December 17, 2017

Priority Pass Review

Priority Pass Membership Card

Priority Pass provides an independent airport lounge membership program.  The program offers members access to a network of over 950 airport lounges globally. This article provides a full review of the Priority Pass membership program.

Discount

I can provide business travelers interested in the priority pass program with a 10% discount on the annual membership:

Save 10% on a Priority Pass Membership today

Membership Benefits

Airport lounges offer travelers an opportunity to temporarily escape from the noise, stress, and tension of crowded airports.  Priority Pass offers travelers access to a network of airport lounges that don’t require you to be flying on any particular airline.  Major benefits within each lounge in the Priority Pass network includes:

  • Access of 950 airport lounges globally
  • Complimentary drinks (including alcohol) and light snacks
  • Free WiFi access
  • Comfortable seating and quiet space
  • A selection of magazine and newspapers
  • Available electrical outlets to charge electronics
  • Occasionally certain larger lounges will include conference room space and showers

Priority Pass membership includes 3 main options: Standard, Standard Plus, and Prestige.

Standard Membership

The Standard Membership requires a $99 annual membership fee.  With this option each lounge visit within the Priority Pass lounge network requires a $27 member visit fee and a $27 guest fee.  This type of plan is best suited for a sporadic business traveler that tends to travel infrequently.

Standard Plus Membership

The Standard Plus membership requires a $249.00 annual membership fee.  For the annual membership fee, the first ten member visits are free.  Each visit after the 10th visit costs $27.  Guest visit fees are $27.  This type of plan is best suited for a business traveler with moderate travel frequency.

Prestige Membership

The Prestige membership requires an annual membership fee of $399.  After paying the annual membership fee, all member visits thereafter are free.  Guest visits cost $27.  This type of membership plan is best for a business traveler with extensive annual travel.

So Which Membership Should You Choose?

What is the best way to evaluate the three membership options?  We can determine the best membership option based upon the expected annual lounge usage.

Standard Membership Scenario

First lets start out with an infrequent traveler that expects to only visit 5 Priority Pass lounges in a year.  Under this scenario the total cost of membership would be $234 with the Standard membership.  If that traveler visits 6 lounges in a year, the total cost increases to $261 and they would have been better off paying for the Standard Plus Membership for $249.

If a traveler expects to use the Priority Pass network 5 times or less in a year, the best option would be to choose a Standard membership.

Standard Plus Membership Scenario

The second scenario focuses on a Standard Plus member.  If that member plans to visit 15 Priority Pass lounges in a year, the total cost of membership would be $384.  If that same member visited a 16th Priority Pass lounge in a year, the total membership cost would increase to $411, making the $399 Prestige membership a better value.

So if a business traveler anticipates using Priority Pass lounges between 6 and 15 times in a year, the Standard Plus membership option provides the best value.  If you anticipate using a Priority Pass lounge greater than 15 times in a year, the Prestige membership option provides the best value.

How Does the Cost Compare to Other Major Airport Lounges?

In order to answer this question, let’s figure out what the cost per visit would be for Priority Pass based on the three different membership options.  We can use a range of visits that offers the best value for each membership type.  Then by dividing the total cost by the number of lounge visits, we can estimate the average cost per lounge visit.

Priority Pass Cost Per Visit

  • Standard Membership (Best Value 1 to 5 visits per year): range of $126 (1 visit) to $46.80 (5 visits)
  • Standard Plus Membership (Best Value 6 to 15 visits per year): range of $41.50 (6 visits) to $25.60 (15 visits)
  • Prestige Membership (Best Value 16 or more visits per year): range of $24.94 (16 visits) to $7.98 (50 visits)*

*We used 50 visits per year as a hypothetical max number of visits.  However, if a member visited greater than 50 times a year the cost per lounge would be even less than $7.98.

US Domestic Airline Lounge Day Pass Costs

We have listed the current day pass cost for each of the major US Domestic airlines below:

  • American Airlines Admirals Clubs Day Pass: $59 (at select clubs, excludes Miami, New York JFK, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
  • Alaska Airlines Board Room Day Pass: $45 (only 5 clubs available in Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland or Anchorage).
  • Dela Airlines Delta Sky Club Day Pass: $59
  • United Airlines United Club Day Pass: $59

When comparing Priority Pass to other major US airlines on a cost per visit basis, the Priority Pass membership can provide good value if you have the opportunity to visit their lounge network on a regular basis.

The major difference between the Priority Pass lounge network and clubs with the major US airlines is the number of lounges within the network.  Priority Pass has a smaller network of clubs than each of the major airlines (excluding Alaska which only has 5 clubs).

However, the increased network size comes at premium cost compared with Priority Pass.  Annual memberships for the major US airlines are as follows:

  • American Airlines Admirals Club: $550 (new) or $500 (renewal)
  • Delta Airlines Delta Sky Club: $450
  • United Airlines United Club: $550

Lounge Network

The Priority Pass Lounge Network currently includes over 950 airport lounges.  Priority Pass breaks out their lounge network based on the following regions:

  • Africa: 41 airports
  • Asia: 143 airports
  • Continental Europe: 162 airports
  • Latin America & Caribbean: 91 airports
  • Middle East: 23 airports
  • North America: 52 airports
  • United Kingdom & Ireland:  33 airports

*Note the current airport list includes 545 airports; however certain airports have multiple lounges included within the Priority Pass Network.

What Are the Most Popular Lounges in the Network?

Details for some of the most popular lounges in the Priority Pass Network include:

  • Atlanta GA International – The Club at ATL
  • Chicago IL O’hare International – The Swiss Port Lounge & The Air France KLM Lounge
  • Las Angeles CA LAX – Alaska Airlines Board Room and the KAL Lounge
  • New York JFK – Air France Lounge, KAL Business Class Lounge, and Wingtips Lounge
  • Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International – Louis’ Tavern CIP First Class Lounge and Oman Air First and Business Class Lounge
  • Hong Kong International – Plaza Premium Lounge
  • Kuala Lumpur International – Plaza Premium Lounge
  • Tokyo Narita International – TEI Lounge, KAL Business Class Lounge, and IASS Executive Lounge
  • London Gatwick – No. 1 Gatwick, My Lounge, and Aspire Lounge
  • London Heathrow – Plaza Premium Lounge, No. 1 Heathrow, Swissport Lounge, Sky Team Lounge, Aspire the Lounge and Spa, and Club Millesime at Sofitel

App

Priority Pass offers a free app that includes an updated list of all available lounges within the network and a digital membership card that can be used to access the airport lounges within the Priority Pass network.  The Priority Pass digital membership card can be used instead of your physical membership card at most clubs in the network.

Additional Methods to Become Member

Priority Pass has partnered with a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs that offer Priority Pass membership in exchange for loyalty points.  Some of the most popular options include the following:

  • Japan Airlines: 40,000 JAL Mileage Bank points for a Priority Pass Prestige membership.
  • Hilton Honors: 36,500 Hilton Honors points for a Priority Pass Standard Membership, 101,500 points for a Priority Pass Standard Plus Membership, and 161,500 points for a Priority Pass Prestige Membership.
  • Marriott Rewards: 20,000 Marriott Rewards points for a Priority Pass Standard Membership, 55,000 points for a Priority Pass Standard Plus membership, and 85,000 points for a Priority Plus Prestige membership.

Select Membership

Priority Pass Select Membership represents the same lounge network as the standard Priority Pass membership.  The major difference is that Priority Pass Select members receive access to the Priority Pass lounge network through their credit card.  This can be a great option for business travelers that already have a premium credit card and don’t mind paying the high annual fee required.  Some of the most popular credit cards which include Priority Pass Select membership include:

  • Citi Prestige – $450 annual fee
  • American Express Platinum – $450 annual fee

What Types of Travelers Can Get the Most Benefit?

A Priority Pass Membership is not for everyone.  The membership program will typically be best suited for business travelers that fly for work on a regular basis. Companies that require frequent business travel often reimburse travel expenses that can include airport lounge memberships or even individual lounge visits.  Additionally travelers that frequently fly outside of the US in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America will tend to get the most benefit from a membership.

Save 10% on a Priority Pass Membership today

Note: This article includes affiliate links.  The First Class Travel Guide may receive a small commission from any purchases made using the above links.  If you are interested in the Priority Pass program, the above affiliate links can provide a 10% discount on an annual membership.

About First Class Travel Guide 127 Articles

Travel enthusiast that spent years flying in the back of planes and staying at cheaper hotels in order to save a little money. After learning how to leverage airline and hotel loyalty programs, I’ve developed an interest in luxury travel and write about my experiences with it.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*