Don’t Make This Mistake with Your Priority Pass Membership


The Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige, and all American Express Platinum cards offer free Priority Pass Select membership, emphasis on “Select.”

Last month I got this email from a vexed reader:

So here is my experience with the highly touted Chase SAPPHIRE Reserve card and its Select Priority Pass allegedly good for getting into 500+ airport lounges.
Newark Airport, Oct. 13, 2016, flying United Airlines Newark to Geneva: “Sorry, don’t take the Priority Pass card in THIS (United) lounge. It can be used in Terminal C” (I think it was C; not sure, but the point is, it didn’t work in the international terminal).
Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris, Oct. 24, 2016: Priority Pass worked and got us into United’s business class level lounge which was very nice.
Newark Airport, Nov. 22, 2016, flying United from Newark to San Francisco (SRO). United’s lounge: “Sorry, we don’t take the Priority Pass.” 
San Francisco airport, Nov. 26, 2016, flying United to Ft. Meyers (via Chicgo). United’s lounge in San Francisco: “Sorry, we don ‘t take Priority Pass.” Went to American Express Centurion lounge: “Sorry, we don’t take Priority Pass.”
So, of five attempts to use the Priority Pass, we struck out on four. 


There’s a lot of confusion to unpack here, but the basic point is that all the cards mentioned above offer Priority Pass Select, which is access to all Priority Pass lounges except United Clubs.

There are two easy ways to figure out which lounges you can access with Priority Pass. Either download the Priority Pass app and mentally subtract the United Clubs or look on the Priority Pass Select page.

It’s a bummer that my confused reader only got into one lounge when he was actually eligible to go into lounges at all the airports he traveled through:

He didn’t have access to the Amex Centurion Lounge because that’s for folks with an Amex Platinum or Centurion card.

Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige, and all American Express Platinum cards offer free Priority Pass Select, which is access to all Priority Pass lounges except United Clubs.

There are differences between the Priority Pass Select memberships offered by the cards, mainly centered on how many free guests you can bring in. Check out those differences in my post “Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Citi Prestige vs. Amex Platinum.”

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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  1. It’s unfortunate this vexed reader assumed s/he could get access to any airport lounge with Priority Pass Select membership. Guess some people just don’t want to read the rules or understand the benefits and just assume things and get upset when they are told NO. It’s really easy to find the lounges that can be accessed with Priority Pass Select. I hope this misinformed traveler has been educated on this matter by now. I think the Priority Pass Select membership is one of the great benefits offered to CSR cardholders who know how to read.

    • You have to register for the Priority Pass and rental car benefits you wish to receive with the Sapphire Reserve. You can do it in the card benefits section of your Sapphire Reserve account.

  2. Nowhere in the rules or benefits description of the Priority Pass Select Membership does it state you get access to any and all airport lounges. This vexed traveler needs to read before assuming.

  3. This is why I love the Lounge Buddy app. Put in your various lounge memberships and credit cards (it knows which ones are associated with which types of lounge passes). Then add your upcoming airports to the list and you’ll be able to check what lounges are available in each airport, where they are located, ratings, and hours of service (even noting that some have restricted hours for Priority Pass members).

    You can also add your airline and class of service. Here it falls down a bit, as it doesn’t seem to be perfect about recognizing the details of which premium class flights entitle you to lounge access. Also, I recall the iOS version being rather superior to the Android version for some reason – it was possible to add more detailed itineraries, which may have resulted in better accuracy about lounge access. Either way, if it tells you a lounge is free, you can check to see how it arrived at that conclusion (e.g. “Present your Priority Pass card” or “Present your boarding pass”).

    I’m not a heavy traveler, but when I go, it’s usually long flights with poor connections (those “Saver” award seats!) and I love having a relatively relaxing oasis on my layovers.

  4. The ORD lounges in are terminal #5 (international terminal) and are virtually useless as no domestic, including Canadian, flights depart or arrive from #5. Terminal 5 is also outside security of the other terminals and requires a a long walk from your gate plus 10-20 minute train ride from the other terminals. Many international flights also depart from terminals #1-3 (AA, UA, among others). Since both lounges are air-side, thus requiring going through security twice (will they even let you past security with a domestic boarding pass??) I would recommend a minimum 5 hour layover to even try using one.

  5. Only “certain” Amex Platinum cards gain free entry to Centurion Lounges, at least that’s been my experience. I got the DL Skymiles Platinum Amex thinking it would get me lounge access. Maybe they changed the rules between when I got the card and tried to use it. I had to pay $50 for lounge access at LGA airport terminal B, this was early in 2016. The better deal is $29 access anywhere to DL Skyclubs, at least on the DL Skymiles Platinum card.

    • There’s a difference between the American Express Platinum Card and Delta Skymiles Platinum card.

      The Delta Platinum card does not include Priority Pass. The Delta Reserve Card (with a similar to the Amex Platinum $450 annual fee, does include access to delta lounges, but that’s it).

      You need to read what you’re signing up for!

  6. Here is a mistake i have made more than once, always check to see if the lounge is land side or air side, once you pass though security your air side, if you have also passed through immigration on an international ticket they will not let you go back to get to a land side lounge. Putting the priority pass app on your phone is super useful, it not only tells you what lounges are available (land side or air side and what terminals) but it gives you a digital membership card to sign in with.

    • The point is that the Priority Pass benefit is extremely confusing. The PP company doesn’t care to make it easier to sort out.

  7. ? The article makes it sound like united clubs are a part of priority pass but just not accessible with priority pass select.


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