Priority Pass UK guests are set to see a cost increase in the coming months. This change will only affect those with UK accounts, who pay in GBP. The company have stated the move is commercially based – they have been absorbing costs for sometime. But some members wonder if a weakening UK pound has driven the decision, or if there could be another reason behind the hike.
Priority Pass is the world’s largest association of airport lounges. It’s guests have access to over 1,200 lounges, bars and restaurants in airports all over the world. For those who wish to bring a guest along, the US members’ fee is $27 per head. For UK members it’s £15, around $20-$21. However, the Priority Pass guest cost UK wide will soon go up to £20 per visitor, bringing it more in line with the US cost.
Guest cost increase priority pass issues
While this would seem perfectly fair at a first glance, anyone who’s traded customer experiences with a person of the other nationality may see the issue. In the US, although you can purchase it, the Priority Pass is often a free gift enticement in a credit card deal. In the UK, you have to pay for a yearly membership. An entry level pass costs £69 per annum, the Prestige level is £259. Regardless of which pass you hold, you have to pay the same rate for a guest.
Why are UK guests getting the sharp end?
Regarding the guest cost increase Priority Pass have said it is long over due. It’s been 10 years since the last price rise and they need to raise revenues. However, only applying it to those already paying out of their own pockets does seem like a strange move. I can only assume, the credit card companies in the US are helping to absorb the difference with a new deal. Perhaps they have vetoed a raise in US guests costs as it would make the gift less attractive.
Another reason could be the weakening pound and the changes Brexit is likely to bring. Perhaps Priority Pass are making the necessary changes in advance so as avoid criticism at a later date.
What does the guest cost increase priority pass mean for restaurant visits?
While this move is clearly applicable to lounges which provide free coffee and refreshments, what about Priority Pass restaurants? Surely these businesses want to ensure they continue to get guests through the door. People spend more in group than they do alone. So will they absorb the extra cost? Are they even allowed to do so?
On the other hand, there has been a lot of comment about how busy UK and European Priority Pass lounges have become. When you can’t find a seat, it doesn’t feel very exclusive anymore. Perhaps this move will deter members from bring guests inside. In some of the busiest PP lounges, this might be a good thing. Less crowding would also make the pass more attractive to those considering renewal.
Either way, we’ll probably have to wait six months before we see any difference in guest levels. The price increase will come into effect September 18, 2018.