Priority Pass set to lose yet another US restaurant lounge, but there are still 28 locations still participating

Oct 11, 2019

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.

With access to more than 1,200 lounges worldwide, Priority Pass has quite the network, even though most TPG readers can’t take advantage of the free food and drink in Sydney’s airport (SYD) very often. In a move that’s beneficial for U.S. travelers, the Priority Pass program branched out and added restaurants to its roster a couple of years back, letting members enjoy a sit-down dining experience as part of their membership.

While the list of U.S. restaurants participating in Priority Pass once exceeded 30, we have seen some negative trends recently. On Aug. 1, American Express removed restaurant locations from its Priority Pass benefit. And now, a number of restaurants have announced they’re leaving the program.

P.F. Chang’s: Starting Oct. 1, the LAX location of P.F. Chang’s reduced the amount of credit per guest from $30 to $28. But, the much worse news hit this week. As I confirmed by speaking with management at the restaurant, P.F. Chang’s is leaving Priority Pass as of Oct. 25, 2019.

When I asked about the reason for the restaurant leaving, I was surprised to hear that management was primarily frustrated with the restrictions that Priority Pass had put on the restaurant. For example, Priority Pass insisted that P.F. Chang’s couldn’t let Priority Pass members use their credit toward take-away meals. Frustrations expressed by other Priority Pass restaurant locations — such as reportedly slow payment from Priority Pass or lack of tipping from guests — weren’t mentioned as a reason.

(Photo of P.F. Chang’s on Oct. 9 by JT Genter/The Points Guy.)

During my visit, the restaurant was packed and I noticed most patrons seemed to be using a Priority Pass. I asked my server about how this change was going to impact business, and he estimated well over half of the restaurant’s customers were using a Priority Pass. He seemed concerned what the sharp reduction in visitors would mean for his tips and a potential need to reduce waitstaff.

Timberline: But, before P.F. Chang’s leaves the program, there’s another Priority Pass restaurant that’s announced its exit. As of Oct. 15, 2019, Timberline — a steak restaurant in Terminal C of the Denver International Restaurant (DEN) — will leave Priority Pass. The change was confirmed to TPG by a Priority Pass spokesperson.

TPG Lounge reader Sophia Curcio tipped us off with a photo of her menu, which stated,

“Thank you for using your exclusive Priority Pass benefits at Timberline. We hope you had an exceptional experience today and in previous visits. We would like to inform you that as of October 15, 2019, we will no longer be a Priority Pass Lounge. We will be launching our own Loyalty Rewards Program. If you have any comments or concerns about this change please contact us at comments@missionyogurt.com.”

(Photo courtesy of Sophia Harrison Curcio via the TPG Lounge Facebook group.)

For now, there are still 30 Priority Pass restaurant lounges at 21 U.S. airports. Each of these offer members $28-30 per guest in food and drink. Here’s a list of all of the airport restaurants currently part of the Priority Pass program:

In addition to restaurants, you can get $28 per guest in booze at House Spirits Distillery in Portland (PDX).

And here’s a list of Priority Pass restaurants at international airports:

To get free food or drinks at these Priority Pass lounges, you’re going to need a Priority Pass membership. The best way to do so is by having a membership through a credit card, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve, U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card or Citi Prestige® Card.

There are a number of American Express cards that also have a Priority Pass benefit. Unfortunately, Amex discontinued “complimentary access to non-lounge airport experiences” as of Aug. 1. That change affects the Amex cards such as the The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and Hilton cards.

And here’s a reminder that shouldn’t need to be said: Tip your restaurant waitstaff. Despite the food being free through the Priority Pass benefit, they worked just as hard as they would have if you were paying for the meal.

I’ve been appalled to witness Priority Pass members stiff the waitstaff on multiple occasions at U.S. Priority Pass restaurants. It’s actions like this that threaten the sustainability of this program. So, if you want to continue to get free food at these Priority Pass restaurants, make sure to bring cash along to tip your waiter/waitress. Or, many restaurants will ring up a $0.01 charge so that you can pay — and tip — via a credit card:

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski and Mark Spivak.

Featured photo by tim mossholder/Unsplash.

2018 TPG Award Winner: Premium Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

SIGN-UP BONUS: 50,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,000

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on all travel and dining, $300 annual travel credit, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.49% - 25.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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.