Aspire lounge in Terminal 5 confirmed, whilst United says ‘no more Priority Pass’ in Terminal 2

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Heathrow Airport confirmed the story yesterday that I originally ran on Head for Points on April 1st – that an independent airport lounge will open in Terminal 5 this Summer, possibly July.

It will be operated by Swissport / Servisair under the ‘Aspire’ brand.  It is NOT confirmed at this time that Priority Pass and / or Lounge Club and / or Airport Angel cards will be accepted, but it seems likely – especially Priority Pass.  (Priority Pass has a bigger network than its sister Lounge Club and I get a sneaky feeling that it pays more to lounges.  More importantly, Collinson Group – who own Priority Pass – are joint venture partners in the new lounge.)

It will be situated by Gate 18 / 19.  This means that it will be underneath the Galleries South complex (Gates 18 / 19 are around the corner as you go past Paul Smith and past the escalators that take you up to Galleries South).

I think that British Airways will be generally happy with this lounge.  Apart from any embarrassment should the food turn out to be better, it will be a lifesaver for anyone who can no longer retain BA status following the tier point changes later this month.  It may even persuade some people to continue to fly with BA who would otherwise defect to an airline in a different terminal which does have a Priority Pass lounge.

The interesting statistic will be the number of BA passengers who have BA lounge access who still use Aspire!  They may, of course, simply be popping in to get a Lounge Miles stamp so they can earn a £5 shopping voucher for every seven visits …..

(EDIT:  August 2015 – the lounge is now open!  If you are planning to visit the Aspire lounge and do not have a Priority Pass, your best option is to book in advance and guarantee admission via the Aspire website here.)

Terminal 2 United Club - bar

That is the good news of the day.  Now the bad news.

Business Traveller reported yesterday that United Airlines is removing Priority Pass access from all 49 of its lounges globally from May 15th.

This will be a major blow for anyone who uses the United Club lounge in Heathrow Terminal 2 on the B concourseHeathrow’s United Club is a fantastic lounge as I reviewed here.  It has the longest bar in Heathrow (photo above), it has an amazingly large range of free food and it has free-flow champagne!

It is not the end of the world for Priority Pass holders, of course.  The Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 2 is also very impressive, and of course you don’t need to head all the way out to the B concourse.  Plaza Premium is more of a relaxing contemplation space though, whilst United Club was a better option for those who wanted to maximise their food and drink before a flight!

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  1. Jordan D says:

    Are Turkish Airlines still status matching? Might be time to sort that for the UA lounge …

  2. I’ve got F seats booked EWR-LAS in July, are there any other options for getting into United lounges without paying extortionate amounts of cash? Was dismayed to find out that domestic F doesn’t get you into a lounge…

    • Only if you can get a Star Alliance Gold status match from a BA Gold or similar, probably via Turkish.

    • I’m guessing that’s not one of the United ‘premium service’ routes? It’s just I thought they offered lounge access on those ones, but it may be JFK-LAX

    • Stuart says:

      You could buy a United one-time pass from eBay for about $20, does that count as an extortionate amount of cash?

      • Thanks, that sounds more affordable than what I thought UA themselves were charging…!

  3. Only slightly OT, no more alcoholic drinks in the LHR T2 Plaza Premium arrivals lounge, according to Priority Padd newsletter:

    London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
    Plaza Premium Lounge (Arrivals)
    April 15, 2015
    Please note alcoholic drinks are not available until further notice at the Plaza Premium Lounge (Arrivals) located in Terminal 2.

    The United change seems to part of a wider ‘enhancement’ as several United clubs no longer accept PP cards, according to the PP newsletter.

  4. So, some downgrades to the Priority pass – I wonder if this takes them below the 700 lounges? And if so, I wonder how many years it will take Amex to notice when promoting the (diminishing) benefits of their Platinum Card? They are still boasting access to 1000+ lounges in some parts of their advertising literature, which I imagine is a hangover from the days of the Marco Polo benefit.

    • I told Amex to change this and I think they made one change but not elsewhere. FCA trouble may loom ….

      • So did I. They told me that they’d updated everything, but they haven’t. They finally took down the part of the website that said the plat card came with elite status in frequent flyer programmes, but that was only done earlier this year. They still say here that there are over 1000 lounges available for platinum on this page, for example:

        They still say it on the refer-a-friend link, too. I like Amex so I’m not going to pick a fight with them over it, but we really did think we were getting OneWorld Sapphire when we took out my wife’s platinum card last autumn, because their advertising stuff strongly indicated that this was (still) the case at the time – the welcome pack even told her to log on to the website to obtain her Marco Polo elite status! I don’t really understand why it is taking them so long to update their information, they told us that the benefit was removed about a year ago. Fortunately the 50,000 points for the refer-a-friend thing meant that the plat card was still worth taking out in the end, but it does seem quite sloppy of them.

      • Apologies for going off topic, but does SPG starpoints expire after 12 months? I had amex spg points which i converted nearly 12 months ago 20th april 2014 to be precise. Do they expire in 12 months? Any ideas on how to keep it active appreciated.

        • Flyoff says:

          They do expire after 12 months. Having an Amex SPG card and spending keeps them alive. You can convert to Avios. In my experience they will re-instate them if you go over the year but you would be taking a risk on Thierry goodwill.

        • Khozema says:

          I cancelled the card shortly after claiming the initial signup/spending bonus of 20k points. So don’t have any avenues of collecting. Unless of course book a stay at SPG or perhaps Uber. Are there any freebie points to be had like any social media/ promotion ? Or perhaps only option of $17.50 purchase of 500 points?

        • You can reapply for the SPG card as long as you cancelled 6 months ago.

  5. My mate will be miffed. She paid for a PP card when she was going to visit her dad last year in the US just so she could used the United lounge.

  6. What's the Point says:

    Just got in.
    Flying German Wings on the 29th of April from T2 to knock a few more quid off the Amex Plat membership fee!

  7. Koshka says:

    Whilst I really like the United Club lounge I have just experienced the crushing disappointment of opening the “Lincolnshire Sausages” tray to discover yet more Thai chicken curry. It’s still nice to be sitting in daylight though.

  8. RIccati says:

    Been to a Delta Sky Club briefly and noticed something about discontinuation/limits for AMEX Plat holders.

    Btw, United has “a new policy” about baggage interlining — they give a firm “no” if flights are not on the same itinerary. Star Alliance flights are allowed as “an exception” to the policy. It is a pain when you have a combo of paid and reward flights — they can’t be on the same itinerary. Airline industry must recognise that.

  9. Chewbacca says:

    Rather disappointing about UA as a lot of my flights are T2 to Ireland and was one of the perceived benefits when signing up for the Amex Platinum.

    No alcohol at Plaza Premium lounge, seriously? Isn’t this a bit of a joke for a lounge, no alcohol and no food?

    Apart from the sign up bonuses the Amex Platinum is looking increasingly of limited value (I get medical cover at work) One wonders what the long term strategy is for this card given the 50% increase in fee a few years back. I think the UK fee is the same in pounds (£450) as in dollars ($450) for less benefits, I believe the US one has zero fee on foreign transactions? Does Amex want people to drop its card, it seems like a strange strategy?

  10. Chewbacca says:

    Oh ok, thanks for clarifying, still very disappointing that UA is dropping Prioity Pass.

    Off topic but wondering if the Aer Lingus merger (takeover) by IAG goes through would Aer Lingus flights be likely to qualify for BA Exec Tier points, I think Iberia flights do?

  11. barnaby100 says:

    off task but does anyone have a direct link to register for accor and club carlson with a uk amex platinum. Amex have been trying to sort this for a week- 2 hours on the phone. My account is oddly set up apparently and doesn’t have the usual links.

  12. barnaby100 says:

    Thanks- it doesnt work. Apparently I had a very old amex plat which was closed years ago. Now I have a old BA amex and a newish amex bus plat. But i cant access any benefits on line including FHR as the BA amex determines the links. They have deleted very old card, reset the account, tried to change the priorities of the cards but so far nothing works. My account just doesnt look like anyone elses when I log in apparently.

    • barnaby100 says:

      Well after 4 calls and over 3 hours on the phone to amex….. it is because it is a business platinum apparently and they don’t have on line access to benefits.

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