Amex Priority Pass Cards Losing Non-Lounge Access Privileges

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Priority Pass Select members who have their membership through holding a US-issued American Express card are losing non-lounge access privileges from August 1, 2019. The move affects every membership associated with any Amex card offering Priority Pass membership like the The Platinum Card® from American Express (Terms Apply), or the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card card. Priority Pass defines “non-lounge” as bars, cafes, and restaurants. The entire list of non-lounge facilities will be unavailable for Amex Priority Pass Cardholders, bar a select few.

Facilities That Will Remain Available

The cut is deep, and almost every participating Priority Pass restaurant and bar will no longer be accessible from August 1, 2019. There is a handful of facilities that are an exception, and these include:

  • Minute Suites at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International ATL- Concourse B & Concourse T
  • Minute Suites at Charlotte Douglas International CTL- Atrium
  • Minute Suites at Dallas / Fort Worth international DFW- Terminal A & Terminal D
  • Minute Suites at Philadelphia International PHL- Terminal B
  • Sleep’n’fly – the new airport sleep concept by YAWN at Dubai International DXB- Terminal 3, Concourse A
  • The Grain Store at London Gatwick LGW- South Terminal

Amex Cards Affected

Currently, three American Express cards provide you with a  complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. The devaluation of Priority Pass membership affects the following cards:

One thing to note is that the The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card card both provide you with 10 complimentary Priority Pass visits per year (Terms Apply). It is not clear whether the restriction will apply to these cards as well.

One thing to remember is that this only affects Priority Pass Select memberships associated with Amex cards like the Amex Platinum. It does not affect memberships associated with Chase or any other financial institutions. That means Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Citi Prestige® Card Priority Pass cards should still have access to non-lounge facilities.  So if you have multiple memberships, remember to take a Sharpie, and mark each Priority Pass card with the name of the credit card it is associated with.

Our Take

This is bad news, and there is no way to sugarcoat it. Even though the Amex Platinum card comes with an impressive host of features and benefits, the devaluation of the Priority Pass membership is a hammer blow to the value of the card, and makes competitor cards like the Sapphire Reserve seem that much more attractive since they provide unrestricted Priority Pass membership. The major concern here is that other issuers will see this move as a clever cost-cutting measure and follow suit.  If Chase or Citi pulls this benefit too, you can bet the other won't be far behind.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Annual Fee$450
Welcome Bonus Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Chase's flagship Ultimate Rewards card. You get a $300 travel credit, airport lounge access courtesy of a Priority Pass membership and industry-leading travel insurance benefits. New cardholders earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • 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✔®
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit
  • 3X points on dining at restaurants
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Amex Priority Pass Cards Losing Non-Lounge Access Privileges
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Comments

  • Well first of all they pulled reimbursement for airline gift cards. Now in a few days they are taking away the benefit of priority pass restaurants. I think that AMEX credit card holder renewals will be way down in the next 12 months.

  • I hope Chase doesn’t follow suit.

  • lorem ipsum says:

    Bye, bye, Amex Plat. With the loss of non-lounge access, the now harder-to-use airline fee credit, Uber credits that have to be used monthly, and Saks credits that have to be used twice a year, the value is no longer there. I can’t see myself renewing when the annual fee comes due.

  • Time to jettison my Platinum Cards.

  • That is really bad news. Seems we get less each year

  • When will we know if the surpass card is losing access to the restaurants?

  • Between the lounge loss (best priority pass value in us in my opinion) and new difficulty in using airline credits it makes me wonder if AMEX is even worth it anymore.

  • I have always used the Priority Pass card from the Sapphire Reserve over my Amex Platinum — there used to be no limit on the number of guests with the Sapphire Reserve. Since they got rid of that benefit (now it is only two guests) there wasn’t any difference. With this devaluation by Amex, the Reserve is again the best priority pass card to use.

  • Agreed, I’m very much hoping that this is not the first domino!

  • First they give it then they take it away….. I wish they were adding instead of chipping away at the perks

  • Yikes, certainly disconcerting. I have only used it at a restaurant once, but was impressed how easy it was.

  • It’s a shame I almost never used my pp card for airport restaurants and now they are going away.

  • Yeah, I’ll be downgrading my Aspire. The restaurant aspect was the best part of PPass.

  • That is pretty disappointing. I hope others dont follow on with this.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    I hope that Chase or Citi follows the lead here because that would be of tremendous benefit.

  • This is a bummer. I have never used a “non-lounge” anyway. I prefer just getting to my gate on time anyway.

  • Disappointing. Definitely going to have to think long and hard about renewing my Amex Platinum.

  • Yikes, hope that they aren’t coming for Priority Pass through Visa next. I really enjoyed this benefit.

  • Cuts, cuts, cuts, seem to be the order of the day lately.

  • It seems every few days some travel benefit is being devalued.

  • It is very disappointing. it was such a nice benefit.

  • Hope Citi will NOT follow suit.

  • Won’t be long before the lounge access goes too. Have it through Citi and not Amex, but every single PP lounge is overcrowded, if you can even get it. Nearly makes the benefit worthless. At least I can still hit the occasional restaurant (fingers crossed) for now.

    • Agreed. I’ve actually run into a lounge location that had signs posted that they were full. It was frustrating (hopefully it was a one-off experience on a super busy travel day?), but if it’s becoming more normal, I could totally see them going away at some point. Or even if they can get in, walking into a lounge crammed with so many people that the staff can’t meet the demand…. it just doesn’t really feel like a benefit anyway.

  • Andrew I. says:

    I’m about to upgrade to Amex Platinum but might hold off until end of the year to see what else is in store.
    Seems like they are making it harder to avail advertised credits.

    Down the line, CSR might be a better fit since it is also not a charge card.

  • thank god CSR is safe from this. at least for now

  • $550 annual fee on the Platinum can no longer be justified.

  • Give it till the end of the year and Chase will likely follow suit.

  • this is certainly disappointing. I have two priority pass cards thru amex and one thru citi. I was planning to get out of the citi/ty points system due to the recent benefits loss with the citi cards.

  • Back to using the Reserve card. I had to call customer service for a new one since I couldn’t find the old one. Took about a week and now am good to go.

  • I have the paying version of Priority Pass ans so this change doens’t affect me.

  • Amex cards aren’t what they used to be 🙁

  • I hope this doesn’t become a trend. I really enjoy the benefits of the Priority Pass.

  • This is sad for lots of Amex cardholders. Luckily I have other cards out there that still provide access. Make sure you mark the PP cards so that you don’t use one mistakenly and get charged extra!

  • What a bummer, this is a bad news, and I hope this is not the beginning of a trend….

  • Dear Amex …. your profitability may go up … in the short run. Over the long term, not so much.

  • If you’re not carrying Oneworld lounge status, then Grain Store will continue to be a superior option for Gatwick south compared to existing priority pass offerings.

  • Multiple confused and disappointed AMEX/PP folks at Timberline in DEN on 8/1 during my brief wait for a table. If that was my home airport I’d be sad, too! I think a lot of people will flock to CSP if they don’t have it already because the restaurant credits seem too good to be true.

  • Ben David Jacob says:

    Seems like the writing has been on the walls for AMEX here. I’ve been turned away as a priority pass member several times because places were to busy with other members.

  • Ouch, that’s definitely a cut. I wonder how Amex will make their card more appealing to consumers now. It hasn’t been too appealing to me even before. Now it’d be a much harder sell with that annual fee. Chase will be my fave for now.

  • AMEX is giving more & more reasons for me not to renew their Platinum card. They are no longer cater to travelers.

  • John Dickenson says:

    Disappointing. I have PP thru the Bonvoy Brilliant AmEx and was looking forward to trying some of the restaurant options.

  • I don’t see how Amex can keep charging the crazy high annual fee for the Platinum card with all these negative changes. I somehow never got the personal platinum and doubt I ever will now.

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