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One of the great perks of the American Express Gold and Platinum cards is that they offer airport lounge access. With the (free in the first year) Gold Card, you get 2 free visits via Lounge Club and additional visits are relatively reasonable at £15 per person. The Platinum Card (£450 per year annual fee) comes with Priority Pass membership, which grants you and a guest unlimited free lounge access (additional guests are £15).
The quality of the lounges that Priority Pass/Lounge Club membership gets you into though can vary enormously – some are fantastic, most are ok, and some really aren’t worth bothering with even though you aren’t paying. One set of lounges that consistently gets rave reviews are Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouses – and you may be surprised to hear that Priority Pass/Lounge Club membership will grant you access (to some of them!).
The reason this is surprising is that lounges run by the airlines are usually kept for their (and their alliance partners’) Business Class and First Class passengers and elite status-holding frequent flyers. Priority Pass and similar lounge passes normally ‘only’ get you into lounges run by specialist airport lounge operators like No.1, Plaza Premium, Escape, etc.
Late last year, Priority Pass/Lounge Club added the Virgin Clubhouse in Terminal 2 at Los Angeles Airport (LAX) to its roster and now they’ve expanded the deal to include the Clubhouse in Terminal B at New York Newark (EWR) and the Clubhouse at Washington Dulles (IAD).
The downside is that you can only visit during limited times:
Ok, so Priority Pass might not get you into Virgin Atlantic’s flagship lounges at London Heathrow or New York JFK, but the new options are still comfortable and fun places to relax before a flight!
Have you been to any of Virgin’s Clubhouses in the USA – what did you think of them?