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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.

  • Andrew says:

    Why only compare it to the lounge you can access with a BA silver card – what about in comparison to Galleries First?

    • Pete M says:

      Galleries First definitely wins. Think you’re spot on with the review and the comparison to the BA lounges, Rhys.

    • AJA says:

      I think the comparison is because Rhys has Silver status, not sure he’s been inside Galleries First? The latter would win surely? Especially with direct access from the First Wing check in so no need to mix with the hoi polloi until it’s time to fly. And who would walk the length of the terminal to go to a lesser lounge when you could have an extra 10 minutes quaffing the sparkly stuff?

      • AJA says:

        Or is that concorde room access I’m thinking of? I’ve never been in GF myself.

        • Andrew says:

          You are correct – that’s Galleries First, accessible with a Gold card or higher.

          • AJA says:

            I’ve read on FT that there’s also the secret door which gives direct access to the Concorde Room as well.

        • Andrew says:

          But that’s from the main security area and pre-dates First Wing – still useful if you forget to use First Wing or if you want to pop out to Boots or Harrods for something as they are right by the door and saves going down and up the escalators.

          • Save East Coast Rewards says:

            The concorde room direct entrance is also useful for connecting passengers

  • ianM says:

    Although you mention it briefly, you miss a crucial issue – this lounge closes at 5.30pm so is in effect pretty useless from about 4pm. It’s little better than the Aspire in my view, although larger and slightly better choice of hot food…..but at least the Aspire is open after late afternoon!!!

  • _nate says:

    It can get very busy and then the shape means lots of walking if you have a faraway seat and want to top up on food or drinks. The recent two-drink policy seems a bit miserable and choices are limited. They do replenish food well, though.

  • Nick Burch says:

    Rhys I’m a bit surprised you haven’t done a few tier point runs to hit GGL!

    With GGL, you get 1 guest into Concord Room, 2 guests into Galleries First if on other flights to you, and 5 guests to Galleries First if all on the same flight. Plus you can nominate one person for gold and two for silver, which sorts out the rest of the HFP family.

    With all your review flights, probably just need a few mid-haul (80) BA holidays in club and you’ll be set!

  • Bill says:

    I was in the PP LGW last Saturday. Full English breakfast was of the same low standard as a Toby Carvery.

  • James says:

    I was in this Plaza lounge a couple of weeks ago. By far it is the worst lounge of any I have visited. The wine was undrinkable and with just one cheap beer on tap – being asked to pay extra for anything else is insulting. I would never go in here again (and the food doesn’t even bear a mention)!

    • Pete M says:

      Gosh, James, I think you need to widen your horizons, because I have been to literally dozens of worse lounges around the world! 🙂

    • Sam says:

      Worst is quite a strong word to use, I think you need to visit more lounges as this lounge is definitely far from the word bad to me.

      PP LHR serves hot food at all times, but I have been to lounges that serves a few cold sandwiches only or even doesn’t serve food at all. I have also been to lounges where I can’t find an empty seat. These are what I call worst lounges.

      • Rob says:

        James definitely needs to get out more – I recommend a trip to one of the Escape lounges in Manchester, perhaps.

  • Iain says:

    I was in galleries North last week at breakfast time. Breakfast consisted of an unbuttered bacon roll with a tooth breaking hash brown.
    Looked over the fence down to plaza premium, they were having a proper breakfast!
    Know where I would have preferred to have been.

  • Kevin D says:

    I enjoyed the Place lounge a few weeks ago. Managed to find a nice quiet booth to give a short presentation to some junior staff and the quality of sound and wifi was excellent.

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