Priority Pass Credit Cards
The frequent flyer knows all too well the pitfalls of airports – delayed flights, antagonized children, crowded seating areas. Whether you’re wrangling bags and killing time during layovers or you’re a get-there-early pragmatic traveler who likes to take the edge off a day, a Priority Pass lounge can make all the difference with travel.
What Are Priority Pass Lounges?
Think child-free islands of calm in the middle of airport chaos. Imagine not fending others away from device-charging ports. Count on getting WiFi when trying to meet a project deadline during a long layover. Some lounges, like the Turkish Airlines Lounge at Washington-Dulles, may offer complimentary snacks and beverages, or even have amenities like a shower room or prayer room for those really needing a reboot on a tough travel day. Others have sleep suites and yoga rooms.
Priority Pass lounges aren’t just an American perk – there are more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges worldwide. For the avid traveler, they’re a necessary respite in a taxing lifestyle.
Eligibility Does Not Guarantee Access
Cards eligible for the Priority Pass perk tend to cost a minimum of $300 annually. The coveted Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, as an example, costs a hefty $550 each year, but that includes 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases, among many other lucrative rewards.
Just because you’ve scored a premium credit card with Priority Pass eligibility doesn’t mean you can rock up to the Priority Pass lounge counter at the next airport, flash your credit card, and get in. You must opt into the program.
Doing so varies depending on the card you’ve chosen.
For instance, on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card’s benefits page, you’ll have to visit the ‘travel rewards’ section and activate the ‘complimentary airport lounge access’ benefit – and then they’ll send you a physical card to brandish at any lounge.
Best Cards for Priority Pass
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is generally viewed as the best Priority Pass card because it’s so travel-forward and smart in its rewards structure. Unlike the American Express-partnered cards listed below, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® still comes with non-lounge dining credits in at least 31 American airports, and others internationally. With credits of $28 to $30 for such meals, that perk alone adds up quickly for those who travel often.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® does not get you entry to some premium lounges, like American Airlines’ Admirals Clubs (which you can access with Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®) or the or the Delta Sky Clubs that the The Platinum Card® from American Express gives you access to, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is accepted by more than 1,200 Priority Pass lounges worldwide.
American Express has a few Priority Pass options, including The Platinum Card® from American Express, but also through some branded partnerships like their Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. Whatever card makes you eligible, there’s a number on the back for calling American Express to activate your eligibility to their lounges. To see which lounges are covered, visit the rewards pages on your chosen American Express card then scroll down till you hit “the American Express Global Lounge Collection.” Here, you can click “find a lounge” to see what’s potentially applicable to your travel itineraries – now available in over 130 countries with more than 1,200 lounges in over 500 airports.
The most user-friendly of the cards is the Citi Prestige® Card, which presumes you’ll want to enjoy that oasis of calm that is the Priority Pass travel experience – they automatically send you a Priority Pass access card.
Is it Worth the Annual Fee?
If you only travel once a year, or you prefer domestic road traveling, these may not be the cards for you. Anyone traveling a few times annually, though, especially for work, is wise to consider Priority Pass membership.
Priority Pass has its own website and app for anyone wanting to make a deep dive into the wonderful amenities covered worldwide with membership. From Antofagasta, Chile to Moscow, Russia, lounges now exist in at least 148 countries globally. Where could your Priority Pass take you?
*Disclaimer: The information related to Citi Prestige® Card has been compiled by the CompareCredit Editorial team and may not have been reviewed by the credit card issuer. All offer terms and benefits are accurate as of the publish date. See issuer site for the most current terms and benefits.