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The new Club Aspire airport lounge is now open in London Gatwick’s North Terminal

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The Aspire Lounge in Gatwick’s North (easyJet) terminal has now reopened following a refurbishment.  It is now a Club Aspire lounge.

For those who care about the business side of things, ownership is now split between Swissport (which owns the Aspire brand) and Collinson Latitude, which owns Priority Pass and is moving into direct lounge ownership.

The good news is that free prosecco is being served for the first two months!

We will be reviewing the lounge in a couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for that.

Access is via Priority Pass (free with Amex Platinum or buy one here), Lounge Club (two free passes with the free Amex Gold) or Mastercard World Elite’s LoungeKey.  You can also pre-book entry via the Aspire website here for £24.99.  Walk-up entry is £28.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (August 2022)

As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit 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.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Amex Gold

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 you get 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 (109)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Neil Donoghue says:

    O/T – I was rejected for the Virgin Atlantic Rewards + card. After taking Rob’s advice and writing an appeal letter, I can confirm that the card arrived this morning (28 days after the letter was sent). The card arrived with a £12k credit limit despite being rejected online! Thanks Rob….very happy with the 1.5 earning rate after all the recent cut backs!

    • Mark2 says:

      Thanks Neil.
      I was about to ask how long this took.

    • Catalan says:

      Neil, were there any specific points you brought to their attention in your appeal?
      Just wondering in case I have to go through the same process.

      • Neil Donoghue says:

        Catalan – I informed them that I have held the Virgin White & Black cards for the past 2 years. I also told them my current salary and that I have a near perfect credit score. I didn’t receive any word back until the card turned up in my letter box! It’s a very strange process and appealing was a pain in the ass but I’m glad it was all worth it. Just to confirm, I sent the appeal letter by signed for mail. The credit card arrived 28 days after Virgin had signed for my appeal letter.

    • Mark2 says:

      If anyone has been refused again, how long did that take?

  • Dave says:

    The IHG points look interesting as we’ve got a stay coming up where even bog standard hotels are going for £200 a night.

    I’ve had a IHG account for a while but never stayed or accumulated points – would I have any issue buying and redeeming?

    • shd says:

      It would be so nice if there was a legit grey market to trade points. We’ve got a boat-load of IHG points and no sensible way to spend the damn things… 🙁

      • Andrew M says:

        If there was, I think redemption prices would go up for the rest of us!

    • Rob says:

      No, no odd rules with IHG on active accounts.

  • Tom says:

    OT – Gold and priority pass

    I have recently taken out the Amex gold, having last had it over a year ago.

    Can someone please remind me how I can get lunge access through priority pass? I have not yet received a priority pass card.

    Do I need the physical card to get access? I am travelling tomorrow and it would be great to be able to use one of the two passes then, but I don’t know if/how this is possible without the priority pass card.

    Is it possible I would still be in the priority pass system from when I last had my Amex gold?


    • palcsaky says:

      Gold card comes with the lounge club card, not priority pass. The lounge club card arrives a couple of weeks after the gold card. Without the lounge club card you won’t be able to use your 2 complimentary lounge passes. You could buy lounge passes for £18 through using discount code TELEDP17

    • Lev441 says:

      It’s a lounge club card and not priority pass. You can try and ring them up to get your details and use those at the lounge instead? (I think I they typed it into the handheld device) I’ve done that once when I forgot my card m..

  • FlyingChris says:

    Re: IHG Points & NYC.

    Got a 5x night trip to NYC next April. Looking at IHG as will have a free night certificate and approx 70k points to cover Night 2. Have my eye on either Kimpton (Ink48/Eventi) or the IC Barclay. Flex rates for the other 3 nights currently averaging £280-£370+taxes. Is this typical of NYC in mid-April? Presumably buying points for an average of ~ £240ish would then make sense for the remaining 3 nights? (despite obviously locking up money in IHG points for months…)

    …also the appeal of locking in a flexible points booking is quite appealing as would no longer be exposed to further USD:GBP fluctuations, a particular concern as travelling a couple of weeks after brexit d-day. Though who knows if the dollar will equally slump further this year.

    • Rob says:

      Those sort of rates are about right for midweek stays outside of holiday periods, yes.

      If you are there over a weekend, think about InterCon Ambassador to get the ‘buy one get one free’ free night certificate which could be used at the Barclay.

      Remember that IC Times Square is currently in Court trying to break its management agreement with IHG so I certainly wouldn’t book anything there for 10 months time which involved points, certificates or the potential receipt of any IHG benefits.

      • FlyingChris says:

        Thanks Rob. Really useful. Frustratingly dates don’t involve two subsequent weekend nights otherwise the IC Amp Buy One Get One Free voucher would have been great. Good shout on the IC Times Square. Will avoid points booking there until the dust settles.

        • Genghis says:

          Another idea might just be to switch hotels – could easily be built into your itinerary – if you don’t like the look of the IHG options, and I didn’t, despite having a stack of IHG points. Stayed at the Conrad last month and rate it rather highly. You could run the numbers to see if it works for you.

          Another tip: for some outstanding flavour combinations, diarise to get booked into Momofuku Ko. Expensive but worth it.

        • the real harry1 says:

          I don’t like their attitude 🙂

  • Scottydogg says:

    If you want to get your car upgraded from your small SUV to a full size (or better) , just slip the guy $20 . Works for me , just google the $20 sandwich trick
    Done it in fort lauderdale the other year and the guy took me out to the lot and let me choose my own car.
    I think the hourly rate these guys get in Florida is pretty low , so $20 is a big deal , and when you have a car for 2 weeks , $20 is nothing really to get it upgraded

  • Jtz says:

    OT but does anyone know a quicker way to get the gold credit card spend points. I really want to upgrade to plat and refer OH as I have some spends coming up. Called Amex about 3 times and was told to wait 60 days…

    • Rob says:

      The sign-up bonus? It is automatic when you hit the £2k, it posts alongside the transaction that takes you over the £2k. If it doesn’t then there is an IT issue somewhere.

      You cannot upgrade Gold Credit to Platinum Charge and get the upgrade bonus. Only possible if you have the older Gold Charge version.

      • palcsaky says:

        I think Jtz meant the companion gold credit card. My 5k took approx. 2 weeks to post.

      • Genghis says:

        Is Jtz not referring to the old Gold Credit card? Spend £500 IIRC?

        • Rob says:

          Ah, in that case, dunno!

        • Jtz says:

          Thanks for replies…yes, sorry if I was not clear; gold companion. Something seems a bit odd then that I have been told to wait 60 days.
          Really want to time the gold charge card upgrade to platinum well.

    • AndyR says:

      You can go ahead and upgrade to Platinum you’ll still get the points as it is the same MR account. I have recent experience of this. It took 60 days from hitting the £500 spend for the points to post by the way.

      • Louie says:

        I’ve recently had the same – as with AndyR the points did arrive eventually even though the Gold card had been upgraded to Platinum in the interim.

  • Charlie says:

    OT on the premium IHG credit card from Creation, I spent just under £10,000 and didn’t get the free reward night, as I wrongly assumed the £99 card fee was included. I did eventually get Creation to issue the free reward night, but it took a few hours of telephone calls to both IHG/Creation to persuade them. Don’t make the same mistake as me and make sure the spend target is on purchases! Now really looking forward to using the free night.

    • Mark2 says:

      So did you carefully spend £9,901?

      • Charlie says:

        It was not much higher than that!

        • Genghis says:

          Is the £99 fee included on the £10k counter on the Creation website?

      • Charlie says:

        I’m adamant that in my case it was included, but I didn’t take a screenshot, I do remember seeing it.

        When I put this to Creation they said it does not get included, and when I sum up my spend in my current year then they are right, the £99 fee is not being included.

        To their credit they made good my situation but I guess we’ll never know if they changed their systems recently.

    • jon says:

      That’s so weird. I’ve *just* finished reading an article on another points website about this exact issue, although he was not as lucky!

    • Genghis says:

      Always important to read the terms on any offer. It does clearly say “purchases”.
      Like the Amex £450 fee for Plat doesn’t count towards any spend targets as it’s not a purchase.

  • Dougie Forde says:

    OT About a week and a half ago I added by telephone the second leg of a 2 for 1 flight with BA. The flight is appearing on my account but no Avios have so far been deducted and no payment for taxes and charges has appeared on the credit card. Is this normal? How long should I wait. Concerned that the flight may disappear!

    • Dougie Forde says:

      Also noticed there is no ticket number allocated for the return flight but there is one for the outgoing flight

    • Genghis says:

      The flight won’t disappear. It needs to be manually processed by the back office team and should be in due course closer to when you fly (most likely not yet ticketed, though I have seen it both ways). If you’re in a rush to cancel the credit card, last time I contacted BA by Twitter and got a call back with payment taken. If not, I would’t worry now but make sure it’s ticketed closer to the time.

      • Dougie Forde says:

        Thanks Genghis, that’s good to know. Appreciate that.

    • Lee says:

      I got same problem, I called after two weeks then been told the first agent forgot to add £35 change fee to the booking so the tickets couldn’t be issued. Tickets was issued 3 days after I give BA the credit card authorise for extra £70.

      • Louie says:

        Was this adding on return flights that you couldn’t book when you booked the outbound because the return date was beyond T-355? If so, you shouldn’t have been charged a change fee in any case.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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