Lounge Review-Detroit Sky Club

On my trip from EWR->DTW->LAX. I mentioned that it seemed that Delta stopped caring about the Newark Lounge. Now Detroit, they care about this one a bit more.

A bit more thought went into this lounge. Detroit is one of Delta's larger hubs with a lot of international and long-haul domestic flights coming out of here, particularly the A concourse. There is an "ExpressTram" that moves passengers across the straight away that is the A concourses 64 gates (12 of which are international gates). While zooming through these gates I don't think I have ever seen as many of Delta's 747's in one place. 

With all of the passenger traffic here, three of Delta's four DTW Sky Clubs are located in the A concourse. One at each of the three ExpressTram stops. I went up to the A68 lounge only to discover it was closed. No good signage, I almost walked into the door, as did a dozen people after me. I hopped onto the ExpressTram and went down to the central Sky Club which was open...and crowded. If the crowds don't bother you it is actually a very nice lounge. Self-service bar, typical snacks and drinks but with maybe an extra 10%. Many alcoves you can hide out in and get some privacy or do some work. The interior must have been done recently, beautiful stonework and fire places. Beautiful bathrooms and showers (though I didn't go in a shower. There are only two and there seemed to be a long waiting list). My layover was for all of 50 minutes so by the time I had a drink and some food I had about 5 minutes to relax. But all in all, an enjoyable lounge.


Renting with Hertz

I was flying to LA yesterday for work and realized that is was the last day to get fitted for some clothing for a wedding I am attending in two weeks. The nearest Jos. A. Banks is a little out of the way from the airport and the hotel and the show did not provide we with a rental car. It would cost a lot out of pocket to catch a ride down there and back so I decided to investigate a rental car, especially because the Amex Platinum card has some rental car benefits.

To get the cheapest car from hertz with no memberships/rewards etc would have been $110.29

Day Rental $47.17

Airport fee $8.46

Facility Charge $10

Loss damage waiver $9

Young Driver Charge $20

CA Tourism Assessment $1.23

Satellite Radio $6.99

Insurance $9

Taxes $7.44

 

I ended up getting the car for $24.16, less than a quarter of what they originally wanted for the car.

I thought the Amex Platinum would be the key player here but it was the underdog, my USAA checking account. Turns out there are several perks that USAA doesn't advertise that much. You can get discounts on rental cars, shipping, flowers to name a few. They will also wave the young driver fee (which can end up being half of the rental). I also signed up for Hertz Gold with my Amex Platinum. 

I ended up paying:

Day Rental $11.24 (USAA rate and Hertz Gold discount)

Facility Charge $10 (A required fee by the airport to build new rental car facilities, a bit weird.)

Ca Tourism Assessment $.29

Taxes $2.63

 

Already saving a ton of money, then there was the experience. Normal customers take the shuttle in and stand in a super long line to get the car. When I got there, my name was up on the gold board with a parking spot number. I walked over and there was my car with the keys in it. Huge time saver, plus the car was a Buick Verano, a part of their leather class of cars, definitely an upgrade, I'm not sure how many steps but I paid for the second tier of cars (which at my rate was +.80). The car had free satellite radio, back up camera, bluetooth for your phone and more. 

A sweet ride, at a shockingly low cost, with a wonderful speedy customer experience. Pleasantly surprised by USAA and I'm off to a great inaugural run of my Amex Platinum.

Lounge Review- Newark Delta Sky Club

Following my struggles trying to get into the Chicago Delta Sky Club last week with my shiny new Amex Platinum card I have succeeded. I am flying to LAX today, originating from EWR, they have one Sky Club and I had an actual Delta ticket this time. 

Piece. Of. Cake.

One of the better lounges I have been in. Upon arriving, if the door didn't say Delta Sky Club you would feel like you are walking into some restricted space. Delta has less than a dozen gates at EWR and the departures board showed half a dozen departures at 10am. Needless to say, the lounge was nearly vacant. I don't know if it existed at a busier time with Delta in EWR but I'm not complaining. Plentiful seating and workspaces. Large picture windows that provide with a view of the ugly EWR terminals and some distant container port cranes.

The typical bar and food selection that you would find in a Sky Club. It could use some touch ups but I get the feeling Delta stopped caring about this lounge. There is nothing groundbreaking about the lounge but I doubt anyone connects here and NYC traffic can be hit or miss so I usually allow myself extra time to and from the airport. I can't ever see this lounge getting crowded and for that reason, I won't mind leaving even earlier for my Newark flights and catching up on some work here before boarding. Overall, it is a boring diamond in the rough.

Amex Platinum Week 1

I recently signed up for the Amex Platinum card. With many benefits, the most eye catching ones being free airport lounge access and $200 worth of incidentals reimbursed on one airline in a calendar year. The program has received some flack recently because US Air/American lounges recently backed out and you can no longer bring guests for free ($27/head now). As someone who usually travels solo and generally flies with Delta, this didn't sting too much. With 40,000 bonus points with $3,000 spend in the first three months, the card almost pays for its first year so I decided to give it a whirl.

 

The card gives you a free membership with Priority Pass, this means access to over 600 lounges nationwide. However, to access these lounges you need to get a membership card in the mail which is probably about 2 weeks from when you enroll. There is some fine print and you can actually access Delta, Centurion, and Airspace Lounges with only your Platinum card.

To gain admission, simply present your Platinum Card, a government issued ID, and a ticket valid for same-day travel to the club agent in:
Delta Sky Clubs®
Airspace Lounges
The CenturionSM Lounges

So, excited to take my new shiny platinum card for its maiden benefit voyage. I stroll into the sole Delta lounge at O'Hare. I present my ID, card, and boarding pass to the agent and get turned away! Somewhere in the fine fine fine fine print, you must be traveling with Delta (I was on United) to use this benefit, otherwise you can use your Priority Pass card. I called Amex to confirm this and sure enough it is in the fine print *somewhere*. I fly to LAX through Detroit tomorrow on Delta. Hopefully this round will post better results.