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The Escape Lounge at Oakland International Airport was recently removed from the Priority Pass list and added to The Platinum Card from American Express benefits. Without Amex membership, the entry fee is $40 + tax. Is the Escape Lounge worth visiting?

Who can access the lounge

Walk-up entry is available to all Oakland passengers for a $40+tax entry fee. American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders can enjoy complimentary access and bring up two guests.

Complimentary food and drinks are available.

Escape Lounge entrance fee and hours
ESCAPE LOUNGE ENTRANCE FEE AND HOURS

Where to find the lounge

The Escape Lounge is located in Terminal 1 and past the TSA security checkpoint, right next to Gate 8.

The Escape Lounge at OAK

Complimentary food & drinks

The Escape Lounge boasts a wide range of complimentary food and drinks, but unfortunately, your experience may vary based on the time of day you visit. We stopped by the lounge around 3 pm, and they ran out of food. The hot food was not refilled and what you see was what you got.

Salad bar
SALAD BAR

Below is a picture of where the hot food should be. As you can see, it's completely empty.

Empty hot food bar
EMPTY HOT FOOD BAR
Escape Lounge Complimentary Menu

The majority of the lunch/dinner buffet items were nowhere to be found. There should be an asterisk to let people know that food is on a first come, first serve basis. I'm glad we didn't spend $40+ tax to access the lounge.    

Escape Lounge complimentary menu
ESCAPE LOUNGE COMPLIMENTARY MENU

If your goal at the lounge is to get a decent drink, you're in luck. The lounge has a well-stocked bar with complimentary drinks.

Wall of liquor.
WALL OF LIQUOR.

Complimentary coffee and tea.

Inside the lounge

The lounge itself is relatively small. There are plenty of tables and chairs to sit and relax. Service was lackluster. It seemed like only two employees were managing the lounge — one at the bar and one at the front desk. The front desk employee was also responsible for cleaning tables.

Restrooms are separate from the lounge and located right outside the front doors.

Final thoughts

If you have an American Express Platinum or Centurion card, I would recommend visiting the lounge to get a drink and relax. Without the card, I would not pay $40+tax to visit the lounge. The Escape Lounge is supposed to be comparable to the Centurion Lounge, but it misses the mark by a long shot. The only redeeming factors are the interior design and drinks.

Since the food is not continuously refilled throughout the day, you can easily spend less than $40 to grab a decent bite in the airport.

Overall, there's plenty of room for improvement.

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Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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