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The Club Aspire airport lounge in London Gatwick’s South Terminal is finally open

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According to a press release I got on Friday, the long-awaited Club Aspire lounge at Gatwick South (the British Airways terminal) was due to open at midday yesterday.

This lounge has suffered from excessive delays – it was due in early 2019.  It is taking over about 2/3rd of the old Virgin Atlantic lounge – the other 1/3rd became MyLounge, which has been open for months and which we reviewed here.

Club Aspire lounge Gatwick South now open

This is a much needed lounge.  If you can access the British Airways lounges then you’re fine (see my review here of the EXCELLENT new BA Gatwick lounge complex).  If you are relying on Priority Pass etc, your only option has been the No 1 Lounge (reviewed here).  The problem is that No 1 Lounge runs to 100% capacity most of the time and you are unlikely to get in unless you pay £5 to reserve a slot.

Priority Pass seems to be deliberately not working with Gatwick South’s MyLounge.  Collinson, the company behind Priority Pass, is also a 50% shareholder in Club Aspire lounges and probably wants to drive traffic there.

If we’re lucky, the Priority Pass crisis at Gatwick South is now over.

But what’s it like?  Good question.  All we know is:

“The lounge is split into three main zones: a business area with workstations; a quiet lounge and rest area with an amazing view of the runway; and a dining area next to the servery and bar. Travellers have access to a seasonal self-serve buffet selection of hot and cold food; an extensive range of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks; charging points; complimentary newspapers and magazines; and unlimited WiFi to stay connected.”

I intend to check it out in the next couple of weeks and will report back.

In the meantime, you can find full details, and book places for cash, on the Aspire website here.  The website says it opens tomorrow, but apparently it is open today.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (July 2021)

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

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 a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

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.

Comments (116)

  • Aston100 says:

    Any thoughts on whether I should pre book a lounge at Gatwick South during October half term?
    Using lounge pass.

    • Shoestring says:

      of course you should, unless you are happy with a couple of pints in the pub

      that’s my current thinking with T3, the Guinness in the pub is only £5 a pint last time I paid, so – at half term – I have the choice of 2x £20 for Club Aspire via LC, which I don’t mind paying – or get refused and just go to the pub with my son instead, making a good saving and it’s hardly a problem to sit there on my tablet & a beer for 90 mins

    • Polly says:

      Def book the lounge. Good use of a fiver.

      • Rob says:

        Depends how good Aspire is and how empty it is, although arguably £5 is insurance.

    • Ed says:

      If alcohol is not a major consideration I’d consider the Grain Store and the £15 credit you get there. Food was far better. The No 1 lounges have gone downhill. Nando’s would be preferable…

      • Polly says:

        You don’t get much for 15 in GS. So.swipe card a couple of times to get a decent meal.

  • The Original Nick says:

    Didn’t that £15 credit for the Grain store get stopped?

    • Rob says:

      No, oddly the ONLY restaurant in the world where it carried on was Grain Store. It may stop now of course.

  • Bonvoyage says:

    If you’re free on 11-13 October…

    100k Bonvoy points for 2 nights with breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton Vienna, a horse-drawn carriage ride, private tour of an art exhibition, and a tasting dinner menu, for two people. 5 packages available, only 1 bid on one package

  • James says:

    I don’t think many if any IHG hotels are continuing to participate in the sale, certainly the ones I have checked do not have the sale rate available

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