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Priority Pass guest fee jumping up to £20 – what should you do?

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The Priority Pass guest fee is going up sharply.

Lounge access card Priority Pass has emailed members who hold a card directly with them – ie not via American Express Platinum or a similar deal – to inform them that the lounge visit fee is going up to £20 on 18th September.

The current fee is £15.  The £20 fee applies to either yourself (if you have a basic Priority Pass card with no free access) or to any guests you bring (if you have unlimited free access for yourself).

It is not clear yet if holders of Priority Pass and Lounge Club cards issued via American Express and other financial groups will see a similar hike.  I would be very surprised if they did not increase the fee.

Whilst Priority Pass is implying that the blame is down to lounges demanding more money, I get a feeling that this is actually demand management.  More and more people now have a Priority Pass – issuance has gone crazy in the US with virtually every premium credit card now offering it – but the number of lounges is not expanding as quickly.  Putting up prices may also persuade airports to give over more space to new lounges.

Full details of the changes are on the Priority Pass website here.

If you had been thinking of getting a Priority Pass, today might be a good day to lock in a version with a number of free visitsVia this link you can save up to 25% on the standard fee, which means:

£51 for the Standard card – don’t get this, as you’ll be paying £20 per visit on top

£127 for the Standard Plus card – this comes with 10 free visits

£233 for the Prestige card – this comes with unlimited free visits

Alternatively, get an American Express Platinum charge card.  This is substantially better than buying a Prestige card, as the Amex version is even better – you get TWO Priority Pass cards and each lets the holder bring a free guest.  This means that it gets a family of four into a lounge.  Whilst Amex Platinum has a £450 annual fee, you get 30,000 Memership Rewards points for signing up (= 30,000 Avios) and a huge range of other benefits too.  My full review of American Express Platinum is here.

PS.  There should be some upside here.  If you visit a Priority Pass restaurant, eg The Grain Store in Gatwick South, the free food and drink should (in theory) increase from £15 to £20 per person!  Will it happen?  Let’s see ….

American Express Platinum House London

Getting airport lounge access via a UK credit card

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

The Platinum Card from American Express

Two free Priority Pass cards (one for you, one for your supplementary Platinum cardholder, each admitting two – so a family of four gets in free) giving access to every lounge in the Priority Pass network – search it here.  You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

You get a Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club network lounge – see the list here.  The list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list, but not by much.  Additional visits are charged at £20 per person.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  No annual fee in Year 1.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

You get a free LoungeKey card allowing you access to any property in the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although regular travellers will find it cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card (adults only, of course).  The card has an annual fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.