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Plaza Premium: divorcing from Priority Pass and Lounge Key

Plaza Premium: divorcing from Priority Pass and Lounge Key

Plaza Premium is the owner and operator of 120+ airport lounges around the world. They market access to these lounges directly to the public, via airlines, and as a loyalty benefit to credit card holders through ‘reseller’ partners such as LoungeKey and Priority Pass.

It looks like Plaza Premium, LoungeKey and Priority Pass are no longer friends.

ET has confirmed that the resellers’ agreement with Plaza Premium will not be renewed past its current expiration date of 1 July 2021 – with some still-to-be negotiated exceptions.

This is big

Many travellers rely on credit card benefits provided by Priority Pass and LoungeKey that give them access to Plaza Premium lounges when they don’t have status or are not travelling in a fare class that gives them other lounge access.

I have made use of Plaza Premium lounges in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and at Heathrow Terminal 2 when travelling to Tromso in Norway.

a room with a couch and a table
Heathrow, Terminal 2, Plaza Premium Lounge

Airline Access

It is unlikely that this will dramatically affect airlines who use Plaza Premium lounges at airports where they don’t run lounges (Like Cathay Pacific in Phnom Penh)

How it might affect you

Potentially the benefit of one or more of your credit cards became a tad less valuable.

You can still buy Plaza Premium access, with costs varying by lounge and facilities used (showers are extra). You will be up for between US$50-$65 for a two hour visit, depending on the lounge

Membership of Priority Pass and LoungeKey

If you already have access to these schemes via a credit card – then that membership is unlikely to change save for the fact that they have just removed 120 properties from their1200 portfolio of lounges that you previously had access to.

You can still buy access to Priority Pass for somewhere between US$99 and $429 per year depending on the level of access you require. LoungeKey, also owned by the Collison Group is the credit card benefit equivalent.

Their statement says:

“Due to the recent nature of this change, we are in the process of communicating with our members. We already have alternative lounges in operation for many of the locations and for the remainder we are undergoing sourcing of new partners.”

a plate with food on it
Fare from the hot buffett (remember those?) at Heathrow Terminal 2 Plaza Premium Lounge

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

This will be a blow to Priority Pass members, although the organisation is already on the path of replacing the Plaza Premium lounges it is losing. Plaza Premium sounds like it is changing strategy with resellers, and may market access more directly as well as continuing to open more high end service lounges and it burgeoning suite of transit hotels under the brand ‘Aerotel’.

Glad I didn’t take up that last AMEX Platinum offer then.

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