If you don’t have airport lounge access via your flight ticket, your elite status, via a Priority Pass card from American Express Platinum or via a Lounge Club card from American Express Gold, your best fall-back option is usually No 1 Lounges.
No 1 Lounges is the largest network of premium independent lounges in the UK. We have reviewed all of them in the past (click for the review):
- No 1 Lounge Heathrow Terminal 3
- No 1 Lounge Gatwick North
- My Lounge Gatwick North and #2
- No 1 Clubrooms Gatwick North
- No 1 Lounge Gatwick South (photo below)
- No 1 Clubrooms Gatwick South
- No 1 Lounge Birmingham
- No 1 Lounge Edinburgh
All lounges include free hot food, free drinks (some premium food and drinks carries an extra charge), free newspapers and magazines and free wi-fi.
No 1 Lounges has a generous tie-up with Virgin Flying Club. This allows you to buy access to their lounges at a discount and earn miles Virgin Flying Club at the same time.
For a limited period, Virgin has doubled the miles you earn from No 1.
The Virgin Atlantic offer
Virgin Flying Club offers a discount and a chunk of miles when you book. You also receive fast-track security at Birmingham, Edinburgh and Gatwick.
There is a tiered earning structure, per booking:
- 800 miles at Clubrooms
- 700 miles at No 1 Lounges
- 400 miles at My Lounge
This is DOUBLE the usual number of miles. This deal is only available if you book before 30th September and visit by 31st December.
The special Virgin Flying Club pricing is:
- £25 – No 1 Lounges
- £12 – My Lounge
- £35 – Clubrooms
You can only book the Virgin deal via this page of the No 1 website.
Because the miles are awarded per booking, you should make a separate reservation for each person in your group.
If you collect Virgin Flying Club miles, this is a pretty attractive deal. Your net cost – assuming you value the miles at 1p – is just £8 for My Lounge and £18 for No 1 Lounges. Given the cost of food and drink at Gatwick North it is difficult to see how you’d struggle to get £8 of value from your My Lounge booking.
You also get Fast Track Security access at Gatwick, Birmingham and Edinburgh. Gatwick charges £5 for this if you book is separately, making this deal look even better.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (May 2022)
As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:
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.
The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
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 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.