The Priority Pass program has been getting a lot of good press lately due to their expansion of both their lounges and airport restaurants. A fellow traveler recently asked me about the lounges and how to get access to them. I was boarding a plane so didn’t have time to explain it, so I sent them to our website to read up on the Priority Pass program. Well, the next email I got from them was rather surprising. There wasn’t anything recent on TWG for them to read about Priority Pass (Grant did write about using the Priority Pass app back in October 2015). So here’s one for you, fellow traveler, and I’m sorry I sent you on a wild goose chase.
What Is Priority Pass?
Priority Pass is a program with more than one thousand airport lounges all over the world. More often than not, people pay a yearly membership fee for unlimited Priority Pass lounge access. But there are credit cards that come with free Priority Pass lounge access as one of their benefits.
- Check out our Top Rewards cards to boost your points earning, travel more, and gain access to lounges!
And this benefit can be tricky because depending on which credit card you have, the rules and benefits are different. Costs (if not free) vary as do the number of guests you can bring into the lounge with you.
For instance, all versions of the American Express Platinum Card provide free lounge access for the cardholder and up to two guests. The American Express Hilton Surpass Credit Card charges $27 per person per visit. Some Chase cards come with Priority Pass lounge access. Both the JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Cards grant free access to the cardholder and don’t limit the number of guests. The Citi Prestige Credit Card grants free access for the cardholder and also immediate family members OR up to two guests. Some cards have limits on the number of times you can use the lounge, and then after that charge per visit. You can see from this list, it’s important to know which cards allow for what! And people have reported that “unlimited” doesn’t always mean “unlimited”, with lounges denying entry based on their capacity.
I learned the hard way a few years ago, since all the Priority Pass cards that you’ll receive once you have the credit cards look alike, to make sure I know which Priority Pass card is which. I got charged $27 for a visit because I grabbed the wrong card when I left home. I took the card that charges for access rather than one of the ones that grants me free access. Now of course I have all my cards marked. Your system doesn’t matter, just don’t get the cards confused!
I don’t know about you, but I find the whole idea of having airport lounge access really changed my experience of travel. It just makes the whole experience more relaxing and less stressful. I like the Priority Pass lounges and find it to be a useful credit card benefit. My first choice is always a Centurion Lounge, but I’ve also been pleased with many of the Priority Pass lounges in Canada as well as in Europe, especially this past year when I discovered the Priority Pass lounge in Rome (FCO). That might be my favorite one so far!
Do you have any unique ways of keeping track of which Priority Pass card is which? How often are you using these lounges? Have you tried any of the Priority Pass restaurants? Let me know!