AMEX axes Priority Pass meal credit at Australian airports

By David Flynn, June 7 2019

American Express is withdrawing the offer of $36 of credit at selected cafes and restaurants at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast airports via AMEX Platinum card membership to the global Priority Pass lounge scheme.

While access to Priority Pass-partnered lounges will remain available, AMEX Australia is removing "non-lounge airport experiences from Priority Pass for its card members."

A spokesperson for American Express confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that this will take effect from August 1, 2019, in line with similar changes in the US market.

"As our lounge access benefits are intended to provide card members with premium lounge spaces to relax and unwind in while traveling the globe, the Priority Pass Membership benefit offered on American Express Platinum and Centurion Cards in Australia and New Zealand will no longer include complimentary access to non-lounge airport experiences from 1 August 2019."

"Non-lounge airport experiences and outlets include but are not limited to restaurants, cafés and bars where a food and beverage credit is offered as an alternative to entrance into a traditional airport lounge."

Many business travellers have made solid use of their AMEX-issued Priority Pass membership to enjoy a pre-flight or post-flight meal at a dozen restaurants, bars and bistros at  SydneyMelbourneBrisbane and Gold Coast airport terminals.

Sydney's Movida at Terminal 2 has proven especially popular – not only with passengers booked on domestic Jetstar flights under 'lowest fare of the day' travel policies, but also Virgin Australia passengers who prefer Movida's meals, drinks and cafe ambience to that of Virgin's own lounge nearby.

Free Priority Pass membership is offered with the following American Express cards:

  • American Express Centurion Card (Australia)
  • American Express Platinum Card (Australia, New Zealand)
  • American Express Platinum Business Card (Australia)
  • American Express Corporate Platinum Card (Australia)
  • American Express Platinum Reserve Credit Card (Australia)
  • American Express Platinum Rewards Credit Card (Australia)
  • American Express Airpoints Platinum Card (New Zealand)
  • American Express Airpoints Platinum Reserve Card (New Zealand)

American Express Centurion and Platinum Charge cards allowed unlimited use of the Priority Pass food and drink credit, while other cards were limited to two lounge visits – or airport restaurant visits – per year.

Australian Business Traveller understands that the meal credits will remain in place for travellers holding direct membership with Priority Pass (rather than an 'affiliate membership' offered through American Express) but has approached Priority Pass parent company The Collison Group for confirmation.

The following Australian airport lounges are available to AMEX Platinum Charge and Centurion Card members at airports where complimentary Priority Pass cards are accepted:

  • Sydney T2 (domestic): the Rex lounge, plus the Virgin Australia lounge for AMEX Centurion and Platinum Charge cardholders when flying with Virgin
  • Sydney T1 (international): while there's no Priority Pass lounge per se, eligible AMEX cardholders are welcomed at the American Express lounge
  • Melbourne T4 (domestic): Rex Lounge
  • Melbourne T2 (international): after passport control, choose between the Plaza Premium Lounge and the American Express lounge
  • Brisbane domestic: only AMEX Centurion and Platinum Charge cardholders can access the Virgin Australia lounge, and only when flying on Virgin Australia
  • Brisbane international: after passport control, visit the Plaza Premium Lounge
  • Gold Coast: only AMEX Centurion and Platinum Charge cardholders can access the Virgin Australia lounge, and only when flying on Virgin Australia
  • Adelaide domestic: Rex Lounge
  • Cairns international: Reef Lounge
  • Darwin international: Catalina Lounge
David
David

David Flynn

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

flyme2themoon

flyme2themoon

23 Apr 2015

Total posts 8

Hi David - to confirm is it just AMEX issued Priority Pass benefits that are changed as per the headline or is it all Priority Pass Holders who will lose this benefit? (I hold Priority Pass membership not connected to an AMEX product). Thanks

Michael Kao

Michael Kao

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 336

AFAIK it affects only Amex issued PP. the decision came from Amex US head office. There is no similar changes with Citi or other bank issued PP yet.

Although with the current trend of credit cards racing to the bottom, it's not impossible the other banks will follow.

alansu

alansu

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jan 2015

Total posts 64

Boo. Yet another “enhancement” to justify the $1450 annual fee?

downdata

downdata

28 Dec 2016

Total posts 69

Just wait until they “enhance” the annual fee again next year XD

digitalane

digitalane

28 Aug 2018

Total posts 10

Given the severe lack of lounges in Oz - this is a massive reduction in the benefit - in fact I see no benefit of the PP inclusion now

jubbing

jubbing

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 203

If you travel overseas regularly, and if you don't have lounge access, this is still useful where PP lounges exist - however it's a massive loss in Australia either way.

Traveller sg

Traveller sg

09 Feb 2018

Total posts 2

Seeking advice. Does this affect restaurant lounges on oz issued cards in other countries?? as LGW Grain Store is commonly used by me.

Brandon Loo

Brandon Loo

10 Jul 2018

Total posts 71

In line with similar changes to US and HK-issued AMEXs, I believe the benefit is being removed for all countries, not just your 'home country'.

Nineton01

Nineton01

Etihad - Etihad Guest

07 Jun 2019

Total posts 2

Really unhappy with this, I signed up to AMEX Platinum only a few months ago specifically for this benefit and it’s really devalued the product for me. At the very least they should negotiate with Rex to extend lounge hours or expand Virgin longe Access to all flights if they’re not going to offer restaurants.

Flying High

Flying High

13 Feb 2015

Total posts 38

You spent $1,450 so you could get a $36 credit for food at an airport?

Um....

Randomtraveller

Randomtraveller

14 Dec 2017

Total posts 4

Well, it is certain for me to cancel the Platinum card before the annual fee due.

jubbing

jubbing

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 203

I'll be honest, Amex Plat charge is really becoming a lesser option everytime they do something like this. I finally got around to justifying keeping this card despite the devaluation and then they drop another perk. Might just cancel after they double my points.

They really should have just changed the rules to limit the number of visits to 1 Priory Pass venue in a day of they wanted to reduce something, but to completely remove this benefit is ridiculous.

deanr

deanr

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 May 2015

Total posts 229

Agreed: I'd even be happy if they limited the number of restaurant visits to maybe 5 or 10 per year if there are people rorting the system. Given you can just buy an unlimted Priority Pass membership for around $500 (which includes unlimited dining credits), paying $1450 and getting a Priority Pass membership much less valuable really makes paying the Amex annual fee much less attractive.

Greg84

Greg84

03 Nov 2014

Total posts 87

Disappointing change after the increased annual fee last year. I'll likely use my travel credits & close after a number of years of enjoying the card.

btaus

btaus

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Dec 2016

Total posts 11

I don't mind Amex withdrew non-lounge Priority Pass uses. Been to MoVida SYD T2 and it was terrible. Sloppy service and mediocre food. Left me pretty disappointed.

mjm

mjm

Etihad - Etihad Guest

07 Jun 2019

Total posts 1

This is a massive devaluation of the card for frequent domestic travellers. Movida and other offerings are miles ahead of the Qantas and Virgin Lounges. I calculate this as a $500+ devaluation and see no benefit to keeping the AMEX Platinum. I wanted to be loyal and not change cards ever 12 months but AMEX makes it impossible. The fee increase for Accor Plus last year alongside this enormous devaluation is sickening.

It's Priority Pass taking the benefit away but AMEX needs to replace the benefit or lower the costs as the card is no longer attractive. Period.

This is like the government playing games with superannuation. Just leave the system as is people are happy. Stop making changes.


davidlupton

davidlupton

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

12 Feb 2016

Total posts 14

I can get priority pass membership through my Amex or my Mastercard. I thought i had signed up through Amex, but i got my renewal card (same membership number) with my new Mastercard. I didn't know about the out-of-lounge benefits anyway. I rarely use the Priority Pass as I usually have alternate lounge access but it is handy occasionally. Amex also stopped the tie-up with Accor which i did use quite frequently and they wont cover my medical so am thinking of cancelling it. Just nostalgia really, the card says Member since 1977.

crosscourt

crosscourt

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 346

What's that slogan for AMEX … don't leave home without it?? It was the "prestige" card to have, now it's getting like a LCC. Not that I have used the non-lounge component but this is so pathetic by AMEX, first they slash the points transfer rate and now this.

blaz

blaz

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2018

Total posts 28

This is an accountants decision. But I think things turned south for Amex when they gave the same priority pass membership to associated card holders( Amex platinum charge card). My main beef is the lack of equal access to lounges in airports such as Melbourne where each terminal has their own lounges or lack there of....this is where using a possibly less generous system for accessing a restaurant might be a more acceptable option.

h15t0r1an

h15t0r1an

29 Jan 2015

Total posts 20

Australia seems to have very poor lounges. Often in the wrong terminal for the particular flight I'm on and with restricted hours. (worse than some airports in the USA whose lounges also open restricted hours). Letting supp card have the soft benefits too is what's got them in this mess. However I wouildn';t pay $1450 for the card again with this benefit removed. It makes Australian airports tolerable otherwise they're not. And no, no international lounge available to Priority Pass in Sydney? Really? What are you thinking, Amex?

Michael Kao

Michael Kao

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 336

No PP lounge in SYD isn't Amex's fault. PP act independently of Amex, they are separate company. In fact Amex has its own lounge in SYD.

Of course I'm not happy with Amex either. I think the best way is to vote with our feet. Just cancel the card. Personally that's what I'm doing. Cancel, wait for 18 months and come back for another sign up bonus. The more people cancel, the bigger the sign up bonus will be. Just look at Citiprestige, after they screwed up with the earn rates and conversion rate, no doubt they lost lots of customers. So they are offering a whopping 410k sign up bonus (equivalent to 150-200k FFP) to get more customers.

wodfrey

wodfrey

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 May 2017

Total posts 1

After a bit of discussion and capturing my feedback, Amex apologised and authorised a $20 credit to my card as goodwill, with no news on any other changes. I mean, it's not nothing... Completely agree that caps for reasonable use make far more sense than an outright ban.

bert

bert

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Jun 2014

Total posts 35

The whole thing defies common sense, of course it was going to be abused. Now they throw out the baby with the bath water. A set of limitations could have saved the pp access for the majority of us the didn't abuse it.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on AMEX axes Priority Pass meal credit at Australian airports