Plaza Premium’s divorce with Priority Pass and LoungeKey will be finalised at the end of this month, removing almost all of its 180+ lounges from the two programs.
It’s long been suspected that Plaza Premium must have something else up its sleeve, and indeed they’ve just announced a partnership with DragonPass which could have very interesting implications.
DragonPass x Plaza Premium partnership
The partnership will bring together the DragonPass network of 1,200+ lounges globally, and Plaza Premium’s network of 180+ own-branded and third-party managed lounges. Together with planned additions, the goal is to have more than 1,500 lounges in the joint network by 2025.
Now, as far as I’m aware, DragonPass members were already able to access every Plaza Premium lounge out there, so today’s announcement doesn’t change much, apart from confirming that this arrangement will continue. But Plaza Premium does have a few more concepts under its umbrella such as the transit hotel Aerotel and various airport dining options, which could perhaps mean more offers through the DragonPass app.
It gets more interesting if you view this development from the Plaza Premium perspective, however, and in particular those holding credit cards with Plaza Premium lounge access. I’ve confirmed with DragonPass that cardholders with Plaza Premium entitlements will get access to the DragonPass global network “in the near future”.
As a reminder, here’s the credit cards which currently come with DragonPass or Plaza Premium lounge access.
|Card||Lounge Network||Free Visits
|Income Requirement S$30-50K|
|ICBC Global Travel Mastercard^||DragonPass||6*||N/A|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend||Plaza Premium||4||N/A|
|Income Requirement ≥S$120K
|BOC Visa Infinite||Plaza Premium||2||N/A|
|CIMB Visa Infinite||DragonPass||3||N/A|
|UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card||DragonPass||4||N/A|
|OCBC VOYAGE||Plaza Premium||∞||∞|
|AMEX Platinum Charge||Priority Pass, Plaza Premium, AMEX & Centurion Lounges, Delta SkyClubs||∞ + 1-2 guests||∞ + 1-2 guests|
|Priority Banking Customers|
|OCBC PB Visa Infinite||Plaza Premium||2||2|
|^Also available on ICBC Horoscope Credit Card, ICBC Chinese Zodiac Credit Card and ICBC Unionpay Dual Currency Credit Card
All caps refer to membership year, with the exception of those marked with *, which follow calendar year
This is a major win for OCBC VOYAGE cardholders, therefore, whose choice of lounges will go from 180+ to 1,380+. AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders will also benefit, assuming American Express doesn’t see Priority Pass and a pseudo-DragonPass as a duplication of benefits and axe one.
DragonPass also tells me that they will be onboarding the Plaza Premium First lounges to their network, although it’s less clear what the actual arrangement will look like. For the uninitiated, Plaza Premium First lounges are a special collection catering to elite and high value passengers, with dine-on-demand menus, spa services and luxury amenities like Elemis, Lavazaa, and TWG.
There’s only two such lounges now; one in Hong Kong, and one in Kuala Lumpur. I visited the lounge in Hong Kong, and was seriously impressed by what it had on offer. In fact, I’m really hoping the facility reopens by the time the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB gets underway, as I’d love to go back again.
I certainly don’t believe that a DragonPass membership will let you waltz into a Plaza Premium First lounge for free, but hopefully there’ll be the option to pay a reasonable upcharge, or to earn a free visit through the Smart Traveller loyalty scheme.
Plaza Premium was always a bit of an oddball- large enough to have its absence felt (Priority Pass and LoungeKey will be scrambling to find alternatives in airports where Plaza Premium lounges were the only option), but not large enough to strike it out on their own.
This partnership is a major coup for DragonPass, which is on track to become the largest lounge network on earth. It’s also great news for anyone whose credit card currently has DragonPass or Plaza Premium lounge access.
For everyone else, we’ll have to sit tight and see how LoungeKey/Priority Pass respond.