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Escape Lounge – The Centurion Studio Partner at Oakland International Airport [Review]

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Katie Seemann
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Katie Seemann

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Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, F...
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My family and I flew to San Francisco for a long weekend to visit my brother recently. Since I have a Southwest Companion Pass, that’s our go-to airline for most domestic trips and this was no exception.

We flew into Oakland International Airport (OAK) instead of San Francisco International Airport (SFO) because the flight times from Columbus were better.

We had some time to kill in the airport before our flight so I was excited to find out that the Escape Lounge – The Centurion Studio Partner had reopened.

In this post, I’ll share what I liked and didn’t like about this lounge so you know what to expect if you fly through Oakland.

Escape Lounges – The Centurion Studio Partner

Escape Lounges – The Centurion Studio Partner is a small, but growing brand of lounges. At the time of my visit, there were only 12 locations open in the U.S., with 2 more currently in the works.

I was excited to see this lounge in the Oakland International Airport (OAK) because I’d never been to an Escape Lounge before and because my home airport, John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH), is getting an Escape Lounge (the first lounge in the airport).

After my experience in this lounge, I can only hope that the other locations are better than this one.

Location

Entrance to Oakland Escape Lounge
The Escape Lounge is located in Terminal 1 by gate 8 at Oakland International Airport.

The Escape Lounge at Oakland is located at the far end of Terminal 1 between gates 8 and 8A.

Hours of Operation

The Escape Lounge at Oakland is open daily from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Entry Requirements

There are a few ways you can gain entry into the Escape Lounge at Oakland.

You’ll get free access if you have any of the following cards, including up to 2 guests:

You’ll get free access when you’re flying on a Delta-marketed ticket if you have either of the following cards (guests cost $30 each):

If you don’t have any of the credit cards listed above, you can get access to Escape Lounges in the following ways:

  • Pay $45 per person at the door
  • Pay $40 per person when a reservation is booked online at least 24 hours prior to entry
  • TAV Passport Card members get free entry along with 1 guest
  • Select Dreamfolks cardholders get complimentary access
  • Children under 24 months old get free access
  • AAA members can get a $10 discount when paying for lounge access at the door with a valid membership card

Hot Tip: Access to Escape Lounges in the U.S. is not included in a Priority Pass membership. However, Escape Lounges in the U.K. are accessible with a Priority Pass.

A Helpful Tip if Your Credit Card Is in Your Spouse’s Name

I visited this lounge with my daughter and left my husband back at the gate because he wasn’t interested in seeing the lounge. That was all fine and good until I realized that our Amex Platinum card is in his name.

The lounge wouldn’t let me in with his card. However, the woman working at the desk gave me a helpful tip for this situation.

She told me to have my husband make a reservation for the lounge on the app and then she could let me in. Since I can access all of my husband’s accounts, I pulled the American Express app up on my phone and made a reservation while I was standing at the front desk. I got a QR code and was able to get in with that.

Book a lounge on the Amex App
You can make an appointment for the lounge in the American Express mobile app. Image Credit: American Express

Bottom Line: The easiest way to gain access to an Escape Lounge is to hold one of the following cards: Amex Platinum card, Amex Business Platinum card, or Centurion card. If you have a Delta Reserve card or a Delta Reserve Business card, you can get access when you are flying on a Delta-marketed ticket.

Escape Lounge – The Centurion Studio Partner at Oakland Amenities

Seating

The lounge itself is rather small but it was modern and had lots of different seating options.

Escape Lounge seating at Oakland Airport
The lounge is rather small but there is a good amount of seating.

There were a few upholstered chairs at the front of the lounge but most of the seating consisted of tables and chairs.

Front seating area at Oakland Escape Lounge
There were a lot of seating options in the lounge.

There were even a few seats with runway views.

Runway view at Oakland Escape Lounge
The lounge had a few windows with runway views.

Food and Beverage

Unfortunately, this lounge fell very short when it came to food and drink offerings.

There was a full bar at the back of the lounge, but there was no bartender. If you wanted a drink, you had to hope that the woman working at the front desk would see you and come back to make a drink.

Bar at Oakland Escape Lounge
There was a full bar at the lounge but no bartender.

Complimentary drinks included select wine, beer, and spirits.

Oakland Escape Lounge complimentary drinks
There was a selection of complimentary alcoholic beverages.

Specialty cocktails and top-shelf liquor were available for an additional charge.

Oakland Escape Lounge cocktail menu
Specialty cocktails and top-shelf liquor were available for an additional charge.

There was a self-serve beverage station with coffee, tea, and a minifridge with some sodas.

Beverages at Oakland Escape Lounge
There was a beverage station with coffee, tea, and sodas.

The food was almost non-existent.

Empty buffet at the Escape Lounge at Oakland airport
The buffet was almost completely empty.

As you can see, the buffet was a decent size and could hold a respectable amount of items, but it didn’t.

Buffet at Oakland Escape Lounge
There was a buffet in the middle of the lounge, but it was practically empty.

I don’t know if this was a fluke or typical of this lounge, but there was literally almost nothing available with the exception of a plate of rice and a few potatoes.

Hot food at Oakland Escape Lounge
There was 1 small plate of rice left on the buffet.

There is a sample menu online showing what you can expect at the Escape Lounge at Oakland and it’s downright laughable when you compare it to what was actually available on the day of my visit.

Bottom Line: The food selection at the Oakland Escape Lounge was minimal. There was a buffet area set up for hot and cold items, but it was almost empty during the hour I spent there. My visit was around 3 p.m. on the Sunday before Memorial Day, so hopefully, it was a fluke that the food was so empty and there was only 1 person working.

Restrooms

There were no restrooms inside the lounge.

Newspapers and Magazines

Guests of the Escape Lounge can download unlimited newspapers and magazines via the Pressreader app.

Pressreader app in the Oakland Escape Lounge
Unlimited magazine and newspaper downloads were available via the Pressreader app.

In addition, there was a magazine and newspaper rack. Unfortunately, it was almost empty.

Magazine rack in the Oakland Escape Lounge
There was a sparsely populated magazine rack in the lounge.

Final Thoughts

While it’s always nice to get out of the hustle and bustle of an airport terminal, this lounge was a big disappointment when it came to food and beverage.

Simply put, the food was almost non-existent and there was only 1 employee, so you had to wait a long time if you wanted anything from the bar.

But, on the flip side, the lounge was modern and uncrowded, so it was a nice, quiet space if you needed to get some work done.

The information regarding the Centurion® Card from American Express was independently collected by Upgraded Points and was not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Oakland have an Amex lounge?

Yes, Escape Lounges – The Centurion Studio Partner is a lounge that you can access with select Amex credit cards. There is a location at the Oakland International Airport in Terminal 1 between gates 8 and 8A.

Do Escape Lounges take Priority Pass?

You can’t use your Priority Pass membership to access an Escape Lounge in the U.S. However, you can use it to access Escape Lounges in the U.K.

How do I access an Escape Lounge?

You can access Escape Lounges with the following credit cards:

  • Amex Platinum card
  • Amex Business Platinum card
  • Centurion card
  • Delta Reserve card (when flying Delta)
  • Delta Reserve Business card (when flying Delta)

Additionally, you can pay for access or get it through a TAV Passport Card and select Dreamfolks cards.

Do you tip in Escape Lounges?

Yes. If you get a drink in the bar, even if it’s free, you should consider tipping the bartender.

Do Escape Lounges have free alcohol?

Select alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, and spirits, are complimentary at Escape Lounges. Select premium selections, top-shelf liquor, and specialty cocktails have an additional charge.

Katie Seemann's image

About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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