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For many of us, the dream of complimentary airport lounge access was one of the main reasons we got into the world of points and miles in the first place.

Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership is a perk offered by multiple premium travel credit cards which makes that dream a reality.

However, there’s much more to Priority Pass membership than just its 1,400+ global lounges. From spa access to restaurant credits and more, Priority Pass is designed to make your travel as luxury as possible.

In this complete guide to Priority Pass membership, we’re going to discuss everything from membership tiers and the top credit cards that offer complimentary access to the specific locations of lounges. 

Man entering an airport lounge with Priority Pass

What Is Priority Pass?

Established in 1992, Priority Pass is the largest network of luxury airport lounges.

It spans across the globe with more than 1,400 lounges and experiences, of which more than 150 are in the United States and Canada, more than 440 are in Asia Pacific, more than 150 are in Latin America, about 370 are in Europe, more than 90 are in Africa, and about 70 are in the Middle East.

Unlike other airport lounges, you don’t need to have a certain class of ticket, belong to an airline loyalty program or fly with a specific airline to enjoy Priority Pass lounges.

Instead, membership can either be bought directly through Priority Pass or gained as a complimentary perk via a travel rewards credit card.

Priority Pass Membership Levels

If you’re not interested in holding a travel rewards credit card, Priority Pass membership can be bought directly. There are three tiers of membership available:

  1. Standard – annual fee of $99, plus $35 per member or guest visit
  2. Standard Plus – annual fee of $329, up to 10 complimentary visits and then $35 per member or guest visit thereafter
  3. Prestige – annual fee of $469, unlimited member visits and $35 per guest visit

If you plan to visit Priority Pass lounges no more than six times in a year, then you should go for the Standard membership option. That would work out to an annual cost of $309 ($99 + 6 x $35).

However, if you’re planning to visit more than six times per year, then Standard Plus membership makes the most sense. With Standard Plus membership, you get up to 10 complimentary visits per year, the equivalent of which would cost you $449 if you were on the Standard membership plan.

In the event that you were planning to visit Priority Pass lounges 14 times or more in a year, only then would Prestige membership make financial sense.

That said, buying Priority Pass membership is not always the best option in terms of value for money.

You can pay similar annual fees for a premium travel rewards credit card and receive complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, as well as a host of other benefits from travel statement credits and insurance coverage to access to other airport lounge schemes and the ability to earn points.

This is all the more true if you’re considering forking out $469 for Prestige membership, the equivalent value of which could get you much further in the world of miles and points.

Airport lounge access with Priority Pass

Priority Pass Versus Priority Pass Select Membership

As mentioned, many travel rewards credit cards offer complimentary Priority Pass membership. However, they offer a specific type of membership called Priority Pass Select.

Priority Pass Select membership comes with almost the exact same benefits as a standard paid membership.

However, if your Priority Pass Select membership is via any American Express card, the U.S. Bank AltitudeTM Reserve Visa Infinite® card or the Capital One Venture X Rewards card, access to non-lounge amenities, such as suites, spas and restaurants, is denied.

Despite this exception, Priority Pass Select members can benefit from complimentary guest access, depending on what credit card they hold—a distinct benefit compared to a paid membership plan.

It’s worth noting that those who have Priority Pass Select membership through the Chase Sapphire Reserve® have access to Priority Pass restaurants.

Priority Pass Guest Policies

Rules tend to vary between Priority Pass lounges, and guest access is primarily determined by your membership plan.

For paid memberships, guests are charged $35 per visit.

For Priority Pass Select members, some cards enable you to bring up to two guests for free. Likewise, authorized users on certain travel rewards credit cards can gain complimentary Priority Pass Select membership and bring up to two guests free of charge.

Aside from membership types, guest access also depends on capacity constraints of individual lounges. For example, bringing guests during peak travel times will always carry more of a risk due to the higher chance of the lounge being full.

For both members and guests, keep in mind that lounge access usually has a time limit between one and four hours. This varies between lounges and travel times, but is something to factor into your journey.

Priority Pass Benefits

Priority Pass lounges differ in what they offer, spanning from the basic amenities common to most airport lounges to over-the-top pre-flight luxuries.

At most Priority Pass lounges, you’ll find:

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Spaces for both work and relaxation, with dedicated quiet areas
  • Power sockets and charging stations
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Complimentary refreshments and snacks as well as alcoholic beverages

In some top of the range lounges, you’ll also have access to:

  • Beds and sleep pods
  • Showers
  • Conference rooms
  • Printers 

Let’s now look at some of the other non-lounge perks of Priority Pass membership.

Woman in an airport lounge using Priority Pass

Be Relax Spas, Minute Suites and Restaurants

If you’re a Priority Pass member or hold Priority Pass Select via certain credit cards, you’ll also have access to Be Relax Spas, Minute Suites and credits at select restaurants, at home and abroad.

Priority Pass Restaurants

There are more than 40 participating restaurants across the globe where Priority Pass membership can give you a credit of up to $28 to $30 off the bill.

Most of these restaurants also allow you to bring at least one guest, who’s also entitled to receive the credit, making the total value $56 to $60. Considering how expensive restaurants can be in airports, this is a massive, underrated perk of Priority Pass membership.

To use the restaurant credits, you’ll need to show your Priority Pass membership card plus a same-day boarding pass. At some restaurants, credits apply only when you’re on an outbound flight—not an arrival.

Here are the U.S. airports where you can find Priority Pass restaurants:

  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
  • Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)
  • Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • Nashville International Airport (BNA)
  • Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport (PVD)
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
  • Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR)
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA)
  • Tucson International Airport (TUS)

When flying internationally, you can also find Priority Pass restaurants at the following airports:

  • Aeroparque Internacional Jorge Newbery (AEP)
  • Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER)
  • Brisbane Airport (BNE)
  • Canberra Airport (CBR)
  • Coimbatore International Airport (CJB)
  • Ezeiza International Airport (EZE)
  • São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU)
  • Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
  • Kansai International Airport (KIX)
  • London Gatwick Airport (LGW)
  • London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
  • London Luton Airport (LTN)
  • Jorge Chavez International Airport (LIM)
  • Melbourne Airport (MEL)
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport (NGO)
  • Gold Coast Airport (OOL)
  • Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH)
  • Faa’a International Airport (PPT)
  • Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)
  • Sydney Airport (SYD)
  • Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE)

Just be sure to check that the restaurant does accept Priority Pass credits and what their exact rules are pertaining to guests and the application of the credit.

Some restaurants don’t allow the credit to be applied on to-go orders. Similarly, many international restaurants come with a lower allowance for Priority Pass members.

For example, in Osaka, Japan, a credit of 3,400 Japanese yen is available, which equates to about $22. Likewise, Priority Pass members in certain international airports, such as Taipei, Taiwan, have set menus instead of a monetary credit toward the bill.

Likewise, remember that you still need to tip your server. You should calculate the tip based on the cost of the bill before the credit is subtracted.

Priority Pass Minute Suites

Minute Suites offer members the chance to relax, sleep or work in a private noise-free suite. Minute Suites can be found at the following airports:

  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  • Nashville International Airport (BNA)

Priority Pass members can gain complimentary access to Minute Suites for them and up to three guests for a maximum stay of one hour. Every additional hour will be charged at $28.

Priority Pass Be Relax Spa Facilities

From facials and massages to aromatherapy and manicures, Be Relax spas offer all the pre-flight services you could wish for. 

For example, at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), you can use your lounge visit entitlement to redeem one of the following complimentary spa treatments:

  • Be Back 15-minute Massage plus O2 ($38 value)
  • Be Back 30-minute Massage ($38 value)
  • Polish Change plus Hand Massage ($38 value)
  • Be Feet on lounger 10-minute plus O2 ($44 value)

You can find Be Relax locations at the following airports:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

To access a Minute Suite, you’ll need to present your same-day boarding pass plus your Priority Pass membership card.

Priority Pass Lounge Access

Best Cards for Priority Pass Select Membership

If you have Priority Pass Select membership through a travel rewards credit card, keep in mind that you first need to enroll in Priority Pass to get your membership card. Simply turning up and waving your credit card around won’t get you far.

Make sure to enroll through your credit card account at least a couple of weeks before your trip. This will give you ample time for your complimentary membership to be processed. 

You can download the Priority Pass app to access your digital membership card, which you can then use to enter lounges and other Priority Pass facilities, normally in conjunction with a same-day boarding pass. Some lounges also require your physical membership card.

It should be noted that despite the Citi Prestige® card offering Priority Pass Select membership, including access to non-lounge benefits, it‘s no longer available to new applicants. So while this card is excellent for getting a luxury airport experience, if you don’t already have it, you won’t be able to get it—hence why it’s not included in the card list below.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best premium travel credit cards on the market. It’s also one of the few Priority Pass Select membership conferring cards that still give you complimentary access to non-lounge features, such as Priority Pass restaurants. 

While the annual fee of $550 is substantial, you can offset it if you maximize the benefits. For example, the annual travel credit statement of $300 plus Priority Pass Select membership (with an equivalent value of $469) already offsets the annual fee by $219.

Here’s a summary of what the card has on offer:

  • Points have 50% more value (1.5 cents per point) when redeemed for travel through Chase Travel
  • 10X points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
  • 10X points on Chase Dining purchases 
  • 5X points on flights booked through Chase Travel (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
  • 3X points on other travel purchases (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
  • 3X points on other dining at restaurants, including eligible takeout and delivery services, as well as dining out
  • 1X point on all other purchases
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership
  • $300 annual travel statement credit
  • Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry application fee or TSA PreCheck application fee
  • Get access to special benefits when staying with The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
  • Travel and protection coverage
  • 24/7 access to a customer service specialist
  • No foreign transaction fees

On top of these benefits, authorized users can be added for a fee of $75 and are also able to enjoy complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. The primary cardholder, as well as the authorized user, are both able to bring up to two additional guests each into airport lounges in the Priority Pass Select network free of charge. For every additional guest, your card will be charged $27.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

LEARN MORE 

U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite card offers some generous travel benefits in return for a somewhat lower annual fee of $400.

The card offers one complimentary Priority Pass Select membership per account. 

Unlike other premium travel credit cards, the Reserve Visa Infinite Card from U.S. Bank doesn’t offer unlimited visits. Instead, it offers up to eight complimentary visits per year. Any visits after these will be charged at a discounted rate of $32 per cardholder or guest.

These visits can be used either for the cardholder or an accompanying guest. Previously, the card offered four complimentary visits for the cardholder and four for an accompanying guest. However, the rules have now changed, giving you more flexibility as to how you distribute your complimentary visits.

Even if visits aren’t unlimited, this perk still confers an equivalent value of $379 (Standard membership = $99 + $35 x 8). If you combine this with the generous $325 annual statement credit, you’ll offset the annual fee by $302.

Here’s a summary of the perks and bonus category earning rates offered on the card:

  • $325 annual statement credit for travel, dining, restaurant, takeaway and delivery service purchases
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, including eight free visits per year for you and/or a guest
  • $100 TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry fee statement credit 
  • Access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection, including perks such as late checkout, room upgrades upon arrival and special amenity credits (all perks are subject to availability)
  • Consumer and travel protections
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 5X points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly through the Altitude Rewards Center
  • 3X points on eligible travel purchases and mobile wallet spending via Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ and Samsung Pay
  • 1X point on all other eligible purchases

It should be noted that the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card doesn’t grant you access to non-lounge Priority Pass perks. Likewise, although authorized users can be added free of charge, complimentary Priority Pass Select membership is restricted to one user per account.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers complimentary Priority Pass Select membership for the primary cardholder and authorized users, each of whom can bring up to two guests per lounge visit (subject to each individual lounge’s rules and capacity constraints).

The airport lounge benefit on this card is worth considering. To recap: You can add up to four authorized users on the Venture X Rewards card, each of whom can enroll in Priority Pass Select membership and bring up to two guests. That means that a group of up to 15 travelers (one primary cardholder, four authorized users and 10 complimentary guests) could get into an airport lounge, all for the original annual fee of $395. 

On top of this, the card not only covers membership for the Priority Pass network—it also includes Plaza Premium Group and Capital One Lounges.

Overall, the airport lounge benefits combined with the $300 annual travel statement credit on purchases through Capital One Travel and up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck easily offset the $395 annual fee by a longshot.

Here’s what the Capital One Venture X Rewards credit card has on offer:

  • 10X miles on rental cars and hotels when booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Complimentary access for you, your authorized users and up to two guests for Priority Pass, Capital One Lounges and Plaza Premium Group (enrollment required)
  • Transfer Capital One Miles to more than 15 travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy cardholder benefits, from experience credit to room upgrades, when staying with the Premier or Lifestyle Collections 
  • Up to $300 annual statement credit when booking travel through Capital One Travel (per account, not per user)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 10,000 bonus miles every year on your account anniversary (per account, not per user)

The only downside to the card is that Capital One no longer gives Priority Pass Select members access to non-lounge features, such as restaurant credits.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

LEARN MORE 

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers some of the most competitive perks as well as access to the largest variety of airport lounges.

The card has an annual fee of $695 (see rates and fees) and charges $195 each to add authorized users—all of whom will receive complimentary Priority Pass Select membership upon enrollment.

Aside from the Priority Pass network, the card also includes access to a wide range of other airport lounges, from Delta Sky Club and The Centurion Lounges to Lufthansa Business and Senator Lounges, and many more.

Despite the high annual fee and authorized user charges, the Amex Platinum Card’s perks alone total a value of $1,500, giving you the capability to offset the annual fee by more than double.

The Platinum Card from American Express offers the following benefits:

  • 5X points on eligible flights booked with American Express Travel or directly with the airline, on up to $500,000 in charges per calendar year
  • 5X points on eligible prepaid hotel reservations when booked with American Express Travel
  • Up to $200 hotel credit on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings through American Express Travel (minimum two-night stay required) given in statement credits
  • Up to $240 digital entertainment credit, issued in $20 monthly statement credits for eligible purchases (enrollment required)
  • Up to $300 Equinox credit given in statement credits and is subject to auto renewal
  • Up to $189 per year in statement credits toward a CLEAR® Plus membership
  • Up to $200 airline incidental fee credit given in statement credits
  • Up to $200 Uber Cash, issued in increments of $15 per month with a bonus $20 in December (To receive this benefit, you must have downloaded the latest version of the Uber App and your eligible American Express Platinum Card must be a method of payment in your Uber account. The Amex Benefit may only be used in the United States.)
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every four years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® application fee (through a TSA official enrollment provider)
  • Complimentary premium status for numerous car rental companies (enrollment required)
  • Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, consisting of 1,400+ lounges across 140 countries (including Airspace Lounge, The Centurion Lounge, Delta Sky Club, Escape Lounges, Lufthansa Business and Senator Lounges, Plaza Premium, Priority Pass Select)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Access to the American Express International Airline Program (for discounted airfares)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels and Resort Collection for bookings made through American Express Travel
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold and Hilton Honors Gold elite status (enrollment required)

Unfortunately, American Express Priority Pass Select membership doesn’t include access to non-lounge perks, such as restaurant credit.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.

LEARN MORE

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card comes with a large annual fee of $650 (see rates and fees). However, its hotel-related benefits as well as Priority Pass Select membership make offsetting the fee easy.

Complimentary Priority Pass membership applies to the primary cardholder, who’s able to bring up to two guests for unlimited annual visits.

Here’s what the card has to offer:

  • 6X Marriott Bonvoy points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy
  • 3X points at restaurants worldwide
  • 3X points on flights when booked directly with airlines
  • 2X points on all other eligible purchases
  • Up to $300 annual statement credit for purchases at eligible restaurants worldwide, issued in $25 monthly statement credits
  • Annual free night award (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy
  • Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every four years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® application fee (through a TSA official enrollment provider)
  • Receive 25 elite night credits per calendar year toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status

Priority Pass Select membership benefits don’t extend to authorized users, and being an American Express card, non-lounge Priority Pass amenities aren’t available.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

LEARN MORE 

Priority Pass Lounge Locations

You can find Priority Pass lounges at the following U.S. airports:

  • Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM)
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) 
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF)
  • Charleston International Airport (CHS)
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
  • Colorado Springs Airport (COS)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DWT)
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Harry Reid International Airport (LAS)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Jacksonville International Airport (JAX)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Kahului Airport (OGG)
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
  • Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (SJU)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  • O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB)
  • Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
  • Saipan International Airport (SPN)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • San Jose Mineta International Airport (SJC)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Final Thoughts

Buying Priority Pass membership might be beneficial if you want full access to everything from Be Relax spas and restaurant credits to Minute Suites.

However, for most travelers, Priority Pass Select membership via a premium travel credit card will be more than enough—particularly with the added guest privileges that come with credit card conferred membership.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve remains the best card in terms of Priority Pass Select membership benefits as it allows authorized users complimentary membership and gives you access to restaurant credits.

But no matter what card you choose, or already have, maximizing your membership is a matter of planning your airport visits in advance as well as showing up early. By planning your airport visits, you can opt for routes which give you the greatest selection of lounges, while showing up early maximizes your time spent there.

Overall, time spent in a Priority Pass lounge is a proven antidote to the chaos of airports.