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Choose this, not that: EWR Priority Pass lounge edition

Sept. 30, 2019
7 min read
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A Priority Pass membership can help make your preflight experience a whole lot more enjoyable. For those not familiar, 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 from which cards offer complimentary Priority Pass membership to lounge guesting policies and more.

Although there's definitely room for growth, most major airports in the US and around the world now have multiple lounges accessible through Priority Pass, so you’ll often be faced with the question of which lounge to use. Since the program doesn’t actually own or operate any of the lounges themselves, the quality can vary massively. While some lounges are little more than a small room with bottled water and pretzels, some are as good, if not better, than access you’d get if you were flying in a premium cabin.

Newark Airport (EWR) is home to just two Priority Pass lounges and no non-lounge experiences such as restaurants. Both lounges are in Terminal B so you'll need to take the AirTrain or shuttle if you want to visit them and are flying out of a different terminal, but as you're going to see, they might not be worth the hassle.

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

(Note that the hours listed for the lounges are the hours 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. Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

Virgin Atlantic's lounges are some of the snazziest around. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Location: Airside in Terminal B, near Gates B51 – B57 on the ‘Airline Lounges’ floor.

Hours: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Food and Beverage: Free food and drinks from an a la carte menu, albeit with more limited options than what is usually offered to premium passengers. Menu includes options like pasta, soup, salad, beer and wine.

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Amenities: This lounge offers luggage storage, a plethora of power outlets and USB pf

Unfortunately Priority Pass members don't get access to the full bar. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

2. Art & Lounge

Location: Landside (before security) in Terminal B, between B2 and B3 or Gates 50 and 60, next to the Duty Free. We recommend giving yourself at least 30 minutes to get through security after leaving the lounge.

Hours: 7 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Access may be restricted due to space constraints, particularly between 3:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.

Food and Beverage: Although not made-to-order, this lounge offers more food and drink options than the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. There are hot and cold snacks like sandwiches, pastas, soups and salads and a staffed bar with complimentary alcoholic drinks. There's also a selection of Kosher food around El Al flight times.

Amenities: The lounge itself feels rather small and cramped and has no windows to let in natural light. There's a conference room and business desk available for use, though electrical outlets are hit and miss and the Wi-Fi is very slow. Check out TPG’s full review of the lounge.

There's plenty of art on the walls of the Art & Lounge. (Photo by Brian Kelly/The Points Guy)

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 $550 annually, plus $75 for an authorized user.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Business Platinum Card® from American Express $695 (see rates & fees) and $595 ($695 if application is received on or after 1/13/2022) 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 up to 3 Additional Cards, for the personal card (see rates & fees) and $300 for the business version (see rates & fees). Enrollment required for select benefits.
  • 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. Enrollment required for select benefits.
  • 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). Enrollment required for select benefits.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: This card includes a Priority Pass membership; however it offers only 10 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 & fees).
  • 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 Hilton Aspire Amex card and 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.

Bottom line

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is superior to the Art & Lounge, though the hours and food options are somewhat limited in comparison. Depending how much time you have, it could make sense to visit both lounges since they're in the same terminal. Just be sure to give yourself enough time to get through the screening process since the Art and Lounge is located landside. Hopefully Priority Pass adds some more lounges or restaurants at EWR soon.

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

For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Surpass, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, please click here.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees