The Best Amex Platinum Lounge in JFK: Review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York

VS Clubhouse JFK Esstische

Virgin Atlantic is one of the few airlines in the world whose route network consists exclusively of long-haul routes. The route network from Great Britain is quite impressive – and from what I’ve heard, the airline enjoys a very good reputation.

The same applies to the clubhouse lounges. These are currently available at seven airports worldwide. Originally, Virgin operated all of these lounges itself, but recently there has been a switch: all lounges outside of London are now operated by Plaza Premium and no longer by Virgin. This is good news for all Amex Platinum holders because they get free access to all Plaza Premium Lounges worldwide.

Since I first learned about this benefit in December 2021, I have come to appreciate it very much. Below are some impressions of the Virgin Clubhouse at New York JFK Airport.


JFK Airport is huge and consists of over six active terminals. The largest selection of airline lounges is in Terminal 4. This is where pretty much all international flights that are not operated by Delta, American, United or British Airways depart.

Virgin Atlantic is also among them – and accordingly, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is there too. It’s located above Gate A5 in Terminal 4. That’s a good five-minute walk from security. Depending on the departure gate, you should plan a walk of up to 20 minutes, because the terminal is very long.

Lately, I only flew with JetBlue, American and British Airways. None of these airlines uses Terminal 4. Luckily, at JFK Airport, changing terminals for lounge hopping isn’t a problem. To do this, however, you have to go through the security check every time – only recommended if you have enough time and/or TSA precheck.


There are a number of ways to gain access to Virgin Clubhouses. In New York (JFK) you have the following options:

  • Business class ticket with Virgin Atlantic
  • Business class ticket with Delta (Delta One to UK only)
  • Delta SkyMiles Diamond / Platinum / Gold cardholders (on Virgin / Delta flights to UK)
  • Frequent flyer of a partner program in connection with any Virgin Atlantic flight
    • Singapore KrisFlyer Elite Gold / PPS
    • Flying Blue Platinum
    • Virgin Australia Velocity Gold / Platin / The Club
  • Amex Platinum holders with any ticket (+ 1 guest)
    • max. 3 hours before departure
VS Clubhouse JFK Eingang
Entrance to the Virgin Clubhouse, JFK (at that time still with mask mandate)

Access to the Virgin Clubhouses is not listed in all lounge finders for the Amex Platinum as these are often outdated. I therefore usually use the American lounge finder and have never been turned away – not even in the Virgin Clubhouse.

Virgin Clubhouse in the American Amex Lounge Finder
(the American Amex Platinum allows two guests, while most others only allow one)

In some cases, however, access may be denied when the lounge is already full. This is probably the case shortly before the departure of Virgin flights to Great Britain. There are a few corresponding field reports in Flyertalk.


The Virgin Clubhouse in New York covers an area of approximately 650 m². This is not overwhelming for an airport lounge, but the lounge in Terminal 4 also caters to a rather small target group.

The lounge is essentially divided into three larger areas:

  • a restaurant area with real, set tables
  • a lounge area with a large bar, armchairs and similar seating
  • a third area made up of small armchairs with lounge tables by the window front

What I missed a bit is a reasonable place to work. I don’t want to block the restaurant area with my laptop for a long time, but apart from that, there are hardly any real tables. A long table at the entrance is the most suitable option:

VS Clubhouse JFK Langer Tisch
Wide table near the entrance, often unoccupied

If you just want to relax a bit before departure, you can stay in the clubhouse. There are only 13 dining tables, but there are also a few armchairs and bar tables. They can get full, but one or two free places can usually still be found. And the right beers, cocktails, etc. are available at the bar.

The interior also stands out positively from the sterile lounges of other airlines. There is, among other things, a snooker table, suitcases with the imprint London Calling and – depending on the season – one or more Christmas trees.

VS Clubhouse JFK London calling
Most of the passengers here are probably going to London

Food & Drinks

The number one reason to visit the Virgin lounge (at least for me) is the food served there. After several days of travel, even I am fed up with the lounge food. The à la carte dining in the clubhouse offers a welcome change.

In principle, you can have the food delivered to your table anywhere in the lounge. But of course, it is more stylish in the dining area:

Here you can either order via QR code on your smartphone or directly from the waiter. Personally, I prefer to use the QR code – but with a real menu, you get a real restaurant feeling.

VS Clubhouse JFK QR Code
Order via QR code or menu. In proper style with a cloth napkin, wine glass – and a view of the Etihad plane

There is no buffet in the lounge. All drinks must also be ordered via app or from the waiter – or, if necessary, picked up at the bar.

Below are a few screenshots of the digital menu as of July 2022. Since my last visit in spring 2022, the range has apparently been expanded again:

As always, I made an effort during my visit to give you as comprehensive an insight as possible into the menu:

Of the dishes shown, I was particularly impressed by the freshly fried vegetables and the lava cake at the end. The burger and the chicken, while not bad, were a bit dry overall.

In general, I would like a few more fresh, non-fried main courses. However, for a lounge, this is whining at a very high level. You’ll always leave full – and if you want to eat healthily, you can also grab a salad.


Especially in the restaurant area, the service was initially very attentive to me. However, the service slowed down a bit when I pointed out that I preferred to order via QR code. Apparently, the waiter saw his chances of a tip dwindling at this point.


Regarding tips: The opinions regarding tips in airport lounges differ greatly on sites such as Flyertalk, BoardingArea, etc. Some bloggers believe that tipping in a US lounge is like a restaurant, meaning that you estimate the approximate value of the food and leave 15% to 20% of it at the table as a tip.

Others are of the opinion that the service is included in the flight ticket or lounge access. At American’s flagship dining, for example, tips are explicitly forbidden – but only in theory. In any case, I belong to the latter group and rarely leave a few dollars on the table.

Apparently, the food is really freshly prepared in the lounge. Anyway, I had to wait around 10 to 20 minutes depending on the dish before it was served. In other lounges, employees are only busy scooping food out of a warming pot and onto a plate. In this case, the waiting time is a clear plus point for me.

Wi-Fi & Power Sockets

Wi-Fi is of course available free of charge in the lounge – a password is not required. While the network isn’t the fastest I’ve seen in a lounge (this title goes to Calgary), it’s still decent. In the speed test, I achieved 60 Mbps as a download speed and a little more upstream:

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse JFK Speedtest

In order to be able to work properly, one thing is still missing: sockets. These are rather sparsely distributed in the lounge, just as there is a lack of decent workspaces. If you are careful when choosing a seat, you will find a seat with a socket. But it turns out that the lounge isn’t really designed for working – it’s more for relaxing before a flight. Afterwards, I preferred to go to the Centurion Lounge to work. Luckily, it’s only a few minutes away.


There are also several shower rooms in the lounge to freshen up before the long-haul flight. I took a look on the last visit and found a clean, large shower cubicle:

VS Clubhouse JFK Dusche
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse JFK
  • Comfort & Furnishing
  • Food & Drinks
  • Service
  • Wi-Fi & Extras

I am very pleased that Virgin lounges have been added to the Amex portfolio. Especially with an economy flight ticket, it is worth a lot to be able to have a full meal in the airport lounge. So far, I’ve always left the Clubhouse of JFK feeling plump and happy. I would like to try the other locations in the future.

Aside from New York JFK, Virgin Clubhouses are also located in London-Heathrow (not accessible with Amex), New York Newark (EWR), San Francisco, Washington D.C., Boston and Johannesburg.

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