Enjoying Airports with Priority Pass

For various reasons, people tend to dread the airport without a spare thought for enjoying the moments prior to boarding. Unfortunately, then, many have probably not even heard of a lounge, much less about Priority Pass. In this post we cover how even travelers without airline status can take advantage of specific lounges at airports.

We travelers plan, book and pay for tickets and board the airplane to a destination; end of story. Most, however, end up largely discounting one unavoidable experience: the airport. In many major city gateways, the big airports would usually have a few lounges, at least one of which run by the country’s flag carrier. And then there are separate lounges unaffiliated with any airline but are contracted by the airport or run by entirely independent entities.

The more loyal airline flyer would usually have elite status which entitles them access to a lounge. But here we try to explain how Priority Pass unlocks entry to these private lounges for even the casual or airline-agnostic traveler.


The Priority Pass Program

Priority Pass is a membership program with a vast network of different airport lounges. With a few exceptions, this program provides members convenient entry or consumable credit into the affiliated establishments in airports across the globe.

One surprising quirk about Priority Pass is that it doesn’t only feature lounges; it also has a list of restaurants in airports around the world you can get food credit to spend at. At airports with little space or no lounges to speak of, this provides members with more convenient choices to relax.


Network of Establishments

Over the years, Priority Pass has expanded to over 1000 locations all over the world.

Their more notable airport locations in Asia include Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo-Narita, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing-Capital, Seoul-Incheon, Manila, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, among many others.

Of course there are also partner establishments in popular terminals elsewhere in the world. These cover London Heathrow and London-Gatwick, Paris-Charles design Gaulle, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, all New York airports, and many more.


Complementary Memberships

Priority Pass also has partnerships with specific Asian financial institutions, where some credit card programs offer complementary annual membership.

In Singapore, some cards issued by DBS, Citibank, Standard Chartered and HSBC offer complementary membership every year. Meanwhile, American Express, Citibank and Standard Chartered offer similar terms in Hong Kong.

You should check with your local and regional banks if they have similar offers with their credit card products.


Membership Packages

If a Priority Pass partnership is not available with any bank in your country, there’s still the option of subscribing separately.

Under the program there are three membership types:

  • Standard
    • Each member and individual guest entry will cost a fee
  • Standard Plus
    • Member gets 10 free entries annually
    • A fee is imposed on each guest per visit
  • Prestige
    • Member gets unlimited free entries annually
    • A fee is imposed on each guest per visit

Membership Plans

The pricing may vary per country. In this example, if a visit costs US$27 then you begin to get more than your money’s worth in one year on your sixth lounge or establishment access under Standard Plus, or from your 12th visit with Prestige.


Points to Note

Of course whether a visit to a specific lounge is worth US$27 is entirely subjective. Some airline or contract lounges are arguably more valuable than others, and this will mostly depend on your travel patterns and home airport. (You get access to Oman Air First & Business Class Lounge at Bangkok International Airport, for example.)

At various airport lounges, too, member access may be restricted by airline management at specific hours of the day. This may more likely be due to space constraints and crowding, to give priority to their own loyal members. So be sure to check individual lounge visit conditions.


Final Word

With thousands of establishments under its network, Priority Pass is an attractive alternative lounge membership program. Whether you’re an alliance agnostic or mainly travel on budget carriers but still want to make the most out of departures and transits at the airport, the program certainly has its own good value proposition.

Are you already enjoying the benefits of this program? Or have you not heard of it before but curious to try it out? Tell us your story down in the comments.