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I try out Heathrow’s Personal Shopper experience

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If you’ve spent too much time in airport lounges, you might want to try something different next time you’re at Heathrow.

How about a complimentary Personal Shopper experience?

Heathrow’s Personal Shopper service launched in 2014 and can be booked by anyone travelling from Heathrow who would like professional shopping advice.

There are dedicated lounges at Terminals 5, 3 and 2 but the service can also be booked when travelling from Terminal 4. In this case you could either just shop in the stores with the assistance of a Personal Shopper or transfer to one of the other terminals to use their lounge.

To find out what the service was about, how to book it and what to expect, I booked a Personal Shopper experience before my flight to Hamburg last week.

For clarity, we were not paid for this article and I did not receive any discount on the items I ended up buying.  We just thought it would make an interesting story.

Heathrow Airport Personal Shopper review

The Personal Shopper experience is particularly useful when you need to buy an outfit for an upcoming event, update your Summer wardrobe etc.  It isn’t just about fashion however – it can also be used to reserve any other item such as a specific piece of IT equipment, some headphones etc.

I had a friend’s wedding coming up and thought I’d look for a dress and shoes.

How to book

We talked to our contact at Heathrow Airport prior to me booking to let them know that we would be covering the service in an article and would want to take photos etc.  However, the Personal Shopper service is complimentary to everyone and I could have booked it directly on this website.

There are several stylists who speak various languages, but German didn’t seem to be an option so I stuck with English!

When booking your appointment online you are asked to fill out your details, flight number and some information about brands and articles you are interested in.  The latter is optional at the booking stage and you can wait for your stylist to contact you to discuss what you are looking for.

At the airport

I agreed to meet with my stylist after security at Terminal 5 three hours before my flight, but ended up being 20 minutes late due to overcrowded BA check in desks. It took me about 45 minutes to check in, drop off my bag (at the premium check in ….) and go through Fast Track security.

My initial plan was to also check out the brand new Personal Shopper lounge at Terminal 3 (picture below)

Personal Shopper 2

As this would have involved going through security a further two times and the whole airport was very busy that day, we decided to stay in Terminal 5.

Location

The Personal Shopper lounge at Terminal 5 is on the lower level near gates A8 and A9. It’s hidden away behind sliding doors which the stylist opens via a keypad.

Heathrow Airport Personal Shopper review

The lounge at T5 has a small reception area ….

Heathrow Airport Personal Shopper review

…. with a clothing and bags display near the window.

Heathrow Airport Personal Shopper review

There were two private shopping rooms inside the lounge of which we used the one at the far end.

A small bottle of Fortnum & Mason champagne was on the table and a selection of clothes and bags were on the shelves and in the open wardrobe which also doubled as a room divider.

Heathrow Airport Personal Shopper review

and

Heathrow Airport Personal Shopper review

It turned out that the champagne was on the table for decorative purposes only and I got a fresh bottle from the fridge!

London Heathrow Personal shopper

At the very back of the room was the dressing room with a make up table, a clothing rail and two chairs.

I had sent Anjana, my stylist, links to a number of dresses that I found online to give her an idea of what I was looking for.

She had chosen 5 different dresses for me including one exact dress that was among the pictures I sent.  There were also three pairs of shoes and a number of bags waiting for me.

Heathrow Airport Personal Shopper review

I tried the dresses and shoes and loved both green dresses. We decided to have a walk around the terminal to look at what else was on offer in the stores, but in the end I did choose to buy one of the green dresses and a pair of nude heels (and paid for it with my own money 🙂 )

Heathrow Airport Personal Shopper review

Unfortunately you are currently not able to pay for your purchases inside the Personal Shopper lounge and need to walk to the individual stores to make your payment.  There are, however, plans to introduce portable payment devices at all lounges.

Terminal shopping transfers

If you plan ahead and give yourself at least three hours for the Personal Shopper experience, you can transfer between terminals.  If you’re flying out of Terminal 5 but would love to see the new shopping lounge at Terminal 2 and explore the shops at that terminal, for example, the Personal Shopper team can transfer you across.

Earn bonus Heathrow Rewards points with home delivery

You don’t need to take your purchases on holiday with you.  Your purchases can be delivered to any UK mainland residential address for FREE when you spend £300 or more in one store and use your Heathrow Rewards card (£500 for non-members).  This applies to anything you buy at Heathrow, not just via Personal Shopper when you’re on a UK or EU flight. Simply fill out a form when purchasing your items and the Shopping Service Team will take care of your delivery.

Heathrow Rewards members will receive 100 bonus points for using Home Delivery – this increases to 150 points if you are a Heathrow Rewards Premium member.

A further option is to collect your items at when you return from your trip. You need to fill out a form when purchasing your items and they will be ready for you to pick up at the Excess Baggage counter at arrival. There is no minimum spend for this option.

I was also informed that using the Personal Shopper service you can earn Harrods Rewards points and Heathrow Rewards points. Harrods usually accepts just one card, but you can scan your Harrods Rewards card when paying for your items and have your personal shopping assistant add your Heathrow Rewards points later on.

Details of the Heathrow Rewards bonuses you can earn are here.

If you aren’t a Heathrow Rewards member yet and sign up via this offer, you will get 3,000 bonus points when spending £150.   Whilst the bonus offer is sponsored by Avios, you are not obliged to transfer your bonus points to them.

What happens with returns?

If you need to return an item, you have 60 days to either take it back to the Heathrow store or post it to Heathrow Personal Shopper who will process your refund for you. More information is on this website.

Conclusion – what did I think about Heathrow’s Personal Shopper?

I enjoyed my shopping trip and would book it again.  As I spend a good amount of time at airports, it was nice to do something different for a change.  I loved that some outfits were already waiting for me and I didn’t have to go into the stores to check what was available.  Anjana had got a good grasp of what I was looking for from my initial email and also knew which stores were worth a visit for extra ideas.

The Personal Shopper service can be booked here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Comments

  1. I’ve also had a positive experience with these guys but in a difference light.

    My girlfriend was after a particular Chanel bag. She contacted the personal shoppers to check the store’s stock. The model she wanted wasn’t in stock, but the personal shopper was able to send photos of current stock. Didn’t manage to get what she originally wanted, but with pictures of the alternate, she was able to select another which they held for her, for 24hr prior to departure. Super helpful!

    • When you’re buying a bag at Chanel prices, you’d bloody hope they’d be helpful!

  2. I seem to recall back in the day of BBC’s Airport that there was a similar personal shopper service (albeit without the lounge) – it seemed to be someone who could give you guidance about where to go and could also facilitate inter-terminal transfers. One of the personal shoppers, a French lady called Corinne, was who the TV series followed.

  3. the real harry1 says:

    Yep an interesting article, so thanks – for confirming my pathological hatred for this kind of ‘shopping experience’, far better left to rich Arabs etc or other UHNWIs. I used to have some input into DF brands and our base philosophy was that since the DF outlets have to pay extortionate rents to the airport owners, they would necessarily have to charge crazy high prices to consumers just to make a decent operating profit. We managed that by offering retailers ‘exclusives’ unobtainable on the UK high street, ie there was no valid price comparison so everybody concerned (supplier & retailer) could ask silly money and the consumer would have no way of knowing they were being played for a patsy with more money than sense. It largely seems to still work like that. I can see that the likes of PC World/ WHSmith can & do offer value, I think that’s probably because of the way they inventively re-claim VAT etc (when did you ever – as an EU traveller – if you are mug enough to let them see your BP – not actually see they were going to reclaim VAT?!) – as a UK taxpayer, it would be good to see them investigated & fined for this falsification…anyway, ‘sophisticated’ DF shopping is patently not for me, though I’d always be open to taking a chilled bottle of something white, dry & fizzy on my BA flight 🙂

    Bet my wife would love it, luckily she is so useless at getting to the airport on time she’d never have a decent period to actually shop.

    • Roger1* says:

      While I enjoyed reading the article – and find the lack of a German speaker poor – I think Harry’s nailed it with his description of high-margin business practices.

      The latter is why most of the offers on my AmEx card are irrelevant to Mrs Roger and me.

    • Callum says:

      While I agree with most of that post (I personally despise displays of wealth), what exactly would they be fined for?

      I don’t see how it’s any different to the Duty Free stores doing the same thing

      • the real harry1 says:

        You can only legally claim back the VAT as a company if the passenger is flying to a non-EU/ EEA/ & a few others destination. https://wikitravel.org/en/European_Economic_Area

        But I reckon many airside retail outlets (ie all potentially DF) still claim back (some/ on occasion) VAT from passengers flying to destinations within the customs union to boost their profits.

        • RussellH says:

          Given that the only things I buy in airports are newspapers and books, both zero-rated, and ‘meal-deals’ from Boots or WH Smith I am surprised that any reputable business would try it on. But on due reflection, I do not seem to have been asked for a boarding pass in the last couple of years.

          Interesting article, even though the sort of shops that deal with this sort of thing come into one of my “do not touch with a bargepole” categories.

    • Mr Dee says:

      Well I noticed the Dixons store is about 10% more on some higher ticket items but still good value if you stocked up on Heathrow vouchers

  4. Kbuffett says:

    Do you know if it’s possible to get free home delivery on a £300 cumulative spend across a number of different outlets? If so, where do you go to sort out the delivery?

    • It has to be spent at the same store, but could be a number of items. They sort out delivery when you pay

  5. Interesting to read about something I will never use. Having to go to the exact store and pay would be a pain, however if you’re important enough you probably have a lackey to do that sort of thing for you!

  6. Heathrow also offer a reservation service with some stores – Heathrow Boutique it’s called. We used it when going to our wedding in Europe to reserve some gifts (Jo Malone candles). We e-mailed them to reserve specific candles and they dealt with reservation with store (they can only do it with Jo Malone 72hrs in advance). They e-mailed back to confirm price once done. The products were held at the concierge hub in the main duty free store in T5. Process seemed to work pretty well.

    It was somewhat ironic that one American giftee had her candle taken off her (I believe incorrectly) at T2 security on way back to the US! The Italians didn’t seem bothered by it!

  7. sunguy says:

    Actually some of this fully depends on what you are looking for….

    For example, I bought both my wifes engagement ring and our wedding rings in Tiffany in T5. Price wise, they were significantly cheaper than the high street and about the same price as in the US – however, as it was officially purchased in the UK, returns, refunds, fixes and sizeings could be done in the UK….also, I didnt have to take them with me, I simply had them sent to the Canary Wharf Tiffany store who took care of us when we arrived to pick them up, just as they would have if we purchased them in that store.

    So, to say all retailers are the same and you never get actual bargains, is rather untrue….but I agree that in general, this is definitely true.

    Similarly for perfumes and aftershaves, 90% of the time they are within a few pounds of the high street price (or they are a “special duty free size bottle”).

    • I got my wife a pricey watch at Heathrow years ago. Rang Watches of Switzerland, got them to order it in and picked it up on the way out. Saved four figures.

      The fashion outlets are genuinely reduced on High Street (well, Bond Street) levels. You should, I agree, be very suspicious of perfume and alcohol.

      The real value of Heathrow is that you can visit a lot of shops in a very short amount of time and you can dash in and dash out in a way that feels uncomfortable on Bond Street. I got through Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Prada and Paul Smith in under 15 minutes – in total – on my way out to Madrid last week.

      • Chanel perfume / mascara my wife likes tends to be cheaper at LHR. I compared to online prices. Although could have changed in last few months.

    • Lady London says:

      Also helps for the time poor. There was a time when the only time I got to shop was when I was waiting for a plane. Price wasn’t the motivation it was simply not having the time otherwise. And for some stores and popular items the selection available can be better than in town.

      • Lady London says:

        Being able to get anything online now has helped a lot. But for higher priced or more special things then has to be done in person.

  8. Off topic but Heathrow – just had a spend £30, get 500 bonus points voucher sent to my wife’s HR account. Possibly targeted, valid for the next 8 weeks which happens to be when we are next flying to Heathrow!

  9. Is it possible to re-issue expired Heathrow Rewards paper vouchers?

    • No idea. To be fair, given they have a 12 month expiry I doubt they would feel they should.

  10. Prins Polo says:

    The home delivery option only works if you travel within the EU. It is not available if you’re flying elsewhere.

    • Lady London says:

      That will be because you effectively paid the VAT on it so it’s ok to be shipped within the UK. If you’re flying within the EU they’re not allowed to give you the VAT off even if you’re buying airside from a so-called duty free store. So any discount you get is not really duty free it’s actually a discount given by the store.

      Harry’s point where he believes WHSmith and possibly other stores may perhaps be misbooking travellers who purchase from them are travelling within the EU, as having travelled outside the EU, is another interesting question. Although as much of what WHSmith supplies is 0 rated or VAT exempt (books, newspapers) it would only be worth doing it on things sold that do attract VAT.

  11. If this is your thing, you may as well just take a trip to Bicester Village (40 mins on the train from London) like the rest of the tourists.

    They offer a personal shopper experience with the majority of brands being a genuine 10-40% off the high street. They even offer a Samsonite shop to take your goodies home with you!

    • Johnny Holmes says:

      just arrive as early as possible if you go on the weekend. I was having lunch at 10.30 because the eateries there get packed. Left East London at 7.30 to get there for 9ish.

    • RussellH says:

      And, I believe, you can still get avios or Miles+More miles at Bicester too. I have been there a few times (my partner’s step-father was in a nearby care home), but never found anything I actually wanted.
      By contrast, Gretna Village does occasionally have things of interest, and the Villeroy+Boch staore at the Zweibrücken Outlet Village has some decent stuff.

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