Priority Pass DCA Lounges Guide (Bracket Room, American Tap Room) [2020]

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Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is one of the most conveniently located airports in the the DC area. It makes easy coming and goings to and from the capital of the United States. Luckily, Priority Pass has you covered to fill your food cravings with two restaurant offerings. 

In this article, I talk about Priority Pass options at DCA and what you can expect. I will also go over options beyond Priority Pass that might help frequent fliers access lounges across the nation. 


What Priority Pass lounges are at DCA?

There are two Priority Pass restaurants at DCA:

  • Bracket Room – Terminal B
  • American Tap Room – Terminal C

Notice how there are no proper lounges available in any of the terminals at DCA. Luckily, most of the time Priority Pass restaurants are gonna fill you up with much better food than many Priority Pass lounges in the USA. 

Down below, I go into more details about both Bracket Room and American Tap Room.


How to get Priority Pass

You can get Priority Pass by purchasing a club membership but I always recommend considering credit cards that offer you a Priority Pass Select membership.

These cards would be cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Platinum Card from American Express. HOWEVER, some cards don’t offer Priority Pass restaurant access. That means, a card could advertise a Priority Pass Select membership, but without access to restaurants via your Priority Pass card. 

Cards offered by American Express do not allow access to Priority Pass restaurants. However, cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve do allow Priority Pass restaurants.


DCA terminals

There are four terminals at DCA airport. Terminals A, B, B/C and C. Below is a list of airlines going out of each terminal.

Terminal A (Gates 1-9)

  • Air Canada
  • Frontier
  • Southwest

Terminal B (Gates 10-22)

  • Alaska
  • Delta
  • United

Terminal B/C (Gates 23-34)

  • American 
  • JetBlue

Terminal C (Gates 35-45)

  • American

Getting between terminals at DCA

DCA is a tiny airport, with only 45 gates, you would have thought all the gates are accessible past security (aka airside), but that is incorrect. The only terminals that are connected are terminals B/C and C — gates 23-45 are all accessible airside. Terminal B (gates 10-22) and terminal A (gates 1-9) aren’t connected airside.

If you wished to go to other terminals from terminal A, you will need to exit and then go through security again to access other terminals. 

However, don’t assume that a TSA agent will allow you to enter other terminals with a boarding pass for another airline in a separate terminal. Some TSA agents will deny you entry if you are departing from another terminal. For example, if you want to access Terminal B and you are flying Southwest out of Terminal A, you might be denied passage by a TSA agent. 


Bracket Room – Terminal B

Location

  • Airside – after Security Control, turn right. The Bracket Room is located opposite Gate 12.

Hours

  • 05:00 – 21:00 daily
  • Please note that the restaurant may exceed their seating limit at certain times of the day & access to the restaurant is at their sole discretion.

Conditions

  • Cardholders can use their lounge visit entitlement to receive $28 USD off the bill. Each time you receive the $28 deduction, it represents a single lounge visit within the Cardholder’s existing lounge.

If you bring along one guest they will also receive a discount so you’ll get a total $56 off your bill. Getting $56 off for a meal during an airport visit is a pretty great deal to me so while it’s not lounge access — this is actually a pretty sweet deal.

  • Only 1 card per visit per Cardholder will be accepted at point of registration.
  • To be eligible, Cardholders must present a valid card before placing an order.
  • The discount is non-transferable & cannot be exchanged for cash substitute or refund if the final bill is lower than $28 per person.
  • The cardholder is responsible for the balance if total final bill exceeds US$28 per person. Any remaining balance cannot be used towards gratuity.

What is the Bracket Room like?

The Bracket Room is a sports lounge eatery. There are dozens of TVs across the establishment that will cater to traveling sports fans that need to catch the game while they are on the go. If you want to grab a couple of drinks or bite to eat while watching the game, the Bracket Room would be ideal. However, for families with younger children, you might find the menu and atmosphere to be less kid friendly than other establishments. 

What does the Bracket Room server?

  • Breakfast (omelette, eggs benedict, egg sandwich, waffles, etc.)
  • Wings
  • Tacos
  • Burgers
  • Chicken and waffles
  • Hot dogs
  • Greens
  • etc.

You can look at the full menu here.

As you can see, the Bracket Room offers a nice selection for breakfast, but for lunch and dinner, don’t expect anything more than standard bar food. For me, I would personally get either eggs benedict or chicken and waffles. The $28 credit per person (not including tip) can cover everything on the menu with a drink. If you just wanted drinks, you could easily get three different types of drinks covered by the credit.

If you ask me, it’s definitely not a bad deal.


American Tap Room – Terminal C

Location

  • Airside – after Security Control, near Gates 35-45.

Hours

  • 05:00 – 22:00 Sunday – Friday
  • 05:00 – 19:00 Saturday
  • Please note that the restaurant may exceed their seating limit at certain times of the day & access to the restaurant is at their sole discretion.

Each Priority Pass member and guest will get $28 off the bill.

If you bring two guests, cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve offer the member and two guests a discount, so you would be able to get $84 off the entire bill (excluding gratuity.) 

Conditions

  • Cardholders can use their lounge visit entitlement to receive $28 USD off the bill. Each time you receive the $28 deduction, it represents a single lounge visit within the Cardholder’s existing lounge.
  • Only 1 card per visit per Cardholder will be accepted at point of registration.
  • To be eligible, Cardholders must present a valid card before placing an order.
  • The discount is non-transferable & cannot be exchanged for cash substitute or refund if the final bill is lower than $28 per person.
  • The cardholder is responsible for the balance if total final bill exceeds US$28 per person. Any remaining balance cannot be used towards gratuity.

What is the American Tap Room like?

The American Tap Room is a classic American restaurant that offers bar food with a selection of drinks. Compared to the Bracket Room, you won’t find many high quality options or breakfast food. Think of the American Tap Room to be the cheaper establishment of the two. However, if you’re in the mood for some beers, this is the Priority Pass restaurant to go. 

It’s definitely less family friendly than the Bracket Room, but with very simple dishes, the kids will be happy while you watch the game on a TV. 

What does the American Tap Room server?

  • Wings
  • Bavarian Pretzels
  • Greens
  • Sandwiches
  • Burgers
  • Limited breakfast items (Chicken and waffles, omelette)
  • etc.

As you can see, the options at American Tap Room are fairly limited for food. However, you can find that the alcohol menu is fairly bigger than the Bracket Room menu. If you had the option between the two Priority Pass restaurants to get hammered at, the American Tap Room will serve you better.

You can look at the full meny here.


Will Priority Pass get you into any lounges at DCA?

The short answer is no. Priority Pass will not get you into any lounges at DCA. However, I would argue that Priority Pass restaurants are better for foodies and drinkers.

You see, most airport lounges, especially in the United States, will offer some of the weakest buffets and drink selections. It’s sometimes like eating rabbit food as the offerings are small and cheap in quality that it wouldn’t be worth visiting a lounge for a meal. Restaurants offer legitimate meals and drinks made to order, not rabbit food. 

At the restaurants above, you can actually eat a meal that will fill you up with extra credit for dessert or a drink… maybe two drinks, but it all depends on the items you order. Because it all depends on the items you order, this creates a more personalized experience for each customer.

I for one would rather go to a restaurant to eat a good meal or have a couple mixed drinks instead of going to a crowded lounge fighting for the weak buffet offerings. 

Certain cards can get you into lounges at DCA

If you really wish to get into lounges at DCA, you will need to hold certain speciality credit cards flying certain airlines. Below I go over a few credit cards that can get you into lounges.

American Express Platinum 

The Amex Platinum is one of the top cards out there for elite status. It comes equipped with elite status with Hilton and Marriott, lounge access to Priority Pass (excludes restaurants), Centurion, and Delta Sky Clubs. Other benefits like the Uber credit and airline credit can virtually make the annual fee go away.

So, if you are flying Delta Airlines, you can access Delta Sky Clubs with the Amex Platinum. Sky Clubs are great if you wish to relax or get some work done without a restaurant environment. When you aren’t in the mood to eat an entire meal, this is a great card. 

Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

  • Earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after spending $40,000 in eligible purchases that post to the cardmember’s account during a calendar year
  • Admirals Club access
  • Priority check-in, airport screening, and early boarding
  • First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit
  • 2X miles on every American Airlines purchase
  • $450 annual fee

The Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard is a unique card as it offers benefits like priority check-in, airport security, Admirals Club access, and early boarding. Those three alone are benefits of having elite status.

Similar to other cards, the card only allows access to Admiral Clubs when flying American Airlines. However, for frequent AA travelers, this card could make a world of difference in airports across the country. 


Final word

Sometimes the best lounge experiences are at restaurants eating or drinking till you cannot anymore. However, if you wish to work, you might find the Priority Pass options at DCA to be lacking, especially for frequent DC travelers. 

UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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