Priority Pass is the world’s largest independent lounge network, and members have access to 950 lounges worldwide. Many of us know them from the membership that comes with a credit card, but a number of people also buy memberships outright. There are three tiers of membership:
- Standard ($99/year): $27 per member visit, $27 per guest
- Standard Plus ($249/year): 10 Free member visit, then $27 per member visit, $27 per guest
- Prestige ($399/year): Unlimited member visit, $27 per guest
Japan Airlines just announced that they are announcing a new partnership with Priority Pass. Starting today, Mileage Bank members can redeem their miles for Priority Pass membership. Specifically, you can use 40,000 JAL miles for a Prestige membership, which normally costs $399 a year. Jun Kato, Executive Officer of Japan Airlines, says:
We believe that Priority Pass will greatly enhance the convenience and comfort of the airport experience and as a result, increase the loyalty of all our JAL Mileage Bank members. This collaboration will cater to all our Members around the world and they will now be able to enjoy a comprehensive network of over 950 lounges worldwide, through the easy conversion of their JAL Mileage Bank Miles.
This is the first time an airline has allowed redemption for Priority Pass memberships. That’s not really surprising, since elite members and those flying in premium cabins usually already get lounge access. In theory, this would only significantly benefit non-elites and those flying coach. However, I’d argue that there are much better ways to use your JAL miles, and much better ways to get a Priority Pass membership.
There Are Better Ways to Use 40,000 JAL Miles
With a JAL Miles redemption, you are getting less than 1 cent per point in value. That’s a pretty terrible redemption. For 40,000 JAL miles, you can fly one-way from Tokyo to Sydney in Business Class!
JAL also partners with Emirates, and if all you had were 40,000 miles, there are still plenty of good options. Even 35,000 JAL Miles will get you a one-way ticket from Dubai to Istanbul, in Business Class!
There Are Better Ways to Get the Priority Pass
Many premium credit cards offer a Priority Pass membership. Just as examples, the The Platinum Card® from American Express basically offers the Priority Pass Prestige membership, where the cardmember gets unlimited access, and each guest costs $27. The Citi Prestige card offers a Priority Pass membership that comes with unlimited access with 2 extra guests. The Chase Sapphire Reserve takes it one step further, offering unlimited guests with its Priority Pass.
All of these cards come with a $450 annual fee, but beside the Priority Pass, they provide a ton of other perks that make them well worth it. If you are serious about traveling, getting one of these premium credit cards might be the better way to get a Priority Pass membership.
To be honest, I can’t say I fully understand the point of this partnership. The people who have enough miles to burn for Priority Pass membership probably don’t need one. Meanwhile, the people who could really benefit should use their miles for something else. But I guess having options is always nice…