Just a warning .. We are new members and have not been able to access lounges at LAX and Anchorage because they were not accepting Priority Passes. We had several conversations with other travelers who have had the same experience at other airports around the world. Feels like a bait and switch to us. We were not able to receive a refund since we're past the 14 days they allow for refunds. Totally frustrating!!
Are the restrictions in the fine print somewhere?
The Lounge in Anchorage is operated by Alaska, and Priority Pass warns that access might be restricted by capacity constraints. It is also under reconstruction which I daresay won't help in this regard. Unclear which Lounge you couldn't enter in LAX, but Lounges being overcrowded is not uncommon in the peak travel periods. Airline operated ones generally give preference to their own lounge schemes and elite flyers rather than third party access.
Yes, the fine print does say the Priority Pass does not guarantee "in any way" that any of the lounges will be available. So, customer be aware! Yet the website says "we promise to provide the very best service 24hr day.." etc. and "just present your card to gain access". Regardless, we bought the membership to use lounges, which we have not been able to do.
This is NOT A SCAM WHATSOEVER.
There is no bait and switch.
Priority Pass explains in the conditions of use which you shared that they cannot guarantee entry for PP members but will do their best as you shared above. I travel on business 3-4 times per month and have never wanted to partake in PP because it is clear how there is no guarantee of entry as each airport club has its own rules. They reveal that in their conditions of use section.
Third Party Organisations: Lounge and Merchants are owned and operated
by third party organisations. Customer and guests must abide by the
rules and policies of each location, and Customer accepts provision of
a Priority Pass Card for a Lounge or Merchant location does not
guarantee continued access and is subject to capacity restrictions.
Customer accepts that Priority Pass has no control over the Lounge or
Merchant’s decision on whether to admit any Customer, the number of
people allowed in any location at any time, facilities offered, the
opening/closing times, the length of time which Customers may spend in
the location, any charges payable for extended Lounge or Merchant
location visits, or the personnel employed. Priority Pass will use
reasonable endeavors to ensure the benefits and facilities are
available as advertised, but the Customer accepts that Priority Pass
does not warrant, nor guarantee in any way, that all or any of the
benefits and facilities will be available at the time of the
You said you were not able to access LAX & Anchorage. According to the PP lounge directory, LAX has 6 lounges and 4 of them state that entry is not guaranteed as it is based on capacity. Anchorage has one lounge in the directory and it is spelled out that entry can be restricted based on capacity.
Here is the worldwide Lounge Directory PDF.
Yes, again, I agree it is spelled out in fine print that PP cannot guarantee entry into a lounge. If we'd thought that would ever be a problem, we would not have bought membership. And, at both lounges we tried to gain access to, other customers were allowed access - it was only the Priority Pass members that were denied. They were not at capacity in the lounge, just "at capacity" for Priority Pass members.
No idea if this operates in the USA, but some busy lounges independent of airline ownership in the UK that accept PP (as well as other affiliations including airlines) offer guaranteed entry for a small-ish additional fee in advance (actual entrance still paid by PP etc). This is sometimes accompanied by being able to access the priority security line as well, so there is always some benefit, even if the space would have been available.
No scam here, just a dissatisfied customer. There is a big difference !
I have priority pass membership through my credit card and use it throughout the US and Europe. What I don’t do is try to access Alaska Airlines Lounges...
It works for me. The OP shows that it may not work for everyone.
This is probably a good reminder for anyone interested in the program to read the fine print. It’s not really a scam, but it probably feels like one to you. While it may look like a lounge has plenty of room, lounges that belong to a specific airline know what planes are arriving or departing and when the lounge will fill. The airlines don’t want their own customers unhappy.
Maybe not a scam, but definitely a rip-off.
Thanks for the information.
With all the various partnerships and access arrangements between countless parties, this kind of issue has become increasingly common. Keep in mind one can join Priority Pass directly, but I'd suspect most Priority Pass memberships come through their partnerships with credit cards (AmEx Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve for instance). So with something like an actual airline lounge, you have folks who are eligible through their relationship with the airline itself - frequent flyer status, booking class, what have you - and then you also have folks who are getting access through that airline's lounge partners (Alaska lounges have a partnership with American Airlines Admiral's Clubs, for instance). Then you get the folks who've purchased yearly memberships to an airline branded lounge, people paying for one-day access, people who have a credit card that gets them access, and so on. There are seemingly countless ways to get access to a lounge, and this is before even touching on companion and guest access!
If I'm not mistaken, Alaska Airlines lounges stopped accepting Priority Pass memberships in Seattle entirely fairly recently because of capacity issues and overcrowding.
Your safest bet is to go with the most direct route - if it's Alaska Airlines lounges you're most often wanting to access or you mainly fly in and out of their hubs, a membership with their own lounge program might be your best bet; if it's your AmEx Platinum Card that gets you in to lounges, Centurion Lounges would be your best bet. With many airport lounges wanting to make sure they don't suffer from overcrowding (as we can all agree an overcrowded lounge is just a waste of everyone's time), it's usually the +1s, one day pass purchasers, and partner customers that get refused first so they can still welcome their direct members.
Things that displease or do not live up to expectations are always scams or “tourist traps” for some people.
This kind of reminds me of using airline miles to purchase a plane ticket. In the case of United, you can use their miles to book flights with alliance partner airlines (i.e., using United miles to book a Singapore Airlines flight). However, I've tried this many times and it's next to impossible to find availability with that partner airline (again, using Singapore as an example) even though if you go to Singapore's website you'll see plenty of flights/seats. It's a matter of privilege tiers. Those not paying cash and worse, with miles from a partner airline, and are not a direct customer.....aren't going to have any priorities. :(