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Best Lounge at SJO?

Best Lounge at SJO?

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Old Dec 5, 16, 2:00 pm
  #31  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: SEA, ORD, SFO
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Yep: Credomatic Plat AMEX required for the good lounge @ SJO

So yeah, confirmed: US Plat AMEX no good for the Platinum VIP (right side) of the lounge. You MUST have the Credomatic version of the card to get at the good stuff.

However just show your regular US-issued Plat Amex and ID, and you're set for the SantaMaria VIP (left, aka. lame side) lounge.

Only a couple things I'd add to ariel_sjo's excellent summary from above, re: the left (Santamaria) side:

1) The vegetables + Ranch sauce were nasty, looked like a week old, dried up, brown. Tamales were OK, brownies/cookies were fine, the salmon dip + crackers was passable, the weird cream cheese tortilla wrap thing looked nasty and all of these items were being kept at room temperature for god knows how long. (Food safety? What's that? )

2) The staff was very young and not acting in a particularly mature (much less professional) manner. I suspect the grown ups are running things on the other side. At least I'd sure hope so.

3) Menu items vastly overpriced and... food safety. Nope! You might actually do better on the plane for that one... (AS Cheese Plate, come to papa! )

4) LOUD place. Lots of hardscape surfaces and the staff seem to enjoy banging things around. By the time it was half-full, it was noisy enough to be really distracting and unpleasant.

Last edited by brizone; Dec 5, 16 at 2:09 pm
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Old Dec 6, 16, 5:40 am
  #32  
 
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Originally Posted by brizone View Post
So yeah, confirmed: US Plat AMEX no good for the Platinum VIP (right side) of the lounge. You MUST have the Credomatic version of the card to get at the good stuff.

However just show your regular US-issued Plat Amex and ID, and you're set for the SantaMaria VIP (left, aka. lame side) lounge.

Only a couple things I'd add to ariel_sjo's excellent summary from above, re: the left (Santamaria) side:

1) The vegetables + Ranch sauce were nasty, looked like a week old, dried up, brown. Tamales were OK, brownies/cookies were fine, the salmon dip + crackers was passable, the weird cream cheese tortilla wrap thing looked nasty and all of these items were being kept at room temperature for god knows how long. (Food safety? What's that? )

2) The staff was very young and not acting in a particularly mature (much less professional) manner. I suspect the grown ups are running things on the other side. At least I'd sure hope so.

3) Menu items vastly overpriced and... food safety. Nope! You might actually do better on the plane for that one... (AS Cheese Plate, come to papa! )

4) LOUD place. Lots of hardscape surfaces and the staff seem to enjoy banging things around. By the time it was half-full, it was noisy enough to be really distracting and unpleasant.
Did you have any trouble using an electronic PP from your phone or watch?

Did you have to pay to bring in a guest?

Finally, I suppose flying DL 'business' does not gain access to the best part of the lounge, right?
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Old Dec 10, 16, 11:02 am
  #33  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Didn't use the PP, just showed them my Plat Amex. You can't actually use PP for this one upstairs: that's the lounge down on the lower level (the SJO VIP Lounge).

Plat Amex got my +1 tho, no problem.

Dunno what Delta has arranged with the VIP side, but I suspect flying DL J won't get you in there...
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Old Dec 18, 16, 1:19 pm
  #34  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Last edited by ariel_sjo; Jan 21, 18 at 11:00 am Reason: Entry requirements
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Old Aug 15, 17, 3:54 pm
  #35  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Last edited by ariel_sjo; Jan 21, 18 at 11:00 am Reason: Access to lounges
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Old Sep 10, 17, 4:19 pm
  #36  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
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2017 experience in SJO lounges

Just to add some more recent experience to this thread.

I have PP but was also flying avianca business to SAL.

I went up to the second storey lounge.

The left hand side one is larger but as mentioned above is a private access cafe essentially. Some very minimal free snacks. Wifi was not great, drinks are paid for, overall pretty mediocre. Staff were pleasant but not overly helpful.

We also had access to the Amex lounge on the right, it's pretty small, has a nice view into the run way but the only meaningful difference is self pour alcoholic drinks.

With PP membership I popped into the downstairs lounge. Seemed a little newer, pretty cold staff person on the desk (began to realise why they get called dragons sometimes). Simple snacks and drinks for free, no windows but a clean and quiet place to sit.

With the overpriced "lounge" food we opted for the smash burger next to the entrance below.

Hope this helpful Intel...first time in Central America and these lounges are pretty disappointing when you think about TK IST lounge and the Houston centurion lounge we recently visited.
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Old Jan 21, 18, 10:43 am
  #37  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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UPDATE:

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Last edited by ariel_sjo; Sep 3, 18 at 8:55 pm Reason: Content updates.
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Old Apr 2, 18, 10:51 am
  #38  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
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March 2018 update

The right hand side lounge upstairs (Avianca/AMEX) can also be accessed by Avianca Lifemiles Diamond members (+ 1 guest). Free quite basic selection of food and drinks incl alcoholic (self service) at no fee + the same extra cost food menu from next door.
No bathroom here, you must visit the left hand side lounge for that.
Defitnitely the better lounge of the three on offer.
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Old Sep 3, 18, 8:53 pm
  #39  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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UPDATE: VIP Santamaria Lounge (Avianca/American Express) is now Priority Pass!

Latest lounge review overseeds this one. Content deleted.

Last edited by ariel_sjo; Feb 28, 19 at 8:13 pm
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Old Sep 12, 18, 8:56 pm
  #40  
 
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Thank you so much for sharing all this information. It's very useful
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Old Sep 27, 18, 12:17 pm
  #41  
 
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Thanks Ariel_SJO for the great post. I am going shortly to SJO and will definitely use the Santamaria Lounge . The other VIP lounge in the basement is really bad. I have been there before.
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Old Jan 29, 19, 4:32 pm
  #42  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Thanks for the updates! Do you know if any of the lounges can be used upon arrival at SJO?
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Old Feb 1, 19, 10:45 pm
  #43  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Originally Posted by dollar View Post
Thanks for the updates! Do you know if any of the lounges can be used upon arrival at SJO?
Not really, you have go thru immigration, customs, and security in order to get to the departures level where the lounges are.
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Old Feb 3, 19, 1:12 pm
  #44  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Thanks for the info. If you got into SJO and had to wait 2 hours for your friend to show up, is there anywhere good to pass some time?
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Old Feb 5, 19, 4:53 pm
  #45  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Originally Posted by dollar View Post
Thanks for the info. If you got into SJO and had to wait 2 hours for your friend to show up, is there anywhere good to pass some time?
There is an ice cream shop and cafe/restaurant right outside, arrivals level. If you have a diplomatic passport, you can access the Diplomats Lounge, before immigration.
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