5 Best US Cities for Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access
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For access to the largest number of airport lounges, you’ll want a Priority Pass membership. It can get you into 1,200+ lounges worldwide and you can get a membership just by opening a credit card like any one of these:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
A Priority Pass membership may not always get you into the nicest airport lounges but it can really make a difference during long connections. There are some airports where you’ll find it to be more useful than others, especially now that they’ve started adding restaurants to the 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:
- Lounge access
- Credit at Priority Pass airport restaurant partners (not available for Priority Pass memberships associated with Amex cards)
- Access to Minute Suites at select airports
- Priority Pass Discounts
Remember when using your Priority Pass at restaurants that the terms can vary by location. Sometimes to-go orders aren’t allowed or you will be required to have a same-day outbound boarding pass. Be sure to review the terms beforehand, and always let the staff know before you order that you’ll be using your Priority Pass membership to pay.
In addition, as of August 1, 2019, any Priority Pass memberships associated with an Amex card will no longer offer non-lounge benefits, like credits at select airport restaurants. However, you will still be able to use your Amex Priority Pass membership at Minute Suites and Sleepbox locations.
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.
The Miami airport is home to four Priority Pass lounges and three Priority Pass restaurants. You’ll have plenty of options.
Your Priority Pass membership will get you $28 to $30 in credit per person for up to two people at these restaurants:
- Air Margaritaville (Concourse E)
- Corona Beach House (Concourse D)
- Viena – $30-per-person credit (Concourse E)
You also have access to these lounges:
- Club America F (Concourse F)
- Avianca VIP Lounge (Concourse J)
- VIP Lounge Miami (Concourse J)
- VIP Lounge Terminal E (Concourse E)
It’s not just the number of lounges and restaurants that make Miami a great airport for using your Priority Pass membership. It’s also the location of the restaurants. Both Air Margaritaville and Viena are located landside (before security). That means that if a someone is seeing you off on a trip, in theory they should be able to count as your guest even if they aren’t traveling.
The terms for Air Margaritaville and Viena say, “Cardholders must present a valid card and boarding pass with confirmed same-day travel before placing an order.” So it reads as though 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 seem to.
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.
2. 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 three major airports. Your membership will get you access to:Dulles International Airport (IAD)
- Air France KLM Lounge (Concourse A)
- Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse (Concourse A)
- British Airways Galleries Lounge (Concourse B)
- Sleepbox (Concourse A)
- Turkish Airlines Lounge Washington (Concourse B)
- Chef Geoff’s (Concourse C)
- Bracket Room (Terminal B)
- American Tap Room (Terminal C)
- 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 two people. The best of the available lounges is the Turkish Airlines lounge at Dulles. It’s one of the better lounges in the US that you can access with your Priority Pass.
The lounge provides fantastic views of the tarmac for planespotting 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. Access to the lounge is restricted, however, if it gets too full, so don’t count on getting in at busy times.
Sleepbox is a “micro-hotel” offering 16 tiny rooms with a comfy bed you can rent out for a nap. According to the Priority Pass website, your membership will get you one free hour with Sleepbox and each hour after that you’ll pay a discounted rate of $24. Each Sleepbox is only for one person.
3. New York City
You used to have at least one Priority Pass option at all three New York City-area airports, but once the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge left the network, folks traveling through LaGuardia were left without a lounge.
You can still get access to these locations at JFK and 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)
- 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 skimpy. The Art & Lounge can feel crowded even when it’s far from full, and although the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Newark is a solid lounge, your Priority Pass membership will only get you access from 1pm-5pm daily.
The options at JFK that are spread out in four different terminals. This is helpful because the terminals don’t connect airside (except for terminals 2 and 4 via a shuttle), so if you wanted to switch terminals to visit a lounge, you’d need to clear security again. Priority Pass won’t get you into all of the fanciest lounges at JFK, but it does give you a bunch of options.
The Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport may only have one Priority Pass lounge, but it has four other non-lounge options. Here is where you can use your Priority Pass in Dallas:
- Minute Suites (Terminal A)
- Minute Suites (Terminal D)
- Gameway (Terminal E)
- Gameway (Terminal B)
- The Club DFW (Terminal D)
But with your Priority Pass you can get a one-hour stay for free, and it doesn’t count as a visit if your Priority Pass has a limited number of visits. On top of that, you’ll also get a discounted rate of $28 per hour for every hour after the first. You can bring up to three guests with you into the same room.
There are a limited number of rooms at each Minute Suites location, so they can fill up fast. I recommend reserving ahead of time through the Minute Suites website if you know you’ll want a private space to rest or get work done.
The Dallas Gameway lounges are loaded with video-game consoles to help you blow off steam during an unexpected delay. With your Priority Pass you are entitled to a free two-hour visit, two snacks, one drink and a 10% discount for each subsequent hour.
The normal prices for a Gameway visit are:
- 30 minutes for $10.99
- 60 minutes for $19.99
- 120 minutes for $34.99
- Unlimited for $44.99
5. 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)
- Point the way Cafe (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. In other terminals, you can stop by Rocks & Brews or Point the way Cafe to eat and lounge in either the Alaska Lounge or Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.
The KAL lounge is a solid lounge and is open to Priority Pass members between 1pm and 7pm, but the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is only open to Priority Pass members in the morning between 5am and 11:30am.
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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