Access Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses With Plaza Premium (No Changes)

Access Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses With Plaza Premium (No Changes)

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Well this is a strange but positive update. A couple of days ago I reported how most Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses would no longer allow access through Plaza Premium, as they were removed from Plaza Premium’s website. I’m now being told that’s not the case, and that these continue to be accessible. The website has been updated to reflect that.

The Virgin Atlantic & Plaza Premium partnership

In mid-2021, it was announced that most Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses in the United States would start to be managed by Plaza Premium. Presumably this decision was motivated by a couple of factors:

  • It’s more efficient to have a company that specializes in lounges managing and staffing the lounge, rather than an airline trying to do it on its own
  • Plaza Premium could help with better monetizing Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses, since there’s quite a bit of money to be made with lounges, especially in conjunction with premium credit cards

As part of this, we’ve seen all five Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses in the United States offer access to non-Virgin Atlantic passengers through Plaza Premium, including the ones in:

  • Boston (BOS)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Washington (IAD)

For those not familiar, Plaza Premium has a partnership with American Express and Capital One, meaning that those with The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) and Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review) (Rates & Fees) can access these lounges.

What’s interesting is that this access isn’t just offered at times when the lounges would otherwise be empty, but rather access is offered at the same time that Virgin Atlantic passengers have access, including during peak evening hours.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses are managed by Plaza Premium

Plaza Premium not losing access to US Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses

A few days ago, Plaza Premium’s website was updated to reflect some changes to lounge access. Specifically, Plaza Premium’s website at the time suggested that:

  • The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses in Boston (BOS) and New York (JFK) would no longer offer access to Plaza Premium guests effective immediately
  • The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses in San Francisco (SFO) and Washington (IAD) would no longer offer access to Plaza Premium guests as of February 28, 2023
  • The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in Newark (EWR) would continue to be part of the Plaza Premium network (not coincidentally, Virgin Atlantic doesn’t even fly to Newark anymore, so that Clubhouse is exclusively used as a contract lounge by other airlines)

Well, as it turns out, scratch all that. I’ve now received notice from from spokespeople for both Capital One and Plaza Premium Group, confirming that these lounges will continue to be accessible, and that nothing is changing. Sure enough, they’ve all been added back to the Plaza Premium Lounge page.

This is great news, because Plaza Premium’s network is otherwise quite limited in the united States, as the group only has two of its own lounges, in Dallas (DFW) and Orlando (MCO).

What exactly happened here? Well, I have no clue. Plaza Premium’s website was clearly updated to reflect changes to lounge access. Changes like this don’t just happen for no reason, so clearly someone did something to cause that to happen.

I’m curious what happened behind the scenes here. Did Plaza Premium decide to make this change and not discuss it with its partners, or what? Fortunately I’ve been assured nothing is changing, and that’s what matters most.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses continue to offer Plaza Premium access

Bottom line

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses in the United States will continue to be available to those with Plaza Premium lounge access. That’s great news for those with the Amex Platinum and Capital One Venture X. I’m not sure what exactly happened in the background here, but I’d consider this to be a positive development regardless.

What do you make of this Virgin Atlantic and Plaza Premium update?

Conversations (52)
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  1. daNuge Guest

    @Ben Schlappig, as of today May 6, 2023 the Plaza Premium availability to Capital One Venture X holders doesn't even list the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses at EWR and IAD. I've been tracking their access since February, and now they've disappeared from the listing site at https://www.plazapremiumlounge.com/en-uk/landing-pages/capitalone. The only Plaza Premium lounges listed for Venture X holders in the USA are now DFW and MCO.

    What's interesting is CapitalOneTravel still shows them as available for Venture...

    @Ben Schlappig, as of today May 6, 2023 the Plaza Premium availability to Capital One Venture X holders doesn't even list the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses at EWR and IAD. I've been tracking their access since February, and now they've disappeared from the listing site at https://www.plazapremiumlounge.com/en-uk/landing-pages/capitalone. The only Plaza Premium lounges listed for Venture X holders in the USA are now DFW and MCO.

    What's interesting is CapitalOneTravel still shows them as available for Venture X holders, so I don't know which site is the outdated one at this point: https://capitalonetravel.com/lounges/partner-lounge-network.

  2. AD Guest

    @Lucky, I've been turned away from the Virgin lounge multiple times in the last three months when flying on AF, BA and AA, each time I've offered my Amex Plat and my Priority Pass and, in the the case of my AF flight, my business class boarding pass for a skyteam partner. They say that after 2pm, only VS pax. This was NOT because they were full. The lounge was nearly empty. VS is by far the best lounge at IAD so this is disappointing.

  3. nycityny Guest

    According to Virgin's webpage about the JFK Lounge, access is only for those flying internationally on Virgin or Delta. There is no mention of credit cardholders.

    https://flywith.virginatlantic.com/il/en/upper-class-cabin-and-seats/clubhouse-airport-lounge/new-york-jfk-clubhouse.html

  4. Brian Guest

    Lucky, are there new updates on this? Someone said on Flyertalk that they received email from Plaza Premium that virgin lounges are leaving them on Feb 28.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Brian -- No updates on my end. Do you have a link to where someone posted that?

  5. Ahmed Guest

    I just got denied access to the Virgin Clubhouse at JFK with both the Amex Plat and Venture X. Not sure what’s going on here but it seems that they have left the network. It is still being listed as accessible in the Amex app.

  6. Raj Guest

    Looks like JFK was added back to the AMEX find a lounge site
    With timings 5:30 to 8, and in the writing also 14:00-01:00

  7. Eric Guest

    I see they added back for BOS, but they also say it is closing for renovation on Feb 28th. That is essentially the same thing as losing access. That lounge certainly does not need renovation. Feels like there is something else going on.

  8. Scott Guest

    I have tried to use this benefit in 2022 prior to any announced changes and had no luck. I had a long connection (greater than 3 hours) going on an outbound Singapore flight - I was told I could only enter 3 hours prior. I returned 3 hours prior to departure and was told they weren't honoring passes as they had too many Virgin customers that evening (even tough they were not at capacity and...

    I have tried to use this benefit in 2022 prior to any announced changes and had no luck. I had a long connection (greater than 3 hours) going on an outbound Singapore flight - I was told I could only enter 3 hours prior. I returned 3 hours prior to departure and was told they weren't honoring passes as they had too many Virgin customers that evening (even tough they were not at capacity and weren't offering a wait list). If you invest in a credit card for the benefits you expect them to be available when you need them. I am find waiting in line to get in, but to be told I couldn't even use my card to get in, tells me this perk is just to sell the card and you won't actually get to use it.

  9. Amex platinum User Guest

    Something definitely happened in the background… I was denied on the 1st at JFK on the grounds that the Amex partnership had ended.

  10. Adam C Guest

    I was turned away at IAD yesterday with Plat Amex. Only contracted airline guests were admitted due to capacity constraints. There's no point in advertising these as available to Amex cardholders if they de facto aren't most of the time.

  11. David Guest

    You just reported a Flyertalk rumor, failed to ask Plaza Premium for a statement, and just posted it on your website for the clicks and eyeballs.

    This is very disappointing.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ David -- That's not fair. First of all, if this is being discussed on FlyerTalk, I haven't seen it. A reader brought this to my attention (when I recently published a review of the Amex Platinum -- you can see the comment there). I then went to Plaza Premium's website, which clearly indicated the information I was sharing, including that on February 28 the IAD and SFO lounges were leaving. That wasn't a rumor,...

      @ David -- That's not fair. First of all, if this is being discussed on FlyerTalk, I haven't seen it. A reader brought this to my attention (when I recently published a review of the Amex Platinum -- you can see the comment there). I then went to Plaza Premium's website, which clearly indicated the information I was sharing, including that on February 28 the IAD and SFO lounges were leaving. That wasn't a rumor, but in this case it was misinformation on Plaza Premium's part.

      If I were reporting on a rumor then I'd absolutely either disclose it as such, and/or I'd reach out to a spokesperson. But when a website clearly publishes something, it should be safe to go off that info.

      Now, fortunately in this case Plaza Premium's website was incorrect, though I can't help but wonder what the real story is.

    2. Amex platinum User Guest

      This article was accurate and not a rumor. I was personally denied entry at JFK on the 1st.

  12. Sfo Lounger Guest

    I don’t like the credit card access to lounges even though I can benefit. The lounges should be for those who’ve earned the status/rights to access them. The increasing commodification of loyalty benefits just dilutes the appeal of the respective loyalty program. The SFO clubhouse used to be a true haven and delight. Now it’s crowded, the WiFi is saturated, and many of the guests behave badly.

  13. Brian Guest

    Recent times at SFO, VS stopped allowing people in due to capacity reasons

  14. arshi007 Guest

    I think you NEED to do some more due diligence before posting this info. If you look at the AmEx app and browse the lounges for JFK, you will see that the VS Clubhouse has been REMOVED from the AmEx app. Which means access through AmEx Plat has definitely been canned. The only outstanding question is if access based on C1 VentureX is still available given the special relation between C1 and Plaza premium, and...

    I think you NEED to do some more due diligence before posting this info. If you look at the AmEx app and browse the lounges for JFK, you will see that the VS Clubhouse has been REMOVED from the AmEx app. Which means access through AmEx Plat has definitely been canned. The only outstanding question is if access based on C1 VentureX is still available given the special relation between C1 and Plaza premium, and more importantly, even if the access is granted, are there any time restrictions.
    I would encourage you to please take the time to reach out to C1 and Plaza premium directly and get answers to this. The blog post as it stands is misleading since as per AmEx's own app, there is no VS Clubhouse access at JFK. Only at EWR and possibly other places.

    1. Ian Guest

      We all know that the Amex app and Amex representatives never provide incorrect information…

    2. arshi007 Guest

      i understand that the info in the amex app could be incorrect, but this is a change that seems to be happening. A week ago, i used to be able to see the JFK VS lounge in the amex app albeit with hours only listed for the morning. Which meant that with the Plat card, technically they were only required to allow passengers in the morning, not in the evening time when the "full" lounge...

      i understand that the info in the amex app could be incorrect, but this is a change that seems to be happening. A week ago, i used to be able to see the JFK VS lounge in the amex app albeit with hours only listed for the morning. Which meant that with the Plat card, technically they were only required to allow passengers in the morning, not in the evening time when the "full" lounge service is there. However in the past two days, it seems like the JFK lounge has entirely been removed from the amex app, which likely means some changes are happening.

  15. Eskimo Guest

    Hah, or just "we" discovered the situation too early that we're supposed to before the official release.

    Explains how they backtrack and cover it up so fast.
    It's not rare that 'spokespeople' wouldn't have a clue until it's officially 'unofficial', whereas ops people are already executing the scheme in motion.

    I'd say stay tuned.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      That would fit with the "initial mistake" theory, and wouldn't surprise me at all.

  16. Never In Doubt Guest

    Initial mistake or after the fact backtracking?

    I'm going with initial mistake. It got reversed too quickly to have been part of a reconsidered decision.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Never In Doubt -- I generally agree, though what I found interesting was how detailed the initial "mistake" was. It wasn't that all five lounges were suddenly removed from Plaza Premium's website, but there was different (apparently wrong) information for each. Heck, Amex's website continues to show that Clubhouses at SFO and IAD are closing on February 28 for "renovation."

  17. lefty Guest

    Amex app shows that SFO, IAD and BOS will be closed for renovation after February 28. JFK is no longer visible in the app. Unless "renovation" is euphemism, I don't think they are ending access to random locations.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Very interesting.

      Yesterday when I checked, the Plaza Premium Lounge site

      plazapremiumlounge.com/en-uk/gc-lounges

      showed those lounges as leaving on Feb 28, and today the language about leaving is gone.

    2. PanAmSam Guest

      Keep in mind that Virgin Atlantic will join SkyTeam (I hear the 1st week in March) so many clubs may become redundant, or operations merged with other SkyTeam members in the same areas. The LHR CH is supposed to be an except to ST access rules, according to earlier quotes from the CEO, however that could have changed.

  18. Weymar Osborne Gold

    Interesting that there's still a clubhouse in EWR despite VS not flying there anymore. Is is still in Virgin Atlantic branding? Why not just make it a proper Plaza Premium Lounge?

  19. CDKing Guest

    The Boston Lounge is going to be dead. Its always been fairly empty every time I visited with most people entering via amex. My last visit was around 2 weeks ago.

  20. CDKing Guest

    It was only a matter of time. JFK stopped allowing access around the Virgin departures for several months.

  21. Paul smith Guest

    I hear that premium plaza don’t run the lounges anymore as there was a quality issue and has now been handed back to Sodexo live

  22. flying100 Member

    Don't Delta passengers have access to Virgin clubhouse? In the UK all DL and VS upper/business/first/delta one class passengers have access to VS clubhouse.

    1. Anthony Diamond

      At JFK

      1) Delta One flyers on a "Delta One international flights" have access. I have accessed the lounge when I had a Delta One ticket on JFK to LHR on Delta metal. I actually don't know if someone in Delta One on say JFK to CDG or something can access the lounge.

      2) Delta Gold and above flyers have access only when flying Virgin metal

      Delta Gold and above flyers don't have access...

      At JFK

      1) Delta One flyers on a "Delta One international flights" have access. I have accessed the lounge when I had a Delta One ticket on JFK to LHR on Delta metal. I actually don't know if someone in Delta One on say JFK to CDG or something can access the lounge.

      2) Delta Gold and above flyers have access only when flying Virgin metal

      Delta Gold and above flyers don't have access when flying Delta metal internationally in economy (and soon, they won't have access to the SkyClubs either!)

    2. Omar Guest

      Not clear if it was a mistake but I was able to access flying KL JFK-AMS in business. She also commented I could have accessed as DL gold or above in any class of service. This was two weeks ago.

  23. Barry Brann Guest

    The last two times I tried to visit @ SFO, I was turned away despite the giant sign at their desk welcoming AMEX Platinums. I had already decided not go back due to their poor treatment. The menu was good, although they only rotated it every 6 months, so the food also became boring.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Even though no other lounges in that post security zone at SFO are remotely as nice, you weren’t going to try and go back because they hurt your feelings?

  24. Joey Diamond

    The JFK Clubhouse experience was better before the pandemic. Hopefully the quality will get better with these changes.

  25. Creditcrunch Diamond

    I see the VS Clubhouse at JNB has also cut access from the 28th February.

  26. steve Guest

    I don't see BOS on the list.

  27. Cody- Guest

    This is the solution to the overcrowding in lounges that everyone seriously complains about continuously. They are either going to reduce the number of lounge visitors or not. The airlines are not banks. Credit card holders should be excluded period. The lounges need to go back to honoring their frequent fliers rather than every credit card holder in the universe. People complain about the overcrowding and complain about the airlines excluding certain card holders. What...

    This is the solution to the overcrowding in lounges that everyone seriously complains about continuously. They are either going to reduce the number of lounge visitors or not. The airlines are not banks. Credit card holders should be excluded period. The lounges need to go back to honoring their frequent fliers rather than every credit card holder in the universe. People complain about the overcrowding and complain about the airlines excluding certain card holders. What do you guys want because you can’t have it both ways?

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      “They are either going to reduce the number of lounge visitors or not.”

      That’s genius.

  28. Eskimo Guest

    I don't think it's just the experience issue. I would say the cards are not paying enough for the experience.

    I still remember the time when it was under Priority Pass for non VS hours. It was nothing comparaed with the VS experience. Even the recent Plaza Premium experience is not as great as before Covid.

  29. Never In Doubt Guest

    Sadly. Virgin is the best lounge on that side of SFO’s airside security.

    1. Tim G Guest

      Uhm, the EK lounge at SFO A-side is much better than the Virgin Clubhouse.

    2. Never In Doubt Guest

      It’s the best AMEX Platinum accessible lounge on that side of SFO airside security.

  30. rjb Guest

    The devaluation of Capital One Venture X is running full speed ahead. They haven't even opened the lounge at IAD yet three years after the announcement.

    And the credit card issuers wonder why we churn and burn? We are just trying to stay one step ahead of the bean counters.

  31. Bgriff Guest

    Considering that Virgin Atlantic doesn't even fly to EWR any more, I would imagine that one is safe for a while. I'm surprised to see Boston still on the list considering it's a small lounge and there are lounge capacity issues in that terminal in general, though those will hopefully get somewhat better when the Sky Club opens.

  32. Anthony Diamond

    Appreciate the hat tip!

    I've only accessed the lounge when I have been traveling on D1 JFK to LHR. I did attempt to access the lounge once using Amex Platinum... But the lounge was closed! (it was like 10 AM). You would figure that is when they would want extra business.

  33. KATA Gold

    I think it has to do with VS joining SkyTeam soon. I’d imagine the lounges would only get even more crowded had PP access not been dropped.

  34. BC Guest

    As a SQ J pax last year, the JFK lounge resembled the royal rumble. I would drop priority pass, too.

    1. Chris_ Gold

      That lounge was never a participant in Priority Pass.

  35. BDL_Flyer Guest

    wow....writing was on wall when I went to the Clubhouse in JFK and was initially turned away Dec 24th at opening. they said they were not taking Venture X cards. thankfully I was flying Delta One so i got in that way.
    glad I got to try the lounge at least once, but considering I just got the Venture X a few months ago, seems like it is rapidly losing lounge benefits left and right smh

    1. Mark Guest

      I’ve had Venture X for almost 15 months and been to lounges in BOS 6 times, YYZ twice, YUL, LAX, MSY, and NRT. I was only turned away once because the restaurant (no longer available) was closed. Once I had to wait a few minutes but when I explained I only had time for a very brief stop I was let in. From what I can see, the lounge experience with Cap1 has been and continues to be excellent.

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rjb Guest

The devaluation of Capital One Venture X is running full speed ahead. They haven't even opened the lounge at IAD yet three years after the announcement. And the credit card issuers wonder why we churn and burn? We are just trying to stay one step ahead of the bean counters.

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Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Brian -- No updates on my end. Do you have a link to where someone posted that?

1
Mark Guest

I’ve had Venture X for almost 15 months and been to lounges in BOS 6 times, YYZ twice, YUL, LAX, MSY, and NRT. I was only turned away once because the restaurant (no longer available) was closed. Once I had to wait a few minutes but when I explained I only had time for a very brief stop I was let in. From what I can see, the lounge experience with Cap1 has been and continues to be excellent.

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