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While Priority Pass mostly consists of airport lounges, the company also has dozens of restaurants that are part of the network. Over the years we’ve seen many restaurants added and removed, so I wanted to provide a consolidated, updated look at which restaurants participate in Priority Pass, as well as how this whole concept works.
What is Priority Pass?
Priority Pass is the world’s largest network of independent airport lounges, with over 1,300 lounges around the world. Priority Pass isn’t directly affiliated with any airline, and a majority of the company’s member lounges are independent, and not run by airlines (though there are exceptions).
In general, there are two ways to get a Priority Pass membership. You can either buy a membership directly, or you can often get a membership through a premium credit card. In the United States, a vast majority of people get a membership through the latter method. As I’ll explain below, how you attain your membership could impact the benefits associated with it.
Which credit cards offer a Priority Pass membership?
In the United States, the following are some of the most popular credit cards to come with Priority Pass memberships (enrollment required), along with their guesting privileges:
Note that while all of those cards offer Priority Pass memberships, Priority Pass cards issued through American Express don’t offer credits for restaurants or other non-lounge Priority Pass experiences. If you want to visit a Priority Pass restaurant, make sure you have a Priority Pass membership not issued through American Express. Why is Amex excluded? My guess is that Amex wanted to control costs associated with this benefit, and eliminating restaurant privileges was an easy way to do that.
For Priority Pass restaurant credits, I tend to think that the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review) and Chase Sapphire Reserve® (review) continue to be the all-around best options.
What are Priority Pass restaurants?
A vast majority of Priority Pass locations are actual airport lounges, which feature plenty of seating, complimentary snacks and drinks, and sometimes showers.
Quito Airport Lounge, which is “traditional” and accessible by Priority Pass members
However, in some cases Priority Pass has a hard time striking deals with airport lounges. This is especially true in terminals that are largely occupied by one of the “big three” US airlines.
American, Delta, and United all don’t allow any of their lounges to participate in Priority Pass (since they view Priority Pass as competition to their own lounge memberships).
In these cases, Priority Pass has gotten creative, and the company has partnered with some restaurants. The intention is that Priority Pass ordinarily pays lounges a certain amount for every guest who visits, so instead, Priority Pass pays restaurants a certain amount for every guest who visits, and then guests receive credit for some amount that they can spend at that restaurant.
As a general rule of thumb, restaurants are reimbursed about ~80-90% of the credit amount, so if you get a $28 credit you can expect the restaurant is getting about $23 of that (the restaurants are giving the discount due to the volume of business they’re getting from this).
Lunch at Bobby Van’s at New York JFK Airport
Which US airport restaurants participate in Priority Pass?
As of now, there are well over two dozen airport restaurants in the United States that participate in Priority Pass. Here’s a chart showing the current restaurants, sorted by airport code:
What international airport restaurants participate in Priority Pass?
You can use your Priority Pass membership outside the United States as well, though I usually prefer a premium international lounge to a restaurant on those itineraries. Here’s the current list of airport restaurants outside the US that accept Priority Pass:
How much credit do you get at Priority Pass restaurants?
When you visit Priority Pass restaurants you get a certain dollar credit. A vast majority of Priority Pass restaurants offer you a $28 credit per person, while a couple of restaurants give you a $30 credit. You’ll want to check the restaurant you plan on visiting on the Priority Pass website to see the exact terms.
Note that the credit is per person, so if you have a Priority Pass membership that allows guesting privileges and offers credits at Priority Pass restaurants, you can multiply the credit by how many guests you have (just let the person swiping your card know how many guests you have).
If you’re traveling alone you’re limited to the credit for one person, so you can’t use multiple credits for yourself.
Breakfast at Cafe by Mise en Place at Tampa Airport
Priority Pass restaurant menus
Below you will find a list of the menus for each restaurant that participates in Priority Pass.
How many guests can you bring into Priority Pass restaurants?
There are two factors that determine for how many guests receive credit at a Priority Pass restaurant:
- Your specific membership only allows a certain number of complimentary guests (for most US issued credit cards, that number is two guests, not including the cardholder)
- Some Priority Pass restaurants have specific restrictions about how many guests you can bring in; for many US Priority Pass restaurants you’re limited to one or two guests
US Priority Pass restaurants are pretty evenly split when it comes to their rules for guests, so check the Priority Pass website for the specific location to see how many guests you can bring.
Can you use your Priority Pass restaurant on arrival or only on departure?
All US Priority Pass restaurants require you to show a boarding pass for confirmed same-day travel. Some restaurants require that you have an outbound boarding pass (meaning that you’re there before your flight), while other restaurants don’t have such a requirement.
You can visit many Priority Pass restaurants even upon arrival of your flight. Just check the terms on Priority Pass’ website for each restaurant.
Can you visit multiple Priority Pass restaurants at the same airport?
Generally speaking, yes. There are some airports that have multiple Priority Pass restaurants, and in those cases, you can also visit multiple lounges.
When should you present your card at Priority Pass restaurants?
The etiquette for this varies by restaurant. Some restaurants swipe your card upfront, while others only charge it upon the conclusion of the meal.
My strategy is to just ask the host when I’m seated if they need my card then or only want it later. I find that most locations just swipe your card at the end of the meal, though some swipe it at the beginning.
For those that swipe it at the end, when it comes time for the check, just let your server know that you’ll be paying with Priority Pass.
They should then bring over a machine where they’ll swipe your card, you’ll sign, and then you’ll be given a receipt (if you want it).
If you charge more than the Priority Pass credit amount then you’ll be brought a bill for the balance.
Should you tip when eating at a Priority Pass restaurant?
Priority Pass acts as a form of payment when dining at a Priority Pass restaurant, so it’s no different than a gift card, for example. Personally, I’d recommend tipping on the full amount just as you would if usually dining at an airport restaurant.
I’d note that the one exception to this is Corona Beach House at Miami Airport. That restaurant automatically builds in an 18% gratuity, so there’s no need to tip beyond that.
I’d love to see more restaurants adopt this policy, but I wouldn’t count on it happening. In the meantime, I certainly don’t want servers to lose out because of what’s a very generous benefit.
I always make sure I can tip in cash, because if I stay under the credit amount they sometimes can’t run credit card transactions just for tips (though if you go over your credit amount then you can just add your tip to the card you use to pay for the overage).
Are there other Priority Pass restaurant restrictions?
You’ll want to check the exact terms on each Priority Pass restaurant’s site, but as a general rule of thumb the credit isn’t valid for delivery orders, or orders through the “grab & go” feature, if a restaurant has it.
Grab & go items are generally excluded for Priority Pass members
Some Priority Pass restaurants also prevent you from taking any leftovers with you.
Priority Pass restaurants are an awesome feature for terminals and airports that don’t otherwise have Priority Pass lounges (and heck, even those that do). And heck, they’re also an awesome feature for airports that do have traditional lounges, because you can “hop” between Priority Pass locations if you have time.
While the food served at Priority Pass restaurants isn’t typically gourmet, it does compare favorably to what you’ll usually otherwise be served on a plane.
So if you’re a Priority Pass member eligible for this perk, make sure you keep an eye out on for any restaurant locations the next time you’re passing through an airport.
If you’ve used Priority Pass restaurants, what was your experience like? Do you have any other questions?
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees).