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AMEX USA Priority Pass will exclude Restaurants (August 2019)

AMEX USA Priority Pass will exclude Restaurants (August 2019)

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Old May 29, 19, 8:32 am
  #76  
 
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This may be just me, but I think Amex is trying to move to an "exclusive experience" type of card. No offense, but Priority Pass restaurant benefit is just attracting churners and millennial who get overly excited about "free food" at airports.That's what the CSR is for, a low "high" tier card with an $150 annual fee... for churners.
I don't think that's the demographic Amex wants to target, they want people with higher income who value good food and enjoy having exclusive menus and courtesy drinks at high end restaurants (like with their Global Dining Collection). This may be the reason why they chose to acquire Resy. Looking forward to see what they come up with.
I agree that the Platinum Card is no longer a "status symbol" and I think that's what Amex is trying to "regain". Personally, I'm fine with Amex dropping this if this means more exclusive perks at certain events by Amex, more Centurion Lounges and more pro small businesses marketing (like their Instagram account promoting small stores and restaurants at various cities). I see this card as a membership: hotel status, purchase protection, exclusive events, courtesy drinks and special menus at restaurants, etc.
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Old May 29, 19, 8:42 am
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Originally Posted by Diplomatico View Post
To my knowledge, there are no airports that had/have the restaurant feature that also have Centurion lounges. Removing the restaurant credit will neither add to nor subtract from the number of guests entering Centurion lounges.
Adding Denver and JFK to the other answers once they're up and running.
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Old May 29, 19, 8:44 am
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Originally Posted by Javier1704 View Post
This may be just me, but I think Amex is trying to move to an "exclusive experience" type of card.
I respectfully disagree. Amex may end up spinning it that way, but this decision appears to be purely financial.
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Old May 29, 19, 8:47 am
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Originally Posted by MT_Switch View Post
Maybe not in the US, Uber eats in other markets do have a higher different list price as opposed to the restaurant menu price.
And the newish delivery fees/service charges from Uber have made this Amex “benefit” pretty marginal for people like me who don’t tend to order in food otherwise.

I used the restaurant benefit maybe 3-4 times a year at Capers in PDX. Sometimes with my wife, so double benefit. I never “double-dipped” at Capers Market and I also deliberately alternated between my CSR- and Plat-linked PP accounts. Overall, I am not surprised that this benefit proved to be too popular (reading about people’s grocery shopping trips on FT), but it will be another negative factor when I reconsider whether to renew my Plat card next time around. I started tracking my own usage of benefits a while ago to make a rational data-driven decision. Just like the banks


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Old May 29, 19, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by DrivingRain View Post
2) Speaking of standards, Amex seems to be consolidating its lounge portfolio growth in the US into Escape more and more with the smaller markets and Cent with the bigger and I assume they like that approach more than the hodge podge of mom & pop-ish restaurants that PP contracts with. Though the food varies market to market, the quality of Escape food is usually the same(ish) lounge-to-lounge; same with Centurion. I can see them wanting to go in that direction. More lounges, more standards.
Every single one of those PP restaurants I've been to are really, really, really, really, really... bad.
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Old May 29, 19, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by Javier1704 View Post
This may be just me, but I think Amex is trying to move to an "exclusive experience" type of card. No offense, but Priority Pass restaurant benefit is just attracting churners and millennial who get overly excited about "free food" at airports.That's what the CSR is for, a low "high" tier card with an $150 annual fee... for churners.
By that metric the Plat costs even less after you subtract airline credit, Uber and Saks without even considering IAP.
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Old May 29, 19, 9:05 am
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Originally Posted by Zorak View Post
By that metric the Plat costs even less after you subtract airline credit, Uber and Saks without even considering IAP.
Yes, but it's not the same. You have to be using Uber regularly if you want to get the value, you have to fly regularly if you want your credit back. It's much harder to use, I think the reason is to target people who have a higher income level to do this regularly. With the CSR, if you can only afford one trip a year (even if it's just a roadtrip and staying at an AirBnB) you get it back.
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Old May 29, 19, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by 4sallypat View Post
This stinks!

At my home airport, LAX has always lacked lounges compared to other airports, except for Delta Skylounge which is always crowded when I fly domestically.

Internationally, I love the PF Chang's restaurant allowance using PP while in TBIT.

So now it looks like I will have to wait for the opening of the Centurion lounge at LAX - hoping it's soon...
HUH? There are (and have always been) lots of lounges at LAX: AS, UA, AA, the three alliance lounges in TBIT, and those of departed airlines such as NW and TWA.
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Old May 29, 19, 9:43 am
  #84  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
HUH? There are (and have always been) lots of lounges at LAX: AS, UA, AA, the three alliance lounges in TBIT, and those of departed airlines such as NW and TWA.
Those have much stricter access policies than Priority Pass and similar, though. Most passengers going through LAX aren't going to be able to go to any of the airline or alliance lounges (with the exception of the KAL lounge if one has PP and is going during the hours PP is accepted; I don't count AS due to how rarely PP is accepted now).
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Old May 29, 19, 9:46 am
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Originally Posted by Javier1704 View Post
This may be just me, but I think Amex is trying to move to an "exclusive experience" type of card. No offense, but Priority Pass restaurant benefit is just attracting churners and millennial who get overly excited about "free food" at airports.
You don't need to be a millenial or churner to get excited about "free food" at airports. My elderly parents, for example, are practically beside themselves anytime they see the opportunity for free...well...anything. I think I had somewhere between 15-20 eleventh birthdays at Denny's by the time I was 14.

Originally Posted by pallhedge View Post
I respectfully disagree. Amex may end up spinning it that way, but this decision appears to be purely financial.
Agree with this disagreement. Amex would very much prefer to have tons of people holding a card they believe is exclusive than just a few people holding a card which actually is exclusive. They will push that tipping point as much as they can to maximize what benefits will still "feel" premium but which are sustainable at scale. And then they will profit.

Originally Posted by Javier1704 View Post
Yes, but it's not the same. You have to be using Uber regularly if you want to get the value, you have to fly regularly if you want your credit back. It's much harder to use, I think the reason is to target people who have a higher income level to do this regularly. With the CSR, if you can only afford one trip a year (even if it's just a roadtrip and staying at an AirBnB) you get it back.
If you do not fly regularly, though, then you likely don't have any status benefits or a glut of airline miles to redeem. It becomes quite easy to spend $200 in bag fees, seat upgrades, inflight food/drink, etc. in just one or two domestic RTs. Even easier if you are on vacation with a companion/family.
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Old May 29, 19, 9:58 am
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There is nothing exclusive about an Amex card. That is just marketing hype that was created decades ago when they had higher credit standards. Now they are happy to issue the card to any Tom, Dick or Harry with a pulse and a minimal credit score. This is all about Amex shaving costs, just as the decision to implement restrictions on signup bonuses.

Originally Posted by Javier1704 View Post
Every single one of those PP restaurants I've been to are really, really, really, really, really... bad.
Without specifics that is hard to evaluate. I've dined at 4: Yankee Pier (SFO), SF Giants Clubhouse (SFO), Bracket Room (DCA), Barney's Beanery (LAX). I was happy with all the meals and SF Giants even brought bottled water that I could take on the plane. It's not fine dining, and the service can be mixed (fast at SFO, slow at the others) but the food options are way better than any free food I've seen in the UA, DL, AA, AS, former-VX, and Escape lounges. It's a great benefit and it is too bad it is being shut down for Amex cardholders. But not a surprise in light of the abuses reported elsewhere.
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Old May 29, 19, 10:07 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Before this thread was opened and before the US bloggers put up threads about this. I heard that this was hitting HKG Amex Plat users and suspected that it wouldn’t be long for Amex’s cost-cutting and budget-target objectives coming with an eventual hit against customers with US Amex Plats too.

It seems that Priority Pass found a way to make money off the PP restaurant arrangement and that is why it expanded the restaurant arrangement, way more so in the US than anywhere else. Could PP have done the airport restaurant expansion access in part because of how Amex, Chase and Citi (and others) were paying for their bank card customers’ use of bank card-related Priority Pass? If so, I have to give Priority Pass’s owners and and management some credit for having set up a way to increase the amount of money they got from their bank card partners and to increase the benefit for the bank card customers. I can’t say I’m surprised to see Amex cut it and being the first at it for PP restaurants.

I do note that this cut from Amex may hit more than just Priority Pass-affiliated restaurants.
I never thought about it, but now I'm wondering whether AmEx pays PP an annual fee per PP card/account, per visit (maybe even with a different fee for the restaurant use?), or maybe even per unique person entitled to PP membership through AmEx, so that someone with both Plat and Centurion card would count as only one unique individual. If it's per visit, then AmEx has probably been hosed with people doing so many restaurant visits.

Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
It would be sustainable if the average # of annual visits by cardholders was kept to a reasonable level, maybe a few a year. It does not work when you have too many frequent visitors and not at all if you have more than a few abusers who visit multiple restaurants for takeout in a single day.

The better course would be to establish reasonable limits as was done for lounge guests (again likely the result of abusers). 10 visits a year would keep the majority of travelers happy (including me) while weeding out the heavy users that break the bank.
If the Centurion lounge and Escape networks expand, limiting the number of annual visits (including guest visits in the total number) would make sense. Better would be to permit a limited number of PP restaurant visits per year (including counting guests and counting multiple restaurants on the same day or at the same airport to discourage people taking advantage of the terms). If there's no lounge, the restaurant option could be nice but I suspect people have been abusing it heavily.

I'm now wondering about the PP PGA lounge at MSP (in addition to an Escape lounge, which I like). I've never used the PGA PP lounge as it seems like a combination of sports merchandise store and sports bar, but my understanding is that that lounge issues restaurant vouchers as it seems to not have food but just be a (sports) bar.

Originally Posted by radiolarian View Post
I got to use the $28 restaurant credit exactly one time, last year, SFO, Yankee Pier (breakfast). It was just a salmon lox bagel and Irish coffee.

A few weeks ago, I passed Yankee Pier on the way to AMEX CL for a 1/2 hour visit (flight out of T3). They had a line and it looked fully packed inside. I was thinking, how many people were using $28 PP credits. Guess the answer was too many.

The next thing to go, AMEX might restrict SFO CL visits to people flying out of T3.
I've never used the restaurant benefit, not even once.

PP and the AmEx lounge program are meant IMO to be a sort of insurance that you will have lounge access if you're ever stuck in a place far from your own airline lounge network or where your carrier doesn't provide lounges even for premium cabin passengers. This purpose is negated if they start to impose restrictions regarding terminals or permitted carriers. It's already frustrating when there's a lounge, but you cannot get to the door or must go through airport security an additional time or two in order to use the lounge.

Originally Posted by Xlr View Post
I don't understand: centurion lounges are crowded enough already. Did they have data showing most restaurant users also went to the lounge after the restaurant?
IMO this is abusive unless the person is facing a very long wait in the airport. OTOH I don't approve of the three hour rule. If lounges are crowded, eliminate free access for families and guests (and especially count family as normal guests, so that two guests means spouse and one kid, not spouse and unlimited numbers of children below some age) and raise the price charged for guest access and for those with AmEx cards other than Plat/Centurion.

Originally Posted by Diplomatico View Post
To my knowledge, there are no airports that had/have the restaurant feature that also have Centurion lounges. Removing the restaurant credit will neither add to nor subtract from the number of guests entering Centurion lounges.
There must be airports where the Centurion lounge is much farther than a restaurant option for some passengers. For example, it can take a very long time (especially now with the construction) to get between the DL gates and the Centurion lounge, although of course DL passengers with AmEx Plat/Centurion cards should have access to a couple DL lounges at LGA.

Originally Posted by Zorak View Post
SFO T3 has Centurion plus two participating restaurants.

EDIT: cross-referencing the AMEX and PP sites, IAH and SEA also have a PP restaurant though not necessarily in the same terminal/concourse.
Those are all big airports.

Originally Posted by Javier1704 View Post
This may be just me, but I think Amex is trying to move to an "exclusive experience" type of card. No offense, but Priority Pass restaurant benefit is just attracting churners and millennial who get overly excited about "free food" at airports.That's what the CSR is for, a low "high" tier card with an $150 annual fee... for churners.
I don't think that's the demographic Amex wants to target, they want people with higher income who value good food and enjoy having exclusive menus and courtesy drinks at high end restaurants (like with their Global Dining Collection). This may be the reason why they chose to acquire Resy. Looking forward to see what they come up with.
I agree that the Platinum Card is no longer a "status symbol" and I think that's what Amex is trying to "regain". Personally, I'm fine with Amex dropping this if this means more exclusive perks at certain events by Amex, more Centurion Lounges and more pro small businesses marketing (like their Instagram account promoting small stores and restaurants at various cities). I see this card as a membership: hotel status, purchase protection, exclusive events, courtesy drinks and special menus at restaurants, etc.
I hope AmEx Plat will be repositioned. When I first got mine, it was a big deal to be invited. Now everyone and his/her dog can apparently get the card and many people have taken advantage of AmEx by churning. (I'm glad AmEx is getting smart and limiting this.) In addition, in the past, there was some self selection in that if one didn't travel enough and have certain travel patterns, it didn't make sense to pay the Plat card annual fee since a lot of the benefit consisted of airline lounges, PTS, FHR, emergency assistance (which I think was better then), worldwide rental car coverage including some luxury models, etc.

Originally Posted by notquiteaff View Post


And the newish delivery fees/service charges from Uber have made this Amex “benefit” pretty marginal for people like me who don’t tend to order in food otherwise.

I used the restaurant benefit maybe 3-4 times a year at Capers in PDX. Sometimes with my wife, so double benefit. I never “double-dipped” at Capers Market and I also deliberately alternated between my CSR- and Plat-linked PP accounts. Overall, I am not surprised that this benefit proved to be too popular (reading about people’s grocery shopping trips on FT), but it will be another negative factor when I reconsider whether to renew my Plat card next time around. I started tracking my own usage of benefits a while ago to make a rational data-driven decision. Just like the banks


I can imagine cases where takeout from the restaurant or some quick grocery items are reasonable and justified, for example if you'll be going from airport to hotel too late to get dinner or even room service, but serial abusers ruin it for the rest of us. I really wish AmEx would fire such people, just as IMO they should fire the churners (which I know won't be a popular view here, but IMO when you accept a credit card sign up offer, you do so implicitly with the idea that you will try the card and keep it if you're satisfied, not ditch it as soon as the sign up bonuses post).
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Old May 29, 19, 10:15 am
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Originally Posted by Javier1704 View Post
Every single one of those PP restaurants I've been to are really, really, really, really, really... bad.
DCA has Bracket Room which is a very popular bar in the area, I have found the DCA location to be good for a quick bite and a beer.

Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
You don't need to be a millenial or churner to get excited about "free food" at airports. My elderly parents, for example, are practically beside themselves anytime they see the opportunity for free...well...anything. I think I had somewhere between 15-20 eleventh birthdays at Denny's by the time I was 14.
.
As a follow up to the above quote and this; My parents are AU's on my account, and get extremely excited when they fly out of or thru IAD and get to to go to Cheoff Geoff's "for free". And yes Cheoff Geoff's at IAD is good.
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Old May 29, 19, 10:31 am
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Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
Agree with this disagreement. Amex would very much prefer to have tons of people holding a card they believe is exclusive than just a few people holding a card which actually is exclusive. They will push that tipping point as much as they can to maximize what benefits will still "feel" premium but which are sustainable at scale. And then they will profit.
It depends what benefits you value. For me I'd glady pay $550 for benefits and not credits.

Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
Without specifics that is hard to evaluate. I've dined at 4: Yankee Pier (SFO), SF Giants Clubhouse (SFO), Bracket Room (DCA), Barney's Beanery (LAX). I was happy with all the meals and SF Giants even brought bottled water that I could take on the plane. It's not fine dining, and the service can be mixed (fast at SFO, slow at the others) but the food options are way better than any free food I've seen in the UA, DL, AA, AS, former-VX, and Escape lounges. It's a great benefit and it is too bad it is being shut down for Amex cardholders. But not a surprise in light of the abuses reported elsewhere.
I can speak to Bracket Room. We have very different definition of "good" I think Bracket Room is one of the worst places I've ever eaten at an airport (along with the other rest at DCA, American Tap Room). I agree with you statement that free food is better than none. However, that's not what I value the card for.

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I hope AmEx Plat will be repositioned. When I first got mine, it was a big deal to be invited. Now everyone and his/her dog can apparently get the card and many people have taken advantage of AmEx by churning. (I'm glad AmEx is getting smart and limiting this.) In addition, in the past, there was some self selection in that if one didn't travel enough and have certain travel patterns, it didn't make sense to pay the Plat card annual fee since a lot of the benefit consisted of airline lounges, PTS, FHR, emergency assistance (which I think was better then), worldwide rental car coverage including some luxury models, etc.
Those benefits are the ones why I value this card, along with hotel and other status. I'd gladly pay more AF to see an increase in these benefits.

Originally Posted by DCFinanceinFlight View Post
DCA has Bracket Room which is a very popular bar in the area, I have found the DCA location to be good for a quick bite and a beer.



As a follow up to the above quote and this; My parents are AU's on my account, and get extremely excited when they fly out of or thru IAD and get to to go to Cheoff Geoff's "for free". And yes Cheoff Geoff's at IAD is good.
Bracket Room is really bad. Chef Geoff's is not good but not as bad as Bracket Room.

Hey, if this helps Amex save some money (by removing bad restaurants) and add better benefits, I'm all for it.

Also, as someone mentioned before, bad airport restaurants don't go well with the Amex brand.
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Old May 29, 19, 12:16 pm
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Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
It would be sustainable if the average # of annual visits by cardholders was kept to a reasonable level, maybe a few a year. It does not work when you have too many frequent visitors and not at all if you have more than a few abusers who visit multiple restaurants for takeout in a single day.

The better course would be to establish reasonable limits as was done for lounge guests (again likely the result of abusers). 10 visits a year would keep the majority of travelers happy (including me) while weeding out the heavy users that break the bank.
10 restaurant a year, or 10 total PP visits? For a frequent traveler, that sounds very low. I took a look at my own visits - I have 19 PP visits since September (mostly places with no CL), of which 3 were restaurants. I'd be pretty unhappy with 10PP visits, but could probably live with 10 restaurant visits per year.
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