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The Aspire lounge in London Gatwick’s North Terminal to close for refurbishment

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Aspire has announced that its lounge in Gatwick North will close on 26th February for refurbishment.  It will re-open under the Club Aspire format in May.

This is the oldest Aspire lounge in the portfolio, albeit only 6 years old, so the company clearly believes it is due a revamp.

This closure will put additional pressure on the No 1 Lounge (reviewed here) and My Lounge (reviewed here).  If you are planning to visit Gatwick North – the easyJet terminal – with a Priority Pass or Lounge Club card you may want to consider paying £5 per person via this link to reserve a spot and guarantee admission, as well as getting Fast Track Security.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (November 2020)

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 Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club lounge – see the list here

The Lounge Club list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list.  Additional visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  There is no annual fee 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 HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to almost all of them – indexed here.

Comments (134)

  • Mike says:

    I miss Harry !

  • JamesB says:

    Anybody knkw if the Hilton status match is matching IHG platinum to gold or diamond? I should be gold when my diamond status ends in March as a reshlt of amex p,atinum benefit but would like to get back to diamond.

    • Tomh1987 says:

      they matched me to Diamond 6 months ago from IHG Plat

      • JamesB says:

        Thanks Tom, good news. Enjoy your status. Worked great for me for the last three years.

    • Pangolin says:

      Check the Status Matcher site to see if it’s changed recently. Hilton should match IHG Plat with Diamond though.

      • Dale says:

        Those of us who actually EARN Hilton Diamond hope not! 🙂

      • JamesB says:

        Thanks, forgot about that.

        @Dale, if I had pushed it I could have earned it this year for the first time ever but then an oppoftunity from IHG came along I couldn’t pass up.

  • Anna says:

    Early OT, but lounge related. As we now have a 6 hour wait at LHR, due to BA deciding to cull the Saturday LHR-MAN connection, are there any pre-bookable lounges at T5 where we could go for some of this time? I don’t want to rely on Lounge Club as it’s bound to be very busy on a summer weekend.

    • JamesB says:

      Anna, would a reroute to LBA be a viable option to resolve the layover issue?

      • Anna says:

        Not really as our car will be at MAN! I’ve just spoken to UK CS and they haven’t got a clue why so many flights have been cancelled but were in agreement that there will be huge issues as availability will be near to zero even 6 – 7 months out.

        • Polly says:

          Think a re route to LBA but a prepaid cab to get you over to MAN to pick up your car, maybe?

        • Anna says:

          The only flight showing that day is 0920, we don’t land till 1200 but thanks for the thought!

        • JamesB says:

          @Anna, I’m guessing you have 3 seats which will now be very valuable to BA if they could sell them. You could try calling again, ask for a supervisor and offer a trade for a one way car transfer to MAN. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Only fownside us that that long layover has value as insurance against a delay to your longhaul.

        • Anna says:

          JamesB, I will give that a go – those seats are now selling at £300 one way! Just out of interest I checked LBA and EDI, both look as though Saturday services have been somewhat reduced.

        • Tom Cook says:

          We’ve been mixing MAN and LBA of late to try to make better use of the changing timetables – taxi to Manchester for £50, fly back to Leeds, taxi home £15 or better £0 if my old man can pick us up!

    • Stu N says:

      If you have Priority Pass you could use the landside Plaza Premium arrivals lounges at T2 and T4, you’d have plenty of time to do that.

      As for T5 airside I’m not sure if Aspire or Plaza Premium in T5 airside take paid bookings but that will usually guarantee access for a given time slot. For walk-ups Aspire has had a queue out the door every time I have been past it and expect a summer Saturday will be very busy. The new Plaza Premium Lounge doesn’t currently take Priority Pass but you can get in with an Amex Plat it you have that. I plan to check it out this weekend so can report back.

      • Stu N says:

        Or you could properly escape and do a wee trip to Windsor if it’s a nice day…

      • The_real_a says:

        I do this often. The shower are nice and food ok if a littke small. The plaza premium is virtually empty in T5 each time i use that but im not paying 20quid forba shower. (Not included with amex plat entry)

    • xcalx says:

      I would book a one way car hire rather than sit around Heathrow for 6 hours.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        The drive from MAN to LHR isnt that bad. Any connection over 2hrs and I’d rather take my destiny into my own hands and drive. I’ve been burnt too many times with the domestic flight being delayed turning a long connection into an unbearable one, especially with tired little ones,

        • Anna says:

          Indeed! I’m trying to formulate a Plan B (see below) but it will depend on getting an extra couple of days off work.

      • Lady London says:

        Gordon Ramsay’s is highly recommended even for breakfast. A few people have told me they use it even when they could use the T5 BA Gold lounge. Not sure it would do for six hours’ worth of wait though!

  • Doug M says:

    OT 1. HH bonus on transfer of Amex, did mine 4th Jan still no bonus, HH say it’s Amex, anyone know if that’s true.
    OT 2. Find the occurrence of failure using Android pay or contactless with Amex is getting worse. Outside of TfL and Pret I know longer expect it to work. I’m wondering if this is more than accidental, and a good way of limiting the amount of people bothering with Amex.

    • Anna says:

      I don’t know why payments are failing but I do think banks are starting to realise how much money they are losing through theft of contactless cards – they can be used multiple times before thefts are spotted and reported, it’s started an entire new wave of organised crime.

      • Lev441 says:

        I had my wallet stolen last month, and the person who took it went on a contactless spending spree and spent around £750 before I’d even realised it was gone!

      • Nadeshka says:

        We had an PRGC stolen in the post – they managed to activate it and get pin through the app. Amex cancelled it within hours (after ~£2000 of charges!) but I saw that they continued to get contactless transactions through for several days afterwards, so even reporting a card cannot stop it.

    • Andrew M says:

      RE OT1. No idea, but still waiting. Given those with transfers in Dec seemed to get around 23 Jan, I’m thinking could still be around 10 days yet. Hoping not, as getting mighty close to my Plat anniversary, and I want to cancel!

  • Michael C says:

    Only slightly OT, but the “lounge” at the Park Plaza Victoria last week was one of the most hysterical I’ve seen in my life: zero (lieterally) people on Sat. evening, one screw-top bottle of Spanish plonk, and one plate of mystery…sweet and sour battered meatballs?!

    • xcalx says:

      I was there on Sunday 4th Feb arrived at 7 45 pm lounge only had a bit of fruit and a couple of cakes. Went down to reception had a word with duty manager re the lounge offerings, she had a word with the bar manager the result was I had a free bar for the rest of the evening plus a plate of nibbles.
      This was my 4th Stay in the last 6 months booking the cheapest rate and have always been upgraded to exec room with lounge access.

  • Tilly says:

    OT – took the plunge last night and used the upgrade link posted on HFP to upgrade my PRG to Plat, mainly for the 20k MR, HH gold status and priority pass. Hoping can also use the insurance rather than renew annual cover we have expiring mid way through trip to Toronto. Got message saying couldn’t make decision immediately and would be 10 days before finding out if approved. Logged into online acct this morning and my gold is now showing as a plat. Not had any email though from amex to say approved. Is this normal?

    • Brighton Belle says:

      Did the same last month, app updates within a day if approved, cards arrive around 4 days later.
      When Amex imposed the age 70 cutoff on insurance they killed Platinum for me (almost). The £200 travel promo in January plus Priority Pass for 2 just about funds the annual fee for this year.

      I won’t renew. The card benefits, MR points earning and the dull offers aren’t big enough to keep me.

    • LB says:

      Tilly – things seem to be moving a lot slower at Amex nowadays. I applied for the Gold companion credit card last Monday, contacted Amex on Sunday via “chat” asking if I’d been approved, which was less than useless, and today received an email saying “welcome to paperless statements”!

      • Jumble Tales says:

        Same here. Applied for PRG last Tuesday night. Got the “can’t make an instant decision…allow ten working days” for the first time. Chased by phone.They just repeated the same. Not heard any more.

    • fivebobbill says:

      Happens to me every time now, used to be of mild concern when initially “snubbed” by the “10 days” message, but now i just take it as the norm. New card always arrives in 2 or 3 days, and if lucky, a welcome email in a week or two!

    • Lister says:

      Seems to be. Your post is verbatim of my recent experience of upgrading last month. You should have your card by Thursday maybe even tommorrow. The welcome pack is too big for a regular post box though. Unless mine is particularly small.

      • Mike says:

        Yes be aware the pack is definitely too big for a regular letter box. I know to my cost as 7 weeks ago the the post man ripped the flap off my letter box trying to force the PLAT pack through it….arrrgh. I have added the cost of repair to budget for my AVIOS collecting hobby – an unexpected additional cost.

      • Lev441 says:

        Think your’s is small, fits through ours no problem!

    • Tilly says:

      Thanks all! Good to know. I have the rest of a new sofa to pay in the next month before delivery which is way more than the £1k spend required to hit the target for 20k bonus MR. Now need to work out how I upgrade my silver HH to gold via this card.

  • Pangolin says:

    I got matched to Diamond status yesterday and in the email it still says (in two seperate places) that I’ll retain Diamond until March 31, 2019 if I complete the 8 stays.

    However, on FlyerTalk the consensus seems to be that you can ignore it because whoever completes the challenge is being told that they will retain Diamond till 2020. The same would apply to Gold status challenges, presumably.

    • Pangolin says:

      Doh! How on earth did I manage to misspell ‘separate’? It drives me mad when I see that spelling myself!

      That’ll teach me for posting first thing in the morning.

  • John W says:

    O/T – Qatar Flights , need some advice !
    I normally wait this time of year for the companion offers in Business on Qatar. This year from LHR they dont seem to be so attractively priced. ( Paid £1573 last year, this year cheapest is around £1800)
    Thinking of booking this by tomorrow, specifically to go on the 16.00 QR8 to get the Q suite
    1) – Do you think the prices are not likley to go down
    2) Is the Q suite worth it !!
    Sorry in advance for posting on this thread. I appreciate the valuable advice from HFP readers !