Review: Does DragonPass Beat Priority Pass?
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Covered in the Article
- DragonPass - Chinese Lounge Program
- DragonPass and Priority Pass Comparison
- Additional DragonPass Services
- Where to Buy DragonPass or Priority Pass?
- Replacement for Lounge Membership
- Bottom Line
DragonPass - Chinese Lounge Program
Priority Pass is a well-known airport lounge membership program for business and private travellers. It comes along with many credit cards but it can also be bought separately. Priority Pass has a significant competitor that is called DragonPass. Instead of obtaining the most popular membership, it is good to evaluate also the other options.
In another review, we have evaluated if Priority Pass is worth the money.
DragonPass and Priority Pass Comparison
We have been a member of Priority Pass multiple times but after learning about the DragonPass airport lounge program, we decided to compare the features of these two lounge subscriptions.
Both Are Lounge Memberships
There is one obvious similarity. Both products give admission to airport lounges worldwide. Also, both Priority Pass and DragonPass have three membership levels.
Similar Extra Services
Earlier, the extra services were different but currently, the extras of these lounge programs are quite similar. Both Priority Pass and DragonPass give discounts in selected airport restaurants. In addition, DragonPass has discounted Meet&Greet and airport transfer service.
DragonPass is fully digital but Priority Pass has a physical membership card in addition to the digital one. You need a mobile app to visit lounges. Priority Pass members can transact also using a traditional plastic membership card.
Priority Pass and DragonPass have a difference in how they charge lounge visits after the free ones. In the DragonPass program, you need to pay the lounge fee beforehand but in Priority Pass, you pay for your lounge access during the visit. DragonPass sells also single entry lounge passes to certain airport lounges.
Number of Priority and DragonPass Airport Lounges
According to the website of Priority Pass, the membership allows you to visit over 1300 lounges in more than 140 countries. DragonPass welcomes you at the same number of airport lounges. Also, DragonPass has about 1300 lounges globally. In practice, DragonPass and Priority Pass lounges are almost the same.
The absolute number of lounges isn't a key factor. A traveller cares only if there is a lounge in the airport where he/she is travelling. That is why it is important always to check which lounges Priority and DragonPass can offer at your home airport and at the most popular airports you are travelling through.
Helsinki Airport is our home base. There are two DragonPass lounges called Aspire Lounge and Plaza Premium Lounge but surprisingly, only the other of them is included in the Priority Pass airport lounge list. That makes DragonPass a better choice for us.
We made a few searches about lounges available in the following airports:
- London Heathrow
- Priority Pass: 3 airport lounges
- DragonPass: 10 airport lounges + 6 dining options
- Berlin Brandenburg
- Priority Pass: none
- DragonPass: 2 airport lounges
- New York JFK
- Priority Pass: 6 airport lounges
- DragonPass: 6 airport lounges + 2 dining options
Priority Pass is no anymore showing all the data publicly so the list above may be missing some lounges. It also seems that Priority Pass has dropped a few lounges which were listed before.
This short comparison showed that there are no big differences in lounge availability between these two companies. Before purchasing any membership, confirm the current lounge list on the Priority and DragonPass websites.
You will find the full lounge lists on Priority Pass and DragonPass websites.
Priority Pass lounges and DragonPass lounges are usually maintained by airport ground service companies. Airlines have also their lounges but normally, you are allowed to enter them neither with Priority nor with DragonPass. There may be exceptions at some airports.
Prices and Benefits
One of the most important factors influencing the purchase decision is the price-to-quality ratio. Particularly, we recommend private travellers compare prices carefully.
Priority Pass and DragonPass sell three types of memberships but they are named differently. Priority Pass Standard and DragonPass Classic models cost 99 USD per year. Both give one free lounge entry with the Classic model. Earlier, Priority Pass gave nothing but the plan has gotten better. All extra entries and guests cost 32 USD for Priority Pass members and 31 USD for DragonPass members.
Priority Pass Standard Plus costs 299 USD and DragonPass Preferential costs 219 USD. Priority Pass gives 10 free entries while DragonPass gives 8. One entry price will then be 29.90 USD and 27.41 USD for Priority Pass Standard Plus and DragonPass Preferential respectively.
DragonPass has one great advantage in the Preferential Level over Priority Pass Standard Plus. The 8 free-lounge entries can also be used by a guest as long as the membership owner is present during the lounge visit. This makes DragonPass Preferential a better choice for couples travelling together a few times a year. DragonPass Preferential is also a little cheaper than Priority Pass.
The unlimited levels give unlimited lounge access. Priority Pass Prestige costs 429 USD / year and DragonPass Prestige 399 USD. The guest prices will be 32 USD for Priority Pass members but only 31 USD for DragonPass members.
The prices are not the full truth. For example, we reside within the Eurozone and it's a special note that Priority Pass has different prices for European customers. In contrast, DragonPass offers the same dollar prices also for Europeans.
Additional DragonPass Services
Discounts at Airport Restaurants
DragonPass offers up to 25 percent discount in airport restaurants. Unfortunately, the exact discount percentages are not specified on the web. At our home base, there are 2 airport lounges but not any dining partners of DragonPass.
Nowadays, Priority Pass also offers discounts for airport catering services.
DragonPass offers discounted Meet&Greet and airport transfer service. These benefits are not offered by Priority Pass. The exact prices are shown on the DragonPass app when booking a service.
Pricing of Priority and DragonPass are almost equal. Earlier, DragonPass was more modern and thus it was able to beat Priority Pass in the digital aspect. However, Priority Pass has developed digitally.
Pricing of both lounge programs are quite equal but in some scenarios, DragonPass becomes slightly cheaper.
We have used Priority Pass because the membership has come with our credit cards. If we bought lounge memberships separately, we would carefully compare between DragonPass and Priority Pass. Even though Priority Pass may be more popular, DragonPass is a little more versatile and an interesting option. The lounge selection of DragonPass has grown fast and in many major airports, DragonPass has now more lounges.
Where to Buy DragonPass or Priority Pass?
Priority Pass or DragonPass membership come often with a credit card. We assume that Chinese banks prefer DragonPass over Priority Pass.
DragonPass and Priority Pass can also be bought on their websites with pure money.
Replacement for Lounge Membership
If you are travelling only a few times a year, the payback of a lounge membership program is low. In that case, purchasing any lounge membership is not worth the money.
For less frequent travellers, we recommend Lounge Pass to buy discounted single entries for airport lounges. Lounge Pass has a huge selection of airport lounges for competitive single-entry prices. Buying single lounge passes is now even more appealing when lounge membership programs have become pricey. A prepaid lounge pass guarantees entry even during busy hours.
- Which one is cheaper, Priority Pass or DragonPass?
- In some scenarios, DragonPass may become slightly cheaper.
- How many lounges does Priority Pass have?
- About 1300.
- How many lounges does DragonPass have?
- About 1300.
- What extra perks does Priority Pass offer?
- Priority Pass members can take advantage of discounted airport dining, retails and spa services.
- What extra benefits does DragonPass offer?
- DragonPass Members can buy discounted Meet&Greet and airport transfer services in addition to discounts in some airport restaurants.
- Where to purchase DragonPass?
- Get one with a credit card or purchase a membership from the official website of DragonPass.
- Where to purchase Priority Pass?
- Get one with a credit card or purchase a membership directly from Priority Pass.
We could not imagine travelling without airport lounges. The overall travel budget increases only slightly but spending time at airport lounges is much more pleasant than in crowded public areas. Therefore, airport lounges have become a part of our travels.
What is your way to enter lounges? Comment below!
I got the Dragon Pass app through a promotion and have yet to purchase credits to visit a lounge.
Checking lounges in the airports I will be flying to in the next few weeks (DUB, FRA, JFK) through the DP app reveals an astonishing number of reviews where people said they would not actually be allowed in the lounge that DP lists as participating?
Can not compare to PP but may look into other booking options for pay lounges as a backup?
Dragon Pass continues to fail its NatWest Customers.
No lounges at the fabulous new IGA airport in Istanbul. No lounges in Miami for BA passengers, no access in Panama City, no lounges in Bogota to name but a few where Priorty Pass welcomes you. Pathetic!
I raised this issue with email@example.com and received a totally inadequate answer telling me that lounges I required may or may not be added to Dragon Pass some time in the future but if I didn't like it don't complain to them, complain to NatWest. I was astonished by their reply...
...so if you don't like Dragon Pass complain to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Oh, and Natwest claim that they only switched to Dragon Pass because this allowed clients to pre-book at busy airport. Fair enough, but Priority Pass now allow this as well.
A truly dreadful service from Dragon Pass. Beware!
When we had Airport Angel I never had any issues of lounges being supposedly full. When the natwest bank changed it to Priority Pass, all was good too, but gradually over time the service has become impossible to use, and I never managed to get in a lounge, even though the lounges didn't look to be full, with or without guests. This is quite embarrassing when it happens. It was not possible to pre-book with Priority Pass.
I have never managed to make use of Dragonpass since natwest changed over to it.
Yesterday, 8th Sept, I tried to book at Birmingham airport for the 20th September and all lounges there are 'full' when trying to pre-book. However, I have managed to get into a 'full' lounge by paying for it through holiday extras. Obviously, the lounges limit the number of customers who use these banks supplied subscriptions, making the perk worthless. This is probably due to the numbers involved - many banks supplying these subscriptions so the demand is very high.
How far in advance does one have to pre-book to get in? ....and specifying an accurate time is a good trick to refuse access, how do you know how long it takes to get through security etc -
All in all it looks good on paper but in reality the service is very poor.
I have had nothing but issues with the people at DragonPass. They took payment twice and have refused to return it claiming they can not look at their own account an see the double payment. Please be aware the customer service is appalling and they treat people like criminals when it’s clearly their fault.
As a corollary to the above I should mention the quality of the Smart Phone Apps.
The DragonPass app is simply dreadful. There are no other words to describe it.
The PriorityPass app is actually rather good. In fact I still use it to locate DragonPass lounges.
As a Nat West Black account holder I, too, have had the misfortune to be switched from Priority Pass to DragonPass.
In my experience DragonPass is very much inferior. For example Miami Airport, a huge hub, has only 1 lounge which is only accessible if you happen to be in Concourse F which rules it's use out if you are travelling BA. Priority Pass has 6 lounges covering all concourses. I was astonished to discover this last night!
Yesterday I was leaving Panama City. Unlike Priority Pass, DragonPass has no lounge airside! I also travel in Colombia. Here DragonPass has no lounges whereas Priority Pass gives me access to lounges in 12 Colombian airports.
With the exception of SE Asia DragonPass is way behind. But DragonPass seem to skew the statistics by offering discount deals in many airports. A lot of these deals are not worth investigating, is anybody really interested in 10% off Subway landside at Cali airport? Not your average Lounge Card user I think. So be very careful when assessing and comparing the merits of these 2 cards using only the quoted statistics. If you make the wrong decision you may well be left high and dry - or, at best, saving 50 cents on a Subway wrap.
I advise unhappy Nat West users to complain to email@example.com or, better still, cancel their Black Accounts.