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Get free food at the airport: Which cards offer Priority Pass restaurant access?

Feb. 06, 2023
7 min read
an overhead view of 2 plates, one with a quesadilla and another with a sandwich
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Editor's note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.

Airport lounge access is one of my favorite credit card benefits. You can get free food and drinks while waiting in a more comfortable area before your flight. However, some lounges aren't great. And their food offerings may be little more than a pack of Oreos.

If you need to grab a meal at the airport before a flight, you could pay a small fortune. However, a lesser-known credit card benefit could help you score a free meal for yourself and for your traveling companions.

Here's a look at credit cards that offer visits to Priority Pass restaurants, where you could pick up a free lunch before your next flight.

Priority Pass lounges vs restaurants

When you think of Priority Pass, you likely think of airport lounges where you can relax before your flight, use Wi-Fi and enjoy some food and drinks without the noisy announcements encountered near the departure gates. That's definitely a big part of what a Priority Pass membership offers, but there's more.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Priority Pass program

Yankee Pier in San Francisco. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Priority Pass also has affiliated restaurants in more than 20 airports. When using your membership card, you can enjoy a free meal. Plus, your guest can enjoy their own credit for a free meal.

In addition to restaurants, you can enjoy non-lounge perks like these at some airports:

  • An hour in a private room at select Minute Suite locations.
  • Use of a game station for one hour (and a snack and a bottle of water or soft drink) at select Gameway locations.
  • Select treatments at participating Be Relax Spa locations.

However, not all Priority Pass memberships offer access to Priority Pass restaurants, spas, sleep pods and other non-lounge visits. We'll discuss which memberships do (and don't) include these visits below.

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Where are Priority Pass restaurants located?

Unfortunately, not every airport with a Priority Pass lounge has a Priority Pass-affiliated restaurant. And some airports with participating restaurants have more than one of them, meaning this benefit is available only at a select few airports in the U.S.

Related: Skip the lounge and get free food at 31 US restaurants that are part of Priority Pass

You can get a free meal at Priority Pass restaurants like this one at the MIA airport. BENJI STAWSKI/THE POINTS GUY

You can find participating restaurants at the following U.S. airports:

  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).
  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE).
  • Denver International Airport (DEN).
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW).
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).
  • Indianapolis International Airport (IND).
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).
  • Miami International Airport (MIA).
  • Nashville International Airport (BNA).
  • Portland International Airport (PDX).
  • Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport (PVD).
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN).
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).
  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL).
  • Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR).
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA).
  • Tucson International Airport (TUS).
  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).

How much is the Priority Pass restaurant benefit worth?

You can get up to $28-$30 of free food and drinks, depending on the rules set by each restaurant. Let's take a look at two sample restaurants.

The Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar at IAH offers a maximum of $28 per person in free food and drinks. This credit cannot be used for to-go orders, and you can register a maximum of one guest (no matter how many people are with you). That would provide a maximum of $56 in food and drinks. You cannot use this credit toward gratuity when tipping your server.

Breakfast tacos from Landry’s Seafood at Houston’s IAH Priority Pass restaurant. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

The Corona Beach House at MIA, however, offers a credit of $30 per person and doesn't have a limit on the number of guests you can register during your visit. You cannot use your credit on to-go orders or grab-and-go items. The restaurant automatically adds an 18% gratuity to your bill.

Depending on which Priority Pass restaurant you visit, you'll likely encounter one of these sets of rules for how much credit you receive, guest restrictions and gratuities. Even if your meal is free, you should still plan to tip your server based on the bill before any deductions.

Related: Priority Pass continues to single-handedly offset my credit card annual fee with this overlooked benefit

Credit cards that provide access to Priority Pass restaurants

Many credit cards offer access to Priority Pass lounges. Some offer unlimited visits while others offer just a few visits per year. Some allow for unlimited guests while others don't include any free guests.

Related: 10 credit cards that offer Priority Pass airport lounge access

And only a few of the credit cards offering Priority Pass memberships still include non-lounge visits, such as spas and restaurants. They are:

American Express removed this benefit in 2019, and the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card removed this perk at the start of 2023. That's why you don't see those cards on our list, even though they offer Priority Pass memberships which you can use for lounge visits. Similarly, the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card* offers four Priority Pass visits per year, but these cannot be used for Priority Pass restaurants according to a spokesperson for U.S. Bank.

*The information for these cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Some more bad news: If you don't have the Citi Prestige card already, you can't get it. Also, you can't apply for the Ritz-Carlton card, though you can obtain it if you have another Marriott credit card from Chase already. And you can't apply for the Venture X Business unless you have a business relationship manager with Capital One. Thus, most people can apply for just two of the five cards offering Priority Pass restaurant benefits.

Yankee Pier in San Francisco. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Bottom line

This benefit can help you save cash the next time your stomach rumbles before a flight. These eligible restaurants aren’t in every airport, unfortunately, though they are available in some of the busiest airports in the U.S. It all depends on how you access your Priority Pass membership, but, yes, there is such a thing as a free lunch if you have the right credit card in your wallet.

Additional reporting by Summer Hull.

Featured image by BENJI STAWSKI/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Build your loyalty to Delta by applying for the carrier's mid-tier card option, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card. The annual fee is quickly recouped by the card's travel perks, such as an application credit to Global Entry or TSA Precheck, annual companion certificate and so much more. Plus you can fast-track to elite status simply through card spend.

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  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year
  • Statement credit for TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fee (up to $100)
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