Reader Question: Paid Priority Pass Membership – One Year Unlimited Lounge Visits For US$386?

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Today I’d like to highlight a Reader Question regarding Priority Pass and their paid membership options for individuals who are looking to purchase a standalone membership for lounge access.

Most customers these days receive their Priority Pass as bonus from a credit card where it is included in the price, but since some aren’t eligible or don’t want another credit card, paying for PP is the only remaining option.

You can access Priority Pass here.

Generally speaking, receiving the Priority Pass through a financial product such as a Premium Credit Card (Amex Platinum, Mastercard Wold Elite, Visa Infinite) makes most financial sense es the annual fee for the credit card is often equal or similar to what Priority Pass itself charges for their unlimited pass.

As Alex from Portugal writes to us the question isn’t that easy in all markets however, especially where the credit card market is slim.

Hello, I received a mail from PriorityPass to sign up at a discount of 20% for the lounge program. The price is US$269 for 10 visits or US$429 for unlimited visits. I fly a fair amount through Europe per year but all in Economy Class and so far I haven’t been able to obtain any status for lounge access. What do you recommend?

American Express ceased operations in Portugal and my card has been cancelled along with the PriorityPass attached.

Wow, after checking I was surprised to see that Amex indeed stopped issuing cards in Portugal. Apparently they shut down last September and the existing cards stopped working in January of 2019. So for Alex that indeed presents a problem – either look around and find a new credit card option with PP or just pay outright.

I found an offer that is a little bit better for the unlimited pass, their father day special which is still active.

PriorityPass has increased their pricing over the last couple years which is reflective in not only the annual membership fee but also the per visit fee for the non-unlimited customers who are now being charged US$32 for each lounge entry. In the past that used to be $27.

It makes absolutely no sense to pay $89 for the Standard membership alone and not have any visits included though this option is often offered as a free membership with many mid tier credit cards, you would then pay the $32 per visit. Don’t get this unless you can receive the card free and use it for emergencies.

You have to do the math here how often you are likely to visit a lounge. The mid tier membership which includes 10 visits would result in $27 per visit IF you manage to use them all.

What I like about the unlimited membership is you don’t think twice about using the lounge because you will have to pay for it. Nobody would pay a $32 admission just to stay 10 mins for a coffee and a small snack, you can get that cheaper at any Starbucks or other vendor in the terminal.

There are often promotions around at various times of the year ranging from 30% discount to an additional 3 months of membership or in some cases both combined. You might want to do a google search for ‘Priority Pass Promotion / Offer Code’ to find something current depending on when you are reading this. At this point (July 2019) the Fathers Day offer as displayed above is the best option.

Conclusion

I found this unlimited membership very useful over the years when finding myself flying Economy Class on airlines where I don’t have any Elite membership. That happens often in Asia, but also when flying Emirates where Priority Pass helped me out during a 5 hour layover in Dubai.

Some of the lounges are not just third party operated ones but also regular airline lounges such as in Los Angeles (Skyteam Lounge) or in Seoul (Asiana Lounge, Korean Air KAL Lounge).

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