Plaza Premium takes over lounges in Cairns, Christchurch, Queenstown

Cairns' Reef Lounge, and NZ's Manaia lounges, are among 13 global locations joining the Plaza Premium fold.

By Chris C., June 29 2021
Plaza Premium takes over lounges in Cairns, Christchurch, Queenstown

Plaza Premium will add lounges in Cairns, Christchurch and Queenstown to its growing portfolio as the company acquires a collection of airport facilities operated by Menzies.

This includes the Reef Lounge for international passengers at Cairns Airport, along with the Manaia lounges in Christchurch and Queenstown, which again serve travellers jetting abroad.

As part of the plan, these will all be rebranded as Plaza Premium Lounges – although the company is yet to firm-up a timeline.

They’ll join 10 other Menzies-operated lounges also joining the Plaza Premium stable, covering locations across Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Isle of Man and Stockholm in Europe, plus Durban and Johannesburg in South Africa, and Windhoek in Namibia.

“The 13 Menzies lounges will become a strategic addition to the growing Plaza Premium Lounge and affiliate lounge network in the coming years,” said Plaza Premium Group CCO, Bora Isbulan.

Cairns, New Zealand lounge access

For the time being, there’s no change to access policies at Cairns’ Reef Lounge and New Zealand’s Manaia lounges.

This means Priority Pass members can still visit the Manaia Lounge in Queenstown – which has just reopened its doors, despite NZ temporarily pausing all green zone arrivals from Australia – as well as the Manaia Lounge in Christchurch, once it also reopens.

But as Plaza Premium is ending its relationship with Priority Pass on June 30, it’s likely that access for the cardholders will eventually be removed, in line with other Plaza Premium lounges.

This could see new access opportunities for AMEX Platinum Charge Card and Centurion Card holders – who can access every Plaza Premium lounge globally – particularly in Cairns, where the Reef Lounge cannot currently be accessed via Priority Pass.

Plaza Premium shifts alliance to DragonPass

Plaza Premium is instead forging a new alliance with DragonPass, to create what it describes as “the largest global network of airport lounges”.

The company currently operates over 200 own-brand and third-party lounges, and expects this figure to jump to 500 lounges in the next three years.

In addition, DragonPass maintains access partnerships with a further 1,200 worldwide lounges beyond the Plaza Premium family (over 1,300, with select Plaza Premium locations included).

This is expected to give the brands a joint network of 1,700+ locations by 2024.

By comparison, that's about as many lounges as all of Star Alliance and SkyTeam – or Star Alliance and Oneworld – combined.

The news comes as rival Aspire Lounges takes charge of The House in Sydney and Melbourne, My Lounge in Brisbane, and plans to open a brand new lounge for domestic travellers at Perth Airport in July.

Read: No1 Lounges exits Australia as Aspire takes over

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1190

It will be interesting to see if Plaza Premium are also looking at the currently unused ex-VA lounges in both Darwin and Cairns.  Virgin has, so far, seemed disinterested in reopening these lounges even though travel to both Cairns and Darwin has boomed this year.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Oct 2018

Total posts 1

Any word on when the Christchurch lounge might be reopening? I've always liked both the Manaia lounges, basic but comfortable. 

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