Plaza Premium First Lounge Hong Kong – Interesting New Concept

Plaza Premium is one of the largest operators of lounges around the world. You may be familiar with Plaza Premium lounges, which are independent airport lounges that airlines often contract to, and that can typically also be accessed by Priority Pass members. On top of that, Plaza Premium operates some lounges you may be familiar with, without you even knowing it. For example, for years Plaza Premium managed many of Cathay Pacific’s lounges in Hong Kong, though they recently lost that contract.

I’ve reviewed quite a few of the Plaza Premium contract lounges around the world (including in Kuala Lumpur, London, and Vancouver), and they’re mostly all right. I’d say they’re quite consistent and generally slightly above average for contract lounges, though it’s rare that I’m blown away by them.

Last year Plaza Premium introduced a lounge concept called Plaza Premium First, which debuted in Kuala Lumpur, and a second location is now opening in Hong Kong. This is an interesting concept that I wanted to look at more closely in this post.

What is Plaza Premium First?

Plaza Premium First is supposed to be a higher end version of Plaza Premium lounges, with better services, food, and drinks. To be honest I haven’t heard much about the one in Kuala Lumpur, though a nearly 9,000 square foot Plaza Premium First Lounge is opening in Hong Kong. The lounge has already had a soft opening, and is having the official grand opening on July 25.

The lounge is located near Gate 1 at Hong Kong Airport, and will be open 24 hours per day.

So, what makes the new Plaza Premium First Lounge Hong Kong better than the adjacent Plaza Premium Lounge?

  • In the Plaza Premium First Lounge you get a tour of the lounge when you arrive (not that I view this as a huge benefit, but I’m just sharing what they claim is different)
  • The lounge features a la carte dining and a premium selection of drinks, above and beyond what you’d find in the regular lounge
  • The lounge partners with premium brands like Elemis, TWG, Lavazza, and more, to offer better features in the lounge
  • The lounge offers complimentary massage treatments, though I’m not sure how long the treatments are, and what the choices are

Here are some pictures of the new Plaza Premium First Lounge Hong Kong:

Here’s a video I found on YouTube of the new lounge:

The lounge looks pretty nice to me!

How can you access the Plaza Premium First Lounge Hong Kong?

To access Plaza Premium First, you can pay the following amounts, depending on how long you’re staying:

  • 880HKD for three hours
  • 980HKG for five hours
  • 1080HKD for eight hours
  • 1180HKD for 10 hours

It’s also possible that some airlines will use the lounge for their passengers (I’d only expect premium airlines to do this, since they’d obviously be paying more than using the regular Plaza Premium lounge), so we’ll have to wait and see.

Then there’s something else interesting. As noted by Edison in the Ask Lucky forumPriority Pass members can access the Plaza Premium First Lounge Hong Kong with a 200HKD (~25USD) per person co-pay.

I imagine there will be conflicting viewpoints on this. Some will surely say it’s a devaluation that there are now co-pays for some Priority Pass lounges. Personally I view this as a positive. Nothing is being taken away, because you can still use the regular Plaza Premium lounge. However, you now have the option to pay an extra $25 for better drinks, a la carte dining, and a massage. With a decently long layover, that sounds like a deal to me.

I think the bigger concern is this becoming a trend, where lounges increasingly have co-pays for access. I doubt we’ll see it on a larger scale, but it is a legitimate concern.

Bottom line

It’s interesting to see Plaza Premium get more into the premium lounge space. I’m curious to check out this lounge myself, and will be sure to review it the next time I pass through Hong Kong. I expect it won’t in any way compare to Cathay Pacific’s amazing Pier First Class Lounge, though it sounds like it might actually be better than the Amex Centurion Lounge Hong Kong, based on the complimentary massages and a la carte dining.

What do you make of the Plaza Premium First concept? Would you pay the co-pay to visit as a Priority Pass member?

Comments

  1. Are you kidding ?

    This is exactly the same game plan as behind basic economy fares.

    Move what you have for free currently downscale.

  2. $25 USD for better F&B is probably pretty decent depending on the quality, looking forward to the review. It’ll obviously be less crowded too which is nice.

    Centurion Lounge HKG does have a la carte dining for Centurion card holders in a separate room. Menu is small but food is nice, with both a chinese and western menu.

  3. Lucky, maybe someone else closer to you needs to tell you, but your use of the spelling “alright” make you seem less intelligent than you are.

  4. I think this is great. if the normal price is 880HKD I think 250HKD is VERY fair! Priority Pass is not for First Class luxury lounges. If this lounge is what they advertise it to be, the price is fine.

  5. Why is this post tagged Other Airlines, if this lounge does not fly, please update the post if it does fly. I’ll be off to Hong Kong immediately if it does.

  6. You can also use Arrture points instead of cash for an upgrade, which is a much better value.

  7. Plaza premium no longer manages the Cathay lounges at HKG. Sodexo now does with a marked degradation in quality of catering.

  8. Plaza premium no longer manages Cathay lounges at HKG. They are run by Sodexo with a marked degradation in catering.

  9. @erick schmitt
    And I’m sure you could have pointed out the spelling mistake in a way that makes you less douchey than you are.

  10. I’m wondering that this Plaza Premium First Lounge HKG doesnt appear on the Priority Pass app ??

  11. Nothing is taken away? This WAS a premium plaza lounge that WERE FREE for many credit card holders.

  12. If the existing Plaza Premium lounge offerings stay the same, and this is just an option to pay $25 to buy up to a better product, then this seems fair to me. (I’d NEVER consider paying the $110 regular price, though.) What I’m afraid of, though, is exactly what @Debit said, i.e. this is the start of a Basic Economy concept where the “free” lounge amenities are degraded. I hope not, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

  13. @ AST — Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s my understanding that Plaza Premium took over an expanded lounge footprint (as another lounge operator was vacating), and they made part of it the Plaza Premium Lounge, and part of it the Plaza Premium First Lounge.

  14. @ Uwe — One of two reasons, potentially. One reason could be because it’s not officially open for a few more days, and Priority Pass tends to take a while to update their site. Another potential reason is that it may just not be listed given that a co-pay is required, so instead the website will just list the other Plaza Premium Lounge, and you’ll have to know that you can visit this one with a co-pay.

  15. @Debit
    Spot on. Now every lounge will upcharge for every single visit. A new Priority Pass plus with will be available for $999 that waives the upcharge. A new credit card with $749 annual fee will come with this pass and 50,000 signup bonus.

    EVERYONE WINS BUT US USERS.

  16. No – won’t pay for the upgrade to PP premium. Rarely use PP lounges – as I generally have lounge access through the airline. Don’t need that burger and fries.

  17. Qatar Airways uses the Plaza Premium First in Kuala Lumpur as a contract lounge.

    It’s definitely quieter than the regular plaza premium as you get a horde of credit card users using that lounge.

    You get table service and at best 3 to 4 mediocre ala carte selections which is still better than the pathetic buffet you get at the regular lounge in KL. There’s a few shower rooms and unfortunately no free massage services. You get to pour your own draft beer as well which is kinda cool

  18. I recently flew KUL-IST on TK and despite being a regular traveller through KUL (Weekly) I was surprised when I was directed to the PP First Lounge. Its a welcome improvement over the existing Plaza Premium lounge although nothing special. One more things is that the KL lounge isn’t part of the Priory Pass network.

  19. @ lucky “Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s my understanding that Plaza Premium took over an expanded lounge footprint (as another lounge operator was vacating), and they made part of it the Plaza Premium Lounge, and part of it the Plaza Premium First Lounge.”

    That’s what I gathered as well when I walked by the lounge this morning on my way to Cathay’s lounge.

  20. This is exactly the same concept as the No. 1 lounges “Clubrooms” in the UK, including an upgrade price of £15 if you belong to a loyalty club and advertises as a 1st class experience. Given the waiter service, champagne instead of prosecco, premium brands and it being quieter, the concept seems good value – I was looking it up yesterday for my winter holiday to Hurghada, as only Easyjet and charter flights go there, so there is no flight with a premium class (I could go indirectly with Egyptair but I’m not into dry airlines!) Interestingly No. 1 have also started another new concept of “guaranteed” entry for loyalty club members – you book online in advance and pay £5 for their regular lounges and £20 for clubrooms to mitigate the risk they advertise of being turned away as a loyalty club member if they consider the lounge to be too busy. However the “guaranteed” price also includes fastrack security, so at busy times it would be worth it too.

  21. I’m not a PP holder but I passed the Plaza Premium lounge this past Tuesday at around 5pm and the line to get in was out the door. I guess any lounge access is better than no access but I do have to say I really don’t like how overly crowded certain lounges can get. I’d gladly pay the extra $25 not only for the better food but for a less crowded area to work and relax before a flight.

  22. I was at HKG earlier this month and passed by the Plaza Premium lounge. Wasn’t willing to pay the extra so went to the regular Plaza Premium lounge which is now further down the terminal.

    It was a zoo. The regular lounge space is WAY smaller than the old one (which is now premium). So imagine you have the same people now squeezed into that space. There wasn’t a single sitting space open. A few long tables are there which have outlets. Great right? Nope… none of them worked.

    So to me this is a DEFINITE downgrade. Or a very deliberate attempt to get us to upgrade to premium

  23. I’ve the Amex Platinum so would probably head to the Centurion – even though it’s buffet style food I’ve always found the offerings at the Amex Centurions stateside to be pretty upscale, and would expect the same for the HK one.

    That said, for PP members I think paying $25 for a la carte service, premium offerings like ?jamon iberico, champagne over prosecco, massages etc, in addition to probably lower crowds, might be a value proposition…

  24. “Plaza premium no longer manages the Cathay lounges at HKG. Sodexo now does with a marked degradation in quality of catering.” – People started complaining about the food/service while Plaza Premium was in charge and that is part of the reason they were fired and Sodexo was brought in.

  25. The old Plaza Premium lounge in HK was pretty miserable, although it worked in a push if you needed somewhere to go, weren’t on a OW airline, and before the Centurion lounge existed for Amex cardholders. I haven’t flown through HKG in a few months but if they have indeed reduced the size of the the “normal” plaza premium lounge, it would be effectively unusable (it was crowded at the best of times), so this would be a real attempt to force people into the co-pay.

    This would represent a devaluation of Priority Pass but a big differentiation factor for Amex to advertise – Centurion lounge access is now an excellent advantage there for those that don’t hold One World status.

  26. @Varun Susarla

    Why is the joke on me????
    Everything is more expensive in UAE booze, drugs, hookers. CC companies are smart, they know that the flashy AMEX card is (used to be) an Arab wet dream. Add that to overpaying about everything (except oil) to turn the forsaken desert into a men’s wet dream playground (limited perks for women, sorry). Arabs are smart, they just have wayyy too much money to concern such a tiny issue like annual fees. They rather complain that their $2M Bugatti Veyron doesn’t come in pink and the daughter is unhappy about it than complain about paying peanut dust more than their American friends.

    So if AMEX is $749 is USA then jokes on YOU, because you WILL pay $2,249 for a worse card than mine.

  27. Sitting here at the new First line in HKG. It’s been a few years since I was in the old one here, but I remember it always being really busy. This one is really quiet, with a staff to guest ratio approaching 1:1. Food offerings are mediocre (you get one a la carte offering plus whatever you want from their semi-buffet). They do have a beyond meat burger and beyond meat chili, so if you’re looking for a vegan option I guess this is a good place. Massage is 10 minutes. Showers are nice, but the water never heated up in my stall. All told, it’s not really worth $25, and had I remembered that there was a centurion lounge here, I probably would be sitting there, not adding my thoughts about this new lounge.

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