Don’t Panic: It’s Only Amex Losing Priority Pass Restaurants August 1

Starting August 1 Priority Pass cards that come from American Express will no longer give credit at participating airport restaurants. We learned about this change back in May. Priority Pass sent emails to affected cardmembers with profiles in their database today and created a frequently asked questions page. Unfortunately the page doesn’t mention ‘American Express’

Emails went out about this change today that we learned about back in May today from Priority Pass. That same thing happened last year when the fee for bringing in guests not covered by a card went up for American Express-issued cards only causing a panic.

This does appear to be a page just for people who received an email from Priority Pass, and the email went to people with Priority Pass profiles associated with cards sponsored by American Express.

Adding restaurants and in-airport experiences to the Priority Pass network has been great for cardmembers. Restaurant food is usually better than lounge food. Lounges are often crowded. And many airports don’t have available options, this gives customers more choices in more cities.

However it’s also great for Priority Pass, and not good for credit card issuers paying Priority Pass since they’re charged for each visit.

Chase and Citi Priority Pass cards will still offer restaurant access when Amex cards lose it August 1, despite the confusing FAQ on the Priority Pass site. We’ll see what impact this has on restaurants who get $23-$24 for each $28 credit. Timberline Steaks at the Denver Airport has become one of the 100 busiest independent restaurants in the country on the strength of Priority Pass (HT: lenin1991)

United, as the largest airline at Denver, is affected here as well since Priority Pass revenue ultimately flows through and also affects airport costs.

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. @ Gary — You pass up the medicare lounges in exchange for mediocre restaurants. Hmm…

  2. I dropped my AMEX biz Plat card a few weeks ago, AMEX isn’t worth it. The CSR I spoke with when cancelling wouldn’t even offer me anything to keep the card, they clearly didn’t value my annual fee 🙂

  3. Its become impossible to justify keeping my Amex card, especially after they raised the annual fee and gutted most of the benefits. This will definitely be my last year and focused on saving my Membership Rewards Points when I do.

  4. I was just in touch as well seems Amex is doing a bit of cost cutting, further diminishing the value of the PLT Card. While we will keep our corporate card which we use a lot the personal card will go. My Sapphire Reserve has become my daily card and amazing how the points rack up and their customer service is solid. As for the ultimate rewards redemption process not as good as before the change, it does work well for smaller boutique hotels in Europe.

  5. Yeah, this really sucks for Plat AMEX holders. Most of the US airports on have PP lounges in their international terminals, so the restaurants were great. They keep chipping away at the benefits of keeping the card, and Centurion lounges aren’t opening fast enough, are starting to cut back on food offered and are too crowded. The PP lounge at Sea-Tac had nothing I wanted to eat.

  6. @ghostrider – it was very telling to me that there was Zero attempt to keep my business, not even a spend this much in this amount of time to get bonus MR points. That tells me a lot about my value to AMEX. I’m certainly not going to pay $595 for a list of benefits that don’t really help me (Marriott Gold, Centurion Lounge access, Skyclub access are probably the most useful to me) So AMEX is helping save me $595 and I still have the ability to buy into Skyclubs for $29/visit.

  7. @donald – PP lounges at SEA were preferred to the Centurion Lounge there, even with the food on offer it was still better than AMEX

  8. @Gary: Thank you! But I have not received that email from Priority Pass stating the removal of the restaurant benefit… Plenty of other emails from them, so it’s not a filtering issue. Maybe there’s a chance that it’s only Hong Kong and US card? (crossing fingers)

  9. @Fred

    It is worldwide. UK members have received their notices.

    You may want to check if there is anything on your statement that you have missed.

    Many claimed they were notified, ONLY to find out the notice was on their June statements that they just did not realize or noticed it.

    Now the restaurants would have much less complaints about PP users not give any tip… Witnessed such at American Tap Room at DCA a few weeks ago. A lady sat by the high top alone with a drink in hand asked the server to split the charges into 2 PP cards – obviously her bill exceeded the $28 pp limit but she had 2 PP cards. Server said she needed to ask manager, but came back said manager OKed it.
    The lady said I would think so because they belonged to 2 accounts (true). Then she got up and left – NO Tip left.

  10. I forgot to add – The American Tap Room at DCA would NOT let you pack the left over if you are using PP card benefit, even though you have eaten some of the plate but the leftover is theirs, not yours DESPITE You have already paid it with the PP benefit.

    They would rather dump the left over to trash instead of letting PP customers take it, so to prevent people do a take out with alternate form…

  11. For those of us with both the CSR and Amex, is there any good way to keep track of which PP card belongs to which account? I’ve tossed both in the pouch with all of my infrequently used cards and honestly have no clue.

  12. @Mark I write “chase” and “amex” on the signature line on the back of each respective card

  13. @Mark – You should have received an email from Priority Pass indicating the restaurant benefit was going away. The card number associated with that email is in the upper right-hand corner of the email. That card would be the one associated with Amex.

  14. Unless it’s a truly bad generic lounge, such as “The Club” network, most PP lounges restrict entry these days. On a recent trip, I saw lounges in Miami (both Avianca and LATAM lounges), Lima, and the Star Alliance Lounge in Buenos Aires all block PP use. I was flying in business so accessed everywhere I needed to, but they were all turning away PP members.

    Unfortunately, PP is rarely useful anymore. The restaurant use is the only real value I see in the program these days. They advertise over 1,200 lounges worldwide, but the vast majority do not allow entry.

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