Capital One Cardmembers Won’t Lose Access To Virgin Atlantic Lounges After All

Plaza Premium has a partnership to run Virgin Atlantic lounges outside of the U.K. As a result, Plaza Premium’s lounge passes were accepted at these lounges. American Express and Capital One partner with Plaza Premium to provide access to numerous lounges.

So when One Mile at a Time reported that Virgin Clubhouses were cutting Plaza Premium lounge access, it was natural to expect this would affect both American Express and Capital One customers.

  • New York JFK and Boston clubhouses cut off access to Plaza Premium guests immediately
  • San Francisco and Washington Dulles were announced to be losing access February 28, 2023
  • Meaning only Newark would continue to offer access, according to the Plaza premium website earlier in the week.

Now, I’ve seen a report of an American Express Platinum guest being turned away in New York.

However Capital One tells me these changes do not apply to Venture X cardmember access – their deal is separate with the Virgin lounges, and not a function of their accepting Plaza Premium access (which they also provide). According to a spokesperson,

While Plaza Premium is losing access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses in the United States, Capital One cardholders retain access to all five domestic Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses through our Partner Lounge Network. We are excited to continue offering our customers access to these Clubhouses at BOS, JFK, EWR, SFO, and IAD.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse JFK

Interestingly Capital One seems to have a deal both with Plaza Premium for its lounges and separately a deal that specifies access to Virgin lounges. Meanwhile the Plaza Premium website no longer shows access to these lounges as discontinued. I’ve reached to Plaza Premium representatives to learn more.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Wow, this is an interesting development and I’m glad you are diving into this one. There has been a lot of confusion around who has access to the VS lounges. Clearly, Platinum cardholders have been denied entry in recent times, especially during the times when there were VS flights scheduled. However, there has been no empirical data available around C1 Venture X based access.

  2. I can understand why Alex wouldn’t want to pay extra at airports where a Centurion Lounge is available in the same terminal.

    However, in SFO the Amex lounge is not (easily) accessible from A Gates and the non-Virgin options in Terminal A are pretty naff (overcrowded Priority Pass AF lounge)

  3. Every single time I try to use the club at JFK, they say, “Too busy…no credit card admittance.” Every. Time.

  4. I just looked on my PP website for Venture X and the Virgin Clubhouse at EWR and JFK are gone from it

  5. Gary, thanks for following up on this. I can provide a data point here – I was on flying SQ on 12/15 and tried to access the Virgin Clubhouse at JFK with Venture X card. I was told that they were too busy and no admittance.

    I have another flight coming up in the early morning hours this weekend and I called the clubhouse. I was told they can deny credit card customers any time they are busy. And they are busy all the time.

    So my takeaway is that I don’t think credit card customers are welcome at that lounge, regardless of what card you have.

  6. When I tried to use the JFK Clubhouse with my Amex Platinum (mid Feb 2023), the staff member on the door claimed that the card machine was broken so they couldn’t verify Amex cards, and had been broken since August. I complained to Virgin and got an apology and some points to compensate (I was flying with Virgin that day, but not in Upper Class).

  7. It is frustrating and embarrassing to hustle to a Venture X Priority Pass affiliated lounge and then be told “ too busy” , or we don’t accept that card or can’t enter during these hours. Out of 5 times I tried to use PP , I have not yet gotten into 1 lounge. My wife will no longer make the lounge trek until I can prove I’m admitted.
    Better if Venture x would just make a $10-$20 added charge to assure admission to lounges (with food and drink ).

  8. Turned away at SFO today with VX. Claimed Capital One cards are through Plaza Premium and Plaza Premium no longer accepted. So clearly either Capital One or Virgin Atlantic don’t know what’s going on.

  9. I just chatted with the Virgin Atlantic chatbot. The response I received regarding clubhouse lounge access with the Venture X card is:

    “Capital One Venture X cardholders (plus two guests), will be welcomed to our JFK Clubhouse subject to availability on the day.

    This is not available for any other Clubhouse.”

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