See our Advertiser Disclosure and Editorial Note here.
It may surprise some readers, but I’ve never applied for a credit card because of Priority Pass benefit. It’s not that I don’t consider it useful, it’s just that we don’t travel all that often. As a result, this benefit can be hit or miss. I’ve taken trips to Europe where we had to connect in multiple airports. So I figured surely, we would get our money’s worth, so to speak. But nope.
Either connections were too short, or the walk to the lounge was too long, so my husband didn’t want to bother. On the other hand, during our anniversary trip to the South Pacific, lounge access came in really handy. It was a tangible benefit that saved us real money, and we didn’t even have to go out of our way to take advantage of it.
Tasty (and free!) food in Strata lounge in Auckland airport
Fortunately, thanks to huge bonuses on premium credit cards, the decision to apply is often easy. It’s always about the points. But most of these cards have free Priority Pass membership baked in, a nice little extra. This benefit varies, but it’s extraordinary generous on Capital One Venture X product.
Not only does the primary user get free unlimited access (plus two free guests), but authorized users get it as well. Since there is no cost to add an authorized user, it opens up many possibilities. I suspect that Capital One will trim this benefit in the future, but for now it’s party time.
Adding myself, my sister, mom and sister-in-law to husband’s Capital One account
The only reason to avoid adding yourself as an authorized user to someone’s account is if you are concerned about 5/24 Chase rule. The card does go on your credit report, so keep that in mind. I’ve long stopped worrying about 5/24 rule, plus Priority Pass access may come in handy during our upcoming trip to Europe.
My sister-in-law rarely applies for credit cards, so it’s definitely not a concern to her. As far as my relatives in Belarus, they don’t even have SSNs. And yes, you can add a foreigner as an authorized user on your US-issued credit card. Capital One didn’t even ask for SSN when I added my mom and sister.
American Express does require you to add SSN during activation, but if you do a chat, the agent will accept a passport number. At least that was the case with us. Adding my mom and sister was pretty straightforward, except I put in my mailing address.
The idea was to send them their Capital One credit cards, as well Priority Pass cards via registered mail. This is where we hit a snag. Their flight will leave in a few days, but after almost three months, the cards still haven’t made it to Belarus.
Fortunately, most lounges will accept a digital pass via your Priority Pass app. However, explaining to my mom how to download it and log in was a challenge, to put it mildly.
I sent her all the instructions and told her to copy username and password. She told me it wasn’t working for her. We kept messing with it, until she mentioned that she added a space in the username. Just because. She said she didn’t think it would make a difference. What part of “copy it exactly” do you not understand?
Anyway, we got it figured out and now my mom and sister are both proud members of Priority Pass network. And of course, my two nephews and dad can also enter at no cost with their help.
Why my mom is so excited about this perk
My mom is the most frugal person I know. I remember when I took her to an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet here in the US for the first time. To her it was an equivalent of what Disney World is to my son. She absolutely hates spending money, but when she does, it better offer an exceptional value.
So, the idea of being able to enter an airport lounge and eating to your heart’s content for free just blows her mind. In my family’s case, they can potentially access the lounge at Minsk airport and get breakfast before their early morning flight.
But the real value most likely lies in accessing IGA lounge in Istanbul airport. They will have a four-hour layover in both directions, so this is a huge potential money-saver. They would have to pay for food otherwise. This lounge looks amazing, at least based on the photos. If you’ve been in it, I’m curious to hear your thoughts.
The one-time pass to this lounge actually costs 50 euros per person, not something my family would ever spend. Based on photos, there is also comfortable seating, which is a plus for my dad, whose health isn’t so great these days.
This whole trip will be extremely exhausting, since their flight from Minsk to Istanbul will last six hours instead of two due to war in Ukraine. I’m hoping the lounge access will make it a bit more pleasant. Of course, I’m in no way comparing their inconvenience to what the Ukrainians are dealing with right now.
Istanbul airport has an area with sleeping pods, also part of Priority Pass network. Frankly, the pods look like futuristic coffins to me, but they can definitely come in handy if you have a layover during the night.
I doubt my mom will go here and the reason is simple. No free food to be had inside the pod. Plus, they are scheduled to fly during the day.
I’m hoping to take advantage of Priority Pass as well, during our multiple layovers. But I know I won’t appreciate it as much as my mom would. I can’t wait to hear her glowing review of Istanbul lounge. Mostly, because it will mean they were actually able to fly out of Belarus.
While Capital One Venture X is a great card, the bonus right now is 75k points (was 100k a few months ago). Unless you have a lot of relatives who can take advantage of Priority Pass, I would probably hold off applying right now. Instead, you may want to look into Capital One Venture Rewards (see Nancy’s post) if like me, you are in this hobby mostly for the points.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.