How Can I Give My Friend a Free Priority Pass Membership?

Jan 2, 2018

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“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week — Tuesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel. Note that this is an update of the Monday and Friday schedule we have run until now.

The Priority Pass lounge network has become more and more popular over the last few years, even to the point that sometimes affiliated lounges are filled to capacity. But TPG reader Krish wants to know how one might give a Priority Pass membership to an acquaintance, but still set limits on it…

I would like to give a Priority Pass membership as a gift to someone else for a year, but I want it to be a one-time expense (i.e.: I want the per visit fee — either their own or their guests — to be paid by them and not hit my credit card. What should I do?

TPG Reader Krish

You’ve got a couple options here, Krish. The first and easiest, but not the cheapest, is to simply purchase a Priority Pass membership for your friend. The company sells memberships at three tiers — Standard, Standard Plus and Prestige — for prices ranging from $99 to $399 a year. The cheaper tiers incur a $32 fee per visit, while the highest tier includes unlimited free visits.

So if you wanted, you could buy one of these memberships and make sure your friend has his or her own credit card on file with Priority Pass for the visit fees, though perhaps giving someone a gift that comes with additional fees isn’t going to make you the most popular friend in the world.

However, perhaps a better — and cheaper — option is to add your friend as an authorized user on a credit card that not only comes with a complimentary Priority Pass membership, but also includes a membership for authorized users. There are several options here, such as The Platinum Card from American Express, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Citi Prestige and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card.

But what about any additional fees? Well, the membership with all those cards come with no visit fees for the membership holder, but some of them do include fees for guests. Your best bet could be the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It charges $75 each year for an extra card but allows an unlimited number of free guests with its Priority Pass. There’s also the Ritz card; it’s free to add authorized users, and you should be allowed an unlimited number of guests as well. So these are the best choices if you want to make sure you don’t get charged anything more after you give your gift.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve — and any authorized user cards — come with an unlimited number of Priority Pass guests.

And if you’re wondering whether it’s dangerous to give your friend an authorized user credit card, seeing as you’ll be responsible for any charges incurred on it, the answer is yes, that’s definitely dangerous. But you only need to use it to request an additional Priority Pass card, and then hand that membership card to them. That’s the card they’ll need to access the lounges, and then there’s no danger of them charging anything to you.

Finally, before you request an authorized user credit card in someone else’s name, you have to ask them if that’s okay, since it may very well appear on their credit report and could affect their own ability to get credit cards down the road. So if you were hoping to make this gift a surprise, then perhaps the authorized user route isn’t the best way to go.

But your friend will probably be thrilled enough with a free Priority Pass membership that you don’t really need to make it a surprise as well, so ask them if it’s okay and if it is, you’re off and running, Krish. 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.

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