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Airport lounges have long been a haven for business- and first-class passengers, but they’ve become more accessible to the everyday traveler. The Priority Pass program, for instance, now has a network of more than 1,200 lounges in 143 countries and 500 cities worldwide.
There are several membership options available — Standard, which costs $99 per year and gives you access to each lounge for $32 per visit; Standard Plus, which costs $249 per year and gives you 10 free visits, then charges $32 per visit for additional visits, and Prestige, which costs $429 per year and provides unlimited access. However, you can avoid paying for Priority Pass lounge access altogether by signing up for one of several credit cards that offer complimentary entry as an included benefit.
Priority Pass membership as a credit card benefit
A Priority Pass Select membership is included with the following premium credit cards, although enrollment is required. Note that this list doesn’t include cards that are no longer available to new applicants or are invitation-only.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: Membership is included for both cardholders and authorized users, along with two guests. The card costs $450 annually, plus $75 for an authorized user.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Business Platinum® Card from American Express: Annual fees are $550 (see rates & fees) and $595 (see rates & fees), respectively. Access is allowed for both primary cardholders and authorized users, along with two guests. Platinum cardmembers can also access Delta Sky Club lounges when they’re traveling on a Delta flight the same day, with guest access at a reduced fee ($29 per person for up to two guests); Airspace lounges (with two guests); Escape lounges (with two guests), and American Express Centurion Lounges (with two guests). Authorized users cost $175 annually for the personal card (see rates & fees) and $300 for the business version (see rates & fees).
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express: Primary cardholders receive a Priority Pass Select membership good for themselves and two guests. There’s a $450 annual fee (see rates & fees) for this card.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: This card offers a Priority Pass Select membership with unlimited complimentary access for the primary cardholder and two guests. The card has a $450 annual fee (see rates & fees).
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: This card includes a Priority Pass membership. However, it offers only 10 free visits a year, with no free guests (enrollment required). You can visit by yourself 10 times, or visit once with nine guests. After that, you’ll have to pay a $32 fee per person per visit. There’s a $95 annual fee (see rates & fees) for this card.
- U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card: This card comes with a limited Priority Pass Select membership for one cardmember per account, including authorized users. The member will receive complimentary access to participating lounges for the first four visits as well as four individual guest visits. After the free visits are used, the discounted $32 per visit entry fee will apply to cardholders and guests. There’s a $400 annual fee for this card.
- Citi Prestige® Card: Cardholders and authorized users both get Priority Pass Select with access for immediate family members (a spouse, children or domestic partner) or up to two guests. The annual fee is $495, and the primary cardholder may add authorized users for $75.
Although the vast majority of Priority Pass lounges are outside of the U.S., there still are some swanky spaces at most major airports stateside. Many of the airports now even have multiple lounges. From Los Angeles (LAX) to New York-JFK, here’s a look at the nine best Priority Pass lounges in the U.S.
(Note that the hours listed for the lounges are the hours that are available to Priority Pass members. A lounge may be open outside of those hours, but will not admit members then. Additionally, for all these lounges, you must have a valid boarding pass and access may be restricted if the lounge is full.)
1. The Turkish Airlines Lounge Washington at IAD
Location: In the Midfield Terminal at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), near gate B43 on the Concourse Level.
Hours: 6 a.m. — 11 p.m.
Amenities: Wide selection of complimentary hot food and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). The lounge also has many power outlets, speedy Wi-Fi, a shower room and prayer room. Check out TPG’s full review of the lounge.
2. The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at EWR
Location: Terminal B at Newark Airport (EWR), near Gates B51 – B57.
Hours: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Amenities: You can order free food and drinks from an a la carte menu, albeit with more limited options than what is usually offered to premium passengers.
3. The Air France Lounge at JFK
Location: Near Gate 1 in Terminal 1 at New York-JFK.
Hours: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 11 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Amenities: Snacks, Wi-Fi and free drinks are available, as are showers. Read more about TPG’s experience visiting the lounge.
4. The Club at SJC
Location: Terminal A at San José International Airport (SJC), across from Gate 15 on Level 3.
Hours: 5 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Amenities: Complimentary Wi-Fi, snacks and drinks. The lounge also has showers and conference rooms.
5. The KLM Crown Lounge at IAH
Location: Near Gate D6 in Terminal D at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). Those arriving at other terminals can reach it by using the SKYWAY trains, while a pre-security subway train can be used to get to each terminal.
Hours: 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Amenities: You’ll find complimentary snacks, drinks and Wi-Fi.
6. The Alaska Lounge at JFK
Location: New York-JFK’s Terminal 7 on the Mezzanine Level.
Hours: 5 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday to Friday, 5 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturdays.
Amenities: Coffee bar with complimentary made-to-order Starbucks beverages, snacks, Wi-Fi and many power outlets. Check out TPG’s full tour of the lounge.
7. The Club at MCO
Location: Near Gate 91 in Terminal B at Orlando International Airport. Note that this lounge is not accessible to passengers traveling from Gates 1-29 in Terminal A or from Gates 30-59 in Terminal B If you’re boarding from Gates 1-59, you can visit The Club in Terminal A.
Hours: 6 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Saturday to Monday, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 6 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. Tuesdays, and 6 a.m. – 1:30 a.m. Fridays. Note that access may be restricted between 2 p.m. – 8 p.m. daily because of space constraints.
Amenities: Complimentary snacks, showers, Wi-Fi and alcoholic beverages.
8. Minute Suites
Locations: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Concourses B and T; Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Atrium; Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Terminals A and D, and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Terminal B.
Hours: 24 hours daily (one hour free followed by a discounted $28 hourly rate for any additional time after that)
Amenities: Regardless of which Minute Suites location you visit, you’ll get a private suite complete with a daybed, bedding, yoga mat and TV. Check out TPG’s reviews of the CLT location and ATL location.
9. Korean Air KAL Lounge at LAX
Location: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, connected to Terminals 4-8 on Level 5.
Hours: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Amenities: Complimentary Wi-Fi, snacks, drinks, shower rooms and power outlets near many seats. Check out TPG’s full review of the lounge.
Bonus: Restaurant lounges
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the restaurant lounges as part of the Priority Pass U.S. roster. In addition to conventional lounges, Priority Pass has partnered with food and beverage establishments, to let members enjoy a complimentary sit-down dining experience as part of their membership. There are currently 30 Priority Pass restaurant lounges across 21 U.S. airports, each offering members $28-30 per guest in food and drink (not including gratuity). Unfortunately, as of August 2019, American Express discontinued “complimentary access to non-lounge airport experiences” for cards that have a Priority Pass benefit. Chase, Citi and U.S. Bank currently don’t have plans to change any of the benefits on either of their cards that offer a Priority Pass membership.
Although most credit cards that offer Priority Pass membership come with a $450 annual fee or higher, you’ll be getting access to at least one lounge at most major airports in the U.S. and around the world, along with a ton of other great travel perks that offset the annual fee. With so many great lounge options available, it’s a no-brainer and makes for a much better way to spend time at the airport before your next flight.
Just remember that enrollment is required if you have a card that includes a Priority Pass Select membership. You can’t simply present your credit card at a participating lounge, restaurant or Minute Suite to receive complimentary access.
What are your favorite Priority Pass lounges? Tell us about them below.
Featured image of the JFK Air France Lounge by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, please click here.
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