How to Use Priority Pass When There Are No Lounges

Almost anything is better than waiting at the gate.

Important points

  • Priority Pass is the most common travel rewards card lounge program offered, but some airports and/or terminals do not have lounges.
  • Priority Pass members can enjoy one complimentary hour in a One Minute Suite counts as one lounge visit.
  • There are dozens of restaurants that are part of the Priority Pass network, but only certain members have access; If you do, you can enjoy a free meal with Priority Pass credit.

One of my favorite travel rewards card benefits is access to the airport lounge. And for most travel cards, lounge access is basically the equivalent of a Priority Pass membership.

In most cases this is fine. Priority Pass is a pretty decent network with lounge options at most major airports. But there are still airports — or in some cases terminals — that lack Priority Pass-accessible lounges.

However, you may not be entirely unlucky. What some people may not know is that the Priority Pass network is not exclusive to lounges. It also includes some non-lounge options at select airports.

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Minute Suites

Dubbed “The Traveler’s Retreat” on their website, Minute Suites are like tiny hotel rooms (except you’ll typically find a king-size sofa/daybed instead of a bed with a mattress). Minute Suites often have computers and TVs, and may even have access to showers (additional fees for showers may apply).

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You can find Minute Suites at 10 different US airports, including:

  • Atlanta (ATL)
  • Baltimore/Washington (BWI)
  • Charlotte (CTW)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Detroit (DTW)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Nashville (BNA)
  • LaGuardia (LGA)
  • Philly (PHL)

A qualifying Priority Pass membership grants you access to a one-hour stay in a One Minute Suite. In other words, a Minute Suite stay for one hour counts as one lounge visit. You can stay for additional time at a rate of $34 per additional hour. Up to three guests can stay with you in your Minute Suite at no extra charge.


Another non-lounge option for some members are the dozens of restaurants that are part of the Priority Pass network. You can find options at both domestic and international airports.

Essentially, your Priority Pass card acts as a payment card at the restaurant. The primary member will receive a $28 credit on their bill at participating restaurants. You can also get up to $28 credit for a guest at most restaurants.

(I had a lovely meal just steps from my gate during a layover in Washington DC, and the credits covered everything except the tip! I recommend tipping the full bill.)

Note that you will only receive credit if you are traveling alone. You can’t double dip if you don’t have a guest on your bill. Some restaurants may allow more than one guest, but that seems rare in my experience.

It’s generally good etiquette to mention that you’re using your Priority Pass card when you’re seated. Some restaurants pull your menu in advance, while others wait until your meal is finished.

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unfortunately, Not all Priority Pass memberships include restaurant access. You must have obtained your membership from your Chase credit card or purchased a qualifying membership directly from Priority Pass. (Capital One used to offer access to the restaurant as part of its Priority Pass membership, but that ended last year.)

A great advantage, made even better

Airport lounge access is an amazing card benefit that I cannot recommend highly enough. (Right now I’m enjoying lounges so much that if I didn’t have access through my cards I’d probably pay for them.) But if access to airport lounges isn’t an option, my Priority Pass membership can still save the day — or at least the stopover.

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