O2 has launched a very interesting special offer for anyone whose phone runs on the O2 network and who is signed up to the O2 Priority benefits programme.
If you are an O2 customer and your flight is delayed by 60 minutes or more, you and up to three friends or family members will be allowed free access to an airport lounge.
The scheme is called Priority Smart Delay, and is a partnership with Priority Pass.
This is how it works:
“Register your outbound and return flight details up until the time of your flight’s scheduled departure, and if delayed, we’ll send you an email with your complimentary airport lounge access vouchers.
Not alone? No worries, you’ll get access for you and three friends or family members travelling on the same flight.
With 1200 airport lounges in over 500 airports across more than 100 countries, you’re sure to find some peace of mind.
Before you know it, you’ll be hopping on that plane to begin your exciting journey.
Offer Goods/Services: This Offer entitles you access to an airport lounge for you and three friends, in the event that your flight is delayed by 60 minutes or more. You will not be granted free lounge access unless your flight is delayed by 60 minutes or more.
Can be used once a month per customer. To access this Service, you must register via Priority before your flight departs. Not all flights are eligible for registration. SmartDelay reserve the right not to provide Service if you fail to accurately register your details. Subject to successful prior registration and lounge availability, the Service will provide you with airport lounge access via email and SMS in the event that the flight tracking system identifies that your flight is delayed by more than 60 minutes (the ‘Delay Threshold’).
To access the lounge, you must display your lounge access email. A delay which matches or exceeds the Delay Threshold must be announced as one single period of delay or reached as a consequence of multiple incremental shorter delays.
In the event of a qualifying travel delay, a lounge access voucher will be provided to you and up to three travel companions on the same day of your flight. Cannot be used on any other day of your travel. Only named individuals in the email confirmation will be eligible.”
The scheme is working on a rolling monthly basis – it is not clear if you need to re-register each month or not.
There is a limit of 7,500 one-way flight registrations per month which isn’t going to go far given that O2 has 32 million customers in the UK, although Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile and Lycamobile customers are excluded.
The offer is guaranteed to run until at least January 2020.
O2 has done the maths here. If we assume 5% of flights are an hour late, that all 7500 monthly registrations are used up (a registration covers a one-way flight, not a return), that there is an average of two people per booking and that O2 is paying £15 per person for the lounge, the offer will cost O2 £11,250 per month. This is peanuts, frankly. It is excellent PR for O2 at a very low cost.
PS. In theory, nothing stops you buying a £1 O2 SIM card from your local newsagent, putting it in your phone and creating an O2 Priority account. You can then ditch the SIM card. You’ll note from the rules above that, if your flight is delayed, your lounge voucher is emailed to you.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (September 2021)
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 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 60,000 points which is a special offer running to 2nd November 2021. Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply 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 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.