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Why Amex Removing Priority Pass Restaurants Isn’t a Huge Deal to Me

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Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.

Amex Removing Priority Pass Restaurants tears

Why Amex Removing Priority Pass Restaurants Isn’t a Huge Deal to Me

Did you hear?  How could you not it is all anyone has been writing about!  American Express has removed Priority Pass restaurants from there memberships that come with Amex cards.  People are pretty upset about this, me on the other hand I think of it as meh.

I am not going to try to sell you on the fact that this isn’t a devaluation.  It is one and for some it is a huge one.  I want to talk about why it isn’t a huge deal TO ME and why I think it was a perk that was overvalued some.  If you lived in an airport with a quality restaurant like PDX Deals Guy and Capers then you are going to disagree with me but I think there may be some who see it my way.  Or maybe not…🤨🤔

RELATED: Caper’s Market Leaves the Priority Pass Network

I Never Valued Priority Pass Memberships In My Decisions

If you have read my posts about credit cards or breaking down their values then you know I don’t put a value on Priority Pass memberships.  Others will use it to inflate the card’s value to make it a better seller but I think it is a fringe benefit that is fluff more than substance.

And it seems like everyone and their brother has offered it lately, even non premium cards.  Now if you are comparing the CSR vs the Amex Platinum and you value Priority Pass restaurant access that may tip the scales in which card you get.  That is assuming that you had them on equal footing on most everything else.

Amex Removing Priority Pass Restaurants app

Why I Think The Restaurant Perk Was Overvalued

The $28 credit that you get at restaurants was impressive and probably over the top.  Especially when you are talking about a family of 3 or 4 where kids will never touch that volume.  I think that was a big part of the issue here, they gave too much.  Do you ever get $28 worth of value out of a normal lounge?  Most likely not.

We are a group of people who like to maximize every perk we can.  So you know people ordered stuff they were never going to eat to take home or on their plane.  I bet a good portion of those people never ate the leftovers.  Now did you really get $28 of value out of that or did you manufacture $28 of value out of it because you felt you had to?

That isn’t even taking into account the fact that this is overpriced, usually bland airport restaurant food.  I stopped in Timberline on my recent trip to Denver for breakfast.  Most of the people there were Priority Pass holders and it took close to 40 minutes to get my food.  The eggs were kind of burnt and the food was just okay overall.  I left a $5 tip and I could have probably got the same thing in the city for $12 out the door.  So did I really get $20 in value or did I get $7-10 in value from it.  And was it worth hanging out in the airport for an extra hour to do?  I would say not.

Amex Removing Priority Pass Restaurants card

Do You Want to Spend More Time at the Airport

That brings me to my last point.  I have flown into or out of Denver 6 times in the last few months and this was the first time I stopped at the Priority Pass restaurant.  The truth is I don’t want to spend more time in the airport then I need to…it isn’t enjoyable to me.

I know people that get to the airport a few hours early or hang out when they land just to get a free meal.  Don’t even get me started about the people that leave security or ride the buses to hit PF Chang’s at LAX 😂. But how often is the food really worth it?  Why not eat before heading over and get a better quality meal even if not free?

Before there were restaurants did you want to eat at the airport?  Did you get to the airport early because of their dining options?  I would guess not.  Now I know this isn’t accounting for layovers which is when this change really stings.

Final Thoughts

I know we all love to get the best deal we can and max out every perk we have available.  But my question is what is the true value of it and will you really miss it if other issuers follow Amex’s example?

I don’t think the value is anywhere near what we think it is and definitely not $28 a visit. How many people used to go to the airport early to eat or stayed upon arrival before these restaurants?  Most of the time I will hit a lounge for a quick drink or snack before or in between flights but I get to the airport right before my flight most of the time.  That is why the restaurants never appealed to me much.

I encourage you to truly ask what the value of this perk is. Do you do it solely because it is free or do you do it because you enjoy the experience?  At least that is my take on it and I am sure many people will not agree with me which is okay too.  I just wanted to give a different perspective on it.  The times the loss will really sting are on long layovers or if you had a home airport with a quality PP restaurant.  Those people may be valuing Chase and others a little bit more for the time being.

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. This is big news in my book. As SC pointed out (above), DCA has no Priority Pass lounges apart from the PP-eligible restaurants there. And given that Amex has no Centurion lounges at any D.C.-area airport, this move stinks for their cardholders. As long as Chase doesn’t follow, I’m good, but if they devalue PP benefits also…

  2. I disagree. I usually enjoy a few beverages with my layovers, so the value was decent using it for a bite and a glass of wine. Very disappointing to lose this.

    • I try to keep my layovers to a min where I am going from de-boarding to boarding. Not always possible but I manage it most of the time. But I see where you and others are coming from for sure.

  3. Oh no!! I love that benfit I used it 4 times within a 2 week period flying in & out of Maimi then hopping over to Cuba for a quick trip we went to Margaritaville each time which is outside of the security area my wife and I both had steak plates maxed out the $56 x 4 trips for sure got great value. Service was fast, food was great, location was very convenient.
    We also used it a few times in LAX layovers to & from Hawaii sometime within the Delta terminal there is a resturant Rocks & Brew but only avalible when Delta lounge is closed, and twice we made the walk to PF Chang we loved it no problems fast service and do not mind walking when we have long layover. We alway travel with a service dog anyway so we enjoy walking around to stretch legs and visiting the pet relief areas as well. The lounges and PP resturants have always workout for us. Plus when I have time I just like to visit as many lounges as I can fit in keep my legs moving, taste the food and I get to write my review on the lounge buddy app 🙂

  4. I find pretty good value out of PP, but like you said it’s only because I have RJ Rockers Flight Room at my home airport (GSP) and definitely max the benefit (Ritz card) with a family of 4 with beer/food every time we fly. We’re flying nonstop CLT to GCM in July and was really disappointed there is no priority pass restaurant or lounge there.

  5. I couldn’t agree more with this take. Couple things I’ll add – the restaurant perk is fairly recent and yet people are acting like priority pass isn’t worth much without it. Also, people were clearly abusing this perk, which is why you saw many restaurants join then leave or set a 2 hour return limit. The one great thing that I wouldn’t want to lose though is the option to have at least *something* in the airports without a priority pass lounge that really should have one. I’m looking at you DCA!! Anyway, this feels to me like when Citi Prestige lost Admirals Club access – everyone was upset for a while then figured out a way to survive without it.

  6. I’m leaning toward your view. I rarely use the restaurant option as my home airport doesn’t have a PP lounge or PP restaurant. I do use the lounges with layovers and on my way home but I value them at whatever I would have spent to eat if I were not going to the lounge. I try not to be too early to the airport either so it’s usually just a quick sandwich and not an actual restaurant. That tends to me closer to $15 per person. Alcohol is free once I hit the plane not to mention I don’t usually drink at 6am. Delayed flights are a whole other story.

    • Delays or long layovers is when I would miss this, assuming the airport has a restaurant. But if there is a lounge or restaurant I would probably head to the lounge unless I was starving. Easier to get work done and charge my phone etc.

  7. I always go over the $28 at the restaurant so I consider it to be a good value. That’ll happen when beers are $8-15 at the airport and food is $12-18.

  8. My experience is the opposite. We have thoroughly enjoyed several of the restaurants when it makes sense. We have used it when landing at destinations to have a lunch or dinner before heading to the hotel. Our family of four has had some good meals in Miami, Portland, DC, Houston. I know that we aren’t getting $100+ in value each time, but I wouldn’t hesitate to say that it is at least worth $50 a pop. We have used them on layovers and have also treated guests. Just like you, I have several cards that get the PP benefit. I will be using the one that comes with my sapphire reserve for now. I hope PP continues to add restaurants. It makes paying the AF on the sapphire reserve a no-brainer unless they remove this benefit as well.

    • It is a nice perk for sure, especially for families. It does give the CSR and others a leg up on the Amex cards now.


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