Review: VIP Lounge: San Jose del Cabo, Los Cabos, Mexico

This post is one chapter on our trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on Alaska Airlines. This trip was booked and credited to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan using a two for one Companion Fare courtesy of the Alaska Airlines credit card. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: VIP Lounge, Los Cabos International Airport, San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico

We left the hotel and the VW Vento was loaded up. We drove the 25 minutes up to the airport and filled the vehicle up at the airport gas station. Once at Hertz, there was a very thorough check of the condition of the car (including the spare tire) prior to being presented to the check-out cashier. All was in order, including our 90 minute courtesy time thanks to the American Express Platinum Hertz CDP code. There was a little confusion in order on the part of Hertz to attempt to cancel the pre-authorization held on the card but it was sorted out in the end or so I thought. I received a final bill, which was as expected. When I received my American Express statement back in Canada, I learned that the pre-authorization hadn’t been cancelled ($1,500 USD, if I recall correctly) and had been put through as a supplemental charge. I tried calling Hertz Corporate several times. Unfortunately, they were unable to help me out: “This location is a franchisee; you’ll have to call them direct”. After several efforts of Hertz Corporate and myself trying unsuccessfully (since no one picks up the phone there), I ended up having to file a dispute with American Express and having to submit my rental documentation. It took about 3 months to get it all resolved, which seems like a lot of effort for a 5 day car rental of $150 USD. Be forewarned if you drive or use the Hertz SJD airport location that you may have the same luck…

Would I rent from these guys again? Maybe, although I’d probably allow a full hour to return the car and get confirmation of the cancellation of the pre-authorization, if such a thing exists.

Arriving to Terminal Two, there was no line to check in at the Alaska Counter and only two agents working. The airport public side was reminiscent of a Chinese communist airport, it was drab and had all the personality of a tax audit. We were checked in for our SJD-PDX-SEA flights, although in the usual Alaska IT complexities, we were unable to get our Seattle to Vancouver boarding cards. It seems the Alaska IT is not set up for 3 country international travel. Our tourist card “visas” were stapled to our outbound boarding cards for presentation at the gate.

We headed straight through security where there was a very casual and empty security screening and document check.

They had the usual international fare on the secure side of the terminal. We were both pretty hungry at this point so we opted for a quick Sbarro’s Pizza; which at 121 MXP ($6.20 USD) a slice, was among the more expensive pre-made Pizza I’ve ever had.

Accessing the Lounge:

We headed for the VIP Lounge in Terminal 2. We were granted access courtesy of Priority Pass Select. Alaska does not have a reciprocal arrangement with the lounge for its First Class passengers so if you don’t have a credit card membership or Priority Pass membership, you’re pretty much on your own seated in the terminal.

Inside the VIP Lounge:

Although a split level lounge, we were directed downstairs on arrival. It appears that this was based on capacity limitations instead of saving on cleaning fees by using only one level. The lounge was pretty much at capacity on our arrival.

We were able to get a freshly made margarita with house spirits and a salted rim with a lime. Unfortunately, that was about the high point of the visit. The food options were on request. Based on some tired looking samples, it didn’t appear to be too appealing. The simple snacks were limited to nuts and pretzels and they had run out of pretzels by the time that we had gotten there.

The Bottom Line:

Overall, this lounge fell into the category of being a better place than the terminal to hang out in. It was a handy place to get a final drink prior to leaving Mexico without being charged high terminal prices. Unfortunately, the lounge was pretty busy on our visit which made for quite a hectic experience.

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