Traveling to FTU Minneapolis? Check out the MSP Escape Lounge

If you’re heading to Minnesota this weekend for FTU Minneapolis (and you should — Greg and I will be there and look forward to meeting you!) and you have a Priority Pass, you’ll have your last chance to enjoy the MSP Escape Lounge unless you are also an Amex Platinum (business or personal) or Centurion card holder. As of June 14th, this lounge will be leaving the Priority Pass network in favor of an exclusive partnership with Amex. I had the chance to visit the MSP Escape lounge this past weekend — and it was pretty nice compared to most domestic lounges!

MSP Escape Lounge 1

That “Priority Pass” sign won’t be there much longer. This lounge will no longer accept Priority Pass beginning June 14th.

Checking In

The lounge check-in process was smooth if a bit long. I entered the lounge at about the same time as the gentleman in front of me and a couple that was behind me. When the man in front of me presented his Priority Pass, the young woman at the desk asked if he had an American Express Platinum or Centurion card. She then explained that beginning June 14th, they would no longer be accepting Priority Pass members and one would rather need an Amex Platinum or Centurion card. This information was also on a sign that was prominently displayed on the desk. Figuring that I was in for the same spiel if I gave her my Priority Pass card, I handed over my Business Platinum card when it was my turn. The agent said she would just need to see my ID — and then proceeded to explain the whole bit about Priority Pass again. She was very friendly and professional about it — but I didn’t succeed in fast forwarding past it with my Platinum card. As I continued on into the lounge, the couple behind me (who had taken out their Priority Pass while waiting) got to hear about the end of Priority Pass access for a third time. At least they are being thorough — and for that I give them credit.

Once I got in, I grabbed a bite to eat. While the spread was far from what you get in many of the glitzier foreign business and first class lounges, it was still worlds beyond what I’ve seen at some domestic Priority Pass locations (IASS Honololu lounge, I’m looking at you).

Food & Drink

MSP Escape Lounge 2

Salad toppings looked fresh.

 

MSP Escape Lounge 3

Sorry so blurry — there were meats and cheeses, crackers, cookies, and muffins in this picture.

The food spread was much better than the hummus-and-trail-mix I found at an Admirals Club lounge in Chicago after my next flight. The pictured island had meats and cheeses, crackers, pretzels, cookies, muffins, and salad with toppings. Not pictured was soup (tomato the day I was there) and some sort of Korean beef sliders. Not quite sure how long the sliders had been out, so I passed on those. However, I put together a decent plate.

MSP Escape Lounge 4

The bar was well-stocked and there was plenty of free alcohol. All three of the “bottom” shelves are complimentary in this picture:

MSP Escape Lounge 5

There were beers and wines to the right end and enough to suit many palates on the bottom shelves to the left. I asked the bartender what the prices were like for the top shelf liquors. She told me that it really ranged — it was $55 a shot for Johnnie Walker Blue Label, but Captain Morgan would only set you back $5 for example. I stuck with a glass of red wine as that was perfectly fine for me.

Alternatively, there were coolers with soda and water spread around the lounge. There were also coffee makers in two different areas.

MSP Escape Lounge 6

Seating

There was plenty of seating throughout the lounge and it was clean and nice. Despite the lack of people in this picture, the lounge was pretty busy while I was there. The staff members were hard at work — I don’t think I saw them stop moving the entire time I was there between checking guests in, cleaning, serving drinks, and replenishing the food. Still, it didn’t seem hectic or chaotic — it was a decent place to get some work done before my flight. The staff members were friendly and personable when I needed help.

MSP Escape Lounge 7

MSP Escape Lounge 7

There were plenty of power outlets at the booths and small tables like this.

MSP Escape Lounge 8

There were also what looked like iPads and power outlets along a bar-style seating area that was tucked away in a quiet corner of the lounge. There were at least 3 or 4 of these set ups.

Bottom Line

This is a better-than-average lounge. On this trip alone, in order to grab some pictures and points of comparison, I visited an Admirals Club at Dallas-Fort Worth airport, this Escape lounge, the main United Club lounge at Chicago-O’Hare, and an Admirals Club at Chicago O’Hare. I had planned to check out the Centurion Lounge at DFW as well, but I had 4 flight segments in one day and 3 of them were delayed. I didn’t end up having enough time in Dallas to get over to the right terminal. Out of the lounges I visited, this was the best combination of food, drink, and atmosphere. This is definitely where I’ll be before my flight home after this weekend is over — and I might even make a stop on arrival if I can. If you’re attending FTU and you have a Priority Pass, get here while you can. If you’re Minneapolis-based, going forward this lounge adds a nice value proposition to the Platinum cards as I would definitely make use of the lounge if I were local.

Hope to see you this weekend — both at FTU and in the lounge!

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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Comments

  1. Do you know if you can bring in 1-2 guests with an AMEX Plat? I’ll try to swing by on my Sunday night flight from MSP-SFO.

    Also, next time you fly through DFW, definitely try to make it to the Centurion Lounge (you might even be able to get a massage).

    • Yes, you definitely get 2 guests with the Amex Plat. In fact, she asked me if I was sure that I didn’t have 2 guests. As the only other people around were the couple behind me who had their Priority Pass out….I was sure :-). It’s nice that they’re being so thorough though — sure beats not making sure you know about your benefits. On the way out, I saw a someone sitting on the floor using a power outlet across from the elevator. If I had seen them on the way in, I’d have invited them in with me.

      And yeah….disappointed on my inability to get to the Centurion lounge. I booked the trip with stops in Dallas both ways. Flight to Dallas got cancelled on the way out. Flight into Dallas on the way home got delayed enough to only have about 25 minutes before my connection departed, so not enough time to get to the Centurion Lounge. An hour + of delays later, I could have probably gotten there had I known….lol. Maybe next time!

  2. Definitely second this – I’ve visited the MSP Escape Lounge a couple of times and it really is a nice setup they have. And each time we’ve been there, it really hasn’t been crowded at all. It’s a winner!

  3. @Priya Looks like the E concourse.

    Dang, finally FTU is local, on the ONE weekend of the summer I have unchangeable plans.

  4. It really sucks that this is leaving Priority Pass, especially as a MSP based traveler. The airport has really stepped its game up with the restaurants but with that comes higher prices. 2 drinks at Ikes will set you back at least $25 before you even order food. This lounge has put me in the black for my CSR card. Really going to miss the banana chocolate chip muffins at this lounge too!

    • Sioux – perhaps consider the Ameriprise Amex platinum – no AF in year 1 = another year of Escape Lounge goodness:)

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