Tag Archives: lounge

Plaza Premium launches loyalty program, Citi Prestige and HSBC VI holders take note

Plaza Premium is a contract lounge operator that has more than 140 lounges across 35 airports in 16 countries. The quality of contract lounges can vary greatly, but Plaza Premium is generally one of the better ones- their new lounge in Hong Kong, for example, wouldn’t look out of place for a top tier airline.

Plaza Premium has partnered with Arrture to start its own free-to-join loyalty program where you earn points every time you visit a Plaza Premium lounge. Note that although there are 140+ Plaza Premium lounges, not all are currently participating in this loyalty program. 37 currently are (including, importantly, the one in Singapore) and you can see the full list here.

The program is still in its infancy, but right now the deal is that you earn 100 points every time you visit a Plaza Premium Lounge, and once you hit 2,000 points you can redeem a free Plaza Premium Lounge coupon.  As per their website, they plan to offer other redemption options in the future. At the very worst you could gift that coupon to someone else. You can’t sign up for Arrture online, unfortunately, as you need to pick up a physical form from a participating Plaza Premium lounge.

Why is this interesting? Because Plaza Premium lounges can be accessed through the Priority Pass program, and a lot of miles earning credit cards in Singapore will offer a handful of free visits a year.

Not too long ago I did an article on credit card lounge access. Here’s a recap of who gives you what

Card No of Free Visits Subsequent Visit Guest Visit
Citibank Prestige Unlimited N/A Free
Citibank Premiermiles 2 per annum US$27 US$27, however 2 free visits can be shared between guest and cardholder
DBS Altitude (Visa only) 2 per 12 month membership period US$27 US$27, however the 2 free visits can be shared between guest and cardholder
CIMB Visa Infinite 3 per year US$27 US$27
ANZ Travel Card 2 per quarter with S$10,000 spend N/A N/A
ANZ Signature Priority Banking Visa Infinite 2 lounge passes with min S$5,000 spend in a month N/A N/A
Standard Chartered Visa Infinite 6 per year

(Unlimited if you have the Priority Banking version of the SCB VI)

S$38 S$38

(US$27 if you have the Priority Banking version of the SCB VI)

HSBC Visa Infinite Unlimited N/A S$35
OCBC Voyage 2 per 12 month membership period, unlimited visits to Plaza Premium Lounges till 30 Sept 16  (Thanks Jey for pointing this out!) US$27 US$27
OCBC Elite World 2 per 12 month membership period US$27 US$27
Diners Cards 1 free visit to Diners Club partnered airport lounges from Apr-March Fees apply Guest fees apply
Krisflyer Ascend 4 vouchers for selected SATS and Plaza Prem. Lounges per membership year N/A Voucher can be used for a guest as well
UOB JCB Card Unlimited access to JCB-partnered airport lounges till 31 Mar 17 except in Singapore N/A Guest fees chargeable
Maybank Horizon Platinum Visa 1x Access available with min S$400 spend on airtickets within 3 months of charge. Lounges in SG, JB, KL and HK S$42 Guest fees chargeable @ 20% discount to S$42

I think you know where I’m going with this.

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If you hold a HSBC Visa Infinite or Citibank Prestige card, you get unlimited visits to Priority Pass lounges. Therefore, even if you already have lounge access elsewhere, it might be worth the 5 minutes dropping by the Plaza Premium lounge in T1 every time you depart SIN just to register a visit (as per the T&C, both paid visits and complimentary visits via your credit card issuer count towards points earning).

I personally don’t think the current reward (20 visits= 1 free visit) is that exciting, but I’m keen to see what additional rewards they add to this program. So I would start building my points balance regardless, if I had a card with unlimited lounge access. Obviously, if your credit card only comes with limited visits per year you might be wiser to save those visits for when you really need them.

I see what Plaza Premium is doing here and it’s really quite clever. They know that credit cards which come with unlimited lounge access tend to be top tier ones, owned by people who probably have lounge access of their own already (through flying premium cabins or airline loyalty programs). Since Plaza Premium earns a fee every time someone Priority Passes their way into the lounge, it would make sense for them to encourage such individuals to start utilizing the visits they would otherwise not bother to make.

Too bad I can’t justify paying the annual fees for either the Citibank Prestige or HSBC VI, or I’d be making a lot of trips to Terminal 1…

(HT: Head for Points)

NUSS member? Get complimentary lounge access next time you fly

NUSS is a club in Singapore that is open to any graduate from NUS or “recognised” local and overseas universities (they never actually specify a list. Trump University, anyone?)

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Think of NUSS as “country club lite”, offering many of the benefits of a club without the high costs of membership. You have sports facilities, dining facilities, hosting facilities, regular activities, reciprocal golf arrangements with larger country clubs etc.

You can now add an additional benefit to that list- lounge access. NUSS recently announced a partnership with dnata to offer NUSS members complimentary lounge access in Changi Airport Terminal 1 and 3.

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Each NUSS member can redeem a maximum of 2 complimentary passes from 1 Dec 2016 to 1 Dec 2017. There is a maximum of 250 passes that can be redeemed by members each quarter, i.e. Dec 2016- Mar 2017, April 2017- Jun 2017 etc etc.

The booking interface should be familiar to anyone who has used the NUSS portal to book any facilities. Not the prettiest but it gets things done.

If you’ve exhausted your 2 complimentary passes you can buy a maximum of 5 additional passes per quarter at the following discounted rate-

  • DBS NUSS Cardholders- $10 each
  • Regular NUSS members- $25 each

Regular priced passes start at $50 for adults and $30 for children up to the age of 12. Children below the age of 6 do not require a pass. Have a full read of the FAQ here.

In Terminal 1, dnata operates the Skyview lounge that is used by Cathay Pacific, Delta, Finnair, Priority Pass, Airport Angel and pretty much any other airline/lounge program. I remember visiting this lounge a long time ago and was generally impressed, it was quite good for a contract lounge. You can read a proper review on the lounge here.

EDIT: Since November 2015 dnata is operating a new lounge in T1 that looks a lot nicer. Check out the review here. Thanks Alvin.

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I’ve not yet visited the Terminal 3 facility, but here’s the account of someone who has.  Again, if you go in expecting First Class Terminal or Private Room levels of luxury you’re going to be disappointed, but if you see it as a quiet place to catch up on some work before your flight, or to unwind with a free drink and watch Netflix I think you’ll be just fine.

My stance has always been that Changi Airport is good enough that you don’t really need lounge access (and so efficient that you don’t need to show up that early). However, if you’re already a member, no reason not to take advantage of this.

NUSS membership usually costs S$10,700 but if you’re within 36 months of the date of your graduation (first degree/postgraduate degree provided you’re taking it within 12 months of your first degree) you pay S$2,140.

If you’re thinking of joining, consider using my referral- we’ll each get $250 worth of vouchers (F&B at NUSS for me, Robinsons/CapitaLand for you). You’ll need to provide my referral code WA738R when you sign up.

The Long Way to New York: Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt

Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge, Singapore
Singapore Airlines Business Class SIN-BKK
Thai Airways First Class Lounge & Spa, BKK
Thai Airways First Class BKK-HND
Getting from HND to NRT
ANA First Class Lounge, NRT
ANA First Class NRT-ORD
United Club ORD
United Economy ORD-EWR
Visiting the US Open
Sheraton New York Times Square
Hilton New York Midtown
Wingtips Lounge JFK & Delta to DC
Exploring Washington DC
Element New York Times Square West
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, JFK
Singapore Airlines Suites JFK-FRA
Lufthansa Senator Lounge FRA
Singapore Airlines Suites FRA-SIN


There was a ground crew member waiting at the jetway to escort all the Suites class passengers to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge, about 100m away from the gate. It was a nice touch, but I didn’t really see the point given that (1) it’s impossible to get lost and (2) it’s exactly the same lounge that all *G passengers use, so it’s not like it’s exclusive or something.

Lufthansa has some confusing lounge access rules. The Senator lounge serves Star Alliance First Class and Star Gold members. The Lufthansa Business Lounge is for Star Alliance business class passengers. So you could have a strange situation where Star Gold members flying in Economy join the First Class passengers in the “better” lounge, while Business Class passengers with no status go to the “worse” lounge.

That would be a concern if one lounge were actually better than the other. It’s a moot point really, because the Senator lounge and the Business lounge are almost exactly the same in facilities (and this, in my opinion, is where First Class passengers get a bit shafted. Even the legendarily stingy SQ gives Star Alliance First Class passengers access to the proper First Class lounge in Singapore (albeit not The Private Room). You’re not losing out by going to one over the other.

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photo credit: one mile at a time

The lounge entrance is on the first floor but after your boarding pass is checked you go up an escalator to the second floor.

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Near the entrance there’s a business centre with printing and phone charging facilities.

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There’s also locker storage. It’s a useful feature that I wish they’d add in the Silver Kris lounge in Singapore.

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And before anyone says “but there are too many people transiting in Singapore”, consider Turkish Airlines and their gargantuan baggage storage area at their hub in IST. It can be done.

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The lounge has an on-premise spa, but treatments are not complimentary, nor are they cheap.

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Here’s the spa menu- a 60 minute treatment would set you back 120 euros. I don’t think I saw anyone in the lounge taking this up (for what it’s worth, if you recall my First Class Terminal report in Frankfurt this is the same company that provides spa services for all Lufthansa facilities. I didn’t see a treatment room in the FCT so I assume they cart you over here if you want a treatment)

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The first order of business was to freshen up, so I asked for a shower cubicle. I sound like a broken record here, but dammit, I’m going to make noise until this gets fixed- why can’t SQ have individual shower cubicles in its flagship lounges. Hopefully when the Singapore lounges are redone in the new “Home” theme this will be fixed, but I’m not holding my breath.

Lufthansa’s shower rooms are quite spartan but get the job done. I suppose that’s a summary for Germany as a whole.

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Amenities are on-request only, unfortunately. I much preferred the layout in the ANA lounge where everything you could possibly need (shaver, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb) was already waiting for you. Here I had to explain in broken German to the shower attendant that I needed a toothbrush. By which I mean I mimed every action.

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The shower has nifty button controls, but the toiletries are pump dispenser material. Water pressure and temperature was great.

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There is plenty of seating in the lounge and even though this was a peak period, it was still easy to find space

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I ended up locating near the bar, which was already serving drinks in full flow despite the early hour.

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I knew more great food awaited on the FRA-SIN leg so I didn’t want to fill up, but went over to take photos of the spread anyway.

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The food was definitely breakfast oriented but there were still some interesting choices. I mean, if you want passion fruit cake at 9 in the morning who am I to stop you.

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I don’t think anything particularly jumped out at me, not least the buffet. Staring at the gloopy mess in front of me, I suddenly understood why the Germans invaded France.

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Oh well.

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The drinks selection was much better, fortunately. There was a sunken chiller of still and sparkling water plus bottled beer.

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But why would you want bottled beer when you can pour yourself a draft beer?

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Fountain drinks were also served. I see more and more lounges moving towards using a fountain as opposed to individual cans to minimize wastage and discourage people from taking stuff out of the lounge.

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Several white and red wines were available, including a sparking Riesling

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The buffet may have disappointed but there were fun touches as well, like a kids corner.

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I helped myself to some commemorative gummies.

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I suppose the overall catering was disappointing because Lufthansa is capable of amazing things when it comes to Frankfurt.

A reader told me that I should check out the Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge in Frankfurt because it was much superior, but I totally forgot about it in my jetlagged state. Do have a read of that trip report I linked to if you’re interested because it does look slightly better.

It was time to start the last leg of the journey back to Singapore, and see the Suites cabin in a different light. Morning light, as it were.