WHOA! Amex Removes Priority Pass Restaurant Access Starting In August

American Express shared some disappointing news this morning, stating that Priority Pass memberships obtained as a benefit from American Express credit cards will lose access to Priority Pass Restaurants beginning 08/01/19.

What Are Priority Pass Restaurants?

I’ve written previously about Priority Pass but if you are unfamilar, it is a program that grants you access to more than 1,000 airport lounges AND RESTAURANTS throughout the world.

For example, Los Angeles Airport (LAX) has many outstanding lounges through the entire airport. However, if you’re more interested in eating at a restaurant, Rock & Brews and P.F. Chang’s are also options.

If you’re at New York’s JFK Airport…Bobby Van’s Steakhouse is an option.

…Houston’s Bush International (IAH)…Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar or Landry’s Seafood are options.

Fish and Shrimp Po’boy @ Landry’s Seafood (IAH)

…Cleveland Hopkins International (CLE)… Bar Symon is an option.

The best part is that you have a $28 credit per person for eating in the restaurant. For example…me , my wife and daughter = $84 credit. In all cases, I would be responsible for anything charged over $84 and any tips.

Pretty good, huh!?

HOW DO I GET A PRIORITY PASS?

If you don’t have a Priority Pass membership, the best way of getting free access is through a credit card. A few options include:
– Citi Prestige Card
– Chase Sapphire Reserve
– Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
– Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card (10 free visits annually)
– Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card
– The Platinum Card from American Express

As you can see, 4 out of 6 credit cards that offer the benefit are issued by American Express. That’s leaves 2 remaining cards that offer the ‘Restaurant Access’ but I wouldn’t be surprised if, both, Citi and Chase follow American Express’ lead and removing access also.

Am I Surprised?

No, not really.

These restaurants have been a welcome addition to Priority Pass for a few reasons:
– Sometimes, they’re the only option at airports with no Priority Pass Lounges.
– They offer MEALS and not snacks like most lounges
– The restaurants tend to be centrally located at airports as most lounges are in less convenient locations.

I’ve used this benefit numerous times, most recently at P.F. Chang’s at LAX Airport to order some tasty Chili Garlic Green Beans and Vegetable Spring Rolls.

P.F. Chang’s (LAX)

FINAL STAMP

Is this a huge blow to the program? Not really.

Am I disappointed that access to Priority Pass Restaurants is being removed? Yes. Personally, I prefer the restaurants in most airports to the lounges. Depending on the time of day, lounges can painfully busy and again, I prefer meals at the restaurants to snacks in lounges.

It’ll be interesting to see if Chase follows American Express in removing access to Priority Pass restaurants or if they’ll keep the benefit to differentiate themselves.

Let’s be optimistic and hope that Chase doesn’t remove this benefit.

HT: View From The Wing

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