Hi Travel Bugsss! Here to share with you what I think is a very exciting post! Consider this a follow up to my post regarding my recent upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR)! Here, I will be talking one specific benefit that is not exclusive to the CSR but is a KEY benefit to the card, helping justify the $450 annual fee. That benefit is Priority Pass. Let's get started.
What is Priority Pass?
It is your key to complimentary access to over 1000 airport lounges all over the world. With the top tier membership, you will be granted unlimited access to all of the networks lounges provided they are open and have available seating.
Why/How is this beneficial?
PP is beneficial because it allows you to get away from the hustle and bustle of busy airports while providing high end amenities such as comfortable seating, high speed internet, business centers equipped with printing/fax, showers, complimentary food and beverages which includes alcohol. For our trip to Asia, we relied heavily on PP for our airport dining and recharging needs and it more than delivered! Preflight cocktails on the house? Yes please!
How do I become a Priority Pass Member?
There are currently 2 ways (that we know about) to become a member of PP! The first, and likely the most obvious, is to sign up at PriorityPass.com for one of their 3 tiers of membership. Standard, Standard Plus and Prestige.
As you can see here, you have 3 choices for membership directly through PP. The most basic plan is $99 annually but you have to pay a $27 fee to enter each lounge you visit in that year. The mid tier plan is $249 annually and comes with 10 free visits with each additional visit costing the member and guests $27 per visit. The top tier membership will cost perspective members $399 annually and comes with unlimited visits but will still have to shell out $27 per guest.
The second way to become a PP member is to hold one of the following 3 credit cards that offer membership as an ancillary benefit. The three cards that offer this benefit are the American Express Platinum, The Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Citi Prestige.
Are there differences in the level of access each of these cards provide?
In a word? Yes. These 3 cards all provide access to PP which helps to justify their hefty annual fees ($450). However, It is important note that the PP memberships you get from these cards do slightly differ from the one available from PP itself. Not to worry, as they all work out in your favor. See how, below.
Priority Pass CSR Platinum Prestige
Fee $399 $450 $450 $450
Free Guests 0 Unlimited* 0 2
Free Visits Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Addl Lounges N/A N/A Centurion Admirals**
*Subject to lounge discretion
**Going away in 2017
So as you can see, there are some subtle differences between the memberships. The only thing they share in common is that the member will have unlimited access to all of the lounges in the Priority pass network. Depending on the membership, member will have 0 free guests, 2 or unlimited depending on capacity. The other notable difference is that two of these memberships come with additional lounge access. The first is the Centurian which is a line of lounges exclusive to the American Express network. You can only gain access by presenting an Amex Platinum or Centurion Card (or any other Amex card and a $50).
Next up we have the Admirals Club access that comes with your Citi Prestige. Just present your Prestige card at any Admirals Club when flying American or US Airways and be on your way!
Unfortunately, Prestige cardholders will be losing access to Admirals lounges come June 20th 2017. This should definitely factor into your plans to acquire a Priority Pass granting card.
The last difference, the annual fees, is a bit misleading, since Priority pass is far from the only perk that comes with carrying one of the credit cards. For example, they all provide an annual travel credit of some kind, the least of which being the Platinum's at $200. The Prestige comes in second at $250 and the CSR is top dog at $300. There are many more reasons to carry one of these three cards as opposed to just the standard Priority Pass membership, but I will get into that in a later post.
Should I become a Priority Pass Member?
This depends on how much you plan to travel in the given year your membership would be active and if the amenities provided are important to you. If you plan to travel by plane 1-6 times a year, Buying day passes to out of network lounges will probably be a better fit. They will run between $29 and $60 depending on the lounge. Even at $60, it would take 7 visits to barely surpass the minimum $399 threshold. So really, if your motivation is JUST lounge access, I highly suggest you plan to travel 10+ times in the year.
That is it for now guys. I really hope this was helpful! Do let us know if anything was missed or if you have any follow up questions! Also, don't forget to subscribe to our youtube for cool videos following our travels! Happy Travels!