Link: Apply now for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
There are lots of great benefits to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review), including a $300 annual travel credit, triple points on dining and travel, and more. There’s not much of a learning curve to taking advantage of the card’s benefits. For example, the $300 annual travel credit is applied automatically to any eligible travel purchase.
The one significant Chase Sapphire Reserve perk that needs to be activated is the Priority Pass membership. I think this is worth specifically pointing out, since some people don’t realize there’s an activation process. Just recently I was entering a Priority Pass lounge, and the person in front of me was being denied for trying to enter with a Chase Sapphire Reserve, rather than with a Priority Pass membership. “But I was told my card came with a Priority Pass membership.”
It does indeed, but you have to activate it. So let’s talk about how all of that works.
In this post:
What is the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s Priority Pass membership?
Priority Pass is the world’s largest network of independent airport lounges, with over 1,300 member lounges around the world. Priority Pass as such doesn’t operate lounges, but rather it’s a program that pays third party lounges to admit its members. While you can buy a Priority Pass membership directly, this is also offered as a perk on many premium credit cards.
In the case of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, both the primary cardmember and authorized users are eligible for a Priority Pass membership. That can be a good deal, since you can add authorized users to the card for just $75 each, which is a deal for an annual lounge membership, if nothing else.
There are two things that make the Priority Pass membership issued on the Chase Sapphire Reserve remarkable, in comparison to those offered by other cards:
- The membership offers credits at Priority Pass restaurants
- The membership offers unlimited access to Chase Sapphire Lounges
How many guests can you bring into lounges?
The Priority Pass membership issued through the Chase Sapphire Reserve allows members to bring two guests into lounges with them (in addition to the cardmember, for a total of three people). It doesn’t matter if these are family members or friends.
Do note that while this is Chase’s policy, some individual lounges may have further restrictions on how many people can be brought in. For example, some lounges only allow Priority Pass members to bring at most one guest with them, so make sure you check Priority Pass’ website for the lounge you plan on visiting.
Which Priority Pass locations can you access?
The Priority Pass membership offered with the Chase Sapphire Reserve gets you access to all Priority Pass lounges around the globe, and you can make an unlimited number of visits. In other words, you could visit multiple lounges at the same airport on the same day if you wanted to.
Do you get credits at Priority Pass restaurants?
One of the unique things about the Priority Pass membership issued with the Chase Sapphire Reserve is that the card offers credits at Priority Pass restaurants. Priority Pass has partnered with dozens of restaurants at select airports, where cardmembers can receive a credit toward food and drinks in lieu of access to a lounge.
The membership through Chase cards also offers those credits, which is worth calling out, because some memberships issued through American Express and Capital One cards specifically exclude that. This can be a huge value-add, when you consider how much value you can get out of this, especially if an airport you frequent has a Priority Pass restaurant.
How does Chase Sapphire Lounge access work?
Chase has been opening its own network of lounges, known as Chase Sapphire Lounges by The Club. So far, the lounge network has locations in Boston (BOS), Hong Kong (HKG), New York (JFK), and New York (LGA). These lounges are amazing, and feature a la carte dining, a great buffet and drink selection, beautiful decor, and some unique amenities.
While these are all Priority Pass lounges, having the Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you a significant advantage. Priority Pass members through a non-Chase card can only visit one Chase Sapphire Lounge in the United States per year, with no visitors.
Meanwhile those with a Priority Pass membership through the Chase Sapphire Reserve can access these lounges an unlimited number of times, with up to two guests.
It’s important to emphasize that you still need a Priority Pass membership, though. In other words, you can’t just show your Chase Sapphire Reserve to access the lounge, but rather you need your Priority Pass membership issued in conjunction with the card.
How do you activate your Priority Pass membership?
The process of activating your Chase Sapphire Reserve Priority Pass membership is quite easy. Go to the “Card Benefits” section of the Ultimate Rewards website for your card. Once there, just scroll down until you see the section for “Complimentary Airport Lounge Access.”
There you’ll see an option to activate your membership. Once you select that option, the card should be mailed to you within two to three weeks at your address on file (though often it comes even faster than that).
How do you activate memberships for authorized users?
When you click the button to activate your Priority Pass membership, you’ll be sent Priority Pass memberships for the primary cardmember and all authorized users. All the cards will show up at your address, and then you can distribute them.
The only slight complication is if you request these cards and then later add an authorized user. The Chase website will still show the membership as being “activated,” so to get a Priority Pass membership for an authorized user added on after the fact you’ll need to call the number on the back of your card.
How do you get a Priority Pass mobile membership?
Priority Pass also offers mobile membership cards, which I appreciate, since it’s one less card you have to carry in your wallet. In order to activate this you first need to wait for your physical Priority Pass card to arrive in the mail, since it will come with a letter that has a PIN, and you need that PIN to activate your online membership. Make sure you don’t throw away the letter you get with the Priority Pass card, at least not before jotting down the PIN.
Once you have that you can download the Priority Pass app and then sign-up for an account, where you’ll get a mobile membership card, which you can add to your Apple Wallet.
Unfortunately there’s not a practical way to get access to Priority Pass lounges before your card arrives in the mail, so make sure you leave a few weeks between when you activate your membership through Chase’s website, and when you’re actually traveling.
The Priority Pass membership offered with the Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the card’s best perks, and one of the main points of differentiation between this and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review). This benefit does require activation, so that’s one of the first things you’ll want to do after receiving the card.
While several premium credit cards offer Priority Pass memberships nowadays, the benefit of those issued by Chase is that they offer credits at Priority Pass restaurants, and also offer unlimited access to Chase Sapphire Lounges. Those are two huge advantages, and will make this card a keeper for many people.
What has your experience been with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Priority Pass membership?