Several months ago I wrote a guide about Priority Pass restaurants in the US. In light of the news we learned earlier in the week regarding Priority Pass memberships issued through Amex cards no longer getting access to Priority Pass restaurants, I figured it was time to update this post.
In this post I wanted to provide a consolidated, updated look at how US Priority Pass restaurants work, along with providing a table that lists all of the US Priority Pass restaurant locations.
What is Priority Pass?
Priority Pass is the world’s largest network of independent airport lounges, with over 1,200 lounges around the world. Priority Pass isn’t directly affiliated with any airline, meaning that they partner primarily with lounges that aren’t affiliated with an airline (however, select airline lounges also belong to the network).
In general there are two ways to get a Priority Pass membership. You can either buy a membership directly, or you can often get a membership through a premium credit card. In the US a vast majority of people get a membership through the latter method.
As I’ll explain below, how you attain your membership could impact the benefits associated with it.
Which credit cards come with a Priority Pass membership?
In the US the following are some of the most popular credit cards to come with Priority Pass memberships, along with their guesting privileges:
|Card||# Of Guests Who Get Free Access||Authorized User Access||Cost To Add Authorized User|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||2||Yes||$175 For Up To 3 People, $175 For Each Additional Person Beyond That (Rates & Fees)|
|The Business Platinum® Card from American Express||2||Yes||$300 Per Person (Rates & Fees)|
|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)|
|Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card||2||No||$0|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card||2||No||$0|
Note that while all of those cards offer Priority Pass benefits, as of August 1, 2019, Priority Pass cards issued through American Express cards will no longer offer any credits at Priority Pass restaurants.
While Amex didn’t officially state the reason for this policy change, I imagine it was an attempt for them to control their costs associated with the Priority Pass benefit.
So far Chase and Citi haven’t announced any changes to their policies, so Priority Pass memberships issued through those issuers continue to offer credits at Priority Pass restaurants. Of course this could change in the future, but as of now only Amex cards are impacted.
What are Priority Pass restaurants?
A vast majority of Priority Pass locations are actual airport lounges, which feature plenty of seating, complimentary snacks and drinks, and sometimes shower.
Quito Airport Lounge, which is “traditional” and accessible by Priority Pass members
However, in some cases Priority Pass has a hard time striking deals with airport lounges. This is especially true in terminals that are largely occupied by one of the “big three” US airlines. American, Delta, and United all don’t allow any of their lounges to participate in Priority Pass (since they view Priority Pass as competition to their own lounge memberships).
So in these cases Priority Pass has gotten creative, and they’ve partnered with some restaurants. The intention is that Priority Pass ordinarily pays lounges a certain amount for every guest who visits, so instead Priority Pass pays restaurants a certain amount for every guest who visits, and then guests get a credit for a certain amount that they can spend at that restaurant.
As a general rule of thumb, restaurants are reimbursed about ~80-90% of the credit amount, so if you get a $28 credit you can expect the restaurant is getting about $23 of that (they’re giving the discount due to the volume of business they’re getting from this).
Lunch at Viena Restaurant at Miami Airport
Which US airport restaurants participate in Priority Pass?
As of now there are well over two dozen US airport restaurants that participate in Priority Pass. Here’s a chart showing the current restaurants, sorted by airport code:
|Restaurant||Airport||Terminal / Location|
|Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill||BOS - Boston, MA||Terminal C - Landside - before Security|
|Stephanie’s||BOS - Boston, MA||Terminal B - Airside - opposite Gate B24|
|Bar Symon||CLE - Cleveland, OH||Concourse C - Airside - between Gates C4 and C6|
|American Tap Room||DCA - Washington, DC||Terminal C - Airside - near Gates 35-45|
|Bracket Room||DCA - Washington, DC||Terminal B - Airside - opposite Gate 12|
|Timberline Steaks & Grille||DEN - Denver, CO||Concourse C - Airside - center core on the left|
|Kafe Kalik||FLL - Fort Lauderdale, FL||Terminal 4 Concourse G, near gate G6|
|RJ Rockers Flight Room||GSP - Greer, SC||Concourse B - Airside - opposite Gate B3|
|Chef Geoff’s||IAD - Dulles, VA||Concourse C - Airside - near Gate C14|
|Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar||IAH - Houston, TX||Terminal A - Airside - near Gate A17|
|Landry’s Seafood||IAH - Houston, TX||Terminal C - Airside - near Gate C42|
|The Fan Zone||IND - Indianapolis, IN||Concourse B - Airside - near Gate B17|
|Bobby Van’s Steakhouse||JFK - New York, NY||Terminal 8 - Airside - opposite Gate 14|
|P.F. Chang’s||LAX - Los Angeles, CA||TBIT - Airside - Mezzanine Level|
|Rock & Brews||LAX - Los Angeles, CA||Terminal 1 - Airside - opposite Gate 11B|
|Kentucky Ale Taproom||LEX - Lexington, KY||Airside - next to Concourse B entrance|
|Air Margaritaville||MIA - Miami, FL||Concourse E - Landside - opposite the Security Checkpoints, door 11|
|Corona Beach House||MIA - Miami, FL||Concourse D - Airside - between Gates D23 and D24|
|Viena||MIA - Miami, FL||Concourse E - Landside - 7th Floor|
|Capers Cafe Le Bar||PDX - Portland, OR||Airside - Concourse C immediately after Security on the left-hand side|
|House Spirits Distillery||PDX - Portland, OR||Airside - Concourse C near Gate C6|
|Floret by Cafe Flora||SEA - Seattle, WA||Gate A1 at the intersection of Concourses A and B|
|San Francisco Giant’s Clubhouse||SFO - San Francisco, CA||Terminal 3 - Airside - Concourse F, near Gate 82|
|Yankee Pier||SFO - San Francisco, CA||Terminal 3 - Airside - Concourse F, near Gate 72|
|The Pasta House||STL - St Louis, MO||Terminal 1 - Landside - lower level near Baggage Claim|
|The Pasta House and Schlafly Beer||STL - St Louis, MO||Terminal 2 - Airside - Upper level, opposite Gate E6|
|Johnny Rockets||SYR - Syracuse, NY||North Concourse B - Airside - Airside Connector|
|The Café by Mise en Place||TPA - Tampa, FL||Concourse F Airside - by Gate F85|
|Noble Hops||TUS - Tuscon, AZ||Landside - 2nd Floor, opposite the ‘Arroyo Trading Post’|
How much credit do you get at Priority Pass restaurants?
When you visit Priority Pass restaurants you get a certain dollar credit. A vast majority of Priority Pass restaurants offer you a $28 credit per person, while a couple of restaurants give you a $30 credit. You’ll want to check the restaurant you plan on visiting on the Priority Pass website to see the exact terms.
Note that the credit is per person, so if you have a Priority Pass membership that allows guesting privileges and offers credits at Priority Pass restaurants, you can multiply the credit by how many guests you have.
Note that if you’re traveling alone you’re limited to the credit for one person, so it’s not like you can use multiple credits for yourself.
Breakfast at Cafe by Mise en Place at Tampa Airport
How many guests can you bring into Priority Pass restaurants?
There are two factors that determine for how many guests you can receive a credit at a Priority Pass restaurant:
- Your specific membership only allows a certain number of complimentary guests (for most US issued credit cards, that number is two guests, not including the cardholder)
- Some Priority Pass restaurants have specific restrictions about how many guests you can bring in; for many US Priority Pass restaurants you’re limited to one or two guests
US Priority Pass restaurants are pretty evenly split when it comes to their rules for guests, so check the Priority Pass website for the specific location to see how many guests you can bring.
Can you use your Priority Pass restaurant on arrival or only on departure?
All US Priority Pass restaurants require you to show a boarding pass for confirmed same day travel. Some restaurants require that you have an outbound boarding pass (meaning that you’re there before your flight), while other restaurants don’t have such a requirement.
So you can visit many Priority Pass restaurants even upon arrival of your flight.
Can you visit multiple Priority Pass restaurants at the same airport?
Generally speaking yes. For example, Miami Airport has three Priority Pass restaurants, and you could visit them all back-to-back if you wanted to.
When should you present your card at Priority Pass restaurants?
The etiquette for visiting a Priority Pass restaurant varies by restaurant. Some restaurants swipe your card upfront, while others only charge it upon the conclusion of the meal.
My strategy is to just ask the host when I’m seated if they need my card then or only want it later. I find that most locations just swipe your card at the end of the meal, though some swipe it at the beginning.
For those that swipe it at the end, when it comes time for the check, just let your server know that you’ll be paying with Priority Pass.
They should then bring over a machine where they’ll swipe your card, you’ll sign, and then you’ll be given a receipt (if you want it).
If you charge more than the Priority Pass credit amount then you’ll be brought a bill for the balance.
Should you tip when eating at a Priority Pass restaurant?
Priority Pass acts as a form of payment when dining at a Priority Pass restaurant, so it’s no different than a gift card, for example. Personally I’d recommend tipping on the full amount just as you would if usually dining at an airport restaurant.
I’d note that the one exception to this is Corona Beach House at Miami Airport. They automatically build in an 18% gratuity, so there’s no need to tip beyond that.
I’d love to see more restaurants adopt this policy, but I wouldn’t count on it happening. In the meantime I certainly don’t want servers to lose out because of what’s a very generous benefit.
Personally I always make sure I can tip in cash, because if I stay under the credit amount they sometimes can’t run credit card transactions just for tips (though if you go over your credit amount then you can just add your tip to the card you use to pay for the overage).
Are there other Priority Pass restaurant restrictions?
You’ll want to check the exact terms on each Priority Pass restaurant’s site, but as a general rule of thumb the credit isn’t available for delivery orders, or orders through their “grab & go” feature, if they have it.
Grab & go items are generally excluded for Priority Pass members
Some Priority Pass restaurants also prevent you from taking any leftovers with you.
The introduction of Priority Pass restaurants is a brilliant feature for airports or terminals where Priority Pass isn’t able to reach agreements with other lounges.
Unfortunately in some ways I guess it was too good to be true, as Amex is eliminating this benefit on their cards. The good news is that Chase and Citi cards continue to offer this benefit, at least for now.
If you’ve used Priority Pass restaurants, what was your experience like? Do you have any other questions?
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees).