The Cheapskate’s Paradox


Play Spot The Churner Here

Apparently the average American Express Platinum holder has an annual income of $741k. When you’re at the SFO lounge good chances you are sitting among a few that don’t mind the $450 Platinum Card Fee or the $2.5k Centurion Card Fee.


All Napa Valley Wines, for a great price of $0

However the paradox is this lounge is not full of ballers and CEOs, but rather a bunch of thrifty travelers such as myself. I would never pay for a $5 airport beer or a $7 airport wine. I sure as hell not going to pay $20 for breakfast or lunch. So I maximize the lounge as quite literally the cheapest meal in DFW, LAS, LGA, MIA, SEA, SFO, IAH. Yes there is the USO at a lot of places, but this one has the free cocktails, and the meals inspired by the local cuisine. The SFO one happens to have:

…cuisine designed by one of Zagat’s top 30 under 30 chefs, Cédric Vongerichten. Savor succulent dishes like Fried Chicken with a Honey Lemongrass Glaze and Chocolate Mousse with Mint Cream.

A graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Cédric Vongerichten was recognized by Zagat as one of the top 30 chefs under 30 and has worked in some of the most celebrated kitchens in the world. After stints at Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental and El Bulli in Barcelona, he is now Chef de Cuisine at the renowned Perry St. in New York City.

I’ll take that over the usual USO fare thank you. It is simply amazing and served hot with a menu that changes seasonally.

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Again thanks to the Amex above and beyond SCRA annual fee waiver, this place actually becomes the cheapskate dining option. I do at least try to play along and dress up. For example I only wear a T-Shirts as an undershirt, tuck my shirt into my pants and wear long pants with a belt (if it has belt loops) with at least 3 pockets per the USMC guidelines for civilian dress. My wife and I are a big fan of TJ Maxx,  Marshalls, and the thrift store. She is quite the fashionista, but not willing to drop serious retail dough on designer tags. This lounge is a designer tag first class lounge at a 100% discount!

So check out the lounge if you are at one of these airports. It’s not just for the few Centurion card holders, but for any Platinum AmEx card holders (Business, MB too). I wanted to give a shoutout to The Cassey Excursion who was the first to give me this idea of the SCRA waiver for the AmEx Card. She is a line officer who has seen the world via the US Navy. Excellent blog, even incorporates fine naval tradition such as the Dining Out. If your a staff corps “baby LT” and want to learn about the real navy (you know being on a real ship) I encourage you to check it out.


One thought on “The Cheapskate’s Paradox

  1. […] blog is what started out my own personal churning adventure. She was the first to show me the SCRA waiver on the American Express Platinum. Without her there […]

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