Priority Pass is the world’s largest network of independent airport lounges, with over 1,300 lounges around the world. One of the cool things that Priority Pass has done is that they’ve added all kinds of restaurant locations to their portfolio.
With these restaurants, members receive a certain dollar credit towards food & drinks. These restaurants have been especially common at airports and terminals where Priority Pass couldn’t otherwise reach agreements with lounge operators.
Just last week Priority Pass lost Timberline Steaks & Grille as a partner restaurant, and it looks like Priority Pass will lose another restaurant next week.
PF Chang’s LAX Leaving Priority Pass
This has been rumored for a while, but Priority Pass’ website has finally been updated to reflect it. PF Chang’s at LAX will be leaving the Priority Pass network as of October 25, 2019.
This restaurant is located at Tom Bradley International Terminal, and joined Priority Pass just over a year ago, in September 2018.
Historically this restaurant has offered a $30 credit to Priority Pass members, though as of October 1, 2019, that credit was reduced to $28 per person. So it seemed like aspects of the partnership may have been getting worse already.
Why Is PF Chang’s LAX Leaving Priority Pass?
A lot of people say that the Priority Pass restaurant business model is unsustainable. While it might sound too good to be true, as such I don’t think the model is necessarily unsustainable. Essentially Priority Pass is paying restaurants a discounted rate on the dining credit, and that amount is roughly equal to how much they’d usually pay a lounge when you access it (figure somewhere around $22-25 per person per visit).
The only real part of it that’s perhaps unsustainable is that it increases overall Priority Pass usage, and that’s a cost center for credit card companies for memberships issued through premium cards (this is probably why Amex cut restaurants from their Priority Pass memberships).
So what would cause a restaurant to leave the Priority Pass network? We’ve heard a few different reasons, though it’s anyone’s guess what’s happening here:
- Apparently Priority Pass’ payments are slow, and this creates a cashflow issue for some restaurants
- Some restaurants may feel that they can fill the space without using Priority Pass, in which case that’s advantageous (since they’re getting paid the full amount for food that way)
- Not only are restaurants offering discounted food, but a lot of servers have complained that people using Priority Pass don’t tip
So who knows what exactly is going on here, though it’s likely one or multiple of those reasons. Given how busy Tom Bradley International Terminal is, I could see the restaurant management feeling that they could fill the restaurant more profitably without Priority Pass.
PF Chang’s is a guilty pleasure of mine, so I’m sad to see them leave the Priority Pass network. The restaurant has consistently been pretty full with Priority Pass members, so this is quite a loss.
LAX does have a couple more Priority Pass restaurants. Unfortunately the only other Priority Pass location at Tom Bradley International Terminal is the awful Korean Air Lounge.
Will you miss having PF Chang’s as a Priority Pass option at LAX?