Effective August 1, 2019, American Express is removing access to non-lounge airport experiences from its credit cards that offer the Priority Pass benefit.
“Non-lounge” airport experiences refer to certain restaurants/bars/cafes that participate in the Priority Pass program.
So far, no other bank that offers credit cards with the Priority Pass benefit has followed suit. Hopefully, Amex is taking this leap alone.
This is clearly a cost-cutting move by American Express. I don’t think each “non-lounge” visit costs Amex any more than a traditional lounge visit, but it’s more easily abused. For instance, restaurant staff may be less likely to check boarding passes, making it easy for a Priority Pass membership card to be used by non-members.
What is Priority Pass?
Priority Pass is a club that provides its members and their guests with access to independent airport lounge worldwide. There are currently over 1000 lounges in 400 cities across 120 countries in the the network. You can read my complete Priority Pass primer here.
In an effort to increase its offerings, Priority Pass has added certain restaurants to its list of airport locations. Present your valid membership card, order off the menu as you normally would, and Priority Pass will provide you with a credit toward your meal. My list of Priority Pass Restaurants can be found here.