Comparing Credit Card Priority Pass Benefits

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Nowadays there are several premium cards that get you access to Priority Pass lounges. I remember going back a few years, the only card I had that would get me Priority Pass access was The Platinum Card® from American Express. Nowadays I have so many Priority Pass cards in my wallet that I forget which is which (and that can be a problem sometimes).

Plaza-Premium-Lounge-London-Heathrow - 14
Plaza Premium Lounge London Heathrow, a member of Priority Pass

Anyway, for those of you not familiar with Priority Pass, it’s the world’s largest independent network of airport lounges, with over 1,000 lounges around the world. Even though I often have lounge access through my elite status or through the type of ticket I’m booking, I still use Priority Pass lounges all the time:

  • Sometimes I’m flying an independent airline in economy, where I wouldn’t otherwise get lounge access (for example, Priority Pass gets me access to Alaska Airlines Board Rooms)
  • Sometimes I like to visit more than one lounge at an airport, so I can see what offerings are available (for example, in London I thought the Plaza Premium Lounge was nicer than the Air India Lounge I otherwise had access to)

Air-Canada-Lounge-LAX - 13
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Los Angeles, a member of Priority Pass

For everything you need to know about Priority Pass benefits, see my previous post.

Anyway, given that several popular cards offer Priority Pass memberships nowadays, I figured it would make sense to do a side-by-side comparison of the benefits offered by each card. In this post I’m only covering the popular cards that offer Priority Pass memberships with free access.

I’m adding in how many guests you’re allowed to take with you (“0” means only the person with the card gets access), whether authorized users on the card get lounge access, and how much it costs to add authorized users.

Here’s the chart:

Card# Of Guests Who Get Free AccessAuthorized User AccessCost To Add Authorized User
The Platinum Card® from American Express2Yes$175 For Up To 3 People, $175 For Each Additional Person Beyond That
The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN2Yes$300 Per Person
Citi Prestige® Card2 Guests Or Immediate Family MembersYes$50 Per Person
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit CardUnlimited GuestsYes$0
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ CardUnlimited GuestsYes$75 Per Person

What should the takeaway be?

  • Chase cards are the best in terms of offering unlimited guests to Priority Pass lounges
  • The most compelling card for Priority Pass access is the Ritz-Carlton Card, since you can add authorized users for free, and they get a Priority Pass membership with the same guesting privileges
  • After Chase, Citi has the next best benefit, as they allow two guests and adding an authorized user costs a reasonable $50

SATS-Premier-Lounge-Singapore-Airport - 5
SATS Premier Lounge Singapore, a member of Priority Pass

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Comments

  1. Any idea why the Chase PP membership does not allow you to have a digital card? I use my Citi Prestige PP digital card all the time and that is very helpful to not need to carry another piece of plastic on my wallet.

  2. Amex only offering primary cardholder access shows how badly they’ve let slip their once-dominant position in the premium card market. I suspect lounge access is one of.the most often-used perks. Plat cards used to be in my wallet whenever I travelled. No longer. Prestige now occupies that space since I’m well over 5/24.

  3. @Zen: Agree regarding their PP offer when compared to other premium cards but Amex Platinum offering Delta lounge access is a fantastic benefit (if you fly Delta obviously). I live on a Delta hub and usually Delta lounges at least in the US are usually better than PP lounges.

  4. Hey Lucky – would be good to add two other dimensions

    (1) Compare which cards allow using a virtual card in the mobile app. For example, Chase Sapphire Reserve does not.
    (2) Compare which cards allow you to reclaim lounge access in the event that you lose your card or in the weeks prior to receiving it. For example, Chase allows you to call and reclaim up to two visits

    Also – if you have any connections at Chase Cards would be good to provide the feedback that this is a much needed feature by the frequent traveler.

  5. I just wanted to mention, with the citi prestige card, if someone wants to add a third user, the charge is only $33 , and they also receive a priority pass membership.

  6. That’s interesting. It’s maybe the only benefit that’s actually better in the UK, Priority Pass comes with a free +1 🙂

  7. The guest comparison is quite useful to see and something I was doing in my head already.

    Have to disagree with earlier poster that Sky Club is a fantastic benefit. It USED to be. Club is fine, although LAX and most ATL clubs are slammed. But what was premium about Platinum was the complimentary guest privilege; losing that really hurt, I’ve not used the club since that changed. Fly American now in large part because of the Citi Elite MC Admirals Club membership. Would have dropped Plat this year except that they upped the redemption rates to mostly match my Cap One Spark card, which makes Amex at least relevant for domestic travel redemptions.

  8. Ted & Chris – got some life other than stalking the blog for fix? useless comments like these should not pass moderation, total waste of my time reading them.

  9. I have the Citi Prestige and Chase Sapphire Reserve but will likely cancel the Citi Prestige this summer since I fly frequently on AA and use their lounges. I noticed the expiration on my Priority Pass memberships are for a few years out so will those PP memberships still be good (get me in) if I cancel the respective credit card that gave me access? Thanks.

  10. Amex Plat in the UK not only comes with a free +1 for PP (as Alex says) but you can also add a supplementary Plat cardholder for free (any additional cards cost £170, whatever the colour).

    There’s no airline credit though.

  11. I’m confused by Ritz Carlton listing unlimited guest. That’s not true, correct, only that you can get unlimited auth users therefore each can have PP. different than Sapphire Reserve, correct?

  12. Great info, Ben. I appreciate it. Can you kindly update the P.P. grid for length of PP membership? I realized that my PP membership from my Citi Prestige gives me a 3 yr membership duration. What is the membership duration for the Reserve & Amex Bus. Platinum?

  13. Got the Priority Pass Select with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card and here is my recent experience:

    – KAL Lounge LAX: Denied access stating PPS card is allowed entry up to 8:00 PM! Arrived at the airport slightly past 8:00 PM because our flight was at 12:30 AM. Ended going to the Star Alliance lounge with my boarding pass and enjoyed tremendously.
    – ICN: Granted access to both KAL and Asiana Lounges and both were horrible, food and atmosphere-wise.
    – PEK: Air China Business Class Lounge & BGS Premier Lounge were both inedible horrible food, over-crowded condition and no access to bathroom!!! Denied access to First Class section at the BGS Premier Lounge even though I doubt if it was going to be any different than the others.

  14. Hi Ben,

    Can you please list out how long the PP Membership is good for. I have the Citi Prestige, and the PP from the Prestige gives me 3 yrs. How long are the PP Memberships for the Reserve and Amex Business Platinum? Thanks

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