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Priority Pass has a sale for airport lounge membership with discounts up to 40% off. But you’ll still pay a $32 copay at the lowest tier, and there are NO plans with free guest access.
On the surface, it looks enticing. But if you want regular, unlimited airline lounge access, do yourself a favor and open the right credit card. The annual fees include Priority Pass lounge visits – and there are many to choose from including:
- Any version of the AMEX Platinum card (including The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum® Card from American Express)
- Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express or The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (10 free entries per year)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card (4 free entries per year for you and 1 guest)
Once you run the numbers, you’ll agree these cards are a better deal than the Priority Pass “sale.”
Let’s take a look!
Priority Pass Airport Lounge Membership Sale
Priority Pass has 3 membership tiers. Right now, they’re all discounted so you can take advantage of 1,200+ airport lounge locations all over the globe.
I’ve been to Priority Pass lounges in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Dallas, Lima, Mexico City, Nadi, New York, and many other places. I’ve even brought guests and never paid a thin dime for any of it, other than the annual fee on the credit card that got me access.
Membership has grown to include certain airport restaurants, and I’ve already dined for free in Houston and Portland. So it’s certainly useful, especially if you fly coach or don’t have airline elite status (I haven’t had status in years).
But this latest sale isn’t worth it.
Compare Priority Pass Membership to Credit Card Fees
At the low end, you’ll pay $59 (a 40% discount) and then $32 for each visit. The $223 middle tier gets you 10 free visits, then you’ll pay $32 for each. And the $321 highest level gets you free unlimited visits, but you’ll still pay $32 for each guest!
Compare those prices to these cards that all come with Priority Pass visits as part of the annual fees:
- Any version of the AMEX Platinum card (The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum® Card from American Express) – $550 for personal versions, $595 for small business version gets you unlimited visits for you and 2 guests
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express – $450 gets you unlimited visits for you and 2 guests
- Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express or The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card – $95 gets you 10 free entries per year (compare that to $223 for the middle tier of Priority Pass membership!)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – $450 gets you unlimited visits for you and 2 guests
- U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card – $400 gets you 4 free entries per year for you and 1 guest
- Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card – $450 gets you unlimited visits for you and 2 guests
So if you want at least 10 visits a year, pick up the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express or The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card for a $95 annual fee. You’ll also get Hilton Gold elite status that gets you free breakfast, late checkout, and upgrades when available at Hilton hotels. Either card is a better deal than the first two Priority Pass membership levels, especially if you travel alone.
And if you bring guests or want more visits, consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve which comes with unlimited visits for yourself and 2 guests. You’ll also get:
- $300 annual credit every cardmember anniversary for travel purchases including airfare and hotels
- Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck
- Great rewards earning rates
- Amazing travel insurance
Once you run the numbers and consider you’ll pay $32 per guest no matter which Priority Pass membership level you pay for, it’s clear that getting 1 credit card for regular access is much more cost-effective. Not to mention all the other card benefits you’ll get!