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Comparing UK lounge networks of Priority Pass, Lounge Club and LoungeKey

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If you are heading off on holiday soon, you may want to check if you can access an airport lounge at your departure airport.  If not, it might still be possible to arrange free access via a credit card or by buying a pass.

Many Head for Points readers can access airport lounges, even when flying economy, via their membership of Lounge Club, Priority Pass or LoungeKey.

Lounge Club membership comes with the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card, which is free for the first year. You receive two free passes to visit any Lounge Club lounge and further visits or further guests are charged at £15. My full review of Amex Gold is here.

Priority Pass membership comes with the American Express Platinum card. Both the main cardholder and one supplementary cardholder receive a Priority Pass, and each card admits two people for free. This means that you can get four people into a lounge for free, as many times as you want if both the main and supplementary cardholder are travelling together. There is NO LIMIT to the number of lounge visits you can make for free.  My full review of Amex Platinum is here.

LoungeKey membership comes with the £195 per year HSBC Premier World Elite MasterCard and other World Elite MasterCard products. There is no separate membership card and you simply show your World Elite MasterCard at the door. However, you are meant to have registered your HSBC card via this link first – I’m not sure if this is actually necessary. No free guests are allowed but you can get a supplementary card for your HSBC Premier World Elite MasterCard for a £60 annual fee and that person can then access lounges with this card.

(Holders of the free HSBC Premier MasterCard can also access lounges via LoungeKey but will be charged £15 per visit.)

As well as getting Lounge Club or Priority Pass membership via Amex, you can also buy Priority Pass membership directly. There are various membership options with different combinations of membership fee and ‘per visit’ fees – but, oddly, you cannot buy a card with the same features as the Amex Plat version, ie cardholder plus a free guest.

Heathrow No 1 Traveller lounge

There have been quite a few changes over the past 12 months in what lounges are available so I thought it was worth updating this article today.

The Lounge Club network (Amex Gold) currently comprises:

If you have a Priority Pass card, you get access to the following additional lounges:

If your Priority Pass comes via American Express Platinum, note that you can also access the Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 (review here) by showing your Platinum card at the desk.

This is the full UK LoungeKey list (we think!):

Lounge Club has the least lounge coverage – potentially because the card pays less to the lounges? – whereas Priority Pass and LoungeKey have almost identical lists.  This is not hugely surprising because the same company, Collinson Latitude, runs all three programmes.

Overall all of the three cards offer impressive coverage and if you have no airline status and fly from the airports above on a regular basis you should look at ways of adding a lounge access card to your wallet.

PS.  We have not discussed DragonPass here because it is only offered to selected Barclays current account holders.  There are a few extra quirks with this.  At Heathrow, in Terminal 5 and Terminal 2, you can use the Regus Express business centre lounge in Arrivals.  More importantly, in Terminal 5, you can use the new Plaza Premium departures lounge.  At Gatwick in the South Terminal, you can use the Regus Express business centre lounge in Arrivals.

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Comments

  1. Thomas J O'Brien says:

    My friend has 2 lounge passes from his Amex Gold but wont use them, can they be used by other people?

  2. Ruth4325 says:

    I have lounge club with my Amex PR Gold. I didn’t use the two passes last card anniversary year but will use them this October when flying in Y from EDI to ARN. To ask a stupid question…when we go into the lounge at Edinburgh and present the lounge club card, how do they know I have two free passes? Will I also be able to guest my two kids in for £15 each?

    I had a look at the Lounge Club website but it’s useless and doesn’t even show that you have two free passes to use in your account.

    • The lounge doesn’t know either. They swipe your card and charge it for 2 guests. For your first two visits in a card year Lounge Club absorbs the bill when it turns up, for the rest they charge your Gold card £15 per person.

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