Chase Shakes Up Priority Pass Benefits: Say Goodbye to Free Meals

Chase is making changes to its Priority Pass cards, eliminating part of the benefit. Starting in July cardmembers will no longer receive credits at airport restaurants that are part of the program.

Priority Pass dates back 32 years. These cards provide access to airport lounges worldwide. Customers used to primarily buy memberships. American Express bundled Priority Pass Select with its Platinum card, limiting access to U.S. airport lounges that participated in the program (and had exclusivity deals with banks other than Amex) and then offering limited visits to Hilton Surpass cardmembers.

Lounge access through Priority Pass access was supercharged by the launch of Chase Sapphire Reserve 8 years ago – and by myriad card issuers who determined that including the benefit in their premium travel rewards offering had become de rigueur.

Collinson Group figured out that the more card swipes that happened, the more money they made from banks. But airport lounge space was limited. They have their own lounge network (The Club) but growth there, too, is limited.

Priority Pass branched out and added airport restaurants where cardholders could receive a $28 credit, and they added other uses for the card in airports, too, like BeRelax Spas and Gameway gaming lounges.

BeRelax Spa, DFW Airport Terminal D

BeRelax Spa, DFW Airport Terminal D

Gameway Lounge, DFW Airport Terminal E

This drove up the cost to banks. American Express limited access to all but lounges in their deal with Priority Pass. Capital One followed suit with their Venture X card. Until now, though, Chase has continued to cover those free airport meals.

This changes July 1, 2024.

  • After June 30, 2024 Chase-issued Priority Pass cards will no longer be valid for dining credits at airport restaurants which participate in the Priority Pass program.
  • That includes Sapphire Reserve, J.P. Morgan Reserve, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards-issued cards.
  • However, unlike Capital One and Amex, it appears these cards will still be honored at spa, gaming and other activities – just not at restaurants and “markets.”

Portland Caper’s Market, formerly participating in Priority Pass

Here’s what’s been sent in Sapphire Reserve card statements:

As of July 1, 2024, you will no longer have access to restaurants, cafes, and markets participating in the Priority Pass Select network as part of the Priority Pass Select Benefit associated with your card. Access to Priority Pass Select’s network of lounges and other select airport experiences is not impacted by this update.”

American Express was first to eliminate restaurants and other non-lounge activities from its Priority Pass cards. Capital One did the same with its Venture X. Notably, activities like spa and game opportunities will still be included with Chase’s cards.

Crucially as well, it appears that Chase’s Priority Pass cards will still be useful for accessing Minute Suites private rooms for an hour (with a discount on additional time).

Minute Suites, Philadelphia

Citi Prestige (no longer available to new cardmembers), Venture X Business, Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite, and UBS Visa Infinite still offer full Priority Pass including participating restaurants. The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve allows its 8 Priority Pass swipes per year to be used at eligible restaurants as well.

The loss of restaurant access is sad. Thanks to my Chase Priority Pass I had the worst lobster roll of my life at Boston Logan airport’s Stephanie’s. It was on a toasted hot dog bun, like you buy in a package at a grocery store, and the lobster meat tasted like it had been frozen and defrosted but still retained water from the freezing. It was chewy and generally tasteless.

And to be sure, I wouldn’t call Corona Beach House in Miami good as such.

But honestly the burger, along with several other items, at Bobby Van’s in the American Airlines New York JFK terminal 8 is pretty darned good.

And it’s really not bad at the Drew Pearson Sports 88 in Dallas – Fort Worth’s terminal E.

Chase Priority Pass cards will still offer broader access than American Express and Capital One’s Venture X will.

In some ways I find it odd for Chase to impose this cut on their J.P. Morgan Reserve cardmembers. After all, applications for that card are currently limited to J.P. Morgan Private Bank clients, and while I believe this isn’t strictly enforced they promote a minimum of $10 million in assets on deposit for that designation.

However, in practice that card itself is something of an afterthought. It’s a heavier metal version of Sapphire Preferred with a United Club membership thrown in on request. It simply rides on the rails of other Chase agreements, rather than being separately nurtured for the bank’s best customers.

(HT: Ryan Smith)

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, 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. Looks like “free and to go food” as part of card and lounge benefits is becoming tighter across multiple providers.

  2. Damn. I’ve found the restaurant benefit so useful, whether because a restaurant is more accessible than an (often-packed) lounge, the restaurant is more convenient in the airport to my gate, or I just want a proper meal rather than whatever’s on offer at The Club. Will particularly miss the benefit in SEA, where 2/3 of the Club lounges close at 7 PM, and the third is inconvenient to most gates, but Brewtop Social is centrally located and open late. Also in CLE, where The Club is pretty small, but Bar Symon is on the way to the United and American gates.

  3. This was one perk for the CSR that I really found useful. May not renew the card now as the juice may not be worth the squeeze anymore.

  4. Does the CapOne VentureX Biz card also work at the BeRelax Spa? I see it mentioned that it still works at the restaurants, but it’s hard to find information aside from that. Thank you!

  5. I have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card and this is disappointing news.
    Many airports don’t have an available lounge in the Priority Pass network.

    Chase should make adjustments for this reduction in benefits.
    Reduce the $550.00 annual fee?
    Increase the $300.00 annual travel credit?

  6. Just wait until some of the card-issuers’ own brand lounges reduce both:

    1. their open hours around dinner time during all days of the week; and

    2. their open hours on the weekends.

    Cutting lounge food, beverage and service costs is what I am expecting to see happen more and more in the time ahead, and those too are ways for the card issuers to hold down or cut their costs for filling us up with food and drinks.

  7. Priority Pass is officially useless. I have a CSR and an Amex Platinum. 5his news in on the heels of ex killing the SXM entertainment credit.

    Just raising fees and chipping away at benefits. Welcome to 2024.

  8. What a bummer. This is offset for me, at least, by the fact that my home airport (BOS) has a Sapphire lounge which offers much better F&B than the restaurant option… at least while it continues to have the new lounge smell.

    We knew it couldn’t last. How could it, given the card fee?

  9. @OnePatriot77, Chase isn’t cutting the annual fee. They have opened 5 Sapphire lounges with 4 more in the pipeline. Did you not see this coming? They can’t pay for people’s meals AND build out lounges. American Express and Capital One have already done this, and guess what they are both busy running and building out their own proprietary lounges too!

  10. @GUW Wonder, I think you are wrong on your prediction. The major issue with the newer Capital One and Chase Sapphire lounges is overcrowding! I don’t think hours will be meaningfully changed for the worse (not to say their won’t be some trimming, especially a recession happens.) Rather, I predict both Capital One and Chase will end free guests for cardholders. This helps deal with overcrowding, but to your point reduces expenditures on food and beverage in the lounges.

  11. Cash-back is king. BOA premium visa for 2.625. / 3.5%. Points, miles, and benefits will continually decline in value while annual fees will continually rise.

  12. I am not sure the build your own lounge and dump Priority Pass is a good overall strategy. It makes the cards weirdly regional now. I am in Denver so now my Capital One X is way more valuable than my CSR. But basically neither Chase or Capital One network has much value unless you are in one of a. Few specific cities. Not sure if I keep my CSR either without a better reason then 3x travel points.

  13. World Traveler,

    The more pressing issue may be lounge overcrowding for now, but cutting out the airport food outlet options via Priority Pass won’t make the bank-branded lounges any less crowded than they are. Cutting the quantity and quality of the food and beverages would eventually alleviate such lounge overcrowding while holding back the costs for the lounge access provider even well before the overcrowding issue goes away.

    I agree with you that the “free guests” is going to be on the chopping block more than it already is. Not just because of costs related to crowding but also in order to try boost revenue membership and AU card fees from the crowd.

  14. @BCF totally agree with you on the “weirdly regional” aspect of credit card lounges. My home airport is AUS and the Chase Sapphire Terrace is not appealing – the weather in Austin just sucks most of the year. So we got the Citi Exec for the Admiral’s club membership. Unfortunately can’t use that on the couple times a year that we fly southwest, though. But still not worth getting access to the Chase terrace.

  15. Is a change of benefits mid-year grounds to get a refund on the annual fee? One of the main reasons I keep my Ritz card is the restaurant benefit.

  16. This was one of the few features that distinguished CSR & Ritz from Amex Plat. Now there is really no reason to keep CSR as the lounges pale in comparison to Centurion offerings and the other benefits are not worth $250 (after the $300 travel credit).

  17. I love the CSR so am disappointed in this change. Chase should have provided an option to keep this benefit for a higher yearly fee or remove the benefit to pay for a guest in restaurants. My home airport for example only has a Priority Pass restaurant and no lounge available. I don’t fly that much anymore so logically this is a good reason to cancel the card.

  18. Or Chase could have tried limiting the restaurant benefit to a certain number of visits a year. The point is gutting the benefit entirely really impacts the CSRs credibility. This will likely lead to a lot of cancellations and with it a lot of revenue with this card.

  19. Is the Priority Pass worth the effort and headache?!? The article states it still works with this card, but not that card; but this privilege still exist, but not that privilege under this card, etc, etc, etc. Great way to alienate card members.

    Better to just buy a full membership with unlimited access with an airline, then expense it on your travel report. Why chase points, credits, have a stack of credit cards in your wallet, etc. If you travel enough, its worth the extra out of pocket expense to avoid this nonsense and silly aggravation of ever more complex set of rules.

  20. While I am not happy about losing the benefit, which I have mainly used at airports that do not have a Priority Pass lounge, I probably still will keep the CSR card because of the the ability to transfer points to Hyatt and their superior travel insurance benefits. In the last 3 years I have collected over $2900 in benefits from their travel insurance. I would like to see Priority Pass step up and add more lounges especially in the USA.

  21. Frustrating. I just used the benefit this weekend in STL Terminal 2 where the lounge was completely closed on Saturdays! The PP restaurant was open and wanted my business.

  22. This is annoying. I use this when traveling domestically alone and any PP lounge (usually in the international terminal where I am not) isn’t convenient. It is also what I use when traveling with family (husband and kid) because I could only get ONE of them into a lounge using PP. If you go to a restaurant it’s a flat credit amount for 2 people regardless if there are three sitting at the table. So in a lot of cases this was why I valued PP. Now its basically worthless. I hope (though I doubt) that CSR reduces the fee or ups the credit on travel because having a few CSR lounges in random airports is NOT the same as access to PP restaurants. What a pain.

  23. Frustrating for sure to see this Chase Sapphire reserve benefit disappear. I factor this into the value of the annual fee for this card and will certainly have to evaluate whether or not it still makes sense to keep the card after this. I don’t usually have any priority lounges where I fly and the ones that do, like DFW really aren’t all that great. Chase – if you’re listing, I spend over $60k/year on my card and might have to look for an alternative option. Also annoyed that it’s a mid cycle benefit cut after you just collected my annual fee.

  24. Priority Pass @ Terminal 8 JFK: Bobby Van’s Steakhouse. Where your credit of $28 will leave you a dollar if you buy their $27 hamburger. Not much of a loss IMO.

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