I Have Free Airport Lounge Access But This Goof Cost Me – Here’s How to Avoid the Same Mistake

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If you are enjoying the fruits of the points & miles hobby, the details can become a bit overwhelming.  Things like bonus categories for purchases, when annual fees are coming up, and ensuring you are keeping an eye on your 5/24 status with Chase can be time consuming.

And when it comes to figuring out the benefits that come with your card, it can be even more confusing.

Take airport lounge access as an example.  Many high profile cards, like the The Platinum Card® from American Express, have a Priority Pass airport lounge membership that comes with unlimited access for you and 2 guests.  However, with cards like the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, the Priority Pass membership includes a limited amount of free visits (10 per year).  And each guest counts as 1 visit.  Recently I got my wires crossed on my card perks and it ended up costing me.

Here’s how you can avoid the same mistake!

You Really Can’t Beat a Good Airport Lounge

Priority Pass Airport Lounge Goof And How To Avoid It

There are lots of cards that come with a Priority Pass membership or other types of airport lounge access (here’s our list of some of the best credit cards with lounge access).  But it can be confusing if you have more than one card that comes with a Priority Pass membership, as I do.  Especially if your card has a limited number of free entries.

The Priority Pass app does not show you how many passes you have left if you have a limited-use membership.  While using the app is convenient, it can be easy to scan yourself into a lounge and forget how many passes you may have used.  This is the exact mistake I made.

While my wife and I were flying home from San Jose, Costa Rica to Los Angeles, we decided to visit the VIP Santamaria Lounge.  I have two Priority Pass memberships and my wife has one, but I used my membership from my Hilton Ascend card to get access for both of us.  Because I only had 1 entry left, I was charged for my guest.

When I saw the $32 charge on my card for one more pass, I looked into it, and had this exact expression when I realized my mistake.

I recently acquired the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, which comes with an unlimited number of complimentary Priority Pass lounge visits.

If you have multiple Priority Pass memberships or one with a limited number of visits, I would suggest the following method – keep track on your card with a sharpie.   And it’s a good idea to have a system to differentiate between your membership cards.  You don’t want to end up using one that will cost you.

If You Only Have a Limited Number of Airport Lounge Visits, a Sharpie Tally Could Be The Best Way to Keep Track!

If you mark for each visit, you will know when you are going to hit 10 without making the mistake I made.

What mistake have you made traveling recently that frustrates you?  Let’s hear it in the comments!

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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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1 year ago

When does the Hilton Ascend 10 Priority Pass Visits reset?
Jan 1st or AMEX account opening anniversary?

1 year ago

Why even use the priority pass associated with the Hilton card if you also have the Platinum card with unlimited visits?

Drank Sinatra
Reply to  Matthew
1 year ago

Agreed. Rookie mistake.

1 year ago

Only a problem if the lounge will let you in , LAX lounge has a restriction now that it only allows you between 2 to 6pm.