Priority Pass is a brilliant product, it’s a card that allows you to access lounges across a variety of different airlines and also independent lounges.
Airlines generate incremental revenue for the visit. Many of the lounges either do not offer single visit prices at all, or are selling at a real discount through the Priority Pass program.
There are really three different products, and then a variety of price points.
- Priority Pass — this is the largest full network of lounges offered
- Priority Pass ‘Select’ — this is Priority Pass, but without United Clubs. United and Chase have an exclusive deal, and so Priority Pass came up with a separate product that they could sell to other credit card companies that excludes United’s lounges. That way they can make lounge access a card benefit, doing business with the banks, without running afoul of Chase’s exclusivity.
- Lounge Club – this is a more limited array of lounge options, usually offered through bank products.
American Express began offering Priority Pass Select with its Hilton Surpass product, that one was a basic membership that did not include any free lounge visits but allowed you to use the Priority Club network at a cost of $27 per admittance.
They provided the Priority Pass Select to American Express Platinum cardholders, this comes with unlimited free visits for one person but paid-for guest access.
Chase offered the Lounge Club product to Ink cardholders (that benefit disappears at the end of the month, so Ink cardholders should register now) with two free visits per year, with additional visits charged.
As you can see there aren’t just different products (meaning different or subsets of lounge networks) but also different plans — unlimmited visits (even including guests) down to every visit paid for on a per-use basis.
Now the difference between Priority Pass and Priority Pass Select appears to be disappearing, since United has terminated its participation in Priority Pass.
This was emailed yesterday:
It’s still a great product, and the offerings don’t change at all for anyone who got their Priority Pass from a US-issued credit card as their membership already excluded access to United lounges. But this is disappointing nonetheless.
Priority Pass used to have access to many American and US Airways lounges, as well as the full United suite. And now all of those are gone.
Still, I’ve used my Priority Pass access for Alaska Airlines lounges and for lounges around the world, such as the ability to shower in a domestic lounge on arrival in Sao Paulo. That was worth its weight in Gold (or at least made me happy I had free membership via my American Express Platinum card).