Priority Pass looks beyond the airport, adding new railway lounges

As train travel becomes more popular and practical, Priority Pass members can still begin their journey in a lounge.

By Chris Chamberlin, January 16 2020
Priority Pass looks beyond the airport, adding new railway lounges

Best known for its collection of partnered lounges at airports around the globe, Priority Pass is now adding railway lounges into its network: planting its flag at key stations in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Passengers travelling with Russian Railways from Moscow’s Leningradsky Station and Saint Petersburg’s Moskovsky Station can now access the company’s Business Lounges via Priority Pass up to three hours before their train’s scheduled departure time.

Entry is granted when a traveller presents both their Priority Pass card and their confirmed same-day rail ticket at reception, with the same being true for members of the LoungeKey scheme: which, as with Priority Pass, is operated by Collinson Group.

Andy Besant, Director of Travel Experiences at Collinson, said: “The innovative move to add two railway lounges to the Priority Pass network signals our ongoing commitment to expand, differentiate, and adapt our global offerings to respond to the evolving needs of frequent travellers.”

Prior to joining the Priority Pass and LoungeKey programs, the company worked with Russian Railways to tweak the look and feel of the spaces, as well as the in-lounge experience to “combine the premium lounge experience air travellers love, with the convenience of rail travel.”

Counting these railway additions – which follow a 2018 trial of railway lounge access in Russia during the World Cup – Priority Pass members now have access to 103 lounges in the world’s largest country: part of Priority Pass’ global network of 1,300+ lounges across 148 countries.

Russian Railways’ Business Lounges in Moscow, Saint Petersburg

Welcoming passengers 24 hours a day, both the Business Lounge at Moscow’s Leningradsky Station and the Business Lounge at Saint Petersburg’s Moskovsky Station provide spaces for passengers to sit back and relax before their journey.

There’s no shortage of necessary coat racks in either lounge, with TVs available in certain areas displaying both broadcast programming and the station’s train schedule, joined by a selection of reading material.

Many of the seats provide easy access to power, and there's WiFi, too.

Buffet dining is complimentary, as are most drinks including beer, wine, Nespresso coffee and other non-alcoholic drinks. Premium selections and cocktails attract a charge.

Both lounges also provide a separate children’s play area and games room, while the lounge in Moscow offers shower facilities too.

Complimentary shoe shine facilities are available in both cities.

Also read: S7 Airlines lounge review, Moscow Domodedovo Airport

Priority Pass for AMEX cardholders

At the time of writing, Priority Pass cardholders whose membership is supplied by American Express are currently unable to access these railway lounges.

In August 2019, AMEX blocked these same Priority Pass members’ access to lounge alternatives such as a dining credit at participating airport restaurants, cafes and bars, which had been providing savvy travellers with $36 of complimentary food and drink per visit.

At the time, AMEX explained the restriction by sharing that “our lounge access benefits are intended to provide card members with premium lounge spaces to relax and unwind in while traveling the globe.”

In confirming the current situation, an American Express Australia spokesperson tells Executive Traveller that while the company "can‘t confirm what’s planned for the future, we’re always looking for ways to enhance our offering to Card Members."

With American Express cards issued in other countries offering access to railway lounges – such as to Eurostar Business Premier Lounges for UK-issued AMEX Platinum Card customers – access to railway lounges would be a valuable addition fo these Priority Pass members, particularly as train travel grows in popularity and practicality.

Also read: AMEX axes Priority Pass meal credit at airports

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.


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