How Does ValuePenguin Get Paid?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. Citi is an advertising partner.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Jump to

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.

Compare the best credit cards with Priority Pass™ Select for 2022

The Priority Pass™ Select program partners with several credit card companies to offer their cardholders free or discounted access to thousands of airport lounges.

Card
Annual fee
Cardholder lounge access
Guest policy
Chase Sapphire Reserve<sup>®</sup>
Chase Sapphire Reserve®$550Free 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
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card$9510 free visits per year, $27 per visit thereafter$27 per guest
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express$450Free for cardholder onlyUp to two guests free, $27 for each additional guest
Show All Rows

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

$550

19.99% - 26.99% Variable

720 - 850

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 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.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights 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, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 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 PassTM Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Earns transferable points

Our thoughts

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a top contender in the premium credit card market due to its rewards rate and flexible redemption options. In addition to Priority Pass access, it includes an annual $300 travel credit and earns 3x points on dining and travel worldwide. And when you book travel through the Chase portal, your points are worth 50% more making it easier to book flights so you can use your airport lounge access.


Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Generic art
Not available on ValuePenguin

Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.

$95

18.74 to 27.74% variable

660 - 850

  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $10,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.  
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Our thoughts

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card cardholders enjoy numerous benefits even though the $95 annual fee. In addition to 10 complimentary Priority Pass visits each year, it also comes with automatic Hilton Honors Gold status, which gives free upgrades and daily food and beverage credits at Hilton hotels (enrollment required). And the card includes extra perks based on your spending – a free weekend night after $15,000 each year and Hilton Diamond status after $40,000 (enrollment required).


Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Generic art
Not available on ValuePenguin

Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

$450

18.74% to 27.74% variable

660 - 850

  • 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on other purchases
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status
  • One Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio with your new Card and each year of Card Membership
  • A second Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio after spending $60,000 in purchases on the Card in a calendar year
  • Unlimited Priority Pass™Lounge passes to ease the airport experience, enrollment required
  • $250 Airline incidental fee statement credit
  • $250 Hilton resort statement credit
  • $100 on-property credit at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts when booking the exclusive Aspire Card package
  • Access to 24/7 American Express concierge
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Terms apply

Our thoughts

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 Aspire Card from American Express. The card is ideal when flying because its Priority Pass membership includes unlimited lounge visits for you and up to two guests at no additional charge. And you'll get a $250 airline fee credit each year to cover additional airline charges, like fees for checking a bag or changing your flight (enrollment required).


Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.

$650

19.49%-28.49% Variable

660 - 850

  • Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
  • Each Card renewal year, get up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
  • A Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member will earn 50% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar or the currency equivalent that is incurred and paid for by the member.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Marriott Brilliant Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases, Card Members are eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit. Benefit options include: Five (5) Suite Night Awards, 85K Free Night Award, and mattress and box spring $750 discount from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques.
  • $100 Luxury Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership through any Authorized Enrollment Provider for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85) when you pay the application fee with an eligible Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass Select, which offers unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • Cell phone protection: You can be reimbursed for your costs to repair or replace your damaged or Stolen cell phone up to $800, subject to a $50 deductible, for 2 approved claims per 12-month period when your prior month's wireless bill was paid utilizing an Eligible Card Account. Terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Our thoughts

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is the best card for travelers who frequently stay at Marriott — the world's largest hotel brand. Cardholders receive automatic Platinum Elite status, an annual free night worth up to 85,000 points and unlimited Priority Pass visits for you and two companions. The card also includes an annual dining credit of up to $300 (up to $25 monthly) that covers eligible restaurant purchases, whether you're dining at home or on the road.

For rates and fees of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, please click here.


The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Generic art
Not available on ValuePenguin

Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

$695

17.99% - 25.99% Variable

660 - 850

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Earns transferable points

Our thoughts

Business travelers should consider The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers ultimate luxury benefits like access to the Global Lounge Collection. Not only can you visit Priority Pass lounges while traveling, but The Business Platinum Card® from American Express also includes access to Amex Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta) and other independent lounges that are part of the collection. Cardholders can also use the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit and annual Clear credit up to $189 to get through airport security to enjoy the lounges quickly (enrollment required)


The Platinum Card® from American Express

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

$695

See Pay Over Time APR

660 - 850

  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 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.
  • 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 and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. 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 select 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 is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Earns transferable points

Our thoughts

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 when flying any airline. The card is ideal for booking flights because you'll earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Terms apply. There's up to a $200 annual airline fee credit to offset extra charges (enrollment required). And The Platinum Card® from American Express grants exclusive access to its International Airline Program, which offers lower fares when booking international flights on more than 20 airlines.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

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

Annual fee
Member visit fee
Guest visit fee
Standard$99$32$32
Standard Plus$29910 visits free, then $32 thereafter$32
Prestige$249Free$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®.

ValuePenguin's verdict

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.

Priority Pass FAQs

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

For rates and fees of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

The information related to Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, 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.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).