Portland Airport probably has the most generous Priority Pass setup of any airport in the US. Specifically, lately we’ve seen a trend where Priority Pass added airport bars & restaurants to their network (including in Denver, Lexington, Miami, New York, and St. Louis), where members can spend a certain amount (typically $28) and have that reimbursed, which in many cases is much better than having access to a lounge.
Portland Airport doesn’t have just one of these establishments, but rather three of them, in addition to a traditional lounge. The offering is so compelling that I even flew to Portland just to check out their Priority Pass setup. As a Priority Pass member you can access the Alaska Lounge, spend $28 at House Spirits Distillery, spend $28 at Capers Cafe Le Bar, and spend $28 at Capers Market. The best part is that if you’re traveling with someone and your Priority Pass membership allows guesting privileges, that $28 credit applies per person. So if you’re traveling with two guests, we’re talking about an $84 credit per establishment.
House Spirits Distillery is so fun, as it’s the world’s only airport tasting room. Given how popular they are with Priority Pass members, they have special $28 tasting flights.
Both of the Capers locations have an extensive selection of food and drinks, and one of the things that made them unique is that they had an excellent selection of reasonably priced wine. So when I visited, it was actually possible to buy beer & wine to go. That was especially easy to do at Capers Market, which almost feels like a wine store based on the selection they have.
So when we visited we had lunch at Capers Cafe Le Bar, and then just grabbed stuff to go at Capers Market, though I know many regulars just grabbed stuff to go at both locations, both on arrival and departure.
Not surprisingly, this benefit was too generous, and they’ve updated their policy somewhat since these restaurants were added. As I wrote about last November, Capers added a restriction that the $28 credit is only valid towards the purchase of any meal and/or drinks, excluding bottle sales and merchandise.
It looks like they’ve now added a further restriction. You can now only use your Priority Pass membership at either Portland Airport Capers location in conjunction with an outbound boarding pass:
To be eligible, Cardholders and guests are required to show an Outbound Departure Boarding Pass with confirmed same-day travel.
Historically you could use Priority Pass locations either on arrival or departure, so you could just as easily visit these lounges after a flight. As far as I know, these are the first Priority Pass locations to have such a restriction on requiring an outbound boarding pass.
While I of course don’t like to see restrictions added, I don’t consider these changes to be unreasonable. Priority Pass is still outrageously generous at Portland Airport. However, this is certainly something to be aware of.
(Tip of the hat to Doctor Of Credit)