An Introductory Guide to Priority Pass Memberships An Introductory Guide to Priority Pass Memberships

An Introductory Guide to Priority Pass Memberships

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Priority Pass is the world's largest network of independent airport lounges. Offered as a complimentary credit card benefit or via a paid annual membership, Priority Pass lets you access over 1,000 lounges across the globe, making it one of the best credit card benefits for international travel.


Because Priority Pass is independent of individual airlines, you can access the lounge network no matter which airline you fly. The lounges provide a space where you can grab a bite to eat and drink, log into the Wi-Fi, and sit in quiet comfort to get some work done or enjoy a glass of wine.

The Priority Pass lounge network does have its issues. Lounge quality lags behind some of its competitors in the US, with several lounges out of date and the service a little inconsistent. Another complaint is the rise in complimentary memberships, which is creating an overcrowding issue in select US lounges during peak demand.

Priority Pass also offers some great new benefits outside of lounge access, providing a credit of $28 per person at select bars and restaurants within airport terminals, along with spa access and micro-suites at some airports. Priority Pass doesn't list the locations featuring restaurant or bar credits, so we've put together a post recording each location and the credit offered.

North American Priority Pass Lounge Locations


Priority pass advertises itself as one of the biggest lounge networks on the planet, but its US footprint is comparatively small. At the time of writing, there are 56 Priority Pass lounges in North America, with 40 of those in the mainland US and the rest spread across Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii.

Highlights of the US Priority Pass lounge network include the Air France Lounges at JFK, ORD, and SFO, The Club lounges at SJC, ATL, MCO, and DFW, and the Alaska Lounges at LAX and SEA, although Alaska is restricting entry to West Coast lounges for Priority Pass holders to the primary cardholder, so these lounges are best if you’re traveling alone.

For a full list of US Priority Pass lounge locations head to, scroll down to the region selection, and click the North America button. You can access lounge locations worldwide from the same page.


Priority Pass truly comes into its own when you take off from North American shores. The list of lounges overseas is extensive (1,000+ lounges) and includes standout lounges like the Almost@Home Lounge in Helsinki, the Al Dhabi Lounge in Abu Dhabi, the Star Alliance Lounge at Paris’ Charles De Gaulle, and London Heathrow’s superb SkyTeam Lounge.

Paid Priority Pass Memberships – Standard, Standard Plus, and Prestige


Paid Priority Pass annual memberships start from as little as $99 for a Standard membership, topping out at a hefty $429 for a Prestige membership plan.

  • Priority Pass Standard—$99 – Member visit fee: US$32 / Guest visit fee: US$32
  • Priority Pass Standard Plus—$299 – Member visit fee: 10 FREE visits, then US$32 / Guest visit fee: US$32
  • Priority Pass Prestige—$429 – Member visit fee: ALL FREE / Guest visit fee: US$32

In the past, a paid membership used to offer additional access benefits over complimentary memberships. But the benefits are now so closely aligned it makes little sense to pay an expensive membership fee when, for the same cost, you could get the Priority Pass membership as a credit card benefit, along with a host of benefits such as travel credits and complimentary travel insurances.

Complimentary Priority Pass Memberships – Priority Pass Select


The complimentary Priority Pass memberships offered with credit cards are Priority Pass Select memberships. While the name is the same across the board, the access and guest policies differ for each card.

Of the cards providing a complimentary Priority Pass membership, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card used to offer the most flexible guest policies, allowing you to bring unlimited guests into the lounge for free. This policy changed in 2018, however, and cardmembers are now only allowed 2x guests.

Other cards offering generous policies include The Platinum Card® from American Express and its business counterpart The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, and the Citi Prestige® Card all allow cardholders 2 free guests, with additional guests priced at $32 per person. Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.

The Amex Platinum offers the best lounge access of the lot, throwing in access to Delta SkyClub lounges (when traveling on Delta) and the Amex Centurion Lounge network on top of the Priority Pass membership. To see a full list of lounge access and guest policies by card, we’ve put together a post comparing the best cards for lounge access which offers a comprehensive breakdown for each card.

Priority Pass Lounge Access by Credit Card

Credit CardComplimentary Cardholder AccessNumber of Free GuestsDigital Priority Pass CardCard Annual FeeAuthorized User Lounge AccessAuthorized User Fee
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit CardUnlimited lounge access2 guestsYes$395Yes$0 (up to four AUs)
Chase Sapphire Reserve®Unlimited lounge access2 guestsYes$550Yes$75
The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit CardUnlimited lounge accessUnlimited (as far as we've found)Yes$450Yes$0
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressUnlimited lounge access - No F&B credits at non-lounge restaurants, bars, and eateries (Enrollment Required)2 guestsYes$695 - Rates & FeesYes$175 total for first 3 AUs then $175 each - Rates & Fees
The Business Platinum Card® from American ExpressUnlimited lounge access - No F&B credits at non-lounge restaurants, bars, and eateries
(Enrollment Required)
2 guestsYes$695 - Rates & FeesYes$300 - Rates & Fees
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire CardUnlimited lounge access
(Enrollment Required)
2 guestsYes$450No$0
Citi Prestige® CardUnlimited lounge access
(Enrollment Required)
2 guests or immediate familyYes$495Yes$75
Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit CardUnlimited lounge access for the primary cardholder.$32 per guestYes$400Can gift access to one other person - doesn't have to be AU$95
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card10x free passes then $32 per visit
(Enrollment Required)
$32 per guestYes$95NoN/A
U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card4x free passes per year, then $32 per visit1 guest free for first 4 visits, then $32 per visitNo$400No$0
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card10x free passes then $27 per visitMust use a 2nd pass for a guestYes$95 - Rates & FeesNo$0 - Rates & Fees

If you have more than one complimentary Priority Pass membership due to having multiple credit cards that offer lounge access as a perk, Ben from OMAAT offers an easy solution to telling the cards apart. Simply note the lounge access guest policy, and which provider supplied the membership, on the back of the card using a marker pen so you can tell the cards apart.

Final Thoughts

Lounge access is essential for any frequent flyer, providing a quiet place to relax, eat and drink without the hustle, and space to get work done if you’re that way inclined. And while the Priority Pass network in the US is limited, missing some of the bigger hubs, the membership offers some fantastic lounges when you travel overseas.

Getting a Priority Pass membership via the cards mentioned above is a fantastic option if you don’t hold elite status with an airline, or you plan on flying multiple carriers. Just be sure to activate your membership when you receive your credit card, or you may walk up to the lounge's front counter only to be turned away because you didn’t pre-register your account.

As always, we’d love to hear your experiences and queries, so get in touch via the comments if you have questions regarding Priority Pass memberships and the different options available.

For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (Rates & Fees), The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees)

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  • This is a great post. Thanks for the info.

  • Amex Priority Pass has digital so you can use the PP app. Can store more than one PP account in the app too.

  • Very interesting info. Thank you. I have used lounges a few times; however, personally, I find I usually try and travel off peak to avoid delays and congestion(think first flight of the day). Lounges tend to be closed then and often the airports are so empty anyway that I often don’t miss the lounge access.

  • I used to have access. But no longer. I prefer AA flagship lounges. They are not always so welcoming with the kids though

  • Priority Pass is a nice extra, but unless you travel internationally a lot, isn’t something that moves the needle a whole lot.

    The Amex Platinum cards offer way more lounge access than the other premium cards.

  • Thanks for the detailed info. If I’m only using lounges for international travel and already have Star Alliance Gold status, is there any reason to consider joining Priority Pass?

    • Wayne, the only reason you’d get value from Priority Pass would be if you were traveling with someone that wouldn’t have access to the Star Alliance lounges, or if there were no applicable lounges in the airport of a specific trip.

  • The_Bouncet says:

    I have the Prestige membership, and it’s definitely worthwhile.

  • As here in Europe there are not a lot of cards giving free Prestige Priority Pass, I have decided to buy the card directly (with a discount of course).
    Now, it’s already three years which I have the card and I’m quite satisfied.
    Anyway, I find a little exaggerated the price for the guest, especially when I see that a lot of credit cards give a Priority Pass with unlimited guest for free!

  • For a moment I thought they had their own lounges but then what I first thought was confirmed…that it’s airline lounges. I can see why a business person would want to have this but for me who doesn’t travel intl a lot I cannot see this being useful to me. Though I would think that they would have a better network here in the US too, since they have such fees for membership. Is there any news out there that they are extending US usage, etc?

  • I currently do not have a card with Priority Pass access, but hopefully soon I will! Thanks for the very helpful charts and info.

  • I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I used the Priority Pass on my recent trip to SE Asia. At least 10 visits and the lounges I visited even in tiny airports we’re nice and generally uncrowded. Saved a ton of $$ as 3 people all included. Sadly upon returning we used the t4 lounge at JFK which was crowded with barefoot kids running amok. But if you travel overseas definitely worthwhile.

  • Having access to airport lounges is a wonderful respite from the stresses of air travel today, as I imagine most would agree. This is a very informative article and I appreciate the info in it.

  • Nice post, I hope the PP network will keep expanding such that there is at least one pp lounge in every airport in the world.

  • I’m happy that I have priority pass through a credit card, but in general I find lounge access overrated.

  • Chris Portscheller says:

    Amex Platinum also gets access to escape lounges ( )

  • It’s only a great perk if they actually let you in the lounge. At times of high volume when the airport is busy they deny people access claiming among other things over capacity… So in my book priority pass gets one thumb up and one thumb down

  • jason picker says:

    This is research well done. Thanks for taking the time to do it. Kudos for sharing

  • Bertrand Say says:

    The program is of no use to me since I am the only one that gets free access yet I always travel with my wife and we don’t really want to pay for her to have access also.

  • In Sydney and Brisbane, Australia your priority pass membership will get you a completely free meal from restaurants in the terminal.

  • Always wondered about how worthwhile this would be. Seems probably not of too much value for a somewhat infrequent traveller. Probably only worthwhile, if could be achieved complimentarily for me i would say. Good to know.

  • Jacqueline parsons says:

    Great informative article as usual. I’m seeing some great value in freecard access to lounges but also paying reduced rates.

  • love the benefits from CSR and platinum for PPS

  • Whilst we get this free lounge access via our amex cards, it’s a great perk and well used by many, let’s hope this extra is not removed in the future.

  • Thanks, Didn’t know I could add an authorized user for 75 on my Sapphire reserve card. Well worth it for 75. Are they considered a primary “priority pass cardholder” since I assume they have a pp card with their name on it and do they get to bring unlimited guests too?

  • Another benefit of my Chase Sapphire Reserve, free Priority Pass membership.

  • Jimmie Lin says:

    Priority Pass has great use in developed countries where PP is also a great credit card benefit, but sadly in places I travel it’s not really a norm 🙁 Lots of domestic lounges in South America only accept their own variants of PP, branded by their own credit cards instead, making sitting in a crowded airport waiting area the norm.

  • Strangely I can justify to myself the cost of paying hundreds of dollars on an annual fee for a credit card with free Priority Pass access (or buying PP Prestige direct), but would never dream of paying for lounge access on a pay as you go basis, even if it was only $10 a time!

  • Stephen Wing says:

    It’s worth noting that the Amex Priority Pass Select arrangements can vary by country as well – in the UK for example, the UK Platinum Amex card only allows 1 free guest.

  • I’ve been quite impressed with Priority Pass lately — its global network has been steadily growing, with some innovative new options as well.

  • I have use Priority Pass twice to get a free hour at the Minute Suites in PHL. It’s very nice to get away from noise of the rest of the airport (even the clubs get noisy at peak hours).

  • Great info. I’ve had PP for years and never fully understood it’s benefits. Thank you!!

  • Never saw the allure (or cost/benefit) of airport lounge access, except perhaps for the rare occasions where I have a long layover. The less time in the airport the better.

  • Lounge access has definitely started becoming a norm rather than a special benefit.

  • Sorry if this is a dumb question—so let’s say I have PriorityPass membership with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. So to go in a lounge, I pay $27 for myself but the other 3 members of my family are free. Is that correct? Thanks!

  • Many thanks. I just got priority pass last year with the CSR, so this helps.


    Certainly it is far better to await a flight in a VIP room, especially in long connections.

  • As an American Airlines traveler , prefer admirals club but the only way to free access is with the $450 card. Used to get it with AMEX platinum but those days are gone

  • They are also adding some airport restaurants with some free credits for food/drink as well

    • the expansion to restaurants should be the subject of a future post!

      Disappointed that MSP priority lounge would not all me entry using my Chase Saphire-issued Priority Pass for entry.

  • I wish you hadn’t inserted information about non-priority pass (delta with amex plat) then this would be less confusing. It’s about priority pass after all.

    • Sorry you found this confusing, but we wanted to make sure everyone was aware that the Platinum Amex cards do have additional lounge access. Given the value of a nice place to relax and the improved benefits on the Platinum cards with regards to Priority Pass we thought it was worth a mention, especially when the cards have a higher annual fee than others.

  • A great perk for those that travel often. Good idea to write down the guest policy as thats always confusing to me

  • Very helpful. I’m actually considering a card that includes complementary priority pass

  • It’s a good trend seeing Priority Pass expand to include more restaurants other spaces.

  • My wife and I used Priority Pass (free membership with my Chase Sapphire Reserve) yesterday when flying out of BOS and I strongly recommend researching the club locations in the airport prior to arrival. We were flying Southwest and wrongly assumed all lounges were accessible after going though one TSA checkpoint (like at ATL). Southwest is in Terminal A, so we went through security there and started looking for the lounges only to find out we needed to be in Terminal E, meaning we had to exit security in Terminal A, walk about 10 minutes over several sky walks, and go though a very busy TSA checkpoint at Terminal E before we were in the right spot for the lounges. To top it off, Terminal E is an international terminal with no TSA Pre Check access. Thankfully, the employee at the security entrance felt sorry for us and let us go into the shorter first-class line, but we still had to remove belts, shoes, laptops, etc. We finally made it to the Air France lounge where we were greeted by friendly staff and enjoyed complementary cocktails and food in a quiet setting before having to make our way back to Terminal A, through TSA for the third time, and to the Southwest gate. Had we done better research on the airport layout, we would have had our Lyft driver just drop us off at Terminal E and saved a lot of time.

    • Mark, as much as people complain about ATL, this is one place where it is a big win. I know the pain with Boston/Logan as it used to be my home airport — I was lucky as I typically only flew Delta and had lounge access through them in terminal A.

      Southwest used to be in E, which was great for just this reason. I’m glad you at least were able to make use of the lounge. Most would have just called it quits, bravo!

  • lately many lounges have not allowed priority pass access claiming to be over occupancy, especially Alaska Air.

  • Thanks. I had no idea this existed. This might be great for a business traveler. I don’t think that I travel enough for leisure to make this worth it though.

  • You’ve saved me a ton of research time on this topic. As someone that needs that quiet work space at times, this was something I have been meaning to add to my credit card research for the end of the year. Thanks again for doing the hard part!

  • Excellent post. Something I’ve been intending to research myself…