Mini-trip-report: Campanile, a new Priority Pass “lounge” at LAX

Welcome back to rsts11travel.

Those of you who have premium credit cards (like American Express Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and others) probably know about Priority Pass, a network of lounges around the world that you can get access to, either free or at a nominal fee of $27 per guest depending on your membership and number of guests.

See also: The Points Guy’s “All About Priority Pass

For the few years I’ve been traveling heavily, I have not used Priority Pass benefits, since most airports I visit have either a Centurion Lounge (access via Amex Platinum) or an Admirals Club lounge (access via Citi AA Executive). The Priority Pass lounges have often been reported as crowded, less impressive than Centurion/AA/Delta options, and more likely to restrict Priority Pass access.

Well, Priority Pass noticed, apparently, and started to partner with non-lounges in some busy destinations. In addition to a few Minute Suite options at smaller airports, there are almost 30 restaurant partners in the US as of this writing, and you can use your lounge visit privilege in the form of a $28 credit at any of these restaurants simply by showing your Priority Pass card (or mobile app).

A bit over a week ago, Priority Pass added Campanile, a self-described “fine dining” establishment in Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Terminal 4. We had the opportunity to try it twice this past weekend, once for breakfast and once for dinner. LAX also has PF Chang and Barney’s Beanery under Priority Pass, and three Admirals Club lounges (including a small one in the Regional Terminal for people connecting within California), and a Centurion Lounge is coming in 2019. 

Visiting the Campanile

LAX15D-9430[1]Campanile has a grab and go station as well as the restaurant and bar, right next to the escalator up from the tunnel between T4 and T5. The photo on the Priority Pass website (at right) may be misleading; the restaurant was more dimly lit, with lamps above umbrellas in the main seating area. Here’s how they describe the venue:

Campanile is a rare airport fine-dining experience that features breakfast, entrees, salads, sandwiches and a full bar with signature cocktails.

I wouldn’t describe it as fine-dining per se, although the food is good and it has a bit more grace than the typical airport dining options. The staff are friendly and courteous, and there are good selections at reasonable prices on the menu. It’s definitely not a quick service restaurant; at dinner we were warned that it would take about 20 minutes for our food to arrive. This warning was a welcome touch in a setting where you may be in more of a hurry than at most restaurants, and the food came a bit more quickly anyway.

On our first visit, the waitress used an old style “chunking” card machine to make an imprint of our Priority Pass card, which we signed to acknowledge the benefit. The second visit, their Internet access was working so we signed on a handheld point of sale terminal (similar to what delivery carriers will have you sign on). Either way, this was handled at the beginning of the visit, and we were advised that we could use the full $28 credit if we hadn’t already (and in both visits, we came up a bit short). Water bottles were offered on the first visit to use up some of the remaining credit.

For breakfast we had the chicken cordon bleu biscuit sandwich (pictured) and a veggie frittata, and on the dinner return we chose the pork belly burger (pictured) and the salmon.

2018-09-18 17.49.112018-09-16 09.42.46

The entrees were in the $15 range and proved to be tasty and worth the price. As noted, service was prompt and courteous, and we felt it was worth the extra time to head to Terminal 4.

So wrap up the story for us

If you pay a per-visit fee for your Priority Pass account (for yourself or for guests with you), you may not find this benefit at a restaurant worth the fee. Compare the fee with how much you plan to “spend.” But if your visit is free, it’s definitely worth trying Campanile out.

Remember to tip on the pre-discounted price, of course… They will bring you a slip to charge the tip to a credit card if you prefer, or you can tip with cash.

If you’re coming in from the Regional Terminal at LAX, take the shuttle directly to T4. If you’re entering the airport from another direction, just go to the middle of  T4 and you’ll find it. You can also pick up the shuttle right downstairs from Campanile if you’re connecting outbound through the RT.

Have you used any of the non-lounge “lounge” options with Priority Pass? What did you think? Join us in the comments below.

Non-Disclosure: We do not publish referral links to credit cards and do not derive any benefit if you choose to use any cards or benefits mentioned above. In fact, if too many of you use the Priority Pass benefits, we might not get in as easily. But that’s okay.

 

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