Best Credit Cards for Priority Pass Access

Ariana ArghandewalMarch 10, 2020
On a similar note...
On a similar note...

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Priority Pass Select membership is one of those great travel perks that has become more ubiquitous with a rise in premium rewards credit cards. Having access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide means having a quiet respite from busy airport terminals and enjoying free snacks, drinks and even full meals. Why wouldn’t someone want that in their travel toolbelt? If you’re looking for a card with Priority Pass access, here are our top picks:

9. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

With a $595 annual fee, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is the most expensive option for securing Priority Pass access. The card does offer lots of premium benefits to make it worthwhile: A $200 annual airline fee credit, generous category bonuses, Gold elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors and Global Entry fee credit, to name a few.

What puts this card over the top is that it also includes access to the exclusive Centurion Lounge network and Delta Sky Club (when flying Delta or via Priority Pass). So even though Priority Pass Select membership through this card excludes restaurants, you have plenty of other options. The reason it ranks so low is because the annual fee is quite hefty and not everyone can justify it in spite of the perks.

8. The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express is similar to the business version, except with a lower annual fee set at $550. It has many of the same travel perks as The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, including the $200 airline fee credit and Priority Pass Select membership. The same restaurant exclusion applies, and we think that at such a high annual fee there are better options if you’re solely after Priority Pass Select membership.

7. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant

Post-merger Marriott hasn’t been the most exciting rewards program, but it continues to make strides with the introduction of off-peak pricing. Granted, this also means there’s now peak pricing, but let’s view the glass half full.

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is still a good option for Priority Pass Select membership if you’re a Marriott loyalist. The card has a $450 annual fee and comes with a $300 Marriott statement credit every year as well as Gold elite status. You can even spend your way to Platinum with $75,000 in purchases on the card.

If you can make use of these benefits, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant can be a great way to secure Priority Pass Select membership.

6. Hilton Aspire

The Hilton Aspire card is great for Priority Pass access, in spite of the restaurant exclusion. In fact, this is one of my top personal credit card picks, thanks to a host of really useful benefits. I shared how this card saved me thousands of dollars on a Maldives vacation.

The $450 annual fee is high, but in exchange you get Priority Pass Select membership, a $250 annual airfare credit, $250 Hilton resort credit, top-tier Hilton Diamond status and an annual free weekend night. These are just a few of the card’s highlights, but taking all these perks into consideration, the Hilton Aspire is a great choice if you want Priority Pass access and perks to make your travel a little more VIP.

5. Citi Prestige® Card

We get it: The removal of valuable travel protections has rendered the Citi Prestige® Card useless to a lot of folks. After all, why pay to earn 5X on travel if your trip isn’t even protected? Every card serves a purpose.

If you’re looking to acquire more Citi ThankYou points and dining is a big spending category, this card might be worth having thanks to its 5X earnings in that category. Don't forget to factor in the card’s other benefits like cell phone protection, 4th night free on hotel bookings twice a year and $250 annual travel credit.

Taking these into consideration, the Citi Prestige® Card might be a good option for securing Priority Pass Select membership, especially since Citi cards aren’t excluded from receiving credits at participating airport restaurants.

4. Hilton Business card

When choosing a card for Priority Pass access, it’s important to take all features into account. If the features of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card don’t entirely float your boat, The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card might be a better option.

Like the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, this card comes with 10 free Priority Pass visits rather than full membership. That’s ideal if you’re not a frequent traveler and would rather opt for a lower annual fee card. At $95 per year, The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card fits the bill.

3. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Unlike most cards on this list, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card doesn’t have a $400+ annual fee. At just $95 per year, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is a feasible option for those who want a budget-friendly card that still offers Priority Pass access. Granted, the card comes with 10 free visits as opposed to full membership, but you get what you pay for in this case. Terms apply.

The card has lots of other noteworthy features, like Hilton Honors Gold elite status, with the ability to upgrade to Diamond after $40,000 spent per year. Cardholders also receive a free weekend night award after spending $15,000 in a calendar year. The myriad of category bonuses for things like Hilton purchases (12X) and U.S. restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations (6X) is icing on the cake. Terms apply.

2. Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® increased its annual fee recently by $100, so the Chase Sapphire Reserve® annual fee might be tough for a lot of folks to swallow. But if you make full use of the card’s Priority Pass Select membership, you may be able to offset the increase.

Unlike AmEx cardholders, those with a Chase Sapphire Reserve® can use their Priority Pass Select membership at airport lounges as well as restaurants. The dining credit varies by location. To give you an idea, the credit at San Francisco International’s Yankee Pier restaurant and Houston’s Landrys’ Seafood is $28. Bring a guest and you’ll receive a total of $56 off your bill.

Depending on how often you travel, you could make up the higher annual fee fairly quickly. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is still rated one of our top rewards credit cards and you can get lots of great travel perks and value out of it beyond the Priority Pass Select membership.

1. U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

The U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card is probably the best card for Priority Pass Select membership. That’s because unlike American Express, U.S. Bank has not discontinued restaurant credits as part of the Priority Pass Select membership. So if you're at an airport with subpar club lounges but a few decent restaurant options, this benefit gives you more choices.

In addition to the ability to use the membership at airport restaurants, the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card is a more economic option when compared to the higher annual fee cards on this list. Cardholders get up to $325 in annual travel statement credits. That takes a huge chunk out of the card’s $400 annual fee.

As an added bonus, this credit applies to a wide variety of travel, including airfare, hotels, car rental companies, trains, taxis and more. That makes it much more versatile than the credits on the AmEx Platinum cards, which are limited to specific chosen airlines.

All mobile wallet purchases on this card earn 3x points and cardholders also receive 12 Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi credits every year. That, combined with the $100 Global Entry fee credit every four years makes this card an excellent value if you’re looking for Priority Pass Select access at under $500 per year.

The information related to the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:

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