|Features||South African Airways Business Premium Lounge Highlights|
|Access||Free for First, Business Class, Premium Star Alliance passengers. Walk-in rates applicable for others.|
|Ambience||Spacious, but not cozy. High ceiling with lots of natural light.|
|Food and Beverage||Disappointing selection of snacks.|
|The GET.com Verdict||Mediocre lounge experience with limited snacks. Eat before you go if you are hungry.|
Background info: In January 2017, Grace and I, together with our two toddlers Ramses and Ranefer, went on a round-the-world (RTW) trip to five continents for 6 months, using 4 free Business Class air tickets, worth US$54,000, which were redeemed using our one million air miles (which we earned through our air miles credit cards) on Star Alliance, a network consisting of many airlines including Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, Avianca and many more.
After a few glorious days of driving, chilling, wining and dining in Cape Town, the time had come for Grace and I to move on to the second destination of our 6-month round-the-world (RTW) trip with our kids Ramses and Ranefer.
In the early morning, we headed to Cape Town International Airport (CPT) for our 11.15am South African Airways (SAA) flight from Cape Town to South Africa, where we had to catch another SAA flight to Nairobi, Kenya.
Cape Town International Airport consists of just one terminal building, the Central Terminal building. Departure halls are on the upper levels and arrival halls are on the lower levels. There are 129 check-in counters and 20 self-service kiosks.
Because we were flying Business Class on SAA, we checked in our luggage at the SAA Platinum desk. Unsurprisingly, we were the only ones at the Platinum desk while there were dozens of people queueing up at the Economy desk. After going through immigration, with time to spare, we made our way to the 4th floor where the South African Airways Business Premium Lounge is situated.
South African Airways Business Premium Lounge Review
South African Airways doesn't have its own dedicated SAA airport lounge. Instead it partners with Bidvest Premier Lounge to offer its premium customers access to airport lounges, so that was the lounge we used prior to boarding the plane.
South African Airways Business Premium Lounge Access
Access to the Bidvest Premier Lounge isn't that exclusive. Basically, all passengers can enter and use this lounge by paying a fee, regardless of the airline or class of service. For domestic passengers, the walk-in rate is R234.00 while it's R384.00 for international passengers.
Premium passengers or passengers holding elite member status with certain airline partners, as well as Priority Pass, Lounge Club and Diners Club members, can access the Bidvest Premier Lounge for free.
Since we were flying Business Class on South African Airways, we were able to access the lounge for free. After showing the receptionist our boarding passes, we walked past a signage that says "South African Airways Premium Lounge" at the entrance foyer and went into the lounge.
South African Airways Business Premium Lounge Ambience
The South African Airways Business Premium Lounge felt very spacious and airy. One side of the lounge is flanked by floor-to-ceiling glass panels facing the airfield and the other side has the same glass windows looking out to the airport concourse.
South African Airways Business Premium Lounge Food and Beverage
One of the best perks of having free access to VIP airport lounges at airports is getting to enjoy complimentary food and beverages. At this Bidvest Premier Lounge in Cape Town airport, the food variety could be improved on. We saw only one 'warm' food choice, in addition to the usual breakfast cereals, pastries and cheese.
The self-service beverage counter wasn't well-stocked. There were just a few cups and the fridge was empty. So we walked over to another corner of the lounge which has a bar manned by a barrister and ordered a coffee and tea from there.
South African Airways Business Premium Lounge: The GET.com Verdict
The SAA Business Premium Lounge is very spacious and thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows flanking the airfield side of the long lounge, you get great panoramic views of the runway and taxiways. Our boys love plane spotting, so doing that while in the lounge occupied their minds.
However, the SAA Business Premium Lounge isn't that place to go if you want to have a decent meal before taking off. I found the food and beverage selection there lacking. Aside from stale-looking muffins, cereals and cheese, there's nothing much that would fill up a hungry tummy. The lounge lacks an extensive premium open bar and a warm and cold buffet table.
Overall, while the lounge isn't luxurious as anyone can just pay a fee to use it as a customer, it's a decent place to hang out, have a cuppa and enjoy the panoramic views of the runway.
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