The Guide to San Diego Airport Lounges

San Diego International Airport has a handful of lounges, all in Terminal 2, with an additional option on the way.
Brad Walters
By Brad Walters 
Edited by Meghan Coyle

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Traveling is often taxing, but airport lounges can make trips a bit more relaxing. San Diego International Airport (SAN) offers three traditional lounges plus a couple of added options for those in the military or those who want a spa experience.

All of these lounges are located in Terminal 2, the newer and larger of the two terminals at SAN, which serves most international flights as well as major carriers such as Alaska, American, Delta and United.

A new lounge is slated to join the mix by the end of 2023, and it’s one a lot of frequent flyers might be excited about.

Here’s the rundown of San Diego airport lounges:

Aspire Lounge

The Aspire Lounge, formerly known as the Airspace Lounge, is located in Terminal 2 East in the corridor between gates 23 and 33.

Although its design is arguably the most spartan of the airport’s post-security lounges, it offers perks the others don’t, including shower facilities and unobstructed views of the airfield for the avgeeks among us.

Here’s what you need to know:

Opening hours: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Access rules: This lounge has the most liberal access rules of all the airport’s lounges, although for that reason it can feel uncomfortably crowded at times, so manage your expectations accordingly:

  • If you carry The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Centurion Card, entry is free for you and up to two guests. Terms apply. (There is no separate Centurion Lounge.)

  • If you’re flying in a premium cabin on American, British Airways, Japan Airlines or Edelweiss, access is free. (Other passengers may be eligible as well.)

  • Priority Pass members enjoy free access. Several credit cards offer Priority Pass memberships that can vary under the terms of the card; some offer unlimited access, while others cap the number of free visits per year, so check your specific terms.

  • You can purchase access via a day pass. At last check, the prices were around $44 for an adult or $37 for a child. Military members get a discount.

  • The lounge is just to the left after Terminal 2 East security and can be used upon either departure or arrival based on the access rules above.

If you’re flying from Terminal 1, which is mainly served by Southwest, you can technically access this lounge by walking about 10 minutes to Terminal 2, going through security with your boarding pass, and explaining that you’d like to visit a lounge.

However, as a San Diego local who has visited this lounge several times when departing from Terminal 2, I’d argue it’s not really worth committing the extra time and hassle to visit, unless you’ve been sightseeing all day in town and could use a pre-flight shower.

Food and beverage: Until somewhat recently, many lounge customers were granted a credit they could use at the bar to purchase a la carte menu items. Now all customers have access to a central buffet area that offers various light fare throughout the day. Included are soft drinks, espresso, cappuccino and teas. Alcohol is also available for purchase.

Wi-Fi: Free.

Delta Sky Club

The Delta Sky Club is located in Terminal 2 West. After the main security entrance for T2 West, follow signs to the lounge, which is above the large food court known as Sunset Cove between Gates 47 and 48. It’s directly adjacent to the United Club.

If you’ve read horror stories about overcrowding or long waits to enter Delta lounges, fear not. As a non-hub lounge, this Sky Club is less likely to suffer from that issue, especially since Delta has recently added restrictions on eligibility. In several recent visits at peak times, I’ve never seen a wait to enter.

Opening hours: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Access rules: Delta lounge access is available in the following ways:

  • For anyone eventually connecting to most international Delta One flights, or flying Delta One domestically.

  • For Diamond, Platinum or Gold Medallion elite members flying in certain cabin classes on Delta or SkyTeam international flights.

  • People with a Delta Sky Club membership.

  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card holders have free access when flying Delta same-day.

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, but starting February 2025, visits will be limited to 10 annually.

  • WestJet, which operates from the airport, offers access for business-class travelers.

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Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 visits per year to the Delta Sky Club. To earn an unlimited number of visits each year, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more the previous year. To earn unlimited visits in 2025, you’ll need to spend this amount between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24.

Terms apply.

Although these are a few of the main ways you can gain access, there are myriad other cases where entry is allowed (or not allowed), so you’ll want to take a close look at Delta’s full rules. Access is permitted up to three hours before a departing flight.

Delta no longer sells day passes to its lounges.

Food and beverage: Delta has a breakfast menu and an all-day menu, both of which are a bit more expansive than what the other lounges at the airport generally offer. Breakfast offerings include warm sandwiches and omelets, while the all-day menu includes hot entrees and a variety of desserts, among other things.

Complimentary alcoholic drinks are available at the bar, with the option to purchase premium drinks for an extra cost.

Wi-Fi: Free.

United Club

The United Club is located in Terminal 2 West, adjacent to the Delta Sky Club and one level above the Sunset Cove food court between Gates 47 and 48. Signs after security will lead the way.

As United Clubs go, this one is small but comfortable. It offers a couple of separate seating areas, one of which offers a glass-enclosed view through the large main atrium and out toward the runway.

Opening hours: 5:15 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Access rules: Here are a few of the primary ways you can access United lounges. Note that you’ll generally be required to be flying United or one of its partners same-day no matter what to enter the lounge.

  • If you’re flying on most international business class itineraries with United, you’ll have access. United only flies domestically from San Diego, but as long as your international itinerary originates there, you’ll generally have access.

  • Those flying in premium cabins from San Diego with partner airlines Air Canada and Lufthansa will have access.

  • Unlike with Delta’s lounge, you can still buy one-time passes for the United lounge. They cost $59 per person and can be bought at the entrance or via United’s mobile app. 

  • The United℠ Explorer Card includes two one-time United Club entry passes after account opening and two more for each year you keep the card open. In addition, primary cardholders of the United Club℠ Infinite Card (annual fee: $525) and the United Club℠ Business Card (annual fee: $450) get an annual United Club membership at no extra cost.

  • Annual passes are available for purchase, starting at $550 or 75,000 United miles for Premier 1K flyers. They are also available for $600 or 80,000 miles for Premier Platinum members, and $650 or 85,000 miles for Silver, Gold and general elite members.

  • Those with Star Alliance Gold status can access the club when traveling on most international flights on United or any Star Alliance member airline.

  • Members of the military flying United same-day have access under certain conditions.

There are other edge cases where entry might be allowed or prohibited, all of which can be found on United’s site.

Food and beverage: United offers what it calls “snacks,” which is an apt term for their somewhat limited selection of food throughout the day available at a small buffet station. It has separate offerings for breakfast and the rest of the day. Additionally, alcohol is available at the bar area.

Wi-Fi: Free.

Coming soon: Chase Sapphire lounge

Slated to open in 2024 in Terminal 2 West, this is one of several Chase airport lounges being opened around the world. Other U.S. locations include Boston, Las Vegas, New York-LaGuardia and Phoenix.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about these lounges, but we do know they’ll be run by Airport Dimensions, which manages several The Club lounges in the United States.

The San Diego lounge is expected to clock in at 11,000 square feet, which is nearly double the size of the United lounge in the terminal, as a point of comparison. It promises to offer “locally inspired design, local food, beverages and art partnerships.”

This lounge will be open to those with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card as well as other cards that offer Priority Pass membership, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (enrollment required) or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. Terms apply.

Two other options to know about

USO Lounge

Those with military connections will want to know about the United Service Organizations (USO) lounge, which is located outside security on the ground level of Terminal 2 just below the departures ramp.

Access is granted to U.S. Armed Forces active duty, Reserve and Guard service members and their families, with access granted to retirees on a space-available basis, according to the USO.

In addition to coffee, tea and snacks, the lounge offers shower facilities, board and table games, and even access to an Xbox One, USO says.

Hours of operation can vary from day to day, so double check before you go.

Be Relax

Located at Gate 27 in Terminal 2 East and Gate 36 in Terminal 2 West, Be Relax is more of a spa than a lounge. It’s worth knowing about, however, especially since some Priority Pass memberships entitle you to a (short) free treatment before your flight.

Otherwise, as you’d expect, prices are higher than what you’d pay outside the airport. Massages, facials, manicures and pedicures are among the services offered.

The bottom line

San Diego International Airport offers several lounges, all of which are located in Terminal 2. Although it probably isn’t worth planning to get to the airport extra early to access any of the San Diego airport lounges, they’re generally a comfortable place to wait for your flight if you have more time than you expected.

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