Awesome: Priority Pass Expands Beyond Airport Lounges

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For those of you not familiar, Priority Pass is the world’s largest independent network of airport lounges. Priority Pass doesn’t operate any lounges themselves, but rather gives you easy access to 900+ airline lounges around the world.

While you can buy a membership to Priority Pass directly, the much better way to get Priority Pass lounge access is through one of the credit cards that offers it. For example, the following cards offer a Priority Pass membership, and represent a better deal than buying a membership outright, in my opinion:

The quality of Priority Pass lounges certainly varies greatly, though in general I’d say they’re among the less nice lounges out there. After all, if they’ll let in anyone with a card for some small amount per visit, chances are it’s not one of the world’s best lounges.

Nonetheless there are some nice ones and also some not so nice ones.

The Almost@Home Lounge Helsinki Airport is an example of an actually nice Priority Pass lounge…

Helsinki-Airport-Lounge - 22

The Changsha Airport VIP Lounge, on the other hand, not so much…

Changsha-Airport-Lounge - 18

Anyway, Priority Pass has recently added a unique lounge to the mix, one that isn’t (technically) an airport lounge at all.

Priority Pass members can now use the Club Millesime at the Sofitel Hotel London Heathrow Terminal 5. This is the hotel’s club lounge, typically available to hotel guests who pay extra for access.

The Sofitel is generally regarded as the best hotel at Heathrow Airport, so this allows you to use the lounge without staying at the hotel.

Priority-Pass-Sofitel

Priority Pass members can use the lounge between the hours of 7AM and 9:30PM, and are limited to a stay of five hours. Priority Pass members can also use the shower facilities and spa. To gain access, you’ll have to go to the guest relations desk in the main reception area of the hotel.

What I’m not sure of is if you can use the lounge even without a same day arriving or departing boarding pass. If you don’t need one, then in theory you could use the lounge even if staying at the hotel, or just if you lived in the area (I can’t imagine it’s worth the effort, but just saying…).

I can potentially see value in using this lounge in conjunction with a flight. A few months back I was waiting for someone at Heathrow who was landing after me, so I sat in the arrivals area connected to wifi and working. It would have been so much nicer to work from a hotel club lounge.

As you’d expect, you’d get full access to their breakfast and evening buffet.

SOFITEL London Heathrow - 9989

Bottom line

This is the first time I’ve seen a hotel lounge be included as a Priority Pass lounge. Long term it would be really cool if some more hotel lounges were included with Priority Pass, even if it’s not the core benefit of an airport lounge membership. Sofitel Heathrow lounge access could prove very useful if you want a shower before heading into the city (and don’t have access to an arrivals lounge), or if you’re waiting for someone else to land.

Could you see yourself using the Sofitel Heathrow Airport Lounge through your Priority Pass membership?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

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Comments

  1. A little misleading. The lounge is on airport grounds and stays are limited to 5 hours. While it may not technically *be* an airport lounge, it’s clearly intended to function as such under the terms of this arrangement. So an equally accurate, though much less positive, headline would be “Priority Pass wants you to walk much farther to access their lounges.”

  2. For your pending trip to Peru, please stop by the Priority Pass lounge in Lima airport on the domestic side. My vote for worst ever; makes your Changsa pic look glamorous!

  3. The Sofitel lounge at LGW was (is?) a PP lounge as well – I used it on a long layover in 2012 when connecting from Belfast to Amman on EasyJet (don’t judge!)

  4. The Escape Lounge at MSP is a fantastic Priority Pass lounge. I never went back to the Delta Sky Club after visiting the Escape.

  5. While the point of going to the Galapagos is not to visit the lounges, the GPS Priority Pass lounge definitely ranks among the worst. They have free chips, juice, and a couch, nothing else (on the plus side, they do give you the WiFi password for the entire airport, which is nice to give to friends without lounge access).

    I love the Airport Wellness Oasis lounge at SIN, mostly for the free fish spa 🙂

  6. Wow, so one reason they’re not as good is that they’ll let just anyone in for a price? What’s the oh-so-special air like up on that high horse? So sorry you may have to be in the same space as the general riff-raff like the rest of us.

  7. For Canadians, BMO World Elite MC also includes a Priority Pass membership. I haven’t had the privilege of visiting a lot of lounges but the Zurich one was fantastic and even allowed you outside access to take in some fresh air.

  8. Priority Pass Select memberships(from financial institutions ) does not give access to all lounges. United lounges for example are excluded.

  9. The added lounge crowding from Priority Pass memebers probably isn’t so “awesome” for paying hotel guests.

  10. I guess this is a good alternative to the Plaza Premium Arrivals lounge in T2, especially for people arriving/departing T5.

    @Dan, UA lounges were removed from the Priority Pass network a few years ago. So now, I don’t think there’s any difference between a regular membership and a Select membership.

  11. Does both the AmEx Priority Pass and Citi Priority Pass work? I know that Citi has a better Priority Pass membership than the AmEx one.

  12. Also – can I get from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3 at 5am on a Sunday morning? I know the Heathrow Express connects 5 and 3, but it starts at 6:30am from Paddington.

    What would be other options to catch a 7:30am AA flight out of LHR if staying at the Sofitel.

  13. Indeed, Rick is correct – the Priority Pass Lima Domestic side lounge is a sight to see, but the domestic terminal is far worse. I had a layover there from 3 to 6 am when most people were sleeping in chairs, a tiny bar was open, the joint had to be 87 degrees and a tiny oscillating fan not even Target would sell was droning. I had my 12 year old nephew with me and he sat in a chair and I sat on the floor in front of him because I truly was uneasy about his safety. And the joint stank.

    If you are going as far south as Lake Titicaca, the Priority Pass lounge in Juliaca is quite modest, but it is clean, has chips, sodas and beers, and it keeps you from the intimidating crowd that can assemble at a gate.

  14. Can anyone who has been to both compare this to the BA arrivals lounge at T5? Breakfast and a shower are the most important to me. And to those standing down wind.

  15. I had a flight on 23 july from LHR and I arrived 3 hours before the flight which was in terminal 4 then I decided to visit the club because I thought it would be awesome, I had a plan of visiting plaza lounge,and sky team lounge too. but i wasted alot of time travelling to terminal 5 to check out the lounge but at the end the breakfast was ok and the lounge was small a bit after finishing eating I ran to terminal 4 to check out skyteam lounge which was amazing as much as it was in pictures spent about an hour and ate a little then went to check out my departure gate and it was delayed a bit then I ran to plaza premium lounge and it was really great and it seems it has better food than skyteam and club milsime but didnt have the chance to try it.

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