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Guide to Priority Pass lounges

Save on dining and Wi-Fi to take some stress out of your next vacation

Summary

This huge collection of airport lounges is a plushy escape for frequent travelers.

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If you are a frequent traveler, you’ve probably walked by plush airport lounges, offering an escape from hectic crowds. From free food and drink to spa treatments, these lounges provide a bevy of luxury benefits that make your trip a bit more relaxed.

One of the largest networks of airport lounges, Priority Pass offers these perks and more to its members. Membership can be pricey, but if you own a luxury credit card, you might enjoy access as part of your card membership. Read on to see which cards allow access, what Priority Pass lounges offer and if they are worth the hype.

What is Priority Pass?

Priority Pass is a network of airport lounges and restaurants, with more than 1,200 locations in cities all around the globe. This network is made up of many different brands and partnerships, including both airline-offered lounges and independent lounge networks.

There is a Priority Pass location – whether it be a lounge or restaurant – in most major airports, but you can search for a location in your travel destination on their website.

Priority Pass vs. Priority Pass Select

Priority Pass allows anyone to purchase membership to their program, with varying annual fees based on the membership tier. In addition to the normal membership tiers, Priority Pass Select membership is designed specifically to be offered as a credit card benefit. Whether you are a Priority Pass Select member or regular Priority Pass member, you have access to the program’s full network of lounges around the world.

Which cardholders have Priority Pass access?

Many travel credit cards offer Priority Pass Select membership as part of card membership – usually to help offset a higher annual fee. Here are a few cards that include the benefit as well as their guest policies.

FeesGuest policy
Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase
Sapphire Reserve®

Annual fee

$450

 

Authorized user fee

$75/year for each user

  • Two complimentary guests
  • $27 per additional guest
  • Authorized users are allowed their own access
    and guests
Citi Prestige

Citi
Prestige

Annual fee

$495

 

Authorized user fee

$75/year for each user

  • Two complimentary guests
  • $27 per additional guest
  • Authorized users are allowed their own access
    and guests
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa

U.S.
Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

Annual fee

$400

 

Authorized user fee

$75/year for each user

  • Four free guest visits
  • $27 per additional visit
  • No free access for authorized users
Amex Platinum

The
Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee

$550

 

Authorized user fee

$175/year for up to 3 additional cards

  • Two complimentary guests
  • $32 per additional guest
  • Authorized users are allowed their own access
    and guests
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant

Marriott
Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Annual fee

$450

 

Authorized user fee

None

  • Two complimentary guests
  • $32 per additional guest
  • No free access for authorized users
Hilton Honors Ascend

Hilton
Honors American Express Ascend Card

Annual fee

$95

 

Authorized user fee

None

  • No complimentary guests
  • Cardholders can use one of their allotted
    visits for a guest
  • No free access for authorized users
Hilton Honors Aspire

Hilton
Honors American Express Aspire Card

Annual fee

$450

 

Authorized user fee

None

  • Two complimentary guests
  • $32 per additional guest
  • No free access for authorized users

Keep in mind these cards require you to enroll in the benefit to receive your Priority Pass membership card, so check out the benefits section on your issuer’s website for more information.

Additionally – while most of these cards allow unlimited lounge access – the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa only allows four free visits per year before users are charged a $27 visit fee. Similarly, the American Express Hilton Honors Ascend only allows 10 free visits per year before users are charged a $32 visit fee.

Priority Pass locations

Because Priority Pass includes such a wide network of brands, you can find a lounge or restaurant location in most major airports around the world. In fact, there are more than 1,200 Priority Pass locations across the globe. Before you travel, you can search for participating lounges and restaurants using the lounge finder tool.

Though Priority Pass has a very large network of lounges, there are a few key locations missing from this list. Hubs like Salt Lake City and secondary airports in major cities such as Houston Hobby and Chicago Midway don’t have a lounge. However, the wide network means that even smaller cities have a lounge abroad, so your chances of finding a place to relax are still good.

Priority Pass restaurants

More than just lounges, Priority Pass also partners with restaurants in several major airports to take some of the extra costs off of your travel budget. These restaurants offer a discount for members (typically $28 off your bill, not including gratuity). Many restaurants will also allow you to register a guest to boost your savings. Just be sure to check out the terms and conditions of each location before you arrive, as exact discounts and policies can vary.

Priority Pass Minute Suites

In addition to lounge and restaurant locations, Priority Pass offers access to a select number of Minute Suites in the U.S. These suites are small rooms with a bed and desk, allowing a quiet place to rest on longer layovers. The price of using these suites is typically pretty high, but Priority Pass members get one hour free and a discounted rate on additional time.

Unfortunately, there aren’t very many Minute Suite locations at the moment. The following airports have a location, but you’ll be out of luck anywhere else:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
  • Philadelphia International Airport

Priority Pass lounges

While the restaurant discounts can save you money while you travel, Priority Pass is known for its wide network of plush lounges – offering a slew of perks that can take some of the stress out of  your trip. Here are a few things to know about these lounges.

What perks do they include?

Priority Pass encompasses several different brands of lounges, including locations of several airlines. Benefits of each lounge can vary, but often include the following:

  • Complimentary drinks and snacks
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Flight assistance
  • Conference rooms and business areas in some locations
  • Spa treatments (for purchase) in some locations

Can I bring a guest?

Guest policies vary by both card and lounge, so check out the terms and conditions of the lounges in your destination before you travel. During peak times, you might not be allowed a guest in a Priority Pass lounge, even if your membership permits guest access.

Membership fees

If you don’t have a card that offers Priority Pass Select access, you are able to purchase membership to the program. Membership comes in three tiers, including varying visit fees and limitations.

Membership tierAnnual feeNumber of visits allowedVisit fee (after allotted
free visits)
Guest fee
Standard$99No free visits$32$32
Standard Plus$29910 free visits$32$32
Prestige$429UnlimitedNone$32

Restrictions

While Priority Pass lounges offer luxury perks, each lounge includes different restrictions to keep in mind before you travel. Policies vary by specific location but can include time restrictions and limited access for guests during peak hours. Before you travel, consider crowds and conditions and keep a close eye on lounge policies.

Priority Pass app

For an easier way to search lounge locations, you can also download the Priority Pass app. It includes the same lounge finder tool as the website but can also recommend lounges based on your current location.

The app also includes indoor airport maps for 10 locations, so you can find step-by-step directions to your closest Priority Pass lounge or restaurant.

When you log in with your Priority Pass membership account, you can also view your visit history to calculate your remaining free visits (if applicable).

Tips for using Priority Pass

  • Register for Priority Pass membership as soon as you open a qualifying credit card – you’ll need your membership card to get into your lounges.
  • Remember to bring your membership card when you fly.
  • Scope out the lounges at your departure, layover and destination airport, including hours and policies so you can know what you are options are ahead of time.
  • Check each lounge’s guest policy before you visit with a guest to make sure unexpected guest fees don’t show up on your credit card later.
  • Consider planning layovers in locations with Priority Pass lounges, to get free food and drink while you wait.

Is Priority Pass worth it?

If you receive Priority Pass membership with your travel card, taking advantage of participating airport lounges and restaurants can be a great way to save money on food and beverages and enjoy a more relaxed trip.

For those who don’t have an eligible credit card, consider the value of perks like free Wi-Fi and restaurant discounts before deciding on a Priority Pass membership. Annual fees can be costly, so the perk is best for frequent travelers.

See related: Guide to Centurion lounges, Guide to American Express lounges

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