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Most frequent travelers know that Priority Pass can get you into lounges around the world. The global lounge network that it manages includes over 1,200 locations. These serve as great backups when you’re in an airport without an airline’s own lounge or one from its alliance partners. Memberships can be purchased, but several credit cards also include them. These include the Capital One Venture X®, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, and The Platinum Card® from American Express.
While Priority Pass has 1,200 locations, not all of these are traditional lounges. Some options include restaurants or in-airport spas. Priority Pass typically pays the lounge owner for each guest who enters a lounge (since they do not own them). It also pays restaurants a fixed amount in exchange for giving its members a $28 credit per guest that can be used for food and beverages. Only the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card offers access to the restaurants. Capital One and American Express exclude these locations. There are a good number of restaurants in the US, including:
- Air Margaritaville (MIA)
- American Tap Room (DCA)
- Anitas Kitchen (DTW)
- Bambuza (SEA)
- Bar Symon (CLE)
- Barrio Brewery Co. (TUS)
- Bobby Van’s Steakhouse (JFK)
- Bracket Room (DCA)
- Brewtop Social (SEA)
- Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar (IAH)
- Capers Cafe Le Bar (PDX)
- Capers Market (PDX)
- Chef Geoff’s (IAD)
- Chili’s Grill & Bar (LIT)
- Corona Beach House (MIA)
- Harbor Grille (BWI)
- House Spirits Distillery (PDX)
- Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill (BOS)
- Johnny Rockets (SYR)
- Kafe Kalik (FLL)
- Kentucky Ale Taproom (LEX)
- Landry’s Seafood (IAH)
- Lark Creek Grill (SFO)
- Mustard’s Bar & Grill (SFO)
- P.F. Chang’s (LAX)
- PGA MSP Golf (MSP)
- Providence Provisions Kitchen & Bar (PVD)
- RJ Rockers Flight Room (GSP)
- Samuel Adams Brewhouse (ATL)
- San Francisco Giant’s Clubhouse (SFO)
- Stephanie’s (BOS)
- The Café by Mise en Place (TPA)
- The Fan Zone (IND)
- The Pasta House (STL)
- Timberline Steaks & Grille (DEN)
- Vienna (MIA)
- Yankee Pier (SFO)
I took a flight on American Airlines yesterday. I never fly American and was planning to buy a day pass for the Admiral’s Club. Unfortunately, it had a sign in front saying that it was over capacity and there were no passes being accepted. Time for Plan B. The Café by Mise en Place operates out of the F Concourse at TPA and I decided to check it out.
Like many places, The Café is woefully understaffed. When I arrived around 6:30 PM there was a huge line waiting by the host stand. The only problem: there was no host and a sign that said “wait to be seated.” I decided to grab a seat at the bar and I’m glad I did because no one ever seated the folks in line. Some were still standing there until I was getting ready to leave and one of the two servers told them that they were closed.
There was one bartender and he made it very clear that he was not happy to be there. He wanted to close at 7:00 PM (even though the signage says they are open until 9:00 PM). He flirted with the woman at the end of the bar, walked around serving guests in his arbitrary order, and was pretty rude to anyone sitting at the bar. I managed to get his attention after sitting for 15 minutes and ordered my food and a ginger ale. He was not thrilled I wanted food as he told me that he would have to walk to the kitchen to get it. People came and filled the bar seats. He ignored them. Some got up and left. Others asked for assistance and were shouted at. He was working the bar alone and you would wait until he deemed you worthy of his attention or you would get nothing. Dishes piled up on the bar and at many tables. The servers were scrambling, but could not keep up.
I ordered the Chicken Poblano Soup and The Willy Moore sandwich (curried chicken salad on rye bread).
The soup came first. The bartender told me he would go get it because he had some other things to get from the kitchen. Okay. Thanks. You could tell the soup had been sitting under a heat lamp. It was nothing special.
The sandwich came next. The bartender informed me that it should have fries, but by the time he got it they were ice cold so he threw them away. He said he could order me more, but it would be a wait. I told him to forget it. The sandwich was tasty and I would order it again (if I dared venture back here).
The bill came to $28.92 with tax. Priority Pass picked up $28. The bartender scanned my card in the app and it was deducted immediately. He informed me that I could tip him on the entire amount on my credit card or leave him cash. I left him a nice tip because even though he was surly, I could see that he was working hard (and I know how hard it can be to work in a restaurant).
There was a guy sitting next to me at the bar. He sat down and was ignored. He asked the bartender for some water. Again, ignored. He apparently had to take some pills because he grabbed a nearby glass that was half drank from a previous guest and downed it. Yuck! He then yelled at the bartender for making him have to drink someone’s water.
Anthony’s Take: Having access to Priority Pass lounges is a great benefit of several premium cards. I love that there are also some restaurants included with the membership given through the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card. It saved me $28 and gave me a place to hangout in TPA. I’ll definitely be looking to use this benefit more and hope the service is better at other locations.
Anthony’s Credit Card Pick: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card is a great premium card with lots of benefits including a $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year; 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs including Hyatt and United;
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