6 Best Credit Cards For Priority Pass Lounge Access

6 Best Credit Cards For Priority Pass Lounge Access

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Airport lounge access is one of the premium credit card perks that people value most. Back in the day there weren’t many credit cards offering lounge access, but times have changed. In this post I wanted to take a look at the best US-issued credit cards for accessing Priority Pass lounges.

What is Priority Pass?

Priority Pass is the world’s largest network of independent airport lounges, with over 1,300 lounges around the world. Priority Pass isn’t directly affiliated with any airline, and a majority of the company’s member lounges are independent, and not run by airlines (though there are exceptions).

In general, there are two ways to get a Priority Pass membership. You can either buy a membership directly, or you can often get a membership through a premium credit card. In the United States, a vast majority of people get a membership through the latter method.

Many people may assume that lounge access isn’t attainable, but the reality is that there are several premium credit cards that should cost you very little but offer lounge access.

Priority Pass has 1,300+ lounges around the world

The best credit cards for Priority Pass

In this post I wanted to share what I consider to be the best credit cards for Priority Pass lounge access. I’ll be considering the following factors:

  • The card’s annual fee, and how much of that annual fee can easily be recouped
  • Whether unlimited Priority Pass lounge visits are included
  • The number of guests you can bring into Priority Pass lounges with you (in addition to the member)
  • Whether you receive credits at Priority Pass restaurants or not; I’ll just note upfront that Priority Pass cards issued through Amex don’t offer this, while Priority Pass cards through other issuers do offer this
  • Whether a card offers Priority Pass lounge access for authorized users
  • How much it costs to add authorized users to a card

With that out of the way, let’s rank the best cards for Priority Pass lounge access (I’ll only include cards that are open to new applicants).

1. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

  • Annual fee: $395
  • Unlimited Priority Pass visits: Yes
  • Number of Priority Pass guests allowed: Two
  • Credits at Priority Pass restaurants: Yes
  • Priority Pass lounge access for authorized users: Yes
  • Cost to add authorized users: $0 for up to four authorized users

The Capital One Venture X has a $395 annual fee, but that’s easily offset by a $300 annual travel credit plus 10,000 anniversary bonus miles. So I consider the Priority Pass membership on the card to basically cost cardmembers very little (or even nothing). On top of that, you can add up to four authorized users to the card at no cost, and they all receive a Priority Pass membership as well. That’s incredible.

Learn more about the Capital One Venture X, apply for the Capital One Venture X.

Access the Icare Lounge at Paris Orly with Priority Pass

2. Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

  • Annual fee: $550
  • Unlimited Priority Pass visits: Yes
  • Number of Priority Pass guests allowed: Two
  • Credits at Priority Pass restaurants: Yes
  • Priority Pass lounge access for authorized users: Yes
  • Cost to add authorized users: $75 per person

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $550 annual fee, but that’s partly offset by a $300 annual travel credit. On top of that, you can add authorized users for $75 each, and they receive a Priority Pass membership as well. This is a very well rounded card, but not the lowest cost option for getting a Priority Pass membership.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve, apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

The Cafe by Mise en Place Tampa is a Priority Pass restaurant

3. The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Annual fee: $695 (Rates & Fees)
  • Unlimited Priority Pass visits: Yes
  • Number of Priority Pass guests allowed: Two
  • Credits at Priority Pass restaurants: No
  • Priority Pass lounge access for authorized users: Yes
  • Cost to add authorized users: $175 total for up to three authorized users

While the Amex Platinum has a higher annual fee than some of the other cards, it also offers many valuable perks. The Priority Pass membership (enrollment required) is only a small part of the card’s overall lounge access perks. Adding three authorized users for an average of under $60 each is potentially a great deal, given the benefits they receive. The major catch is that Amex cards don’t offer credits at Priority Pass restaurants, which many people value.

Learn more about the Amex Platinum, apply for the Amex Platinum.

Access the Sala VIP Internacional Quito with Priority Pass

4. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

  • Annual fee: $450
  • Unlimited Priority Pass visits: Yes
  • Number of Priority Pass guests allowed: Two
  • Credits at Priority Pass restaurants: No
  • Priority Pass lounge access for authorized users: No
  • Cost to add authorized users: $0

The Hilton Aspire is an incredible hotel credit card that offers lots of value. The annual fee is easy to justify based on all the perks, including a $250 annual Hilton resort credit, $250 annual airline fee credit, annual free night award, and Hilton Honors Diamond status. While the card offers a Priority Pass membership for the primary cardmember, authorized users don’t get a membership, and you also can’t get credits at Priority Pass restaurants.

Learn more about the Hilton Aspire, apply for the Hilton Aspire.

Access the Turkish Airlines Lounge Miami with Priority Pass

5. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

  • Annual fee: $450 (Rates & Fees)
  • Unlimited Priority Pass visits: Yes
  • Number of Priority Pass guests allowed: Two
  • Credits at Priority Pass restaurants: No
  • Priority Pass lounge access for authorized users: No
  • Cost to add authorized users: $0

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is a card that can be worth having for the $300 annual Marriott credit and anniversary free night award. The card also offers a Priority Pass membership with unlimited visits (enrollment required), but the catch is that you don’t get credits at Priority Pass restaurants, and authorized users also don’t get a membership.

Learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant.

Access the IGA Lounge Istanbul with Priority Pass

6. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

  • Annual fee: $95
  • Unlimited Priority Pass visits: No (10 visits per year)
  • Number of Priority Pass guests allowed: 0
  • Credits at Priority Pass restaurants: No
  • Priority Pass lounge access for authorized users: No
  • Cost to add authorized users: $0

The Hilton Surpass doesn’t offer a Priority Pass membership, but rather offers 10 complimentary Priority Pass lounge entries per year. You can use all of these entries for yourself, or you can use them for companions traveling with you (in other words, if you have a guest each time, you could visit five lounges). Getting any sort of lounge access on a card with an annual fee of under $100 is awesome.

Learn more about the Hilton Surpass, apply for the Hilton Surpass.

Access the Miracle First Class Lounge Bangkok with Priority Pass

Is Priority Pass lounge access worth it?

There’s not going to be a one size fits all answer as to whether or not access to Priority Pass airport lounges is worth it. I do have a few things to consider, though:

  • Priority Pass lounges generally aren’t going to be amazing, though the quality does vary based on the part of the world you’re in; don’t expect these to be like the world’s best first class lounges
  • Expect Priority Pass lounges to often be pretty crowded, especially in the United States; after all, lots of people have lounge access through credit cards
  • The value of Priority Pass lounge access depends on how much you fly, how much time you usually spend at the airport before flying, and what Priority Pass lounge options there are at the airports you frequent
  • For those who have a Priority Pass restaurant or a good lounge at their home airport, the value of a Priority Pass membership could be huge
  • While I’m a frequent flyer, personally I wouldn’t pay the $429 annual fee that Priority Pass charges directly for a membership with unlimited visits; personally I’d say I value a membership at maybe $200 or so, but that’s a conservative valuation

That’s also the beauty of getting a Priority Pass membership through a credit card, as it won’t cost you nearly that much. For most of the above credit cards, I can fully justify the annual fees without even factoring in the value of a Priority Pass membership, so I view the membership as basically being thrown in for free.

For example, take the Capital One Venture X, which I rank as the best card for a Priority Pass membership. While the card does have a $395 annual fee, that should already be offset by the $300 annual travel credit and 10,000 anniversary bonus miles. Then for mental accounting purposes, I consider all of the other perks to be “free.” And then keep in mind the card doesn’t just offer a Priority Pass membership for the primary cardmember, but also for up to four authorized users, who won’t cost you anything extra.

That’s five Priority Pass memberships for basically nothing, by my math. At that price I’d argue Priority Pass is very much worth it. 😉

I have Priority Pass memberships through several credit cards

Bottom line

Nowadays there are a variety of credit cards that offer a Priority Pass membership, which can be a fantastic way to access airport lounges. The beauty of getting a credit card with Priority Pass lounge access is that in many cases it won’t actually cost you that much.

There are several cards that offer a lounge membership as part of the suite of perks, and if you use the cards correctly, you should easily be able to justify the annual fee without even factoring in Priority Pass. That’s why many of us have multiple Priority Pass memberships (and it can even be hard to tell the cards apart).

Do you have a Priority Pass membership through a credit card? If so, which one?

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees).

Conversations (7)
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  1. Jay Guest

    I am thinking of replacing my Marriott Bonvoy Amex card with this one. I'm already a Lifetime Titanium. Just not sure how to best time the cancellation of the Amex card so as to not lose any of the free certs or any other benefit I've accrued through that card (or is that not an issue?)

  2. Reggie Robinson Guest

    Please do not base your decision for a card on lounge access. In the past 12-24 months I have noticed that the lounges are lacking. They are crowded, food is not what one would expect (if you had to pay for food they would go out of business). I wish there was something I could do to get things changed. The last time me and my wife were at an airport we opted to hang out at the gate over going into the lounge.

  3. Ten Da Guest

    Best written, useful, detailed, structured traveling article I have read. I decided to subscribe.

  4. John Guest

    Priority Pass is a bit of a weak value these days. Several times I've encountered clubs that were not full yet would tell me they were "full on priority pass customers."

    1. ps241 Guest

      This is exactly the problem! That is why none of the Amex cards that exclude Priority Pass restaurants is worth it, if one of your main reasons for acquiring a card is for its Priority Pass benefits. Without the Priority Pass restaurant benefit, the Amex cards are second-class status when it comes to Priority Pass. What good are their lounges if you can't get in?

      I wish there were a Citi card currently avaiulable that...

      This is exactly the problem! That is why none of the Amex cards that exclude Priority Pass restaurants is worth it, if one of your main reasons for acquiring a card is for its Priority Pass benefits. Without the Priority Pass restaurant benefit, the Amex cards are second-class status when it comes to Priority Pass. What good are their lounges if you can't get in?

      I wish there were a Citi card currently avaiulable that included Priority Pass, because I don't want to have to give up Sapphire Preferred to pay more for Sapphire Reserve just for Priority Pass, and I want to stay away from starting a third points currency with Capital One.

  5. Jay Guest

    You missed the Ritz CC :).

    1. SAR Guest

      Actually, he didn't since the Ritz card is not available to new applicants:

      "With that out of the way, let’s rank the best cards for Priority Pass lounge access (I’ll only include cards that are open to new applicants)."

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Jay Guest

I am thinking of replacing my Marriott Bonvoy Amex card with this one. I'm already a Lifetime Titanium. Just not sure how to best time the cancellation of the Amex card so as to not lose any of the free certs or any other benefit I've accrued through that card (or is that not an issue?)

0
Reggie Robinson Guest

Please do not base your decision for a card on lounge access. In the past 12-24 months I have noticed that the lounges are lacking. They are crowded, food is not what one would expect (if you had to pay for food they would go out of business). I wish there was something I could do to get things changed. The last time me and my wife were at an airport we opted to hang out at the gate over going into the lounge.

0
Ten Da Guest

Best written, useful, detailed, structured traveling article I have read. I decided to subscribe.

0
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