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How to use your Avios points for airport lounge access

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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.

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.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (June 2021)

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (14)

  • Evan says:

    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.

    • M says:

      Not free anymore unfortunately.

      • Evan says:

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

    • Rob says:

      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.

        • Rob says:

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

          • Brian says:

            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.

  • Anon says:

    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.

    • Craig says:

      It should say on No.1 Lounge club site under partners.

    • Anon says:

      Oh yes. Apologies. Im thinking of Heathrow. Strangely it won’t get you in to No. 1 there?

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