Man Hits Up Priority Pass Restaurants for $200 in Free Food – and Gets it To Go!

Some people have made truly gluttonous use of Priority Pass lounge access like bringing 19 guests into a lounge in Quito, Ecuador and bringing 35 guests into a single lounge with just one Priority Pass card in Kigali, Rwanda.

It’s no wonder, then, that Chase stopped providing unlimited free guesting privileges with the Priority Pass card that comes with their Sapphire Reserve card.

Now that you can use Priority Pass cards to get $28 credits at a variety of airport restaurants around the world you can do a lot of eating for free. For instance there are 9 Priority Pass participating restaurants spread across 3 terminals at the Sydney airport. With the right tickets you could conceivably bounce between terminals and act like you’re at a Las Vegas buffet.

At the end of the day though even at the best Priority Pass restaurants it’s still just airport food.


Breakfast at Timeberline Steak House, Denver


Lunch at Corona Beach House, Miami

Alexandra Talty writes about a man who,

  • Uses his active duty military status to avoid annual fees on the credit card that gives him Priority Pass access, and also to get access to the American Airlines club

  • So he used his lounge access on a Boston – New York roundtrip to score $200 in free food from lounges.

  • Which he took home with him.

Using this knowledge, the blogger recently snagged what he estimates to be nearly $250 in free food in less than 24 hours during a business trip from Boston to Washington, D.C.

…Committed to frugality, Taylor brought nearly all of the free grub home to share with his girlfriend.

Three years ago a man lived in Priority Pass lounges for 3 weeks in Singapore using forged boarding passes. And six years ago a man bought and refunded tickets and ate free in lounges every day for a year. Next to those two our ‘$200 in food to go’ hero is a piker of course.

Nonetheless on my next trip to New York I may need to ask Bobby Van’s at JFK’s Terminal 8 whether they’ll package up some food to go.


Burger and Fries


Chili

Any bets on how long it will be before all Priority Pass restaurant terms and conditions say ‘all food and beverages must be consumed on-premises, does not apply to to-go orders’?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Bobby Van’s Does have a to-go option and they are very friendly about it. Note that they can’t add any tip to the bill, so best strategy is to get as close to $28 as possible on the bill and tip with cash.

  2. While some will take advantage, many who are getting it to go simply just don’t have time to wait and want to take it on the plane with them. While I know this angers some, realistically, sometimes you are just pressed for time and have to grab something to go…you can use the $28 credit to get something edible or pay $15 for a box of 6 chicken wings and pay an extra $1 for the dipping sauce. The whole point of most of these travel/credit card blogs is to teach people about the benefits of using points and how to game the system, so to speak, so he’s doing his job of sharing potentially valuable information. Not all travelers on these blogs are high paid executives with an expense account and cash to burn, many of them are on the lower end of the pay scale with a spouse, mortgage and the proverbial 2.5 kids….information like that could save them some serious change in a year…back when I was a low paid government worker many years ago, I’d have LOVED to learn this kind of stuff!

  3. A few people like this usually spoil it for the rest of us. For example the woman who thought she was super smart using the unlimited Chase Sapphire Reserve lounge benefit to bring in 20 people … of course Chase had no choice but to limit this feature which then sucks for us who might want to on a rare occasion bring in three family members. It’s one thing to do this on occasion it’s another to widely publicize it. #facepalm

  4. This guy is a dickhead who will ruin things for everyone else. PP will be forced to introduce restrictions to quit this sort of abuse.

    By the looks of it, this guy has a blog so it seems as if this was a publicity stunt. The image of the table suggests that he did not eat any of the take-out food, (meaning all he ate was in the AA club). Whats more, it appears he brought a colleague with him on the return to maximize the takings, but looks like he kept all the food so he could bring it home to his girlfriend.

    The girlfriend must be a quiet woman to put up with him rocking in the door with food that has been to NYC and back in his luggage. I’d say those salads are pretty bad by day 3

  5. I have a question for the group. I have three Priority Pass cards, (1) Chase Reserve, (2) Amex Platinum, and (3) Amex Hilton Aspire. Is there any reason why I should not used one each at different locations in the airport?

  6. Ditto. PP is clearly not designed for this type of abuse. Publicizing the morons who game the system benefits nobody.

  7. @OtherJustSaying The clear answer is that you CAN use cards at 3 places. For now.

    In a civil society however, where we get to have nice things, whether you “should” is a different matter. Those who so overreach the boundaries DO in fact result in program changes resulting in the loss to all. Of course you SHOULDN’T.

    But I think you knew that when you asked. “I know I can, but would I be a d**k”?”. Answer: yes.

  8. This guy gives Air Force Officers and military members a bad name….what a disgusting waste of space. (Coming from a fellow AF officer). Apparently he’s leaving the military so he just liked to suck the government’s teet as long as he could.

  9. @Coleen: I do not think you understand my situation. I think you are answering the question should I use one card, three different times, in the same airport visit. That is not what I asked.

    I am paying for 3 priority pass cards via 3 different credit cards. Morally, since I am paying for each priority pass card separately through over $1,400 in credit card fees (yea, I get some of it back through benefits but it is still a lot of money), I believe that I am entitled to use each card once in a long airport connection. For example, in PDX, dinner at one location. Whiskey at another location. And wine at another location.

    I was just wondering if anyone heard any rules against that.

  10. @Colleen. If you did hear my situation correctly, then I should comment the following. If you and I go to the airport, and both of us make one visit, my three priority pass cards are making it cheaper for the bank to pay for your one priority pass card. That would make you a sponge, free rider: LOL: similar to a welfare queen.

  11. In fact. Now that Colleen has called me names, I am thinking:

    (1) I pay for an Alaska Airlines Boardroom membership. So it would not bother me if Priority Pass drop Alaska Lounge entrance.
    (2) I usually travel by myself. So it would not bother me if they restricted free entry to only one person.
    (3) I also have Amex Platinum, so I can access the Centenarian. Often I have lounge access from flying business. As a result, I think I might use Priority Pass maybe 2 times, no round up, 3 times a month or 36 times a year. Since I have three cards, if they restricted each card to 12 uses a year, it would not inconvenience me at all.

  12. @Gary. Could you please remove my comments in this section. I do not want to give the credit card companies any ideas about reducing Priority Pass benefits.

  13. I had a remarkably nice and tranquil lunch at Bobby Van’s in JFK a month ago … was really pleasantly surprised by how quiet the dining room was if you arrive just before noon.

    Corona Beach House in Miami was a madhouse but a fun madhouse, to be honest.

  14. @otherjustsaying Just to be clear, I have no ill will toward you nor did I “call you names”. I did dramatically paraphrase your original question as a hypothetical, but did not and would not call you names. In the same way you incorporated “sponge” and “welfare queen” in your response which was clearly not calling me names. I also complimented what I believe to be your actual moral compass. Let’s move on.

  15. Bobby Van’s in JFK was a horrible experience. Rude waiter, and very forceful with the tip. They would not let me tip anything other than their “suggested amounts” and were very aggressive and in my face about it. This was despite not paying any attention while looking to get a seat. They just care when they get paid. The steak was also over cooked and lacking in flavor.

  16. I can’t stand the Priority Club lounges. They are typically over crowded and filled with Spirit customers looking for free food and snacks. Just the lowest of the bunch. They need to set admission standards and check for any food being smuggled out.

  17. @Tom what makes you think he didn’t feed his colleagues?

    Why would the salads be 3 days old?

    Seems like 2 fairly thrown together articles with little detail

  18. …and it’s abuse like this that just resulted in AMEX killing the restaurant option – nice work!

  19. The American Tap Room at DC would NOT let you take LEFT OVER from the plate even you have eaten 1/2 of it already.

    On our last trip to DC we ordered salads and appetizers, not realized there were side salads available so when the salads came we knew we could only eat at most 1/2 of such…

    Half way thru our meal we asked the server for a box to pack the left over salads. The server said, Sorry because you are on Priority Club you cannot take any food away, even left over on your plate. Wow. I understand their need to discourage take out – bet you the “frugal air force officer” never pays a tip on all the PP restaurants he visited (26 in 2018 according to the Forbes article). But for foods already eaten some, they rather let the foods go to the dump instead of letting people have a doggie bag?

    Oh, the fried calamari and fish and chips looked and tasted like they were “re-fried” – in very dark color and very dry. We still left a tip despite all that but honestly did not like their “business model”.

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