Amex cardholders in Australia and New Zealand will no longer be able to use their Priority Pass benefits at airport restaurants from 1 August 2019.
In addition to airport lounge access, Priority Pass members normally receive a $36 food & beverage credit at participating airport bars, restaurants and cafes. Priority Pass began to partner with airport restaurants a few years ago to offer travellers an alternative to airport lounges – particularly at airports where no lounges are available. Currently there are 15 participating Priority Pass restaurants at airports around Australia. There are also several dozen Priority Pass restaurants overseas – many of which are located in the USA.
In Australia, the Amex Platinum and Centurion cards both come with unlimited access to Priority Pass lounges for the cardholder and one guest. Currently, this benefit extends to Priority Pass restaurants where cardholders can access the $36 food & beverage credit. This perk will be removed on 1 August.
A message on the Australian American Express website states:
From 1 August 2019, your Priority Pass benefit will be limited to lounge access only. Non-airport experiences in the form of food and beverage credits at restaurants, cafes and bars will no longer be available.
This was a popular benefit for Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders, who could enjoy unlimited free meals whenever they flew out of the Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne or Gold Coast domestic terminals upon presentation of a boarding pass. Unfortunately, it seems the benefit was being abused by a small handful of Amex cardholders.
Sydney-based frequent flyers are the hardest hit by the changes. They lose access to food and beverage credits at 8 airport bars and restaurants across all three terminals of Sydney Airport.
Following the Amex changes, the Priority Pass restaurant credits will only be available to paid-up Priority Pass members and those who receive Priority Pass benefits from a non-Amex credit card. In Australia, the Citi Prestige card continues to offer unlimited Priority Pass lounge visits as an included benefit. Citibank has not announced any changes to the Priority Pass restaurant benefit, which continues to be offered to Citi Prestige cardholders at this time.
Several other Australian credit cards, including the Citi Signature, St George Amplify and Westpac Altitude Black cards, come with two complimentary Priority Pass lounge visits each year. These lounge passes can still be redeemed for food & beverage credits at participating restaurants in lieu of airport lounge access.
Amex had already announced similar changes to Priority Pass restaurant benefits for cardholders based in the United States and Hong Kong, also effective from 1 August 2019. It is likely that the change will also be extended to other markets.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Priority Pass – Change to exclude restaurants