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Quick points: There is such a thing as a free airport lunch — here's how to get one

Sept. 24, 2021
4 min read
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Although we cover loyalty programs and credit cards in-depth on TPG every day, sometimes you just want a snippet of useful information that you can put into action on the fly. That’s why we recently launched the series Quick Points. Every week, we’ll highlight a new or easily forgotten tip that can help you travel more for less.


Airport lounges can be a love-'em-or-leave-'em situation that varies -- greatly -- based on your preferences and the availability of "worth it" lounges in the airports you frequent.

However, regardless of your personal opinions on whether it's worth visiting run-of-the-mill airport lounges, pretty much everyone agrees that most airport food is more expensive than we'd like. Thankfully, the same card perk that gets you into a network of airport lounges may also pay for your meal at a real airport restaurant instead of a dinner of packaged cheese and crackers in the lounge.

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Priority Pass memberships issued by credit card companies such as Chase and Citi (but specifically not Amex) can be used to not only visit a lounge in the Priority Pass network but also to visit one of the couple of dozen airport restaurants in the program for a virtually free meal.

Today’s quick points

At these participating restaurants, the membership holder and a guest (if allowed by the membership) can get a set amount off of the bill just by using their Priority Pass membership.

For the member, this works essentially the same way it does when you check in to a traditional airline lounge. The only difference is instead of covering the lounge entry, you have an amount of typically around $28 per eligible person to put toward your order at the airport restaurant. You can search for eligible locations on the Priority Pass website the same way you would search for traditional lounges.

Free meal at Yankee Pier in SFO. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

How to use this in real life

Inside of Terminal C at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), my home airport, sits Landry's Seafood.

If I want to sit down and order some soup, salad, shrimp and fries or whatever here, I can. The Priority Pass membership from my Chase Sapphire Reserve will then pick up a max of $56 of the tab for myself and a guest.

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Landry's at IAH Terminal C in Houston. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Why it’s worth it

If you are again eating in restaurants, this is a tip that can save you real cash the next time your stomach rumbles and you are near one of these outlets.

These eligible restaurants aren't in every airport, but in addition to my Houston example, you'll find options such as Bobby Van's Steakhouse in Terminal 8 at New York-JFK, Corona Beach House near Gate D23 in Miami (MIA), Trail Head BBQ Bar near Gate C1 in Seattle (SEA), Yankee Pier in Terminal 3 at SFO, Chef Geoff's in Washington Dulles (IAD) Concourse C ... and the list goes on.

If you already have a Priority Pass-eligible credit card in your wallet, get that membership activated and check the Priority Pass website to see if there's a place to get a free lunch the next time you're passing through the airport -- just be sure to tip your server on the full amount.

Featured image by Would your significant other say no to this airport lounge meal? (Photo at the SFO Priority Pass Lounge by Katie Genter/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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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023