Strata Lounge Auckland Review
Does the Strata Lounge at Auckland International Airport offer top-notch service? Points Finder's Amy Bradney-George weighs up her experience.
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Points Finder Lounge Rating:
Sitting between the Qantas and Emirates lounges at Auckland International Airport, the Strata Lounge invites travellers in through glass doors flanked by plants. Unlike the airline lounges on either side, entry here isn't limited to business and first class travellers (or high-status frequent flyers). Instead, you can pay for entry regardless of the airline or fare class you've booked.
My visit to the lounge was mid-afternoon on a Monday and it was fairly quiet. My first thought was that there's a lot of open space, different levels of lighting and a variety of seating options. As with many other lounges, the food is set up in a prominent location, along with a self-serve drinks area.
What I liked
- Good mix of seating and activities. As well as the usual areas for, well, lounging, the Strata Lounge has a children's room with toys and a television, a semi-private area reminiscent of a board room, a computer and printing station and showers in the bathroom area. The Wi-Fi was also appreciated, as you only get 45 minutes of free Wi-Fi in the main part of the terminal.
There was also some interesting glasswork, with frosted birds in one area and plants printed on the glass walls of the kid's area (which looks very unusual when photographed).
- Shower facilities. I hate the slightly dirty feeling that comes from being on a plane for hours and hours, so being able to have a long, hot shower between flights was probably the best thing about my visit to the Strata Lounge. On reflection, the shower rooms were nothing special (and actually had renovations or something happening while I was there). But they were clean and functioned as expected.
- Light and space. The main areas of the lounge felt light and bright, which was welcome after my time in a dimmed cabin. An entire wall of glass – which looked out onto the main part of the terminal – helped create a sense of greater space and was fun for people watching. There were also areas with lower lighting, as well as a couple of translucent skylights (although it was pretty grey outside when I was there).
- Service. While the staff kept to themselves most of the time, they were quick to offer help when I asked for it. They even printed some documents I needed on the office printer, as the one available in the lounge wasn't working. The staff were also efficient at clearing tables and making sure the buffet selections were refreshed regularly.
While I didn't get a picture of them, the departure screens (located near the showers and also around the main lounge area) had handy information about how long it would take to walk to different gates. This was very handy for me, as my gate turned out to be 16 minutes away.
What I didn’t like
While my visit was generally fine, there were a few irritations worth noting:
- Noise. As well as a television that was up too loud for my liking, the acoustics of the room were remarkable at picking up conversations from different guests. Not the biggest problem in the world but still quite distracting while I tried to read.
- Lack of visible power points. I could count on two hands the number of power points I saw in the lounge, which isn't ideal if you're travelling with devices that need to be charged.
- Limited refreshments. While there was a self-service area with a limited range of tea bags and instant coffee, I missed having fresher options you can get when a barista's around. I didn't sample any of the main food dishes, so I can't comment on them except to say there was a decent variety (about five hot options, I think). The apple I ate from the bowl of fruit was nice enough, but I did spy a few others that looked tired and bruised.
Points Finder Lounge Rating: 3/5 stars
THE POINTS FINDER TAKEThe Strata Lounge offers most of what you'd expect from an international lounge but doesn't give you much more than that. Depending on how busy the airport is and what you're looking for, you might find your money's better spent elsewhere in the terminal.
THE FINDER LOUNGE REVIEW PROMISE: Our lounge reviews are based on a visit to the actual lounge during normal operation. We offer an honest and open critique from one of our frequent flyer experts, and update with any relevant news as it comes to hand. Being in a lounge should always be more pleasant than just being stuck with waiting at the gate, but we won't shy away from highlighting issues. Learn more about how our scoring works.
Strata Lounge Auckland details
Location: Auckland Airport's international terminal, after security screening. Follow the signs to the premium lounges and take the escalator or elevator up to the Strata Lounge.
Opening hours: 5am to 1am daily.
How much does it cost to visit the lounge? For adults, it costs NZD$49 per adult for up to 3 hours and NZD$75 for up to 8 hours if you book online at least 24 hours in advance. The door rate is NZD$55. Entry for children under 13 years of age costs 50% of the applicable adult rate.
Lounge programmes or memberships that provide entry: Priority Pass, LoungeKey and DragonPass members can gain entry by showing their membership card at the front desk (subject to availability). Strata Lounge states that some credit and charge cards may also give you access, so check with your provider to see if that's possible.
Airlines that offer Strata Lounge access
You'll also have access to the Strata Lounge if you're booked on a business class or first class flight with any of the following airlines:
Earning points for your lounge visit
Paying for Strata Lounge entry with a rewards or frequent flyer credit card gives you a way to earn points per dollar spent. Just remember to consider foreign transaction fees, as the cost is in NZ dollars. You could also consider pre-loading NZ dollars on a Qantas Travel Money or Velocity Global Wallet card, which both offer higher earn rates for transactions made in an international currency. Based on the entry fee, even a card that offers 2 points per $1 will only get you up to 150 points per person.
Strata Club is a free loyalty program that offers you rewards for your spending with partners at Auckland Airport, including Strata Lounge and Auckland Airport parking. As a member, you'll get 1 point per NZ dollar you spend with a partner, with 500 points equal to a NZD$5 eVoucher you can spend with partners.
Pictures: Amy Bradney-George
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