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Review: the Plaza Premium lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 5

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This is our review of the Plaza Premium lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5.

It is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK. You see all of the reviews here.

The Plaza Premium lounge is one of the last lounges to reopen in Terminal 5 – the Club Aspire lounge (recent review here) has been open for several months now, and the British Airways lounges are increasingly returning to normal operations.

Plaza Premium Heathrow T5 entrance

As I found myself flying through Terminal 5 with my family I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the four of us into the BA lounges on the back of my Executive Club Silver status. Luckily, both my dad and I hold the Amex Business Platinum Cards which offer access to Plaza Premium lounges, so this was our best option.

Note that Priority Pass is not accepted at Plaza Premium lounges.

It was my first time in the Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 5. Whilst I’ve been to the Terminal 2 lounge a lot (I reviewed Plaza Premium Heathrow Terminal 2 here) I haven’t made it to this one before.

The Plaza Premium at T5 is located by Gate A7 on the left hand side of the building. It is, effectively, underneath the British Airways North Lounge.

According to the Plaza Premium website it is currently open from 6am until 5:30pm.

Inside the Plaza Premium Heathrow T5 departure lounge

The biggest difference to the Terminal 2 lounge is an abundance of natural light. Whilst the Plaza Premium in T2 is buried in the middle of the building this lounge is on a corner and is exceptionally bright and airy.

It also means the lounge is in an L shape. The first part, as you can see, is filled with these hexagonal booths and some armchairs:

Plaza Premium Heathrow T5 pods

Turn the corner and you’ll find you’re greeted by a setup more appropriate for dining, with tables and chairs in sets of two:

Plaza Premium Heathrow T5 island table

Either side of the bar are two large island-tables with bar stools. Here is the bar:

Plaza Premium Heathrow T5 bar

Finally, in the quietest part of the lounge are these individual booths, which seem a bit claustrophobic to me:

Plaza Premium Heathrow T5 indivdiual pods

A lot of the seating feels like it has been designed for individuals or those travelling in pairs. There were no real spots four of us could go so we chose to perch on one of the large islands.

Plaza Premium Heathrow T5 food

The food is on the inside of the L. We were there at lunchtime and there were a range of hot and cold items, including sandwiches and wraps (looking a little forlorn here given how few are left!):

Plaza Premium Heathrow T5 sandwiches

Hot dishes included penne pasta with pomodoro sauce; chickpea, sweet potato and pepper tagine; and sticky ginger and tamari chicken.

Plaza Premium Heathrow T5 hot buffet

You also had a tuna salad and pea, bean and mint salad to choose from, as well as a crumble dessert.

Plaza Premium Heathrow T5 salads

I wasn’t blown away by the choice – it felt on par with the British Airways lounge offering, even though in my experience Plaza Premium lounges tend to have a better selection of food.

When it comes to drinks, hot and cold soft drinks are available self-serve whilst alcohol is available from the bar. Basic spirits and beers and wines are free, but you have to pay for champagne or sparkling wine.

Is the Plaza Premium in T5 better than the BA lounges?

All things considered, the Plaza Premium lounge is fairly small and works well with a limited footprint.

If you hold both British Airways Executive Club Silver status and an American Express Platinum Card you may be wondering which is better. (Most people, of course, don’t have a choice and will hold one or the other, but not both.)

In many ways they are quite similar due to their location. Plaza Premium is, fundamentally, a smaller, less crowded version of the BA North Lounge upstairs: they both have lots of natural light and runway views.

There are two key differences between the lounges, however. The first is that the Plaza Premium is significantly quieter. Anyone who has been to the lounges in the Terminal 5A (the main terminal building) knows that they can be extremely busy. Plaza Premium doesn’t have this problem – in comparison, it is the definition of zen! In that regard, the Plaza Premium lounge is far superior.

On the other hand, you can get some sort of sparkling wine for free in the British Airways Galleries Club lounges (champagne has recently been removed and was only ever on request anyway) – something you would have to pay for in Plaza Premium.

How to book

If you don’t have a DragonPass or an American Express Platinum charge card, you can book entry for cash on this page of the Plaza Premium website.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

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

30,000 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.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 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 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 (39)

  • Paul says:

    I used the T2 plaza premium lounge last Friday nght with my wife using Amex Platinum. There is bizarrely no priority club lounge in T2.
    On the plus side the area was very comfortable and the the green Thai curry was tasty.

    Food selection was poor for 7pm on a Friday when T2 is heaving.

    The mean drinks selection is a definite turn off. There is a standard range of drinks but no prosseco and certainly no champagne. Indeed, anything remotely premium is off limits and there is a range of spirits which were decidedly more Lidle than Waitrose.

    For free entry and with no other options it was fine for an hour but never worth £40.

    I do however think the ambiance far exceed any BA lounge with the possible exception of the Concorde Room.

  • Rich says:

    Much better selection of free-pour drinks upstairs in the BA lounge. And (crappy) showers, and newspapers, and little biscuits.

    The times I’ve been, the food in both has been average cafeteria-style slop – acceptable, no more.

    BA every time for me.

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