Priority Pass is most famously known for their airport lounges. Many airports in the United States and around the world offer a lounge where members can relax, get some food and drinks for “free” while waiting for your airplane. Many different travel credit cards issued in the United States offer some sort of Priority Pass membership.
However, not all airports are suitable for a lounge, or the lounges that are offered could be overcrowded. This is where Priority Pass comes in and partners with a few different places around the airport (restaurants) to offer some sort of benefit to its users. Typically this comes in the form of a ~$30 credit at a restaurant per person with a limit of usually 2 guests maximum.
For those of you that have accessed Priority Pass’s restaurants with an American Express issued card, there is some bad news for you. Come August 1st, 2019, all American Express Priority Pass cardholders will lose access to the restaurants. Access to the Priority Pass lounges will remain, however you will not be able to use our membership at any restaurant.
This is a pretty big change for a credit card company that offers priority pass memberships as it signals a big shift for American Express. While they have not disbanded from Priority Pass in totality, it looks like they are rethinking their strategy. I would imagine that Priority Pass and American Express have some sort of partnership, where they pay a certain amount for its members to have access to the lounges and restaurants. The cost for American Express was probably a little bit too high for them to deal with, and so they limited the partnership to just the lounges.
As of the time of writing, American Express seems to be the only one that is making this change. But to be fair, American Express is also the only credit card company out there that actually has their own airport lounges, the Centurion lounges. These lounges are touted as some of the nicest lounges in the world, and are exclusive to Platinum and Centurion cardholders. American Express is also acquiring lounge app and restaurant reservation apps, so we’ll see if there is anything in that at all.
If you are one of the impacted ones, you could always use a priority pass membership from a different issuer such as Chase or Citi.
Does American Express think that you have enough of a bargain with their lounges? Do you think they have something sneaky up their sleeve? Or do you think they are just tired of paying the Priority Pass cost? Let us know below!