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.”