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Table of Contents
- Priority Pass - Key to Airport Lounges
- Priority Pass Memberships Levels
- Lounge Membership with a Credit Card
- Downsides of Priority Pass
- Priority Pass Lounges
- Where to Purchase Priority Pass?
- Alternatives for Priority Pass
- Bottom Line
Priority Pass - Key to Airport Lounges
Priority Pass is a membership that gives a complimentary or discounted access airport lounges. A typical walk-in price of airport business lounges is between 40 and 50 USD. With Priority Pass membership, it is possible to reduce lounge costs almost by 50 per cent with the right membership model. There are currently more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges in the world so finding a lounge is easy. It is almost sure that in every big airport, there is at least one Priority Pass lounge.
With Priority Pass membership, no one will ask if you are flying in business or economy. You may even be flying with a low-cost airline like Ryanair. Airlines and cabin classes have nothing to do with Priority Pass. You just need a valid boarding pass together with your Priority Pass membership card and you are allowed to enter a lounge. In many airports, Priority Pass customers and airlines' business class passengers end up in the same lounges.
Entering a lounge with Priority Pass membership may be free or discounted depending on your membership type. In this Priority Pass review, we introduce membership levels and their benefits.
Almost always, Priority Pass lounges allow you to take a guest with you. You may need to pay a guest fee and or the guest may be included in your Priority Pass plan without extra charges. Usually, Priority Passes that have come with premium credit cards include free guest access. It is recommended to confirm the exact terms from the Priority Pass membership provider.
Reasons to Visit Lounges
In lounges, the atmosphere is peaceful. Snacks or sometimes even meals are free. Warm, cold and alcoholic drinks are usually included. You get a comfortable chair and free WiFi. Especially when you are feeling tired, these small services become valuable. Many lounges have also showers for free use. What could be better than having a fresh shower before a long flight? The best lounges have even sleeping facilities and spa treatments but these services may be charged with a small extra fee. Lounge visits will increase the travel budget but it is worth it!
Priority Pass Memberships Levels
Price information in this Priority Pass review is estimated. The exact prices vary and may depend on your location. We advise to check current prices from Priority Pass. On the official website, it is also possible to purchase Priority Pass and start using it right away.
Priority Pass Standard
Priority Pass Standard is the cheapest membership level but according to our opinion, it is also the worst option. You need to pay about 100 USD annual membership fee but you still don't get any free lounge entry. Using lounges costs about 32 USD / visit. A guest with you costs the same.
Standard Priority Pass is useful for people who travel only a few times in a year. The annual membership fee and per lounge access fee makes the average cost of a visit moderately high so obtaining the standard version does not give many benefits. At the end of this article, we introduce better options for infrequent travellers.
Priority Pass Standard Plus
Priority Pass Standard Plus is better for travellers who make at least 5 return trips per year. Standard Plus membership costs about 300 USD per year and it includes 10 free lounge visits. After these 10 free visits, the following visits will be priced like in the Standard membership model.
Standard Plus membership is a good choice if you travel from 3 to 7 return trips per year. The average price for a lounge visit will then be about 31 USD that is a moderately good price.
Priority Pass Prestige
Priority Pass Prestige has unlimited free lounge entries for the member. The cost of the membership is about 430 USD yearly. Prestige becomes the best option after 15 lounge visits in a year. That means you need to do about 8 return trips. If you prefer having connecting flights, Priority Pass Prestige is absolutely the best choice even with fewer annual trips. You can spend layovers in cosy lounges.
Priority Pass Prices
|Membership Model||Priority Pass Price / Year||Our Recommendation|
|Standard||99 USD||Seldom a good choice|
|Standard Plus||299 USD||A decent option for people who travel a few times in a year|
|Prestige||429 USD||Absolutely the best choice for frequent travellers|
For frequent and business travellers, Priority Pass Prestige is the best option.
Lounge Membership with a Credit Card
Many banks give a complimentary Priority Pass membership with a credit card. You only pay the credit card annual fee and you will get a Priority Pass lounge membership free of extra charge.
According to our opinion, Priority Pass with a credit card is often a good option. However, you should calculate how much benefit Priority Pass membership gives. Notice also that Priority Pass cards coming with credit cards often have different terms. Many of them include 4 free Priority Pass lounge visits and after that, you need to pay Standard visit fees. With some premium credit cards, the member gets a Priority Pass card with unlimited free lounges access including a free guest.
When obtaining a Priority Pass from a bank, calculate its value carefully. Estimate what is the value of the credit card itself and target the rest of its annual fee to Priority Pass costs by using the following formula: One lounge visit price = (credit card annual fee - your estimate of credit card's value) / (maximum free lounge visit the card has or you will use in a year).
One lounge visit price = (credit card annual fee - your estimate of credit card's own value) / (maximum free lounge visit the card has or you will use in a year)
More and more banks are giving free LoungeKey membership with a payment card. LoungeKey membership is just like a Priority Pass membership with slightly different terms. The lounge selection is also smaller but big enough for typical travellers.
For example, Curve Metal comes with a LoungeKey membership.
Priority Pass Select
In the United States, Priority Passes coming from a financial institution are called Priority Pass Select. Some of them are for one person, while others include guests. Priority Pass Select members can pay for additional guests beyond what is included with their membership.
Downsides of Priority Pass
The current price of Priority Pass membership is moderately high for a free time traveller. Also, not all airports have Priority Pass lounges. Before purchasing a Priority Pass, check from the official website whether your favourite airports have lounges.
Priority Pass is still a great product for frequent travellers who are flying via big airports.
Priority Pass Lounges
There are more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges so finding one is easy. Big airports have usually multiple lounge options and smaller ones have normally at least one lounge that you can access with Priority Pass.
Where to Purchase Priority Pass?
The safest place to purchase Priority is the official website. Priority Pass has also an electronic membership card so you can start using the membership right away after joining. You just need to install the app on Android or iOS phones.
Alternatives for Priority Pass
Priority Pass has a very similar competitor called DragonPass. We have published a separate article where we compare Priority Pass to DragonPass.
LoungeKey is another lounge membership program coming with credit cards. The lounge selection is not as good as Priority Pass has.
Lounge membership programs are not the best option for less frequent travellers. If you still wish to visit lounges a few times in a year, there are other options aside from those enumerated above. For example, you can pay the normal lounge entry prices or buy a business class ticket but these ways are less affordable.
For infrequent lounge visitors, we recommend buying lounge entry passes from Lounge Pass. You can buy single entries that are often discounted even by 40%.
We visit airport lounges often. Usually, we use a Priority Pass membership that has come with a credit card, but sometimes we just buy single entries from Lounge Pass. We have also accessed lounges with Diners Club and LoungeKey.
For new lounge visitors, a good strategy is to try lounges once with a one-time lounge pass. If you like lounges, purchasing a membership may become the cheapest way to visit lounges in the long term. Evaluate carefully which membership suits you the best.
Are lounges a part of your free-time travelling? How do you access them, comment below!
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