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Review: Does DragonPass Beat Priority Pass?

  • By Finnoy Travel
  • Updated: 10/19/21 | May 29, 2021

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Table of Contents

  1. DragonPass - Chinese Lounge Program
  2. Dragon and Priority Pass Comparison
    1. Both Are Lounge Memberships
    2. Similar Extra Services
    3. Number of Priority and DragonPass Airport Lounges
    4. Prices and Benefits
  3. Additional DragonPass Services
    1. Discounts at Airport Restaurants
    2. Airport Services
  4. Conclusion
  5. Where to Buy DragonPass or Priority Pass?
  6. Other Lounge Entry Options
  7. 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 option.

In another review, we have evaluated if Priority Pass is worth the money.

Dragon and Priority Pass Comparison

We have been a member of Priority Pass multiple times but after learning about DragonPass airport lounge program, we decided to compare the features of these two lounge 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 discount 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 in order 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 DragonPass program, you need to pay the lounge entry fees beforehand but in Priority Pass, you will pay your lounge access fees during the visit but not prior to it. 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 available globally.

The absolute number of the 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.

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 not 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.

The short comparison showed that there are no big differences in lounge the availability between these two companies. Before purchasing any membership, confirm the current lounge list on Priority and DragonPass websites.

Check the Priority Pass lounge list and the DragonPass lounge list.

Priority Pass lounges and DragonPass lounges are usually maintained by airport ground service companies. Airlines have also their own lounges but normally, you are not allowed to enter them neither with Priority nor with DragonPass. However, there may be exceptions.

Prices and Benefits

One of the most important factor influencing the purchase decision is the price-to-quality ratio. Particularly, we recommend private travellers to 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 got 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 in a year. DragonPass Preferential is also a little cheaper than Priority Pass.

The unlimited levels give you 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.

This comparison is not the full truth. For example, we reside within the Euro zone and its a special to 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 percents are not specified on the web. In 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.

Airport 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.

Conclusion

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 membership 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.

Other Lounge Entry Options

If you are travelling only a few times in a year, the payback of a lounge membership program is low. In that case, purchasing Priority Pass or DragonPass 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 an entry even during the busy hours.

If you travel only a few times in a year, it becomes cheaper to buy Lounge Passes without recurring membership fees.

To get to know airport lounges better, we recommend reading also the following articles:

Bottom Line

We could not imagine travelling without airport lounges. The overall travelling budget increases only slightly but spending time at airport lounges is much more pleasant than in crowded public area. Therefore, airport lounges have became a part of our travels.

What is your way to enter lounges? Comment below!

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Readers' Comments (38)

  1. 02-13-2020 at 4:19pm UTC by Chris :

    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?

  2. 11-22-2019 at 10:51pm UTC by Peter :

    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 natwest@dragonpasspremier.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 customer.relations@natwest.com .

    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!

  3. 09-09-2019 at 9:58am UTC by GEORGE :

    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.

    1. 10-01-2019 at 7:29pm UTC by Simon Rehill :

      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.

  4. 04-19-2019 at 5:11pm UTC by Peter :

    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.

    Enough said.

  5. 04-19-2019 at 4:25pm UTC by Peter :

    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 natwest@dragonpasspremier.com or, better still, cancel their Black Accounts.

  6. 02-04-2019 at 4:00pm UTC by David Thornton :

    I’m an RBS Black account customer and was switched over to DragonPass last year. If I remember correctly I wasn’t permitted to use the Priority Pass app to gain a virtual card because my bank provided my Priority Pass service and PP didn’t support registration of RBS customers through their app. DragonPass appears entirely virtual to me which I like but would also like the card to eventually work with Apple Wallet.

    I’m sat in a LHR T3 arrival lounge courtesy of DragonPass access. In previous times I’d used an arrival lounge at LHR T5 which is part of the Sofitel there. I don’t recall Priority Pass having other arrival lounges at LHR but this may now have changed. Shower access in this arrival lounge at LHR T3 is discounted from £20 to £12 for DragonPass holders.

  7. 12-29-2018 at 1:39pm UTC by chester :

    Priority is far better than Dragonpass as provided with Natwest private banking. In my opinion it is a cheapscate version which bank has presumably switched to to save costs.
    Poor access in USA with Dragonpass (no lounges in Washington DC nor Denver) nor in UK is such simple places as Inverness.
    Booking and availability via Gatwick .

  8. 12-06-2018 at 9:57pm UTC by Shivi :

    DP holds more value in South East Asian countries. Dragon Pass allows you to access T/G lounge in Bali, Indonesia Airport while Priority Pass doesn’t. This lounge is usually reserved for business/first class for some airlines, so you get a better atmosphere here as the other lounge is usually quite crowded. Ideally, you should be making 13 trips or visit departure area 26 times a year to make use of DP top-end plan with unlimited Spa access.

    DP top tier is being offered complimentary with a few top-end credit cards (as is PP) in a few South/South East Asian countires.

  9. 11-30-2018 at 2:21pm UTC by Bryan Allam :

    Like many Natwest customers who have commented here, I saw my Priority Pass membership move to Dragon Pass this year, as I have a Black Account with RBS. When I visited my brother in California last month, there was only one Dragon Pass lounge at LAX which I could use, whereas Priority Pass had several, so I tend to agree with the comments already made about lounge coverage in North America. On the other hand, when flying within the UK, the move to Dragon Pass is definitely an improvement, as it allows me to guarantee a space in a lounge for £5, whereas with Priority Pass, I was unable to do so and often was turned away, because the lounge was busy. I can still use my Dragon Pass card on a 'walk up' basis, same as I could with Priority Pass card, but the difference is that I now have a choice, whereas Priority Pass did not allow me to make a firm reservation, which often caused stress when arriving at the lounge reception. I tend to chance my arm in Edinburgh, where there is usually space in the Aspire lounge, but when I'm at Gatwick, I always pay the £5 surcharge to guarantee that I'll be allowed in. Horses for courses, I guess.

  10. 11-27-2018 at 3:27pm UTC by David :

    I take in excess of 100 flights per year and like many others have been forced to DragonPass from Priority Pass by NatWest. I don't like it. Its coverage in the USA is very weak. For example, it has no deal at the major US hubs like Dallas, Seattle or Atlanta, so this would make it a bad option for Europeans visiting the USA. I expect it would be better in the Far East and Australia, but that's really not much use for transatlantic travelers. Even for me, the $400 price tag of these passes is a bit steep. There's got to be a gap in the market for the semi regular traveller which offers, say, a carnet of 10 passes for $200 and if anybody knows of one, I'd be pleased to hear about it.

    1. 12-06-2018 at 7:12pm UTC by Shivi :

      for that, you may have to use VPS to purchase Dragon Pass or Priority Pass from a South Asian country. We get top tier dragon pass and priority pass for $226 each ~

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