The HfP guide to Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses
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Virgin Atlantic has never been one to follow the pack, so when it opened its first business class lounge at Gatwick Airport in 1990 it was called the Clubhouse. The name has stuck ever since.
Back in 1990, the first Clubhouse was located landside (rather than airside) and designed to look like the bar in the Raffles hotel in Singapore. It was also one of the first airport lounges to serve food, with silver service no less.
In the 33 years since then, Virgin Atlantic has opened – and indeed closed – a number of Clubhouses. They continue to be regarded as some of the best airport lounges available with the Heathrow Terminal 3 Clubhouse (review here) garnering particular praise.
In 2023, Virgin’s Clubhouses continue to showcase modern design as well as a la carte menus, showers, bars and, of course, a range of seating and entertainment options.
Where can you find a Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse?
There are currently seven Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses located in airports around the world:
- London Heathrow Terminal 3 (review here)
- Boston Logan Terminal E
- Newark Liberty Terminal B
- New York JFK Terminal 4 (review here)
- Washington Dulles Terminal A
- San Francisco Terminal A
- Johannesburg OR Tambo Terminal A
Before you ask …. yes, the Clubhouse at Newark Liberty is still open, despite Virgin Atlantic moving all of its flights to New York JFK. It is used as a third party lounge for other airlines, is open for paid access via the Plaza Premium website and can be used by holders of certain credit cards and lounge club cards.
Two Clubhouses – Los Angeles and London Gatwick – became victims of covid and closed permanently. With Virgin Atlantic no longer operating from Gatwick, the lounge has become a Plaza Premium lounge albeit the furnishings are little changed.
Virgin’s non-UK Clubhouses are now also managed by Plaza Premium, although they continue under the Clubhouse brand and cater almost exclusively to Virgin passengers.
Virgin Atlantic also operates an arrivals lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3, but this is not branded as a ‘Clubhouse’. Our most recent review of Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow arrivals lounge is here.
Future Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses
When Virgin Atlantic announced that Plaza Premium would take over management of its non-UK Clubhouses, it also teased the arrival of new lounges:
“Virgin Atlantic and Plaza Premium Lounge have also agreed on the co-development of lounges in other key hubs within the airline’s network. Details will be announced at due course.”
No further announcements have been made in the 18 months since then, but there is one new Clubhouse we know is coming: Manchester.
Virgin Atlantic first announced that it was planning to open a Clubhouse lounge in Manchester back in 2019. The original announcement was made following the demise of Thomas Cook, which operated 12 long haul routes from Manchester to the US and Caribbean – Virgin’s bread and butter. With Thomas Cook out of the way, Virgin Atlantic felt it had more room to grow in Manchester and justify the opening of a new Clubhouse there.
Originally the Manchester Clubhouse was meant to open in Spring 2020. Even without covid the project was delayed. Now, three years later, we’re still waiting on an opening date.
The good news is that the lounge is ready and waiting, mostly. This space is there – in the new Manchester Terminal 2 extension – and has partially undergone building works. We’re told it’s still missing furniture and other key elements. We are not expecting it to open in time for Summer 2023.
What can you expect at a Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse?
Each Clubhouse aims to offers a unique and stylish environment, with a range of amenities to help you relax and recharge before your flight.
At a minimum, you can expect a range of different seating areas designed for working or relaxing (or both); there’s free Wi-Fi; a complementary a la carte menu and bar (more on that below); shower facilities and luggage storage.
Some Clubhouses, such as the one at Heathrow, offer additional amenities such as Peleton bikes, an outdoor terrace and pool table.
Of course, they all feature the same Virgin red throughout – with the exception of the San Francisco Clubhouse, which has a cool blue look.
What’s on the menu at Virgin’s Clubhouses?
Most, if not all Virgin Clubhouses offer a fully a la carte menu, with no buffet. This is a particular step up compared to most lounges, as many airlines reserve a la carte dining for first class lounges alone.
The menu varies depending on what time of day you’re there. In the mornings, you can expect freshly made Eggs Benedict, a Full English and more.
In the evenings, you can choose from dishes such as chicken katsu curry, shepherds pie, grilled salmon, a chicken burger and a range of salads and other accompaniments. I particularly rate the vegan burger, which I have to say matches or even beats the standard burger they serve.
Everything is included and you can choose from the full range of beers, wines and spirits provided, as well as order cocktails from the bar staff. Virgin Atlantic tailors its offerings to each country; in San Francisco, you’ll find Californian wines whilst in Jo’burg it’ll be South African. There’s even English sparkling wine available at Heathrow.
Who can access Virgin Clubhouses?
Access to Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouses is exclusive to eligible passengers, but varies slightly from Clubhouse to Clubhouse. This includes:
- Upper Class passengers: If you’re travelling in Virgin Atlantic’s business class cabin, you’ll have access to the Clubhouses as part of your journey
- Delta One (business class) guests travelling internationally
You can also access Virgin Clubhouses if you have status:
- Flying Club Gold members when flying with Virgin Atlantic
- Delta SkyMiles Diamond Medallion, Platinum Medallion and Gold Medallion when flying Virgin, or Delta from the UK
- Virgin Australia Velocity Club Gold, Platinum and The Club when flying with Virgin Atlantic
- Flying Blue Platinum or Gold when flying Virgin Atlantic
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Elite Gold and PPS when flying Virgin Atlantic
Note that these rules may change in March 2023 when Virgin Atlantic joins the SkyTeam alliance.
Holders of Virgin Atlantic credit cards in the UK can choose to receive Clubhouse entry vouchers as their annual reward for hitting their spend target, although arguably it is better value to choose the flight upgrade or 2-4-1 redemption options.
Some Clubhouses, such as in Newark, Boston and Johannesburg, currently also allow passengers with access to Plaza Premium lounges (such as with the American Express Platinum card) to enter. This appears to be under review, however, and in general is restricted to times when no Virgin Atlantic flights are operating. It is not possible to pay for Clubhouse lounge passes with cash.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (March 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard
A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review
You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.
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
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) and free for a year Read our full review
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points.
(Want to earn more Virgin Points? Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)