Free Airport Lounges Access: Everything You Should Know

Airport Lounges are great places to wait for your next flight. Airport lounge access gives you a place to relax and complimentary refreshments. Some lounges even come with a private family room with entertainment, a prayer room, a designated smoke room, and a bathroom with well-stacked toiletries.  

Priority Pass gives free access to airport Lounges within its network. You can enjoy all the premium benefits that an airport lounge offers at a very affordable price. A premium credit card can score you a priority pass select membership with no additional cost. 

Airport Lounges

Airport lounges are escape areas from airport chaos to stretch, relax or work. They provide personal space, whether you’re waiting for a flight due to a delay or a layover. Airport Lounges are usually located after the security check-ins and near the terminal for easy access to the gates. 

 Airport Lounges provide several premium amenities to enjoy and feel relaxed. Some of them are comfortable seating, high-speed wi-fi, quick snacks and meals, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Some airport lounges also have a prayer room, smoking room, quiet room, kid’s play area, and showers. The availability of amenities varies based on location, but the premium amenities are free to use with lounge access. 

Airlines, credit card companies, or banks own airport lounges. For example, some airline lounges include Delta Sky Club, Air-France- KLM lounge, Alaska Airlines Lounge, American Airlines Flagship Lounges, Lufthansa, and United Polaris Lounge. Similarly, American Express, Capital One, and Chase have their lounge lineup. 

What is a Priority Pass?

Priority Pass is an independent network of airport lounges that gives you access to over 1,300 lounges worldwide in more than 600 cities and 148 counties. It is a travel companion that gives you access to all the lounges within the priority pass network. 

Priority Pass Cost

Priority Pass is an annual membership program that consists of three membership tiers. Depending on your country of origin and tier selection, the yearly membership starts at $99 and can go up to $469.  

The three membership levels are Priority Pass Standard, Priority Pass Standard Plus, and Priority Pass Prestige. You can select between tiers depending on your travel frequency and benefit requirements. The Standard and Standard plus memberships are for occasional and regular travelers. Frequent flyers can opt for prestige membership. 

The membership tiers determine your airport lounge visit benefits and guest privileges. 

Is Priority Pass Worth It?

The Priority Pass is worth every dollar if you are a frequent traveler and want to enjoy access to the airport lounges. The lounge access allows you a comfortable, relaxing space, complimentary refreshments, showers, spas, and a sleeping area at select lounge locations. These benefits alone can cost much more than the membership fee. 

“Priority Pass is very convenient to have when you are working while traveling. The lounges provide a quiet place to get work done with wifi much faster and more secure than the public airport wifi. I have had plenty of zoom meetings in priority pass lounges, which have gone seamlessly. The perks that come with priority pass lounge access (free food, showers, and drinks) make the membership almost a necessity when you travel frequently.” says travel blogger LaToyia from The Impulse Traveler

The Priority Pass makes it easy to spend time during long layovers. It is more valuable when you’re traveling with a family and kids. Instead of justling through a crowded terminal, you can have a private and peaceful time with the family. The Priority Pass also offers dining, retail, and spa discounts. 

How to Get Free Priority Pass Lounges access?

Getting a complimentary Priority Pass Lounges access is more accessible than before when only elite airline status could get you in. Most premium travel credit cards have a free priority pass membership as a cardholder’s benefit. Once you sign up and get approval for a premium credit card, you can apply for a Priority Pass Select membership. It is a free membership as long as your premium credit card is active and linked to the account.

A handful of credit cards offer complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. Some travel credit cards offering complimentary Priority Pass Select membership are Capital One Venture X, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and American Express Platinum Cards.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express, and Hilton Honor Express Aspire are a few co-branded hotel credit cards with Priority Pass Select membership benefits. 

Similarly, Airline credit cards like Citi/ AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, Delta Skymiles Reserve American Express card, and United Club Infinite Cards also offer free Priority Pass Select membership. 

 These credit cards have an annual fee ranging from $95 to $650. However, the credit card benefit surpasses their yearly fee.  

Are Priority Pass Lounges Usually Crowded?

What was once only accessible to premium ticket holders, airport lounges access is now readily available through credit cards and Priority pass membership. Priority Pass members can enjoy the privilege without purchasing expensive plane tickets. Therefore, Priority Pass lounges can be more crowded than before. 

The number of people at any lounge also depends on travel month, time of the day, and lounge location. During a busy month, more people will be flying, which increases the risk of running into overcrowded airport lounges. The lounges in metro areas get crowded over the smaller cities. Also, they’re more crowded during weekends than weekdays as more people choose to travel during vacations. 

The priority pass membership has a disclaimer that mentions that access to airport lounges is never guaranteed. The entry is on a first-come, first-served basis, and the entrance is subject to space availability.  

Bottom Line

Airport Lounges can be a great place to relax, recharge your energy and rejuvenate for the next flight. Priority Pass can provide access to most airport lounges. Priority Pass membership itself does not cost much, and you may have it as one of your premium credit card member’s complementary benefits. It saves you money on food and drinks and keeps your travels from being stressful.