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EXCLUSIVE: Gatwick’s Virgin Clubhouse reopens as a Plaza Premium lounge

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Plaza Premium has, with no fanfare, gained a new lounge in London.

It has opened the ex- Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounge at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal as a Plaza Premium lounge.

This means that it is now accessible to DragonPass and American Express Platinum cardholders.

Plaza Premium Lounge London Gatwick Airport North Terminal

With Gatwick’s South Terminal remaining closed for the forseeable future, you will be using Gatwick North if you have any flights out of the airport. This includes all British Airways services.

With Plaza Premium no longer part of the Priority Pass network, and with the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse being bigger than most independent airport lounges, this should be a particularly quiet and laid back place to visit.

Plaza Premium Lounge London Gatwick Airport North Terminal

The photos in the article were released by Virgin Atlantic in 2017. Plaza Premium is using some of the same images in its marketing so I assume that little has changed inside, including the retention of the Kids Zone.

Plaza Premium Lounge London Gatwick Airport North Terminal

In retrospect, we should not be surprised about this. As we covered here, Virgin Atlantic recently struck a deal with Plaza Premium to manage all of its lounges outside the UK. This would have put Plaza Premium in a good position to do a deal to take over the lease and fittings of the Virgin Atlantic space at London Gatwick.

Plaza Premium Lounge London Gatwick Airport North Terminal

(For anyone who remembers the old V-Room lounge, used by Virgin Holidays, this was closed some years ago and split into two to form the Club Aspire and My Lounge lounges.)

Plaza Premium Lounge London Gatwick Airport North Terminal

According to the Plaza Premium website, the lounge is open from 6am to 5.30pm daily.

You can book slots for cash via this page of the Plaza Premium website.

If you are a regular user of Gatwick North, you can get permanent free access to the lounge with an American Express Platinum charge card.

The lounge is NOT in Priority Pass but American Express has a global deal with Plaza Premium to allow Platinum charge card holders, with a guest, to access its lounges. You would also get access to the Plaza Premium lounge in BA’s Terminal 5 at Heathrow, reviewed here.

There is currently a ludicrous 60,000 Membership Rewards points bonus, which converts to 60,000 Avios, for getting Amex Platinum. Our full review of Amex Platinum is here and you can apply here.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (October 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

60,000 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. 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.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 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 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

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 (37)

  • Robert Stevenson says:

    Does an Amex Business Platinum get two in?

  • TheOtherN says:

    My last direct Amex Plat visit to a Plaza Premium lounge (LHR T5 this week) revealed a dark surprise. According to the gentle soul at the bar, my Amex didn’t grant me access to the ‘Premium’ alcohol selection.

    Not for me were the top shelf vodkas, nor the gleaming bottled beers imprisoned behind the cool glass of the chillers. I didn’t have ‘the stamp’.

    No, as a second class first class citizen*, it was beer on tap and the cheapo vodka in my screwdriver.

    Haven’t run into this with my Priority Pass, also included with the Plat. Is it only paid walk-ins and Dragon Pass holders who get the coveted stamp? Isn’t PP getting the same fee at the back end?

    *with thanks to Rich for this turn of phrase.

  • Smid says:

    So does it still function as a Clubhouse for VS, or if you manage to fly out of LGW on VS, are you in there but it’s not of Clubhouse quality (free champers, good food)?

  • Alex Sm says:

    On a more general level, do we know why Gatwick preferred its North terminal over its South one? N always felt like a secondary one while all the hustle and bustle was concentrating in S, no? Or did they just need to keep the shuttle train running?

    • Julian says:

      I assume it’s because Easyjet calls the shots there, and they use the North.

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        That’s true, when easyJet weren’t operating last summer it was the south terminal that was open. As soon as easyJet restarted services they flipped to the north.

  • Scott says:

    I was in the lounge yesterday. It’s largely the same as the old Clubhouse. The kids area is still there with zero toys though.
    The breakfast took about 20mins to arrive and was cold sadly. The lounge only had about 8 people in it. The front desk staff were excellent. Totally walked me into the lounge and explained all the facilities.

    Interestingly the staff did mention why it has remained the same with regards the decor….. “Virgin wanted us to retain it “as was” for the possibility of them returning at a later date”. !! Make of that what you will. 🙂

  • DarrenT says:

    Here on a Saturday lunchtime. Probably about 60% full. Food arrived very hot and quickly. You can only order whilst seated at a very few tables so if they are full you have to wait. Very limited drinks although others are available for a substantial fee. Service not particularly refined and rather rough around the edges. Probably early days but won’t be back for a while, until it beds in a bit.

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