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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Chase Sapphire Reserve
Many credit cards offer Priority Pass lounge access, and in late 2015, digital membership cards became available. Thanks to this feature, if you have an eligible card you can download the app (available for both iOS and Android) to gain “virtual access” to lounges, meaning you don’t have to show your physical card. However, not all cards that offer Priority Pass membership allow you to have virtual access, though there may be a way around it in some cases. Below, I’ll detail which cards allow you lounge access through the app and which cards you’ll have to have in physical form to access Priority Pass locations.
CARDS THAT OFFER VIRTUAL ACCESS
The Platinum Card from American Express and The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express Open — The primary cardholder and authorized users receive a Priority Pass Select membership for themselves, but guests will be charged $27 per visit. Cardholders can download the virtual membership card via the app. Once in the app, add in your membership number to set up your account. From there, click the QR code and your virtual card is ready.
Citi Prestige — The Citi Prestige Card offers a Priority Pass Select membership to both the primary cardholder and any authorized users, and it also includes complimentary lounge access for immediate family members or up to two guests. Just like with the Amex Platinum, cardholders can download the virtual membership card via the app.
CARDS THAT DON’T OFFER VIRTUAL ACCESS
Chase Sapphire Reserve — This recently launched card offers a Priority Pass Select membership that includes the primary cardholder and traveling companions. According to Chase, Priority Pass does not limit the number of guests, but individual lounges reserve the right to limit the number of guests per cardmember. Unfortunately, if you have a Priority Pass membership through the Reserve, you must have the physical membership card with you to access the lounge. The only way around this is that some lounges offer a one-day pass, as I recently learned after calling Chase. If you purchase a one-day pass and then call Chase, you’ll be issued a statement credit for this, and you can use this benefit up to two times per year. However, not all lounges have the one-day pass option available, and the credit will only be issued if you call Chase. Of course, the pass must be charged to your Sapphire Reserve Card.
Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card — This card offers Priority Pass Select membership as a benefit. The terms and conditions don’t specify if guests are included, but it seems the card’s policy matches that of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, meaning that guests should be free. Unfortunately, digital membership isn’t available with this card, and unlike with the Reserve, you won’t be able to obtain a refund for any one-day pass (though it should be covered by the $300 annual travel credit), so your only option without paying would be to ensure you have the physical membership card with you at all times when you want to access a lounge.
Featured image of the Escape Lounge at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport courtesy of MY MSP Connect.
Have you ever been denied Priority Pass lounge access because you didn’t have your physical card?