A few weeks, holders of Priority Pass cards issued by American Express in the United States and Hong Kong were told that, from 1st August, they could no longer use their card in restaurants or bars.
(You can still hand over your card and the restaurant will give you the £15 credit, but Priority Pass will charge your Amex card with a £20 fee!)
There are a growing number of airport restaurants and bars which will give you £15 or equivalent credit by showing your Priority Pass. This is instead of visiting a lounge, although nothing stops you using the credit and then visiting a lounge too.
In the UK there is only one participating restaurant – The Grain Store in London Gatwick’s South Terminal. We wrote about The Grain Store here.
I didn’t cover it at the time because I thought it was a US-centric issue. However, American Express cardholders in Germany and Austria with a Priority Pass were also told this week that they are losing this benefit on 1st August.
Will we get a similar email in the UK soon? I can see why American Express may want to avoid cutting UK cardholder benefits, given the £125 hike in the Platinum membership fee this week. Let’s see.
Note that this only impacts Priority Pass cards issued by Amex. If you get one via another source, either bought directly (click here) or via another bank, you won’t be hit by this even if Amex makes the change.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (November 2020)
As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.
The Lounge Club list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list. Additional visits are charged at £20. You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card. There is no annual fee in Year 1 and a 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.
The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer. Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.
PS. You can find HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to almost all of them – indexed here.