Don’t Be Fooled! Buying a Discount Priority Pass Membership Makes No Sense When You Can Get It for Free

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Jasmin:   My mother was just visiting from Canada and told me about seeing discounted Priority Pass airport lounge memberships on WagJag, a Canadian discount site similar to Groupon.

Isn’t $69 for a year of lounge membership a good deal?” she asked.  It does sound pretty reasonable on the surface.  And while she’s already got her own Priority Pass membership through being an authorized user on my Citi Prestige® Card, she was thinking more as a gift for traveling friends.

We had a look at the fine print.  Turns out, the $69 membership was hardly worth it at all because of limited access (each visit for the member or a guest cost an additional $27!).  Plus, why buy a membership when you can access 1,200+ airport lounges for free just by having the right credit card?

My Daughter, Mother, and I Enjoyed Complimentary Food and Drinks in the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Paris Before Our Flight, Thanks to a  Free Priority Pass Membership

I’ll show you why, even with a discount, it rarely makes sense to purchase a Priority Pass membership.  And how you can get access to airport lounges for free!

Don’t Pay for a Priority Pass Membership (Pretty Please!)

Priority Pass is a membership which includes access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide.  You don’t have to be an elite traveler or frequent flyer to enjoy free food, alcohol, Wi-Fi, and a comfortable private seating away from the bustle of the busy terminal.  But if you want to buy a membership, it’ll cost you!

Non-discounted Priority Pass includes 3 levels of membership and prices per year:

  • Standard – $99:   Includes membership, but each visit costs $27 for the member and $27 for guests
  • Standard Plus – $249:   Includes membership, 10 free member visits ($27 per visit thereafter), $27 for guests
  • Prestige – $399:   Includes membership, unlimited member visits, $27 for guests

If you do a quick Google search, you can often find discounts or promotion codes that bring the price down substantially.  But that still doesn’t make it a good deal for most.

Still Not a Good Deal, Especially Knowing You Can Get a Better Membership for Free

What many folks outside of our hobby don’t know is that you can get an even better Priority Pass Select membership (which includes free guest privileges) just by having certain credit cards.  There’s NO paid Priority Pass membership which includes free guests.

And often, the net cost of having the credit card (especially when you include other perks and money-saving benefits) is far less than what you’d pay for a standalone Priority Pass membership.

A bit of digging reveals Groupon had an “up to 89% off” sale on Priority Pass memberships earlier this year.  And thousands of people got in on it!  If they only knew …

It’s Still a Better Deal to Get Your Priority Pass Membership Through a Credit Card, Because in Most Cases You’ll Get a Certain Number of Guests for Free

So before you pull the trigger on a paid membership for yourself or a friend, check out the cards that get you complimentary Priority Pass membership!

These Cards Get You Into Airport Lounges – for FREE

Link:   What to Know to Be Sure You Get Into Priority Pass Lounges

Certain cards include a Priority Pass membership which gives cardholders unlimited access to airport lounges worldwide.  And in many cases, you’re allowed 2 free guests or immediate family as well!

Priority Pass Select membership comes with these cards:

The Citi Prestige Includes a Priority Pass Select Membership With Guest Privileges for Your Immediate Family (Spouse / Domestic Partner and Children Under 18) – This Is the Chinook Lounge at Calgary International Airport, Canada

Some of these cards come with substantial ($450+ per year) annual fees, but the card’s other perks in addition to lounge access make it well worthwhile for frequent travelers.

For example, The Platinum Card from American Express or The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN) also come with Centurion Lounge privileges, plus airline incidental free credits, Global Entry / TSA PreCheck credits, and complimentary elite status at certain hotel and car rental chains.

But if you won’t use lounge access more than a few times a year, consider cards like the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express or The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, which both get you 10 free Priority Pass lounge entries a year.  And the annual fee on either card is only $95, plus you’ll get complimentary Hilton Gold status (free breakfast at most Hilton hotels, upgrades when available, bonus points, and more).

Either way – getting a complimentary Priority Pass membership with a credit card is a far better deal than paying for one – even with a Groupon discount or promotion code!

Bottom Line

If you’re not into top travel credit cards or miles and points, you might think finding a discounted Groupon or promotion online for Priority Pass airport lounge access is a great deal!

Paying less is better than full price, but these paid memberships (except the top tier $399 one) don’t include unlimited member visits.  And guests are always $27 each.

But with the right credit card, you can get a Priority Pass Select membership for free, often with a certain number of guests included:

Airport lounges make air travel much more civilized with free food, drinks, Wi-Fi, and a comfy place to hang out before your flight.  So why pay for access when you can get it for free?