PSA: Don’t use your Priority Pass Select Card from your American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass Credit Card

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This parent teacher association transportation security administration public service announcement is important if you have one or more Priority Pass Select cards.  Can you tell the difference between these two cards?

2 Priority Pass Cards

These cards may look almost the same, but one of them will charge you a $27 fee every time you (yes, the cardholder) enter a Priority Pass lounge.  Here is the email I received a few minutes ago.  If you do not get emails from American Express about “card not present” transactions, you can turn on the alerts from your American Express account.

AMEX Card Not Present Email

First, some background information.  One Priority Pass Select card is from my American Express Mercedes Benz Platinum credit card and the second Priority Pass Select card is from my American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass credit card.  You might be thinking, great, you got two cards, what’s the big deal?

Let me show you…

Here is what one of the Priority Pass Select card says:

Priority Pass AMEX Platinum Charges

Here is what the other Priority Pass Select card says:

Priority Pass HH Surpass Charges

The first card has no charge for the cardholder and a $27 charge for each additional guest.  The second card, however, charges you and your guests $27 per visit.  Crazy huh?

After looking closely at the American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass credit card home page, here is what the Lounge Access perk says (complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, but with a $27 fee per person per visit.  Am I reading that right?):

Priority Pass HH Surpass AMEX Home

Here is a copy of the Terms and Conditions:

Priority PassTM Select
You will be automatically enrolled in Priority PassTM Select after your first purchase is made with your Hilton HHonorsTM Surpass® Card. Once enrolled, you will receive your Priority Pass Select card directly from Priority Pass within 6-8 weeks. The annual membership fee valued at $99 is waived each year for Hilton HHonors Surpass Card Members. All lounge visits are subject to a fee of U.S. $27 per person per visit, which will be automatically charged to your Card. Priority Pass Select membership automatically renews on the anniversary date of your enrollment. Priority Pass membership may be cancelled by American Express if your Card is cancelled or in default. Cash advances, balance transfers, fees or interest charges, purchases of traveler’s checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards or purchases of other cash equivalents do not apply towards the first purchase requirement. Priority Pass Select membership provides access to airport lounges participating in the Priority Pass Select program. Participating lounges are owned and operated by independent third parties and their participation and/or facilities may change. Effective October 1, 2011, Continental and United lounges will not be available to Priority Pass members who obtained their membership through financial institutions, including Hilton HHonors Surpass Card Members. To access a lounge, you must show your valid Priority Pass Select card and an airline ticket for travel on the same day for you and each of your guests. Additional Card Members are not eligible for this benefit. Lounge fees and rules of participating lounges are subject to change. Priority Pass Select membership is subject to the Priority Pass Conditions of Use. For complete Priority Pass terms and conditions and a listing of participating lounges, please visit

By comparison, here is what the American Express Mercedes Benz Platinum credit card says about the Priority Pass Select membership (no fees mentioned):

Priority Pass AMEX Plat Home

Here is a copy of the terms and conditions:

Priority PassTM Select
These Terms and Conditions govern Platinum Card Members’ participation in and use of the Priority PassTM Select program. Priority Pass is an independent airport lounge access program. By enrolling in Priority Pass Select, you agree that you will be responsible for all accompanying guest visits and will be automatically charged $27 per guest to your Platinum Card® from American Express after you have signed for the visit and it has been reported to Priority Pass by the participating lounge. Additionally, you acknowledge and agree that American Express will verify your Card account number and provide updated Card account information to Priority Pass from time to time. Priority Pass will use this information to fulfill on the Priority Pass Select program and may use this information for marketing related to the program. Once enrolled, Platinum Card Members in good standing may access participating Priority Pass Select lounges by presenting your Priority Pass Select card and airline boarding pass. In some lounges, Priority Pass Select member must be 21 years of age to enter without a parent or guardian. Priority Pass Select members must adhere to all house rules of participating lounges. Amenities may vary among airport lounge locations. Conference rooms, where available, may be reserved for a nominal fee. Priority Pass Select lounge partners and locations are subject to change. All Priority Pass Select members must adhere to the Priority Pass Conditions of Use, which will be sent to you with your membership package, and can be viewed at Upon receipt of your enrollment information, Priority Pass will send your Priority Pass Select card and membership package which you should receive within 10–14 business days. If you have not received the Priority Pass card after 14 days, please contact American Express using the number on the back of your American Express® Card. Please note, additional Gold Card Members are not eligible for membership.

Unfortunately, I have already been charged one $27 fee (for using the “wrong” Priority Pass Select card) with another $27 charge probably coming soon.  I will talk to American Express when I get back to the United States and tell them it was an honest mistake and I grabbed the “wrong” Priority Pass Select card.  I thought they were the same cards with the same fee structure.  I will report back my findings soon.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

8 thoughts on “PSA: Don’t use your Priority Pass Select Card from your American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass Credit Card

  1. Trin

    I just got the same problem! I have no idea which priority cards I have came form which credit cards….. Somehow I ended up owning 3 priority passes…. Just grabbed the one with ( longest expiring date )

    Now on the trip to Asia…and I already visited 3 lounges …….

    1. Grant

      Just call AMEX afterwards and explain the situation to the rep. I was able to get refunded all my Priority Pass swipes on the wrong card.

    1. Grant Post author

      I no longer have the American Express Hilton Surpass Credit Card but I believe you got the Priority Pass membership for free but each Priority Pass lounge visit cost you money.


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