One of the main reasons I applied for the American Express Platinum Canada credit card was due to the large signup bonus, but I quickly realized that the included Priority Pass was a huge perk. I had never been to an airport lounge, and since I was travelling more, I figured it would be handy.

Having airport lounge access is much better than you expect. Most people can handle sitting and waiting to board their planes, but with lounge access, it becomes a totally different experience. As far as I’m concerned, my travels begin as soon as I arrive at the airport and having lounge access just enhances the journey since I start off relaxed. Here’s my Priority Pass review:

What is Priority Pass?  

If you’re unfamiliar with Priority Pass, it’s a network of airport lounges that aren’t associated with major airlines. These lounges are independently operated, but are partnered with many airlines. What makes Priority Pass appealing is the fact that anyone can join. You don’t need to have status with certain airlines, but you do need to be a member to access the lounges. Here’s what your membership gets you access to:

  • 1,000+ lounges
  • 500+ cities
  • New lounges added every month

As you can imagine, every lounge experience is different which makes this Priority Pass review a bit tricky. I’ve personally used Priority Pass lounges in Toronto, Orlando, Miami, and Lisbon. You’ll need to refer to the website to find out what each lounge offers.

Priority Pass benefits

To be perfectly honest, the priority pass benefits and lounges can be hit and miss. Some airports have exceptional lounges while others may not be worth entering (unless you already have a full membership). I think it’s fair to say major airlines with their own independent lounges are better, but as stated, Priority Pass is for those who don’t have access to those nicer lounges.

  • Spacious seating
  • Hot and cold meals
  • Snacks
  • Open bar
  • Free WiFi in most lounges
  • Business center
  • Showers
  • Spa services

I’ve personally used Priority Pass lounges in Toronto, Orlando, Miami, and Lisbon. Lisbon was an exceptional lounge which I didn’t even want to leave while my home airport of Toronto has just an okay lounge. It’s worth downloading the app LoungeBuddy if you’re travelling in an airport with multiple lounges since the app has user reviews.

How much does Priority Pass cost?

Priority Pass offers three memberships levels which is great if you’re on a budget or don’t need unlimited access:

Standard (USD $99) – Members and guests each pay USD $27 per visit

Standard Plus (USD $249) – Members get 10 free visits per year, then USD $27 per visit. Guest pay $27 per person, per visit.

Prestige (USD $399) – Members get unlimited access to any Priority Pass lounge for the entire year. Guest pay $27 per person, per visit.

**Note that if you have a Priority Pass membership as an American Express cardholder, rates are now USD $32 per person, per visit if you don’t have unlimited access.

After finding how much does Priority Pass cost, some people will not be interested. Paying for a membership and then having to pay again to access the lounges is a steep price to pay. However, I still think there’s a lot of value here.

The Standard Plus membership is great if you’re a frequent traveller. Remember, lounge access is meant to make you comfortable before your journey. I have purposely shown up at the airport early just so I can grab a bite to eat and get some work done at the lounge. Sure I may have been able to eat for less in the general waiting area, but I find lounges to be quite relaxing.

Here’s one hack that makes Priority Pass worthwhile. Sign up for a credit card such as the American Express Platinum Canada card (referral link) that gives you the Prestige membership. The reason you want to do this is because the American Express Platinum card includes one free guest per visit with your membership. Even though the card comes with an annual fee of $699 ($499 after the travel credit hack), it’s worth it due to the Priority Pass membership alone.

Final word

Despite the fact that every lounge is different, my Priority Pass review is positive. For some people, the cost may be too much, but I think it’s worth it due to the overall experience. Your journey starts as soon as you arrive at the airport, you should make the best out of every minute which is why lounge access is great.