I recently published a post about the very disappointing VIP Lounge Costa Rica located in the basement of Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO). Connecting at SJO a few days ago, I discovered a very nice lounge, the VIP Lounge BAC Credomatic, that appears to present an outstanding alternative for holders of an American Express Platinum card or perhaps Priority Pass members.
Completing a mileage run, I arrived at SJO from Miami, FL at 09:12 on American Airlines Flight 2221. I was returning to MIA on a separate ticket on the same plane. Scheduled departure at 10:28. I was already checked in and had the boarding pass on the AA app. Also at SJO you can bypass immigration and customs and get to connecting flights just by going through security. I was the only one in the special security area for connecting passengers. The surprisingly fast process gave me about 30 minutes before reboarding the 737-800 for the flight back to MIA.
I had no intention of wasting the short layover in one of the two Priority Pass lounges and planned to wait in the food court or at one of the restaurants near Gate 4. On the way, I saw a sign advertising a new lounge, the VIP Lounge BAC Credomatic at Gate 17. This lounge was not listed on the Priority Pass or Lounge Buddy apps. Even though Gate 17 is on the other end of the terminal and a bit of a hike, I decided to check it out.
Who Has Access?
The check in desk is on the left when you get off the elevator. I inquired about access explaining that I had Priority Pass and the American Express Platinum card. The rep said the lounge was not part of Priority Pass but that an Amex Platinum Card was all I needed for entry. He ran my Amex card, and I went in. Simple, or so I thought.
After returning to the U.S. I saw this photo in a FlyerTalk thread.
And another article listed these as the cards that provide access:
The Platinum Card American Express
Miles Plus Mastercard Black
Miles Plus Visa Infinite
ConnectMiles Visa Infinite
ConnectMiles Visa Platino
AAdvantage Mastercard Black
AAdvantage Mastercard Platinum
Win MasterCard Platinum Awards
Win Platinum Visa Awards
Win Amex Platinum Awards
Credomatic Mastercard Platinum Points
Credomatic Visa Platinum Points
Credomatic Amex Platinum Points
CashBack MasterCard Platinum
CashBack Visa Platinum
CashBack Amex Platinum
Here’s the mystery. This lounge opened on February 15, 2019. On March 1, 2019 Uniglobe Travel issued a press release stating that this lounge was a member of Priority Pass and that its customers could receive a 15% discount on annual Priority Pass memberships. After returning home, I contacted Priority Pass and American Express. Neither knew anything about this lounge. I hope that his lounge is indeed applying for Priority Pass membership. Like the IMF team in Ghost Protocol, the VIP Lounge BAC Credomatic seems to be officially disavowed.
Update: Reader Matthew reports (see Comments below) that only those with a locally issued Amex Platinum Card are entitled to free entry. The error that permitted my entry and several others who read this post has apparently been recognized and corrected. I can report that this lounge now appears in the Lounge Buddy app. You can try using your Amex Platinum card. If that doesn’t work, anyone willing to pay $28 can enjoy this lounge.
Regardless, my Amex card got me in (no pending charges b/t/w) and I found this lounge to be an oasis of comfort and elegance. The lounge occupies 745 square meters on the upper level in the far right corner (facing the runway) of the terminal. It is open from 04:30 to 20:00 daily.
Unlike the food and beverage options at the Priority Pass lounges at SJO, this lounge has nothing to be ashamed of.
There is a bar and dining area. Beer and wine are free and unlimited. Other alcoholic drinks come with a charge.
Near the buffet is a room for rest and relaxation.
Children will have a good time in the large, well-equipped kid’s room.
Other features include newspapers and magazines, flight monitors, free WiFi, conference tables, bathrooms, and TVs.
In conclusion, it would be a great addition to SJO if this lounge is indeed accessible through Priority Pass and/or the U.S. based American Express card. It sure beats the alternatives.
Have you been to the VIP Lounge BAC Credomatic at Juan Santamaria airport?