Airport Lounge Passes (not THS membership related)

Thought I’d flag this as a separate issue to the passes included with THS membership in case it got moved.
Who has experiences to relate about (UK based) Priority Pass, Dragon Pass or the other one I can’t recall the name of? I’ve been seeing comments elsewhere about lounges being full these days & card holders being turned away. I’m happy to book a lounge in advance but is that always possible?
I’m looking at getting an Amex Platinum card with the passes included; does anyone rate that highly?

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Hi @Saltrams
I’ve done a lot of early morning flights out of london airports since joining THS 14 months ago. I have a Dragon pass that allows me access to many paid lounges for £19.50.
I’ve mostly had great experiences in the lounges but they can get busy and food varies between different paid lounges. Some better than others. I was in the pLaza premium lounge at Heathrow terminal 2 last month and for breakfast they had baked beans, sausages, creamed mushrooms and scrambled eggs. No great selection. They did have access to fresh fruit, cereals , cakes and toast and endless hot, cold or alcoholic drinks.
Here’s a trick. If you sign up to Regus mailing list they give you a free years worth of dragon pass (although each visit costs £19.50 via their app).


Thanks @richten1 that’s helpful. Good to know you haven’t (mentioned) been refused access. £19.50 is pretty reasonable as I’m looking at LGW lounges that start at £30 & it’s £36 for a better one. We will be concentrating on the comfy chair & coffee more than meals, snacks or alcohol (although maybe I shouldn’t speak for the OH :roll_eyes:). I had been focusing on Priority Pass but I’ll have a good look at Dragon now.
I don’t know what Regus is but Google is my friend…

Hi @Saltrams
Good question and I’m interested in hearing what others have discovered.
I have Amex Platinum for decades, also carry a gold. Both are linked to Delta skymiles with lots of perks. Free Lounge passes is not one of them but rather “priority” access and preferred rate. There are annual memberships available and beneficial if you really travel a lot.
That being said, Amex is my card of choice for travel miles and free flights.

I have a Chase Sapphire and have only started using the Priority Pass access in the last few years. The cons are that you can get turned away, many lounges have rules about where you have to be going/coming from, and they can be absolute zoos. The quality can vary a lot as well.

I signed up for a Dragon Pass account as well during my last batch of international travel, since some places won’t allow PP access when the lounges are full.

That being said, they’ve been a game changer. Being guaranteed an outlet for charging, access to a semi-private bathroom, luggage storage, and an updated departure board would be reason enough. When you factor in the cost of a cardboard sandwich and a bottle of water at the airport you’re easily looking at 15-20 dollars, more in Europe.

Some places let you use them on arrival, which is fantastic if you have a red eye flight, or an extra-long layover as I often book.

I definitely recommend Chase Saphire Reserve. If you travel, the Priority Pass is well worth the annual fee, along with the other addons that come with…

I have rarely had trouble and if they ask, they generally just for a flight ticket that day. You need to be flying from that airport/flying to that airport. But if thats not the case - why are you are at the airport?

I find that it’s restaurant access is better than the lounge access.

I even give friends/family access to my PP account and they rarely have had issues using it as me.

Where have you had trouble?

I definitely recommend Chase over the Amex Platinum, Amex’s PP is really not well accepted these days.

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@Amparo @ddacey @pitcherplant thank you all for your input; they all made me green eyed with envy because you are all referring to US based credit cards and perks :frowning:. In UK we have very few of those amazing things; the Amex Platinum is the only one in fact, as far as my research has shown me. Chase bank only started in UK very recently and I do have an account but they only do the bank account & debit card, no Sapphire, Reserve, Ink or any of the fab things I’ve seen on the travel sites like Award Wallet and The Points Guy.
I was a start-up member of Priority Pass 30 years ago, it was cheap & excellent in those days. Then one year they announced a (something crazy like) 600% price increase so I cancelled. Now, the price has dropped somewhat and it seems perfect for me but I’ve read reviews where people get turned away from full lounges, so that negates it completely. Some can be booked for a small additional fee though.
To join or not to join :thinking:….


@Saltrams I regularly fly out of London airports and use the Priority Pass linked to my Chase Sapphire card for lounge access. No matter the time of day, the lounges at Gatwick and Heathrow always seem to have lines of people waiting to enter. Experience has taught me that it’s worth it to pay the small surcharge to reserve a spot. The reservation for one of the lounges, sorry I can’t remember which one, also allows you to skip the regular security lines. Be sure to read the fine print on your reservation to see if there are any extra perks. You have to book the lounge at least 24 hours (I think) before your flight.

If you forget to reserve a spot at a lounge and there’s a line when you arrive, ask to be put on the waiting list. They’ll send a text message as soon as there’s room. Once, just as I was preparing to make myself comfortable on the floor at overcrowded Gatwick, my phone buzzed. It was a message from the lounge. As I was number 32 on the waiting list, I had already given up hope, so it really felt like I won the lottery.

Airline lounges occasionally post “Currently not accepting PP guests” signs by the front door. After seeing a man read the sign at the Air France lounge in Geneva, disregard it, and be admitted to the lounge, I followed his example and was also admitted. I continue to do this and have yet to be turned away. It could be that I’ve been fortunate to arrive at times when the lounges weren’t at capacity. It’s always worth trying.


Thanks @Mary-Kay; just the kind of detail I was looking for (and suspected might be the case). I’m fine with booking ahead and even with paying the extra £6 (LGW example) but I don’t want to find my PP membership fees wasted being turned away without recourse.

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@Saltrams I’ve done maybe 12 lounge visits across London and European airports and have yet to be declined access. There was a line for plaza premium last month but I still got in and while busy, there was room to sit.
The only other issue I had was arriving at the lounge at Luton at 4am for an early flight to see a notice saying due to staff issues it wasn’t open to any lounge pass customers till 5am. However I chatted to the manager who allowed me access as I was only one person.
But yes I use it for breakfasts or a bite to eat, a cup of tea, quiet comfy place pre flight that ultimately isn’t much more than what say a wetherspoons charge for a breakfast and drink.

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Thanks everyone! My decision is to try for an Amex Platinum card and if I’m turned down then I’ll join Priority Pass.
Much obliged for your input but keep adding stuff if you have more to say!


Priority Pass through Chase Sapphire has long been a goto for me. And I was only told to wait once - at the ATL F lounge, but was flying Delta 1 so used the Sky Club instead. Was really only wanting to check out the PP lounge anyway so not a big deal.
A game changer for me with PP has been the restaurant credits - when DL imposed the 3 hour before departure limit and I was flying redeyes from the west coast I would use the $28 restaurant credit first then at the 3 hour time go to the SkyClub. (Of course the other option is to buy a refundable ticket for an earlier flight, enter the lounge then cancel the ticket!)

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This is a strategy that works for all types of wonderful work arounds in travel :wink:

I don’t typically use the airlines lounge itself but just the associated restaurants with PP.

Could you elaborate on your use of the lounge/what you need to do to access it?

@ddacey - Download the PP app and log in. Then check the airport where you are and you will see a list of available lounges/restaurants… Sometimes nothing. If there is a lounge, there may be rules about time available, etc.
My most recent use was in SYD. I had access to the SkyTeam lounge because I was flying D1 on Delta but it was very far from the gate Delta used. PP provided access to The House lounge in the gate area near Delta. Not the best lounge but better than waiting at the gate.

I think internationally Priority Pass is more “lounge” access I typically just use it for the restaurant access have a beer an a meal and try to sleep on the plane.