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More on the American Express / Priority Pass changes – no more free restaurant meals

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Last week we covered the changes coming to the airport lounge cards issued with Amex Platinum.

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two Priority Pass airport lounge access cards, one for you and one for your supplementary Platinum cardholder.  This allows each of you to get two people, for free and as often as you want, into any of the 1,200 airport lounges in the Priority Pass network.

(You can find full details on Priority Pass here – you can buy one separately without having to take out an Amex Platinum card.)

Over recent years, Priority Pass has been adding restaurant partners too.  Instead of visiting a lounge, you can visit a restaurant in your departure terminal and receive a £15 discount on your bill per person.  However, American Express is now removing the restaurant benefit from UK issued Platinum cards.

There was one relevant exception.  The only UK restaurant participating in the scheme, the Grain Store Café & Bar at Gatwick South, will be retained, at least for UK cardholders.  We looked at The Grain Store here.

Amex implied, in a message on July card statements, that other restaurants would also be retained.  It turns out this is not the case.  There ARE seven other ‘non-lounge’ venues being retained but the other six are NOT restaurants.  They are in-airport transit hotels, primarily ‘Minute Suites’ in the USA, where your Priority Pass gets you a bed for one hour.  The Priority Pass website has full details here.

Gatwick’s The Grain Store is, literally, the only Priority Pass restaurant in the world which is still accessible to Amex-issued Priority Pass cardholders.

I also don’t think this will last.  The new Club Aspire lounge is due to open in Gatwick South in mid September – see the website here.   Importantly, this lounge is 50% owned by the parent of Priority Pass.  Once it is active, it makes no sense for Priority Pass to pay for The Grain Store when it can send people to the new Club Aspire lounge instead.

Priority Pass restaurant changes The Grain Store

Getting airport lounge access via a UK credit card

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

Two free Priority Pass cards (one for you, one for your supplementary Platinum cardholder, each admitting two – so a family of four gets in free) giving access to every lounge in the Priority Pass network – search it here.  You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

You get a Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club network lounge – see the list here.  The list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list, but not by much.  Additional visits are charged at £20 per person.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  No annual fee in Year 1.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

You get a free LoungeKey card allowing you access to any property in the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although regular travellers will find it cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card (adults only, of course).  The card has an annual 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.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (104)

  • Alex W says:

    Where is this priority pass hotel where you get a “bed for an hour”? In a brothel?!

    • Anna says:

      And seriously do they change the bed linen if it’s only been used for an hour?!

    • Lady London says:

      They’re an older-style version of Yotel. No shower though i think. Somewhere you can get your head down between flights. Sorely needed in a lot of US airports where they are round. I think they might be owned by one of the bigger chains.

      Of course the one hour provided by PP is unlikely to be enough so best viewed as a discount.

      It doesn’t seem to take many Hours in thèse kinds if facilities before you’d be better off just getting a hôtel room. There are cabins like that in MXP but again, IMV over about 3 hours most of the time, just get a hotel.

  • Murray says:

    OT – does anyone know if construction has actually started for the Centurion Lounge at Heathrow? All I can find is that it’s slated to open this year but if construction hasn’t started yet I don’t see how they can actually finish it in time.

  • Stephanie says:

    Came here to read comments on folks’s perspective of the Amex Plat devaluation, but most of the comments are OT questions. @Rob have considered setting up a HFP forum for this type of discussion?

    • Rob says:

      There will be a Q&A forum in a few weeks, but not a free-for-all because we cannot pay for 24/7 moderation which, under UK libel laws, would be required given our size.

  • Sina says:

    Hey Rob,

    I was recently in Oslo, and I found out that I can use OSL Lounge with my platinum card, this is not mentioned anywhere but on Amex’s Norway website. its a useful benefit since there is no Priority Pass lounge in Oslo airport.

    The only thing is, the lounge closes at 20:30 and we didn’t have enough time!

  • paul says:

    Hi, I tried to buy some Iberia avios to check the offer price and the site said I did not have the minimum avios to be allowed to buy any. I checked the Ts and Cs and apparently you have to have more than 0 to buy. So I transferred an arbitrary 29 (ok left me with an even number in BA) and hoped that would let me proceed. It didn’t. I left it a day and tried yesterday and today but still the same message. Rang Iberia – they just said they didn’t know why and try again tomorrow (helpful as usual). I had tried to buy avios via groupon about 4 months ago and the avios never appeared and despite lots of calls to groupon, I was told to be patient. After 3 months of patience I did a chargeback with amex. Wondering if something on my account is causing both problems. Any ideas?