World Record? 35 People Enter Airport Lounge on One Sapphire Reserve Priority Pass

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Over the summer I wrote about someone bringing 19 people in an airport lounge using a Priority Pass Select card.

An individual lounge may cut you off based on capacity, but if it’s not full the lounge is getting paid for each and every guest. Many are happy to have you, your family, your friends, the people you met along the way..

Reader Udo Gehrke shares this story in the comments about bringing a group of 35 people into a lounge using the Priority Pass Select card. I wonder if that’s some sort of world record. He reports,

[W]e were a group of ~35 people on a wedding trip flying [Bujumbura, Burundi to Kigali, Rwanda to Dar Es Salaam to Saadani National Park in Tanzania] and had to wait around 6 hours in Kigali (nice airport by the way).

We all went in on a single chase [Sapphire Reserve Priority Pass] subscription. The lounge wasn’t that full but we did fill a around half of it. Lounge is great also, good food etc.

So yeah, there you go, 35 people haha

In the Kigali airport you have access to the Pearl Lounge which is open 24 hours daily and actually has a ‘smart casual’ dress code.

    Credit: Priority Pass

    Credit: Priority Pass

And if the lounge was still only half full that even seems reasonable. Besides it’s hard to begrudge anyone spending 6 hours in the Kigali airport use of a lounge that they have access to!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Though I do believe in maximizing for efficiency and dollar its these kind of limit testing endeavors that lead to benefits and perks being taken away. It also shows very little regard to fellow travelers.

  2. AND…..THIS is what will ruin it for everyone…This is almost as bad as “calling the airline”

  3. Priority Pass has to reimburse that lounge for every one of those people going in. You can bet they will cite examples like this when they’re in meetings trying to figure out how to cut costs.

  4. @DaninMCI, yep! @Gary, let’s keep an eye on this and let us know how many days it takes to kill this golden goose. I know the club gets paid for each and every guest, but somewhere in the chain of command, I guarantee there is a person who will put a stop to it.

  5. I wonder if people are already or soon will be abusing this perk by charging total strangers a small upfront fee to make some money.

  6. I’d have to whole-heartedly disagree with this statement: “Lounge is great also, good food etc.”

    I was in that Pearl Lounge two weeks ago. Depending on your view, this could be good or bad, but they don’t enforce “smart casual” dress code, or at least that phrase is really up to your interpretation. I was in my gorilla trekking outdoors clothes and hiking boots (they were clean but I didn’t feel like I was dressed “smart casual.”) The sitting area is just very plain – not much privacy and no designated ares for those who might want to work, read, sleep, etc. The lounge shower was not clean. When I was there, the AC did not work, or if it was on, it was very weak – so everyone was fanning themselves. Also, I think going to airport lounges to find great food is a pretty ridiculous concept anyway, but most of the offered foods were heavy, carb-oriented hot food types (pasta, samosas, curry, some other fried pastries, fried chicken, sandwiches, etc). What I liked was their unlimited supply of Fanta Citrus. That was pretty much it.

    I don’t have too many experiences of visiting lounges in africa, but it is certainly not on par with what I’ve seen in the Americas, Asia, ME or Europe or even the ones in Egypt or S. Africa.

    Just saying one shouldn’t go to KGL airport early just to experience this lounge.

    Perhaps this comment, “Kigali (nice airport by the way)” just shows that this Udo Ghekre person has very low standard. I guess you could also arrive at that conclusion just by the fact that s/he brought 35 people into the lounge.

  7. This kind of abuse goes against the spirit of why this generous benefit was created. In a month the rest of us won’t be able to bring in our family of four anymore.

  8. I’ve spent many hours at the Pearl Lounge in Kigali over the years. Anyone who describes it as “great” has to be suffering from severe heatstroke. If someone’s only experience of Africa had been this lounge, I could understand them considering the entire continent to be a sh*thole. The best thing the lounge has going for it is that the rest of the airport is even more horrendously crowded. It sure as hell ain’t the lukewarm bottled water, the stale mini pizzas, the unusably slow wifi or the inoperative airconditioning.

  9. Figures some jerks would try to exploit the benefit which will lead to it being severely curtailed in the future. I’ve been in lounges where people bring a large part in of 10+ people. They took up a whole section of the lounge and there were not any seats left. It happened in Turkey.

  10. Why is it that there are always one or two idiots who abuse a privilege and end up screwing it up for the rest of us? It’s kind of like the guy who books 10 trips on an error fare and then wonder why the airlines don’t honor it.

  11. So, the Kigali lounge in a $hithole country finally got half filled for the first time and everyone is mad about it? 🙂

  12. Please, people…your use of ****hole to describe Rwanda is insensitive, offensive and just plain incorrect. In the current political climate, it’s the wrong word choice to refer to ANY country of color in those terms. For all that country has gone through, it’s offensive. And considering Rwanda is referred to as the Switzerland of Africa, it’s incorrect. Rwanda is amazingly clean, people and motorists follow the rules, the entire country is electrified, life expectancy and access to clean water has improved greatly since the genocide 23 years ago. I’ve been to the Pearl Lounge. It’s not the greatest but I found it a perfectly serviceable lounge and I spent a nice hour or so before heading home.

  13. @Dan, thanks for your comments. Looking forward to visiting in the not too distant future. I’ve heard terrific things about Rwanda.

  14. …and as we all know – Chase has revoked the Unlimited Guest perk, as of August 26 2018. I guess it was only to be expected.

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