Everyone knows that airline loyalty programs are a game. They’re meant to keep you coming back to the same airline again and again so they can sell you flights at peak times, nickel and dime you for everything from overpriced snacks to checked bags, and make it almost impossible for you to take advantage of all their benefits without forking over serious cash. But not all loyalty programs are created equal. Some are just better than others. One way airlines attempt to entice loyalty is through premium membership programs like Priority Pass, which offers members access to airport lounges around the globe. These aren’t your average airport waiting rooms with uncomfortable chairs, old magazines, and vending machines selling stale chips and soda in plastic bottles. These are posh sanctuaries accessible only by keycard that serve gourmet meals, top-shelf drinks (including free alcohol), private work spaces with fast internet, spa services like massages and manicures—even libraries stocked with books and board games!
Which Airports Have Priority Pass Lounges?
The short answer is all of them! Currently, there are close to 1,000 lounges worldwide, with more being added all the time. And the great news is that Priority Pass members can access them all for free. Note: The number of lounges at each airport may vary, and lounges are available in both domestic and international terminals, depending on the airport.
How Much Does a Priority Pass Membership Cost?
Depending on whether you’re an individual or family member, the cost of a Priority Pass membership will vary. As of this writing, individual members must pay $99 per year ($27 per month), while family memberships are $149 per year ($38 per month). As far as the benefits go, you’ll get unlimited lounge access during the duration of your membership. You’ll also gain access to partner programs like Airline Partners, Hotel Partners, and Resort Partners. You’ll also receive a digital membership card that you can use to enter any lounge worldwide at no cost.
Benefits of a Priority Pass Membership
– Access to over 900 lounges worldwide – Free cancellations on airline tickets booked through the PP website – Free first-class upgrades on select airlines when available – Free unlimited guests on airline tickets – No foreign transaction fees when booking flights – Free companion tickets – Ability to bring two guests with you for free when traveling on business or first class tickets – Complimentary car rental insurance when booking through the PP website – Complimentary lounge access for two when booking a hotel stay through the PP website – Benefits when booking a cruise – Priority Pass Select membership for two guests – Priority Pass Select companion membership for two guests – Elite status with hotels and resorts when booking through the PP website – Elite status with airlines when booking through the PP website – Ability to earn points and redeem rewards when booking through the PP website
How to Get the Most Out of Your PP Membership
The trick to maximizing your PP membership is getting into the lounge before you have to fly. If you have time between connecting flights, you can use it to your advantage. The trick is to know when the cheapest time is to fly, so you can get the best deal possible. Once you know when you have to fly, you can check the lounge availability to see if it will be open. If not, you can check to see what time it opens and then re-book your flight to get there early. This may sound like an excessive amount of work, but it’s actually quite easy. All you need is Google Flights and an hour of your time. Once you’ve determined your flight information, head over to Google Flights and enter your flight information into the “and” tool. This will tell you when you have to fly and when you have to arrive. For example, if you’re flying from New York to San Francisco, you’ll enter “New York to San Francisco” into the “to” field and “New York” into the “from” field. Google Flights will then tell you that the cheapest time to fly is at 6:04 pm, which means you’ll have to arrive at 6:00 pm at the airport. Next, click the “and” button. Google Flights will then show you the cheapest times to fly and the times you have to arrive at the airport. You’ll notice that the cheapest times to fly are between 8:04 pm and 9:04 pm, which means you have plenty of time to check into the lounge.
Tip 1: Travel With a Companion at No Fee
If you’re traveling with a companion, you can bring them along for free! Some airlines charge fees for companion tickets, but PP members are able to travel with friends and family at no extra cost.
Tip 2: Make Use of Free Bypasses When Available
When lounges are busy, they may choose to offer free passes to first-class passengers and PP members. If you’re flying first class, you can try asking if you qualify for a free pass. If you’re a PP member, you can almost always expect to be given access to lounges even if they’re busy.
Tip 3: Always Carry Cash for Food and Drinks
While lounges offer a variety of food and drinks at no cost, they don’t accept credit cards. This is understandable, but it can be a huge hassle if you don’t have cash on you. Always make sure to bring enough cash so you can purchase food and drinks.
Tip 4: Pack Snacks and Light Breakfast Foods
Some lounges offer free breakfast, but if yours doesn’t, you can always bring your own. You’ll have to leave your food behind at security checkpoints, but once you’re through, you can enjoy a not-so-ordinary breakfast in the lounge.
Tip 5: Take Advantage of Shower Facilities
While some lounges offer dry cleaning services, many others offer shower facilities. If your flight is delayed, you can use the restroom facilities and then take a quick shower to feel refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Tip 6: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for What You Want During Check-in and Security Screening Times
If you’re flying internationally, you’ll be required to go through security screening before entering the lounge. If you have a long layover, you’ll want to take advantage of as much lounge time as possible. It can be difficult to make the most of your lounge time if you’re stuck in security for an extended period of time, so be sure to ask the lounge attendants if there’s anything you can do to reduce the amount of time you spend there. If you have a lengthy layover, you may want to skip the lounge altogether and head straight to the departure gate. Some lounges have long lines, so you might be better off heading straight to your gate so you can get situated before your flight.
Tip 7: Don’t Be Shy About Asking for Extra Services
If you find yourself at a busy lounge with long lines, feel free to ask the attendants if there’s anything they can do to make your time there more enjoyable. You can request extra pillows, blankets, extra food and drink, or even a massage. If you feel uncomfortable doing this, bring along a few bucks to tip the attendants so they know you appreciate their extra effort.
Tip 8: Use the Lounge as a Place to Work
Lounges are designed to be comfortable spaces where you can relax and unwind, but many also have work areas where you can get some work done. If you need to get some work done during your trip, you can use the lounge as a place to work. Lounges often have fast internet and comfortable work areas where you can focus without the noise and distractions of a busy terminal.