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If you’ve ever wondered what life is like on the other side of those airport lounge doors, it’s time to think about becoming a Priority Pass member. This international airport lounge program gets you access to over 1,200 lounges, as well as free Wi-Fi, free food and the occasional free spa treatment.
Although you can purchase your own Priority Pass membership, enough credit cards include complimentary Priority Pass membership as part of their rewards package that it’s worth taking the time to learn whether Priority Pass is right for you — and which credit cards can help you get that lounge access you deserve.
What is Priority Pass?
Priority Pass is an independent, international airport lounge program. Unlike airline lounges, such as United Club or Delta Sky Club, you do not need a ticket on a specific airline to access Priority Pass. You do, however, need a Priority Pass membership.
Which airports offer Priority Pass?
There are over 1,200 Priority Pass lounges in airports across the globe. In the United States, for example, you’ll find Priority Pass locations all over the country, from LAX to JFK.
For a complete list of Priority Pass locations, visit the official Priority Pass website. Be aware that Priority Pass lounges often share space with other airport lounges — at LAX, for example, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in Terminal 2 is also a Priority Pass lounge.
What are the Priority Pass benefits?
Priority Pass members can visit Priority Pass lounges at any participating airport. Members can also bring guests with them into Priority Pass lounges, although guest access costs $32 per guest per visit and not all lounges accept guests.
Inside the lounge, members have access to complimentary Wi-Fi, snacks, and beverages, including alcoholic beverages. Lounges have charging stations for electronic devices, and some lounges even offer conference rooms for pre-flight meetings. You might even be able to take advantage of a pre-flight spa treatment.
Priority Pass members also receive discounts at airport retailers, including restaurants. If you need to purchase a new pair of earbuds, want to book a massage or have time to enjoy a meal before your flight, use the Priority Pass app to see what discounts are available.
What does Priority Pass cost?
Priority Pass cost varies by country. If you’re in the United States, you have three membership options:
- $99/year for a Standard Membership
- $299/year for a Standard Plus Membership
- $429/year for a Prestige Membership
These membership levels only get you access to the Priority Pass program, not to the lounges themselves. If you have a Standard Membership, you have to pay an additional $32 every time you visit a Priority Pass lounge. A Standard Plus Membership gets you 10 free lounge visits per year, with a cost of $32 for every subsequent visit. With a Prestige Membership, all lounge visits are free.
Guest passes cost $32 per guest per visit at all membership levels.
Which credit cards include Priority Pass membership?
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the most popular travel rewards cards on the market, even with its $450 annual fee. Travel hackers know the card’s true value: in addition to Priority Pass Select membership plus two free guest passes per visit, cardholders get a $300 travel credit, a credit up to for $100 TSA Precheck or Global Entry, and the opportunity to increase the value of points earned on the card by 50 percent when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Hilton Honors members have two options if they want both Priority Pass access and Hilton rewards. Both the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card include Priority Pass Select membership, though you get different levels of access with the two cards. The Ascend card gives you 10 free Priority Pass lounge visits per year, after which you’ll have to pay for Priority Pass lounge access; the Aspire card earns you unlimited Priority Pass visits as well as two free guest passes per visit. The Aspire card also comes with a higher annual fee — $450 to the Ascend’s $95.
Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card
The Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card is designed for frequent travelers who use the SPG and Marriott Rewards programs — and in addition to earning high-level rewards and statement credits for purchases at SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels, you’ll also get Priority Pass Select membership as well as two free guest passes per visit. This card comes with a $450 annual fee.
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve is only for U.S. Bank customers, and your $400 annual fee will get you slightly fewer Priority Pass rewards than other travel cards offer — your Priority Pass Select membership only comes with four free lounge visits (and four free guest visits) per year. After that, you’ll have to pay per visit.
What else do you need to know about Priority Pass membership?
Many Priority Pass lounges will be able to access your Priority Pass membership through a Digital Membership Card stored on your phone — but some lounges may require you to show your physical membership card. Check the Priority Pass app before you travel to learn what various lounges require. Then relax, check your email, charge your devices and wait comfortably for your next flight!
For more on other rewards programs, here are our latest points and rewards guides on Bankrate.