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If you’re looking to get free or discounted access to airport lounges, your best bet is to open a credit card with a Priority Pass membership and enroll in the Priority Pass program. With more than 1,300 lounges across the world — and across 600 cities — chances are you'll find a Priority Pass lounge wherever you go.
Most travel rewards credit cards with Priority Pass access have high annual fees but will come with other valuable benefits that justify these fees. To help you decide which Priority Pass credit card is best for you, we dive into the details for all the eligible credit cards below.
Credit cards with Priority Pass™ Select
The Priority Pass™ Select program partners with several credit card companies to offer their cardholders free or discounted access to thousands of airport lounges.
Cardholder lounge access
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||$550||Free for cardholder and authorized users ($75 fee to add authorized user)||Up to two guests free, $27 for each additional guest|
|Citi Prestige® Credit Card||$495||Free for cardholder and authorized users ($75 fee to add authorized user)||Up to two guests free, $27 for each additional guest|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||$95||10 free visits per year, $27 per visit thereafter||$27 per guest|
|Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card||$450||Free for cardholder only||Up to two guests free, $27 for each additional guest|
|The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card||$95||10 free visits per year, $27 per visit thereafter||$27 per guest|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card||$450 See rates and fees||Free for cardholder only||Up to two guests free, $27 for each additional guest|
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||$595||Free for cardholder only||Up to two guests free, $27 for each additional guest|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||$695 See rates and fees||Free for cardholder only||Up to two guests free, $27 for each additional guest|
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
- Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
- With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a top contender in the premium credit card market due to its rewards rate and flexible redemption options. You'll receive a $300 annual travel credit and earn 3 points per dollar on Chase’s generously broad category of travel purchases once the credit is used. Your points are also worth 50% more when you use them to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, which gives your potential rewards rate more value on travel purchases to 4.5% (3X points per dollar x 1.5 travel redemption bonus).
With your complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, you'll not only have access to lounges but restaurants, markets, cafes and markets part of the Priority Pass network. You can bring up to two guests for free, and any additional guests will cost you $27 per person.
Citi Prestige® Credit Card
Frequent international travelers will benefit from the Citi Prestige® Credit Card, thanks to its robust international transfer partners. You'll also receive up to $250 travel reimbursement every year and a complimentary fourth-night hotel stay when booking through Citi. Similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, you'll earn a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership with your Citi Prestige® Credit Card.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card comes with a lower $95 annual fee but still offers lounge access as part of its numerous benefits. On top of receiving complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status (enrollment required), you'll receive 10 free visits to Priority Pass lounges each year. Although this is a hotel credit card, these visits are perfect for moderate travelers who wouldn't take full advantage of an unlimited Priority Pass Select membership.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Hilton fanatics will receive top-notch perks such as complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status (enrollment required) and an annual $250 resort credit with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, a $450 annual fee card. This is a well-rounded travel card — on top of Hilton-exclusive benefits, you'll also receive a free Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required), offering unlimited access for the cardholder. If you wish, you can bring two guests for free, or $27 per any additional guests.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
- Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
- Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive 1 free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
- Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $450 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is one of the best cards for international travelers who frequently stay at Marriott — the world's largest hotel brand. You'll receive up to $300 in Marriott Bonvoy statement credits and 15 elite night credits annually. Although this card comes with a $450 annual fee, you'll also receive unlimited lounge access, thanks to the Priority Pass™ Select membership (enrollment required). Like the other cards, you can bring up to two guests in lounges (where guests are permitted). Any additional guests will cost $27 each.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers should consider The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, offering ultimate luxury with a high $595 annual fee. Benefits include — and aren't limited to — up to $200 in Dell annual statement credits, a 35% airline bonus and Marriott and Hilton elite status (enrollment required for all these benefits). You'll rarely go without lounge access with the American Express Global Lounge Collection, offering Amex Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta) and Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required). With unlimited visits to the Priority Pass lounges, you can also bring two guests for free. Any additional guests will cost you $27 per person.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small® in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
- New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
- $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
- $695 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
On top of Priority Pass lounge access (enrollment required), The Platinum Card® from American Express offers Delta Sky Club access on Delta itineraries and American Express Centurion Lounge access. Other travel benefits include monthly Uber credits, annual Saks Fifth Avenue credits, Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status (enrollment required), Hilton Honors Gold Status (enrollment required) and more. This card comes with an annual fee of $695 per year, but it’s well worth it for travelers who value luxury.
Are credit cards with Priority Pass™ Select worth it?
For travelers who frequent airport lounges, it’s worth opening a credit card with 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 $249 per year, with all-inclusive visits and guest passes at $27 each.
Priority Pass membership cost
Member visit fee
Guest visit fee
|Standard Plus||$299||10 visits free, then $32 thereafter||$32|
To break even on a credit card with a $550 annual fee, you’ll need to visit a Priority Pass lounge 14 times within a year. For those who don’t anticipate visiting the lounges this often, the Priority Pass benefit may still be worth it if you tend to have long layovers. Don't forget that opening a rewards credit card comes with a variety of other benefits beyond airport lounge access — like spending rewards and travel credits — that help justify the annual fee.
If you’re looking for lounge access, keep in mind that there are more ways to get this benefit for free than through Priority Pass. For example, on a business-class ticket, the airline will most likely include access to their lounge in the fare. Alternatively, most airlines offer co-branded credit cards that give you free access to the airline’s lounges, with comparable annual fees with the cards listed above. This can be a good option if you travel with a major airline with convenient lounge locations.
Benefits of Priority Pass
How beneficial is having Priority Pass? For starters, you’ll have access to more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world. While airport lounges are designed to escape the buzz of loud airports, each lounge has unique amenities to allow travelers to have an enjoyable experience. Here's a list of the complimentary perks offered by many Priority Pass lounges:
- Wi-Fi and charging outlets
- Seating areas and workspaces
- Food and snacks
- Complimentary refreshments
- Airport restaurant dining credit (for participating cards only)
Each lounge will vary in its amenities, so be sure to check ahead before you arrive. Some lounges will even offer exceptional amenities, such as spa treatments, massage rooms, sleeping areas, showers and conference rooms. In addition, Priority Pass members can save money with exclusive airport dining, retail and spa offers through the Priority Pass app or on your digital account.
How to use Priority Pass
If you decide to get a credit card with Priority Pass, you'll have to take a few steps before visiting your first lounge. First, you’ll need to activate the Priority Pass benefit on your card. This can be done in your credit card account or by calling customer service.
Next, your Priority Pass card and membership information will come in the mail. Once you receive your card, you're ready to visit Priority Pass lounges. Be sure to activate your membership well in advance of your next trip since it may take 10 to 14 business days for your card and membership package to arrive.
Lastly, download the Priority Pass app. It allows you to quickly search an airport to see what shopping, lounges and restaurants are available there. You will also have a digital Priority Pass card to show when you arrive in lounges rather than digging for your physical Priority Pass card.The app can make finding and visiting Priority Pass lounges a seamless experience.
Priority Pass lounges vs. other airport lounges
The main benefit in choosing Priority Pass over other lounge access memberships is that Priority Pass' vast lounge network. This is especially useful for the international traveler, as most of the Priority Pass locations are overseas.
It's worth noting that the quality of Priority Pass lounges can be inconsistent across locations, and it’s often lower than that of airline lounges or luxury options, like Amex Centurion lounges. Most of the variation in the Priority Pass™ Select program exists because lounges are operated by different management teams, resulting in different access policies and amenities.
For example, some lounges don’t admit guests, while others require that a parent or guardian accompany Priority Pass™ Select members younger than 21 to gain access to a lounge. A portion of the lounges offers 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.
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 Pass 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.
How to use Priority Pass at restaurants
Depending on your credit card, you may also receive a dining credit as part of your Priority Pass Select membership. This dining credit will range, but is reported to reimburse about $28 to $30 for you and your guests. To check if there's a participating restaurant in the airport, download the Priority Pass app to see a full list of restaurant locations. By using your participating credit card, you will automatically get the allotted amount off your total bill.
Note that American Express eliminated this benefit as part of their Priority Pass offerings to its cardmembers. If this idea sounds appealing to you, you can still access the restaurant discount with other cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Citi Prestige® Credit Card.
Airport lounge access is one of the most sought-after perks for frequent travelers, providing a place to relax and rewind before your flight or between layovers. Many travel rewards cards offer complimentary Priority Pass access, which can unlock thousands of your lounges at your disposal. Unlimited access to Priority Pass costs $249 alone, so this complimentary membership can be quite lucrative depending on how often you fly.
Are Priority Pass lounges usually crowded?
Priority Pass lounges are meant to be an escape from the busy terminal and airport. Before the pandemic, however, many lounges were reported to be crowded — especially at major airports. Lounges are most likely much emptier with most of travel on pause now, but it's important to check the Priority Pass website to confirm whether the lounge is open.
Are Priority Pass lounges open during COVID-19?
Many lounges closed at the start of the pandemic, but several locations have slowly reopened. For the most up-to-date information about hours of operation, click here.
Can I get into a Priority Pass lounge without a card?
No. You will need to present your physical membership card or your digital membership card through your Priority Pass app. While most Priority Pass lounges accept the digital membership card upon entry, some may not accept entrance without a physical card. It is always recommended that you carry your physical membership card at all times when traveling.
How many times can you use Priority Pass?
If you receive Priority Pass as a benefit through your credit card, you will have the Priority Pass Select membership. However, it will depend on the credit card how many times you can visit Priority Pass lounges in one year. While most allow you to visit the lounges unlimited times, some only allow you 10 free visits per year and will charge you the guest rate ($32) after that.
How do you register for Priority Pass?
To register for the Priority Pass benefit through your credit card, you will need to log onto your account benefits or call your issuer to activate your membership. Then, you'll receive your Priority Pass membership card within three business days. While you wait for your membership card to come in the mail, you can use your digital card immediately by downloading the Priority Pass app.
Can I use Priority Pass for domestic flights?
Yes. You can use your Priority Pass membership anytime that you are in an airport where there's an eligible lounge or restaurant. While Priority Pass lounges are mostly located internationally, there are lounges at major airports in the United States where you can take advantage of this benefit.
The information related to Citi Prestige® Credit Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.