Priority Pass is having a birthday party. And its members are all invited.
On the heels of its 25thanniversary, the largest independent airport lounge access program in the world celebrated its 1200thlounge and its reach within a whopping 143 countries. This comes following the addition of 25 new lounges and restaurants from mid-May to early July, upon which the network reached this incredible milestone.
What’s so great about the Priority Pass network is that complimentary membership is a core benefit of several elite credit cards. And this membership often entitles the cardholder to bring along guests into the lounge and or Priority Pass’s “lounge alternatives.” Entry is not dependent on the airline flown, just on showing your Priority Pass membership card (and in some cases, your same day boarding pass).
If you have an elite credit card and are not taking advantage of your Priority Pass membership, you’re missing out! Here, what you need to know about acquiring membership and the latest additions to the lounge network.
How can I get Priority Pass membership with my elite credit card?
Almost every premium credit card comes with a complimentary version of Priority Pass Select membership. Note, however, that while this membership may be complimentary, enrollment is not always automatic. Call the 800 number on the back of your credit card to ensure your Priority Passmembership is activated (or click the link, if available, on your credit card benefits page of your online account) and your Priority PassSelect card is on its way.
What is the value of a Priority Pass membership?
The complimentary Select membership that comes with most elite credit cards retails for $399 per year for cardholder membership. The paid retail version of this membership also charges $27 per guest per lounge entry.
The iteration offered by elite credit cards typically offers complimentary access for some guests. So, those who travel frequently and with friends or family in tow, are looking at a value easily over $1,000.
Which credit cards are best for Priority Pass Select membership?
Priority Pass Select membership is complimentary for cardholders of Citi Prestige® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve℠, Mastercard® Black Card™, Mastercard® Gold Card™, The Platinum Card® from American Express, and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card.
While membership for the cardholder is the same across credit cards, the guest policy is not.
The best credit cards for Priority Pass membership are hands down the Mastercard Black Card and Mastercard Gold Card. Both offer an exceptionally generous, unlimited complimentary guest policy. Moreover, unlike every other credit card offering Priority Pass membership, cardholder activation is not required with these two cards. The credit card company automatically enrolls you and mails your membership cards to you.
Until this month, Chase Sapphire Reserve had also offered an unlimited guest policy. However, it now limits the cardholder to bringing two guests complimentary (any after that will be charged $27 each.). This two-guest policy is the same for Citi Prestige Card and The Platinum Card from American Express.
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card allows four complimentary guest passes per year total.
What are some of the latest additions to the Priority Pass Lounge Network?
The Priority Pass Lounge Network celebrated its 1,200th lounge in summer 2018.
Of note are additions of the super-snazzy Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounges at New York NJ Newark International (EWR) and Washington DC Dulles International (IAD). (Note: To avoid overcrowding during peak hours, Priority Pass membership can only access the lounge at EWR from 2pm to 6pm and IAD from 6am to 1:30pm).
In addition, the Priority Pass lounge network continues to offer customers more than complimentary lounge access with its expansion to select airport restaurants and bars worldwide. Here, members and their guests each get a $28-$30 credit towards food and beverage. New domestic “lounge alternatives” for summer 2018 include:
Bracket Room at Washington DC National (DCA), Terminal B – Opposite gate 12, this upscale sports bar serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Barney’s Beanery at Los Angeles International (LAX), Terminal 2 – Next to gate 22, this coffee shop also serves light fare like soups, salads, and tacos. (Note: Priority Pass members cannot use their benefit during the morning rush but can use their card from 10:30am to midnight).
Johnny Rockets at Syracuse Hancock International (SYR), Concourse B- This all-American diner is open to cardholders from 10:30 to 7pm.
Internationally, Priority Pass added “lounge alternatives” at Lima Jorge Chavez International (LIM) and Sao Paulo Guarulhos International (GRU). At both of these airports, cardholders can now get comp’d tabs at outposts of Bleriot Bar & Lounge, an artisanal cocktail bar, and La Bonbonniere, a casual Peruvian restaurant. The outposts at GRU are much larger, more enjoyable, and more design-driven, but the ones at LIM provide a great alternative to the uninspiring and often overcrowded Sumaq VIP Lounge and Business Center, Priority Pass’s current lounge.
How do I use my Priority Pass card at lounges and airport restaurants and bars?
For lounges, it’s pretty straightforward. Just show your physical Priority Pass Select membership card. The agent will ask you how many guests you are bringing and will then swipe the card like a credit card. Sign, and enter the lounge. You don’t have to show your elite credit card, just your Priority Pass card.
For “lounge alternatives,” cardholders can use their Priority Pass card to receive $28 to $30 off the bill at select airport restaurants and bars for each person covered by the primary cardholder’s Priority Pass membership. This amount is valid toward the purchase of any meal and/or drinks, including alcoholic beverages. Just present a valid card before placing an order. Note, the cardholder must pay any excess beyond the $28-$30 per person and that 18% gratuity will be automatically added to the final bill (before the discount) and will be paid by the cardholder. Recall: The number of guests covered depends on the guest policy of the Priority Pass membership.