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How to use Avios points for airport lounge access

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Until the Avios website had its last revamp, it was a big secret that you could use Avios points for access to 400 airport lounges, including those in the UK run by No 1 Lounges and Aspire.

It is now featured on the avios.com, albeit tucked away under ‘How to Spend / At The Airport’.  The page is here.

Avios claims that you can order passes for lounges at 25 UK airports, which must cover pretty much every third party lounge in the country.  Whilst this is not mentioned on their website, Avios partners with Lounge Pass to provide this benefit.  Any lounge featured on the Lounge Pass website (click here) should be bookable on points.

How many Avios do you need to book an airport lounge?

Pricing is a bit vague.  The website says:

UK lounges from 3,250 Avios
International lounges from 3,750 Avios

We got on the phone and asked about the No 1 Lounge facility in Gatwick South.  We have reviewed this twice (by Rob here and by Anika here) and it is impressive.  It is the only independent lounge option at Gatwick South, which is the terminal now used by British Airways.

We were quoted 4,650 Avios per adult for the No 1 Lounge at Gatwick South.

No1 Lounges

The headline price at Gatwick South if you paid cash is £30 per adult.  This is not a terrible use of Avios points at 4,650 per person.  You are getting 0.65p per point.

However, for No 1, there is also this very generous offer currently running for the No 1 Lounge at Gatwick where you can earn 1,000 Avios and get entry for just £25.   This is far better value than spending 4,650 Avios to get in.

You can also enter the No 1 Lounge at Gatwick South using the two Lounge Club passes that come with the free (in Year 1) Amex Gold card.  No 1 Lounge at Gatwick South is one of the best uses of the Amex Gold / Lounge Club passes, alongside our other UK favourites – Club Aspire in Heathrow Terminal 3, No 1 Lounge in Gatwick North and Plaza Premium in Heathrow Terminal 2 and Terminal 4.

That said, if Avios is using the same 0.65p valuation for all of its lounges, this service may be worth it when where is no special deal for cash running.  I would give it a miss for No 1, however, as long as you can earn Avios and get a discount for paying cash.

Of course, if you are flying short haul, you may prefer to use your Avios points towards booking your redemption flight in Club Europe and getting BA lounge access thrown in.  This is especially true on shorter flights.

It is a bit crazy to pay 4,650 Avios for a lounge pass if you could swap your 4,500 one-way economy Avios flight to Amsterdam to a 9,000 Avios Club Europe flight instead.  You’d get BA lounge access plus fast track security plus priority boarding plus an empty middle seat plus free food and drink ….


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 (36)

  • Brett says:

    I tried booking a lounge but my Avios card is registered in South Africa and the lounge bookings only allowed for Avios UK. Anybody want to pick up and mail me a Avios UK card?

  • Brett says:

    I tried booking a lounge in Dulles Washington but my Avios account is registered in South Africa and lounge bookings only allowed for Avios UK. Anybody want to pick up and mail me a Avios UK card?

  • BigDave says:

    what you have to actually pick up a phone and talk to someone to spend avios for lounge access ? – much rather spend the £23 it is with the discount on holiday extras …. for an aspire one for example or loungebuddy with the 10$ credit from hfp or other referral…..
    sorry i don’t do talking to people

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