While there’s technically no such thing as a free lunch, you can get pretty close while you’re traveling; specifically, every time you’re at the airport. How? By joining Priority Pass.
Priority Pass cardholders are entitled to $15-30 worth of free food while transiting certain airports, which for food lovers, is probably one of the best perks out there. Here’s how to get it.
What Is Priority Pass?
First, let’s talk a little bit about what Priority Pass is and what benefits it can bring you. Priority Pass is a club that offers its members access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide. There are three affordable tiers of membership (several credit cards have free Priority Pass membership as a benefit) which allow you access to airport lounges and other members-only airport perks like discounts on retail and dining in airports.
The Priority Pass Dining Credit
Perhaps the most exciting perk for foodies is the dining credit. There are now 29 restaurants in the US (and several more internationally) that offer a dining credit of $15-30 for Priority Pass members and up to two guests. The default is $28 per guest in the U.S., so if the dining credit isn’t $28 for a particular restaurant, it will be noted (International Priority Pass restaurants vary).
It’s important to use your digital account to check and see which offers you can use at your specific airport, because even if you don’t have access to dining credit, you may have access to retail discounts or, at least, lounge entry. But if you’re here for the food, here is a list of the 29 U.S. restaurants and their corresponding airports:
- Boston (BOS): Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill, Stephanie’s
- Cleveland (CLE): Bar Symon
- Denver (DEN): Timberline Steaks & Grill
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL): Kafe Kalik
- Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP): RJ Rockers Flight Room
- Houston Intercontinental (IAH): Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar, Landry’s Seafood
- Indianapolis (IND): The Fan Zone
- Lexington (LEX): Kentucky Ale Taproom
- Los Angeles (LAX): P.F. Changs ($30), Rock & Brews
- Miami (MIA): Air Margaritaville, Corona Beach ($30), Viena
- Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP): PGA MSP Lounge ($15)
- New York Kennedy (JFK): Bobby Van’s Steakhouse
- Portland (PDX): Capers Cafe Le Bar, Capers Market, House Spirits Distillery (only alcohol)
- Louis (STL): The Pasta House, The Pasta House & Schlafly Beer
- San Francisco (SFO): San Francisco Giants Clubhouse, Yankee Pier
- Syracuse (SYR): Johnny Rockets
- Tampa (TPA): The Café by Mise en Place
- Tucson (TUS): Noble Hops
- Washington, D.C. Dulles (IAD): Chef Geoff’s
- Washington, D.C. National (DCA): American Tap Room, Bracket Room.
The amount of benefit that you’ll get out of your Priority Pass membership depends a lot on the airports that you fly through the most. Clearly, Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport is the least beneficial airport to visit with only one restaurant that gives Priority Pass members a dining credit (and only $15 worth of dining credit at that). Miami International Airport comes out on top with three restaurants, one of them offering $30 worth of credit!
Note that Boston, Houston Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. National Airport offer two unique restaurants at the standard $28 credit per person (except $30 at the P.F. Changs at LAX) giving you plenty of options for your next transit.
The dining credit is a great perk because sometimes, airport lounges can feel just as crowded as the outside. If you have to hang out with a crowd in the lounge, you might as well hang out with a crowd in a restaurant getting free food, right? Just be sure to tip your wait staff; your credit doesn’t go toward gratuity.
Many readers already have Priority Pass and are taking advantage of lounge access, retail discounts, and free food, but certainly, some of you are not. If these benefits sound good to you and you’d like to join Priority Pass, there are three different ways to do so.
For U.S.-based travelers, a Standard membership costs $99 annually, which includes access to lounges for you and a guest for $32 each. A Standard Plus membership costs $299 annually and that includes 10 free lounge visits for you, then visits for you and a guest for $32 each. The highest tier, the Prestige membership, costs $499 annually and includes free lounge visits for you and $32 visits for your guest. Other perks are included with membership.
However, the most cost-effective way to get a Priority Pass membership is to do it through a credit card. You can get a Priority Pass membership through the Platinum Card from American Express, the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Citi Prestige. As an added bonus, you can get 10 entries to Priority Pass lounges per year with the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express, as well as the Hilton Honors Business Card from American Express.