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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 (December 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

30,000 points and unbeatable 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 Air Lines and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four 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 four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get four 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 (37)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Pete M says:

    This is good news! I suppose we expect it to be the best lounge at LGW?

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    That space used to be the BA lounge before VS and BA swapped terminals. I had wondered if BA could have taken over that space again while they’re stuck in the north terminal but now I see there was already plans for it.

    It would be nice if BA came up with an agreement with Plaza Premium for the small number of flights they operate at LGW each day it would be useful for both parties I suspect as BA would then have a better lounge which doesn’t risk getting overrun by Priority Pass customers.

    Are there any other airlines operating from LGW that might possibly want to make an arrangement with this lounge?

    • Rob says:

      Numerous, yes. Most currently have deals with No1, Clubrooms or Aspire but I can see this being far more attractive due to the extra space.

  • Binks says:

    Hi Rob, is it a case of showing your ex plat card and you get access? I am travelling out of Gatwick in a few weeks with my 5 year old and 2 year old daughters. I recall reading somewhere it is free for kids under 5 – is that right? Can I bring a guest for free?

    • Rob says:

      Plaza Premium will swipe your Platinum card, so a cancelled one won’t work. It’s not Eurostar 🙂

    • CB says:

      I know it is slightly irrelevant but:
      this summer I was flying out of SAW/Istanbul that has a Plaza.
      I tried to check in with my Plat, their swipe didn’t work for some reason.
      So, the genius at the desk wrote down my card number in full with expiration date in a piece of paper so that they can enter it manually “into the system”.
      I protested. They got mad.
      They simply could’ve entered it manually to the computer rather than jotting it down!

      I read it somewhere, they open these nice and expensive lounges [hotels, restaurants etc], and employ the thickest people to ruin the experience for you.

      What a shame!

      • Rich says:

        I once called a local independent hire shop to make a reservation, and gave my card details over the phone.

        Turned up on the allotted day. “Let me have a look, ah yes, here you are Rich”. My name, card details and personal information written in their diary on todays date. Along with hundreds upon hundreds of other customers’ details for the whole year! Staggering.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I don’t get the problem. Many places still have manual imprint machines as a back up which take just those details.

        Without your address and 4 digit number on the front it’s not not going to be much use and you’re covered by Amex for fraud.

        • Sam says:

          Maybe a violation of GDPR.

        • Can says:

          They didn’t. After all they are a lounge in Turkey who are just supposed to check the validity of my card with a swipe. I wouldn’t expect them to have the old school device. I know risk of fraud is low. But it is still nonzero which can turn into a headache for no reason.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            No they actually charge the card but it doesn’t show on your bill. I get given a receipt for £20 each whenever I’ve visited PP T5 alone or +1

        • JDB says:

          If the retailer leaves that sort of card data lying around, they won’t be covered though! You have to do annual PCI DSS training and warrant that you either destroy or keep that information securely and of course that is on top of GDPR issues.

          • Can says:

            Awe was that they didn’t care or seem knowledgeable about AnY credit card privacy despite my protest.

        • Can says:

          Using Amex in Turkey, I observed that only a certain bank’s card machine accepts Amex. If that one is not working, tough luck. It attracted my attention and I googled to realise that Amex cards are only given by a certain bank there. And you seem to need that bank’s card machine at the shop to accept Amex. I may be wrong but it happened to me few times.

  • Bill says:

    I have a Platinum charge card and my wife is a supp. Can four of us get in with our kids (8 and 6)

  • Dominic says:

    Not sure if just standard sales talk, but PP claimed on the phone last week that “we will be announcing (a) big new partnership(s) in the next few months” (this was after I suggested I would not be likely to recommend PP to a friend in their survey).

  • Scottydogg says:

    This is ideal for me travelling through Gatwick next month . Was looking at the other PP lounges that seem to close at lunch times at the moment . staying open to 5.30 is ideal for my 6.10pm flight out

  • David says:

    So that makes 3 lounges currently operating at Gatwick North Terminal for Amex Platinum card holders, and not one of them open at a time to suit an evening flight.

    I’m currently on my way there on my way back to Edinburgh after my first day in the office in 18 months. After 18 months of paying fee and not using travelling anywhere I’m a little miffed at not being able to make use of the most significant of the travel-related benefits when I finally do travel.

  • Sam says:

    I just don’t get why Virgin would need two lounges back then, one for VS and one for V Holiday? Clearly they could have utilise the resource to open a V Holiday lounge, to another VS port instead. Also why would Gatwick decide to shut South Terminal but open North? South terminal has direct access to the train station – why not letting passengers save their travel time if they can?

    • Paul says:

      To your first point, LGW was VS’s leisure flight hub and they saw a market for a dedicated pre flight facility that they could offer to families. The VS lounge and the V-Room were very different offerings (once in the former, food and drink were free, and in the latter certainly alcohol was paid for) and though sometimes you could buy access to the lounge it was set at a level that would make it prohibitive for most families. Given the standard of the VS lounges was one of the key attractions of an Upper Class ticket or Gold level flying club membership they clearly wanted to retain a sense of exclusivity.

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