American Express has a handful of lounges available for their platinum and centurion card members. Luckily one of these is in SFO and even better it’s in terminal 3 where United operates. Unlike DFW not all terminals at SFO are connected air side. So if you’re not departing from terminal 3 or international terminal G this lounge would be pretty inconvenient.
Upon coming up the elevator or the stairs there is a check in desk. To check in you need to show your qualifying American Express card, photo ID, and a same day boarding pass. If you don’t have a platinum or centurion card you can pay $50 for a one time pass using any other American Express card. This one time entry fee is a good value as the airlines now charge $59 for access and offer a inferior product.
The lounge is split in two distinct areas. Behind the check-in desk is the lounge area which has couches and other seating areas. There is also a kids room as well. The other side is the kitchen/bar area.
There is also one shower available which is nice. None of the United Clubs in SFO have showers, so this can come in handy.
I normally sit on the kitchen side as I like having a table, and being closer to the food is always a plus! Unlike most other airport lounges which offer light snacks, American Express offers a full hot buffet. Today there was roasted pork with barbecue sauce which is pretty good. American Express has a full complimentary bar unlike other airport lounges as well.
This (along with the other centurion lounges) are some of the best you’re going to get in the US. The food is better than any overpriced items you’ll buy in the terminal. This is the main reason why I have the platinum card as I don’t really use many of the other benefits.