What to Know About Chase Sapphire Reserve Lounge Access

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the hottest premium credit cards on the market and justifiably so. It comes with a number of solid perks like 3X on dining and travel, a $300 travel credit, travel redemptions at 1.5 cents per point, and some very solid purchase and travel protections. One additional benefit that the Reserve comes with is access to airports lounges. But what exactly can you expect with Chase Sapphire Reserve lounge access?

Chase Sapphire Reserve lounge access
Bidvest Premier Lounge in Cape Town, South Africa.

Chase Sapphire Reserve lounge access

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers Priority Pass lounge access. If you aren’t aware, Priority Pass is a global network of airport lounges that number over 1,000. Priority Pass offers different types of memberships but the type of membership given to Chase Sapphire Reserve holders is the equivalent of “Prestige” which would normally cost you $400 and wouldn’t even allow free guests — so this is an extremely valuable perk just in terms of its monetary value.

Chase Sapphire Reserve lounge access.
Priority Pass membership tiers.

It’s worth noting that only approximately 5% of Priority Pass lounges are located inside the US. And while there are more Priority Pass lounges popping up all the time, many feel that these domestic lounges are much too crowded.

Chase Sapphire Reserve lounge access
Priority Pass arrivals lounge at SIN.

Priority Pass lounges vary in quality and services offered. Some might offer showers, hot food items, complimentary alcohol, modern decor, spacious multi-floor seating, and great views of the tarmac, while others might consist of merely a large room with canned sodas, chips, and some painfully slow internet.

Still, even though the quality differs among these Priority Pass lounges, I’ve been overall pleased with my Chase Sapphire Reserve lounge access, especially while traveling abroad. I’ve visited some very nice lounges that have offered me some crucial rest when I needed it the most.

Chase Sapphire Reserve lounge access
Bidvest Premier Lounge in Cape Town, South Africa.

Who gets Priority Pass lounge access with the Sapphire Reserve?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve was unique when it was released in that it offered the Priority Pass access to the cardholder and to every guest traveling on the same itinerary. As a point of comparison the Platinum Card from American Express only allows two guests and the Citi Prestige limits access to two guests/immediate family (I still think the Platinum Card has the best lounge access).

Chase defines the guests allowed into the lounge as “all guests in your travel party” and the accompanying Priority Pass literature states access is offered to “you and your accompanying guests.” This means that at least in theory you could access a Priority Pass with a ridiculously large entourage (though I suggest trying to be reasonable).

It’s important to keep in mind that the Sapphire Reserve lounge guest policy is also subject to the discretion of the airport lounge. So, for example, it’s possible that you and 4 family members could be on the same itinerary but not given access to a lounge due to capacity restraints. It’s also possible that the lounge may have a policy prohibiting additional guests, regardless of capacity.

Thus, it’s recommended to check on the specific admission policies of the lounge(s) you intend to visit ahead of time.

Chase Sapphire Reserve lounge access
The Club Lounge at MCO.

How to sign-up for Priority Pass

You cannot forget to activate your Priority Pass membership after you get approved for the Sapphire Reserve because it does not automatically get activated.

Once you have your Sapphire Reserve online account setup, log-in and go to Ultimate Rewards. Form there, click on “Card Benefits” and then the “Activate Now” button. That will activate the benefit for you and any authorized users you have added to your account. Your membership will remain active until you close the card.

If you add your authorized user after activating the card for yourself, just call in to Chase and let them know what you’re trying to do.

Remember to bring your Priority Pass card

Chase Sapphire Reserve lounge access

You need to remember to bring your physical card with you. Merely holding the Sapphire Reserve credit card in your possession will not be enough to get you access into the lounge. And although it’s possible to gain access with the app (“the digital membership card”), not all lounges will take the digital card. So I always try to keep my physical card on me when traveling.

What if I forget my card?

If for some reason you forget to carry your Priority Pass card with you, you can charge the lounge access on your Sapphire Reserve and Chase might reimburse you for the expense. I’ve been told they will do this, but I would not 100% rely on this (especially more than once) because this sounds like something where your mileage could vary.

Final word

Overall, the Chase Sapphire Reserve lounge access is solid in that you can bring all guests of your party into the lounge (subject to the lounge’s discretion). While I love the flexibility of being able to bring in multiple people to the lounge, if I were primarily concerned with lounges, I’d look heavily into the Platinum Card since it offers broader access to other lounges.

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