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NEW: the Plaza Premium Heathrow Terminal 3 Arrivals airport lounge joins Priority Pass

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On Tuesday, the Plaza Premium Arrivals lounge in Heathrow T3 joined the Priority Pass lounge card program. 

You can see the lounge on the Priority Pass website here, although oddly it is not marked as an arrivals lounge.  The giveaway is that the location is given as ‘by Bus Stop 17 and 18’!

This is very good news because options for freshening up after a long flight are limited at Terminal 3:

Virgin Atlantic and Delta have their Revivals Lounge

American Airlines has its Arrivals facility in the terminal but even this has slightly convoluted access rules – it is not open to oneworld Sapphire / British Airways Executive Club Silver members who are travelling in Economy.  Qantas First and Business Class passengers are also banned.

The only other option at Heathrow Terminal 3, and the only ‘pay to enter’ lounge, is the Plaza Premium arrivals lounge.  Even Emirates, with its six daily A380s to Heathrow, doesn’t have a proper arrivals lounge with showers.

Review Plaza Premium arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

Where is the Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge in Terminal 3?

Anika reviewed the lounge when it first opened in 2017. It is situated landside, opposite the bus stop (you need to walk out of the terminal). It is open from 05:30 to 14:00 daily, the peak arrivals time at Terminal 3.

This used to be the Delta arrivals lounge which became surplus to requirements when Delta began to share facililities with Virgin Atlantic.

The lounge itself is fairly small, although it does have a variety of seating areas and amenities, such as magazines and a continental breakfast buffet.  Plaza Premium decided to keep the layout and some of the decorative features after it took it over from Delta, which is why it does not have the look or, frankly, style of the other Plaza Premium lounges at Heathrow.

Review Plaza Premium arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

The key selling point is clearly the 11 showers:

Review Plaza Premium arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

We have never been in this lounge at peak time so it is hard to comment how busy the lounge is. The decision to join Priority Pass suggests that it has historically been under-utilised.

How much does it cost?

The Plaza Premium Arrivals lounge doesn’t come cheap if you pay cash.  A 30 minute shower sets you back £21, whilst a two hour lounge visit is £42.

You can book cash visits on this page of the Plaza Premium website.

Until now, the best work around has been with an American Express Platinum CardThe Platinum Card gets you free access into all of Plaza Premium’s Heathrow lounges, and indeed all Plaza Premium lounge globally.  This is a separate benefit to your Priority Pass lounge benefit, and indeed some Plaza Premium lounges – including Heathrow Terminal 5 – are not in Priority Pass.

The new partnership with Priority Pass (you can buy one here) lets you access the lounge for free.  The easiest way to get a free Priority Pass is with American Express Platinum.  A cardholder gets TWO Priority Pass cards, each of which admits a free guest, so a family of four is covered.  The maximum stay time in Plaza Premium T3 is three hours, which if you were paying out of pocket for would set you back some £50!

The lounge can also be accessed with the free Lounge Club passes given out with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold.  Amex Gold is free for the first year and you receive two airport lounge passes for signing up, with another two each year when you renew.

The only downside is that using your Priority Pass or Lounge Club card only gets you access to the lounge and not the showers.

As of last week, Plaza Premium is not offering shower facilities to any Priority Pass cardholders at Heathrow.  You now need to pay a cash supplement for this.

(Our main review article on the Priority Pass lounge club card is here if you don’t know anything about it.)


Anyone arriving in Heathrow T3 with a Priority Pass now has a decent option to freshen up with the addition of the Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge. Whilst the additional fee to use the showers is not ideal, there is at least an option now.

It isn’t clear yet if you will be asked to provide a boarding pass on entry.  The Plaza Premium Arrivals lounge in Terminal 2 does this at peak times to stop people waiting for arriving passengers getting in.  I have never had such an issue at the Terminal 4 Arrivals lounge, however, which is up on the mezzanine level.  The Terminal 3 Arrivals lounge is equally tucked away – you need to walk out of the terminal to get to it – so they may not be too concerned.

Plaza Premium London Heathrow Terminal 3 arrivals priority pass

Getting airport lounge access via a UK credit card

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

Two free Priority Pass cards (one for you, one for your supplementary Platinum cardholder, each admitting two – so a family of four gets in free) giving access to every lounge 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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

You get a Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club network lounge – see the list here.  The list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list, but not by much.  Additional visits are charged at £20 per person.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  No annual fee in Year 1.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

You get a free LoungeKey card allowing you access to any property in the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although regular travellers will find it cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card (adults only, of course).  The card has an annual 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.

Comments (57)

  • Stu says:

    When flying into, and connecting to a domestic flight in JFK. Is it possible to pop over to a different terminal to use one of their lounges or are you restricted to your arrival / departure terminal. What is the best lounge for Platinum / Priority Pass / Dragon at JFK?

    • Nick Burch says:

      Pretty sure you need a departing boarding pass for the terminal you want to enter to get through the TSA security checkpoint. So, you’re stuck with the terminal you’re in, expect for between 2 and 4

      • ChrisC says:

        Actually the TSA are relaxed about terminal hopping – there isn’t an absolute bar on it (unlike say at LHR where you can only access T5 with a T5 BP)

        They want to see you are departing JFK that dayand are more concerned that you get back to your proper terminal and reclear security etc in time so you don’t miss your flight,

  • Grainne says:

    I was feeling a bit hard done by reading this intially because I have LoungeKey via Santander and am getting accustomed to not having the same access as Priority Pass and Amex. Just checked the app though and it’s been added too! Before security, between the bus stops. Nice surprise!

  • Robert says:

    Couple of questions…

    1. You mention PP entry doesn’t provide free shower facilities, does that mean access using your Platinum card does?
    2. In regards to the T4 arrivals lounge, would I have a problem taking in a guest with me who hasn’t come of a flight?

    • Shoestring says:

      can’t remember any lounge I’ve ever been in that does more than check the BP of the main cardholder bringing in guest/s

    • jc says:

      1: Correct, showers included for Platinum

    • Lev441 says:

      I used the plaza arrivals lounges across various terminals a bunch of times last year whilst going to pick people up from airport I was never once asked for a boarding pass.

    • Rob says:

      a) No idea

      b) Should be fine if one of you has a BP. I use this lounge now and then if I have meetings at Heathrow, because I can go in and do a few hours work before or after and it is far bigger than the T2 arrivals lounge. Obviously I never have a boarding pass and have never had an issue.

  • iain says:

    confused by entry requirements… will Amex Plat get a free shower? are guests allowed with Plat / Priority Pass? Does anyone have the latest on whether boarding passes are required? If so, what exactly – terminal? long/short haul?

    • Shoestring says:

      [As of last week, Plaza Premium is not offering shower facilities to any Priority Pass cardholders at Heathrow. You now need to pay a cash supplement for this.]

      yes, Plat comes with 1 free guest

      yes, BP is required for main cardholder – they check 1) name tallies with card & possibly also 2) flying today though this often seems to be overlooked

    • jc says:

      To answer the only part Shoestring missed, yes if you enter with your Amex Platinum itself (rather than with Priority Pass) you still get free showers.

      Terminal on BP explicitly doesn’t matter (Shoestring implied this)

  • Andrew says:

    The American Airlines arrivals lounge has a further couple of rules: no guests, even with Emerald/BA gold; and it’s only for T3 long haul arrivals – you can’t use it if you’ve flown into T3 on BA from Lisbon for example. The BA gold / Emerald restriction when in long haul economy is consistent with BA’s arrival lounge at T5 however – sapphire / BA silver do not get access, and again member only, no guests.

  • Mani says:

    My Axem Plat card arrived yesterday. What I would like to know is if the Plat Card offers any extra lounge access on top of the Priority pass?

    Also, is their any update on the Centurion Lounge in T3, could this be open by March/April?

  • The Man says:

    Does LGW offer any arrivals lounges?

  • Andrew says:

    Still confused. Does Platinum card access get you a free shower?