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Get free food at the airport: Which cards offer Priority Pass restaurant access?

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.

Airport lounge access is one of my favorite credit card benefits. You can get free food and drinks while waiting in a more comfortable area before your flight. However, some lounges aren’t great. And their food offerings may be little more than a pack of Oreos.

If you need to grab a meal at the airport before a flight, you could pay a small fortune. However, a lesser-known credit card benefit could help you score a free meal for yourself and for your traveling companions.

Here’s a look at credit cards that offer visits to Priority Pass restaurants, where you could pick up a free lunch before your next flight.

Priority Pass lounges vs restaurants

When you think of Priority Pass, you likely think of airport lounges where you can relax before your flight, use Wi-Fi and enjoy some food and drinks without the noisy announcements encountered near the departure gates. That’s definitely a big part of what a Priority Pass membership offers, but there’s more.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Priority Pass program

The exterior of a restaurant inside an airport
Yankee Pier in San Francisco. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Priority Pass also has affiliated restaurants in more than 20 airports. When using your membership card, you can enjoy a free meal. Plus, your guest can enjoy their own credit for a free meal.

In addition to restaurants, you can enjoy non-lounge perks like these at some airports:

  • An hour in a private room at select Minute Suite locations
  • Use of a game station for one hour (and a snack and a bottle of water or soft drink) at select Gameway locations
  • Select treatments at participating Be Relax Spa locations.

However, not all Priority Pass memberships offer access to Priority Pass restaurants, spas, sleep pods and other non-lounge visits. We’ll discuss which memberships do (and don’t) include these visits below.

Where are Priority Pass restaurants located?

Unfortunately, not every airport with a Priority Pass lounge has a Priority Pass-affiliated restaurant. Some airports with participating restaurants have more than one of them, meaning this benefit is available only at a select few airports in the U.S.

Related: Skip the lounge and get free food at 31 US restaurants that are part of Priority Pass

a restaurant entrance and bar
You can get a free meal at Priority Pass restaurants like this one at the MIA airport. BENJI STAWSKI/THE POINTS GUY

You can find participating restaurants at the following U.S. airports:

  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).
  • Bill and Linda Clinton National Airport (LIT)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).
  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE).
  • Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).
  • Denver International Airport (DEN).
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW).
  • Dulles International Airport (IAD).
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).
  • Indianapolis International Airport (IND).
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).
  • Miami International Airport (MIA).
  • Nashville International Airport (BNA).
  • Portland International Airport (PDX).
  • Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport (PVD).
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN).
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).
  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL).
  • Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR).
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA).
  • Tucson International Airport (TUS).

How much is the Priority Pass restaurant benefit worth?

You can get between $28-$30 of free food and drinks, depending on the rules set by each restaurant. Let’s take a look at two sample restaurants.

The Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar at IAH offers a maximum of $28 per person in free food and drinks. This credit cannot be used for to-go orders, and you can register a maximum of one guest (no matter how many people are with you).

That would provide a total max of $56 in food and drinks (split as a $28 allotment for you and $28 for your registered guest). You cannot use this credit toward gratuity when tipping your server.

breakfast tacos and a side of potatos on a plate
Breakfast tacos from Landry’s Seafood at Houston’s IAH Priority Pass restaurant. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

The Corona Beach House at MIA, however, offers a credit of $30 per person and doesn’t have a limit on the number of guests you can register during your visit. You cannot use your credit on to-go orders or grab-and-go items. The restaurant automatically adds an 18% gratuity to your bill.

Depending on which Priority Pass restaurant you visit, you’ll likely encounter one of these sets of rules for how much credit you receive, guest restrictions and gratuities. Even if your meal is free, you should still plan to tip your server based on the bill before any deductions.

TPG senior editor Gabrielle Bernardini stated, “While traveling home for the holidays, I had a layover at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). The only lounge I was able to access within my terminal was the Minute Suites. While Minute Suites are a great place to work or get in a nap, you have to pay for snacks and drinks. Luckily, I was able to use my Priority Pass credit at the Harbor Grill, which was located near my departure gate. Since I was traveling with a guest, we ordered two hot chicken meals and drinks for less than $50.”

Related: Priority Pass continues to single-handedly offset my credit card annual fee with this overlooked benefit

Credit cards that provide access to Priority Pass restaurants

Many credit cards offer access to Priority Pass lounges. Some offer unlimited visits while others offer just a few visits per year. Some allow for unlimited guests while others don’t include any free guests.

Related: 10 credit cards that offer Priority Pass airport lounge access

Only a few of the credit cards offering Priority Pass memberships still include non-lounge visits, such as spas and restaurants. They are:

American Express removed this benefit in 2019, and the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card removed this perk at the start of 2023.

That’s why you don’t see those cards on our list, even though they offer Priority Pass memberships, which you can use for lounge visits only. Similarly, the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card* offers four Priority Pass visits per year, but these cannot be used for Priority Pass restaurants, according to a spokesperson for U.S. Bank.

*The information for Citi Prestige, the Ritz-Carlton, UBS Visa Infinite and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Citi Prestige card is not taking new applicants and you can’t apply for the Ritz-Carlton card, though you can obtain it if you have another Marriott credit card from Chase already. This eliminates some options for most people, but the good news is that you can still apply for three of the five cards that offer Priority Pass restaurant benefits.

a plate of fried shrimp is flanked by a bowl of french fries and a salad bowl, sitting on a table at a restaurant
Yankee Pier in San Francisco. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Related: Excellent perks, lackluster redemptions: UBS Visa Infinite Credit Card review

Bottom line

The Priority Pass benefit can help you save cash the next time your stomach rumbles before a flight.

While eligible restaurants aren’t in every airport across the U.S., there are several available in some of the nation’s busiest airports. If you have any of the cards mentioned above, remember to take advantage of this benefit on your next flight if you’re in an airport that offers Priority Pass restaurants.