Airport lounges: How does the Priority Pass program work to access airport lounges?

To the point Here's how the Priority Pass program works, allowing access to partner airport lounges with your credit card.

How does the Priority Pass program work?

*** Update February 10, 2023: Good news! From now on, people wanting to enter a Priority Pass lounge will no longer need to show their physical Priority Pass membership card. Instead, you will need to show the credit card with a Priority Pass subscription and possibly, the membership number available on the Priority Pass app.

Priority Pass is the largest airport lounge network in the world with over 1,300 accessible lounges.

In Canada, there are lounges in most major cities. At Montréal-Trudeau Airport, for example, you can access the National Bank Lounge and the Air France Lounge. In Quebec City the Club Med VIP Lounge; in Ottawa the Aspire Lounge.

Or the Aspire lounge at Toronto Billy Bishop (YTZ) and the many Plaza Premium lounges at Toronto Pearson (YYZ), such as the one in Terminal 1 (domestic flights).

To access these lounges, you must be a Priority Pass member.

Priority Pass membership levels

There are 3 official levels of the Priority Pass program:

  • Standard: in addition to your annual subscription, you must pay for each of your visits and those of your guests
  • Standard Plus: 10 visits are offered each year, but you will have to pay for your guests’ access
  • Prestige: you have unlimited access to all lounges, but you will have to pay for your guests’ access.
Adhésion priority pass Canada

It’s a valuable service for frequent travellers who don’t necessarily have status with their airline but want to relax before/after their flight in the lounge.

It is therefore possible to subscribe directly to Priority Pass. However, we advise less frequent travelers to check out the offers available with credit cards!

Credit Card Subscription to Priority Pass

Beyond the “official” Priority Pass membership levels, there are “unofficial” levels offered by credit card .

Some cards feature Priority Pass in their benefits, but not all offers are equal! Check out these examples.

American Express Platinum Cards

Both American Express Platinum cards offer the highest level of Priority Pass membership. In fact, you will have unlimited access to all the lounges AND you will be able to bring a guest free of charge each time you visit.

That’s better than the official “Prestige” membership offered by Priority Pass at US$ 469 (or $630 CAD) per year! Moreover, this subscription does not even give you the possibility to have a free guest.

To enroll in this benefit, you must call Platinum Card Services at 1-800-263-1616.

Also, American Express Platinum cards give you access to the top-of-the-line American Express Centurion lounges.

If you travel a lot, these cards will be well worth the money.

Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card

With the Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card, you get free Priority Pass and 10 annual lounge passes! Registration must be done on the Priority Pass website.

The ten free annual lounge visits are valid from the date of joining the Priority Pass program.

Mobile Application

Finally, if you are a Priority Pass member, don ‘t forget to download the mobile app. This will give you access – on your iPhone Wallet application – to your Priority Pass profile and available lounges. This comes in handy when traveling!

application priority pass


Here is a summary of the credit card discussed in this article:

  Annual fee Number of annual visits Comments

American Express Platinum Card




Cardholder + 1 guest


Access to the lounges:

The Centurion Lounge

Plaza Premium Lounges

Delta Sky Club

Executive of Swissport

VIP lounge Club Med Jean-Lesage International Airport, Quebec City*

American Express Business Platinum Card


Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card $399 10

No conversion fee for foreign currency transactions

2 points per dollar on all purchases

Premium insurance

*Customers wishing to access the VIP lounge at Jean-Lesage International Airport in Quebec City will need to show their Priority Pass using the mobile application.

Bottom Line

It is always nice to spend time in a lounge rather than in the hustle and bustle of the airport. We regularly take advantage of this in our travels, and you can learn about our experiences in some of our articles:

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Jean-Maximilien Voisine
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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