I have to admit, I’m fairly new to all the benefits and perks that come with travel credit cards. I’ve been more of a “welcome offer” kind of person over the past few years.
I was excited but quickly underwhelmed by the service in Priority Pass lounges. They were routinely full or at capacity and unavailable at many airports.
The game changed, though, when I got The Platinum Card® from American Express earlier this year (after pre-qualifying for the 100K welcome offer when it was available). The card has been a total game-changer and offers unbeatable lounge access through its vast network of American Express Global Lounge Collection℠ programs and partners.
» Learn more: Credit card perks can be your ticket to a cheaper vacation.
I recently flew to Los Angeles from San Francisco on Delta and found myself enjoying breakfast at the Delta Sky Club. The club is located in Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
I evaluated my lounge experience on five factors: the quality and variety of food and drink, club amenities and services, seating, overall convenience and the atmosphere.
Food and drink
It was 7 a.m., I was very hungry and my expectations were low because I found the food at the Delta Sky Club in Los Angeles to be subpar. But the food at the SFO lounge was great!
I had half a bagel, a hard-boiled egg, a DIY yogurt parfait and, of course, a banana to go. No major complaints, except ginger peaches was the only fruit option for the yogurt, so more choices would have been nice. But they were delicious.
For more traditional breakfast eaters, there were cereals, muffins, scones and oatmeal, to name a few of the choices. Overall, the menu was varied and the food was fresh.
The drink options were standard. I especially liked how the coffee, juice and water options were scattered throughout the buffet, limiting lines and unnecessary backups. The espresso machine was surprisingly easy to use and produced a delicious cappuccino.
There was also a bar, to satisfy those in search of an early morning mimosa or Irish coffee. The bar was well-stocked and even had a couple of patrons (not visible in this photo).
Amenities and service
Club amenities were nice but not stellar: reliable WiFi, plenty of charging stations and a nice, clean bathroom. In my opinion, these are all table-stake features. I’m really just waiting for my first visit to a Centurion Lounge, the American Express luxe line of airport clubs.
» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you
The staff at the Sky Club were friendly, communicative and helpful. The food was warm and my plates were cleared quickly after I finished eating.
The club was full for 7 a.m. on a Thursday. Fortunately, the space was large and featured plenty of seating, from individual chairs to more group-centric options. There were also lots of workstations for those looking to get a head start on the workday.
I was able to find a comfy seat, no problem, with plenty of room for my bags and purse. (Again, not the case at the Delta Sky Club in Los Angeles.)
Entrance to the club is located at the front of Terminal 1 (Gate 41). I’ve been to lounges that feel hidden, but SFO’s Delta Sky Club is accessible and conveniently located. More importantly, entry was seamless. No lines, no issues — and at 7 a.m., that goes a long way.
This is definitely one of the sleeker lounges I’ve been to. Cool (but functional) furniture, artsy lighting and a modern, minimalist aesthetic definitely give this lounge some serious cred. High ceilings, lots of natural light and great views of the tarmac also help.
The bottom line
The Delta Sky Club at SFO featured great food and drink, plenty of space, the right amenities and a friendly staff. I was able to glide right in, and the location was convenient, just seven gates away from my departure gate.
Next time you visit, with your The Platinum Card® from American Express or as a member of Delta Sky Club, stop in and save yourself from spending $15 to $20 on airport food and drinks. You’ll be glad you did.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Photos by Julia Baily.
The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of NerdWallet or its partners.
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