Norwegian drops lounge access for flyers in the Norwegian Premium cabin

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Norwegian has quietly removed lounge access for the majority of its Premium customers.

As posted by a HFP reader yesterday, it turns out that the rules were changed on 21st December.  From that point, only customers booking refundable PremiumFlex tickets have had lounge access included in their ticket.  This will presumably cut the number of lounge visitors by about 80%.

Here is the current list of perks by seat type from the Norwegian website (click to enlarge):

Norwegian Premium benefits

The timing is odd.  The new My Lounge at Gatwick South, which I reviewed yesterday, is heavily branded ‘The home of Norwegian’ but will now have very few Norwegian customers using it!

Norwegian is saying that anyone who booked a Premium ticket before 21st December will still get lounge access, but you will need to visit a check-in counter to pick up a paper invitation.  Hand-baggage only customers cannot simply turn up at the lounge and gain access.

Whilst this is understandable given Norwegian’s financial issues, it removes a key point of difference between Norwegian Premium, Virgin Atlantic Premium and British Airways World Traveller Plus.  I would still recommend Norwegian Premium, purely because you get a bigger and better seat, but the other perks seem to be withering away.

Norwegian Premium loses lounge access

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. Nigel the Pensioner says:

    At 15p a mile, UBER should easily reach their target of £3000 by twenty (one) past eight tonight! Its another green tax and I must say that Im not sure that the uber cheap UBER company would price themselves out of the market voluntarily unless it was a condition of continued licencing by Ctiizen Khan
    Many UBER drivers already have a Priuus (other examples are available) whereas its the diesel black cab fleet that need to dig into their pockets and get clean – with fuel and passengers too; but Khan is being very quiet about his comrades innit?

    • Farage the Centurion says:

      I think black cab drivers are more centre and right leaning than the mostly 1st/2nd generation migrant uber drivers in London who would traditionally vote labour, so if he is looking to keep his ‘comrades’ happy I would argue that he should be putting uber drivers first

    • Err, I think it’s £3000 per car, not £3000 total…

    • Lady London says:

      Yaaay @Nigel ! That’s kind of how I perceive ‘Citizen Khan’ aka ‘soundbite Khan’. So right-on politically correct.

  2. OT – Virgin Life Insurance 10k miles. Anyone else not seeing their miles have credited? My suspicion is that having a policy less than £1 per month they only started taking the DD in October (they confirmed last year this was a bug on their side and the policy activated successfully) and this may have confused the system. Thanks

  3. Shona McKay says:

    Mine are truly pathetic this time – will actively avoid IHG this quarter I think 😮

    14,400 Discover Our Brands Stay at 3 brands and get 14,400 bonus points
    7,200 Saturday Stays Bonus Stay 3 weekend(s), including a Saturday night and another night, and earn 7,200 bonus points
    4,500 Stay for Less and Earn Book 1 stay(s) using Points & Cash and earn 4,500 bonus points. Points & Cash allows you to book Reward Nights with fewer points
    6,600 Earn More, Faster Earn 6,600 bonus points when you book 2 Bonus Points Package stay(s) and get to your next reward faster
    6,800 Corporate Account Bonus Stay 4 time(s) using your corporate rate and earn 6,800 bonus points. Stays booked through your corporate portal count toward the promotion
    39,500 Your Achievement Bonus

    • When mine became rubbish I run down my points, closed the account, rejoined as a new member a few weeks later and got much easier targets as new customer. The slight downside was the total points on offer were not so high. Closing the accout was somewhat difficult as tgey wanted me to keep it as a dormant account hoping I might stay again in tge future. They only relented when I started pushing the privacy and personal data issues.

    • Lady London says:

      All I can say is yours is better than mine @Shona McKay. It’s a pity because I have some nights to book where there are also IHG’s. There are 2 other hotel group offers I expect to participate in with my available nights before I will look at my unrewarding targets for IHG.

    • I’m in a similar boat to Rob this time around – I have a corporate rate target.

      But unusually, I have never had a corporate rate. When I checked, it relates to an error last year. Someone else’s stay was attributed to my account. A stay in Amman at the IC. I had an email thanking me for my stay, to which I responded and never received a reply, then the points arrived and I tweeted them to query what was going on and again had no reply.

      When I recently tweeted about the current promotion and why I had a corporate rate target they looked into things but have still not taken back the points or changed my target!

      • pommy ray says:

        a long shot but the MasterCard 30 per cent off rate maybe seen as corporate?

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          Could the Business Account (or whatever it’s ed, the small business account thing run by atos) count?

      • I think someone commented that Amex Travel also counted as corporate stay in the past. (Maybe it was FHR?)

  4. What are the other Norwegian perks that are wuthering away? The way I see lounge access is that it’s very much a business class or higher perk. Not many premium economy carriers include lounge access based on class as a benefit of the product. The airline is cash strapped and at Gatwick the lounge is an outgoing the airline can probably ill afford. I’m surprised its not happened sooner and equally surprised its been retained as a benefit for Premium Flex.

  5. OT: Anybody had their 50% points rebate on Nectar LNER redemptions? Did mine the second day of the promotion but no refund so far. Tomorrow will be 28 days from the end of the promotion so hopefully then or soon after.

    • Was going to post to update – nothing hear either. Live chat promised they be in after 28 days when I spoke to them, kept a copy of the chat and will play the game again today

      • I think Nectar has a habit of posting somebpromo points 28-30 days after they end so hopefully tomorrow or later this week.

  6. OT – Does anyone know what happened with the writer job? Just wondering if the posisition ever got filled?

    • Still in process, it was difficult getting everyone in over the Christmas period. Need to get it finalised now as Malaysia has just offered me an F/J trip to Kuala Lumpur which I don’t have time to do myself.

      • Wow, that’s pretty generous of them! I’m even more jealous now! Not a bad way to start off. Good luck to all those in the running 😊

      • Rob – If you don’t get a writer in time, happy to volunteer for Malaysia! I work full time so the job itself wouldn’t be suitable, but I have done a lot of creative/journalistic writing and would be happy to help out! 😉

      • Perhaps you could run that as a competition prize with the winner to produce a comprehensive review and photos? Would take the pressure off making the new appointment and be a great competition too.

        • I am hoping we can get a decent competition prize (or party prize) off them at some point this year.

        • Hope so, good luck. There is actually much to commend MAS from the UK avios traveller perspective and they probably get less coverage than they should both in HFP articles and comments. Buying into advertising and prizes could pay dividends for them I think because their profile is weak and they are often overlooked compared to CX, TG and SQ. Shouldn’t really be the case given they are One World, have decent products and services on the latest aircraft, are twice daily from London, competitive premium fares (especially exThailand), KUL a simple transit airport, a decent regional network of their own and an unbeatable one in the region if you factor in onward flights with Air Asia (X).

          • Couldn’t agree more. There is a new team at MAS in London and, unlike the old team, they are very pro HFP.

            The nature of HFP is that airlines (and by that I mean key staff at the airline in London) either love the site, and so want to work with us, or we are simply not on their radar. Virtually everything we have ever done with an airline has started with them contacting us, rather than the other way round.

    • Rob are you going into partnership with the TPG? I see he’s trying to break into the UK market.

      • As is GSTP…just hired

        • That is a US hire to write US stuff, because Gilbert is now based here (and isn’t going anywhere in a hurry given that his British wife is about to have a baby). I’m guessing there is also an element of paternity cover in the decision. We were on a panel together at the Virgin Atlantic Customer Leadership Conference last week.

      • If they want to try to mass-market this stuff, good luck to them. Given that BA now wants £1,400 so you can redeem your Avios for two ‘free’ Club World flights, and you can only go from London, I don’t see that working.

        And if, against my expectations, they do end up expanding the market then that will be positive for HFP because a percentage of these people will gravitate / graduate to HFP. If that also means that there are now enough ‘miles and points’ bloggers in the UK that the travel groups start actively focusing on us, that will also be positive.

        • I can’t see HFP would have too much competition as long as the quality of the content stays useful 🙂

        • Yeah I’ve never followed his blog. Gave up on View from the Wing too – too many credit card adds and didn’t agree with his take on some things too. Would take a lot to match HfP’s unique blend of solid articles and solid (well perhaps quirky?!) comments!

  7. Not O/T completely – using Uber abroad, I will need to link a 0% FX card to avoid being charged the FX fees? At the moment it’s my Amex but when I’m abroad will need to change to Halifax Clarity. Is my understanding right? Thanks.

    • Yes

    • Yep, Uber don’t do currency conversion. You can link Revolut OK if you’ve got that.

    • Can you have two accounts, which would be useful if you are in another country frequently and have a local bank card?

      • You don’t need two accounts, just switch payment card when booking. Only use for a local account I can think of would be for earning/spending credit locally – e.g Tesco Clubcard to Uber is only valid in the UK, not sure if same sort of offer available in other countries and restricted to there too.

      • Genghis says:

        Fully agree with Alan. I have my normal UK use card linked and Halifax Clarity (for when abroad and I’m personally paying the bill). Just select the option when booking. It defaults to credits for UK bookings.

    • You can link loads of cards even on your personal a/c – just pick which one to bill when booking your trip (or even change it during the trip)

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        You can assign one card to personal and one to business which is the best way to easily select between more than one..

    • Perfect, thank you all.

  8. OT – paying Amex. I have a statement balance of (let’s say) £1,500. A refund of (say) £1,000 came through a few days after the statement date. I’d normally pay £1,500 by due date to ensure I don’t pay any interest – can I pay £500 this month as there’s already been a credit to my account, or do I need to pay the full £1,500?

    I’ve never worried about this in the past as any credits or rebates have been small but this is a biggie.

    • Genghis says:

      You need to pay £1,500.
      As a separate transaction, ask Amex for a credit refund if you’ve no plans to spend much any time soon.

      • Interesting – payments after statement but before payment due seem to reduce the balance owing OK for me.

        • Yes, this is my experience. A few days before my direct debit is due I receive an email informing me that the direct debit is being adjusted. This adjustment reflects both payments made and other credits to your account. An issue for me this month as no direct debit now being taken so I’ll likely lose the interest on one of my Tesco current accounts.

          • Ah yes, that can be a pain – had that issue with my previous Santander 123 a/c (dropped it after fees went up and interest went down). Thankfully I snuck in before the DD requirement for Tesco so opened two!

        • Genghis says:

          It may have changed but I’m 100% this used to be the case.

          • Interesting – seems to be varying views! Certainly I’ve noted recent Amex Offers credits correctly reduce the balance owing.

        • Genghis says:

          It has changed, “We’ll treat any credits or refunds to your account as payments made by you.” Apologies for misinformation.

        • @BJ

          Open a Post Office Money savings account. Set up a weekly DD to fund it (I would suggest £10 a week) from your Tesco current account. Never worry about DDs again.

          You don’t need three separate DD mandates with Tesco, just 3 DD payments every account month.

        • AndyGWP says:

          Great tip Nick! Thank you 🙂

        • Genghis says:

          Bham Midshires too

        • Thanks Nick, didn’t know that. And Genghis too, I think I might already have a few pounds in an ancient Midshires account so must check.

    • One of the options when you pay is “Balance”, which on the scenario above would be £500. Your account should then be cleared down. At least that’s how Amex explained it to me a couple of years ago.

    • Yep, after ~3 days you should see the balance update. If paying by DD they’ll email you to let you know they’ve changed the amount they’re going to take to take account of it.

      • Balance normally updates on the account immrdiately after a payyment. However? I think that is just amex cosmetics as process behind the scenes still takes 2-3 days. Seems amex do not charge interest as long as you initiate transaction on or before due date.

    • Thanks all. I’ve put spend through since statement date so the current balance is not far off the statement balance again, I’ll just pay the statement amount as seems safer.

  9. OT – have 70000 Marriott points which I wanted to spend on a 2 night UK stay for my wife’s birthday.

    Any recommendations for good redemptions at Category 5 or below?

    Or (long shot) any relatively cheap way of getting 30000 Marriott points by February 15th so I can do the St. Pancras Renaissance?

    • Genghis says:

      University Arms, Cambridge?

    • Or Hanbury Manor but there’s a likely spend of not insignificant $ implicit with that

      For the points, probably not bar a poor value MR conversion, probably too late for SPG card unless anyone knows differently?

      • Will probably try University Arms, if there are no other suggestions.

        Got most of these points from my SPG card and they took ages to post so doubt they could be transferred in a month, even though I could hit the spend on day 1 with so much baby stuff to buy.

        • Don’t be too sure – once working SPG posting is often like clockwork, same day each month and couple of days between leaving amex and arriving SPG…

    • May just do £100 returns to Paris and book the Renaissance Republique.

      Anybody stayed there?

      • Just search HFP, Rob did a very positive review last year.

      • Exactly what I’m doing for 1st year anniversary in July except using MRs for the Eurostar. Rob’s review was very positive as are the ones on TripAdvisor

  10. O/T. Morning. I need to book my return flights for a 241 which get released tonight. Which would be the best thing to do? I could ring one of the call centres tonight, but they may not answer in time. I could book a different return date which is available at the moment, then change over online at midnight tonight- this seems like the best option. Or I could book them as one flights and hope that they go back into the inventory tomorrow morning. I had the same seats last year and they were never released again throughout the year!

    Any ideas welcome.


    • Genghis says:

      My tactic is now to book online and sort out in the morning, hoping they go back into reward inventory. Not had a problem thus far.

      • Anyone knows if this tactic might work with the Lloyds voucher? If I book two one-way tickets at midnight and then call them to apply the voucher when they open in the morning, will they do it? I will need to do this in March. In the past I just booked it through at midnight and then called in the morning to receive PNR number, but now that account is closed I can’t anymore.

    • Why not phone and try and book online.

      You may get to speak to someone immediately.

      The US number reroutes back to staff in Newcastle IIRC

    • Jonathan says:

      Doing a change online will be a hassle & probably take too long for a high demand redemption. Most reliable tactic is to book as a separate one way redemption for 2 & call up tomorrow to merge with outbound & get half the Avios back. Unfortunately this relies on having enough Avios to pay upfront.

  11. The Uber not-quite-news dates from October – – and was reported in at least The Independent at the time.

    But what is Uber’s definition of ‘London’? GLA andd TfL have various descriptions – central congestion zone, North + South Circular roads, etc – but I have been unable so far to work out Uber’s ‘London’.

    I need to make regular journeys between (London Borough of) Barnet and (London Borough of) Edgware, about 9 miles, where public transport is a pain. An extra £1.35 per journey would make Uber uncompetitive against my local minicab company, as it already is for LHR and LCY runs.

    I’ll find out in 10 days or so.

    • The article says it was announced last year – however the implementation date was only released yesterday AFAIK.

    • Edgware is in Barnet

    • Tetly1967 says:

      Well I got an Uber from Wokingham station in Berkshire on Sunday and the Uber app said it was connecting me with Uber London!

      • I was in Wokingham last week. Very strongly recommend the new Pan restaurant in the town centre which is a) excellent and b) pitifully cheap by West London standards.

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