I really appreciate Priority Pass lounges. There are times when quantity trumps quality. This is one of those times.
Amex Centurion lounges, though often grossly overcrowded, offer premium food and beverages and services like massages, but there are less than 10 of them in the US and a handful of other locations in Mexico, South America and India. In contrast, the strength of the Priority Pass lounges is that there are more than 900 of them world wide.
Accessing Priority Pass lounges
The easiest and least expensive way to get into Priority Pass lounges is by having a credit card that comes with free membership. The Citi Prestige and Amex Platinum cards are two such cards. The Citi Prestige card allows bringing in two guests in addition to the member without charge. On the other hand, Amex Platinum cardholders, who have free Centurion lounge access, pay $27/guest at Priority Pass lounges. The new Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with a Priority Pass membership that even includes free access for all travelling in your party.
All of these cards have a range of additional travel benefits that together with the Priority Pass benefit will more than offset their $450 annual fees. It costs $399 per year to purchase a membership directly from Priority Pass that has unlimited “free” access for the member but $27 per guest.
Once you have access to Priority Pass lounges, you will have lounge access at major airports all over the world. To get in a Priority Pass lounge you must present your Priority Pass card at the check in desk. Having just the credit card that provides membership is insufficient.
When I fly in economy class, being able to enjoy the comforts of a nice airport lounge adds a premium feeling to my travel experience. At a minimum, the vast majority of Priority Pass lounges offer free wifi, snacks, light meals, alcoholic beverages, TV newspapers and magazines in addition to a quiet, comfortable place to relax or work.
Executive Lounge Kathmandu, Nepal
Most Priority Pass lounges in international gateway airports also offer showers. A shower, a snack, and a glass of wine or two between long international flights works wonders for attitude adjustment after enduring coach seating.
The Club at PHX
The second B Concourse in Terminal 4 at Phoenix’ Sky Harbor Airport is home to the Club at PHX, a Priority Pass lounge. American Airlines has Admirals Clubs on three of the four concourses it uses at PHX Terminal 4 but not the second B Concourse.
The Club at PHX is located one floor above the concourse by Gate B21. Perfect! My flight was leaving from Gate B23. The elevator or the stairs by Gate B21 lead directly from the concourse to the lounge.
The main room of the lounge has a bar with a bartender, comfortable seating with conveniently located electrical outlets, a TV, snacks and a view of the airport apron beside the Concourse.
The liquor choices, while not “top shelf,” were better than the complementary varieties in domestic clubs of US airlines.
From the main seating area in the lounge I could see my airplane as it pulled into Gate B23.
The main seating area of the Club at PHX has a selection of light snacks.
The snacks in this area are equivalent to what might be served in first class on domestic flights. There is a better selection of snacks in the smaller rear section of the lounge. Unless you explore, you’d miss the better food all together.
There is a small seating area behind the bar. This area has a buffet with sandwiches and salads.
The lounge has good wifi speed and a selection of local and international papers. There aren’t many, if any, long haul international routes out of PHX, so no showers in this club.
To wrap up, The Club at PHX is a fairly typical Priority Pass lounge in the US. It is not luxurious but it is “free” and it beats the hassle and noise of a crowded concourse.
Do you have a question about the Club at PHX or Priority Pass lounges? If so, leave it in the comments section below.