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With so many premium credit cards now bundling Priority Pass membership, the number of people with airport lounge access has exploded.
Only about 5% of the 1000 or so participating Priority Pass lounges are located in the U.S. but an outsized percentage of members are U.S. based. That’s meant crowding in a handful of high demand locations, and even Priority Pass members turned away at peak times from places like the Alaska Airlines Lounge in Seattle and the Turkish Airlines lounge at Dulles.
Priority Pass has been on a tear coming up with new creative ways to add value to their expanding cardmember base, like adding Minute Suites rooms in several airports to the lounge network and even some restaurants and whiskey tastings.
Outside the U.S. many lounges are less crowded, with less demand from Priority Pass cardholders, and even hungry for the incremental revenue.
This month existing Citi Prestige Card cardholders lose access to American Airlines lounges when flying the airline same day. But since December 2015 the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® has offered up to 10 authorized user cards, with each card good for up to 3 people entering a lounge, meaning that in theory a single cardmembership could be leveraged to get 33 people into an Admirals Club. I do not know if anyone has ever done this.
In fact I wondered if Erica Virvo who works at Nomadic Matt may have set some kind of a record for guesting people into a lounge.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers a Priority Pass membership with unlimited free visits for the cardholder and no limit on guests other than capacity limits an individual lounge may impose.
Erica was there with her Priority Pass card and brought the kids that Nomadic Matt‘s FLYTE charity had helped travel. FLYTE gives “high school students in underserved schools to travel and expand their cultural, academic, and social horizons.” And, apparently, to check out airport lounges along the way. (As a donor to the organization myself I was thrilled by this.)