The Priority Pass program is a network of airport lounges (and, more recently, restaurants, bars, and even day suites) that allow access to program members. They can be airline lounges or locations with no airline affiliation.
Most people get access to Priority Pass locations by having a credit card that provides a Priority Pass Select membership. While a Select membership doesn’t include all of the clubs you’ll have access to with a paid membership, it offers somewhere to relax at many airports worldwide.
In an effort to provide some benefit at airports (or terminals in airports) where they had no presence, Priority Pass expanded to offer access to day suites and credits for airport restaurants.
Instead of getting access to a lounge that has hors d’oeuvres and well drinks for free, at some airports you’re able to get a $28 credit off your bill at affiliated restaurants by showing your Priority Pass Select card.
Originally, all Priority Pass Select memberships included this benefit. That was until 2019 when AMEX carved out the restaurant benefit from AMEX Priority Pass memberships.
At the time, I didn’t care because the Priority Pass Select memberships from our Citi Prestige and Sapphire Reserve still included the restaurant benefit. Eventually, I signed up for the Capital One Venture X, which also includes a Priority Pass Select membership.
Little more than a year after its launch, Capital One is dropping the restaurant benefit from the Priority Pass Select membership you get with the Venture X card.
Immediately after the announcement, the vitriol came out from “cardholders” saying how they were going to cancel the Venture X card because of this massive, unannounced, devaluation.
Let’s take a moment and look at the Capital One Venture X card.
New applicants get 75,000 points, worth at least $750, after spending $4,000. The card has a $395 annual fee but you get 10,000 points yearly starting on your first anniversary and a $300 credit for travel booked through the Capital One portal.
With little effort, you’re breaking even after the first year.
How does eliminating the Priority Pass Select restaurant benefit destroy the value of the Venture X card? More interestingly, how often do people use the Priority Pass restaurant benefit?
Sure, there are plenty of places in the US and even more around the globe that offer a $28 credit when you show your Priority Pass card.
But take Sharon and I as an example. While we’ve used our Priority Pass Select card to enter many different airport lounges, we’ve used the restaurant credit only once. That was as the Bobby Van’s Steakhouse at JFK Airport. While the meal was decent, it wasn’t amazing. Honestly, I wouldn’t have felt any worse just eating a sandwich at the airport.
If your travel patterns put you at an airport where there’s an excellent airport restaurant where you can use the $28 Priority Pass benefit on a regular basis, then you should bite the bullet and get a Sapphire Reserve card. It still doesn’t mean the Capital One Venture X card is worthless.
The Venture X card’s value includes way more than a full Priority Pass Select membership. This change saves Capital One money but the card still offers 2 points per dollar spent and base benefits worth more than the annual fee.
Removing the restaurant benefit from the Capital One Venture X card is disappointing if you used it on a regular basis, I don’t think this will make a difference to most cardholders. It was a niche benefit most people didn’t really know about and won’t even realize is gone.
I agree with those who are upset about how Capital One announced this change, which is to say they didn’t announce it. It showed up on a Cap One website and only now cardholders are getting notified about the changes. This lack of communication, combined with the inability to transfer points to airline and hotel partners earlier this year, gives me cause to worry about keeping a large point balance with the bank.
It’s difficult to understand most people don’t follow every change to a credit card and while this might be a big deal to you, most cardholders won’t notice any change to their benefits. Even if you can’t still save $28 on an overpriced meal at Portland Airport.
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