When I wrote about the opening of the Plaza Premium arrivals lounge in Heathrow Terminal 2, I mentioned that the Plaza Premium CEO publicly stated that he was in discussions with Heathrow about opening an independent lounge in Terminal 5.
Things appear to be moving on. According to sources who would definitely not want to be named, I understand that Heathrow Airport Ltd recently issued a tender for an operator to manage a new departure lounge in Terminal 5. The tender includes the option of including a spa.
Four companies are understood to have submitted proposals. These are the three usual suspects (No 1 Traveller, Plaza Premium and Swissport / Servisair) plus a fourth one unknown to my source. The photo above is from Plaza Premium in Terminal 2.
This should be excellent news for anyone unlikely to retain their British Airway status following the April 28th changes to the Executive Club. The cost of buying a Priority Pass or taking out an American Express Platinum charge card (which comes with two Priority Pass cards, admitting four people in total) will be cheaper and certainly easier than a mileage run.
The Lounge Club passes issued with Amex Gold may or may not be accepted – Plaza Premium and Servisair work with Lounge Club but No 1 Traveller at Heathrow does not (it does at Gatwick and elsewhere). You could also ‘pay as you go’ as well.
Even families with British Airways status will find this useful for holidays when the BA Galleries ‘one guest only’ rule means you can’t get in if only one parent has status.
I do not know what the timetable is for getting a new space open or where it will be located. The nature of the Terminal 5 building means that it may well be a space without any natural light, as the British Airways lounges take up much of the ‘window space’ available on the north and south sides.
I doubt we will see anything open in the next 18 months. Security reasons mean that the process of getting anything built airside at an airport takes far longer than usual.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (September 2021)
As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.
You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points which is a special offer running to 2nd November 2021. Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £20. You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.
There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and a special 30,000 points sign-up bonus until 9th November 2021. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.
The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer. Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.