If you're looking to get free access to Priority Pass airport lounges, your best bet is to open a credit card that has Priority Pass Select as a benefit. Most cards with this perk are rewards cards that have a high annual fee but come with attractive benefits. To help you decide which option is best for you, we broke down the Priority Pass Select benefit for all eligible credit cards.
Credit Cards with Priority Pass Select
The Priority Pass Select program gives users of certain credit cards the ability to access more than 1,200 Priority Pass airport lounges across the world. There are currently eight available rewards credit cards that include free or discounted Priority Pass membership in their benefits packages. Below, we've broken out these cards for you and examined the details of the best cards' airport lounge access benefit.
|Card||Cardholder lounge access||Guest policy||Annual fee|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Free||2 guests free, $27 per additional guest||$450|
|Citi Prestige® Card||Free||2 guests free, $27 per additional guest||$495|
|Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card||10 free visits, $27 per visit thereafter||$27 per guest||$95|
|Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card||Free||2 guests free, $27 per additional guest||$450|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Free||2 guests free, $27 per additional guest||$550|
|Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card||Free||2 guests free, $27 per additional guest||$450|
|Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card||Free||2 guests free, $27 per additional guest||$450|
|U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve||4 free visits per year||1 guest free, $27 per additional guest||$400|
Nearly all credit cards with Priority Pass Select allow free access to lounges for cardholders, two free guests and $27 for additional guests. However, there are a few extra airport lounge benefits on a handful of credit cards. For example, the The Platinum Card® from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige and Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card allow cardholders to access lounges with a virtual card (on a mobile app) rather than a physical card.
Additionally, the The Platinum Card® from American Express offers access to Amex's proprietary network of upscale airport lounges, most of which are in domestic airports. The list of locations currently includes Dallas (DFW), Hong Kong (HKG), Houston (IAH), Las Vegas (LAS), New York (LGA), Philadelphia (PHL), Miami (MIA), Seattle (SEA) and San Francisco (SFO). The The Platinum Card® from American Express also gives you access to Delta Sky Club lounges when you're traveling on a Delta itinerary.
Are Credit Cards with Priority Pass Select Worth It?
For travelers who frequently enjoy airport lounges, it's worth it to open a rewards credit card that has complimentary access to Priority Pass. Without the complimentary benefit, standard Priority Pass membership plans start at $99 per year plus $27 per visit. The top tier plan offered by Priority Pass costs $399 per year, with all visits free and guest passes costing $27. This is less than the cost of the annual fee for most of the credit cards with Priority Pass benefits.
|Annual fee||Member visit fee||Guest visit fee|
|Standard Plus||$249||10 free, then $27||$27|
On a credit card with a $450 annual fee, you'll need to visit a Priority Pass lounge 13 times over the course of a year to break even (versus a Standard plan, which is $99 plus $27 per visit). For those who don't anticipate using the lounges this much, the Priority Pass benefit may still be worth it if you tend to have long layovers. Additionally, opening a rewards credit card comes with a variety of other benefits, like spending rewards and travel credits, that can justify the annual fee.
If you're looking for lounge access in general, keep in mind that there are more ways to get this benefit for free than through Priority Pass. On a business class ticket, for example, lounge access is likely to be included in the fare. Alternatively, most airlines offer co-branded credit cards that give you free access to the airline's lounges. This can be a good option if you tend to travel with a major airline that has convenient lounge locations.
Priority Pass Lounges vs. Other Airport Lounges
The main benefit in choosing Priority Pass over other lounge access options is that Priority Pass has a vast lounge network, which currently tallies over 1,200 global locations across 500 cities. This is especially useful for the international traveler, as most of Priority Pass' locations are overseas. However, the quality of Priority Pass lounges is inconsistent across locations, and it's often lower than that of airline lounges or luxury options, like the Amex Centurion Lounge.
Most of the variation in the Priority Pass Select program exists because the lounges are operated by different management teams—which results in different access policies and amenities. Some lounges don't admit guests, for example, while others require that Priority Pass Select members younger than 21 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to gain access to a lounge. A portion of the lounges offer full bars and buffet-style spreads of food, while others have a limited selection of snacks and soft drinks. Certain lounges reserve the right to deny access to Priority Select members if the space is overcrowded.
As such, the value of the Priority Pass benefit will depend on which airport lounges you visit—and whether the airports you frequent have lounges in the Priority network. If you're considering getting a membership or opening a credit card with the benefit, you should consult the Priority Pass website and scope out their locations. For those curious about the quality of a specific lounge, your best bet is to search a forum or review site like Reddit or Yelp.