Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

A Club Aspire airport lounge is to open at London Gatwick’s North Terminal

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The new Club Aspire lounge at Gatwick North, the easyJet terminal, now has an opening date – 28th May.

This replaces the old Aspire lounge – which was the old Delta lounge and (or am I confused?) the lower level of the BA lounge in years gone by.  It’s the one in the basement, basically, underneath the No 1 Lounge.

This is good news for any Priority Pass or Lounge Club cardholder as you have an alternative if the No 1 Lounge is full and you don’t like the Hoxton hipster vibe of MyLounge!

Full details are on the Aspire website here.

Club Aspire lounge Gatwick North Terminal opening

Getting airport lounge access via a UK credit card

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

Two free Priority Pass cards (one for you, one for your supplementary Platinum cardholder, each admitting two – so a family of four gets in free) giving access to every lounge in the Priority Pass network – search it here.  You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

You get a Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club network lounge – see the list here.  The list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list, but not by much.  Additional visits are charged at £20 per person.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  No annual fee in Year 1.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

You get a free LoungeKey card allowing you access to any property in the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although regular travellers will find it cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card (adults only, of course).  The card has an annual 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.

Comments (137)

  • Jtz says:

    OT but went into coop yesterday to pay a Thames water bill with paypoint…cashier said they don’t accept credit card….how do you do paypoint at coop with Amex?

    Thanks

    • Sanya says:

      It depends on the cashier and the Coop itself. Just yesterday I paid £300 on a Council tax bill using Amex at a Coop Paypoint.

      • Polly says:

        Same here, l do a bill run every month at our local co op, and get our amex target spend well up…but correct, some co ops don’t accept amex.

        Jtz..Just try again, and simply put the card into the machine. Act innocent and see if it’s accepted.

        • Tom1 says:

          Depends which region you are in.

          Lincolnshire doesn’t accept Amex. Midlands Coop do from my experience.

        • Genghis says:

          I go to the same one in London

    • N says:

      Do the shop equivalent of HUACA – I put through about £10k on my Amexes in Paypoint annually at my local co-op

    • Rob says:

      Never done it, but my understanding is that Co-Op hadn’t bothered training their staff properly which is why they were taking Amex. Times may have changed ….

    • mark2 says:

      I spend several thousands a month on PayPoint at Coop paying with Amex. There are two branches nearby which do not accept credit cards, but the other seven or so just accept anything.

      • Reds says:

        Is there a maximum amount you would advise to put through at each ‘go’ ?
        There is no problem putting through £200 with Amex each time at my local Coop but
        keen to put larger amount through.

        • Genghis says:

          Not sure there are any ‘rules’. I normally do smaller amounts more frequently as I pass a co op every day but I did £550 or so last Friday no problem.

      • Steve-B says:

        Nice 🙂 My co-op imposes a £200 limit per transaction.

        • Genghis says:

          There are limits in terms of the individual Paypoint transactions (£199 for our council, £149 IIRC for Thames Water) etc but multiple transactions can then be paid together (at our Co op anyway).

  • Faithy says:

    OT.
    Does a referral to SPG from plat or gold get referral bonus? Thanks

  • Faithy says:

    If you book with Avios PE as no higher was class available, what could you do once a higher class does become available? Is there a way to change to the higher class through Avios or BA?
    Thanks

    • Roberto says:

      Yes , its £35 per person ( per flight ) to change plus the difference in Avios and taxes.

      And BTW its WTP (or WT+) on BA as PE is a Virgin Airlines term (for Premium Economy).

      • Faithy says:

        Thanks. Is this done online or over the phone?

        • Roberto says:

          Both.
          If you booked with BA directly go to “My Bookings”, followed by “Manage My Bookings”, then click the specific flight segment in question, click “Upgrade” and you’ll be presented with the option to “Upgrade with Cash” or Upgrade with Avios”.

          However if you booked with a travel agent , BA holidays , Iberia or through Avios.com things might not be as simple unfortunately.

  • KSB says:

    OT – started collecting Avios in December and (largely thanks to HFP tips) almost ready to pull the trigger on my first flight reward, looking at LHR-SFO using 241 in First next year.

    I also have approx. 120,000 Marriott rewards points which I would like to use, are there any decent value options for redeeming Marriott/SPG points in San Francisco or Napa Valley? Also, any idea when the new hotel categories will be announced for the combined Marriott rewards program? Wondering if it would be worth waiting until after August to book hotels.
    Thanks

    • mark says:

      you can book them anyway (as they’re flexible bookings) and then if they go down in august (unlikely) then you can rebook.

    • mark2 says:

      also remember that you can book now, earn points later.

    • Hugh says:

      Is that both out and back in F? If so congratulations, that sounds like quite an impressive earnings rate if you have done that in 4 months!

      • KSB says:

        Thanks, not sure I will be able to do it so easily going forward.

        Yes, F both ways assuming I find availability. Combination of sign-up bonuses for BAPP, AMEX Plat (cancelled after 2 months), HSBC WE (with Curve for HMRC spend). I also had a few work trips and holidays which bumped up my hotel spend (which handily were at Marriott/SPG properties)

        • Polly says:

          And you can get a Marriot Travel Package And have avios put back into your account. But the downside of that is you need the marriot points up front. Unlike just booking a hotel, then earning their points. Well done on the target reached. You will love 1st class. Trouble is you won’t want to turn Right any more in the plane! And keep on churning, you seem to have cracked it!

  • Graham Walsh says:

    OT. Need to book a multi city trip LON > LAS > DEN > OSL and then back to LON. Google flights and Momondo the best options for researching? Silver with Virgin but that won’t get me everywhere so thinking of trying to do it all with Oneworld alliance.

    • Stu says:

      I would’ve thought best to book open jaw LON-LAS, DEN to LON. Single LAS to DEN and then LON-OSL return separately

      • shd says:

        If you do it like that you’ll pay APD on your LON>OSL which is unnecessary if you’re not planning to stop in LON on your way to OSL.

        Why not search for a double open-jaw (LON-LAS//DEN-OSL) in Google Flights and then look for the two singles (LAS-DEN and OSL-LON)?

        • Graham Walsh says:

          Thanks for the ideas. Correct, no need to stop back via London on route to OSL

  • Duncan says:

    OT
    Just arrived in Sofia with BA. Wife’s bag has been lost by BA. Start of a two week hol, Flying Wed am with Qatar to Singapore (trip to get Silver). Then on to Thailand – 2 week hol.
    Have recorded loss with BA, have also tried calling them.
    Does anyone have any tips how we can get Ba to act with some urgency and get the case to catch up with us? Wife is understandably quite upset. (No clothes at start of 2 week hol).
    Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

    • Anna says:

      Did you report it at the airport? They should be able to track it and tell you how long it will take to get to get to Sofia. If they’ve put it on the next flight you might get it before you leave tomorrow. Last time one of our bags didn’t turn up CS (not BA) at our airport could see from the tracking number that it hadn’t been loaded in Amsterdam and that it had been put on a flight to Miami then on to our destination. It was delivered to our hotel later that evening. I was very impressed!

    • Andy says:

      It’s almost always a waste of time to call the airline, and doing so will only frustrate you more. The bag will catch up with you sooner or later, and there’s not much you can do except keep your address updated on WorldTracer. Check your travel insurance; mine will reimburse £300 per person if the bag is 4 hours late, and an additional £300 per person after 48 hours. Or BA might reimburse you anyway. Either way, your wife doesn’t have to wear the same clothes until your bag arrives. Go shopping.

      • Genghis says:

        This happened to us flying direct from T3 to CPT. Wife’s bag missing for c.56 hours. We just bought new stuff and claimed on travel insurance – much easier than filling out the BA form.

    • Anna says:

      If the onward flight isn’t with BA though, surely they will only take responsibility for getting the bag to Sofia? Happy to be corrected but in my experience BA will only do the very minimum they are obliged to and stuff your holiday if it’s ruined!

      • andy says:

        They should deliver it to the destination that you specify in WorldTracer. There are sometimes delays because of the customs paperwork associated with an unaccompanied bag.

  • Ben says:

    O/T – How long do Avios take to post to BA Exec Club from Tesco auto convert? Thanks in advance

    • Rob says:

      24 hours should do it, 48 at a push.

    • Alan says:

      Related: How long do they take to credit your BA account if you are doing a single transaction (as opposed to auto-convert)?
      Cheers

      • HayMow says:

        Alan – 1 day for my 22Feb request to transfer Tesco CC pts to BAEC Avios (& 4 days for the ones I requested to go to my Avios.com account).

  • I noticed bits of your site disappearing recently. As I had whitelisted your site from adblock as soon as I installed the extension I thought there was a bug in your site and was going to let you know about it. I know I had you whitelisted as I remembered seeing ads on your site which were from the general Google Adsense pool (the welcome Saudi Crown Prince ads for example).

    This new update is excessive. It seems if a link points to an affiliate site then it’ll be blocked.

    This is excessive, I’m quite happy for HfP to get commission (as I know they’d only affiliate link if it doesn’t affect the price we pay) and as well as being a very useful resource they also provide full time employment for Anika (as well as Rob of course). I’ve whitelisted again but anyone using adblock should double check their settings.