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“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week by TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Ethan Steinberg.

The Priority Pass Select membership that’s become a common benefit of premium credit cards makes airport lounges accessible to even the most infrequent travelers who never earn airline elite status. As Priority Pass expands its global footprint, it’s not uncommon to see multiple lounge or restaurant options at a single airport. TPG reader Mika wants to know how many he’s allowed to visit …

I just got a Priority Pass membership. Can I visit all the Priority Pass lounges in the airport or just the one in the terminal I’m flying from?

TPG READER MIKA

There are two separate parts to this question: whether the airport will let Mika visit lounges in different terminals and whether Priority Pass will let him.

The first part is highly variable, and generally depends on if the terminals at your airport are connected airside (i.e., after security). The four terminals at Chicago O’Hare (ORD) are not all connected airside, so passengers with domestic departures on United (Terminal 1) or American Airlines (Terminal 3) will not be able to access the Priority Pass lounge in the international Terminal 5. Some airports will let you past security even if you’re departing from a different terminal, but O’Hare isn’t one of them. Other airports like Houston (IAH) are connected airside, but you’ll need to check your specific airport before traveling.

The other half of this question has to do with Priority Pass itself. Some cards, like the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card offer a fixed number of lounge visits a year. Obviously, hopping from one lounge to another will use up your passes faster, but if you have an unlimited membership (like most premium credit cards do) this doesn’t matter. Priority Pass will happily admit Mika to any of its lounges no matter which terminal he’s flying out of, provided he shows a valid boarding pass.

Make sure to scope out the best lounge offering at your airport, and don’t forget Priority Pass’ ever-growing restaurant partnership — another reason to consider terminal-hopping. Priority Pass has partnered with restaurants at airports in the US and around the world to offer members a fixed value of food or drink. While you won’t necessarily get more “value” by visiting two lounges instead of one, you can easily get twice as much food by visiting two restaurants. In the international terminal alone, Sydney (SYD) has four different Priority Pass restaurants. Members can receive up to $36 AUD ($26 USD) at each of these restaurants, so by moving around you can end up with $100 of free food and drink before your flight without even leaving the terminal.

Bottom Line

Mika’s primary concern is going to be making sure that the airport he’s traveling from is either connected airside, or will allow him clear security at a terminal other than the one he’s flying out of. As long as this is the case, he’s free to enjoy as many Priority Pass lounges and restaurants as he can squeeze into his layover.

Thanks for the question, Mika, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

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