I used a credit perk to dine for nearly free at an airport restaurant and it’s my new favorite travel hack

The American Tap Room restaurant at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

  • Chase offers complimentary Priority Pass memberships to its Sapphire Reserve cardholders, which grant access to airport lounges.
  • Priority Pass also includes certain airport restaurants and members are given a $28 meal allowance.
  • I used the perk on a recent trip and saw how easy it was to dine for virtually free.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
This tiny piece of metal is known as the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card and costs me $550 per year. One of the ways I justify paying that fee is by offsetting it and making the card work for me through the many travel perks that it offers.

A Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

My favorite perk, so far, is having a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership that grants me access to certain airport lounges around the world.

A top-down view of a Priority Pass card - Priority Pass
A a Priority Pass card.

I’ve used Priority Pass to access lounges everywhere from New York City to Bogota, Colombia, and it’s immeasurably elevated my travel experience. But in addition to the lounges, Priority Pass also partners with some airport restaurants and gives members as much as $28 to spend on a meal.

Priority Pass Orlando Lounge Review

Read More: Orlando Airport has two of the same lounges. I used my credit card perk to access both and found one was way better.

I tested out the perk on a recent layover in Washington, DC’s Ronald Reagan National Airport. Here’s what it was like.

Boarding an American Airlines flight to Washington, DC - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

I arrived in Washington at around 8 p.m. and was absolutely famished.

The main hall at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

Most of the terminal’s restaurants were closed or closing, including my favorite, Ben’s Chili Bowl.

The Ben's Chili Bowl restaurant at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

I checked the Priority Pass mobile application to see if there were any open lounges or restaurants I could use. I wasn’t hopeful but it was worth a shot.

The Priority Pass mobile application - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

Luckily, there was a restaurant in my terminal, the American Tap Room.

The Priority Pass mobile application - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

Although the Priority Pass app said it was closed, the restaurant was very much open. Flyers should check with the airport to see whether a restaurant is open since the app seems to be outdated.

Priority Pass restaraunt
The American Tap Room’s listing on the Priority Pass website.

I checked the terms of the deal and saw that I was, in fact, able to spend up to $28 and have it entirely covered by Priority Pass, except for the gratuity.

Priority Pass restaurant
The American Tap Room’s listing on the Priority Pass website.

Normally, I would’ve walked right past this place. Airport food is often overpriced for what it is, and I would’ve just opted for fast food if this wasn’t a Priority Pass restaurant.

The American Tap Room restaurant at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

I walked in and immediately saw the Priority Pass sign. The staff confirmed that I could spend up to $28.

Inside the American Tap Room restaurant at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

The menu was basic but still have some classics. Appetizers included hummus, calamari, and buffalo wings while the rest were salads, sandwiches, and finger foods.

The menu at the American Tap Room restaurant at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

The food items were reasonably priced and my $28 allowance was enough for a proper meal consisting of an appetizer, entree, and a soft drink.

The menu at the American Tap Room restaurant at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

And the best part is that I could bring a guest and they’d get the $28 allowance, as well.

Inside the American Tap Room restaurant at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

I started off with five wings as an appetizer. They cost $6.75 so I still had $21.75 to spend before I’d have to pay out of pocket.

Inside the American Tap Room restaurant at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

Next came the entree, a fried chicken sandwich that came with french fries. The third most expensive item on the menu, this cost $13.85.

Inside the American Tap Room restaurant at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

The restaurant was quite crowded and I’m sure at least some were using the Priority Pass perk.

Inside the American Tap Room restaurant at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

I honestly felt bad for the patrons that didn’t have Priority Pass.

Inside the American Tap Room restaurant at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

Once the meal was said and done, I still had $7.40 leftover. I could’ve ordered a salad and took it with me in case I got hungry again, but I was content for the night.

Inside the American Tap Room restaurant at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

The bill came and I was perfectly within my $28 allowance so I didn’t have to pay a dime, except for the tip. Priority Pass members are encouraged to give a tip based on the final total, so bring cash.

Inside the American Tap Room restaurant at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

Priority Pass was already a favorite perk of mine with the Chase Sapphire Reserve but the restaurant feature really made it even more attractive. Not all lounges in the Priority Pass program have hot food and I would prefer a restaurant meal to the snacks I’ve had in some lounges.

The American Tap Room restaurant at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

There’s also no limit to how many Priority Pass restaurants a flyer can visit in a single trip. Those with a long layover or delayed flight can go to another restaurant and use the perk again.

The departure board at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

Some restaurants even allow flyers to use the perk at their arrival airport. Many of the restaurants, however, only allow flyers with a departing flight to use the $28.

Concourse C at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

Priority Pass is also a perk of the American Express Platinum credit card but restaurants are not included in that program, giving the edge to Chase.

Amex Platinum vs Chase Sapphire Reserve
American Express Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve credit cards.

I boarded my flight home with a full stomach and similarly full wallet, having spent just $5 for a two-course meal.

Departing from Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport on American Airlines - Priority Pass Restaurant
Using Priority Pass at an airport restaurant.

Read the original article on Business Insider