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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

5 Best US Cities for Priority Pass Lounge Access

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5 Best US Cities for Priority Pass Lounge Access

Jason Stauffer5 Best US Cities for Priority Pass Lounge AccessMillion Mile Secrets Team

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If you’re looking for access to the largest number of airport lounges you’ll want a Priority Pass membership, which can get you into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide.  And the best part of Priority Pass is that you can get a membership just by opening a credit card like any one of these:

A Priority Pass membership may not always get you into the nicest airport lounges, but it can really make a difference during those long connections.  And there are some airports where you’ll find it to be more useful than others, especially now that they’ve started adding restaurants to their network.

Best US Cities for Priority Pass Airport Lounge Membership

Priority Pass is constantly growing its network of lounges and adding more perks to the membership.  Right now your membership gets you:

A couple of things to remember when you’re using your Priority Pass at restaurants is that the terms can vary by location.   Sometimes to-go orders aren’t allowed, or you will specifically be required to have a same-day outbound boarding pass.  So be sure to review them beforehand.  And always let the staff know before you order that you’ll be using your Priority Pass membership to pay.

Also, some lounges restrict access to Priority Pass members during certain times.  And access to any lounge or restaurant is dependent on capacity.  So if you’re traveling over Thanksgiving, for example, it’s possible you’ll get turned away at the door.

1.   Portland (PDX)

If you’re flying out of or through Portland you can do exceptionally well with your Priority Pass membership.  While Portland only has one lounge (the Alaska Airlines lounge in Concourse C) there are 3 other places you can use your Priority Pass membership for credit.

Stop in for a bite at Capers Cafe Le Bar (Concourse C) and you and a guest will get a $28 per person credit toward food and beverage.  Then you can head over to Concourse D and visit the Capers Market, where again you’ll get $28 per person for up to 2 people.  The market is a great place to stock up on snacks, drinks, and all sorts of goodies for your flight.  Million Mile Secrets team member Jesse regularly uses his Priority Pass at the Capers Market to stock up on Kombucha and local honey to take home.  Just be sure to double check with the staff what you can and can’t purchase with your Priority Pass card.

After all that free food you’ll want to relax over at the House Spirits Distillery in Concourse C – the first ever airport tasting room.  Again, you’ll get a $28 per person credit for up to 2 people.  You can order a variety of mini-cocktails or tasting flights, and they even have a special sampler flight which is conveniently priced at $28.

One thing to note is that the Priority Pass credit can’t be used for “bottle sales & merchandise.”  So you can’t purchase bottles of alcohol with your Priority Pass card.  I’m not exactly sure what else the restriction applies to, so be sure to ask when you arrive.

In terms of consistently getting the most value from your Priority Pass membership, Portland is amazing.  Other airports have more lounges or restaurants, but how many restaurants can you realistically eat at before your flight?

The places you can get a Priority Pass credit at in the Portland airport complement each other well.  Grab a bite to eat, enjoy a drink, pick up some snacks for your flight, and relax in the lounge.  If you and a friend maxed out the credit you’d get from a single visit to the Portland Airport, you could end up with $168 in free food & beverages!

2.   Miami

The Miami airport is home to 3 Priority Pass lounges and 3 Priority Pass restaurants.  So when you’re traveling through you’ll have plenty of options.

Your Priority Pass membership will get you $28 to $30 per person in credit for up to 2 people at these restaurants:

  • Air Margaritaville (Concourse E)
  • Corona Beach House (Concourse D)
  • Viena – $30 per person credit (Concourse E)

You can also access these lounges:

  • Club America F (Concourse F)
  • Avianca VIP Lounge (Concourse J)
  • VIP Lounge Miami (Concourse J)

It’s not just the number of lounges and restaurants that make Miami a great airport to use your Priority Pass membership in, it’s also the location of the restaurants.  Both Air Margaritaville and Corona Beach House are located landside (before security).  That means if a loved one is seeing you off on a trip, in theory, they should be able to count as your guest even if they aren’t traveling.

Turn your Priority Pass into free nachos!

The terms for Air Margaritaville & Viena say “Cardholders must present a valid card and boarding pass with confirmed same-day travel before placing an order.”  So it reads like you should be able to visit these restaurants when you arrive or depart from Miami.  But it’s possible the restaurant could restrict arrivals even if the terms don’t.

The terms for the Corona Beach House say “all Cardholders and guests are required to show a valid card and an MIA outbound departure boarding pass with confirmed same-day travel.”  Since they explicitly require outbound travel it makes me think the other restaurants won’t require it.  If you have any experience one way or the other please let me know.

3.   Washington, DC/Baltimore Area

If you’re flying out of the greater Washington, DC area, you’ll have options to use your Priority Pass membership at any of the 3 major airports.  Your membership will get you access to:

Dulles International Airport (IAD)

  • Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse (Concourse A)
  • British Airways Galleries Lounge (Concourse B)
  • Turkish Airlines Lounge Washington (Concourse B)
  • Chef Geoff’s (Concourse C)

Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA)

  • Bracket Room (Terminal B)
  • American Tap Room (Terminal C)

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)

  • The Club BWI (Concourse D)

You can get a $28 per person credit at all of the Washington, DC area Priority Pass restaurants for up to 2 people.  But the crown jewel of this bunch is the Turkish Airlines lounge.  It’s one of the best US lounges you can access with your Priority Pass.

The lounge provides fantastic views of the tarmac for plane spotting and has plenty of alcohol, and hot and cold food options.  You can even grab a shower while you wait.  The best part is that all the terminals at Dulles are connected, so you can visit the Turkish Airlines lounge even if you’re flying domestically!  Although access to the lounge is restricted if it gets too full, so don’t count on getting in at busy times.

4.   Los Angeles

One issue you’ll run into at some airports is that it’s difficult or impossible to get to certain terminals, like the international terminal, without going through security again.

But you won’t have this issue at LAX because Priority Pass has you covered at the following locations:

  • Alaska Lounge (Terminal 6)
  • Rocks & Brews (Terminal 1)
  • Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse (Terminal 2)
  • KAL Lounge (Tom Bradley International Terminal)
  • P.F. Chang’s (Tom Bradley International Terminal)

If you’re traveling through the International Terminal, you’ve got a restaurant (P.F.Chang’s) and lounge (KAL Lounge) you can visit.  Otherwise, you can stop by Rocks & Brews and lounge in either the Alaska Lounge or Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is a great lounge, but it has limited hours for Priority Pass members

While the KAL lounge is a solid US airport lounge, it is only open to Priority Pass members between 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm.  Also, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in only open to Priority Pass members in the morning between 5:00 am and 10:30 am, although starting March 31, 2019, they’ll be open to Priority Pass members until 11:30 am.

5.   New York City

You used to have at least one Priority Pass option at all 3 of the New York City area’s airports, but once the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge left the network that left folks traveling through LaGuardia out cold.

But you can still access these locations at the JFK & Newark airports:

JFK

  • Bobby Van’s Steakhouse (Terminal 8)
  • Air France Lounge (Terminal 1)
  • KAL Business Class Lounge (Terminal 1)
  • Wingtips Lounge (Terminal 4)
  • Alaska Airlines Lounge (Terminal 7

Newark (EWR)

  • Art & Lounge (Terminal B)
  • Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse (Terminal B)

It stinks that there are no Priority Pass lounges at LaGuardia and that the options at Newark are a bit skimpy.  The Art & Lounge can feel crowded even when it’s far from full.  And while the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Newark is a solid lounge, your Priority Pass membership will only get you access from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily.

The sprawling Air France Lounge at JFK occupies two floors

But you’ve got some options at JFK that are spread out in 4 different terminals.  This is helpful because the terminals don’t connect airside (except for terminals 2 & 4 via a shuttle), so if you wanted to switch terminals to visit a lounge you’d need to clear security again.  So while Priority Pass won’t get you into all of the fanciest lounges at JFK, it does give you a bunch of options.

What has your experience been with your Priority Pass membership?  What cities have you found your membership to be particularly useful or useless in?

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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The Alaska Lounge at PDX is unusable. The “closed to PP members” sign seems to be up on a permanent basis.

I have to disagree on LAX. Sure, they have lounges, but they’re always closed to Priority Pass members. To be honest, it’s kind of an example of a terrible airport for the program.

While in theory LAX has 5 places to use, the alaska airlines lounge always has the sign”sorry no PP members at this time”.

I did have a question about PP usage in restaurants. Since CSR allows only member + 2 credits, how do the restaurants treat excess members in the party when the total bill is less than the total allowed credit ?

For e.g. if the credit is $25/person and 4 of us go to p.f changs in LAX and the total bill is $75, would the restaurant treat it as $75/4 and collect $18.75 from us or we wouldn’t have to pay anything since CSR covers up to $75 for 3 persons ?

The restaurants generally ask how many PP guests you have, and don’t seem concerned that it is the same as the number of people at the table. The PP credit at P.F. Chang’s is $30, so if you are 3 on PP (yourself and two guests), the credit is $90, and your $75 bill is taken care of (sometimes they don’t even bring a bill unless you ask).
But let’s say the original bill is $150. If you use 3 PP credits, the $90 credit reduces the bill to $60. If you use 4 PP credits, the bill at the restaurant will be $30, but you will have a charge from PP later for the extra guest of $27 for a total of $57. So you could save $3/person if you’re definitely going to max out the credit, but it’s usually better to just claim the standard 3 PP credits (yourself and two guests) regardless of the number of people in your party.

This is an excellent question, I would love to know the answer as well.

Dang it, there’s apparently no way to either edit or delete comments? For instance, the one I accidentally clicked Submit on below this one with basically no text. That’s… not ideal.

What I wanted to point out was that your statement about the Alaska lounge in Portland is *technically* true according to the PP site, but in practice, really isn’t. That lounge claims to participate in PP, but basically doesn’t ever.

Author

That’s a good point. And lots of Alaska Lounges have already let the Priority Pass network…no worries on the partial comment, I deleted it for you

“While Portland only has one lounge (the Alaska Airlines lounge in Concourse C)”…

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