I’ve written before about the benefits of being a Priority Pass member. Priority pass is a stand alone membership that allows you to access hundreds of airport lounges worldwide. Most of these lounges are contract lounges, not necessarily affiliated with a particular airline. They’re particularly useful when traveling in parts of the world that don’t have a major airport alliance lounge, or where you’re off-brand with your ticketing and don’t have access based on status or club membership.
We have some notable places where Priority Pass lounges give us great coverage- Mexico, parts of Europe, etc. They also now allow you to bring up to two guests in with you without charge, which really is a huge benefit.
I might be dubious that this program is the right fit for the average US flyer who has other options since it’s a significant membership fee ($400) annually. However, American Express Platinum members get a Priority Pass card free!! This is yet another reason to keep the Platinum card around. Between Priority Pass and Centurion lounges, you could arguably ditch regular lounge membership altogether.
Now, in addition to this, Priority Pass is adding a new benefit- free meals at select airport restaurants.
The list is short, but growing. Originally, Denver and Portland were some of the early recipients, but now there are three options at LAX as well.
How it works is extremely simple- presenting your priority pass card entities you to a set amount off the check- usually around US $28. This can be applied toward anything on the bill, including tax, but you’ll need to leave tip separately. In addition, if you have a guest with you, you can double that amount. Plus, multiple card members can use their allotment towards the same check, since it operates as a voucher. So, a family of 4 with two card holders could run up a check to $112 before actually having to pay anything aside from the tip!
Recently, LAX has added PF Changs at TBIT to the program, and the restaurant gives a full $30 voucher, instead of the regular $28. If you’re alone, $30 is about right for a drink, soup, and entree. They open at 11am, and have table and bar seating. I’ve made use of it several times, and never had any issues. Plus, with TBIT now connected to terminals 4-8 air side, plenty of people can easily use this benefit.