I pay $450 a year for my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and it gives me a perk so valuable I won’t travel without it

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  • Priority Pass Select is a benefit that comes included with select premium credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
  • With a Priority Pass membership, you can access more than 1,200 lounges and restaurants at airports around the world at no charge.
  • Priority Pass lounges are not limited to travel on a specific airline. You can always use your membership if a location is available.

Some days, it feels like nothing goes right with your trip. Delays, unhelpful airline staff, and grouchy people around the airport can easily drag down your mood when you’re on the way to your next plane. But when you can slip away to a premium travel lounge, you’ll have a much different experience.

Travel lounges are not exclusively reserved for international first class and business travelers. With the right card in hand, you can step into over 1,000 lounges around the world. If that sounds good to you, read more to learn about Priority Pass Select and how you can snag a membership.

What is Priority Pass Select?

Before I got into credit card reward miles and points, I never saw beyond those beautiful, frosted doors that welcomed people I always assumed to be business or very wealthy travelers to exclusive lounges. I soon discovered that those lounges are not as exclusive or cost prohibitive as I’d once believed.

Top-of-the-line airline credit cards often come with access to their own lounges. That’s how I got my first taste of this magical travel experience. I started with the American Airlines Executive card, which included entry to Admirals Club lounges. But that only worked when I actually flew on American. What I have now works no matter what airline I choose.

Priority Pass Select is a program that grants you access to 1,200 affiliated lounges around the world. You can find a lounge in most major airports (40 in the US). And in some airports, you can go to a restaurant and use your Priority Pass card for a $27 credit per person to cover your food and drink purchases.

It doesn’t work everywhere and doesn’t have a lounge in every terminal, but it’s pretty good. If you travel internationally on a regular basis, it’s even better. I’m a huge fan and I’m hooked on using a credit card that includes this huge benefit.

Credit cards with Priority Pass included

I get Priority Pass membership through my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. This card charges a $450 annual fee but includes a $300 annual travel credit good for any hotel, airline, or other eligible travel purchase. Because I would spend the $300 anyway, it makes the cost of my Priority Pass membership effectively $150 per year. For me, that’s well worth it.

I used to get a membership through an Business Platinum® Card from American Express card, but dropped it after a fee increase about a year ago. AmEx recently announced its Priority Pass cards won’t include the restaurant option, so it isn’t as good of an offering as with other cards.

You can also pick up a membership with the Citi Prestige card, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card (only 10 visits per year included), and US Bank Altitude Reserve Infinite Card (four visits per year), according to ValuePenguin.

Each card with Priority Pass typically has a sizable annual fee, but also comes loaded with a wide range of additional benefits. For me, Chase Sapphire Reserve makes the most sense. But that may not be the case for everyone.

Make sure you know what your Priority Pass membership includes

Most Priority Pass cards give you two free guests per visit and charge $27 per additional guest. Some lounges have their own rules, which are easily accessible through the Priority Pass mobile app.

Note that restaurant servers and some lounge personnel may not be fully familiar with how Priority Pass works.

I once took my wife and two kids to a restaurant at the Portland airport when our Southwest flight was delayed. In addition to the compensation provided by Southwest, our Priority Pass gave us $27 per person. I should have made a point to ask them to only check in three of us with the Priority Pass, because I did get charged $27 for the fourth guest.

You definitely don’t want to get hit with a charge for extra guests when you were not expecting one.

If you’re into premium travel, don’t travel without Priority Pass

Now that I know what goes on beyond the frosted doors, I won’t go back. Complimentary food and drinks, fast internet, clean bathrooms, and maybe even a shower are waiting for you on the other side.

Priority Pass Select comes with cards that offer their own miles and points programs, so your membership also comes with opportunities to earn free and discounted flights, hotels, and other travel along the way. I don’t leave for a trip without it.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve from our partner The Points Guy »