If you don’t have airport lounge access via your flight ticket, your elite status, via a Priority Pass card from American Express Platinum or via a Lounge Club card from American Express Gold, your best fall-back option is usually No 1 Lounges.
No 1 Lounges is the largest network of premium independent lounges in the UK. We have reviewed all of them in the past (click for the review):
- No 1 Lounge Heathrow Terminal 3
- No 1 Lounge Gatwick North
- My Lounge Gatwick North and #2
- No 1 Clubrooms Gatwick North
- No 1 Lounge Gatwick South (photo below)
- No 1 Clubrooms Gatwick South
- No 1 Lounge Birmingham
- No 1 Lounge Edinburgh
All lounges include free hot food, free drinks (some premium food and drinks carries an extra charge), free newspapers and magazines and free wi-fi.
No 1 Lounges has generous tie-ups with both avios.com and Virgin Flying Club. This allows you to buy access to their lounges at a discount and earn points in avios.com or Virgin Flying Club at the same time.
The Avios offer
If you pre-book lounge access, you will pay a flat fee of £22.50 per person in Birmingham and Edinburgh and £25 in London. This saves up to £15 depending on airport. You will also receive 750 Avios points in avios.com.
If you pay on the door – which means you run the very real risk at Gatwick of the lounge being full – you get a fixed discount of £5 on the walk-in price. You will also receive 500 Avios points in avios.com.
I think this is a decent deal. Stripping out the value of the Avios takes the net cost down to around £15 and they are definitely worth that if you have a couple of hours to kill. Birmingham and Edinburgh packages also include fast track security.
Handy hint: the Avios are awarded per booking. If you are booking for multiple adult guests, make multiple bookings as long as each has their own Avios account.
The Virgin Atlantic offer
Virgin Flying Club is the only way to earn miles if you want to book the (funkier) My Lounge or (premium) Clubrooms at London Gatwick.
There is a tiered earning structure, per booking:
- 400 miles at Clubrooms
- 350 miles at No 1 Lounges
- 200 miles at My Lounge
The special Virgin Flying Club pricing is:
- £25 – No 1 Lounges
- £12 – My Lounge
- £35 – Clubrooms
If you are looking at Birmingham or Edinburgh, you are clearly better off with the Avios deal which is £2.50 cheaper and gives you more miles. For the No 1 Lounges in London, the pricing is the same with both offers but you get more miles with Avios. For My Lounge or Clubrooms, the Virgin deal is your only option.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, one has a bonus of 15,000 Points):
You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points:
Until 2nd November 2021, there is a special offer on The Platinum Card from American Express.
You will receive a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points which converts into 60,000 Virgin Points.
(Want to earn more Virgin Points? Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)