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Priority Pass is set to lose a pretty big lounge partner in a few months. Plaza Premium — which operates 180 airport lounges across the globe — will end its partnership with Priority Pass and LoungeKey effective July 1, 2021.
That means travelers still have a few months left to access Plaza Premium lounges as part of the Priority Pass program. However, later this summer, these lounges will leave the Priority Pass program. Here's what that means for travelers — and how you can still get Plaza Premium lounge access.
The Plaza Premium Lounge Portfolio
If you've traveled outside of the United States to airports in Canada, the UK, or China, you likely came across one of Plaza Premium's 180+ lounges. Though Plaza Premium operates just a single lounge in the United States, it operates an extensive network of airport lounges in Canada, Europe, and Asia. For example, there are 7 Plaza Premium locations at Toronto-Pearson International Airport and 6 Plaza Premium locations at London-Heathrow Airport.
The quality of Plaza Premium lounges varies significantly depending on the location. For example, the Plaza Premium lounge in the domestic departures wing at Winnipeg International Airport pales in comparison to the Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 2 at London-Heathrow.
Some lounges offer various basic amenities like free wine, beer, and light snacks. Others offer sit-down restaurant-style dining, shower suites, and craft drinks. That being said, like many Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium's network of lounges is very hit-or-miss.
I've found Plaza Premium lounges to be some of the best Priority Pass lounges. This is especially the case throughout Europe. Based on early reviews and descriptions of the new(-ish) Dallas-Fort Worth lounge, Plaza Premium's US lounge is quite impressive.
I've actually come to enjoy the Plaza Premium network of lounges considering I knew I could access these lounges free of charge when I presented my Priority Pass membership. Unfortunately, the days of accessing these lounges with your Priority Pass membership are limited.
Plaza Premium Cutting Ties with Priority Pass
As of writing, you can still access the entire network of Plaza Premium lounges as a Priority Pass member. However, this will no longer be the case come July 1, 2021. That's the date on which Plaza Premium's agreement with Priority Pass and LoungeKey ends. Going forward, Priority Pass will no longer be accepted at the door.
It is not entirely clear why Plaza Premium is cutting ties with Priority Pass and LoungeKey. However, it is most likely the result of Plaza Premium wanting a larger cut from Priority Pass. Priority Pass pays a lounge an agreed-upon fixed rate each time one of its members visits that lounge. More likely than not, Plaza Premium wanted Priority Pass to negotiate a higher rate per visitor.
Whatever the reason may be for the two parties cutting ties, it's a significant loss for the Priority Pass program. Over 100 lounges will be dropped from the Priority Pass program impacting travelers at dozens of airports worldwide. Notable lounges include:
- Plaza Premium Lounge Dallas-Fort Worth Terminal E
- Plaza Premium Lounge Winnipeg
- Plaza Premium Lounge Edmonton
- Plaza Premium Lounge London-Heathrow Terminal 2
- Plaza Premium Lounge Rome-Fiumicino
- Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong
- Plaza Premium Lounge Sydney
If you're curious to see if this will impact your travels, Plaza Premium's website provides an entire list of their lounges. You can access that page via this link.
Get Plaza Premium Lounge Access Through American Express Global Lounge Collection
There is still another way to access Plaza Premium lounges without having to pay. Plaza Premium also has an agreement with American Express. One benefit offered by the The Platinum Card® from American Express is the Amex Global Lounge Collection.
In addition to Priority Pass membership, Amex Platinum cardholders also get access to:
- Centurion Lounges
- Escape Lounges
- American Express International Lounges
- Plaza Premium lounges
- Air Space Lounges
- Delta Sky Club access when flying on Delta flights
If you have Priority Pass access through another credit card, you might consider switching to the Amex Platinum. Check out this post to learn everything you need to know about the popular American Express credit card.
The Bottom Line
For Priority Pass members, the removal of Plaza Premium lounges is going to be a noticeable loss when traveling internationally. Some of the only lounges at select Canadian airports are operated by Plaza Premium. At London-Heathrow Airport, some of the best Priority Pass lounges are operated by Plaza Premium. So, this is a pretty significant loss for the Priority Pass program. Hopefully, an agreement can be reached between the two parties sometime between now and July 1st. Fingers crossed.
Have you ever visited a Plaza Premium Lounge? Do you still think the Priority Pass program is worth it?
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