Yesterday I featured two interesting offers to get you into airport lounges this Summer:
Via The Daily Telegraph, you can buy passes for lounges in the Dragonpass network – which is extensive – for £16.50 per person
Via No 1 Lounges, you can buy access to their Heathrow, Birmingham, Gatwick and Edinburgh lounges for just £20 per person – and earn 750 Avios on top
This used to be a totally hidden feature of avios.com but, since I last wrote about it in 2014, it is now mentioned on the avios.com website.
The price quote is ‘from 3,250 Avios’ per person. Last time I checked this, looking at Gatwick North, I was quoted 3,250 Avios for the Aspire lounge (per person) and 3,750 Avios for the No 1 Lounges 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. The Aspire-branded lounges, on the other hand, are pretty good and the old Servisair facilities are slowly being converted to Aspire. Their network is here.
No 1 Lounges is a different story. The lounges are well regarded and compete with Plaza Premium for the title of the best third-party lounges in Britain. The only caveat at present is over Gatwick North which is currently overcrowded due to the closure of the British Airways lounge.
Is it a good deal to use Avios to buy lounge access?
No, not really.
However …. it is never that simple. If you accumulate all your Avios from business travel then you may treat them as ‘free’ and are happy to use them for anything which saves you handing over cash. If you get your Avios via credit card spend (where the alternative would be using a cashback card) or converting Tesco Clubcard vouchers, you should have a ‘floor value’ of what you will accept per point.
That said, compared to the current No 1 Lounges deal of £20 per person and 750 Avios per booking earned back, using 3,750 Avios instead IS very poor.
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 many Aspire or No 1 Lounges using the two Lounge Club passes that come with the Amex Gold card. If you are flying from an airport which has a Lounge Club lounge (the network is here) and you are flying in more than two weeks from today, applying for a ‘first year free’ Amex Gold charge card is the best way to get in. Read my full review of Amex Gold first.
Of course, if you are flying short haul, you may prefer to use your Avios points towards upgrading your flights to Club Europe and getting BA lounge access thrown in! It is a crazy to pay 3,250 Avios for a lounge pass if you could swap your 4,500 one-way economy Avios flight from 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 Euro Traveller / economy or 20,000 in Club Europe) you may prefer to pay the 3,250 Avios for lounge access instead and stick with Euro Traveller seating.
There are plenty of options out there to get yourself into an airport lounge this Summer so don’t be resigned to sitting in Burger King on the concourse ……
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (March 2021)
As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:
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.
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 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.