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.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (August 2022)
As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit 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.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
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 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.