Are you interested in Priority Pass membership?
Want to know more about the features and to see if it is right for you?
Read on to learn more about this great scheme that enables you to upgrade your airport experience, and enjoy some well-deserved luxury before your flight.
1. What is Priority Pass Membership?
What Is Priority Pass Membership?
Priority Pass is an airport lounge membership scheme. Members pay one of 3 membership fees, depending on how often they plan to use airport lounges. Their membership fee gives lower-cost entry into airport lounges.
Priority Pass in an airport lounge membership program. It’s one of the biggest and has been going on for 30 years.
In terms of lounge choice and locations it probably has one of the best range of options available including;
- 370 lounges in Europe
- 440 lounges in the Asia Pacific region
- 70 lounges in the Middle East
- 150 lounges in Latin America
- 150 lounges in North America and Canada
There is a choice of lounges available at airports with Priority Pass. In London Gatwick for example there are 4 lounge choices available to Priority Pass members in the South Terminal.
2. How Does Priority Pass Membership Work?
Priority Pass is a membership scheme.
You choose a membership level that best suits your travel needs and then pay a membership fee. This gives you access to the lounges at a discounted rate as Priority Pass member.
3. Do You Need to Book a Lounge with Priority Pass Membership?
With Priority Pass membership you don’t book a lounge in advance – you just turn up at the lounge and show your Priority Pass membership card, or the app, plus your flight boarding card.
Not booking a lounge is great because it gives you the flexibility to decide if you want to use a lounge when you get to the airport. Sometimes you may arrive later than planned, or security might take longer than expected which reduces the amount of time in the airport. This might mean you decide not to use a lounge after all and if so, with Priority Pass, it hasn’t cost you anything, whereas if you had booked a lounge it would have done.
The disadvantage of not booking a lounge means that very occasionally you might not get access to a lounge because they are full. If this is the case they give priority to those that have booked in advance. This can sometimes happen at peak times or if there have been a number of flight delays and passengers are still in the lounge after the normal 3-hour duration for example.
That said Priority Pass members often have access to several lounges at an airport, lessening the chances of this being an issue.
4. Priority Pass Membership and Number 1 Lounges
Number 1 Lounges are one of the most popular lounges, particularly at London Heathrow, London Gatwick, and Birmingham.
To ensure that Priority Pass members are able to access the lounge there is now the facility to book lounge access in advance at these lounges. The fee is £6 for most of the lounges and £15 for the Clubrooms which are a VIP experience.
5. What are the Priority Pass Membership Levels?
There are 3 lounge membership levels available.
- This is available for £69 per year. Each is then charged £24 per visit for the member and also for any guests.
- The £24 fee for the member and any guests is charged to the card that you used when you signed up for Priority Pass membership.
- This is available for £229 each year.
- This includes 10 visits for the member.
- Guests are charged at £24 per visit
- This is available for £419 each year.
- This includes unlimited lounge visits for the member
- Guests are charged at £24 per visit
6. Priority Pass Membership Scheme Benefits
The main benefits of the scheme are;
- Great choice of lounges available to Priority Pass members throughout the world
- Great value access to lounges with differing membership levels
- No need to book a lounge for most lounges giving you flexibility
- The option to book and guarantee your space at the busiest lounges in the UK
- Other member offers such as meal deals
- Membership app for easy access to lounges and to easily find lounges
- Airport guides for the most popular airports give details on all the facilities
- Option to book transfers and car rentals in the app
7. Which Priority Pass Membership Level is Right For Me?
The simple answer is it depends on how often you plan to be using a lounge. Here is my guide to help you work out the Priority Pass lounge membership option for you;
Less Than 6 Times Per Year
If you are planning on using an airport lounge 6 times a year or less then a membership scheme probably isn’t the best option. You can buy lounge access online through sites like Lounge Pass for £30-35 per person depending on the airport and demand.
The cost of visits for standard priority pass membership work out as follows;
1 visit per year – £69 fee plus £24 visit = £93 per visit
2 visits per year – £69 fee plus £24 visit x 2 = £117 divided by 2 = £58.50 per visit
3 visits per year – £69 fee plus £24 visit x 3 = £141 divided by 3 = £47 per visit
4 visits per year – £69 fee plus £24 visit x 4 = £165 divided by 4 = £41.25 per visit
As you can see it’s only with the 5th and 6th visits that Standard membership becomes cheaper than pay as you go.
The next level of membership, Standard Plus, is great value. Read on for the details
Professional Traveller Note:
Bear in mind that sometimes the cheaper deals available for lounge passes only allow access 2 hours before your flight departs. Given that you need to be at the gate generally 30-45 minutes before your flight departs, depending on the destination, this option can mean you have very limited time actually in the lounge.
7 Times – 17 Times Per Year – Standard Plus Membership
The Priority Pass Standard Plus Membership is good value for 7 – 10 visits per year, and actually up to 17 visits a year.
Here is how the total costs for 7 visits works out;
- 7 visits per year – £229 divided by 7 = £32.71 per visit
- 8 visits per year – £229 divided by 8 = £28.62 per visit
- 9 visits per year – £229 divided by 9 = £25.44 per visit
- 10 visits per year – £229 divided by 10 = £22.90 per visit
- 11 visits per year – £229 plus £24 visit fee = £253 divided by 11 = £23 per visit
- 12 visits per year – £229 plus £24 visit fee x 2 = £277 divided by 12 = £23.08 per visit
- 13 visits per year – £229 plus £24 visit fee x 3 = £301 divided by 13 = £23.15 per visit
- 14 visits per year – £229 plus £24 visit fee x 4 = £325 divided by 14 = £23.21 per visit
- 15 visits per year – £229 plus £24 visit fee x 5 = £349 divided by 15 = £23.26 per visit
- 16 visits per year – £229 plus £24 visit fee x 6 = £373 divided by 16 = £23.32 per visit
- 17 visits per year – £229 plus £24 visit fee x 6 = £397 divided by 17 = £23.35 per visit
More Than 17 Times Per Year – Prestige Membership
Prestige Membership is the best option if you are planning on accessing a Priority Pass lounge more than 17 times a year. This is the tipping point between Standard Plus membership and Prestige membership.
Here is how the costs work out;
- 17 visits per year – £419 divided by 17 = £24.64 per visit
- 18 visits per year – £419 divided by 19 = £23.37 per visit
- 19 visits per year – £419 divided by 20 = £22.05 per visit
- 20 visits per year – £419 divided by 21 = £19.95 per visit
Under 6 Visits to Number 1 Lounges Per Year
Number 1 Lounges are the most popular lounges at London Gatwick, London Heathrow, and Birmingham. To guarantee access with your Priority Pass membership card you can now pay a £6 additional fee to ensure you can access the lounge.
If you are going to be primarily using these lounges it changes the calculations above as follows.
- 2 visits per year – total cost £129 (£69 fee plus £24 visit x 2 plus £6 booking x 2) = £64.50 per visit
- 3 visits per year – total cost £159 (£69 fee plus £24 visit x 3 plus £6 booking x 3) = £53 per visit
- 4 visits per year – total cost £189 (£69 fee plus £24 visit x 4 plus £6 booking x 4) = £47.25 per visit
- 5 visits per year – total cost £219 (£69 fee plus £24 visit x 5 plus £6 booking x 5) = £43.80 per visit
As such if you wanted access to Number 1 lounges you would be better buying access on a pay as you go basis rather than through Priority Pass.
7 Or More Visits to Number 1 Lounges – Standard Plus
Priority Pass Standard Plus membership is quite competitive when it comes to booking Number 1 Lounges. Due to their popularity, they can often be quite expensive to buy online.
Here are how the costs per visit work out;
- 7 visits per year – £229 plus £6 booking fee x 7 = £271 divided by 7 = £38.71 per visit
- 8 visits per year – £229 plus £6 booking fee x 8 = £277 divided by 8 = £34.62 per visit
- 9 visits per year – £229 plus £6 booking fee x 9 = £283 divided by 9 = £31.44 per visit
- 10 visits per year – £229 plus £6 booking fee x 9 = £289 divided by 10 = £28.90 per visit
8. Priority Pass Membership Lounges in the United Kingdom
Here are the Priority Pass Lounges that are available through the scheme in UK domestic airports;
- Aberdeen – Northern Lights Executive Lounge
- Edinburgh – Aspire Lounge (Gate 16), and Aspire Lounge (Gate 4)
- Glasgow International – UpperDeck
- Manchester Terminal 1 – Escape Lounge, Aspire Lounge
- Manchester Terminal 2 – Escape Lounge, Aspire Lounge
- Manchester Terminal 3 – Escape Lounge x 2
- Birmingham – Escape Lounge x 2
- Bristol – Aspire Lounge
- London Gatwick North Terminal – The Gateway, Clubrooms, Number 1 Lounge
- London Gatwick South Terminal – Number 1 Lounge, Clubrooms, My Lounge, Club Aspire
- London Heathrow Terminal 3 – Number 1 Lounge, Club Aspire Lounge
- London Heathrow Terminal 5 – Club Aspire Lounge
- London Luton – Aspire Lounge
- London Southend – Skylife Lounge
- London Stansted – Escape Lounge
9. Pay As You Go Access Versus Priority Pass Membership
Here is a price comparison for the Number 1 Lounge Gatwick Airport for a December flight date;
Booking directly through Number 1 Lounges – £34 for 3 hours
Booking directly through Gatwick Airport – £34 for 3 hours
HolidayExtras – £34 for 3 hours and £26 for 2 hours
10. Is Priority Pass Membership Worth It in 2023?
This depends on your travel requirements and needs. Think about your travel plans, how often you get to the airport, and any layovers or long connection periods you might have when travelling for example.
Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to use an airport lounge – if you only have an hour once you get through security for example. By the time you have had a coffee, it will likely be time for boarding.
However, a lounge pass is not just about whether you can use the full 3 hours of time available. A lounge pass also gives;
A quieter space before flying – this is ideal if you are a nervous flyer like me and find airports overwhelming and noisy.
Better WIFI with plenty of charging points and a good space to get some work done – airport lounges are a great place for finishing up work before you get home or getting organised for your trip away.
Food and drink is included – if you do have lots of time at the airport before you fly then free food and drink can mean that lounges offer great value. You only need to have a couple of drinks and a meal and you will have probably spent £20 on airport catering.
11. Priority Pass Membership FAQs
What is the Difference Between LoungeKey and Priority Pass?
LoungeKey is an airport lounge membership scheme that is operated via credit card companies ie to gain access via LoungeKey you need to have a credit card that gives lounge access as one of its rewards. It can be quite difficult to work out what the best travel rewards credit cards are. Thankfully the ever helpful Points Guy does all the heavy lifting in working out the best offers for you.
How Many Lounge Visits Do I Get With Priority Pass Membership?
The number of lounge visits you get depends on the membership level you have. Well, that is not strictly true – you can get lounge access as many times as you want with each pass. However, the cost varies depending on which membership level you have.
For the standard membership, you don’t get any included visits. You pay an annual fee of £69 and then you pay a discounted rate for each visit of £20.
For a standard plus membership, you get 10 included visits for an annual fee of £189 and then you pay a discounted rate for each further visit.
For a Prestige membership, you pay an annual fee of £339 and you get unlimited lounge visits included.
Are Drinks Free with Priority Pass Membership?
Non-alcoholic drinks are always free with Priority Pass membership. Some alcoholic drinks such as beer and wine can be included. This depends on the lounge you are visiting. Generally speaking, premium alcoholic drinks such as spirits, champagne, etc incur an additional cost.
12. Priority Pass Membership Pros and Cons
If you are still trying to weigh up whether membership is right for you then you might find this list of pros and cons about Priority Pass lounge membership might be helpful,
- Good value with a variety of membership levels to suit needs and usage
- Fantastic selection of lounges available throughout the world
- No need to book lounges in advance giving flexibility on the day of travel
- Ability to guarantee a place at the most popular lounges in the UK
- Membership app to save carrying a card and find lounges easily
- All the benefits of lounge access at the best prices
- Only makes sense if using lounges more than 3 times a year
- Sometimes lounges will deny Priority Pass members access if they are extremely busy
You Might Also Like
If you have found this article about Priority Pass Lounge Access useful you might also like;
My Airport Lounge Membership Comparison post – which compares the most popular membership scheme
Cheap Airport Lounges – how to find the cheapest access for you
You can find more information on my Airport Lounges page
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