Is the New Citi Prestige Lounge Access Benefit Really That Generous For Families?

I recently got the Citi Prestige card through the in-branch 60k offer. It is a complicated card of many benefits, a number of which are changing October 19, 2014, summarized high-level here.

Citi Prestige Benefits

The card has two airport lounge programs.

First is American Airlines Admirals Club which is not changing. The Primary Cardholder, when traveling on American, may access  the club with “either immediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age) or up to two traveling guests.” Authorized users do not have this benefit. This is already more generous than, say the Amex Delta Reserve card which only grants Delta Sky Club access to the cardholder.

The other lounge benefit, which until October 18 is Airport Angel, includes both primary cardholder and authorized users, but any guests are charged $27.

From October 19 that moves to Priority Pass, similar to the American Express Platinum card in that United Club’s are excluded. What interests me from the terms is “Primary and Authorized users are granted complimentary access to the Priority Pass lounges and allowed a maximum of up to two guests or immediate family members (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age). Any additional guests will be charged a $27 per guest, per visit charge.”

Typically with Priority Pass, such as with the American Express Platinum, ANY guests beyond the cardholder are charged the $27. Even memberships directly sold by Priority Pass charge $27 for each guest.

So, are these terms badly worded or does Citi really intend to offer two complimentary guests? I can see this makes sense to match up with the AA Admirals Club access, however have not seen it elsewhere with Priority Pass and wonder if their systems or partner lounges can support.

If two guests are free, Citi Prestige becomes arguably the best US credit card for lounge access. And at only $50 per authorized user, it is reasonable to scale for larger families (reminder Priority Pass only, not AA).

Unlike Airport Angel, members will receive a separate Priority Pass cards so a family member you might not trust with a credit card can be an authorized user for lounge access while you retain the credit card. I have a feeling some people may try to scale this at $50/year for Priority Pass.

Readers, what do you think? Come Oct 19 will your spouse cost you $27 at Priority Pass lounges?

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