Last month we wrote about a new development in the third-party airport lounge sphere, with Plaza Premium cutting ties with the most popular membership scheme in the business, Priority Pass, meaning up to 66 lounges worldwide were set to be axed from the programme.
It wasn’t all bad news, with some Plaza Premium lounges slated to remain as options, but here in Singapore it meant we were facing two potential losses; the Plaza Premium Lounge in Terminal 1 and the Blossom Lounge in Terminal 4.
Plaza Premium T1 is axed from July
With only a small number of Plaza Premium lounges surviving in the Priority Pass scheme, it was a big ask to expect the group’s Changi T1 lounge to survive the cull, especially with two third-party lounge alternatives available elsewhere in the terminal, and Priority Pass has now confirmed this to us.
“The Plaza Premium in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 will be removed on 1st July. The available alternative locations in this terminal will be SATS Premier Lounge and Dnata Lounge.”Priority Pass spokesperson
We rate the Terminal 1 facility as one of the best Priority Pass options at the airport (though it’s currently closed due to COVID-19), so it is a shame to see it removed from the Priority Pass and LoungeKey networks.
The lounge also serves as a great pre-flight location for not only the ‘C’ gate departures from Terminal 1 but also for those departing from many of the ‘B’ gates in Terminal 3, with the Plaza Premium T1 lounge actually giving you a shorter walk once boarding is called compared to the T3 lounges!
It’s also the only third-party lounge in Terminal 1 with decent external (runway) views.
Some travellers will retain access
Luckily for our readers holding the American Express Platinum Charge card, the Maybank Horizon Visa Signature card and the OCBC Voyage card, T1 Plaza Premium lounge access will continue to be available, though the guest allowance does sometimes differ from your Priority Pass membership.
Plaza Premium’s partnership with DragonPass will also continue, meaning those holding some ICBC and CIMB cards, plus UOB Visa Infinite Metal cardholders, will still benefit.
Blossom Lounge T4 will remain
As we mentioned last month, the Blossom Lounge looked a safe bet to remain in the Priority Pass programme. Not only does it represent the only third-party option in Terminal 4, it’s not solely a Plaza Premium facility – in fact being operated jointly by SATS and Plaza Premium.
Following enquiries, Priority Pass kindly confirmed to us that the Blossom Lounge in T4 will remain part of the Priority Pass scheme even after the major ‘cull’ on 1st July 2021.
“Blossom Lounge in Terminal 4 will remain in the Priority Pass network.”Priority Pass spokesperson
It’s a little academic for now of course, with Changi’s Terminal 4 currently closed as part of cost-saving measures due to low traffic levels at the airport.
Once T4 does reopen, however, it’s a great relief to know that Priority Pass members won’t be left without a lounge option in this (distant, somewhat disconnected) terminal.
While T4 predominantly served low-cost carriers, the Blossom Lounge was also a useful sanctuary for those without elite status travelling in Economy Class with some full-service carriers too, including Cathay Pacific, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines.
Other Changi Airport lounges on Priority Pass
Luckily for Priority Pass members there is no shortage of third-party lounges at Changi Airport, so the loss of the single Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 1 should be only a minor inconvenience.
Once travel restarts and all terminals reopen, there is still a wide selection of options available.
- Dnata Lounge
- SATS Premier Lounge
- TBC (redevelopment ongoing, however two non-Plaza Premium third party lounges were previously available)
Priority Pass adding 150 lounges this year
Fresh from its ‘divorce’ with Plaza Premium, Priority Pass has come back fighting this week with the announcement that it will add 150 airport lounges worldwide to the programme by the end of 2021, in addition to 100 airport experiences and off-airport lounges.
32 of the new lounges have already opened, with the lion’s share in China but also now including Lufthansa Business lounges at New York JFK, Newark and Washington Dulles airports.
Let’s hope some additional options in Asia will help replace the Plaza Premium losses at airports like Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Taipei.
Plaza Premium launches PPL Pass
Around 57 of Plaza Premium’s lounges worldwide are now confirmed to be leaving the Priority Pass network, out of 66 currently participating.
Plaza Premium also has 10 additional lounges, including its ‘Plaza Premium First’ lounge collection, which were not included in the Priority Pass scheme.
No major surprise then that following the Priority Pass disconnect, a new membership programme has been developed to give you access to these Plaza Premium lounges for an annual fee, based on your usage.
“We’re excited to introduce you to Plaza Premium Lounge Pass, or PPL Pass in short, the new and improved digital means to Plaza Premium Lounges globally.”Plaza Premium
Pricing starts at US$75 (S$100) for two annual visits, or US$68 (S$91) for Smart Traveller members until 31st May 2021, which represents a slight discount on the regular walk-in rate at the Changi T1 lounge (~S$58).
Membership and access is valid for one year after card activation.
This is a similar format to Priority Pass membership, for those who pay directly rather than receiving the benefit as part of their credit card perks.
While it’s sad to see the Plaza Premium lounge at Changi T1 leaving the Priority Pass network on 1st July, it was not unexpected and there are several alternative third-party facilities in T1 and T3 for members to use.
Those with specific credit cards like the OCBC Voyage, or a DragonPass membership, will still retain access to this lounge in any event.
The most important news perhaps is that once Terminal 4 reopens Priority Pass members will retain access to the popular Blossom Lounge, meaning they won’t be deprived of a third-party lounge option or need to resort to paid entry when flying from this terminal.
(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)