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TPG reader Brandon sent me a message on Facebook to ask about lounge access:
“I have the Amex Platinum card, and plan on getting the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Since both cards offer Priority Pass, can I use one membership for myself and the other for a guest so they don’t have to pay the admission fee?”
Most premium travel rewards cards provide lounge access of some kind, but the benefits vary quite a bit from one card to the next. Some co-branded cards only get you into lounges offered by a single airline, while others offer access to networks like Priority Pass or Amex Centurion Lounges. Guest policies vary widely even for cards affiliated with the same network, so it’s important to target cards that work for you and your companions if you tend to travel in a group.
Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card and the Platinum Card from Amex provide Priority Pass Select membership, which offers primary cardholders access to Priority Pass lounges. The Platinum Card charges $27 per guest, but Sapphire Reserve offers complimentary guest access. That might be enough, but Brandon’s question is still pertinent if you exceed the guest allotment, or if you have two cards that don’t offer complimentary guest access (like the personal and business versions of the Platinum card).
Unfortunately, Priority Pass Select memberships are only meant to be used by the account holder. The Priority Pass website specifies that memberships are valid for the person whose name appears on the card, and can’t be used by someone else to gain access. That means you wouldn’t be able to get a guest in using a second membership — at least, not according to the rules.
That said, it might work. Lounge agents don’t always ask for ID, especially when you use the digital membership card in the Priority Pass app. They often just scan the QR code and let you in, so you might be able to get an extra guest through the door. Still, I wouldn’t recommend it. Any agent who actually pays attention would become suspicious upon seeing two cards with identical names, and you might end up getting charged for the guest anyway. You’d also be taking space from other paying members, so I think it’s especially bad etiquette when the lounge is crowded.
A more reliable way to get guest lounge access is to add your travel companion as an authorized user on your card account. Authorized users get their own Priority Pass membership with the Sapphire Reserve and Platinum Card, as well as the Citi Prestige Card. All three cards charge a fee to add users, but secondary cardholders may be eligible for other benefits that offset the cost. If you don’t travel with the same companion regularly, another option is to cover guest lounge access with the various travel statement credits offered by those cards.
For more on lounge access, check out these posts:
- Get Lounge Access with These 6 Cards
- Is Lounge Access Worth the Price of a Day Pass?
- Top 10 Airport Lounges in the US and How You Can Get in