Let's face it; not everyone has gold or platinum status to access airport lounges to relax before a flight. Enter Priority Pass, if you have no idea what Priority Pass is or how it works, here's a quick lowdown.
Priority Pass is the largest airport lounge network in the world. With over 1200 lounges worldwide, you will have lounge access pretty much wherever you are (ok except if you're in Perth like me…).
Priority Pass has been kicking it for 25 years now, so clearly they're doing something right.
Here's how it works
Priority Pass is a network to independent airport lounges, some of which are business class airline lounges. Priority Pass sells membership to its users which allow you to access all the lounges around the world, no matter who you're flying with or in which class.
Essentially there are 3 membership tiers, Standard, Standard Plus and Prestige.
- Priority Pass Standard Price: US$99 p.a. (Black Friday Special: US$59). With the Standard priority pass card, you will have to pay for each lounge visit. The price of which is US$32 and you can bring 1 guest for an additional US$32.
- Priority Pass Standard Plus: US$299 p.a. (Black Friday Special: US$223). Standard Plus membership comes with 10 lounge entries per year included, after this, it's US$32 per visit and the same price if you bring a guest.
- (Best Value) Priority Pass Prestige Price: US$429 p.a. (Black Friday Special: US$321). The Prestige membership is the one which offers the best value; you'll get unlimited lounge access worldwide, to bring a guest you will be charged an additional US$32.
Is It Worth It For Australian Travellers?
If you're in Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney, you're in luck. Not only does Priority Pass partner with lounges, but they also have a few restaurants and bars signed up to the program. Some popular names you might recognise are Bar Roma, MoVida, Bar Pulpo and the list goes on. Each of these places will give you a $36 credit to spend on food & beverages. If you're a Priority Pass Prestige member, nothing will stop you from bar hopping around the terminal to make the most of your visit. For example, in Sydney, you could pop in for dinner at MoVida before heading over to Bar Roma or the Peroni Bar for a drink. One airport visit could easily add up to more than $108 in value.
The same is the case for Melbourne and Brisbane, where excellent food & beverage options are on offer for Priority Pass members. It's arguably a better experience compared to the sorry Qantas Club toasty and soup.
Of course, the benefits don't end there, around the world Priority Pass is much more popular than Australia so expect a lot of choices once you leave Australian airspace.
If you're an American Express Platinum Card holder, you already enjoy this benefit as part of your membership, better even you get 2 Prestige Priority pass membership so you can gift one. The Prestige Priority Pass which comes with the Amex Platinum card also lets you guest in 1 person at no extra charge. For frequent travellers, this is a fantastic benefit.
I'm Already Flying Business Class Do I need It?
Of course, if you fly business or first, lounge access is a given. However, with the food & beverage outlets in Australia, Priority Pass is a far better choice than most business class lounges in Australia. Personally, I rate an a-la-carte dinner much higher than the typical lounge buffet.
Priority Pass Conclusion
If you're a frequent traveller and you don't already hold the Amex Platinum, a priority pass is a no-brainer for most. Considering you can get an additional savings between 25-40% during the Black Friday sale it makes for a compelling alternative to the Qantas Club or Virgin Australia lounges.