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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 (April 2024)

Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK 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.

You also get access to Eurostar, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 £24.  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.

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

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free Priority Pass card, allowing you access to the Priority Pass network.  Guests are charged at £24 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.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full 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)

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

  • George K says:

    Pre-pandemic I used to lounge-crawl between Galleries North and Plaza, as the latter was offering full english breakfast which I rate higher than the bacon/frittata rolls, but, I was always back at Galleries afterwards for an undisclosed amount of pain au chocolats.

  • James W says:

    Very handy for domestic flight gates. I was in this lounge the other day – food selection was odd and frankly not that good, although my sandwich was pretty decent. Rose from the bar was ok. View is excellent. Used Amex to get in but certainly not worth £40!

  • TrainDriverSparky says:

    You appear to have confused hexagons for octagons.

  • Dan says:

    Visited PP T5 2 weeks ago on my way to Ljubljana (via Platinum Amex). Not impressed – average food, and very mean with the booze. There seems to be several grades of entry:

    1. Free on Platinum Amex – ultimately it’s free so can’t complain too much
    2. Paid – you get 2 free “premium” drinks – overheard a number of passengers arguing with the bar staff over how many drinks they had. All a bit petty really given the amount they charge a cash customer.

    It wasn’t even that quiet at lunchtime – no suitable area for a group of 3. We managed to squeeze onto a high table, but I’d say it was at 80% capacity.

    • Roy says:

      tbh if the drinks policy helps avoid attracting rowdy groups attracted by the “all you can drink” nature of lounges then I’m all for it. I gather from other posters over the years that this has been a problem at some lounges in the past (was it at Gatwick?).


      (although not the same Roy as the other Roy commenting here – never noticed there were two of us!)

      • lumma says:

        I went in PPT5 with one of the cheap Dragonpass entries in 2019 and felt that I would be really disappointed if I paid full price. If I remember it felt like the bar staff were really reluctant to hand out the booze. Same with Clubrooms Luton Airport, the prices you pay you shouldn’t really have an empty glass as long as you’re not being stupid (asking for a beer and a wine and a spirit at the same time and necking them)

        • Lady London says:

          Been in there a few times and the food quality was really, really poor. This is not the case in any other Plaza lounge I’ve been in. Wondering if Plaza Premium know how awful the alternative paid lounge, the Aspire lounge in T5 is, and so they don’t have to try.

          It’s almost as if both the Aspire Lounge and the Plaza Premium lounge are usinv the same poor quality catering firm.

  • Roy says:

    Go to lounge if you have AMEX PLATINUM

  • tony says:

    Probably a useful data point but the extra guest charge with Amex Platinum (at least in the morning) is £20. So was able to get three of us in there the other week for a coffee and a plate of bacon & eggs for a far more civil experience than sitting outside but for just a few quid each.

  • Phil says:

    Went through last Saturday. T5 was busy to be fair but reception desk staff were a bit rude. Wouldn’t let family of four in so with Amex plat so my son and came back 10 mins later, got in and found it half empty. Hot food area was messy / dirty so turned around and went elsewhere. Seems to have gone downhill.

    • tony says:

      Why was that? Did they say the place was too busy or are you only allowed to pay for one extra guest?

  • Stu N says:

    Before they built the lounge, this was my favourite quiet corner of T5. If I had work to do I’d often hide away here for an hour or two. Loads of natural light and good views of the northern runway and no one seemed to know about it.

    One downside, which carried over to PP, was that you got the announcements from nearby gates A7 and A8 as the loudspeakers were within the footprint of the lounge. Have they sorted out the speaker wiring these days?

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

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