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The Priority Pass program has been making headlines as it continues to expand to new airports and lounges — its current network touts more than 1,000 lounges in 120 countries and 500 cities worldwide. And while a premium unlimited membership costs $399 annually (additional options include a $99 Standard one-year membership — plus $27 per person, per entry — to Standard Plus, which gives you 10 free visits — then charges $27 for each additional entry — for $249 per year) there are several travel credit cards that offer Priority Pass lounge access as an included benefit. Some even offer mobile passes, so you don’t have to carry the physical card around in your wallet.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, for instance, comes with complimentary Priority Pass Select access for the cardholder as well as all members of their party, as does the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card. The Citi Prestige Card also offers Priority Pass Select membership and complimentary lounge access for the cardholder and two guests or immediate family members. The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Expressboth include Priority Pass Select membership and allow additional guests to enter for $27 per person, per visit. (Note that each of the cards mentioned carries an annual fee of $450 and higher, but the included travel credits and other benefits mean these cards generally end up paying for themselves).
We recently rounded up the 9 best Priority Pass Lounges in the US. Now, we present our list of the top 10 Priority Pass lounges around the world, listed below in no particular order.
1. SkyTeam Lounge at LHR
Location: In Terminal 4 at London’s Heathrow Airport, across from Gate 10 after security.
Hours: 5:00am – last flight’s departure
Amenities: The staples of any good premium-level lounge, like free Wi-Fi and alcohol, as well as private shower stalls and workspaces that can be used for meetings.
2. Grain Store Cafe & Bar at LGW
Location: South Terminal at London Gatwick Airport
Hours: 4am – 9pm daily
Amenities: In early 2017, Priority Pass shook things up by adding a restaurant to its network. Members get £15 each (about US$20) toward food and drink purchases, including alcohol, at the Grain Store Cafe & Bar. This isn’t even the only food/drink option in the Priority Pass lounge network now —you’ll also get drink credits at the House Spirits Distillery at PDX and $30 to spend at the Corona Beach House at Miami International Airport.
A look inside the Airport Wellness Oasis. Image courtesy of Priority Pass.
3. Star Alliance Lounge at CDG
Location: Terminal 1 at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, before security and after the passport control point on Level 11.
Hours: 5:30am – 9pm, with variations based on flight schedule and restricted access between the hours of 5:30am – 11:00am and 9:00pm – 11:30pm due to the limited amount of space.
Amenities: This Paris lounge is great for business travelers, with a sleek, modern look that’s complemented by a minimalist bar and food service area, as well as large spaces for meetings. Showers are also available in case you need to freshen up before a flight. Note that there is a three-hour maximum stay allowed at this lounge due to space constraints.
4. Almost@Home Lounge at HEL
Location: Terminal 2 at Helsinki Airport, located in the International Departures (Non-Schengen) area near gate 32
Hours: 5:30am – 8:30pm
Amenities: There’s no place like home — except maybe this lounge. You’ll find a large middle island in the ‘kitchen’ with many food options, including regional specialties, and a cooking area where guests can even make their own meals. The lounge also features showers, complimentary Wi-Fi, wine, beer and soft drinks. Be aware of a three-hour maximum stay rule that’s in place due to space constraints.
5. Air China First Class Lounge at PEK
Location: Terminal 3E, the International Terminal at Beijing Capital International Airport, on the left side after security.
Hours: 6:00am – 10:00pm
Amenities: The Air China First Class Lounge is situated above the terminal, but with open-air access, which gives it a very spacious feel. You’ll find complimentary Western and Chinese cuisine, mixed drinks and other refreshments, plus a sushi bar with freshly made options. The lounge also features conference rooms, massage chairs and showers in case you need to freshen up.
6. Oman Air First & Business Class Lounge at BKK
Location: At Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, you’ll find the lounge on Level 3 of Concourse E, on the west side of the International Terminal building.
Hours: 5:00am – 8:30pm
Amenities: Several large fish tanks throughout the lounge give the space a cool, underwater feel. There are also dedicated attendants and a full buffet with refreshments, snacks and alcoholic beverages. Wi-Fi is available for free, as are showers and a separate prayer room. Note the 2.5-hour maximum stay rule.
7. The Al Dhabi Lounge at AUH
Location: Terminal 1 at Abu Dhabi International Airport; turn right after going through immigration and head up to the second floor. Those coming from Terminal 3 should visit the Transit Desk before over heading to Terminal 1.
Amenities: Complimentary Wi-Fi, showers, refreshments and alcoholic drinks (although it’s limited to bottled beer). Note that smart casual dress is required and you can only stay in the lounge for up to four hours.
8. The Mashonzha Lounge at JNB
Location: International Terminal A at Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport, near the Emirates Business Lounge and the duty-free shops. Turn left once you get to the top of the stairs, the lounge is on the right side.
Hours: 7:00am – 10:00pm
Amenities: This lounge features a contemporary South African motif that also pays homage to the country’s many safari parks and chic designer hotels. You can expect to find free meals, beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and Wi-Fi. Note that you can only stay in the lounge for a maximum of four hours.
9. Lounge at B in DXB
Location: In Concourse B of Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3, next to gate B26 — the actual entrance is inside the Cadiz Tapas Bar. Those flying out of Concourse A or C should plan ahead and leave an extra 15-20 minutes to get back to their designated gates.
Amenities: The Lounge at B enjoys the perks of being located inside a tapas bar, like access to its full wine cellar. Note that alcoholic beverages are only available between the hours of 8:00pm and 3:00am during Ramadan, smart casual attire is required at all times and offsite showers are available upon request. You’ll also only be able to stay here for five hours due to space constraints.
10. Aspire Lounge at ZRH
Location: Inside the main International Terminal at Zurich Airport after security, on the third floor above Gate E45
Hours: 6:00am – 10:00pm
Amenities: There’s a nice airy feel here, with windows on both sides and a wide food selection to go with the view. Snacks and alcoholic beverages are available free of charge, although complimentary Wi-Fi is limited to one hour and you’ll need to pay an additional fee for extra time.
Although the $450 annual fee for the credit cards mentioned does seem steep, if you plan to take advantage of all the benefits, the cards can be a great deal for anyone who travels, even just a few times each year. The Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, includes a $300 travel credit that’s applied automatically to anything from air travel and hotels to Uber rides and commuter rail tickets. The Citi Prestige and the Platinum Card from American Express both offer similar discounts that effectively bring the annual fee down to $150 or $200, respectively. Since unlimited Priority Pass membership costs $399 a year, these travel credit cards are a great value since they end up giving you so much more than just lounge access. Nearly every major airport in the world now has a Priority Pass lounge, and relaxing in one before your flight can make your travel experience a remarkably better one.
What are your favorite Priority Pass lounges? Tell us about them, below.
Featured image courtesy of Almost@Home Lounge’s Facebook page.