The Plaza Premium Group is a Hong Kong based company specialising in premium travel services including airport transit, meet and greets, airport dining and airport lounges. They have carved out a strong niche at Heathrow for premium third party lounges.
Plaza Premium has its own loyalty scheme. This has now been relaunched, probably after they realised that the old name of ‘Arrture’ sounded too much like a consultancy firm!
The new scheme is called Smart Traveller. To be honest it is fairly underwhelming at the moment but if you are a regular visitor you might as well sign up.
You can find out more on their website here. It is only available as an app, however.
Currently there are over 50 lounges worldwide included in the Smart Traveller loyalty programme of which SIX are in Heathrow:
T3: Anika reviewed the T3 arrivals lounge (the old Delta arrivals lounge) here
T5: Rob looked at the Terminal 5 departure lounge here
The Aerotel hotel, which opened in Heathrow Terminal 3 recently and which we reviewed here, should also allow you to earn points, although it is not currently listed.
Smart Traveller is a pretty simple programme. For every lounge visit you get 100-300 points depending on the lounge:
Plaza Premium – 100 points for complimentary entry (like Priority Pass), 150 for paid
Plaza Premium First – 150 points for complimentary entry, 300 for paid
Flight Club, Root98 & The Green Market – 1 point per $1 spent
The interesting thing is that you still earn points even when getting free entry on Priority Pass or another lounge program.
(Our main review article on Priority Pass is here if you don’t know anything about it.)
2,500 points can be exchanged for a three hour stay in participating Plaza Premium lounges. You can also redeem for services which are not normally include in a free visit. 1,000 points gets you free use of a shower for example.
You can see the snag here. Having to do 25 lounge visits to get a free visit is not hugely generous!
Oddly, you also have the option to exchange your points in return for some kind of electronic or ‘wellness’ item. The range isn’t massive, but you could choose from an electronic thermometer (8,800 points), a Braun 5030s electric shaver (18,500 points), a Google Chromecast 3 (6,300 points) and more.
These are better options if you are getting your points via Priority Pass, since redeeming for a lounge pass makes little sense. The selection may be limited but it’s better than nothing!
Whilst the Heathrow Terminal 5 lounge is NOT in Priority Pass or Lounge Club, you can get free access for yourself and a guest by showing an American Express Platinum charge card at the door. It is also part of the DragonPass network.
Smart Traveller points are valid for 1 year after the last transaction, and can be extended by activity.
If you sign up for Smart Traveller before 31st March you will get 200 bonus points. You can earn an additional 100 bonus points if you stay in an eligible Plaza Premium lounge before then, too.
You can find out more online here.
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:
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.
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.
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.