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Most travelers are familiar with Priority Pass, the world’s largest independent airport lounge program, but few know much about Plaza Premium Group (PPG), operator of the world’s largest network of airport lounges. The difference is, Priority Pass offers membership to a collection of third-party lounges, while PPG owns and operates its own branded lounges and also runs many more under other names, including Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses in the United States, the Capital One Lounge in Dallas, and several Avianca Lounges in Colombia. In total, PPG’s global network encompasses 70 major international airports. The company’s in-airport presence spans beyond lounges, too, with accommodation offerings (Aerotel properties), meet and assist services, and more.
When it comes to quality, PPG’s proprietary airport lounges are spaces travelers will want to linger before or between flights and serve as a reminder that glamor still exists in the world of air travel. Complimentary access to Plaza Premium’s branded lounges is a perk of premium American Express and Capital One credit card membership, but it’s also possible for anyone to purchase a day pass, even on the spot. Here, everything you need to know about Plaza Premium lounges.
Plaza Premium lounge locations and what to expect
Plaza Premium lounges and services are found in 70 airports across 30 countries and six continents. While not every major airport has a Plaza Premium lounge, some have multiple, including Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), and London Heathrow Airport (LHR). One of PPG’s newest—and best—lounges is in the new Terminal C at Orlando International Airport (MCO). PPG doesn’t have an app but its website makes it easy to search for lounges.
There are nearly 100 Plaza Premium lounges—and not all are created equal. However, since its branded lounges are fully owned and operated by Plaza Premium Group, quality standards are high.
“We have complete control over the design, amenities, and overall experience,” says Bora Isbulan, deputy CEO, Plaza Premium Group. “We believe that this level of control is essential to delivering the high-quality hospitality services that Plaza Premium Group is known for. Our mission is to ‘Make Travel Better’ by reinventing and enriching the airport journey for global travelers. We strive to create a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere that enhances the travel experience, regardless of the airline or class of travel.”
Travelers can expect at a minimum: comfortable seating options (often with a high design edge in newer lounges), complimentary Wi-Fi, private workstations, premium food and beverage choices (alcoholic and non), and singular amenities that speak to the lounge’s location. For example, at the new flagship lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the Malaysian influence is palpable. According to Isbulan, “The space pays homage to our Malaysian roots as we embrace local culture, including the food and beverage, service offerings, and the interior design.” They’ve also teamed up with the Art People Gallery so the space doubles as an art gallery showcasing pieces by up-and-coming Malaysian artists.
How to access Plaza Premium lounges
Travelers can enter Plaza Premium-branded lounges on their flight date, regardless of airline or class flown. Those flying business or first class may find themselves in a PPG lounge if their airline and or ticket provides lounge access, since several PPG lounges act as contract lounges. Meanwhile, those flying economy or business (on tickets that don’t already include lounge access) can also enter for free with one of three credit cards, including:
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card ($395 annual fee)
- The Platinum Card® from American Express ($695 annual fee—see rates and fees)
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express ($695 annual fee—see rates and fees)
Cardholders can enter simply by presenting one of the above credit cards. No enrollment is required. Amex Platinum cardholders can bring one guest free of charge, and Capital One Venture X cardholders can bring two guests free of charge. Even better? Lounge access extends to authorized users/additional cardholders. Each is entitled to entry and the same guest policy as the primary cardmember.
Those without a premium credit card are also welcome at Plaza Premium lounges, for a fee. Travelers can prepurchase access online (up to one hour prior to entry) or pay upon arrival at the lounge. Pricing varies by lounge and duration. For example, at press time two hours at a Plaza Premium lounge at London Heathrow costs £48 (US$60) while three hours at Plaza Premium Lounge Orlando costs $69.
Besides its own lounges, Plaza Premium operates lounges for multiple airlines and credit card companies. Since these are not Plaza Premium branded lounges, the access rules above do not apply.
Orlando lounge debut and growth in the American market
One of the main reasons travelers from the United States aren’t familiar with PPG lounges is because prior to 2020, they existed only overseas. Plaza Premium opened its first U.S. proprietary lounge in 2020 at Dallas Fort Worth (DFW), followed by the Plaza Premium Lounge at Orlando International Airport, which opened in December 2022.
On an Orlando layover in April 2023, this writer got to experience the new lounge firsthand and loved what he saw. In the airport’s newly minted Terminal C, the design-forward, high-ceiling lounge is in tune with what today’s travelers desire: a separate, dynamic area for kids and families, a colossal bar where you’d want to kick back multiple cocktails, a range of (tasty) hot and cold food options, as well as plenty of light, plugs, seating, and runway views. Throughout the lounge, walls are decorated with artwork and photography on loan from the Orlando Museum of Art, while the kids’ entertainment area features an oversized, interactive screen for playing games and audio storytelling. There are also three clean and spacious showers for those wanting to freshen up between flights.
If you are looking to experience a Plaza Premium lounge and don’t have plans on passing through Orlando or Dallas soon, you may be in luck. According to Isbulan, “Plaza Premium Group is rapidly expanding in the U.S. and will be operating at six to seven more airports in the next two years.” We can’t wait.
While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.