Plaza Premium Melbourne Lounge Review
How does Plaza Premium's pay-as-you-go lounge fare against other options? Points Finder's Amy Bradney-George shares her thoughts.
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Points Finder Lounge Rating:
Nestled among the other lounges in Melbourne Airport's international terminal (T2), the Plaza Premium Lounge offers a mix of spaces where you can relax before flights, including a comfortable dining area, bar, secluded work station and comfy seats with views of the tarmac. It's also one of only two lounges in the terminal where you can pay for entry (the other being the marhaba).
I visited the lounge early in the morning on a public holiday, so it was very quiet. I took advantage of this by getting a coffee from the friendly barista before checking out the different features and services available. While I'd previously explored the lounge when it first opened, it was interesting to see how everything fits together after months in operation.
What I liked
- Variety of spaces. The lounge has an excellent layout, with the dining area at the heart of the space. Here, you'll find booths to the side, as well as more open seating if you're feeling social or travelling with a large group. There's also a bar to one side, a secluded work area, and both lounge chairs and work stations that give you views of the tarmac (via the arrivals concourse). You can read more about the benefits of this design in my colleague Angus Kidman's insightful piece on designing lounges that cater to solo travellers.
- Connectivity. The Plaza Premium Lounge has its own Wi-Fi service, which was easy to connect to and fast when I was there. I also saw regular power points and USB charging stations dotted around the different areas.
- Friendly staff. I was really impressed by the staff during my visit. Everyone was very friendly and went out of their way to answer any questions I had. They were chatty with other guests as well, but also respected people's privacy – a rare balance to achieve.
- Full food and drink service. Breakfast included the usual suspects such as toast, pastries, fruit, yoghurt and muesli. There was also hot food including sausages, eggs, bacon and porridge, as well as a live cooking station where you could get made-to-order meals.
The kitchen is shared with the American Express Lounge next door and staff said new dishes were being introduced regularly, so it sounds like there is a decent variety of options for different meals.
Along with food, there were cold drinks in a fridge as well as a barista at the bar (which offers a fine selection of alcoholic drinks later in the day).
INSIDER TIPAs an independently-owned lounge, you won't hear flight departure announcements here, but there are departure screens near the entrance where you can keep track of flights.
What I didn’t like
While my visit was generally a very pleasant experience, I did note a few (very minor) annoyances:
- Although the windows to the tarmac bring in some natural light (once the sun rises), the lounge's brown and grey colour scheme did make everything seem a bit too dark for my liking.
- In the dining area, finding a power point was a bit like playing hide-and-seek. Eventually I realised there were two under the table at my booth, and I could see a reasonable amount elsewhere in the lounge so you should be OK if you need to charge one or two devices.
- No showers. Unfortunately you can't freshen up with a shower in the Plaza Premium Lounge in Melbourne – yet. There are plans to fit the bathrooms with showers in the future though, which would be a huge bonus for people waiting between flights or those who skip a shower before heading to the airport for an international flight.
- Opening hours. The lounge is open from 6am to 11pm so if you're on a flight that leaves really early or really late, you may not be able to access it for as long as you'd like (if at all).
Points Finder Lounge Rating: 3/5 stars
THE POINTS FINDER TAKEThe layout and friendly staff, along with the variety of food and drink options, make this lounge a comfortable and pleasant space to relax before a flight – even if you're booked in economy. The addition of showers and longer opening hours would take this lounge to the next level.
THE FINDER LOUNGE REVIEW PROMISE: Our lounge reviews are based on a visit to the actual lounge during normal operation. We offer an honest and open critique from one of our frequent flyer experts, and update with any relevant news as it comes to hand. Being in a lounge should always be more pleasant than just being stuck with waiting at the gate, but we won't shy away from highlighting issues. Learn more about how our scoring works.
Plaza Premium Melbourne lounge details
Location: International terminal (Terminal 2), down the escalators near Gate 9 (after security screening and duty free shopping).
Opening hours: 6am to 11pm daily.
Lounge programs or memberships that offer you access: Priority Pass and LoungeKey memberships give you access to this lounge.
How much does it cost to visit the lounge? A 2-hour visit costs $67.50 per adult, with a fee of $48 for each child aged between 2-11 that you want to bring with you (children under 2 can enter without charge). A 5-hour visit costs $78 per adult and $54 per child. Note that you will need to select AUD as your preferred currency when you book through the Plaza Premium website.
Maximum number of guests: 109.
Earning points for your lounge visit
If you're paying for entry to the Plaza Premium Lounge, you can use a rewards or frequent flyer credit card to earn points on each dollar spent. While you can pay when you get there, if you have a card that offers a higher earn rate for overseas purchases, booking via the website could be an easy way to get a few extra points (you could also do this by pre-loading US dollars on a Qantas Travel Money or Velocity Global Wallet). But based on the entry fee, even a card that offers 2 points per $1 will only get you up to 120 points.
Arrture rewards program
Another option is to join Plaza Premium's rewards program, Arrture, which offers you 100 points for every eligible visit to a participating Plaza Premium Lounge. Rewards include lounge access and other Plaza Premium services (such as spa treatments), as well as travel accessories, electronics and other merchandise.
Arrture is free to join and also offers other benefits, such as discounts on lounge entry. At the time of writing, you can get 15% off standard walk-in rates at participating Plaza Premium lounges. This includes the Melbourne and Brisbane international airport lounges in Australia, as well as locations in Canada, China, Malaysia, Singapore and the UK.
Pictures: Amy Bradney-George
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