Portland: Quite Possibly the Best Priority Pass Destination!

That card is awesome.” Our waitress told us while sitting down to eat at ‘Capers Cafe Le Bar’ at Portland international airport, PDX. “I’ll do my best to help you get your money’s worth.”

Utilizing credit cards for their rewards has been a big part of our travel over the last few years and saved us a ton of money. The Chase Sapphire credit card reserve gives you 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and the points are transferrable to a number of airlines and hotel chains for free stays and flights. The $450 annual fee puts some people off, but after you spend it, you are reimbursed for $300 of travel expenses so you’re left with $150 of an annual fee. The fee pays for itself as you’re given a priority pass which gives you access to 1,000 airline lounges with free food and booze so if you travel a lot, it’s a no brainer.

Portland Stop Number 1: Lunch

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Craft beer, Salmon risotto and a lamb gyro at ‘Capers Cafe Le Bar’

In addition to lounge access (PDX does have an Alaska Airlines lounge) the priority pass will compensate you for $28 of your total bill per person at a number of restaurants at PDX. As my wife, daughter and I sat down to lunch, we had $84 credit and our waitress told us she’d help us utilize it all. With an appetizer of oysters on the half shell, a couple of beers each (my wife and I, not my daughter) and entrees, the total bill was $82.35, completely free of charge. I did leave a $15.00 tip.

Portland Stop Number 2: Snacks

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Some of the snacks offered at ‘Capers Market’. (Child not included)

With food in our bellies, and our daughter hanging out with our parents at the gate, my wife and I then made the short walk to concourse ‘D’ to visit ‘Capers Market’ which sells pastries, wine and beer. Like before, priority pass members and their guests are entitled to a $28 dollar credit each, so my wife and I stocked up on snacks for the plane.

We got chocolate covered hazelnuts, brownies, granola bars and a host of of other goodness. (Who knew dried fruit would go so well with chocolate?) In the end, our total was $52.75 altogether, (just under my wife and my $56 limit) and we paid nothing. I was half expecting to hear security guards shouting, running towards us as we tried to make our getaway to gate A9.

Portland Stop Number 3: House Spirits Distillery

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The cocktails flight.

If the above wasn’t good enough, we decided to really get our money’s worth at the ‘House Spirits Distillery’ which serves flights of hand crafted cocktails and locally distilled whiskey.

We sat back and enjoyed two $28 dollar whiskey and cocktail flights for free. The Portland ‘mule’ and ‘Spring fling’ were extremely refreshing and the distillery sells all the ingredients if you want to recreate your favorites for your hosts you’re on your way to visit. We bought a nice bottle of whiskey for my father in law, but don’t tell him-it’s a secret.

All in, we got $56.00 of free drinks without swiping a credit card. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re a frequent traveller, this credit card pays for itself. Altogether, we got $191.10 of food and snacks for the price of a $150 annual fee. As many US carriers don’t provide complimentary food and snacks, the priority pass is great not only for eating at the airport before a food-less flights, but also for grabbing a snack or two to get you through to your destination.

One caveat- the ‘Points Guy’ wrote about this in 2017 and at the time, all arriving guests could utilize this feature, as when you arrive at PDX, you walk through the departures terminal on the way to the baggage claim. However, it’s since been discontinued and only guests with boarding passes for same day flights can take advantage of this wonderful perk.

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