Your guide to Priority Pass lounges 2024

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Updated: July 17, 2024

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Waiting at the airport without lounge access is like being stuck in the nosebleed section at a concert — a lousy experience with no perks. With a Priority Pass membership, you have access to the best airport lounges across the world. So, you can easily relax in a comfortable space if you happen to be an airport early bird or are simply waiting for your connecting flight.

What's a Priority Pass?

Priority Pass is an extensive network of airport lounges, minisuites and restaurants with over 1,500 locations across 600 cities and 145 countries. You can find Priority Pass lounges in Canada at major international airports in Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Québec, Toronto and Vancouver. This means that being a part of Priority Pass guarantees you’ll always find a great lounge while travelling.

How does the Priority Pass membership work?

You can get access to Priority Pass by signing up for a membership. If you have a complimentary Priority Pass membership through your credit card, activate it online to receive your membership number. Once you have an active membership, you can log into the Priority Pass app and see which lounges are at your airport terminal. You don’t need to carry the physical membership card - simply having a digital version on your phone is enough.

Priority Pass lounges have free Wi-Fi, food and drinks, washrooms and a rest area, allowing you to refresh and recharge before you jump on the plane. Lounge food changes depending on the time of day, so you can expect to see breakfast/lunch/dinner options depending on when you enter the lounge.  Best of all, you won’t be spending money at airport restaurants and food kiosks, as the lounge will have all you need to beat any hangry emotions. We’ve all seen the dreaded lines at airport restaurants, which can be highly stressful if your boarding time is less than an hour.

Some Priority Pass lounges go above and beyond, offering amenities that can make your travel experience even more enjoyable. For instance, lounges with standing showers may be perfect for freshening up after a long journey. And if you’re really lucky, you might stumble upon lounges that offer pre-flight spa treatments. It’s these little extras that make the Priority Pass membership truly special.

Priority Pass membership plans

Priority Pass has three membership tiers, offering you with flexible options. See which one is the best for you and your travel habits.

Tier Annual fee Who’s it best for?
Standard $99 ($8.25 monthly) For someone who travels occasionally. The price you see is only for the membership. You will need to pay $35/per person for entry.
Standard Plus $329 ($27.40 monthly) For someone who travels a few times a year. Comes with 10 passes. Additional entries will cost you $35/per person.
Prestige $469 ($39.08 monthly) For the frequent traveller, this tier comes with unlimited passes.

The Standard Plus membership is a good deal for someone who travels alone or with a travel partner several times a year. If you travel often for work or leisure, getting the Prestige membership is the best option, as you can get unlimited passes for the price of 13 visits. This means you can easily bring guests along, too.

How to enter a lounge using Priority Pass

To enter a Priority Pass lounge, you must show proof of membership through a physical/digital membership card or a credit card with Priority Pass access. You will also need to show evidence of same-day travel in the form of a boarding pass.

Where are Priority Pass lounges located?

Priority Pass’s extensive network allows you to access over 1,500 airport lounges in 145 countries. This includes airline lounges such as the Emirates and British Airways lounges, as well as all Plaza Premium lounges. You can use the Priority Pass lounge locator to find a lounge at your departure terminal.

Pros and cons of having a Priority Pass membership

Pros

Pros

  • Comfort: Lounge access allows you to unwind comfortably before your flight, which is particularly beneficial if you're anxious about flying or drained because of jet lag.

  • Family-friendly: When travelling with family, especially young children, the amenities of a lounge provide a peaceful space to relax and prepare for the flight, avoiding the chaos.

  • Complimentary refreshments: Lounges typically offer snacks, beverages and buffet options, allowing you to save on food expenses during your wait.

  • Workspace enabled: With amenities like Wi-Fi, power outlets and designated workspaces, you can conveniently catch up on emails and tasks while waiting to board.

Cons

Cons

  • Long wait times: During a busy travel season, you can expect to wait more than an hour for a lounge, which can be frustrating, especially if you’re tired or are travelling with family members.

  • Crowded with people and “lounge lizards”: Some lounges may be super crowded, taking away the peace and relaxation you are looking for. Lounge lizards, people who choose to stay for a long period of time, may also pose a problem, causing you to wait angrily for a comfortable dining or seating area.

  • Time limit: Sometimes a lounge may have time limits. So, if your flight is delayed or you are currently in between a long layover, you may not be able to stay for longer.

Canadian credit cards with Priority Pass lounge access

Here are the Canadian credit cards that offer you a complimentary Priority Pass membership.

With free passes

This card comes with both a complimentary Priority Pass membership and 10 free annual passes.

Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card

Apply now

4.0

up to 60K pts

Welcome offer

Good

Suggested credit score

Earn up to $2,100* in value in the first 14 months, including up to 60,000 bonus Scene+ points

Expires

Nov 1, 2024

Pros

  • The card offers a competitive low interest rate on purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers

  • Comprehensive insurance coverage

  • Complimentary Airport lounge access

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Ideal for travelers as it has no foreign transaction fees

  • Offers a substantial welcome bonus that can be worth up to 60,000 Scene+ points

  • Enjoy premium perks like Hertz #1 Club Gold membership and concierge services.

Cons

  • High annual fee: At $399, the annual fee is steep, which could offset the rewards and benefits for some cardholders

  • Below average rewards rate: Lower compared to other cards with similar or lower annual fees

  • Limited American Express acceptance: Especially outside major cities

  • Rewards potential: The net rewards potential is relatively low when considering the high annual fee

  • Non-transferable points: Scene+ points cannot be transferred to other rewards programs

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$12,000

Pros

  • The card offers a competitive low interest rate on purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers

  • Comprehensive insurance coverage

  • Complimentary Airport lounge access

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Ideal for travelers as it has no foreign transaction fees

  • Offers a substantial welcome bonus that can be worth up to 60,000 Scene+ points

  • Enjoy premium perks like Hertz #1 Club Gold membership and concierge services.

Cons

  • High annual fee: At $399, the annual fee is steep, which could offset the rewards and benefits for some cardholders

  • Below average rewards rate: Lower compared to other cards with similar or lower annual fees

  • Limited American Express acceptance: Especially outside major cities

  • Rewards potential: The net rewards potential is relatively low when considering the high annual fee

  • Non-transferable points: Scene+ points cannot be transferred to other rewards programs

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$12,000

Scene+ points for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases

2x

No foreign transaction fees

0%

Complimentary airport lounge passes per year

10

Purchase APR

9.99%

Cash Advance APR

9.99%

Annual Fee

$399

Foreign Transaction Fee

0.00%

Conditions Apply. Visit here for the Scotiabank Platinum American Express® card to learn more. *See Card Provider's website and Card Application for complete card details, terms and current offers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accuracy of information. Rates, fees and other information are effective as of Nov.1, 2023. Subject to change.

Âą Offer Description and Conditions: The 60,000 Bonus Scene+ Points Offer (the “Offer”) applies only to new Scotiabank Platinum American Express credit card accounts (“Account”) opened by October 31, 2024 and is subject to the conditions below.  

With paid entry membership

These cards comes with a complimentary Priority Pass membership but you still have to pay for individual passes.

Scotiabank Gold American Express®

Apply now

4.5

up to 45K pts

Welcome offer

Very Good

Suggested credit score

Earn up to $950* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 45,000 bonus Scene+ pointsÂą

Expires

Nov 1, 2024

Pros

  • Lots of daily spend options to earn multiplied point bonuses

  • Swanky Amex perks like Front of the Line presale concert tickets

  • Save on foreign transaction fees when abroad

  • Fantastic insurance coverage, especially for travel

Cons

  • Relatively low-value welcome bonus

  • $120 annual fee that chews into your point value substantially

  • Scene points redeem poorly for travel

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Very Good

Pros

  • Lots of daily spend options to earn multiplied point bonuses

  • Swanky Amex perks like Front of the Line presale concert tickets

  • Save on foreign transaction fees when abroad

  • Fantastic insurance coverage, especially for travel

Cons

  • Relatively low-value welcome bonus

  • $120 annual fee that chews into your point value substantially

  • Scene points redeem poorly for travel

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Very Good

Scene+ pointsÂą on every $1 you spend at Sobeys, Safeway, Freshco, Foodland and more

6x

Scene+ pointsÂą for every $1 you spend on dining, food delivery and other eligible grocery stores. Includes popular food delivery and food subscriptions.

5x

Scene+ pointsÂą for every $1 you spend in Canada eligible entertainment purposes. Includes movies, theatre and ticket agencies stores.

5x

Scene+ pointsÂą for every $1 CAD you spend in Canada on eligible gas and daily transit options. Includes rideshares, buses, subway, taxis and more

3x

Scene+ pointsÂą for every $1 CAD you spend in Canada on eligible select streaming services

3x

Scene+ point for every $1 spent on all other eligible everyday purchases

1x

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

22.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$120

Foreign Transaction Fee

0.00%

Conditions Apply. Visit here for the Scotiabank Gold American Express® card to learn more. *See Card Provider's website and Card Application for complete card details, terms and current offers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accuracy of information. Rates, fees and other information are effective as of July 02,2024. Subject to change.

Âą Offer Description and Conditions: The 45,000 Bonus Scene+ Points and First Year Annual Fee Waiver Offer (the “Offer”) applies only to new Scotiabank Gold American Express credit card accounts (“Accounts”) opened by October 31, 2024 and is subject to the conditions below. We will waive the annual fee for the primary card issued before October 31,2024 on the Account for the first year only. All other terms and conditions of the Program terms continue to apply during the Offer perios. Offer may be changed, cancelled or extended without notice at any time and cannot be combined with any other offers. 

American Express Aeroplan Reserve

Apply now

4.0

up to 85K pts

Welcome offer

Good

Suggested credit score

New American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Cardmembers can earn up to 85,000 Aeroplan points.

Pros

  • Generous signup bonus where you can earn up to 85,000 Aeroplan points

  • High earn rates on Air Canada, dining, and food delivery

  • Extensive travel perks like priority check-in, boarding, and free first checked bag on Air Canada flights

  • Complimentary access to select Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges within North America

  • Toronto Pearson Airport benefits including priority security, complimentary valet parking, and discounts on parking and car care services

  • Annual worldwide companion pass at a fixed base fare between $99 and $599 CAD (plus taxes and fees)

  • $100 NEXUS statement credit every 4 years

  • Robust insurance coverage including emergency medical

  • Access to Amex Experiences such as VIP parties and movie premieres

  • No minimum income requirement

Cons

  • High annual fee of $599

  • Lower acceptance when compared to Visa and Mastercard

  • High spending to unlock signup bonus

  • Limited high-earning categories

  • 2.5% foreign transaction fee

  • Priority perks limited to Air Canada flights

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Required Annual Household Income

$0

Pros

  • Generous signup bonus where you can earn up to 85,000 Aeroplan points

  • High earn rates on Air Canada, dining, and food delivery

  • Extensive travel perks like priority check-in, boarding, and free first checked bag on Air Canada flights

  • Complimentary access to select Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges within North America

  • Toronto Pearson Airport benefits including priority security, complimentary valet parking, and discounts on parking and car care services

  • Annual worldwide companion pass at a fixed base fare between $99 and $599 CAD (plus taxes and fees)

  • $100 NEXUS statement credit every 4 years

  • Robust insurance coverage including emergency medical

  • Access to Amex Experiences such as VIP parties and movie premieres

  • No minimum income requirement

Cons

  • High annual fee of $599

  • Lower acceptance when compared to Visa and Mastercard

  • High spending to unlock signup bonus

  • Limited high-earning categories

  • 2.5% foreign transaction fee

  • Priority perks limited to Air Canada flights

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Required Annual Household Income

$0

the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada®* and Air Canada Vacations®*

3X

the points on eligible Dining and Food Delivery purchases in Canada

2X

the points on everything else

1.25X

Purchase APR

21.99%

Cash Advance APR

21.99%

Annual Fee

$599

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

American Express® Gold Rewards Card

Apply now

4.0

60,000 pts

Welcome offer

Very Good

Suggested credit score

Earn up to 60,000 Membership Rewards® points1*

Pros

  • Generous welcome bonus of up to 60,000 Membership Rewards® points.

  • Convertibility of Member Rewards® points to popular airline and hotel loyalty programs (e.g. Aeroplan, Marriott).

  • Earn two points per dollar on travel, gas, grocery and drugstore purchases.

  • $100 annual travel credit when booking through American Express® Travel online.

  • Built-in travel medical insurance and trip coverage.

Cons

  • $250 annual fee.

  • 2.5% foreign transaction fee.

  • Travel medical insurance only covers those under age 65.

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Very Good

Pros

  • Generous welcome bonus of up to 60,000 Membership Rewards® points.

  • Convertibility of Member Rewards® points to popular airline and hotel loyalty programs (e.g. Aeroplan, Marriott).

  • Earn two points per dollar on travel, gas, grocery and drugstore purchases.

  • $100 annual travel credit when booking through American Express® Travel online.

  • Built-in travel medical insurance and trip coverage.

Cons

  • $250 annual fee.

  • 2.5% foreign transaction fee.

  • Travel medical insurance only covers those under age 65.

Eligibility

Recommended Credit Score

Very Good

Earn 2 MR points per $1 dollar spent on travel (flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises and more)

2

Earn 2 MR points per $1 spent in everyday purchases (gas, groceries and drugstore purchases)

2

Earn 1 MR point per $1 dollar spent on everything else

1

Earn 1 additional MR point for every dollar charged on bookings made through Amex Travel Online

1

Purchase APR

21.99%

Cash Advance APR

21.99%

Annual Fee

$250

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

Priority Pass compared

Priority Pass vs. Dragon Pass Mastercard Airport Experiences and Visa Airport Companion

If you’ve heard of Priority Pass, chances are you’ve also heard of Mastercard’s Airport Experience program and the Visa Airport Companion program. Both of these lounge networks are powered by Dragon Pass. You can access any of these programs through a great travel credit card such as the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite or the BMO Cashback World Elite Mastercard.

Here’s a quick comparison of the Dragon Pass and Priority Pass lounge networks.

Lounge program Priority Pass Dragon Pass
Cost Between $99-$469 annually, can also be paid monthly Depends on your Visa or Mastercard’s annual fee
Benefits â—Ź Access 1,500+ lounges in 145 countries
â—Ź You can easily increase the amount of passes you get by upgrading your membership
â—Ź Access over 1,300+ airport lounges in 140 countries
â—Ź Can come with additional credit card travel perks like priority boarding, free checked baggage
Drawbacks â—Ź Membership may seem costly for some
● Some lounges may not be a part of Priority Pass, like Air Canada’s Maple Leaf lounges
● The amount of passes you get annually depend on your card issuer’s perks
â—Ź May not be able to access as many lounges as Priority Pass

While both of these programs provide access to airport lounges worldwide, Priority Pass has more lounges under its network and flexible membership tiers. But it’s important to note that you can’t enter Air Canada lounges using Priority Pass, but any Dragon Pass membership will allow you to enter an Air Canada lounge.

Priority Pass vs. Amex Global Lounge Collection

The American Express Global Lounge membership is available to select, premium Amex cardholders such as Platinum cardholders and gives you access to over 1,400 lounges worldwide, including lounges such as the Amex Centurion, Priority Pass Select, Delta Sky Club and Plaza Premium lounges. 

Every lounge under the Amex program comes with its entry requirements. The most premium lounges under this program are the Centurion lounges. These exclusive spaces offer travellers a lavish experience, with signature cocktails, gourmet food and premium amenities such as spa services, wine tastings and dedicated family areas. This dramatically contrasts Priority Pass lounges, which may only sometimes come equipped with fancy food and amenities.

Accessing the Amex Global Lounge collection can be worth it if you're a high-earning, frequent traveller. It may come with a high credit card annual fee, but for those who want to experience the best, why not? But if you're budget-conscious, choosing Priority Pass is the best option.

Is Priority Pass worth it?

If you're a frequent traveller or encounter long airport layovers when occasionally travelling, having lounge access through Priority Pass can be worth the investment. The extensive lounge network ensures access, allowing you to relax at busy airports whenever needed.

FAQs

  • How do I get Priority Pass for free in Canada?

    +

    A great rewards credit card in Canada can get you a complimentary Priority Pass membership and free passes. The Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card gets you a Priority Pass membership with 10 annual lounge passes.

  • Can I bring a guest for free with Priority Pass?

    +

    Yes, but the number of complimentary guests you can bring depends on your membership tier or credit card perks (if your Priority Pass is through a credit card). You can simply log into the Priority Pass app on your phone and see how many passes you can use at a time and how many guests you can bring without having to pay extra.

  • Does the Air Canada lounge accept Priority Pass?

    +

    No, Air Canada lounges are not a part of Priority Pass. But you can purchase a lounge day pass to enter any Air Canada lounge. If you have a Mastercard Airport Experiences or Visa Airport Companion lounge membership, you can easily access an Air Canada lounge using your available passes.

Lubna Umar Content Strategist

Lubna Umar has worked in the field of personal finance for over 5 years. She has produced a wide variety of content including personal finance guides and insurance reports for brands like RATESDOTCA and the Financial Post. In her free time, she can be found writing fiction or exploring the café culture in Toronto or any other major city.

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