With airport lounges more crowded than ever before, Priority Pass and LoungeKey have announced that they will be increasing guest fees from October 2023 onwards.
Members will have to pay US$35 per guest beyond their complimentary allowance, compared to US$32 currently.
Guest fees increasing for Priority Pass and LoungeKey
From 1 October 2023, both Priority Pass and LoungeKey will be increasing the cost for guest visits from US$32 to US$35. Per an email sent to customers earlier this week:
Starting October 1st 2023, the price of lounge visits using your Priority Pass benefit is increasing. Due to pressure from rising costs globally, we have had to adjust our prices. This means that for lounge visits which you pay for, the fee will increase from US$32 to US$35 per person, per visit.
For context, the last time we saw a price hike was in October 2019, when the guest fee was increased from US$27 to US$32.
While the email specifically references Priority Pass, I can see that credit cards offering LoungeKey memberships have also posted notifications about the impending increase, with a similar implementation date of 1 October 2023.
Should you pay a US$35 guest fee? Well, it clearly wouldn’t make sense in some situations, such as visiting a Priority Pass restaurant which offers a US$28 credit per person, or one of the restaurants which offers a set meal, such as the four at Changi Airport.
If we talk about lounges proper, I haven’t met one that I think was worth paying US$35 for, with the possible exception of the Oman Air Lounge in Bangkok. That’s because this is one of the rare Priority Pass/LoungeKey lounges which offers proper champagne, and if that’s your vice, a few drinks could really help you cover the fee and then some.
Which credit cards offer Priority Pass & LoungeKey?
As a reminder, here’s the cards which offer Priority Pass/LoungeKey memberships, their free visit entitlements and guest allowances.
|💳 Cards with Priority Pass or LoungeKey
|DBS Altitude Visa
|AMEX HighFlyer Card
|SCB Journey Card
|Maybank Visa Infinite
|SCB Visa Infinite
|UOB Lady’s Solitaire Metal Card
|SCB Priority Banking VI
|HSBC Visa Infinite
|∞ + 1 guest
|AMEX Platinum Charge
|∞ + 1 guest
|∞ + 1 guest#
|*All free visits are tracked by membership year, except Citi PremierMiles Card and UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card which follow calendar year
^With min. AUM S$200K. If AUM falls under S$200K, then two visits
# Only available to first supplementary cardholder
The fee increase will only affect you if you consume lounge visits beyond your complimentary entitlements. For example:
- a DBS Vantage Cardholder who exceeds his annual allotment of 10 visits would need to pay a US$35 fee
- a Citi Prestige Cardholder who wishes to bring two guests would need to pay a US$35 fee
For what it’s worth, DragonPass, the other major lounge membership player, charges a guest fee that ranges from US$28-32 depending on card. For example, each additional guest costs US$32 on my HSBC TravelOne Card, but UOB Visa Infinite Metal Cardholders pay US$28 for additional guests.
From 1 October 2023, Priority Pass and LoungeKey will hike the cost of guest visits from US$32 to US$35, an increase of roughly 10%.
If your travel companions are in a position to apply for a credit card, then it would make much more sense for them to get a card with a first year fee waiver like the DBS Altitude Visa, Citi PremierMiles Card or StanChart Journey Card, all of which come with two free Priority Pass lounge visits.
The way I see it, there’s very little sense in paying guest fees- even if your companions can’t get credit cards, I reckon that US$35 could be better spent elsewhere in the airport.