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American Express cards to begin limiting Priority Pass benefits to “lounge only”
For those choosing an Amex as their sole premium credit card, this is very disappointing news indeed.
Garry at View from the Wing reports that American Express has confirmed to him that, beginning August 1st, its credit cards that offer Priority Pass benefits will exclude Priority Pass restaurants.
This refers to the Priority Pass benefit that entitles cardholders (and guests) to dine at a participating airport restaurant for a credit (generally around $30 per person) off the bill.
These restaurant credits have quickly become my favorite way to use my Priority Pass benefits, as in the US lounges (especially participating Alaska lounges) are often at capacity. They also supplement airports that don’t have lounges in Priority Pass or that lack them in several terminals.
At JFK’s terminal 8, for instance, you can use your Priority Pass card for an excellent steak at Bobby Vans.
Which American Express Cards lose Priority Pass restaurant access?
The affected cards are:
- Platinum Card from American Express (and Centurion)
- The Business Platinum Card from American Express (and Business Centurion)
- Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express
- Hilton Aspire
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
- Hilton Honors Business card
It sure appears to be a cost cutting move. Gary speculates that more people take them up on the dining credits vs the lounges. I’d speculate the same. And if you have a Platinum or Centurion card, they’d of course prefer you use their own Centurion lounges.
In my experience analyzing Amex card products and benefits, Amex seems to prefer benefits with a lot of breakage, meaning that they offer the benefit but make it harder to use – hoping you won’t (something that I personally believe looks good to bean counters but isn’t ideal for customer loyalty). I’m referring to things like having to select one airline to receive your yearly credits on the American Express Gold and American Express Platinum cards and generally having to remember to register specifically for every benefit – as opposed to, for example, the $300 travel credit offered on the Chase Sapphire Reserve that is simply and automatically credited to your card as you spend on eligible purchases (which are not limited to any specific airline or partner).
It remains to be seen if Chase / Citi might follow suit but I sure hope not. I currently have a Chase Sapphire Reserve and a Ciii Prestige, both of which still (for now!) offer the restaurant credit option.
Credit cards that you can still use for the Priority Pass restaurant benefit are:
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve
Will this affect what cards are in your wallet?
You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available now.