No 1 Lounges is bringing a Clubrooms lounge to Birmingham International Airport

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The No 1 Lounge at Birmingham International suffers, along with its sister lounges at Gatwick and Heathrow T3, with capacity problems.  This is especially acute in the mornings, when Priority Pass holders are at risk of being turned away if they have not paid the £5 reservation fee (you can reserve spots here).

The good news is that No 1 is bringing its Clubrooms product to Birmingham.  A new lounge is currently under construction opposite Gate 54, next to the Emirates lounge.

I took a look at the Gatwick North Clubrooms here.  At Gatwick South, the lounge has table service and is arranged in a more restaurant-like style.  Instead of one large open space it is made up of a number of small rooms, with individual airlines – or private individuals if they wish – able to reserve a particular space.  Gatwick North was done differently and looks more like a standard lounge, done out to a plusher standard than a standard No 1 Lounge.

There is no opening date, and indeed there is no mention on the No 1 Lounges website that the lounge is even on the way – but it is.

No 1 Lounges Clubrooms Birmingham

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.

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  1. Faithy says:

    OT. BAPP
    If I cancel with 241 voucher just received and want to reapply in 6 months. When would I be able to get new voucher? TY

  2. William Jones says:

    Hi All,

    This may have come up or been explained previously and if so apologies for missing this.

    Since the closure of the UK Avios program I am no longer able to log into This means I am unable to see the points my Lloyds Avios card would be generating. My understanding was that these points should now automatically drop into my BAEC account instead. The points posted immediately on statement date before the closure of Avios, it has been 18 days since my statement and no sign of them appearing in my BAEC account.

    Have I got this wrong, is there somewhere else I should be checking or is this a problem? Has anyone else experienced this?

    • Mark2 says:

      I just logged into my account with no problem.

    • Yes, they should automatically be going across. I would ring Avios and check they are linking to the correct BA account.

    • William Jones says:

      Thanks for your comments guys. I spoke to Avios using online chat, apparently my account had been blocked. I can get in now and see my Avios. For reference in case anyone else get’s this, the non-descript error I was getting was “A Key system is unavailable” when trying to login.

  3. RussellH says:

    There was an interesting article in yesterday’s Observer Financial section about the impact of the interchange fee cap.
    The basic thrust was that by and large fees charged to retailers have **increased** since the imposition of the cap, because Visa and MasterCard have increased their “scheme fees” by around 100%.
    Shop prices have increased to cover these increases and further increases are expected, unless the regulator can be persuaded to insitute a proper review of card fees as a whole.

    • New Card says:

      I saw this too – looked very interesting and perhaps challenges the idea that meaningful reward cards can’t exist in a 0.3% world, if Visa/MC/Amex can earn the same amount by bumping up other fees.

      • RussellH says:

        Is it not the card issuer that issues the rewards, though??
        If Visa and MasterCard keep increasing their take, that puts pressure on the card issuer to **reduce** their ma\rgin, leaving less for us.
        But, as a vertically integrated operation, Amex surely should be clever enough to find ways around the problem, as however it is split up, it all goes to Amex in the end anyway!

        • New Card says:

          I guess i was thinking either VISA/MC/Amex might issue rewards cards directly, as Amex already do, or there might be some kind of rebate from Visa/MC (out of the increased scheme fee) to the card issuer (to put them in the position they would have been in pre-interchange fee cap)

    • Yep, that’s definitely been the case at the (large) company I work for! We’ve gone to I++ and despite the breakdown we pay more overall. Visa and MC don’t tell you what they’re going to charge (or give you an itemised bill afterwards), they just hand you an invoice and demand their money. They are the real ‘demons’ now, and I would love for the next EU ‘investigation’ to focus on their duopoly.

      They’ll never issue cards themselves, it’s too risky and they make too much from the current structure to change that (unless forced).

  4. Mark2 says:

    Has anyone managed to connect a new Virgin Money card to Curve lease?

  5. OT but is anyone having trouble paying for ‘business’ transactions with there Curve card? I cannot seem to make any.

    • Mark2 says:

      Almost all the payments that I have made have been classified by Curve as ‘business services’.
      I did have trouble at first, but found that lots of moderate payments, £300-400 do not cause a problem.

      • I have had no problem, however over the weekend I have tried 5 times to put a payment through and it is not accepting them, not even the £200.00 ones…..

  6. Has anyone had issues with the Gold to Plat upgrade link?(
    I fill out of the application form and submit and then get a blank red error box on submission. I tried last week and again today and I’ve tried a couple different browsers, but still no luck. Can I call and do it and still get the 20k points on 1k spend for upgrading?

    • Mark2 says:

      Is it a charge card that you are trying to upgrade?

    • Jonathan says:

      Yes – never successfully managed to upgrade online (3 attempts over the past 18 months for my wife and I). Everytime i have had to do it over the phone, then argue with the Amex person that i would be due 20k bonus points as per the website T&C’s. Always got the card and the points.

      • Mark2 says:

        Similar attempts over the past 18 months for my wife and me have always been successful with the points being awarded with the last qualifying purchase. We have never been charged the £450 either.

        • Darren says:

          Now that’s interesting, just received my 20K and my first statement since an upgrade to Platinum. I was expecting the fee to be added this month but it hasn’t.

        • Darren says:

          as a reference, I used an upgrade link

    • Alex W says:

      I had issues with the upgrade link. Applied by phone and they confirmed I would get the bonus. I got the 20k bonus, can’t remember if I had to chase them or not.

      • Darren – I too had the same…I cancelled the Platinum card via “chat” and no fee was forthcoming.

  7. Geoff says:

    How do you see a points per purchase break down in the Virgin flying club or Virgin Credit card like we do with Amex or B.A?
    I only see the total per month once per month.



  8. Lumma says:

    OT, spent the afternoon in terminal 3 lounge hopping. I’ve got to say, the Qantas lounge was the most disappointing, downstairs dining closed “until 6pm” felt like I was an inconvenience to the staff when I wanted a drink from the bar, which includes coffee.

    Biggest surprise was the American Airlines lounge, which was the only one I’d never been to beflre, if they had some decent craft American craft beers instead of just Budweiser and Carlsberg, dare I say it, I’d prefer it over Cathay. Cathay might have the noodle bar but AA had refresher chews 🙂

    • Richard Garcia says:

      That’s a shame. I found the Qantas staff to be absolutely brilliant when I used the lounge last.

      • Genghis says:

        Great for brunch. Good for dinner IMO. Not so good in the afternoon

      • Lumma says:

        To be fair, they were friendly enough, it just seemed like they had things to do other than manning the bar, which should be a given in a lounge with no self service alcohol or coffee. It also seems to take longer for them to check you into the lounge than any of the others, although the AA lounge said to me “you’re flying British Airways, do you not want to use their lounge?”. My response was, ‘have you been in the BA lounge?”. Although the BA lounge is the best if you just want to get drunk

        My next T3 flight is a 1pm departure, maybe I’ll give it another go at breakfast time before moving on

  9. Anyone know if the upper class fares listed are still available?

    Expedia shows £5,500 ams to lax presently for September travel and doesn’t offer Virgin Airways at all???

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