As an increasingly popular travel luxury, getting access to airport lounges is like getting past the velvet rope at your favorite night club. Except you don't have to face an intimidating bouncer.
One of the most popular and easily accessible airport lounge networks is Priority Pass™. Priority Pass is a global collection of independently owned airport lounges. These lounges are available in over 1,000 locations throughout the world. With that kind of global footprint, you may find yourself flying through an airport with a Priority Pass lounge. Each lounge is slightly different in layout and features, but usually include amenities such as free food, drinks, Wi-Fi and plenty of comfortable places to relax.
If you have a Priority Pass membership, you're able to utilize these lounges regardless of the airline you're flying or the class of your ticket. However, the member fees can still total over $100 a year.
In this article, we'll tell you how you can get a complimentary Priority Pass membership through certain credit cards. While cardmembers get access to these lounges without paying for a membership directly, you will most likely pay an annual fee for the card. This means Priority Pass is not completely free.
How much does Priority Pass cost?
If you want to buy a membership directly from Priority Pass, there is an annual fee plus additional fees for each visit, depending on the membership level you choose.
Depending on your travel preferences and frequency, there are three levels of membership to choose from:
Standard Membership level - for occasional travelers
- Flat fee per member visit
- Flat fee per guest, per visit
Standard Plus Membership level - For regular travelers
- 10 free member visits, then a flat fee per member visit
- Flat fee per guest, per visit
Prestige Membership level - For frequent travelers
- All member visits are free
- Flat fee per guest, per visit
In general, the Priority Pass membership plans are suited to travelers based on the amount of travel they do.
If you purchase a membership directly, you may want to do some math to determine which level makes the most sense for you. If you plan on visiting a lounge at least 10 times a year, you may save money with the Standard Plus level.
Advantages of Priority Pass
Airport lounges can a respite from the hustle bustle of airport terminals and guests get to enjoy a long list of amenities. You may find that traveling feels less stressful when you spend time in one of these lounges. Here are just a few advantages of having a Priority Pass membership:
A place to relax
Priority Pass lounges generally offer a quiet space to escape the hectic environment of the rest of the airport. You'll most likely find lots of comfortable, spacious seating and often less crowded restrooms. Relax while you recharge your devices at your very own charging station. Free, fast Wi-Fi makes it easy to get work done or enjoy streaming a show or movie. Some lounges even have showers or other luxury services such as spa treatments. Who knows, you may even secretly wish for a delayed flight!
A place to have complimentary food and drink
One of the most popular amenities in these lounges are the complimentary self-serve meals, snacks and drinks (including alcohol in some lounges). This can be where you get your money's worth in membership, as food and drink prices in the rest of the airport tend to be quite pricey. You may find that over time, this savings in airport food starts to offset any costs associated with the membership.
Either way, don't get on your flight hungry. Enjoy a meal in the lounge ahead of time.
A place to get work done
If you need to get some work done before or after a flight, Priority Pass lounges typically offer comfortable workstations, free and reliable Wi-Fi, charging portals and some even have printers or other business equipment.
These spaces can offer a more ideal environment to take a call or a zoom meeting, and with plenty of room to spread out, you're sure to find a place to be productive.
Members get discounts at airport shops and services
Care for a little shopping while you wait for your flight? Get special offers and discounts on airport dining, rental cars, retail shops and spa services just by being a Priority Pass member. You can find all applicable discounts by logging into your account online or by using their mobile app to find the deals at your specified airport.
With a network of approximately 1,300 lounges in more than 600 airports in 148 countries, you may be able to enjoy a Priority Pass location at one of your most frequently traveled airports.
Because these lounges are independently owned, they can vary in terms of size, amenities and special features. Each lounge has its own personality and acts as a reflection of the city it's located in. This makes for an adventure as you can get a breadth of amenities, cultural experiences and even art installations by local artists at each new city.
Can I get Priority Pass for free?
Yes, it's possible to get Priority Pass for “free", but this kind of membership comes through a credit card with an annual fee. So while the Priority Pass membership is considered a complimentary benefit to the cardmember, the annual fee associated with that credit card means you're paying for it indirectly. The good news is that these kinds of premium cards can also be packed with valuable rewards and travel perks beyond just the lounge access.
Using a credit card to get free Priority Pass
Here's how it works. Many of the most popular travel rewards credit cards come with Priority Pass membership as one of the benefits. So once you get approved for the credit card, you can register for your Priority Pass membership and start taking advantage of it as soon as you receive your membership card in the mail.
The associated rewards, discounts and annual fees will vary from card to card. When applicable, many cardmembers find that the welcome bonus (which in some cases is tens of thousands of points) and the long list of travel benefits are worth the annual fee. For example, with most travel credit cards, you're able to earn points for most purchases you make, even on everyday staples like gas and groceries. If you use the card to pay for your travel-related expenses, you earn even more points.
If you're a frequent traveler who is ready to find some respite from the chaos of airport terminals, there is a way to get complimentary access to Priority Pass lounges. Many travel rewards credit cards offer this benefit to their cardmembers in addition to an abundance of other travel-related perks and rewards.
Do your research to find out if the airports you visit most often have Priority Pass lounges onsite. If you find that a travel rewards credit card could be advantageous to your current lifestyle and spending habits, you could apply for one that offers Priority Pass membership as a complimentary perk. Keep in mind, this card will likely include an annual fee.
On your next trip, you may want to arrive at the airport early and enjoy all those luxurious amenities at the lounge. It may even have a velvet rope at the entrance.