Priority Pass finally beginning to allow payment cards for lounge entry


There are several different ways to use credit cards in order to gain access to airport lounges but one of the most common is Priority Pass. Priority Pass has over 1,300 lounge and restaurant locations around the world, making it the single largest airport lounge network.

There are many different credit cards that offer Priority Pass memberships as a perk, some of the most popular being the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Capital One Venture X and the American Express Platinum cards.

After being approved for a credit card with Priority Pass access, it is necessary to then register for a Priority Pass membership online. Once you register for membership, Priority Pass sends you a physical card (there’s also a digital card available via the app, which is what I use). In order to actually access a lounge within the network, you have to then have either a physical or digital Priority Pass membership card to scan at the lounge entrance.

This can get confusing if multiple cards start to collect from opening/closing accounts or when trying to remember which card is associated with an Amex account that doesn’t have access to Priority Pass restaurants and which one is associated with a card that does have restaurant access. For those using physical cards, it’s also one more card to manage.

It appears that all of this is changing, as you can now enter some Priority Pass locations using only your payment card.

The Club at SEA, Seattle WA SeaTac
The Club at SEA, SeaTac Airport


How to activate your payment card for Priority Pass access

The instructions are bizarre. Supposedly, all you need to do is log in to your online account at and then the payment card associated with your membership will automatically be activated for lounge entry (after 12 hours). I’ve logged into all of my accounts and there’s no indication that my payment card is now active for lounge access, so I guess I’ll have to find out the next time that I’m at the airport whether or not the activation was successful.

Not all Priority Pass locations will be able to use payment cards for entry and, frankly, I’m a bit skeptical at how immediately successful this rollout will be. I can see lounge agents and restaurant servers being completely unaware of the option or how to use it. So, for the near future, it’s probably advisable to remember to have your physical or digital membership card with you while travelling.

Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that you still need to register your eligible credit card with Priority Pass before using a payment card to access a lounge, it won’t automatically be activated when the card arrives.

priority pass
Hopefully, this will soon be a thing of the past.

Quick Thoughts

So, what’s the big deal then? If I have to keep travelling with my actual Priority Pass cards because of uneven rollout or due to the inability of some locations to accept payment cards for entry, is it really an improvement?

In the short-term, the main plus for me is not having to remember which of my cards is eligible for restaurants…I can just use my Venture X or Sapphire Reserve (at locations that are able to use payment cards for entry).

That said, my hope is that this is the first step towards Priority Pass making payment cards the standard method of entry across the entire lounge network (like Amex does with Centurion Lounges or Capital One does with their lounges). That would be a huge improvement on the current system and make it much simpler to make sure that you have the appropriate card for lounge access…especially for those of us that might open and close cards more frequently than the average consumer 😊.

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What is the benefit (if any) of having more than 1 Priority Pass card? I have half a dozen cards that come with PP as a benefit, but the only one I activated is the only one I want to use: CSR. Scratching my head why I’d bother to activate the other accounts…

Lee Sanyos

Why have more than 1 card with this benefit? That might be a better question.


You’re asking—on—why someone might have a Chase Sapphire Reserve and, for example, and Amex Platinum?? 🙂


No, I am asking why you would have a dozen? Two is different from 12; Even if you said 3, 1 for travel, one for basic needs, one for miscellaneous. Dicing up for 12 is what?


Well I don’t have a dozen – just 11. But then I change my cards as often as I have my hair cut.


It’s a lot easier to distinguish Amex and non-Amex PP cards that one might think:

The card with restaurant access is the one in my travel wallet, and the card from Amex is the one that was cut up into tiny pieces by my micro-cut shredder.


If u go Downunder had to beat that Deal.Another website had infro on this BUT in SYD I hit 3 restaurants just to see IF I could do it..I think AMEX is done with that option..

The Good Old Days 11/2018..

Last edited 1 year ago by Cavedweller

Yes, is totally bizarre – there is no acknowledgement or confirmation. Why not simply have a button on the homepage for those who haven’t activated the use card feature that they can click on logging in. Or why not like Hyatt promos with ‘1-click activation’, where the button in the email auto-activates the function. Better yet, why not make it ‘0-click’ and just make this default and send an email saying your payment card can now be used for lounge entry.

Also bizarre – the email has a bug button that says ‘learn more’, but just brought me to a generic FAQ page with nothing seemingly specific to the topic. Then there is another link in the email to see the list of lounges which are accepting the payment card, and it goes to the same generic FAQ. Fail again.

As for others, Plaza Premium already runs on the scan your payment card model. By default. Can’t be that hard.


Nice but I can see there to be problems especially at international lounges where the service staff do not know what the cards that allow access are supposed to look like.


this is not a good idea ;/


If you log into you account, under “My Details” you will see your card authorized for entry. That is how to confirm.

As for why: it’s probably mostly saving $$, but also customer convenience. The best business decisions give customers what they want while increasing profits. I doubt most customers want to carry 1 or more extra PP cards when traveling, so I think this is a win-win.


Most of the PP lounges have long accepted Diners Clubs using the DC card alone and I see this as an expansion of this method. Apparently, Diners Club cards are now accepted for the Priority Pass restaurant benefit by simply presenting the card and advising the restaurant staff to use the PP benefit.


“So, what’s the big deal then?” The big deal is that Priority Pass can eventually stop issuing cards saving them thousands, if not millions, each year worldwide. This wasn’t about customer convenience, it was about business profitability. With customer convenience being tangential.

@Corey – I came here to comment the same thing. I write which CC the PP is linked to on the signature line.

Last edited 1 year ago by HockeyCoachBen

Correct Sir !! I got the pass and points for a month long trip. Looking to redo that trip.Forget the plastic stuff 2 vehicles 16 years and 16k total.Don’t drive and use Amazon and Green thinking works..V Bernie

Steve L.

I do the exact same thing – write in the end of the signature strip box which card my PP card is associated with. Makes it easy to keep track of which is which.


I always just use the app and show my QR code. That way I know for sure which PP account is being used. I’ve 100% switched over from Amex to Venture X PP as it does much more for me.


In the signature section on the back of my PP card I write the name of the card that it came from…’Ritz’ or ‘Amex Plat Schwab’, etc. This makes it easy to know which PP card to use for guests or restaurants.


Yeah, I wrote FOOD on the back of my PP for my Prestige, to differentiate from AMEX. LOL

Last edited 1 year ago by Marty

I think I’ll wait a while and see if this gets easier. I now have 11 (including P2) so I guess I will be carrying a few around with me for my next trip, though I don’t know when I will take my first real trip since 2019 !!