Starting August 1 U.S. American Express-Issued Priority Pass Cards Will No Longer Give Airport Restaurant Credit

This morning I wrote about Hong Kong-based American Express products providing Priority Pass access no longer allowing use of a dining credit at participating airport restaurants and I wondered whether this would spread to the U.S.

American Express has confirmed to me that U.S.-based cards offering Priority Pass will have these same restrictions. Effective August 1 “the Priority Pass Membership benefit offered on American Express Platinum and Centurion Cards and Hilton Ascend, Hilton Aspire, and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ Cards will no longer include complimentary access to non-lounge airport experiences.”

This means that if your Priority Pass card comes from American Express you will not longer receive a $28 per person dining credit at airport restaurants that participate in the Priority Pass program (and presumably excludes other ‘activities’ like whiskey tastings and Gameway games). Lounges and “select sleeper suites” (such as Minute Suites) can continue to be used.

I will definitely swap out the Priority Pass card from my Amex Platinum in my wallet for a Priority Pass issued by another bank.

Restaurants are getting $23 – $24 from Priority Pass for each $28 credit. And Priority Pass can easily become one third of an airport restaurant’s business. Where Priority Pass is provided by a credit card, these charges are being billed to the bank and Priority Pass makes its fees as well.

Priority Pass is an expensive benefit for banks to offer, even more so:

  • As the Priority Pass network grows. Restaurants mean there are more airports where customers can use their card, driving up costs.

  • Because restaurant credits may even have a higher take up rate than lounges. I will usually skip mediocre lounges but hit up the restaurants myself. One man hit up Priority Pass restaurants for $200 in free food on a single trip.

American Express tells me “our lounge access benefits are intended to provide Card Members with a premium lounge spaces to relax and unwind in while traveling the globe” implying that access to restaurant credits it outside the intention of the program. Hopefully other banks will not follow the American Express lead to cut costs.

In the meantime American Express cardmembers “can continue to review which locations they have access to by logging into their Priority Pass membership account on the Priority Pass website and mobile app.”

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Pingbacks

  1. […] VFTW reported earlier this week that Amex will be removing the Priority Pass Restaurant benefits from its cards issued in the USA. Here’s the quote from Gary: “American Express Platinum and Centurion Cards and Hilton Ascend, Hilton Aspire, and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ Cards will no longer include complimentary access to non-lounge airport experiences.” […]

  2. […] Express Business Platinum card. Unfortunately, View From The Wing’s, Gary Leff, shared that Starting August 1 U.S. American Express-Issued Priority Pass Cards Will No Longer Give Airport Resta…. That doesn’t leave us with much time, but I should be able to get at least 3-4 more uses […]

Comments

  1. Brilliant move by Amex, not! Yes those restaurants offered something that Amex itself wasn’t able to offer. I’m tired of the Centurion Lounges being so busy. Still no reason to get an Amex Platinum again.

  2. This + the restrictions at SFO Centurion lounge ruins the card for me. You can’t get a pro-rated refund from canceling the card, but you can downgrade to the Green card and cancel that later.

  3. While it’s disappointing, most were pleasantly surprised when this perk was added to an already useful Priority Pass product. Thank you abusers for ruining it for all.

  4. Naked came I out of my mother’s womb. And naked shall I return thither. For American Express gave, and American Express hath taken away. Blessed be the name of American Express.

  5. I never found this benefit to be of much use. When I travel internationally I tend to be in J, hence lounge access. Additionally, I am lifetime Plat with AA which means One World lounges outside the US no matter the class of service. I don’t much like to eat at airport restos, I find a light meal schedule when travelling better than a belly full of airport food. Most of these restos are meh on a good day. Lastly, Priority Pass lounges in the US are thin on the ground and not worth much when you can get in, which is rare.

    That said, my Amex Plat is up this June and I will likely downgrade to a Gold card. The benefits suit my life style more (more groceries and restos than airfare last year; I am off the road warrior treadmill). I used the Centurion lounge in Sydney this March and it was a crowded closet with a single loo. Would have been better off sitting in a bar nursing a glass of good Aussie wine. I seldom get hit with airline fees, tend to still fly One World and get all the extras for free.

    I guess if you want to stuff yourself with second rate food instead of relaxing in a decent lounge this was a nice bennie, but it did not work for me. Now, to call Amex and dispute the miserable Admirals Club day pass I bought when I had the misfortune to spend a couple hours connecting in Charlotte (the old US Despair club) last month; for some reason Amex did not automatically refund it as part of my Plat card benefits. The line at the bar was so long I just sat there immersed in Reddit while wishing I was anywhere but there til it was time, gratefully, to move on. Domestic US air travel is short, brutish, and nasty no matter the class of service (except Jet Blue Mint, which I like for xcountry).

  6. Wow, up to 1/3 of a restaurant’s business? Well, that goes a long way to explain why it is being dropped. I read elsewhere that airport employees were eating with it constantly. Personally, I did not use it that much because when I tried it the service was so slow you would need a lot of time (which I have long found to be the case in general at sit-down airport restaurants), and the lines at some of the restaurants were so long at mealtimes I would just give up.

  7. Generally, scrap the “abuse” explanation. It doesn’t hold up as metered use would be simple to implement.

    AMEX is doing this to cut costs by cutting benefits.

  8. In the three months I’ve had my membership, I have yet to hit a Priority Pass club that wasn’t already full to capacity and turning people away. This food option was a bit of a solace. So on 8/01 my membership is pretty much useless. Lesson learned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *