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Review: the impressive Plaza Premium lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 4

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This is my review of the Plaza Premium departure lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 4.

This is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK.  You see all of the reviews here.

Full details of all of the Plaza Premium lounges in Heathrow including this one can be found on their site here.

A busy week …..

Two weeks ago I set off on what was, in retrospect, a fairly crazy whistle-stop tour of the Middle East.  My original schedule was OK but, due to aircraft changes and availability issues, I ended up losing 12 hours.  In the end I had a grand total of seven hours in Abu Dhabi when you exclude time spent asleep, in airports, on planes or in taxis.

My original plan was to take the early morning Etihad A380 in First Class to Abu Dhabi.  I booked this before the Etihad devaluation this Summer.  I used a combination of the 25,000 miles Etihad credit card sign-up bonus and some American Express Membership Rewards points, transferred during a 25% conversion bonus.

About a month prior to departure, Etihad withdrew the A380 from the morning flight.  This meant I was forced to switch to the 2pm departure which had a 1.20am arrival into Abu Dhabi.

Etihad operates from Terminal 4 at Heathrow.  I reviewed the Etihad lounge in detail last year so I won’t cover it again.  I did pop in for an hour and it remains very pleasant, albeit not huge.  The plus points are the table-service food, which is of good quality, and the free Six Senses spa.

The new Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 4

If you have a Priority Pass, you can choose between Plaza Premium and the SkyTeam lounge (my review of the Terminal 4 SkyTeam lounge is here).

If you have a Lounge Club card via American Express Gold, you have no choice – Plaza Premium is your only option.

For Priority Pass holders, you have the choice.  Plaza Premium is calm and classy and fairly small.  SkyTeam is huge, louder and a bit brasher.  Honeymooners should head for Plaza Premium.  Stag parties and families with enthusiastic children should head for SkyTeam.  The rest of you need to decide which camp you are in.

For a one off visit, you can buy entry in advance via the Plaza Premium website here.

The lounge is situated directly above the Qatar Airways facility which is to the left as you clear Terminal 4 security.  The Etihad lounge and the Etihad gates are a fair walk away down at the other end  of terminal, to your right.

What you realise as you enter is that the space is light, bright and airy.

Plaza Premium Lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 review

This is helped by a large window:

Plaza Premium Lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 review

and a large skylight above this table:

Plaza Premium Lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 review

There are elements of Shoreditchy / warehousey styling but unlike, say, My Lounge at Gatwick, these are only light touches.  The space is generally warm.

Plaza Premium Lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 review

Even the work pods are ‘cosy’!  If you want to use a ‘house’ computer, however, you need to sit on a stool in the reception area.

Plaza Premium Lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 review

In terms of food, you certainly won’t go hungry.  They were still serving a hot breakfast when I arrived:

Plaza Premium Lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 review

…. which eventually switched over into lunch (I left before the hot lunch items came out):

Plaza Premium Lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 review

What is interesting is the bar.  Terminal 4 is home to many of the Middle Eastern airlines – not just Qatar and Etihad but also Gulf Air and Saudia.  Possibly for this reason – or perhaps just for design reasons – the bar is in a totally different area.

Plaza Premium Lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 review

You need to leave the main lounge, walk through the reception area, and into another space on the other side.  It was closed when I was there.

Plaza Premium Lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 review

All in all, I was impressed by this facility.  Rather like No 1 Lounges, Plaza Premium knows what it takes to run a good third party lounge.  You don’t get the same number of bells and whistle as No 1 Lounges (no cinema, no kids room, no library) but what you do get is perfectly executed.

If you don’t get free access via Priority Pass or Lounge Club, you can buy access via the Plaza Premium website – although a cheaper option is to apply for an Amex Gold (free for Year 1) and get in using the two free Lounge Club access passes that come with it.

My reviews of the Plaza Premium Terminal 2 departures lounge is here and my article on the Terminal 2 Plaza Premium arrivals lounge is here.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (November 2021)

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list 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 you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

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.

Comments (15)

  • John says:

    Plaza Premium T4 is also available for those us with genuine Barclays accounts via Dragon Pass (much better successor to Airport Angel), Rob.

    • John says:

      Oh, and OT, I’d really like the much hyped BA sale to start tomorrow as I need to make a long-haul booking by Monday and want to compare Willie’s offering with the opposition.

      Hopefully you’ll be update us all soon…

    • roberto says:

      Genuine Barclays accounts? I thought that was a myth and all barclays airport angle cards were “wheeze” cards.. 🙂

      And yes I would like the sale to kick off tomorrow too please. I have itchy feet and need a third trip planned for 2016. Something longer than 7 hours in Abu dhabi…

  • Tom C says:

    “Honeymooners should head for Plaza Premium. Stag parties and families with enthusiastic children should head for SkyTeam. The rest of you need to decide which camp you are in!”

    This could be a new venture for you Rob, like an agony uncle, but people write in to describe their situation and you recommend them a lounge. “Football hooligan, aged 38, wishing to go on holiday to Italy with my fiancé. May go watch a game or two whilst there”. There’s money to be made here.

  • Susan says:

    Downstairs at the Skyteam lounge might be a bit of a zoo but the upstairs is usually empty. Food is generally good but they do make porridge with milk so beware…

  • Brian says:

    Does one need more than 7 hours in Abu Dhabi? :))

    • Raffles says:

      Not really. I was planning on a beach day but I ended up with about two hours!

      • Fadi says:

        Abu Dhabi is a very important emirate to me. But I can not say that ‘you’ need more time there. Happy Christmas.

  • Lady London says:

    Anyone know if anyone other than Barclays has a Dragonpass hookup? I’m happy to sign up with Dragonpass directly but looking for a deal.

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