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Access Airport Lounges with Priority Pass and Lounge Club

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For many people, spending extensive time at an airport can be miserable. Overcrowded restrooms, overpriced food and seat shortages at gates add to the general stress of flying. Fortunately, there is a more civilized way to spend your layover: in an exclusive oasis of peace and tranquility called the airport lounge.

At the very least, an airport lounge is a quiet place with comfortable seating, clean restrooms, free WiFi, computers, TVs, coffee and snacks. In addition, many lounges offer complimentary hot food, cold beverages and a warm shower. Access to a nice lounge can make that long layover go more quickly and give you a relaxing break between flights.

JFK Priority Lounge
The Priority Pass Lounge at Kennedy Airport

Flying business or first class is one way to get free lounge access. Or earning elite status with a frequent flyer program. But if you’re in coach and don’t have status, but fly often enough to make it worthwhile you can pay for a Priority Pass membership or get Priority Pass or Lounge Club access through one of their airline or credit card partners.

Priority Pass

Priority Pass is the largest airport lounge system in the world that provides access to over 700 lounges. Priority Pass offers three membership plans: Standard, Standard Plus, and Prestige.

Standard Membership makes the most sense for infrequent travelers. There’s a low annual fee and an entry fee every time you visit a lounge.

  • Annual fee: $99
  • Member entry fee: $27
  • Guest entry fee: $27

Standard Plus Membership works well for those who travel more frequently. The annual fee is higher, but the first ten lounge visits are free. There’s a fee for each visit after that.

  • Annual fee: $249
  • Member entry fee: 10 free visits and $27 for each additional visit
  • Guest entry fee: $27

Prestige Membership is designed for people who travel a lot. The annual fee is high, but it comes with free unlimited lounge access.

  • Annual fee: $399
  • Member entry fee: free
  • Guest entry fee: $27
Priority Pass membership fees

In addition to its own subscription plans, Priority Pass has partnerships with a variety of airlines and credit cards.

Lounge Club

Lounge Club is a different program run by the same company as Priority Pass. It only grants lounge access through third-party partners, and doesn’t offer its own membership plans.

The Lounge Club at Gatwick Airport is an oasis of peace and quiet

Lounge Club offers access to only 400 lounges, which is fewer than Priority Pass. Most of those lounges are the same ones used by Priority Pass. Lounge Club plans often include two free visits with a $27 entry fee after that.

Although Lounge Club has fewer locations, being a member often includes one free guest.

Is It Worth Paying for a Membership?

It depends. A $27 entry fee is notably less than the $50 you’d typically spend to get access to an airport lounge without a membership. For the best lounges that offer free food, drinks and showers, $27 is more than reasonable, particularly for long layovers on long-haul flights. Consider how much you would spend on food, drinks and WiFi during a five to eight hour layover. Plus lounges are much more relaxing and civilized than a typical airport terminal.

There are other ways to get in though. Next week we’ll look at what credit cards can help you get your foot in that lounge door with or without Priority Pass.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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