We’re always on the look-out for double-dipping opportunities because earning rewards in two programs at once makes your spending more efficient.
But Plaza Premium Lounge’s new loyalty program (called Arrture) is especially interesting — with certain rewards cards, you can rack up points in the program without paying a cent.
Plaza Premium is a small-ish airport lounge network operating at 35 airports that prides itself on offering amenities above and beyond what run-of-the-mill lounges offer (some locations include VIP concierges, private suites, spas, baggage handling and more). Plaza Premium is an independent lounge network (meaning it’s not tied to an airline or limited to first-class passengers). It operates with a pay-per-use model, and you must book your lounge “stay” (say, two hours) at least 24 hours in advance.
Its newly launched Arrture loyalty program allows you to earn loyalty points toward future lounge stays. As of January 2017, Arrture has been rolled out in 17 airports (all of them outside the U.S.) See a list of participating locations here.
After you sign up by filling out an application at a Plaza Premium lounge, you’ll earn 100 points per visit. You can redeem your points for lounge stay vouchers (2,000 points gets you a three-hour stay). Your vouchers can be used by anyone, and you can share them with friends and family. There are other perks to Arrture membership, including a 15 percent discount for walk-in services.
Here’s where your credit cards come in
With only a couple exceptions, the Plaza Premium lounge network overlaps with the Priority Pass lounge network. And access to Priority Pass lounges comes as a built-in perk on several high-end cards:
- Luxury Card (Black and Gold versions)
- Citi Prestige
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- American Express Platinum and Business Platinum (American Express is a CreditCardForum advertising partner)
This means the above cards will get you (and possibly some guests, depending on the card’s policy and the lounge rules) into Plaza Premium lounges at no extra cost. The Arrture terms and conditions confirm you still earn points if you gain complimentary access to the lounges via your card:
So, assuming that your travels take you airports with Plaza Premium lounges that take part in the Arrture program — and that you have one of the cards above — you can earn points without spending anything.
You may wonder what use Arrture points (good for 3-hour lounge stays) would be to you if you already get in for free with your card, here are some reasons you still may want to enroll:
- You may not have your premium credit card forever: Perhaps the high annual fee on your card stops justifying the benefits, and you cancel it. If you’ve become accustomed to luxury lounges, having a cache of Arrture points can still get you into Plaza Premium lounges.
- You can give your lounge vouchers to friends/family: Depending on your credit card and the individual lounge’s rules, you may have to pay for your travelling companions to access the lounge with you. The vouchers you earn with your Arrture points can be used by anyone, so you can share the wealth with your travel buddies.
What if you have a card that rewards bonus points on travel expenses — or refunds you via statement credit for “travel” purchases? Will they also allow you to double-dip with the Arrture program? Probably not. The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards, for example, give you bonus points on travel expenses (as Chase defines them). Chase’s list of eligible travel expenses, however, does not include airport lounges:
Other cards, the Premier Rewards Gold card from American Express, for example, have no complimentary lounge access — but reimburse you for travel expenses on your airline of choice. However, because Plaza Premium lounges are not affiliated with airlines, entry charges would not be reimbursed.
The bottom line
If you find yourself in a Plaza Premium lounge and able to enroll in Arrture, it may be worth the couple minutes spent applying, if:
- You have a credit card with Priority Pass access so you can accrue Arrture points without spending extra. Or …
- … You frequent Plaza Premium lounges and would pay for them anyway.