Have you ever wanted to visit an airport lounge? Do you travel often and want to save money on food? You would be just like me if you answered with an overwhelming yes. As a traveler, it has always been a dream to step into one of those lounges. The Priority Pass makes all of this possible.
Most people go to lounges if they fly business class or First class. They may even have status to go along with their airline or airlines’ alliance allowing them to venture over to the lounge for a pre-flight snack and drink.
Not knowing the privileges of stepping inside a lounge was something on my mind for a long time. Learning about the Priority Pass has opened my eyes and my wife’s to the comfort of being able to have a pre-flight meal, comfortable seating, high-speed internet, and a few drinks as we wait our time.
Let’s look at what the Priority Pass offers and is it worth it for you to get it.
What is Priority Pass?
The Priority Pass gives members airport lounge access that grants individuals access to over 1300 different lounges worldwide. It has made deals with various lounges to open up services for its card holders.
While waiting for a few hours for your next flight, having the Priority Pass offers a place for a person to relax, eat some food, use the internet, and wait before the next flight.
You do not need to be a part of a particular airline status to be with Priority Pass; it is an annual membership that can cost anywhere between $99 to $429. Suppose you have a specific travel rewards credit card like the Capital One Venture X or the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. In that case, you will get a complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership.
Several U.S. airports provide restaurants with the Priority Pass. Usually, you will get $28 per person for up to 2 people. So if you are hungry, it can help you avoid overpriced airport food. Priority Pass also teams up with a select few restaurants to offer food to give options in case there are no lounges.
How Does Priority Pass Work?
You will be sent your Priority Pass membership card after you have signed up with the Priority Pass by either paying for the membership level you pay for or getting it from your credit card. The card will allow you to enter lounges and use restaurants in the airports.
Not every airport has a lounge or a restaurant that goes with the Priority Pass. To help locate the best location, download the Priority Pass app. The app can also help keep a digital membership on your phone. Sometimes, you may forget your card or send it in the mail after a renewal so that the app can help you.
You grab your boarding pass, get through security, find the nearest place in the airport that accepts Priority Pass and go there. Then show the attendant the app or the Priority Pass. Now you are ready to sit, eat, drink some good beverages such as coffee, tea, beer, wine, or liquor, and enjoy until your flight time. You will have access to another airport’s lounges with the pass during a layover.
It is not complicated. Depending on your membership could depend upon how many visits you will get. The credit cards that offer the Priority Pass Select membership give you unlimited and have some guest visits to allow a friend or family member to enter with you.
What Are The Perks of The Priority Pass
As it has been mentioned before, the Priority Pass comes with lounge access. It is not only a lounge pass, but there are perks with discounts on accommodations and deals on various stores within an airport.
The lounges are a massive part of owning a Priority Pass Membership. Numerous amenities are a part of these lounges that can help you have a more enjoyable flight experience.
- Business Desks
- Alcoholic Drinks and Non-alcoholic drinks
- Shower facilities
- Places to charge phones, computers, and electronics
- Relaxing place to sit and chill
It is a great way to unwind while getting ready for a flight. There is always a choice. You can show up later to the airport and maybe eat some airport food which costs money, or show up a bit earlier and relax with the food that comes with the pass.
Those airports that do not necessarily have lounge access will have restaurants contracted with Priority Pass. Take out that app that tracks the locations and finds the terminal you are in. You can locate a restaurant or two to sit down and eat before your upcoming flight.
Most restaurants give $28 per person and two people per card. Inflation may be upon us, but $28 from the membership is not a bad deal if there is no other place to use the membership.
Discounts on Accommodations
You could use the Priority Pass for many accommodations with airports, but usually, it is just a discount. The Priority Pass will also have various capacities that will get a deal. It is better than paying the total price.
Discounts on Stores at Airports
Lastly, numerous stores at the airports offer a discount with the Priority Pass. Check the app to see which stores are available for deals. It can help you if you think about purchasing some items while transiting to other places.
Avis Rental Car Discounts
Avis gives you some perks for being a Priority Pass Member. It will provide you with the Avis Preferred Elite Status giving you more discounts when you rent a car.
- Complimentary Upgrades
- 25-50% more Avis points
- Special Avis Preferred number for customer support and reservations.
The cool thing has the rental car discounts as part of the membership. Rumor has it that these discounts are for only paid memberships and not those with credit card. It is not known to me if this is true.
How Can You Obtain Membership
After going over all of these perks and privileges, you may wonder how you can obtain one of these memberships. There are various ways you can get a membership.
First, you can go through their website and select the number of visits you would like to purchase. You will be purchasing a level, and each level is slightly different.
Secondly, you gain membership through a credit card. Most of the premium travel credit cards offer Priority Pass at some level. Chase Sapphire and Capital One Venture Card offer the Priority Pass Select Membership, which gives you unlimited access to all lounges plus two complimentary guests.
American Express Platinum Card gives you Priority Pass with only one guest allowed when entering. Amex Platinum does give you the ability to visit other lounges, such as the Centurion Lounges, but to get the best benefits, you can go with Chase or Capital One.
Other credit cards offer Priority Pass, but these three credit cards are the major ones most people obtain a Priority Pass membership.
What Are the Different Levels of Priority Pass?
When purchasing a Priority Pass off their website, consider three levels. Each level is different, with another price point.
The Standard Membership costs $99 per year, and you will have to pay a $32 fee per entry. The $99 is just like an annual fee to allow you to be a part of the program. If you are an infrequent traveler and only use two lounge visits per year, it will cost you $163.
That cost is not worth it at all. It would be much better to have a credit card that offers the membership than to waste it at the Standard level.
Standard Plus Membership
The Standard Plus Membership is a little bit better. It costs $299 for ten free visits, and for each additional visit, it will be $32. There is also a guest fee as well of $32.
With ten free visits, that will come out to about $30 per visit that you are paying for. It is a much better deal than the Standard Membership that gives no free visits to a lounge.
If you are a moderately frequent traveler, like flying 5-10 times a year, this could be good. Instead of paying the $30 at a restaurant, you can get pretty good food and drinks in a lovely lounge.
The Prestige Membership will be the highest level with Priority Pass. The cost comes in at $429 for their annual fee, which has unlimited visits. To get about the same value of a membership as the Standard Plus, you would need at least 14 visits per year to get around the $30 per visit. Any visits more than 14 are great!
If you are a frequent flyer always on the go, the Prestige membership will be the best way to go. Remember that with more than 14 visits, you will be doing much better than the Standard Membership.
If you want to save that $429, try to grab one of these credit cards that offer complimentary membership with the card:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Capital One Venture X
- Amex Platinum card
- Delta Reserve Credit Card
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card
- Marriot Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
If you are a non-American, these cards will not be available to you, but you can always get the memberships that will allow you to have excellent amenities.
Is it the Largest Lounge Network in the World?
There are numerous lounge networks around the world. The Priority Pass is the largest network of lounges that encompasses over 1300 different locations.
You may have heard of other lounge networks would be as Dragon Pass, Lounge Key, or Premium Plaza. These are all great lounge networks, but it is hard to beat the Priority Pass network.
Is the Priority Pass Worth It?
Travel can be expensive. When traveling, most people want to save money. People must look at opportunities to get cheap flights, accommodations, and even affordable food. The Priority Pass is an excellent option if you want a comfortable experience that helps combat food prices at airports and gives you a decent place to stay.
Is the Priority Pass worth it? That is a question you must ask yourself. If you have a credit card that offers the pass, then absolutely. It can save you money on food and drinks while at the airport.
If you have to pay for it without a credit card, you must look to see if you travel enough to make the costs worth it. If you make one or two trips a year, it may not be worth paying for the membership. The best way is to get it through one credit card offer.
If you are looking for a way to have access to airport lounges, then the Priority Pass helps you out. It is one of the best lounge networks out there. The longes allow the cardholder to get free wi-fi, beverages, and food. With a premium credit card, you have the Priority Pass for free, allowing the cardholder to bring an additional guest with them.
The great thing is that when you decide to fly, you can have the freedom to access lounges with the Priority Pass. It will make your trip much more comfortable and enjoyable.
I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.
2 thoughts on “The Priority Pass Review: Is Priority Pass Worth It?”
Don’t know when this was actually written, but in U.S., Priority Pass is increasingly proving to be worthless. There are very few actual lounges left in the network. PP relies on restaurant discounts, spa/massage outlets, Gameway, and Minute Suites discounts to pad their numbers. Lounges, on the other hand, are VERY rare and, with the loss of access to the Plaza Premium group last year, the situation only got worse. Examples? LAX – no lounges, DFW – one lounge (“The Club”), ATL, world’s busiest airport – again, – one lounge (also “The Club”), DEN – no lounges, JFK – six lounges (maybe. One’s a KAL and PP lost access to the KAL at LAX sometime over the past year.)
In any case, if one travels primarily in U.S. and doesn’t get Priority Pass as a credit card freebie, it’s definitely not worth the minimum $99 charge.
Mr. C. The Priority Pass is quite weak in the U.S. I 100% agree with you. Anyway, I would never pay that $99 minimum charge to have the Priority Pass Standard membership it is just not worth it, the Standard Plus and Prestige is much better in value. If you are not just traveling domestically inside the U.S. you can get a ton a value from the Priority Pass. Many airports around the world have contracts with the Priority Pass. At that moment, I find value in it. Many international travelers would find value in a layover where you can have a bite to eat, a shower to get clean, and maybe a coffee to wake up. You just got to find value in what you own. If it didn’t come with my credit card, I would probably not get it at all unless I did a lot of international travel alone. I have the one with my credit card so I can take my wife and one other guest for free.