The best credit cards for Priority Pass lounge access
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As if the airport experience weren’t already stressful enough, passengers now have to contend with changing health and safety requirements, juggling vaccine passports and PCR-test QR codes, not to mention face masks, sanitizing products, and more.
Taking a few moments in an airport lounge can be just what you need to collect yourself before a flight, especially now as many passenger terminals start to get crowded again. The good news is that resurgent flyer numbers have also prompted airport lounges to reopen en masse. Luckily, some of the best travel rewards credit cards confer lounge access among their many benefits.
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Some, like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® and the United Club Infinite Card, only get you into their own airlines’ lounges.
Others, though, like The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, allow cardholders to register for Priority Pass Select membership and enjoy access privileges to over 1,300 airport lounge and restaurant locations worldwide (unfortunately, those with Priority Pass Select membership through an Amex card do not get restaurant benefits).
Those are the ones we’re going to focus on today as we run through the best credit cards for Priority Pass lounge access.
Best Priority Pass Credit Cards
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Citi Prestige® Card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
- U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
- The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
Enrollment required for select benefits. The information for the Citi Prestige card, Hilton Aspire Amex card, U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Some of the most popular Priority Pass locations in the U.S include the Turkish Airlines Lounge at Washington Dulles (IAD) and the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Newark (EWR). Three Lufthansa lounges in the US – at Newark (EWR), New York (JFK), and Washington Dulles (IAD) – just became Priority Pass affiliates, too, and folks with membership can once again visit several Alaska Airlines lounges. Internationally, the SkyTeam Lounge in Vancouver (YVR), the ANA Lounge at Tokyo Haneda (HND), and the Ahlan Business Class Lounge in Dubai (DXB) are all crowd-pleasers, while the VIP Lounge at Punta Cana (PUJ) Terminal B even has its own swimming pool.
Given the large footprint of Priority Pass, you might want to consider applying for a new card that gets you into its lounges, especially if you’re going to resume traveling in the near future. Here are the details on the best cards with Priority Pass lounge access and each one’s specific benefit.
Comparing Benefits of Credit Cards with Priority Pass Access
|Card||Lounge Access||Welcome Bonus||Annual Fee|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Cardholder + 2 guests free, $27 per guest after that||60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 4 months of account opening||$550|
|Citi Prestige®||Cardholder + immediate family or 2 guests free, $27 per guest after that||50,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months||$495|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Cardholder + 2 guests free, $32 per guest after that
|100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of card membership (possibly higher targeted offers through CardMatch). Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership.
|$695 (see rates & fees)|
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||Cardholder + 2 guests free, $32 per guest after that
|TPG Exclusive offer: Earn 125,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum card within the first 3 months of card membership. Terms apply.||$595 (see rates & fees)|
|Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card||Cardholder + 2 guests free, $32 per guest after that
|150,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Terms Apply.||$450 (see rates & fees)|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card||Cardholder + 2 guests free, $32 per guest after that
|Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first 6 months of card membership.||$450 (see rates & fees)|
|U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite||12 months complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, then 8 passes per year after that, $32 per visit after that||50,000 points after spending $4,500 in the first 3 months||$400|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||10 complimentary visits per year, $32 per visit after that
|Earn 130,000 Hilton bonus points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 8/25/2021.||$0 intro annual fee (see rates & fees) for the first year, then $95 (see rates & fees). Offer ends 8/25/2021.|
|Hilton Honors American Express Business Card||10 complimentary visits per year, $32 per visit after that
|Earn 130,000 points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 8/25/2021.||$95 (see rates & fees)|
Here are the details on each card, along with current welcome bonuses, annual fees and other notable perks.
Credit Cards with Priority Pass
Now that we’ve gone over the Priority Pass-specific perks of each card, here are some of the other compelling benefits each confers.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the most popular premium travel rewards credit cards thanks to its impressive list of benefits. Cardholders receive up to $300 in annual travel statement credits for a wide range of travel purchases (and gas and groceries through the end of 2021).
The card earns 3 points per dollar on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to 10 airlines and three hotel partners. Points may also be redeemed at a rate of 1.5 cents apiece through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal as well as for eligible purchases at grocery and home improvement stores, on dining, against the card’s annual fee, or for various charitable donations via “Pay With Points” (through June 30, 2021, but December 31, 2021 for charities).
The Citi Prestige earns a phenomenal 5 points per dollar at restaurants and on air travel, 3 points per dollar at hotels and cruise lines, and one point per dollar on all other purchases. Cardholders are eligible for up to $250 worth of annual statement credits each calendar year toward travel purchases, but also supermarkets and restaurants through the end of 2021.
Citi ThankYou Rewards points can be transferred to 16 airline partner programs and are worth one cent apiece when redeemed directly for travel through the Citi portal. Cardholders can book a fourth night free on up to two hotel stays per year when reserving through the Citi concierge or online at thankyou.com. They’re also eligible for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement once every five years.
In addition to Priority Pass lounges, cardholders have access to Amex’s own Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, Escape, Airspace, Plaza Premium and certain Lufthansa lounges. Enrollment required for select benefits.
The card earns 5 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) and prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Cardholders can transfer Membership Rewards points to 21 airline and hotel partners.
Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
The card also comes with an annual of up to $200 statement credit on incidental fees charged by a carrier you select each calendar year, plus up to $200 in annual Uber Cash toward U.S. Uber rides and U.S. Uber Eats orders. Enrollment required for select benefits.
$200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
$240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
$300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
$179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
Cardholders qualify for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee refund once every four years (4.5 years for PreCheck) up to $100. Booking stays through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts includes plenty of value-added benefits. Cardholders can register for both Gold status with Hilton Honors and Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy. Amex’s International Airline Program can secure deep discounts on premium economy, business- and first-class tickets on over 20 airlines, too. Enrollment required for select benefits.
In addition to the personal version’s perks (minus the Uber credits), the Business Platinum Amex offers annual statement credits of up to $200 for Dell technology U.S. purchases (enrollment required).
Cardholders earn a 50% points bonus (so 1.5 per dollar) on purchases of $5,000 or more, up to 1 million bonus points per calendar year.
They also receive a 35% rebate when redeeming points through Amex Pay With Points for airfare on their designated airline (enrollment required) or specifically for business- or first-class tickets on select qualifying airlines booked on Amex Travel, up to 500,000 points per calendar year.
It earns 14 points per dollar on Hilton purchases; 7 points per dollar on flights booked through Amex Travel or directly through airlines, on car rentals and at U.S. restaurants; and 3 points per dollar on other eligible purchases.
Cardholders automatically receive top-tier Hilton Honors Diamond status, an annual free weekend night, and up to $250 in statement credits each cardmember year for purchases at participating Hilton Resorts, plus up to $250 in annual statement credits each calendar year for airline incidentals (enrollment required).
They also qualify for up to $100 in credits for charges at participating Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts when booking two-night-minimum stays via HiltonHonors.com/aspirecard. Enrollment required.
This card accrues 6 points per dollar on eligible Marriott purchases, 3 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2 points per dollar on other eligible purchases.
Cardholders get up to $300 in statement credits each year of card membership for purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. They also receive automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold status plus 15 elite night credits per year. Each anniversary after renewal, they get a free night award worth up to 50,000 points each year. Special card member rates on stays of two nights or more at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties are eligible for up to $100 in credit for qualifying charges.
Finally, this card is yet another with a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application reimbursement once every four years (4.5 years for PreCheck) up to $100.
This card earns 3 points per dollar on travel and mobile wallet purchases and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Cardholders can redeem points for 1.5 cents apiece on airfare, hotels and car rentals (or lower values for other purchases). They can also count on 12 complimentary Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes each year, which can save them a chunk of change, plus reimbursement for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application once every four years (up to $100).
Finally, this card comes with up to $325 in statement credits per cardmember year for purchases made directly from airlines, hotels, car rental companies, taxis, limousines, passenger trains and cruise lines, as well as the new categories of takeout, food delivery and dining.
Related: The Best U.S. Bank credit cards
If the Hilton Honors Aspire’s annual fee gives you pause, consider the Hilton Honors Surpass instead, since it just charges $95 per year.
Cardholders receive automatic Hilton Honors Gold status and can spend their way to Diamond status by making $40,000 in eligible purchases on the card in a calendar year. They can also earn a free weekend night reward from Hilton Honors after spending $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
Earn 12 Hilton Honors points per dollar for purchases made directly with hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio; 6x per dollar at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, on U.S. shipping purchases, at U.S. restaurants, on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel, and on car rentals booked directly from rental agencies; then 3x on other eligible purchases. That’s a lot of earning potential!
Cardholders get automatic Hilton Honors Gold status (Diamond status with $60,000 spend per calendar year) and a free weekend night reward after hitting $15,000 spend on purchases in a calendar year.
Related: Best business credit cards
Related Credit Card Guides
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Business Amex, please click here.
Featured image by Daniel Ross/The Points Guy.
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Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
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- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
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- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees