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“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week — Mondays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

Priority Pass has grown significantly in recent years, making it one of the largest lounge networks in the world. But can you only use Priority Pass lounges before you fly? That’s the question TPG reader Riley asked us in an email…

After I arrive from a flight, can I still use a Priority Pass lounge or do I need to have another flight?

TPG Reader Riley

A complimentary Priority Pass Select membership is included as a travel benefit on several popular premium credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Platinum Card from American Express and the Citi Prestige, just to name a few. And the Priority Pass network has improved significantly in recent months, adding Minute Suites in several cities and incorporating a number of actual restaurants into its roster, including the Corona Beach House in Miami (MIA) and three different food establishments in Portland (PDX).

So what’s the word on stopping by a Priority Pass lounge after you land, essentially treating it as an arrival lounge? Well, actually, according to the Priority Pass terms and conditions, it depends on where you’re flying…

Admittance to lounges is strictly subject to cardholders and any guests, if permitted, being in possession of a valid flight ticket and travel documents for the same day of travel. Airline, airport and other travel industry employees traveling on reduced-rate tickets may not be eligible for access. Outside the US, flight tickets must be accompanied by a valid boarding pass for a departing flight, i.e. outbound passengers only.

Interesting, isn’t it? If you’re within the US, the terms and conditions indicate all you need is a same-day ticket, which means you should be able to enter a domestic Priority Pass lounge after you land, even if it’s your final destination for the day. However, outside the US, you need a boarding pass for a departing flight, which means you cannot use non-US Priority Pass lounges upon arrival unless you have a same-day connecting flight from that airport.

IMG-priority-pass-featured
A Priority Pass Select membership includes the option to use US lounges with a same-day ticket.

Now, while this is what the terms and conditions say, in practice you’ll find that a number of international Priority Pass lounges don’t really mind if you come by after your flight. This definitely isn’t true of all Priority Pass lounges — some will not allow you to use them as an arrivals lounge. But there are plenty of reports of other lounges not requiring a departing boarding pass even at foreign airports, and in some cases it might even depend on the discretion of the agent sitting at the lounge check-in desk at that moment. There are also some specific international arrivals lounges included in Priority Pass membership, such as the Plaza Premium Arrivals lounges at London Heathrow (LHR) in Terminals 2 and 4. So consider it a case of “your mileage may vary.”

If you want to be 100% certain that you’ll have a lounge available when you land and no specific Priority Pass arrivals lounge is listed at prioritypass.com for your international destination, you might be able to qualify for your airline’s own arrival lounge. For example, American maintains an Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow (LHR) but you must arrive in London on an AA flight or a few select partners and be either flying in first or business, or have Executive Platinum, Concierge Key or Oneworld Emerald elite status to use it. Other airlines often have arrivals lounges in their key hub cities — SWISS Arrival in Zurich (ZRH), Etihad’s Arrivals Lounge in Abu Dhabi (AUH)Cathay Pacific’s The Arrival in Hong Kong (HKG) and United’s Arrivals Lounge in San Francisco (SFO) are just a few examples, but in most cases you’ll need to be flying in a premium cabin or have high-level elite status to use them.

So, Riley, on domestic trips you should be good to go, and if you’re flying outside the US, you can do a little advance research to know what to expect at your destination. Thanks for the question, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

This is one of the top premium cards out there since you earn 3x on all travel and dining and have access to great perks like a $300 travel credit each year, 50% more value when you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and you get elite travel benefits like Global Entry application fee rebate, Priority Pass Select and special rental car privileges.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Plus, no foreign transaction fees
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.24% - 24.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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