On the heels of a major 25th anniversary last year, Priority Pass™, the largest independent airport lounge access program in the world, continues to expand–in a big way. Since reaching a milestone 1,250 lounges last year (and a reach within a whopping 143 countries), the network has continued to add some 5 to 10 new lounges per month. The period from March to July 2019 was no exception.
Since we last reported on lounge additions in late February 2019, more than three-dozen new lounges have been added and four removed.
Given that most premium cards grant cardholders complimentary Priority Pass membership and guest access, elite cardholders have more reason than ever to arrive at the airport early.
Here, the scoop on the latest news regarding the Priority Pass network (bad news, then good news), plus a refresher on how to take advantage of this valuable program.
Priority Pass loses four major players in its portfolio
Seattle WA–Tacoma International (SEA) welcomed its first Priority Pass lounge alternative program in February, Floret by Café Flora, a full-service vegetarian and vegan restaurant. However, after consistently being bombarded by Priority Pass members, this top-notch, artisan establishment left the network in mid-June 2019.
Additionally, Capers Market in Portland airport, Maple Leaf Lounge at Newark airport, and Tryp GRU Airport lounge in Sao Paulo, Brazil have also been removed from the network.
American Express limits Priority Pass usage by cardholders
On August 1, 2019, cardholders with Priority Pass membership through American Express lost the privilege of using their card within the network’s growing selection of “lounge alternatives.” Recall these alternatives are select restaurants and bars found within airports worldwide at which members receive approximately $28 per person off the bill. This amount is valid toward the purchase of any meal and/or drinks, including alcoholic beverages. A valid card must be presented before placing an order, and the cardholder must pay any excess. At press time, there are 27 restaurants in US airports and 15 others outside the United States that are considered lounge alternatives.
The silver lining here—if there is one—is that, in light of this news, other card issuers with elite credit cards offering Priority Pass membership have reconfirmed that they will not be eliminating the lounge alternative benefit. Meaning, cardholders of Chase Sapphire Reserve®,Citi Prestige®,Luxury Card Mastercard®Black Card™ Luxury Card Mastercard®Gold Card™, and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite®Card need not worry…for now.
Priority Pass adds dozens of new lounges between March and July 2019
Since our last update in late February 2019, the network has added several dozen new lounges.
One of the more interesting additions includes Kafe Kalik in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Located in Terminal 4, this lounge alternative is the first and only Priority Pass option at Fort Lauderdale International Airport. The fast-casual restaurant offers Caribbean cuisine like conch fritters and guava BBQ-glazed chicken wings.
Also of note is a new partnership between Priority Pass and Gameway Lounges at Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) airport. Members can now access either gaming lounges at DFW and are entitled to two hours of gaming, two snacks and a drink.
Other exciting new lounges include: The Club JAX at Jacksonville International Airport, Florida in Concourse A, the snazzy Turkish Airlines Lounge at Bangkok International Airport in International Concourse D, and Art & Lounge at London Heathrow International Airport in Terminal 4, added in early July 2019.
As a quick refresher, how can I get Priority Pass membership with my elite credit card?
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. Entry is not dependent on the airline flown, just on showing your membership card (and in most cases, your same-day boarding 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. As mentioned above, membership through American Express does not include using Priority Pass at lounge alternatives.
Additionally, the guest policy varies by credit card. Citi Prestige Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve Mastercard, and The Platinum Card from American Express allow two comp guests into lounges. Citi Prestige Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve Mastercard allow one guest comp at lounge alternatives. Mastercard Black Card and Mastercard Gold Card allow unlimited comp guests into lounges and one guest comp at lounge alternatives.
Also to note: Membership may be complimentary, but enrollment in the Priority Pass program is not always automatic. Call the 800 number on the back of your credit card to ensure your Priority Pass membership is activated (or click the link, if available, on your credit card benefits page of your online account) and your Priority Pass Select card is on its way.