The Priority Pass program is a great perk when traveling to escape the airport crowds, grab a bite to eat, or take a shower.
The program allows you to access a network of 1,300+ airport lounges and even airport restaurants with a $28-30 credit per person.
There are even some interesting options including a SleepBox, a private “Minute Suite,” a virtual driving range, a whiskey tasting, a gaming lounge, and even a lounge with an outdoor pool.
For many people, Priority Pass is a benefit of a credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or American Express Platinum that allows for free visits with guests.
Getting Priority Pass
You can buy a Priority Pass Membership, but it can be quite expensive when you factor in visit fees and guests.
Instead, I recommend you get a credit card that offers Priority Pass as a perk, which gets you free visits.
However, it is important to note that American Express cards do not allow you to access restaurants in the Priority Pass program.
The credit cards with Priority Pass are:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve– Unlimited visits with two guests.
- $450 annual fee, but $300 travel credit.
- Authorized users can be added for $75 and get Priority Pass.
- Citi Prestige– Unlimited guests with two guests or immediate family members (spouse, domestic partner, and/or children under 18 years of age).
- $495 annual fee, but $250 travel credit and complimentary fourth hotel night free (2x per year).
- Authorized users only cost $50 each and get Priority Pass.
- American Express Platinum– Unlimited visits with two guests.
- $550 annual fee, but $200 airline credit, $200 Uber Credit, $100 Saks, Delta SkyClub Membership, and Centurion Lounge Access.
- Three authorized users can be added for $175 in total and each get Priority Pass.
- American Express Platinum Business– Unlimited visits with two guests.
- $595 annual fee, but $200 airline credit, $200 Dell credit, 10 Go-Go in-flight wifi passes, Delta SkyClub Membership, and Centurion Lounge Access.
- Each authorized user is $300 and gets Priority Pass.
- American Express Hilton Honors Aspire– Unlimited visits with two guests.
- $450 annual fee, but Hilton Diamond Elite Status, free weekend night, $250 airline credit, and $250 resort credit.
- American Express Hilton Honors Surpass– 10 free visits. If you bring a guest, that counts as an additional visit.
- $95 annual fee, but Hilton Gold Elite Status.
- American Express Hilton Business– 10 free visits. If you bring a guest, that counts as an additional visit.
- $95 annual fee, but Hilton Gold Elite Status.
- American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant– Unlimited visits with two guests.
- $450 annual fee, but $300 Marriott credit, one free hotel night, Marriott Gold Elite Status, and Global Entry credit.
- U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve– Four visits plus four guests.
- $400 annual fee with $325 travel credit.
- Chase Ritz Carlton (discontinued)- Unlimited visits with two guests.
- Authorized users are unlimited, free, and also get Priority Pass.
Tips and Tricks
Request Your Priority Pass Early- A very common mistake is to not request your Priority Pass from your credit card issuer until only a few days before travel. It takes about 7-10 days to get a Priority Pass sent to you, so try to request one well in advance of your travels.
Check for Limited Hours- Some lounges only allow Priority Pass cardholders to access the lounge at certain times throughout the day. These are typically the international airline lounges, who need to fill the lounge during off-peak hours in between their international flights. So be sure to check the fine print before you go. (Example: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Newark only allows Priority Pass from 12 pm to 5 pm)
Plaza Premium Lounges Are Great- Plaza Premium lounges are my favorite Priority Pass lounges to visit. They have about 70 lounges in 30 airports. Most of them are on Priority Pass. They are generally really well run, have great food, drinks, and showers.
Many Lounges Are Not Great- Priority Pass has a large mix of lounges. Some are great like the Turkish Lounge in Washington D.C., but some are only slightly better than the terminal like the lounge in Bermuda. On our Lounge Map below, we included the Google Maps listing (if available) that offers reviews so that you can judge whether it is worth a visit.
Airports With Good Lounges- The airports with a good selection of above-average Priority Pass lounges are: Washington D.C. (IAD), Bangkok (BKK), London (LHR), Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sydney, Hong Kong, Taipei, Vancouver, Singapore, Helsinki, and Paris (CDG).
Lounges in the U.S. are Decent- With the exception of Washington D.C. (IAD), the traditional airport lounge selection at U.S. airports is pretty mediocre. The amount of U.S. travelers with Priority Pass has skyrocketed due to credit cards now including it as a benefit, which is why Priority Pass started to build more “The Club” locations at U.S. Airports and started the restaurant program. However, the Club Lounges are pretty good, but they could be a lot better if they were run more like Escape Lounges. (The U.S. Escape lounges are only accessible for free with American Express Platinum, but the U.K. Escape Lounges are mostly included in Priority Pass)
Check for Lounges With Showers- Taking a shower in an airport is one of my favorite experiences, especially after a long flight. If a lounge has a shower, we noted it in our Lounge Map below.
Overcrowding Can Be an Issue- Lounges can get pretty packed during the peak travel hours, especially for lounges at U.S. Airports since many U.S. credit cards offer Priority Pass.
Reserve Your Minute Suites- Minute Suites are private rooms with a couch and a TV, but they fill up fast. The great thing is that you can reserve the Suites online for free in advance.
Food Is Typically Basic- Don’t expect gourmet food unless you visit one of the Priority Pass restaurants. Most of the time you will have a mix of fruits, veggies, soup, snacks, cheese, and a small appetizer. But most of the time, you will have access to free alcohol, which is the most important food group.
Free Wifi- Almost every Priority Pass lounge has free Wi-Fi that is usually faster than the terminal.