Airport lounge membership network Priority Pass made the surprise announcement yesterday that it was increasing guest fees by a whopping 20%, from £20 to £24.
The change kicks in from 1st December.
You can see full details on the Priority Pass website here.
At present, the only people who have been told about fee increases are those who have bought a Priority Pass directly from the company.
The cost of buying the standard Priority Pass membership, which comes with no passes and simply gives you the right to visit as many lounges as you want for £24 each, is remaining at £69.
The cost of the two other versions, which do come with inclusive lounge visits, are going up from 1st December:
- ‘Standard Plus’ membership, which includes 10 lounge visits for the cardholder only (no guests), increases from £189 to £229
- ‘Prestige’ membership, which includes unlimited lounge visits for the cardholder only (no guests), increases from £339 to £419
‘Standard’ and ‘Premier’ members who bring guests with them will be charged the £24 rate from 1st December.
Anyone who joins before 1st December locks in the existing membership fee for ‘Standard Plus’ and ‘Prestige’ for their first year, although they will pay the higher £24 fee for guests.
You can expect the cost of Amex and bank-issued Priority Pass visits to increase
Whilst Priority Pass has so far only contacted people who bought a pass directly from the company, what we have seen in the past is that increases in these charges are quickly passed on to holders of free Priority Pass cards issued by credit card companies and banks.
This is also likely to include LoungeKey cards, issued by HSBC Premier and Santander amongst others in the UK, which are rebranded versions of Priority Pass.
As a reminder:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (free in year 1, £160 thereafter) comes with four free Priority Pass lounge visits per year. These are now ‘worth’ £96 under the new Priority Pass fee structure. Amex Gold passes CAN be used for people travelling with you. You should expect that the cost for additional lounge visits after your four annual free visits will soon increase to £24.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (£575 per year) comes with two Priority Pass cards, each of which gives unlimited lounge access for the cardholder and a guest. This means that a family of four is covered. You pay for any additional guests after the first free one, and you should expect this fee to soon rise to £24.
- HSBC Premier, Santander and Curve are amongst card issuers in the LoungeKey network, which is run by Priority Pass. You can show your participating payment card at a participating lounge to receive a discounted entry cost of £20. This is likely to rise to £24.
- The HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard allows unlimited free lounge visits across the LoungeKey network for cardholders. Any guests are charged at £20, which is likely to rise to £24. You can issue a supplementary credit card to your partner for £60, which is likely to be cheaper than paying £24 per lounge visit. As children cannot have credit cards, however, there is no way to get your children into an airport lounge for free via HSBC Premier World Elite.
For clarity …. there is no confirmation yet that guest fees are rising for credit card and bank partners. It seems only a matter of time, however, given that prices are rising for those who buy their own Priority Pass.
You can find out more about the fee increase on the Priority Pass website here.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (December 2022)
As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £20. You get four more free visits for every year you keep the card.
There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.
The card has a 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.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.