Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder)

YVR (Transborder)
December 2022

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Plaza Premium Lounge in the US-departures area of Vancouver International Airport, ahead of an Air Canada flight from Vancouver to New York.

The lounge recently reopened its doors to the public after undergoing a considerable renovation and expansion, which more than doubled its capacity. I was keen to see the results of the updates, as this is a lounge I might often visit on trips to the United States.

In This Post

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Access

The lounge is located airside midway through the terminal across from Gate E88, overlooking the arrivals hall below.

The lounge’s entrance should be easily identifiable, with its name brightly illuminated above and along the side of the wall.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Exterior
Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Entrance

The lounge is open daily from 5am–8pm. If this seems like a rather early closure time, that’s because the US pre-clearance zone at YVR shuts down at this hour, and any later US-bound flights must use the international departures section.

Only those travelling on transborder flights to the US have access to the lounge. Passengers may want to make use of Mobile Passport Control and YVR Express to expedite their trip through security and immigration if they don’t have a NEXUS card.

Plaza Premium Lounges are affiliated with DragonPass, which grants access to cardholders of many Visa and Mastercard products.

I enjoyed complimentary access on account of my American Express Platinum Card, which provides unlimited entry to Plaza Premium Lounges before departure and upon arrival for cardholders plus one guest.

However, for those without a membership or credit card that grants access, you can still opt to purchase a day pass for the lounge. Pricing begins at at $55.73 (CAD) plus tax per person for two hours.

When I arrived, there were a few people ahead of me, but I only had a brief wait before presenting my Platinum Card to the admissions desk and being granted entry.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Seating

As I approached the check-in desk, I immediately noted the upgraded design of the space that was in line with many of the newer Plaza Premium Lounges I’ve visited.

The new space offers a much more luxurious environment than prior to the renovation, thanks to the addition of contemporary light fixtures, clean wood panelling, and soft neutral tones. The lounge is essentially one big room elegantly divided into a few separate spaces. 

Stepping into the lounge, there are clusters of seating with plenty of space for each visitor, consisting mostly of high and low dining tables.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Seating
Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Seating
Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Seating

The bar area is at the forefront of the lounge, with an array of bar seating that can accommodate close to 15 visitors.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Bar seating
Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Bar seating

To the right of the bar is ample seating in the form of cushy benches and dining tables.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Seating

Closer to the bar, you’ll find high-top dining tables and a small cluster of armchairs and tables tucked into the corner.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Seating

The lounge was well-equipped with a variety of power outlets, in addition to wireless charging stations on the tables. Furthermore, numerous flat-screen TVs were dotted around, which were displaying the same World Cup game at the time of my visit.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Wireless charging station

At the rear of the lounge, individual work-station seats looks out onto the arrivals hall through glass windows. There are seats placed along countertops, as well as comfortable leather armchairs.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – High-top seating
Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Seating
Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Seating

I found the new design of the lounge to be quite aesthetically pleasing and airy. I was especially impressed by the updated furnishings and décor, which is a dramatic improvement from the classic brown hues of older Premium Plaza Lounges.

There were quite a few people in the lounge at the time of my visit. Everyone seemed to be able to find a spot to sit down without any fuss, but the lounge was definitely getting close to capacity.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Dining & Bar

A self-serve buffet is located at the front of the lounge, immediately to the left when you first enter.

At the time of my visit, the hot items consisted of scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, French toast, and sausage.

In the cold buffet were salads, pasta salad, yogurt, fruit, and a wide selection of desserts.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Cold buffet selection
Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Cold buffet selection

At the front of the bar, you’ll also find some pastries and cereal.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Pastries and cereal

As with many Plaza Premium Lounges, and particularly among their North American locations, the food selection isn’t the most remarkable; however, since it’s entirely self-serve, you can certainly load up on multiple plates and satisfy your hunger before a flight.

I wasn’t feeling too peckish at the time, so I opted to skip the buffet for this visit and instead took a seat at the bar. I was proactively offered a drink by the bar staff, and asked for a cup of coffee at this early hour.

The bar is certainly a highlight of this Plaza Premium Lounge. It creates a natural focal point with its sleek marble countertops and a purple glow highlighting a selection of spirits and whiskys.

As for alcoholic beverages, draft beer, wine, and the bar rail are complimentary, but you’re limited to four per person per visit.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Liquor selection

The lounge has a selection of premium options as well, including Baileys, Caesars, Johnnie Walker whisky, and sparkling wine, to name a few. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay for some of these options.

The lounge featured modern and stylish restroom facilities, with stone floors and jet black finishes. The room was compact with a single vanity and toilet; however, it was spotless and well-maintained.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Restroom

It’s worth mentioning that the lounge features some new amenities, including a nursing room and added shower rooms, which are available for a fee.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder) – Nursing room & shower rooms


The recently refurbished Plaza Premium Lounge (Transborder) in Vancouver is a major improvement to its predecessor, providing a more elevated lounge experience with a refined touch.

The layout of the lounge is both spacious and inviting, while the design has a nice touch of class. The lounge makes for a pleasant spot to relax or grab a quick bite prior to your flight to the United States from Vancouver.

The old lounge was comfortable & convenient, but as the main pay-per-use lounge in the Vancouver airport, its size often led to overcrowding. With the new update, we should see much of these issues alleviated.

Lastly, the inclusion of shower rooms is a welcome addition, since it’s always nice to have the option to freshen up before a flight.

  1. Parveen Walia

    Thanks Ricky ! Just wondering what you would recommend for Transborder travel from YVR – the new Plaza Premium Lounge or the Maple Leaf lounge ? We are going to to California on boxing day and I do have access to both lounges. The old plaza premium lounge wasn’t great, so I was going to go the Maple leaf lounge instead, but am now intrigued with the new updates.
    Also – thanks so much for everything you do on this website ! I find it invaluable in planning my travel adventures.

    1. Ricky YVR

      I’d recommend the Plaza Premium for its hot food offerings and newer interior décor. Happy holidays!

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