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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.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse JFK entrance

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:

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.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse JFK pool table

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.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse JFK casual seating

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.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Heathrow eggs royale

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

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (June 2024)

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 18,000 Virgin Points and the free card has a bonus of 3,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

18,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

3,000 bonus points, no fee and 1 point for every £1 you spend 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 – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 40,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 40,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable 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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus 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.)

Comments (42)

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

  • Ft says:

    I thought only platinum flying blue members could access the LHR clubhouse when flying virgin?

  • Eli says:

    As a Kosher only consumer, I can say that Clubhouse Heathrow massively outperforms ALL the BA Lounges with food and drink options and service.

    It’s a shame that even the Concorde room can’t step it up

    • Harry T says:

      Pretty sure my local corner shop outperforms the BA lounges on most parameters!

    • Lady London says:

      Well TBH I have always been disappointed there weren’t halal options.

  • Stuart says:

    Once they join Skyteam, unless they change the rules massively they are going to be swamped by Air France and KLM status holders on short haul flights from LHR.

    • Rob says:

      Not happening!

      • David says:

        Rob, do you think Virgin Gold members on Airfrance/klm will get access once Virgin joins Skyteam?

        • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

          No.

          I believe there will be a carve out for the CH that access will only be for those only flying VS/DL metal.

    • Andrew J says:

      The Virgin website talks about “eligible customers including ST elites” being able to access the Clubhouses once they join ST – but they are yet to define “eligible”. So could be ST elites travelling in economy or premium on Virgin and Delta only, or could be a complete open door policy as the OW lounges do at T3.

    • Jonathan says:

      From what we understand so far, it’ll be treated as a First Class lounge for passengers with status (that usually grants Business Class lounge access) from other SkyTeam airlines, refer above for the current details

  • NigelHamilton says:

    I’ve got a Virgin credit card voucher which expires in October and is likely to go unused. Presumably if I was to choose a clubhouse pass instead of a 2 4 1.that would still expire on the same date?

    • Rob says:

      Guess so, yes.

    • Jonathan says:

      You can only get a clubhouse pass if you’re Silver or Gold the latter gets two passes instead of Silver’s one, Red members are ineligible to redeem the voucher for CH access

    • yorkieflyer says:

      I understand that they allow the expiry date to be a book by date in practice

  • M says:

    If you’ve got the premium virgin credit card where do you find out about the choice of voucher? I wasn’t aware of this and can’t find anything on the app about it.

    • Rob says:

      T&C are in a download on the application website. Others they are bizarrely hidden.

    • Jonathan says:

      Whether you earn the voucher from the Premium Plus credit card or from the free credit card makes absolutely no difference whatsoever to the voucher itself, both vouchers are exactly the same, unlike the vouchers that can be earned on the Amex BA cards

  • James Wyatt says:

    Plaza Premium lounges in the UK and around the world are often (not always) poorly run and distinctly ordinary. We will have to see how they perform but it doesn’t sound like a great idea to me.

  • Jake says:

    Isn’t there anything you can add Rob about the old hot tub. You must have heard a couple of good stories about that?

    Also, any news on a refresh of the LHR clubhouse. It’s been a while and could probably do with it in parts

  • DWB1873 says:

    Are there any prospects of Virgin returning to Gatwick?

    • Rob says:

      What from Shai has been saying, the cost savings are so substantial it won’t happen. The whole Virgin Atlantic operation remains substantially smaller than it was – there is a view now that their overheads were far higher than they needed to be.

    • Jonathan says:

      They definitely decided (when it was realised how bad things got when Covid came along) that this was something that’d happen now or in the near future.

      It never really made much sense to have two operating bases (based on the number of flights they operate) that aren’t too far away from each other when you can simply drop one, and consolidate everything into one manageable hub. By doing this they save money on their hub terminal costs too say the least

      • Lady London says:

        Have observed airlines relegated to Gatwick immediately start to try to work their way back to Heathrow for decades now.

        VS would have to be expanding massively and completely run out of the ability to get sufficient slots at Heathrow before they’d even contemplate Gatwick again. Margin on expanding flights probably greater in MAN and EDI for them now, well ahead of Gatwick

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

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