My Love-Hate Relationship With Priority Pass

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My Love-Hate Relationship With Priority Pass

KeithMy Love-Hate Relationship With Priority PassMillion Mile Secrets Team

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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.

My Love Hate Relationship With Priority Pass
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.

My Love Hate Relationship With Priority Pass
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!

My Love Hate Relationship With Priority Pass
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!

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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  • 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✓®

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I am sure you know that as of August 26, 2018, Chase will restrict admittance to a Priority Pass lounge to the card holder and two free guests and $27.00 for each additional guest. Don’t you think this will improve your chances of gaining access to Priority Pass lounges?


I hope so! Although, more cards continue to come out and offer Priority Pass access, so there’s still a lot of demand.

PDX is the best airport in the USA for priority pass, even when the alaska Lounge is closed you can get free food and drink at three post security locations(capers market, capers deli, and the distillery). I have never been able to use my priority pass at SFO because the KLM lounge always has a sign denying access.


Agreed. Happy I decided to stop over there on my way to Detroit even though it was completely out of the way.

Why do you need 3 Priority pass memberships? Don’t abuse the perks and perhaps companies wouldn’t have the need to reduce its benefits


I don’t need or use all three. They’re complimentary with the credit cards I have.

Having dining credits at some restaurants is news to me. Any idea on how we can find a complete list?


I updated the post with a list of the eligible airport restaurants in the US.

I always check priority pass lounge list online when flying, so I don’t miss out. There are several in Miami I’d like to try.


Good idea! They’re always adding new restaurants, so it’s wise to check before flying.

Priority Pass has an app and it lists all the restaurants that participate. My wife and I both have the PP and used it at the Capers Cafe (for our family of 4, each card with a guest) so our total usable credit came out to $112. That’s better than a lot of lounges.


Wow! That’s a real savings right there. Thank you for sharing!