Use your Avios points for airport lounge access!

The miles and points game is so complex that you should never think that you know everything.  Something will always come along to prove you wrong!

Last week, craig mentioned, as a throwaway line in a comment on a different topic, that you could use Avios points for access to No 1 Traveller and Servisair airport lounges.

This was news to me.  Visiting avios.com did not enlighten me – a Google search for ‘site:avios.com lounges’ doesn’t bring you much.  However, I did find this thread over at moneysavingexpert.com which shows that it is possible.

I got on the telephone to Avios and asked what they could do.

It turns out that you can order passes for the No 1 Traveller lounges (their home page is here).  I only asked for a quote for Gatwick – No 1 Traveller is in both terminals – although I assume they can do their lounges at Birmingham, Heathrow (T3 only, photo below) and Stansted (domestic and Ryanair international).  I’m not sure if Manchester is included, where they have a subcontracting deal with the Escape lounge in T1, T2 and T3.

For Gatwick, I was quoted 3,250 Avios for the Servisair Aspire lounge (per person) and 3,750 Avios for the No 1 Traveller lounge.

Heathrow No 1 Traveller lounge

Servisair airport lounges are generally poor.  I can’t think of any which would be worth 3,250 Avios per person to enter, but if you really, really did want lounge access at a UK regional airport then they can almost certainly help you.  Their network is here.

No 1 Traveller is a different story.  I have written about No 1 Traveller beforeThe lounges are well regarded and are easily the best third-party lounges in Britain.

The headline price at Heathrow Terminal 3 is £30 per adult.  This is not the greatest ever use of Avios points at 3,750 per person (assuming it is the same price at Gatwick) although it depends how many you have of course.

There are also usually a few promotions going on which can reduce the cost of access if you paid cash.

At Gatwick, the Gatwick Express gives a free No 1 Traveller pass when you buy a First Class Anytime Return ticket, albeit they cost £56!

You can also enter using the two Lounge Club passes that come with the Amex Gold card.  No 1 Traveller at Gatwick is probably the best use of the Amex Gold / Lounge Club passes, and actually offsets a decent chunk of the £125 annual fee for that card after the first year.

Of course, if you are flying short haul, you may prefer to use your Avios points towards upgrading the outbound flight to Club Europe and getting BA lounge access thrown in!  It is a bit crazy to pay 3,250 Avios for a lounge pass if you could swap your 4,500 one-way economy Avios flight to Paris to a 9,000 Avios Club Europe flight instead.

However, availability issues mean that this is not always possible.  For long-haul or longer short-haul flights (eg Malta, which is 10,000 Avios one-way in Economy or 20,000 in Club Europe) you may prefer to pay the 3,250 Avios for lounge access instead.

(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

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Comments

  1. This is very interesting indeed! Although, I get access to the No. 1 lounges with my Diners so I will do that when travelling solo.

    • Not free anymore unfortunately.

      • I actually have the US card (MasterCard Branded) and according to the US site, the Lounge access is still free.

    • Diners will charge you £15 a visit now though!

      • Brian Taylor says:

        Not if you meet the annual spend, though, presumably. My Austrian Dinersclub card gives me free lounge access if I spend 3, 600 euros in the 12 months before the visit, which isn’t generally difficult.

        • The UK card has not gone that way. They are now charging £15 per visit whatever your spend, tightwads!

          • Gosh! Tight, indeed. I’ll have to keep an eye on the conditions for the Austrian card, in case they sneak that in for it too.

  2. You sure you can get in to No. 1 with the Lounge Club card? It wasn’t an option on their website when I was flying last month.

  3. For me priority pass is best option. I paid £107 for 10 visits and £15 for extra visits or guests. Looking back I should have pais the £220 for unlimited. But hey

  4. Why not just get an Amex Platinum instead? 30,000 Avios for signing up (35,000 if referred) and you get 2 PP’s, each of which can bring in a guest for free as well – so a family of 4 is covered. And you get the Cathay Gold as well, so you can use BA lounges when flying BA.

  5. I would but Iv never had a credit card or any type of credit. I only managed to get a capital one card recently. The credit expert I spoke to said you need credit to get credit and I have been advised to get a basic credit card and use/pay off every month. I will do this for a year to gain a credit score, however I would imagine I would still not qualify based on my age (25) and or wage (25k). My expenses from work total approx 12-14k per year, so when I can get a decent credit card I shouldn’t have too many problems hitting spending targets. U

  6. The credit expert you spoke to is not entirely on the ball.

    This is what you should have to maximise chances of approval:
    Be on the electoral register
    Be registered for council tax
    Have a UK bank account
    Have been living at the same address for 3 years (or 3 years at previous address)

    You probably also have some credit already. Your mobile phone contract is treated as credit, as are your utility bills. Paying those leaves positive marks on credit files, not paying them does not.

    Fundamentally, though, if you can say Yes to the four factors at the top then you should be OK. Amex is stricter than most, with MBNA and Lloyds (albeit with terrible customer service) most liberal in my view, of the reward card issuers.