My Love-Hate Relationship With Priority Pass

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I have 3 popular travel rewards credit cards that offer a Priority Pass Select membership.  This means I can (in theory) access 1,000+ airport lounges around the world.

But the lounges that are part of the network can make their own rules and set restrictions when it comes to allowing guests in.  On 2 recent trips to New York (JFK) and Seattle, there were signs outside of the Alaska Airlines lounges (part of Priority Pass) that said they were NOT accepting Priority Pass members.

It’s Not the First Time I’ve Seen Lounges in the Priority Pass Network Restrict Access. It’s Very Frustrating!

Even when I do get lucky and enter a Priority Pass lounge, I sometimes find them to be underwhelming.  The food options can be limited and they’re usually super crowded.  Hence, why certain lounges restrict access.

Ok, that’s enough of my rant.  The point of this story is I was pleasantly surprised as a Priority Pass member to travel through the Portland airport last week.  I’ll explain why!

Priority Pass Members Get a Dining Credit at Certain Airport Restaurants!

One of my critiques of the Priority Pass lounges I’ve visited in the past is there’s usually only light snacks, like soup and pretzels.  If you want something more substantive, you’ll usually have to pay for overpriced airport food somewhere else in the terminal.

So it was a nice treat when I had a layover in Portland recently.  I stopped at Capers Cafe to buy a sandwich.  The restaurant menu had a variety of hot food options and desserts.

Capers Cafe in Portland Airport Has a Nice Menu of Food Options, Including Tasty Desserts!

I went to pay for my order with my Chase Sapphire Reserve, but the cashier asked if I had a Priority Pass card.  Because Priority Pass members can get a $28 credit at this restaurant.  This credit was more than double my bill!  And I got to enjoy a filling meal – a tasty hot pastrami sandwich!

Using My Priority Pass Card at This Airport Restaurant Got Me a Completely Free Meal! The $28 Credit Allowance Was More Than Double the Bill!

This benefit is available at other airport restaurants too, like Timberline Steaks & Grille at the Denver airport.  If other airport restaurants join the network, I think having a Priority Pass will be a no-brainer for folks who travel.

Here’s a full list of the US airport restaurants

These Cards Offer Priority Pass Access

Link:   Airport Lounge Perks Compared

Priority Pass Select membership comes with these cards:

I have 3 separate Priority Pass memberships.  Be sure to check out our post about organizing your Priority Pass cards because the guest policy is different depending on which card you have!

Bottom Line

Certain credit cards offer complimentary Priority Pass Select memberships, which means you can access 1,000+ airport lounges around the world.  Unfortunately, the more popular lounges that tend to get more crowded can restrict folks with a Priority Pass from entering.  This can really be frustrating!

That said, I was recently in the Portland airport and learned I could use my Priority Pass card to get up to a $28 credit at Capers Cafe.  This was an airport restaurant and not your typical lounge.  It was fantastic to enjoy a hot pastrami sandwich for free!

If other airport restaurants become part of the Priority Pass network, I think this perk will become much more useful!  So it might be a good idea to apply for a card that offers this perk, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or AMEX Platinum!