Does The Surpass Offer the Best Priority Pass for Families & Infrequent Travelers?

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Amex Surpass Priority Pass Membership

Why The Amex Surpass Priority Pass Membership is Valuable

Priority Pass has been in the news a lot lately, and most of it is negative.  First American Express removed restaurants from their Priority Pass (PP) memberships. I shared why I didn’t think this was a big deal but it is a big deal to many.  And then individual lounges started changing the rules for PP members.  The Club Lounges limited entry to 3 hours before your flight and eliminated children under 12 getting in free.  That last one was a big blow to families that frequent the Club Lounges.  That is why I think the Amex Surpass Priority Pass membership is valuable.  And I think it may be the best option for families or infrequent travelers.

Amex Surpass Priority Pass Membership

Surpass Card’s Details

The Surpass has been around for a while but it was renamed the Ascend for a few years and now it is back to the Surpass. The card is one of my favorite cards on the market and it currently has the best offer it has ever had (ends tomorrow 8/28):

  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points and a Free Weekend Night after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. (LEARN MORE)
  • $95 Annual Fee
  • Earn a free night each year after $15,000 in yearly spend
  • Complimentary Hilton Gold status
  • Our review

You could earn 3 free nights if you are able to knock out $15,000 in spend before January 1st and then another $15,000 after the first of the year.  That is a long weekend almost anywhere there is a Hilton hotel which is pretty amazing!

Amex Surpass Priority Pass Membership

Amex Surpass Priority Pass Membership Details

But lets get into one of the card’s best perks.  The Surpass card has a manageable $95 annual fee which makes it one of the cheapest ways, if not cheapest, to get a Priority Pass membership.  There is a catch, it isn’t a full membership, you get 10 visits per year to a PP lounge for free.

Those 10 visits come with less limitations than a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve which limits you to 2 guests per visit.  For a family of 4, 5 or 6 people that is a problem. With the membership that comes with the Amex Surpass as long as the lounge doesn’t have a guest policy (some limit it to one or two people) you can bring in up to 10 people if you want.  So if you are traveling with 6 people in your group you can guest them into the lounge for free and still have 4 free entries left over.

This is a perfect fit for larger families because no one is left on the outside looking in.  I also said it is a good fit for infrequent travelers because you probably don’t need more than 10 entries per year.  There are cards like the Citi Prestige that covers immediate family or the Ritz Carlton & Crystal Infinite cards that don’t cap guests.  But those all come with large annual fees at $400+ which isn’t feasible for non frequent travelers.

Final Thoughts

I think the Amex Surpass Priority Pass membership is very valuable because it allows you to take larger groups into the lounge.  If you have a big family you could still get everyone into the lounge 1-2 times per year.  Most families don’t travel more than that in the US.  The $95 annual fee is one of the least expensive ways to get a PP membership. And the annual fee is already covered, for the most part, by Hilton Gold Status. Don’t forget the increased welcome offer ends tomorrow and this is the best it has ever been (LEARN MORE).

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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10 COMMENTS

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10 COMMENTS

  1. When does the 10 passes renew? I can’t seem to find anything on that. Plus is there a way to check how many you have left for the year?

    • It goes by your Priority Pass membership year which would probably be right around your card’s anniversary. Priority Pass should be able to confirm the date for you. I think calling them would be the only way to check on how many uses you have too.

  2. I was excited to get the Surpass card for the Priority Pass, but it has proven pretty much useless. Supposedly it works at airline lounges, but in every single case that I have tried to use it the lounges have been “temporarily” closed to PP members. The only time I ever got any use out of my PP was for a couple of restaurant meals at PDX. Now that feature has been discontinued. Has anyone reading this used their Surpass Priority Pass successfully for anything in the past year? If so, where?

    • That doesn’t seem like it has anything to do with the Surpass version though – every Priority Pass membership would have been blocked in that case not matter what card it came from. That does show that the PP program as a whole is losing some value because it is getting over saturated imo.

      • True. The particular set of rules that the Surpass version has are, as you say, perfect for the casual/family traveler. But if PP membership is no longer good for anything, it’s kind of a moot point.

        • Very true – I think a lot depends on which airport you are traveling through and how busy it is. I never have an issue using it in Detroit but somewhere like Seattle or SFO you may run into more problems etc.

  3. So each person who enters the club counts as one of the ten visits allowed per year? In other words, if, on my first visit, I bring nine guests, I’ve used all ten visits?

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