Choose this, not that: CDG Priority Pass lounge edition
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A Priority Pass membership can make your preflight experience a whole lot more enjoyable. Membership unlocks access to more than 1,200 airport lounges in 143 countries and 500 cities worldwide. Check out this guide to learn about cards that offer a free membership, lounge guest policies and more.
Most major airports around the world now have multiple lounges accessible through Priority Pass. The program doesn’t own or operate any of the lounges and the quality can vary widely. Some lounges are little more than a small room with bottled water and pretzels. Others are as good, if not better, than those you’d get if you were flying in a premium cabin.
We’ve previously compared the Priority Pass lounges at major airports across the U.S., such as Los Angeles (LAX), Washington Dulles (IAD) and Boston (BOS). Today, we’re going overseas and ranking the lounges at Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), which has five Priority Pass lounges.
Charles de Gaulle is Paris’ main international airport. It ranked as the 10th-busiest airport in the world in 2018, second only to London Heathrow (LHR). United, Delta and American connect more than 15 American cities to Charles de Gaulle, and Air France flies to more than 10 North American cities. It’s also a focus airport for low-cost carriers like easyJet, Norwegian and Vueling. Here’s a look at what we found:
(Note that the hours listed for the lounges are the hours when they 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. Star Alliance Lounge
Location: Terminal 1, after Passport Control but before security check points on Level 11
Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Access may be restricted because of space constraints, particularly from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Food and beverage: A great way to say au revoir to Paris, with an appropriately impressive selection of French wines and gourmet hot and cold food
Amenities: An outdoor terrace gives you a chance to suck in one last gulp of fresh, non-pressurized/recycled air before you board your flight; showers, many universal power outlets and fast Wi-Fi
2. Icare Lounge
Location: Terminal 1, after Passport Control but before security check points, in the International Area on Level 10, between access to Gates 10 to 18, and Gates 40 to 48; passengers traveling within Schengen countries are required to show a boarding pass with confirmed same-day travel (access remains subject to the discretion of the French Border Police)
Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Food and beverage: Modest selection of light snacks such as croissants and cold cuts and a small self-serve bar with complimentary beer, wine and spirits
Amenities: A fresh-looking interior design and plenty of seating, including an outdoor terrace; many power outlets and built-in USB ports, but the Wi-Fi is slow
3. Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge
Location: Terminal 2A, after Passport Control on the right-hand side, near gates A37 to A39
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Food and beverage: Basic selection of cold cuts, sandwiches and fruit, albeit slightly more extensive than the Icare Lounge; an espresso machine and self-serve bar with all of the fixings
Amenities: Plenty of seating, a business center with a printer, solid Wi-Fi and many power outlets but you’ll need to bring an adapter to use them
4. YotelAir Paris Charles de Gaulle
Location: Terminal 2E, non-Schengen departing and transit passengers only; take the Shuttle train to Gate L, and follow the signs for Instant Paris/YOTEL; accessible by Shuttle train for passengers traveling from Gates K and M but allow time to return to the gates
Hours: 24 hours daily
Food and beverage: A credit for 10 euros per person per visit to use toward light snacks, soft and alcoholic drinks (limited to beer and wine) from the lounge’s vending machines; free coffee, tea and hot chocolate
Amenities: A good mix of seating options, including a section for kids, but it gets quite crowded; many power outlets, built-in USB ports and fast Wi-Fi; showers available, at an additional charge
5. Sheltair Lounge
Location: Terminal 2D, before Passport Control in front of Gate D56 on Level 1. This lounge is only accessible to those departing Schengen flights from Terminal 2D.
Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Food and Beverage: Basic selection of cold cuts, cheeses and pastries; self-serve bar with a good selection of complimentary beer, wine and spirits
Amenities: Solid Wi-Fi; plenty of seats, but many don’t have easily accessible power outlets
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 for both cardholders and authorized users, along with two guests; $450 annual fee, plus $75 for an authorized user
- The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Business Platinum® Card from American Express: $550 (see rates & fees) and $595 annual fees (see rates & fees), respectively; access for primary cardholders and authorized users, along with two guests; Platinum cardmember access to Delta Sky Club lounges when traveling on a Delta flight the same day, with guest access at a reduced fee of $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); $175 annual fee for authorized users 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; $450 annual fee (see rates & fees)
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Priority Pass Select membership with unlimited complimentary access for the primary cardholder and two guests; $450 annual fee (see rates & fees)
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Priority Pass membership with 10 free individual visits a year, with no free guests; or one visit with nine guests; after that, a $32 fee per person per visit; $95 annual fee (see rates & fees)
- U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card: Limited Priority Pass Select membership for one cardmember per account, including authorized users; complimentary member access to participating lounges for the first four visits and four individual guest visits; after free visits are used, discounted $32 per visit entry fee will apply to cardholders and guests; $400 annual fee
- Citi Prestige® Card: Priority Pass Select membership for cardholders and authorized users with access for immediate family members (spouse or domestic partner, children) or up to two guests; $495 annual fee, and $75 for authorized users
The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The Star Alliance lounge far outshines all of the other Priority Pass lounges at CDG. It has all of the essential amenities and is the only lounge to offer more food options than just cold cuts and pastries. Although YotelAir ranked toward the bottom of the list, it’s nice to have a 24-hour option as you never know when things will go wrong and you might need to stay at the airport overnight.
Further reading: The 10 best Priority Pass lounges around the world
Featured image by Gilmanshin/Getty Images.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Business Platinum card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass, click here.
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