In late May I wrote about how American Express announced some significant new restrictions regarding their cards that come with Priority Pass memberships. Those restrictions kick in today, so I wanted to post a reminder to be aware of this, and possibly swap out your Priority Pass cards if you have multiple of them.
What are Priority Pass restaurants?
Priority Pass is the world’s largest network of independent airport lounges, though in some airports and terminals, Priority Pass isn’t able to strike a deal with a lounge for member access. In those cases, Priority Pass sometimes has an arrangement with a restaurant, and offers members a credit worth ~28USD that they can spend however they’d like.
The concept is that rather than Priority Pass paying lounges every time you use them, they may as well put that money towards getting you food at an airport.
What’s the new Priority Pass restaurant restriction?
As of today (August 1, 2019) American Express cards that offer Priority Pass benefits no longer give you dining credits at Priority Pass restaurants. As American Express describes it, these are “non-lounge airport experiences.”
Interestingly American Express is the only issuer that has announced this change, as similar changes aren’t happening to cards issued by Chase, Citi, etc.
The way I view it, at this point here are the two best cards in the US for Priority Pass memberships:
|Card||# Of Guests Who Get Free Access||Authorized User Access||Cost To Add Authorized User|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||2||Yes||$75 Per Person|
|Citi Prestige® Credit Card||2||Yes||$50 Per Person. ($75 Per Person for Cardmember Anniversary dates after September 1, 2019)|
How can you tell Priority Pass membership cards apart?
I currently have five credit cards that offer Priority Pass memberships, so I have a lot of membership cards. Stupidly I never marked which card was from which card issuer.
So while there’s no way to definitively tell whether your Priority Pass card was issued by Amex or not, note that:
- Priority Pass cards with 16 digits on the front are issued by Chase
- Priority Pass cards with 11 digits on the front are issued by other card issuers, including American Express and Citi
So if you have a 16 digit card then you should be good, while if you have an 11 digit card and you have multiple non-Chase Priority Pass memberships, you still have your work cut out for you.
At this point you have two best options:
- Look at the expiration date of your Priority Pass card, as the month should closely line up with the month in which you opened your card (if that’s helpful in any way)
- Phone up Priority Pass at 800.352.2834 and ask what issuer your card is from
This is an unfortunate change from Amex, as this is a feature that I really valued. The good news is that other issuers haven’t followed Amex’s lead on this front, so Chase and Citi cards continue offer access to these airport dining experiences.