Priority Pass Has Added A Restaurant To Their Lounge Network

In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out my advertiser policy for further details about our partners, including American Express, Chase, and Citi, and thanks for your support!

I’ve written extensively about Priority Pass, which is the world’s largest network of independent airport lounges, with over 1,000 participating lounges around the world. Some of these are airline lounges, some are contract lounges, and lately they’re even expanding a bit beyond that.

Priority-Pass

For example, last year the executive lounge at the Sofitel London Heathrow Terminal 5 was added to the Priority Pass network. This means you could use the hotel’s club lounge during a long layover. Or in my case, I even used it when staying at the hotel, as they didn’t actually verify that I was flying the same day.

sofitel-london-heathrow-airport-37
Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime

Well, it seems like the creative expansion on the part of Priority Pass has been extended even further.

Grain Store Cafe & Bar, a restaurant at London Gatwick’s South Terminal, has been added to the Priority Pass network. The restaurant is located airside after security, and is open daily from 4AM until 9PM.

Grain-Store-Gatwick
Grain Store Cafe & Bar at London Gatwick Airport

Those who present their Priority Pass card will receive a 15GBP credit. The best part is that the credit is per person. So if you have a Priority Pass membership that allows guesting privileges and are traveling with others, you can take advantage of this for multiple people. A party of four can essentially get a 60GBP allowance towards food and drinks. You can find the lunch & dinner menu for the restaurant here.

Obviously you’re responsible for any overages, and there’s no cash value if you don’t use the entire credit.

This is a creative new way for Priority Pass to partner with airport vendors, in my opinion. If I understand the Priority Pass business model correctly:

  • Priority Pass pays lounges an undisclosed amount for each visit
  • Generally the credit card companies pay Priority Pass a fixed amount for each membership they issue, meaning the “risk” lies with Priority Pass; they lose money on some customers (those who use lounges a lot), but make money on most customers
  • I suspect Priority Pass compensates lounges somewhere around 15GBP per visit per person, so in this case the restaurant is basically giving you an allowance for the entire fee, and viewing this as an opportunity to get more guests and hopefully have you spend beyond that amount

This is awesome, and I’d love to see this idea extended to more vendors at more airports. I’ve never flown out of Gatwick Airport so I doubt I’ll get much use out of this, though hopefully others will.

As a reminder, here’s a table with some of the major credit cards offering Priority Pass memberships, as well as their respective guesting rules:

Card# Of Guests Who Get Free AccessAuthorized User AccessCost To Add Authorized User
The Platinum Card® from American Express2Yes$175 For Up To 3 People, $175 For Each Additional Person Beyond That
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN2Yes$300 Per Person
Citi Prestige® Card2 Guests Or Immediate Family MembersYes$50 Per Person
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit CardUnlimited GuestsYes$0
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ CardUnlimited GuestsYes$75 Per Person

What do you make of Priority Pass adding an airport restaurant to their network?

(Tip of the hat to Head for Points)

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

Regarding Comments: Neither this post, nor the comments, are provided by the Issuing bank, or any other advertiser. The comments on this page are not endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not the bank or advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. Pp lounges are much better outside the US than here.

    But can you imagine people buying refundable tickets just use a lounge? I think you should an article about it. You will find people of all races being compete cheap ass thieves.

  2. Also can you use the PP pass after canceling the credit card? I can’t imagine the credit card company being very good at notifying the PP that the issued membership has lapsed.

  3. I think if they did this at more US airports where there are no PP lounges, it woupd make PP more competitive against UC membership, Admirals Club membership etc. Places like ORD T1, SFO T3, DTW, CLT.

  4. I was at LGW-South last week and it was a mess in terms of congestion. They recently juggled airlines and it has resulted in a total mess when it comes to buying anything at the airport. I wanted to pick up a sandwich but the lines were insane – 20 minutes or more to pay. Plus, there was nowhere to sit. The lounge was turning people away. I think this is just a way of creating a new option for people at this airport while there seem to be capacity issues.

  5. I have a chase sapphire PP with unlimited guests – I wonder if turning up as you could still charge for say 4 guests and therefore get GBP60 credit even when only 2 of you there

  6. Since you are charged 27$ for using the Amex Hilton Priority Pass per visit, paying 27$ to get 15 GBP seems like a waste. Why not just walk in to the restaurant.

  7. Read this post while waiting in line at another restaurant in the Gatwick Terminal and immediately went to Grain Store to confirm. Great timing!

  8. This is not the first time they are doing this. Its similar in Goa, India. What they call a lounge there, is actually a regular restaurant that lets you choose one snack and one drink.

  9. I hope (at least at current exchange rates) that no one pays $27 for an Amex Platinum Priority Pass guest to get a 15 GBP credit.

  10. I sincerely doubt that Priority Pass compensates at £15 per visit. The restaurant has a mark-up so it could easily support a £3-5 reimbursement knowing that most passengers will go over. Similar concept as Restaurant.com certificates.

    I’d prefer to go into a lounge with limited access than a public restaurant with a F&B credit, but if PP at Gatwick is always jammed, then this seems a reasonable alternative.

    If it became the norm then the value of Priority Pass would be greatly reduced.

  11. I suspect this may be related more to serial overcrowding at the LGW lounges, but I’m quite curious to see if this concept spreads to more airports. Perhaps at airports that don’t have lounges, or where you can only access the lounge if flying out of specific terminals, as someone else suggested. $15 or $20 per person isn’t going to get you a lot at an airport restaurant, and in general I prefer the quieter atmosphere of lounges. But it would be nice to, say, have a couple of drinks at the CRU Wine Bar before hopping on a Southwest flight from DAL.

  12. It’s not that LGW is over crowded per se it’s more to do with the fact that BA and VS have swapped terminals in the last couple of weeks and everything has been rather disorganised regarding lounges as a result. The BA lounges have only just soft-opened this week (late so another reason to bash BA) – not even to all passengers yet which has probably put extra stress on the No1 Lounge. That said sometimes PP access can be limited. Also the original Grain Store restaurant is a well regarded non-chain restaurant (i.e. proper restaurant – not fast food) in Kings Cross which is extremely successful. I appreciate for many Americans LGW may not figure that highly in the general consciousness and no I can’t imagine Lucky ever flying out of there which is probably just as well.

  13. LGW – particularly the South Terminal has been crowded for the last couple of years during the morning. The only way to use PP at the lounge has been to book ahead. The North Terminal has 3 PP lounges, so that has always been better

    Personally, I’m quite happy that BA have moved to the Sth Terminal, and that they now have a JFK flight – amazing how that was scheduled once Norwegian started flying transatlantic from LGW.

    BTW, There is one thing worse that PP lounges in the US – the PP lounges in Australia. The Reef lounge in the Cairns International Terminal hasn’t been renovated since Qantas abandoned it after changing all their Japanese flights to Deathstar. There have been another two lounges opened recently in Brisvegas International Terminal (Plaza – so if up the standard in Asia should be good), and Darwin (but only for international flights).

  14. Writing from the Grain Store right now. Imho this is an much better than average airport bar/restaurant. Good layout, friendly servers; the only negative thing I noted is the elevator muzak playing on the system. Did not try the food, but the drink selection is far better than the No. 1 Lounge, which I also think is perfectly fine for a PP lounge (although i can imagine it being very unpleasant when crowded). For my situation today, in which I cleared security with 35mins to go before boarding, it was more practical to come here than check into the lounge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *