Our family of 4 just go back from an amazing 12 day South American vacation. In 12 days we flew through 8 different airports, and some of them multiple times and we actually had 17 different airport visits. My wife and I each have a AMEX Platinum card that gives you access to Centurion Lounges as well as Priority Pass Membership (for you and 2 people). I also have a Citi Prestige Card which gives you access for your family.
Lounges are great when traveling with a family. My kids actually look forward to them. Even though most of the lounges we visited were nothing amazing like the Etihad Lounge we visited in Abu Dhabi in 2016, our kids know they can a least get a soda, chips, cookies, and can get Wifi on their IPADS. I would also much rather sit in a decent chair drinking a beer in a cruddy lounge complaining about that lounge than sit in a terminal with 500 other people.
In using the Priority Pass Lounges, I made a mistake and used my AMEX Priority Pass card which only includes myself and 2 guests. I didn’t really realize that until I got back. I only got charged 5 times though. I would even ask when entering a lounge if my card would cover my entire family or if I needed to use my wife’s card. (or my Prestige Priority Pass would have covered all of us…, I just grabbed the AMEX one first.) All of them except the Lounge in PTY said yes you are fine. (PTY said I would need to use 2 cards unless i wanted to pay $27) Now some lounges only put down 2 guests or 3 guests so I was not charged $27 for the 4th person. However on 5 of them, they put down 4 guests so I was charged $27 on my AMEX card. I called Priority Pass to complain since I asked multiple lounges if I needed to use another card, but Priority Pass doesn’t care. I also filed a complaint with AMEX, but I don’t expect them to care either. $135 lesson learned here.
The first lounge we visited was the AMEX Centurion Lounge in DFW on Friday night. Upon entering, I could tell the front desk lady was prepared to tell us we couldn’t come in as a family of 4 since they recently revised their policy to a maximum of 3 people per card. I showed her my card and my wife’s card, and she said great and we were on our way. As expected the lounge was very crowded and you had to stand and hunt down people to leave to get a table for 4. The drinks were good, but food was gone before it was your turn in line. We stayed about 30 minutes and decided to try another lounge.
We were flying in American Airlines Business Class to Lima. However AA is updating their Admirals Club Lounge in the DFW International Terminal. They do have a makeshift lounge that isn’t open to everyone, but is open only to International Business and First Class passengers. At 8pm on a Friday night, this lounge was probably only at 25% capacity. While it was nothing fancy or modern, they had plenty of hot food, cold drinks, and we had our own little corner. By 9pm, there was only 2 other sets of people in the lounge. This was a great way to relax before leaving at about 930 for our 10pm flight.
Our next lounge was in Lima. Were were transiting from Lima to Cusco, so this was their domestic lounge. This was the worst lounge of the trip. It was a single room, and they had bread and chips for a snack. This was also one of our longest layovers at almost 3 hours. we probably stayed for about 90 minutes as we were able to get 4 seats by each other. However it was very crowded and just unpleasant. We ended up leaving to grab sandwiches and sit by a window in the terminal.
Next lounge was in Cusco. For a small domestic lounge it wasn’t too bad. It was just a single room, but clean and pleasant.
Now we were back in Lima again but flying to Guayaquil and in the International Terminal. The lounge here was actually pretty nice. Had a selection of sandwiches and veggies, several different sitting areas, and even an outside area.
Lima International Terminal also has 2 priority pass restaurants. They are right across from each other. One is a sit down restaurant, while the other is more like a coffee shop. We decided to visit the sit down restaurant. It was pretty easy as they gave us $81 to spend. We only spent about $65, and the waiter just brought up several bottles of water to top it off. I ordered a burger cooked medium and it came out very rare and did not sit well in my stomach though.
Now we are in Guayaquil flying to the Galapagos and in their domestic lounge. It was clean, quiet, and relaxing for an hour.
Flying out of the Galapagos Baltra Airport, they even had a lounge. It was unique as it was all open to the terminal. It had pretty tropical furniture and plenty of space. While they had some finger foods and water and tea, beer and sodas were not free. They also had a nice outside sitting area here.
Back in Guayaquil in their International Lounge. This was a nice lounge with probably the best food selection of all the priority pass lounges we visited.
Finally flying out of Panama PTY. This was a very nice lounge as well and was quite large. Food selection was acceptable.
Overall having lounge access before a flight can really set the tone before you fly. Now while the Lima domestic lounge wasn’t worth going to, as a whole it was worth my mess up of paying $135 for all these lounges.
2 thoughts on “10 Lounge visits for our family in 12 days, and my $135 mistake”
Goodness – that’s a whirlwind trip that wears me out just reading about it. And I just did 19 states and 4,000 miles with a 2-year old!
Tiring but worth it. We tried to space it out as strategically as we could so we never overdid the transiting with out kids. It worked out great!