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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.

Priority Pass restaurant changes The Grain Store

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.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (September 2021)

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points which is a special offer running to 2nd November 2021.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and a special 30,000 points sign-up bonus until 9th November 2021.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

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 all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (104)

  • Roy says:

    O/T, but vaguely Amex lounge access related:

    LoungeBuddy seems to have regained access to Lufthansa lounges. (Is the “LoungeBuddy Select” brand new BTW? They now seem to use LoungeBuddy Select to refer to the collection of lounges that they have agreements with.)

    So, what are the chances of some king of LoungeBuddy Platinum benefit in future…?

  • xcalx says:

    OT Advice needed from London HfP folk
    I am driving from Leeds to Harlow on Sunday 28th July. I then have a Hospital appointment at the Royal Brompton at 10am Monday 29th. I want to position myself for a quick exit back north after the appointment.

    My plan as of now is leave Harlow Sunday evening and drive to Stevenage then stay overnight at HIX (last target for accelerate) . Monday 0830 train to Finsbury Park then tube to South Kensington. after appointment back to Stevenage then drive home.

    Any other options around the A1 / M1 corridor with a HIX and train/tube connections.

    Thanks.

    • Doug M says:

      All I’d offer is that you’re in commuter times here and trains/tube in London in rush hour can be an eye opener (and every pore of you skin in July) for those unaware.

      • Lady London says:

        Yes you will arrive very stressed.

        • Lady London says:

          PS remember to allow far more time than you thought could ever be needed, for transport problems on the day. July so lots of people on holiday so you may be lucky but don’t count on it.

    • Polly says:

      Why not drive straight to the Brompton. Big car park in Sydney st. almost exclusively used by Brompton
      Patients. We use it for that hospital appts. Pop into a couple of fab museums in sth ken if you have time. Thin its 10 for a few hrs. Look it up.

      • Lady London says:

        Straight to the car park the night before would work. Would have to avoid rush hour Monday morning though. Plus congestion charge etc.
        And possible monster ULEZ charge if vehicle is a non-Euro 6 diesel.

        Would entire journey by train work? Quite a few HIX’s in London. Ealing area has at least 2 right next to Underground or train (Hanger Lane and West Ealing). Ealing is right side of London to reach Royal Brompton relatively uncomplicatedly. IIRC Crowne Plaza, a new conversion at Hanger Lane, wants a relatively low number of points for a CP in that location (for now). You can pay more points in IHG to ne much closer in but I’d chose Ealing amongst the IHG choices for transport to RB.

    • Nick_C says:

      I live about 20 minutes north of Stevenage, and I think its an excellent choice for your needs. You are correct about changing at Finsbury Park southbound. Northbound, I would suggest changing at King’s Cross. Better chance of getting a seat, and a lot of fast trains that run non stop to Stevenage in 22 minutes. Just check the National Rail app to see whether your fastest option is from KGX or Thameslink from STP. If you get a Thameslink train that runs through STP, the rear first class compartment is always declassified.

    • Lady London says:

      Watford Junction HIX apparently very highly rated and very convenient transport by rail to London. However this puits you closer to thé M1 than thé A1 And to Leeds I would alxays take thé A1 not M1 route out Of London.

      Borehamwood (Elstree And Borehamwood station) has some middling chain hotels (nothing stunning but for a quick night who cares) either walk or very quick bus to the station. Quick into London from there it’s right at thé bottom of the A1. If you’re heading North anytime from 4.30pm from there though depending on day of week Stevenage might be safer as it’s much more North.

      There’s a well rated HIX with St Albans in the name round the back of Hatfield/Shenley/Southish of St Albans on a retail park. Handy for weekends but in and out in rush hour in the week i wouldnt use it as traffuc gets very congested those times literally surrounding the hotel.

      • Lady London says:

        PS thé thing about Borehamwood is it’s Zone 6 which should moderate your rail costs to and from Central London.

    • xcalx says:

      Thanks for all the alternatives, I will check the tube and train options from the suggestions. Driving to the Brompton is not an option after checking google map journey times around London.

      • Rob says:

        I live a couple of minutes from the Brompton if you need any specific help.

  • Cormac says:

    OT – Great day out with Bonvoy at the GP Qualifying yesterday – well worth the 30k points for the two of us – transport, tickets, lunch, and hosted by Tom. Weather held up as well! We even won the quiz for the Bose headphones. Fully recommended if the same option comes up next year.

  • Harry T says:

    I used the offer to transfer 101£ and it has tracked. It has tracked at 30£ return instead of 55£ but the unmentionable site does explain that this will likely uplift later to the correct amount. I think all that matters is your visit to the site is tracked and you make a purchase. If the charge is pending on your card for a few days, it shouldn’t matter, as the site can’t see that.

    FYI there is a code on the unmentionable site to get the standard WorldRemit charge removed – it’s 3FREE.

  • Louise says:

    Mine tracked straight away!

  • Jonathan says:

    OT on the practicalities of BA strike action. I have a flight at 7am on Monday 5th August (first day of possible action). Assuming the union don’t issue the notice until 10am on 22 July. Could my flight still be affected?

    Or put another way, is the 14 days notice just calendar days or minimum 336 hours (14days X 24hrs)?

  • Alejandro says:

    OT. Anyone has a Kabbee referral code for first time users? Thanks

  • Bobster says:

    Harry/anyone, got a solution for a certain FX transfer if a foreign account isn’t held?

    • Shoestring says:

      not done it myself but can’t you set up a Monese current a/c abroad very easily if you have a friend who can lend you their address?

      • Sandgrounder says:

        Can’t help but notice the software will accept an IBAN as long as it is the correct length for the recipients given country. As this and the BIC is all that is really needed, I wonder if a transfer to Revolut sent as a transfer to Germany would go through? The app would seem to accept it, but I haven’t sent funds to check. I had to select Germany to send funds elsewhere as the account was N26. I just put the rest of the address in correctly, left the country and the mobile number country code incorrect. Might be worth a punt if you want to try, they can only decline and return your funds?

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