is that some loyalty programs allow you to pay for your Priority Pass Membership using points. Currently, you can pay for membership with Hilton Honors, and Marriott Bonvoy points. Cost for paid memberships are as follows:

Hilton Honors:

  • Standard- 36,500 points
  • Standard Plus- 101,500 points
  • Prestige- 161,500

Marriott Bonvoy:

With the launch of Marriott Bonvoy, you can redeem your points for lounge visits. However Marriott does not publish prices, and you have to contact them directly to inquire.

While it may seem attractive to redeem your points for lounge access, it is generally not a good deal, and the price in points is relatively high. You are much better off getting your Priority Pass membership through Premium credit card enrollment.

Priority Pass Select

Priority Pass Select is offered to financial institutions, to provide to holders of their premium credit cards. Most premium cards include it as a card benefit at no extra charge other than the annual card fee. With Priority Pass Select membership all visits are free, and the card issuer determines the number of guests and fee per guest. Typically, most premium cards like the CSR, allow you two free guests per visit.

Priority Pass Select

Credit Cards Offering Priority Pass Select

Multiple cards offer Priority Pass select membership. While each card will have its own access policy, in terms of fee and number of guests, broadly speaking, they are mainly similar. Also, some cards will provide you with other lune access benefits.

CardCard holder AccessGuests Annual fee
Chase Sapphire ReserveUnlimited Free visits2 guests free$450
The Platinum Card from American ExpressUnlimited Free visits2 guests free$550
The Business Platinum Card from American ExpressUnlimited Free visits2 guests free$595
Citi Prestige CardUnlimited Free visits2 guests free$450
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit CardUnlimited Free visitsunlimited$450
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire CardUnlimited Free visits2 guests free$450
Crystal Visa Infinite Credit CardUnlimited Free visitsunlimited$400

Mobile App

If you are fed up of walking around with a wallet or purse stuffed full cards, then you won’t have to worry with the Priority Pass mobile app. The app allows you to search the network for your nearest lounge and provides you with a digital card to use.

One thing to remember though is that with lounges spread over 140 countries around the world, not all of them accept digital cards. So it is always wise to check ahead of time if you need to bring your physical card with you or not.

Image: Priority Pass

Final Thoughts

Deciding to get membership will ultimately depend on your travel patterns and airline status. If you mainly fly the same airline and hold elite status with lounge access regardless of class of travel, then membership may not be beneficial. On the other hand, if you travel regularly across multiple airlines and have no other way of accessing a lounge, then either a paid membership or Priority Pass Select membership may be a great option. If you hardly travel (once or twice per year), then you could always consider paying a one-off cash payment to access a lounge on your trip.

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While I inderstand this maybe paid content by priority pass, I always wondered about it’s usability. Most lounges in the priority pass network are available for some immediate cash payment, and that payment is usually lower than 32$. So what is the value in the standard/plus plan?

RD

point!

Caroline

For very active Solo travellers the Prestige Priority Pass is the best option in my opinion for everything is free and the membership affordable.($429 per year)

Matt

I think the Platinum Amex is the best option because you get way more benefits on top of the Priority pass membership.