Timmy and I had a fantastic weekend in Tahoe snowboarding at Northstar. Unfortunately, it was time to head back to school and work, so we had to head down the mountain to Reno to fly home. Luckily, I have the American Express Platinum card, so we were able to enter the Reno Airport Escape Lounge for free. Here’s why you need to stop by when you’re at Reno Airport.
- The Club at MCO, a Priority Pass Lounge Review
- 6 Less Explored Benefits of American Express Platinum
- My favorite lounges accessible with the Amex Platinum
Reno Airport Escape Lounge – The Place for Apres Ski
With a few hours before our flight, the Reno Airport Escape Lounge was the perfect place for Apres Ski (aka social activities and entertainment following a day’s skiing). Traditional Apres Ski includes lounging around with friends, having a few drinks, and enjoying some delicious food.
The Reno Airport Escape Lounge has all of these.
Literally, the only thing missing for Apres Ski is a hot tub. Unfortunately, I don’t see a hot tub being installed anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean you should skip this airport lounge.
The entrance is immediately to your left after you pass through security. The Escape Lounge is open from 4:30 am until 8 pm, which should make it available for most flights through Reno Airport.
How much does the Reno Airport Escape Lounge cost?
If you are an American Express Platinum cardholder, you can enter the Reno Airport Escape Lounge free of charge with 2 guests.
This airport lounge is open to the public, but there is a charge of $45 per person without the Amex Platinum. Even with the hefty charge, the benefits could be well worth the price of admission if you have the time to enjoy the lounge.
And don’t forget that many premium credit cards offer travel reimbursements that include payments to enter airport lounges.
What’s included at the Reno Airport Escape Lounge?
Whether you’re admitted free or paid to enter, you’re treated the same. The amenities are on par with what you’ll find at most airport lounges, but the quality is much higher.
Wifi is free and there is plenty of seating for guests. There are restaurant style tables as well as couches and comfy chairs to settle in to relax or get some work done.
Most lounges offer only domestic beers and house wine complimentary. The Escape Lounge also offered sparkling wine, a local IPA, and bottom shelf liquor.
Food is hit-and-miss at most domestic lounges. They offer some salted nuts and a couple other choices, and that is it. Not so at the Escape Lounge. Personally, I think the food (and service) is what sets the Escape Lounge apart from what we’ve all come to expect at domestic airport lounges. Maybe it has something to do with their affiliation with American Express?
Delicious Food at Reno Airport Escape Lounge
As soon as you walk in, you are greeted with a cornucopia of delicious goodies. Timmy immediately gravitated to the gourmet chocolate chunk cookies and milk and then added a delicious chocolate caramel brownie cupcake to his well-balanced meal.
It’s a “guy’s weekend” so I let him live large. HAHA
If you’re looking for something more “adult” to snack on the Escape Lounge also offers a menu that is more substantial than most domestic lounges. Here are a few of the choices:
Antipasti bar with Spanish selections of finochino salami, basque chorizo, feta cheese, and red peppers and Mykanos flavors of manchego cheese, apricot chutney, country olives, and olive oil almonds
Mixed berry cobbler
Cookies made of white chocolate macadamia cherry or ginger snap
Mary’s chicken and succotash or TJ’s Roadhouse BBQ chips
Winter wild rice salad, crispy kale salad, Thai tuna poke, or Deviled eggs
The menu does change based on time of day. We arrived too late for breakfast, but the brioche french toast sounds amazing!
And after you grab some goodies to fill your belly, wash it down with something from the bar. All of the liquors on the bottom shelf, wine, and the beers on tap are complimentary. Premium & specialty drinks or bottled beers are reasonably priced from $4 to $12 each.
And if these food choices don’t satisfy you, the staff informed me that they are OK with outside food being brought it. Timmy was happy that we were able to bring in his McD’s Happy Meal.
Where are the bathrooms?
It was a bit strange, but this lounge didn’t have their own bathrooms. This is understandable because RNO is a pretty small airport and there is a growing trend to add lounges to less-traveled airports within the confines of a fixed airport footprint.
I’ll gladly walk the 20 yards the nearest bathroom so that there is more seating in a lounge.
However, while traveling with my 6-year-old son, when he had to potty, I was faced with the uneasy situation of choosing between leaving my laptop, his iPad, and our luggage sitting in the lounge or accompanying him to the bathroom. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I awkwardly stood in the middle of the airport walkway halfway between the bathroom and the lounge trying to keep an eye on our stuff and an eye on the bathroom.
Luckily, the RNO airport is pretty slow on a Sunday evening and I’m a pretty easygoing parent, so it wasn’t a huge problem for me. But I can imagine many other parents wouldn’t have been so forgiving.
Was the Reno Airport Escape Lounge crowded?
We visited the Reno Airport Escape Lounge on a Sunday afternoon after a crowded weekend at Northstar and the lounge wasn’t too crowded. Many of the seats were taken when we first arrived, but the guests rolled through pretty consistently over the couple of hours we were here and there were always seats available.
The Bald Thoughts
If you’re flying through Reno or using Reno as a jumping off point for some skiing in Tahoe, you should make it a point to visit the Reno Airport Escape Lounge. Admission is free if you’re an American Express Platinum cardholder and $45 if not. The staff is extremely friendly and hardworking, and the included food and drinks are plentiful and delicious. I’ll definitely be back to the Reno Airport Escape Lounge the next time I fly through RNO.