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If you travel frequently, you probably know about the secret enclaves known as airport lounges. Airport lounges can be a valuable refuge offering a place to rest or work after a long flight. Some lounges even offer amenities like showers to help you refresh.
One of the largest lounge access programs is Priority Pass. A version of this lounge access program, Priority Pass Select, is frequently included as a benefit of rewards credit cards and can be one of the most valuable benefits if you hold a premium credit card.
Here’s everything you need to know about Priority Pass.
What is Priority Pass?
Priority Pass Select is a lounge access program offering its members access to over 1,300 partner airline lounges. Priority Pass memberships are available as a standalone product, but most members of Priority Pass receive the membership as a benefit of holding a rewards credit card. Most credit cards with lounge access like Priority Pass are high-end premium credit cards with annual fees north of $400 and are meant for frequent travelers.
How Priority Pass works
Many of the best credit cards for travel offer Priority Pass Select membership as a cardmember benefit, but you can’t simply apply for the card and expect to waltz into any airport lounge the next day. To receive your Priority Pass membership offered by your credit card with lounge access, you must typically enroll in the benefit and request your Priority Pass membership card.
Depending on your credit card, delivery of your Priority Pass membership credentials can take between three and ten business days. Upon receipt of your Priority Pass card, you’re ready to start traveling and experiencing the Priority Pass network of airport lounges.
To access a Priority Pass lounge when traveling, present your ID, Priority Pass membership card and your same-day boarding pass to the lounge check-in agent. The agent will verify your credentials, count the number of guests and process your visit request. If your Priority Pass membership includes a limited allotment of visits, the applicable number of visits will be deducted from your allotment. If your visit is subject to a charge, either for yourself or for your guests, the visit will be automatically billed to the credit card associated with your Priority Pass Select membership.
Who can use Priority Pass
If your credit card offers a Priority Pass membership, you can access Priority Pass lounges when you travel. Lounge access requires that you have a same-day, confirmed ticket on an airline departing from the airport of the Priority Pass lounge location. Technically, you can access lounges for only three hours, though some lounges will waive this rule. Many lounges may restrict access to passengers departing from that airport, meaning you may not always be able to use the Priority Pass membership as an arrivals lounge.
Your Priority Pass membership may also allow you to bring accompanying guests into a lounge with you. Most Priority Pass Select memberships that offer accompanying guest access for free include two guests per visit. Be aware that not all Priority Pass Select memberships offer free guest access. Check with your credit card issuer for the details of what your Priority Pass Select membership includes.
What it offers
Because Priority Pass is a lounge access program and contracts with independently-run airport lounges to provide access to its members, the exact amenities available at each lounge varies. Most lounges offer a separate space away from the terminal, comfortable seating, a selection of beverages and snacks, and complimentary wireless internet access. Some lounges include an increased food and beverage selection, or additional amenities, including sleeping areas and showers.
Priority pass restaurants
Priority Pass also includes some non-lounge airport offerings. In some airports, Priority Pass partners with restaurants. Priority Pass members can receive a bill credit at these select restaurants as part of their Priority Pass membership. Not every Priority Pass membership includes restaurant access as a benefit. As of publication, only the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige Card and the UBS Visa Infinite Card offer Priority Pass restaurant access.
If you just need a quiet place to rest, at some airports your Priority Pass membership can get you an hour in one of Minute Suites’ private retreat rooms. Minute Suites offer a quiet, private room to sleep or work in. While your Priority Pass membership will only grant you one hour in your Minute Suite, you can purchase additional time or additional amenities like a 30-minute shower. Minute Suites offers locations in 10 airports in the United States including Baltimore/Washington International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth and JFK in New York.
Credit cards that offer Priority Pass Select memberships
While you can purchase a Priority Pass membership directly, for most people, the best way to get access to the lounge program is through a credit card with lounge access. If you want to pick up a Priority Pass Select membership, look toward premium rewards credit cards that offer lounge access. Many premium travel credit cards offer Priority Pass Select as a benefit of holding the card. Note that not all cards that offer Priority Pass membership offer unlimited visits or guest visits for free.
American Express cards that offer Priority Pass Select
American Express offers the most cards that offer Priority Pass access. Here’s a list of the American Express cards that give you Priority Pass membership.
Chase cards that offer Priority Pass Select
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the only Chase card open to new applications that grants Priority Pass lounge access, but you can get the Ritz-Carlton card by product-changing another Chase-issued Marriott credit card. Here’s a list of the Chase cards that give you Priority Pass membership.
- Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card.
Capital One cards that offer Priority Pass Select
About a year ago, Capital One stepped into the premium travel card market with the launch of its Venture X card. Both the business and personal variants of the Venture X offer Priority Pass Select membership.
- Capital One Venture X Business Card.
Other cards that offer Priority Pass Select
A handful of other banks offer Priority Pass membership on some premium credit cards. These lesser-known options can be a way to access Priority Pass membership.
- U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve.
- U.S. Bank Altitude Connect.
- Citi Prestige Card.
Priority Pass locations
Priority Pass partners with 1,300 airport clubs worldwide to offer its members access to airport clubs across the globe. The lounge collection includes more than 150 locations in North America, 370 locations in Europe and over 440 locations in the Asia/Pacific region. While Priority Pass does not have a club at every major airport, most major international hub airports have at least one Priority Pass location.
To see if a Priority Pass location exists where you plan to travel, visit the PriorityPass website to search for locations. You can also search for PriorityPass locations on the Priority Pass mobile app.
Priority Pass App
Priority Pass offers a mobile app for both Android and iOS users. If you are a Priority Pass Select member, having the mobile app on your phone is a useful tool that can help you find a lounge nearby and get you access.
The app’s lounge access tool can pre-load lounge information so that you have access to it offline. This can be useful when traveling abroad if your mobile phone plan does not offer roaming, or if roaming is only offered at outrageous rates. In addition to helping you find a lounge, the app will show you the operating hours of lounges as well as the amenities offered. If you’re looking for a bite to eat or a shower after a long red-eye flight, the app can help you find the right lounge to use.
Perhaps the most useful feature of the app is that you can access a digital lounge access card. Priority Pass promises that all of its partner lounges can now accept a digital card in lieu of a physical card to access the lounge.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Is Priority Pass better than lounge Club?
Lounge Club was a lounge actress program that has now been decommissioned. All Lounge Club memberships have been upgraded to Priority Pass.
Can I use the Priority Pass app instead of the card?
You can access most Priority Pass lounges using the Priority Pass mobile app. When you check in, the lounge agent will scan an QR code generated by the app to verify your membership. Visits made using your mobile app will be counted and, if applicable, billed to the credit card linked to your Priority Pass account.
Does Priority Pass give free lounge access?
Many cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Capital One Venture X allow unlimited Priority Pass lounge access for cardmembers and up to two of their guests. Exactly how many lounge visits are included in your Priority Pass allowance will depend on which Priority Pass membership and credit card you have.
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