Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Canadian American Express Cards will lose non-lounge benefits from their Priority Pass Memberships


If you happen to read any non-Canadian based points and miles blogs you may have seen the news yesterday that Loyalty Lobby broke about changes to Priority Pass memberships issued via American Express in Hong Kong. Fast forward a couple of hours and Gary at View From The Wing had confirmation the same was happening to U.S. based American Express cards. I immediately reached out to American Express Canada to see if the same thing was happening here. And unfortunately the answer is yes. American Express' Priority Pass benefit is being limited to lounge visits only come August 1st. It almost seems that this a global change for American Express. Here is what American Express Canada told us:
Confirming changes will apply to Canadian Cards as well. As our lounge access benefits are intended to provide Cardmembers with a premium lounge spaces to relax and unwind in while traveling the globe, starting August 1, 2019, the Priority Pass Membership benefit offered on American Express Platinum and Centurion Consumer and Business Cards will no longer include complimentary access to non-lounge airport experiences. Further details below.
  • Non-lounge airport experiences and outlets include but are not limited to restaurants, caf├ęs and bars where a food and beverage credit is offered as an alternative to entrance into a traditional airport lounge.
  • Eligible Cardmembers may continue to gain access to approximately 1,200+ Priority Pass lounge locations as well as select sleeper suites via the Priority Pass Membership benefit provided on their Card. 
  • Cardmembers can continue to review which locations they have access to by logging into their Priority Pass membership account on the Priority Pass website and mobile app
In recent years Priority Pass has grown their program beyond just lounge access at airports. They started adding these restaurant food and beverage credits (mostly in the U.S.) at airports where they didn't have lounges, where lounges tended to be overcrowded and just an overall enhancement to the program. This is an unfortunate change to Amex's cards that have the unlimited Priority Pass membership benefit and I'm sure many of you won't be happy with this change that kicks in on August 1st!

For those who receive Priority Pass membership via another card there is no word yet if the free visits that come with them (ie Scotia Passport Visa Infinite) will be changed to also exclude restaurant visits. If you buy your Priority Pass membership outright then you have nothing to worry about.

Related: Rewards Canada's Guide to Business Class Lounge Access



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