The Priority Pass programme offers access to more than 700 lounge worldwide regardless of airline elite status or type of ticket. To be a member, you can visit the website and choose one of thee plans. I receive complimentary Priority Pass membership through my American Express Platinum card, however it is the Select membership (more on that below).
Effective as of 15 May 2015, Priority Pass members will no longer have access to United Clubs. Priority Pass sent out emails last week to all members informing them of United Airlines’ decision to withdraw from the programme.
When searching for a lounge on the Priority Pass website and clicking on a United Club, you will receive the following notice, informing you of the change. If alternative lounges are available at the airport, they will be mentioned. Below is an example when you search for the United Club in Seattle:
Priority Pass vs. Priority Pass Select
If you have received your Priority Pass membership through a U.S. Financial Institution (a bank in the U.S.), you hold a Priority Pass Select membership, in this case this change will not impact you since Priority Pass Select members do not have access to United Clubs. This is due to the fact that in the United States, Chase Bank has exclusive rights to issue credit cards which have United Club access and therefore American Express and other U.S. banks started to issue Select memberships which excluded United Club access.
If you bought your Priority Pass membership or received it from a non-U.S. bank, then yes, you will be affected and you will no longer be able to access United Clubs as of 15 May. Priority Pass claim they will be adding more lounges at the affected airports since losing United Clubs is a huge blow (there were around 50 United lounges). (They’ve already added 2 lounges in Seattle). For example, as of 15 May, there will be no Priority Pass lounges in San Francisco, a major hub in the United States.
When the change takes place, I’m assuming U.S. financial institutions will begin offering the regular (non-Select) membership to all customers and that the ‘Select’ membership will disappear since there won’t be any need for it anymore.
Overall, yes, it is a huge blow to the Priority Pass programme and many members may be affected. However, Priority Pass will soon be adding more lounges worldwide to ‘make up’ for the loss.