Choose this, not that: JFK Priority Pass lounge edition

Oct 21, 2019

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Priority Pass membership can make your preflight experience a whole lot more enjoyable. The program unlocks access to more than 1,200 airport lounges in 143 countries and 500 cities worldwide. You can check out this guide to learn everything you need to know — which cards offer a free membership, guesting policies and more.

Although there’s definitely room for growth, most major airports in the U.S. and around the world now have multiple lounges accessible through Priority Pass, so you’ll often have to choose between them. Since the program doesn’t actually own or operate any of the lounges themselves, the quality can vary widely. Some lounges are little more than a small room with bottled water and pretzels; some are as good, if not better, than the lounges you can access if you’re flying in a premium cabin.

Today we’re going to look at how the options stack up at the nation’s sixth-busiest airport, New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK). It’s home to four Priority Pass lounges, including two of our nine favorite Priority Pass lounges in the U.S., and one Priority Pass restaurant. The airport’s eight terminals are connected by the Air Train, but you’ll need to exit security to use it so it’s not ideal to visit a lounge that’s in a terminal other than the one you’re flying out of.

Related: Choose this, not that: MIA Priority Pass lounge edition

(Note that the hours listed are the hours the lounges 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. Air France Lounge

(Photo by Brendan Dorsey/The Points Guy.)

Location: Terminal 1, near Gate 1

Hours: 8 a.m. — 1 p.m. and 11 p.m. — 12:30 a.m.

Food and Beverage: Buffet consisting primarily of cold foods like sandwiches, salads and cold cuts. There is also a self-serve bar with several types of liquors, beers, wines and soft drinks.

Amenities: This lounge offers plenty of seating, good Wi-Fi, a decent number of power outlets and showers. Although the lounge has a spa, Priority Pass members do not have access. Read more about TPG’s experience visiting the lounge.

(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy.)

2. Alaska Lounge

(Photo by Brendan Dorsey/The Points Guy.)

Location: Terminal 7 on the Mezzanine Level

Hours: 5 a.m. — 9 p.m. Sunday to Friday, 5 a.m. — 5 p.m. Saturdays

Food and Beverage: Complimentary snacks like hard-boiled eggs, bagels, Greek yogurt and pancakes in the mornings; soups, salads and cookies in the afternoon. Also included is a coffee bar with made-to-order Starbucks beverages and non-premium alcohol. Made-to-order meals and premium alcoholic drinks are available for purchase.

Amenities: This lounge offers loads of power outlets, fast Wi-Fi and fantastic views of the tarmac. Check out TPG’s full tour of the lounge.

(Photo by Brendan Dorsey/The Points Guy.)
(Photo by Brendan Dorsey/The Points Guy.)

3. Wingtips Lounge

(Photo by Christian Kramer/The Points Guy.)

Location: Terminal 4, about 300 feet past the security checkpoint, on the left

Hours: 3 p.m.-8 p.m.

Food and Beverage: Hot and cold foods such as barbecue chicken, roasted vegetables and a salad bar. There’s also a self-serve bar with all the basics when it comes to beer, wine and spirits.

Amenities: Decent amount of seating, easily accessible power outlets in some parts of the lounge and complimentary Wi-Fi. Read more about TPG’s experience visiting the lounge.

Liquor selection at the Wingtip Lounge at New York JFK, a Priority Pass lounge.
(Photo by Julian Kheel/The Points Guy.)

4. KAL Business Class Lounge

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.)

Location: Terminal 1, across from Gate 3

Hours: 2 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Food and Beverage: Very basic selection of snacks like instant ramen, fruit, muffins and packaged snacks and a small self-serve bar. Do not come hungry or you will be disappointed.

Amenities: This lounges offers decent Wi-Fi, many power outlets and showers, but it does get quite crowded during peak hours. Read more about TPG’s experience visiting the lounge.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.)

Bonus: Non-lounge airport restaurant

In addition to the four conventional lounges above, Priority Pass partners with one restaurant at JFK — Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in Terminal 8. The restaurant offers Priority Pass members a $28 credit toward their meals, which is great, but we left it out of the rankings since you no longer get complimentary access if your Priority Pass membership was generated through an American Express card.

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 $550 (see rates & fees) and $595 annual fees (see rates & fees), respectively. Access for both primary card holders 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 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. 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 and 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.

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.

Bottom line

Not every terminal at JFK has lounge options for Priority Pass members, but the lounges that members can use are generally good (aside from the KAL Lounge). Although there aren’t any Priority Pass options in Terminal 2, you have access to the Delta Sky Club there if you’re an Amex Platinum cardholder and flying with the airline. Amex Platinum cardholders will also soon get access to a Centurion Lounge, slated to open in 2020.

Further Reading: The 9 Best Priority Pass Lounges in the US

Featured image by 400tmax/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 Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass card, click here.

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