When I first started traveling for business, I always wondered how to get into airport lounges. To me, getting into the First Class Lounge was the epitome of luxury travel. At the time I didn’t know about the Priority Pass Lounge, or how to get an airport lounge pass. But, after traveling to over 70 countries, now I know the secrets. Today, I share those secrets with you. In this post, we will answer the burning question: Is the Priority Pass worth it?
We have access to Priority Pass Lounges around the world with our Chase Sapphire Reserve Priority Pass credit card. There are several credit cards that offer free priority pass access. For example, there is an American Express Priority Pass (or Amex Priority Pass). But, if you don’t buck up for one of these premier credit cards, is it worth it to purchase Priority Pass Lounge membership on its own? In this Priority Pass review, we explain how to get airport lounge access at over 1200 airport lounges around the world.
What is Priority Pass Select Membership
First, let’s walk through a Priority Pass Select review. Priority Pass Select Membership is an airport lounge membership program that generally is received through a US financial institution, i.e. a bank or credit card company. Which credit cards offer priority pass? An example of this is that we received our membership through a Priority Pass credit card relationship with Chase. This is a slightly different product than what is available to the public generally. I will explain.
The Priority Pass Select benefits include access to Priority Pass Select Lounges for members. Each Priority Pass Airport Lounge is different, and it really depends on the airport location. Through the Priority Pass Select membership, we generally receive access for Eric and two guests through his card. But, this Priority Pass Select membership is limited to people who live in the US and can get approved for a Chase Reserve Priority Pass credit card or an American Express Platinum Priority Pass enabled credit card. This is pretty much impossible for international travelers who don’t live in the US, and even for many Americans as well. This Priority Pass Lounge review focuses on the type of membership that people who don’t have credit cards have access to. But, I wanted to note this difference.
What are the Different Levels of the Airport Priority Pass?
There are three levels: Priority Pass Standard, Priority Pass Standard Plus, and Priority Pass Prestige. Here are the details on all three memberships including what limitations there are when it comes to access to the priority pass lounges.
Comparison of Priority Pass Card Levels
|Membership Level||Description||Per Visit Fee||Guest Fee||Price||Get 10% Off|
|Prestige||Full benefits, unlimited airport lounge access||All Free||$32||$429||Join Now: $386|
|Standard Plus||Receive 10 free visits per year||10 Visits Free ($32 a visit after that)||$32||$299||Join Now: $269|
|Standard||Offers discounts on each airport lounge visited||$32 per visit||$32||$99||Join Now: $89|
Determining which VIP Priority Pass membership is the right one depends on how much you travel. If you don’t travel a ton, then the Priority Pass Standard Plus might be enough. But, if you travel a lot (like we do) the full Priority Pass Prestige is a better value. It also means you don’t need to keep count of visits or pass up a lounge experience to save it for a longer visit. As for the Standard Pass, this is more like a Priority Pass membership discount, because it offers discounts on each lounge visit.
What are the Benefits of a Priority Pass Membership
Some of the Priority Pass Program benefits include:
- A VIP Priority Pass experience, no matter who you fly with, even if you fly economy on a discount airline, like Southwest or RyanAir
- No need to book Priority Pass Lounge access in advance
- Access to comfortable airport lounge spaces, with free refreshments and Wi-Fi
- Many lounges allow access with a digital membership card
Each membership offers different Priority Pass Benefits. It depends on the type of Priority Pass card you have. For example, the benefits with some of the Priority Pass credit card programs differ from the benefits from purchasing a membership direct. When purchasing direct, for example, some of the memberships allow entrance to airport lounges with a Priority Pass digital membership card. Our Chase credit card program doesn’t. That’s one benefit to purchasing direct.
But, overall, the Priority Pass provides access to over 1200 lounges worldwide, with about 40 of them located in the US. In some locations, the card doesn’t provide lounge access but instead provides credit at a restaurant within the airport. This is becoming more of a trend. The Priority Pass Lounge system claims to be the largest airport lounge network. I haven’t personally counted.
So, Is Priority Pass Worth It?
We have our Priority Pass Card through our Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which is not cheap. It’s USD $450 a year but comes with a load of benefits. Having Priority Pass Lounge access is just one of the benefits.
Even if we didn’t have Chase Priority Pass Lounge access I would still purchase this membership. It’s one of the best benefits we get from the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The Priority Pass cost is only $426 (before the 10% discount) and with that, it provides free airport lounge access at over 1200 lounges around the world, including our “home” airport of Barcelona. I will say, many of these lounges are outside of the US, like almost 1200 of them. So, it really is a benefit for international travelers who don’t travel in business class, and otherwise had airport lounge access.
Maybe if we had status with one of the major airlines, we wouldn’t need this access. But, we no longer live in the US, so we don’t have status with one of the major airlines. And, as much as we try to fly business class long haul, many of our shorter trips are not in business class, so we wouldn’t receive lounge access without our Chase Sapphire Priority Pass.
And, there is usually the possibility to use the Priority Pass digital card, within the Priority Pass app, to access a lounge, even if you forget your physical card at home. Something we struggled with at the Frankfurt airport years ago, when they wouldn’t let us access the Star Alliance lounge solely based on our status written on our boarding pass. We needed to have the actual card. With the Priority Pass airport lounge club, that’s not a problem. We’ve never had a problem accessing a lounge.
How Do We Use Our Airline Lounge Access
In general, I find it so much more relaxing to be in the airport lounge rather than in with the “general public.” Maybe that makes me a snob. I like to think it makes me a professional traveler. There is food and drink, and usually alcohol, along with wifi and private bathrooms. So, is the Priority Pass worth it? Generally, every time I sit inside a Priority Pass Lounge during our trips, and I log on to the internet, get a glass of wine, a little snack, and a bottle of water to bring on board, I could scream yes! We don’t need to buy food or drink in the airport, which saves us money each trip.
We really made the most of our lounge club membership when traveling from Jamaica. At the Montego Bay Airport, the line for security was so long it made my head spin. But, I saw that Priority Pass members got to skip the line! It saved us at least 45 minutes. We were also able to scarf down one more Jamaican meat pie too, all in the lounge!
And, when traveling from Dusseldorf, we had extra time to kill between when we needed to check out of our hotel, and when our flight took off. It was particularly hot that summer day in Germany, and the airport, in general, felt overheated. But, in the Priority Pass Lounge Dusseldorf, it was pleasantly cool. I enjoyed a final German beer, with air con, and actually whipped out my laptop and wrote for a good two hours while charging my devices. I felt much more productive. It was one of those times that having free airport lounge access felt more like a mirage!
We’ve also used our lounge access to make overnight unbearable layovers in the Middle East, slightly more bearable! So, yes, the priority pass is definitely worth it.
Receive access to some of the best airport lounges around the world with the Priority Pass Lounge membership card.
FAQs – What is Priority Pass Membership?
- Where can I access the Priority Pass Lounge list? The best and most updated list is on the Priority Pass app. Also, every lounge at every airport has a list of who can access. So, even if a traveler is unsure, follow the signs for the VIP airport lounge access and see if the Priority Pass Lounge logo is among the list. You’d be surprised where you might find a Priority Pass airport lounge.
- Can I bring a Priority Pass Select guest to the lounge? The Priority Pass guest policy depends on the type of membership you have.
- Are there any restrictions on Priority Pass Lounge access? Every airport premium lounge has restrictions, and with the Priority Pass offers, restrictions depend on the membership level and the individual lounge. For example, some limit the time in the lounge to two or three hours or the number of alcoholic drinks. That said, even when we’ve seen “restrictions” on Priority Pass airport lounge access, like the number of hours or drinks, we’ve never had issues getting a third drink, or staying a little longer during a layover.
- What is the Priority Pass price? The price depends on the membership level and ranges from $99-$426 before the 10% discount offered above.
- Do I always need my airport lounge card? If you purchase membership direct from Priority Pass they offer a digital membership card. That means it’s possible to apply today and have lounge access immediately! Some lounges do not accept the digital card, but the app will say which ones so you can plan ahead.
- Is it necessary to book airport lounge access? When you hold Priority Pass Lounge membership, absolutely not! I’ve heard from people who have tried to purchase day passes at Priority Pass lounges that they are full up. But, we’ve never been turned away with our Priority Pass card.
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER.
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Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new Food and Drink Destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together over the last 20 years, they have traveled to over 70 countries. Amber is the author of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna.