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

Sep 24, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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.

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 photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.