This post was updated with new information.
Priority Pass membership lets travelers access over 1,400 lounges in over 600 cities across 148 countries.
Usually, you can access Priority Pass lounges by handing your boarding pass and Priority Pass card to a staff member at the lounge entrance. However, now you can pay a small fee ahead of time to book and effectively reserve space in select Priority Pass lounges.
Lounges are often crowded, especially within the U.S., so it’s not uncommon to arrive at a Priority Pass lounge entrance and wait in line or join a virtual queue to gain entry. Some lounges only accept Priority Pass customers during select hours. Some completely stop accepting Priority Pass customers when their lounge is busy. So, booking a Priority Pass lounge visit to guarantee access may seem well worth the fee.
The ability to pay to reserve space in some Priority Pass lounges isn’t new. In 2019, select Priority Pass lounges in the United Kingdom began letting travelers pay 5 British pounds (about $6) per person to reserve space in the lounge. And you can still pay 6 British pounds (about $8) per person to reserve space at the following No1 Lounges in the United Kingdom that participate in Priority Pass:
- Birmingham Airport (BHX): No1 Lounge Birmingham Airport
- London Gatwick Airport (LGW): No1 Lounge Gatwick South, Club Aspire Gatwick South, My Lounge Gatwick South and No1 Lounge Gatwick North
- Heathrow Airport (LHR): No1 Lounge Heathrow Terminal 3, Club Aspire Heathrow Terminal 3 and Club Aspire Heathrow Terminal 5
You can also pay a higher reservation fee of 15 British pounds (about $19) per person for Clubrooms at Birmingham Airport and Clubrooms at Gatwick North. But, this higher reservation fee may cover the additional upgrade fee required of all Priority Pass customers who want to visit these premium lounges.
It’s also possible to guarantee a longer stay or extra amenities when booking a visit to select No1 Lounges in the U.K.
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But No1 Lounges in the U.K. aren’t the only Priority Pass lounges that accept paid reservations. You can also book select lounges in the continental U.S., Puerto Rico, Mexico and Brazil through Priority Pass Prebook.
Currently, options in the continental U.S. include Miami International Airport’s (MIA) Turkish Airlines Lounge in Concourse H and Turkish Airlines Lounge in Concourse E, and the Escape Lounge in Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR). (The cost to reserve for each location is $7 per person.)
You may also be able to book other Priority Pass lounge locations. Check the Priority Pass website or app and look for a “pre-book” button on the lounge’s landing page to determine whether you can book your next lounge visit.
The terms and pricing will differ across the lounges you can book. Many require you to book at least 24 hours in advance, and some only guarantee access if you arrive within 30 minutes of the time you booked.
The standard Priority Pass entry requirements and policies also still apply. So if the lounge typically only allows Priority Pass members to enter up to three hours before their flight, you shouldn’t expect to enter more than three hours before your flight’s scheduled departure unless you paid for extra time while making a reservation.
You’ll still need to present a valid boarding pass and Priority Pass card at the lounge desk. The lounge will run your Priority Pass card as usual in addition to the reservation fee you paid ahead of time.
Although you can purchase Priority Pass memberships, many credit cards offer Priority Pass airport lounge access as a perk. The following cards are among my favorites for Priority Pass lounge access since they offer unlimited Priority Pass lounge access for the primary cardholder with at least two complimentary guests per visit:
Also, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card offer 10 complimentary visits per Priority Pass membership year. If you only plan to visit a few Priority Pass lounges each year, one of these lower-annual-fee cards might be a better option.
I have mixed feelings about some Priority Pass lounges taking paid reservations. On the one hand, the ability to book gives you a way to guarantee access if you’re willing to pay a modest per-person fee. However, it will become even harder to access lounges that allow booking without paying for a reservation.
Whether you like or dislike the ability to book, know this is an option for some Priority Pass lounges. I doubt I’ll pay to book Priority Pass lounges unless it’s a special trip where I’m traveling with a friend or family member who I want to ensure gets to experience a specific lounge.