Comparing UK lounge networks of Priority Pass and Lounge Club

Many Head for Points readers can access airport lounges, even when flying economy, via their membership of Lounge Club or Priority Pass.

Lounge Club membership comes with the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card, which is free for the first year.  You receive two free passes to visit any Lounge Club lounge and further visits or further guests are charged at £15.  My full review of Amex Gold is here.

Priority Pass membership comes with the American Express Platinum card.  Both the main cardholder and one supplementary cardholder receive a Priority Pass, and each card admits two people for free.  This means that you can get four people into a lounge for free if both the main and supplementary cardholder are travelling together.  There is NO LIMIT to the number of lounge visits you can make for free.  My full review of Amex Platinum is here.

As well as getting Lounge Club or Priority Pass membership via Amex, you can also buy membership directly on their websites.  There are various membership options with different combinations of membership fee and ‘per visit’ fees.

Heathrow No 1 Traveller lounge

Over the last couple of years a number of new lounges have opened and we have reviewed many of them on HFP.  I thought it was worth summarising what is available.

The Lounge Club network comprises:

If you have a Priority Pass card, you get access to the following additional lounges:

Historically the big difference between Priority Pass and Lounge Club was Heathrow coverage.  Since Plaza Premium opened in Terminals 2 and 4, however, Lounge Club coverage is pretty good.

Lounge Club doesn’t help you in Terminal 5 but the Aspire lounge is so small you aren’t missing much.  Once Plaza Premium opens in Terminal 5 later this year, Lounge Club will become even more interesting.

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  1. Shouldn’t Dragonpass feature as well for completeness?

    • Probably …. leave it with me.

    • Especially as you can get 6 DP passes for £13.50 total if you time it right :)

      • Is this using Barclays travel insurance route or do you have another way for dragonpass for £13.50?

        • yep lol

          • must look into whether I can open a/cs for my kids lol

            • Care to elaborate????

            • well the a/c is free & you only need to get the travel pack (with 6 DP lounge passes) for 1 month ie £13.50.

              But you need to use the lounge passes before you cancel the travel pack.

              so if I could open a free a/c for each of my 3 kids, that would cover 4 holidays as regards lounge passes, outwards.

              don’t need them the other way as there’s a great uncrowded terminal & cheap stuff all round incl beers £1.25, BK etc

  2. Anyone have any comments/thoughts on the available MAN lounges? Relocating to MAN soon and will be passing through at least twice per month. Debating Amex Plat and decision might be swung depending on whether the MAN lounges are “worth it” or not.

    • From memory, I have visited most of the lounges mentioned in MAN. In T3, the lounge is next to the BA one. Had no issues with it and more than happy to go again. However, at peak times it can be very busy as not particularly big. In T1 we only did the Aspire Lounge as the Escape one only admits children over 6. This was a pretty decent lounge, and very big. At T2 we did the Styal Lounge (now Swissport?). This was dire and you couldn’t get me back in there if you paid me. Again, no Escape lounge because of age restrictions. So happy from T1 and T3, but not so good from T2. I would also suggest you check out tripadvisor for more reviews of all lounges.

    • Trickster says:

      We were denied access to the Aspire longer in T1 last summer due to being full, when trying to use our Airport Angel or Lounge Club cards (I forget which). We did get into the Escape lounge instead though. Having been in the Aspire before, I’d say they both have there pros and cons. Escape had better food. Aspire has a view!

      Escape let us in with our 5 year old after a polite request, and I think they have since relaxed the rules.

      Both were busy, but perfectly decent places to spend an hour or so in relative comfort compared to downstairs which is packed in the school holidays.

    • Aspire lounge is currently closed for T2 – the only one left is not worth visiting… The Aspire lounge is due to open in 2 weeks i think from memory…

  3. Pretty sure there’s a lounge in Glasgow too, unless that’s changed recently?

  4. O/T. If I refer my wife for the platinum Amex and then a few months later she downgrades to gold, would that count as a separate application on her credit file or do amex process it all in house?

    • All in house it seems

      • Peter K says:

        Great. Thanks.

        • Radiata says:

          In the opposite direction OTOH in late December, when upgrading online from PRG to Plat, I did have an additional credit search placed on file despite querying first over the phone and told it would be done internally. Approved without quibble but search clearly made.

  5. Jimmyjimmy says:

    Is it still possible to use the Lounge Pass after you have cancelled the Amex Gold but still with the first year free?

    • Radiata says:

      Upon upgrading from PRG to Plat – and before using either of the pair of free Lounge Club passes or receiving PP in the mail – I was told when attempting to access a lounge in JNB that Lounge Club card no longer valid. Resolved when called PP whilst at desk and told to simply download app onto Blackberry (yes a BB10 App for PP does exist) and show digital PP card. Did so and admitted to lounge.

      Uncertain as to whenther Lounge Club Card actively cancelled if PRG simply cancelled.

      • Regarding getting the PP app working without the card – how were you able to login on the app as I think to register it asks for card number? Did PP give you your account number over the phone? Thanks.

    • No, card is cancelled as there is no credit card behind it to pay for extra guests.

      • The Lounge Club website allows you to update your payment card details (and hence switch to a different card altogether) — is the account cancelled separately?

        • Good question, you could give it a try if you were cancelling Gold but had not used your two free lounge entries – although it might be embarrassing if you were turned away from a lounge.

          • I’ll be cancelling my Gold in May and will be flying out of Athens at the start of June — will give it a go then and report back! (But I’ll buy a Dragonpass voucher as a backup just in case)

  6. flyforfun says:

    Re LHR T3 Swissport Vs No1 Lounge on Priority Pass

    Twice I’ve attempted to use the No 1 Lounge at LHR T3 recently (Dec and March). The first was midweek mid morning and the later midweek evening. Both times No 1 wouldn’t allow access for PP card holders because it was “full”. I’d have have to try in an hour or so if I sill wanted to.

    I’m guessing this is partly due to Cathay using it as it’s lounge while they rebuild their own, but the cynic in me thinks its so you pay the £5 per person guaranteed pre-booking option.

    The Swissport lounge is horrific, to the point that the lounge receptionist was telling a group of 4 in front of me that it wasn’t worth the card leader taking her 3 guests in and being charged for them as “there wasn’t much food in there”.

    Yes I made the mistake of going in. It was rammed, probably because we were all PP card holders told we can’t use No 1. Once Cathay goes back to it’s own lounge I wonder if this place will survive.

  7. Does just having a business class ticket with BA get you access to a lounge at T5 Heathrow – will be doing our first long haul business class flight in August? Only have Lounge Club with PRG.

    • Absolutely – you get Galleries Club access with all Club World and Club Europe tickets.

    • PS you’ll also get lounge access in EDI on the way out with a same day Club World ticket and in London on the way back having arrived in Club World and connecting on to another BA flight even in economy (as is the case for a domestic connection). Some BA lounge attendant access issues reported at times in the case of the latter (esp on redemptions), but it is definitely the case.

      • Thanks Alan, we used the Aspire lounge in Edinburgh for the first time earlier this month which was nice – as we are new to this business class game it was a nice treat!

        • Yes, they did a really nice job refitting it. If you have the Amex Plat you can get into both it and the No 1 Lounge using Priority Pass. When flying business with BA you can use the BA lounge which is also nice (in days gone by it was the bmi lounge and what is now No 1 was the BA lounge!)

          • I don’t have the Platinum card or Priority Pass. We just refer each other for the PRG. We asked at the BA lounge if we would be allowed in in Aug with our connecting CW ticket. The woman on the desk couldn’t give us a definite answer. This is all very new to us. Really kicking myself for not realising this hobby existed. We have collected air miles through Tesco since 2009 but on a really small scale and only ever redeemed one economy flight per year. Could have been using all these credit cards and learning all this stuff years ago. Trying to make up for it now though! Thanks for your help!

            • Haha, glad you’re making up for it now Liz! There is zero issue at all accessing lounges at outstations when on your way to a connecting CW flight (it will even say it on your confirmation), the only issue is occasionally in Heathrow when on the way back. It really shouldn’t be but sadly it has been a long-standing problem. On the upside my folks got a hefty amount of Avios in compensation for being incorrectly denied access on the way back! 😛

  8. For anyone’s that curious the lounge club card took 3 weeks to arrive in the post. So if like me you sign upto the gold card and expected stupidly like me the actual card would turn up like the Amex in 2 days it doesn’t.

    This is despite Amex telling me the lounge club account was active immediately.

    Not the end of the world just a bit annoying when i planned to use the card for me and a friend two weeks after I signed with Amex expecting the card to be there in plenty of time

  9. Ian Morgan Smith says:

    Just got back to Glasgow from London Heathrow Terminal 5. No way was their any chance to use my Priority Pass card to get into Aspire Lounge. The receptionist look exasperated as he was continually denying people access.

  10. Genghis says:

    Visited the Escape Lounge last week at STN and used Priority Pass. My wife and I found the space relaxing and the food decent. My wife said she’d pay £40 pp to use that lounge (even though on the door price is £25) so we’re getting some value from Amex Plat.

  11. I am travelling from East Midlands the end of the month – do they( Escape Lounge) accept Gourmet Society card 2 for 1 on the door?