Earlier this year when American Express announced that they were terminating their airport club agreements with American Airlines and US Airways, I wrote an article explaining how Priority Pass, which is free with the American Express, could be a travelers’ saving grace. After all, Priority Pass has club agreements with American Airlines in Honolulu and San Juan, Puerto Rico along with other Latin American Destinations and most US Airway Club locations accepted Priority Pass. I speculated that if AA/US didn’t terminate their agreements with Priority Pass that the American Express would still be able to open doors to many American Airline Admiral Clubs and US Airway Clubs across the world. I hate to admit this, but I ended up being wrong.
In this month’s electronic newsletter from Priority Pass, titled “New Lounge Update” the company boosted about their four new lounge partners, including the Art & lounge at NY Newark’s airport, but made no mention of a mass exodus of lounges all on March 22, 2014. Priority Pass instead quietly announced the termination of member’s access to both airlines airport lounges in the regional update section of the newsletter, which isn’t actually in the email, but instead links to another website. I typically ignore this section, but with changes to the US/AA Amex partnership, I wanted to explore more.
This is what I found:
Effective 22MAR14 the US Airways Club Lounges in the following locations will no longer be part of the program:-
Boston (MA) – Logan International (BOS) – Terminal B.
Buffalo (NY) – Niagara International (BUF).
Greensboro (NC) – Piedmont Triad International (GSO) – US Airways Concourse.
Hartford (CT) – Bradley International (BDL) – US Airways Concourse.
New York (NY) – New York La Guardia International (LGA) – Concourse C.
Philadelphia (PA) – International (PHL) – Concourse A, Concourse B/C and Concourse F.
Phoenix (AZ) – Sky Harbor International (PHX) – Concourse 4B.
Pittsburgh (PA) – International (PIT) – Airside Core.
Raleigh-Durham (NC) – International – Terminal 2.
Tampa (FL) – International – Concourse F.
Washington DC (DCA) – Ronald Regan National – Terminal 2.
Effective 22MAR14 the American Airlines Admirals Club Lounges at the following locations will no longer be part of the program:-
Toronto – Lester B. Pearson International (YYZ) – Terminal 3.
Honolulu – International (HNL).
Sao Paulo – Guarulhos International (GRU) – Terminal 2.
Santiago – C. Arturo Merino-Benitez International (SCL) – International Terminal.
Mexico City – Benito Juarez International (MEX) – International Terminal 1.
San Juan – International (SJU) – Domestic Terminal C.
I was extremely hopeful that Priority Pass would still be able to grant me access to some of my favorite AA lounges after the partnership with American Express ended. Clearly this was just a pipe dream and the American Express airport lounge benefit program has been further devalued. AA has been advertising that the Citi Executive card. I am still hopeful that American Express will announce a new membership perk option in the coming months to make up for the loss of this benefit, but at this time it is not looking very likely.
Priority Pass is still a very useful American Express card benefit, especially when traveling internationally, as most airports have a Priority Pass lounge for travelers. Their network is still over 600 lounges strong worldwide and offers access to some of my favorite lounges in the US including Alaska Airline Board Rooms and Virgin America’s LOFT at LAX. If you are traveling internationally and do not hold airline elite status, then Priority Pass is your best friend, but let’s be honest, most people who travel as often as people do who have Priority Pass probably have lounge access granted for free by mid-tier or top-tier elite status when on an international itinerary. So if this is the case, how useful is this benefit – just some food for thought.