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When Priority Pass is Useless Because You Didn’t Pay for Your Access

I love having Priority Pass, but more so than any other lounge access, I’ve come across bizarre issues.

For example, I found out the lounge in Punta Cana was checking multiple people onto one Priority Pass Select card because it was easier–even people the card holder didn’t know.

The lounge agent just assumed that everyone charged to each card was free, but instead, people were getting hit with extra charges.

My parents just ran into a problem at Club Mobay in Montego Bay.

Their entire time in Jamaica, the tour group they were going around in was trying to up-sell them into reserving space at the Club Mobay lounge for $30 a person in the airport.  But they kept declining because they had Priority Pass.

Once they got to the airport, they headed to Club Mobay.  Once they got there, they were informed that the day was completely booked by paying customers.

The irony is–they might have paid the $30 each for the access.  They just didn’t know they needed to since they were supposed to get in for free.

I also think the lounge agents see things like the Priority Pass Select cards as “free” lounge access.  While you don’t have to pay individually per time, you literally are paying for a pass.  The credit card that got them this access was over $400, and the extra user cost over $100.  They are not getting free access when you do the math.

Lounges fill up.  I totally get that.  But there were two issues I had with this.

1.  The reservations were being booked well in advance, so they never had a chance of getting into the club in the first place.  (And information about that may have prodded them to get access).

2.  The person checking people into the club stressed that paying customers were getting in, as if they were getting in totally free and it would have been a favor to let them in.  They are paying for this access, just in a different way from other people.

Chalk this up to another strange Priority Pass experience.

Has anyone else had a strange access experience?

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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7 comments

  1. Cancun this last October with my dad – the lounge has a sign posted that between noon and 3pm they do not accept Priority Pass. This is when the majority of flights depart. The Priority Pass website states admittance may be restricted at busy times. But the lounge had a permanent laminated sign attached to the desk, so clearly the restriction isn’t a maybe, it’s a firm decision. I’d have liked to know this so we could have scheduled our airport time better rather than heading to the lounge. I emailed priority Pass with this suggestion and I received a form letter response.

  2. Not much luck with PP in the past week.

    Ft. Lauderdale……..No lounge
    Phoenix………….Lounge closes at 3:30 PM

    These are not exactly Podunk airports.

  3. Had an issue with my PPSelect at the affiliate lounge at POS. My UA flight departed at about 1a so my boarding pass had “tomorrow’s” date on it. Arrived at the lounge around 10p expecting to use the lounge until my flight (or when it closed, as it did so well before the UA flight departed as it happened). However, the receptionist refused me admission because she could not process a boarding pass that had the next day’s date on it. She insisted her system would only accept a same day boarding pass and she could not override the system! Sent a note to PP about this but never heard back. Though I appreciate the program, it does have its drawbacks.

  4. I am actually going to Montego Bay and was planning on using my PP (from Citi Prestige card) to quicken the lines at customs. Is there something I should do before hand?

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      I don’t know if this is a rule or what, but I know that when people have flashed the PP in the past, they’ve been able to go through the priority lanes.

      • Do you have to pay extra for the VIP service (priority lanes) when you have PP from the Citi Prestige? We are traveling with 2 adults and 2 children, is there a limit on how many people you can bring in to the lounge?

        • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

          I’m not as familiar with that card, but does it say priority pass select on it? If so, you’ll need to pay $29 per extra person past you.

          I’ve only had to flash one card per group of people to skip the lines. You basically just show it to the guy at the entrance of the lines.

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