Minute Suites Review (and Using Your Priority Pass)
As much as my wife and I love to travel, there are times when the logistics and realities of hopping around the globe can be a bit daunting. Take, for example, the multiple times when our only viable itinerary options require us to spend the night in one of this country’s great airports. On previous journeys, we’ve passed this time by wandering and exploring every corner of the airport in question before settling on the least objectionable area to try to catch some shut-eye. However, on our most recent trip, we decided to try something different and spend a couple of hours in a Minute Suite location.
So was this departure from the typical for the best? Let’s take a look at my Minute Suites experience and how my newly minted Priority Pass helped make it possible.
What to Know About Minute Suites
What are Minute Suites?
Billed as “The Traveler’s Retreat,” Minute Suites offers private rooms where flyers can grab a nap, work in peace, or just relax during a layover. Minute Suites locations allow travelers to book a room in 15-minute increments (after a minimum of one hour) but also offer an eight-hour overnight flat rate. As you’ll see, each suite has a number of amenities that make them attractive to those who want to escape the troubles of the main terminal for just a couple of hours.
Where are Minute Suites located?
There are Minute Suites locations at several airports across the United States. This includes two locations at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport — one at Concourse T and one at Concourse B (I tried the B concourse one). Currently other locations include one in Baltimore (BWI), two in Charlotte (CLT), two in Dallas (DFW), and one in Philadelphia (PHI).
What is Priority Pass?
Priority Pass is an airport lounge network that grants members access to more than 1,300 locations worldwide. While memberships can be purchased directly, there are also several premium credit and charge cards that include Priority Pass. Some of these card options include the Chase Saphire Reserve and the American Express Platinum card.
How does Priority Pass work at Minute Suites?
Although Priority Pass primarily offers access to traditional airport lounges, it also has agreements with some non-lounges, with Minute Suites being among them. Since Minute Suites isn’t your typical lounge, the benefits Priority Pass members can enjoy at these locations are a bit different. At this time, Minute Suites grants Priority Pass members a complementary one-hour stay. On top of that, additional hours can be purchased at a discount rate of $28 an hour (the going rate is $42/hour). What’s also great is that Minute Suites offers online booking and lists Priority Pass stays as an option you can select when making your reservation.
My Experience at Minute Suites (ATL)
Checking in and using my Priority Pass
It was about 1 a.m. when I decided that, as opposed to nodding off in a corner of Hartsfield-Jackson’s F concourse, I should put my Priority Pass to its first test and give Minute Suites a try. However, before making the long walk (well, walk followed by train) to Concourse B, I checked the Minute Suite website to ensure they still had some availability. Thankfully, it showed several available booking times for one of the five suites — the aptly named Atlanta suite. While it seems I could have reserved my spot online, I assumed it was better to just hurry over.
Given the nature of Minute Suites, it makes perfect sense that it’d be open 24 hours. Nevertheless, with the rest of the airport being such a ghost town, I was a tad bit worried that there’d be a “closed” sign on the desk when I approach. Instead, to my delight, there was indeed someone there to greet me. Even better, she informed me that they did indeed have availability for the stay duration I requested.
Before she could start checking me in, I mentioned that I had a Priority Pass. Having read stories about how some lounges occasionally turn away Priority Pass members for capacity reasons, I did brace for some excuse as to why the free-hour offer was not currently being honored. However, this thankfully never happened and, instead, I’m pretty sure she just responded, “Perfect.”
To continue the check-in, I needed to provide my I.D., my Priority Pass, and a credit card. As it turns out, while I didn’t end up booking my reservation online, I did manage to create an account (I just forgot I had done so). This made the check-in process a bit easier and meant I could get napping that much sooner.
Since Priority Pass entitled me to one free hour at Minute Suites, I only needed to pay for the second hour. Although this fee is $28, they do add tax, bringing my grand total to $30.38. Once I was paid up, she showed me to my suite — one of only five this particular location had.
Inside my suite
When you think of suites, you probably think of larger hotel rooms that contain a living area in addition to the standard bedroom. In that aspect, I suppose these should really be called “Minute Studios” because each is a small, single room. However, packed into a small space, there are a number of amenities and clever touches.
We’ll start with what is the most important aspect of your stay in my estimation: the bed — well, daybed. Actually, this daybed bears a far greater resemblance to a regular couch than a bed, but it is a trundle, meaning that you can pull out a lower section for a second guest. This was a welcomed surprise as, upon initially entering the suite, I was a little curious how both my wife and I would fit onto the tiny surface. Admittedly, the daybed wasn’t the most comfortable thing I’ve ever slept on, but it was undoubtedly better than the terminal chairs or floors that severed as my alternatives. Plus, the blanket and pillows that were provided to us at check-in certainly helped as well.
Perhaps the second-most-important feature of my Minute Suite was the air conditioning. Although October in Atlanta isn’t quite as steamy as, say, June, having some airflow in such a tiny room is definitely key. Thus, each room comes equipped with its own thermostat.
Speaking of A/C, when I first walked into the suite, I heard what I assumed to be the air flowing out of the vents. In reality, this was actually the sound of the white noise machine installed in each room. There’s also a volume knob so that you can turn this up or down. In our experience, it wasn’t immediately clear that the white noise would come in handy. However, after a few minutes, we realized that there were still some terminal noises that could be heard from our little retreat, such as those occasional announcements about watching your bags, reporting suspicious activity, and the like (by the way, our suite was closest to the main hallway, so these noises might be diminished a bit in other rooms). Therefore, we were happy to have the neutral noise instead — especially since it wasn’t the static-sound I was anticipating.
Rounding out the features we appreciated about Minute Suites, for such a small room, it was filled with outlets. This definitely came in handy as my wife and I wanted to recharge our phones and watches while we recharged ourselves. In addition to the standard outlets, there were also USB plugs, giving us plenty of options for powering all of our devices.
As for the features we didn’t use, there is a decent-sized television in the room along with a nice working desk. There was also a selection of snacks and beverages for sale, including a mini-fridge filled with drinks. While we didn’t buy anything, I did notice that the prices were fairly reasonable by airport standards and didn’t really approach mini-bar markups — although some items seemed steeper than others. For what it’s worth, the attendant also seemed to have no issue with us bringing in the beverages we already had, so that’s an option as well.
Was It Worth It?
After staying at Minute Suites, I think the two-hours we booked is really optimal. Unless you’re super efficient with power naps, the free hour you’re entitled to with your Priority Pass seems too short. And while I might have liked to stay for an extra hour, the $28 per hour price tag — which, again, is reduced — is pretty high. However, paying just upwards of $30 (after tax) for two of use to snag a two-hour nap in a private and comparatively quiet area seems about right. Therefore, when I inevitably have another overnight at ATL or another airport boasting a Minute Suites, I’ll be sure to book my two-hour stay in advance.
No matter how you slice it, Minute Suites is not your typical airport lounge experience. Despite this, their participation in the Priority Pass program made my recent overnight ATL layover a lot easier. Thanks to the discounted rate my membership offered me, my Minute Suites stay went from expensive last resort to reasonable retreat. As a result, I recommend Priority Pass members give Minute Suites a try on their next extended airport stay.