San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is the second-largest airport in California and the seventh-largest in the U.S., serving 58 million passengers each year. We review the best airport lounge at SFO if you have a Priority Pass or relevant credit card.
There are two Priority Pass lounges at San Francisco Airport; the Air France – KLM Lounge in the International Terminal and the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in the International Terminal. You can also currently get $28 credit per person in the San Francisco Giants Clubhouse, an energetic sports-focused eatery dishing with pub grub, cocktails, beer & wine, and the Yankee Pier, a casual, New England-themed eatery, both in Terminal 3.
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Typically, our free benefits at luxury hotels include:
- Room upgrade to next category
- Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
- Complimentary Welcome Gift
- $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
- Early check-in / late check-out (subject to availability)
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Free Airport Lounge Access
If you have not paid for Business Class or First Class, you can access airport lounges for free if you have an unlimited Priority Pass or an Amex Platinum card. To get bonus referral points and advice on the Platinum American Express and other free lounge access credit cards, have a read of our best credit cards for luxury travel.
1. Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, International Terminal
This was the fourth Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in the US to join Priority Pass, as the Clubhouses in Los Angeles, Newark, and Washington Dulles, already belong to Priority Pass. The lounge is open to Priority Pass members daily in the mornings only. Priority Pass members can access the lounge for up to three hours.
While members get access to the same space in the lounge as Virgin passengers, the food and drinks are not the same as those offered during the hours when Virgin passengers use this lounge.
The look is light, bright, and colorful, with great tarmac views. The food is basic (outside the Virgin guest hours), similar to a US domestic lounge with whole fruit, drinks, and snacks plus free Wi-Fi. Do not expect the Clubhouse Menu during Priority Pass hours.
2. Air France – KLM Lounge, International Terminal
The Air France/KLM Lounge is accessible to those with a Priority Pass during restricted times. Priority Pass members do not get access between 11:00 am – 1:00 pm or 2:30 pm and 7:00 – 10:00 pm, which is when Air France and KLM passengers will be using the lounge. This lounge is not as stylish as the Virgin lounge and the food on offer out of the Air France Premium Passenger access hours is usually better.
The lounge has rows of pastel-colored chairs facing outwards and a high table and stools against the window so you can sit and look out at the planes. There is also free Wi-Fi and newspapers in this lounge.
A small buffet area offers various soft drinks with a coffee machine with teas beside it and soda cans in the fridge. There is a big jar containing lemon water on tap (no bottled water), and for snacks, there are cakes, brownies, and pretzels.
Beyond this, in a cafe area is the main buffet with self serve spirits, wine, beer, bottled water, and snacks like olives and dried fruit. There are more cakes, desserts, and cut fruit on the counter. The savory food is also good with hot dishes, including hot sausage with vegetables, rice, waffles, chips, two soups, and noodles. There is also a salad bar with all the usual lettuce and tomato dishes to stay healthy. This is an excellent food spread for a Priority Pass lounge and an average spread for a First and Business Class lounge.
3. The Centurion® Lounge by American Express, Terminal 3
Oh my goodness, we love an American Express airport lounge and if you have a Platinum Amex card, visit this lounge rather than the Priority Pass lounges. Check out our review of the fantastic American Express lounge at Hong Kong airport. This lounge is open to American Express Platinum cardholders and Centurion members with same-day tickets, plus their guests. As a cardholder of one of these cards, access to the Centurion Lounge is complimentary. Each cardmember is allowed to bring two travel companions or guests with them into the Centurion Lounge. Also, children under the age of two are admitted free of charge.
The Centurion Lounge in San Francisco can be accessed post-security in Terminal 3 or from International Terminal. All terminals are not connected post-security at SFO. If you are flying out of another terminal, you may be able to use your boarding pass to enter through T3 security. After visiting the Lounge, you will need to exit through security, take the AirTrain or walk to your terminal and re-enter through security. Obviously, this is horribly inconvenient, but you might find this lounge is worth the effort of going in and out through security.
The Centurion Lounge at SFO is open from 5:00 am – 11:00 pm every day, and it offers a beautiful space. The lounge provides complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, a computer bar, and semi-private workspaces. The seating is stylish, and there are many seating options, although this lounge can get overly crowded.
The Napa Valley wine tasting area is a really nice and unique feature if you want to try some Californian wines. Food is mostly a la carte, and the menu offers Californian inspired cuisine designed by James Beard Award-nominated chef Ravi Kapur. A sample of the menu can be found below:
- Scrambled Cage-Free Eggs | Garlic Confit, Herb Fines
- Egg Frittata | Chevre, Baby Spinach
- Pancakes Banana Foster | Rum Caramel
- Home-Fried Potatoes | Caramelized Onions, Scallion
- Lunch & Dinner
- Farro Salad | Roasted Broccolini, Pickled Red Onion, Feta Cheese, Dijon Vinaigrette
- Cabbage & Persian Cucumber Salad | Thai Basil, Mint, Toasted Sunflower Seeds, Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
- Roasted Chicken | Greek Yogurt & Cilantro Glazed
- Roasted Cauliflower | Curried Golden Raisins
- Pan-seared Baby Carrots | Picholine Olives, Capers, Preserved Meyer Lemon, Salsa Verde
- Curried Red Lentil Stew | Mushroom, Coconut Milk, Madras Curry
- Kimchi & Pork Soup | Tofu, Baby Spinach, Korean Chili Flakes
Snacks, including cookies, fresh fruit, popcorn, and sandwiches, are also available in the Centurion Lounge.
For drinks, you can enjoy some great beers or spirits, or you can enjoy a cocktail developed by one of the nation’s top mixologists, Jim Meehan, or explore wines handpicked by renowned wine authority Anthony Giglio.
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.