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Here are five new UK airport lounges due to open in 2020

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2020 is gearing up to be a good year for UK airport lounge openings.   I doubt we can beat 2019, which saw Club Aspire Gatwick South, the replacement No 1 Lounge in Edinburgh (review), the 2nd Aspire lounge in Edinburgh, Clubrooms in Luton, the expanded SkyLife lounge at Southend (review), Clubrooms in Birmingham and MyLounge at London Gatwick’s South Terminal (review), as well as the hugely impressive PremiAir terminal at Manchester.

There are more on the way. Because the news has been coming through in bits and pieces you might not appreciate how much building work is going on, so I thought it would be good to do a summary.

Just for fun, I have scored each lounge out of 10 on two criteria:

the first mark is ‘Quality estimate:’ where I say how impressive I think the decor, food and drink offering will be

the second mark is for ‘Customer benefit:’ which is based on how much I think the lounge will improve your airport experience based on the current state of the airport and the other lounges available

After all, an average lounge in an airport which doesn’t currently have one is arguably more useful than a good lounge at an airport which is already full of them.

This article does not include refurbishments of existing lounges.  We know that both the Luton Airport Aspire lounge and the original Edinburgh Airport Aspire lounge will both be overhauled this Spring.

Newcastle new luxury lounge

Newcastle Airport

  • Opening date: Summer 2020
  • Quality estimate: 8
  • Customer benefit: 5

Newcastle Airport has a number of existing lounges – it has a British Airways lounge reviewed here and for cash you have the existing pay-to-use Aspire and Aspire Plus lounges (review).  The airport has decided that it needs a luxury offering, however, and is working on a new 100-seat facility which it will manage directly.

I’ve never been to Newcastle Airport but the existing lounges get decent-enough feedback (the BA lounge got a few write-in votes ‘Best UK Airline-run Lounge’ in our 2019 awards).  Let’s see what the airport can pull off.  It does look very classy (see artists impression above) with a warm brown-grey finish with wood and brass accents, as well as excellent views.

No 1 Clubrooms lounge Edinburgh

Edinburgh Airport – No 1 Clubrooms

  • Opening date: 2020
  • Quality estimate: 8
  • Customer benefit: 5

A brand new No 1 Lounge opened earlier last year at Edinburgh Airport – we reviewed it here.  We also saw the second Aspire Lounge opening virtually next door. There is more to come, however, as the same area will also soon house a Clubrooms lounge.  The company has yet to announce this on its website but the signage is already up!

Clubrooms is No 1’s premium brand with table service.  No 1 does an excellent job at designing attractive and welcoming spaces so I think we can look forward to a quality product.  You cannot get in for free with a lounge club card, however, unless you pay a surcharge on the door.

Edinburgh is not short of lounges. Apart from No 1 – which is good, and which will satisfy most people – and the two Aspire lounges, there is also a dedicated BA lounge (review).  BA has put Edinburgh on the list of lounges to be ‘refreshed’ in 2020.  The original Aspire lounge is also being refurbished.

Manchester Airport terminal 2 extension

Manchester Airport – Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

  • Opening date: Spring 2020
  • Quality estimate: 8
  • Customer benefit: 10 (if you are flying Virgin in Upper Class)

Manchester Airport is dire, apart from PremiAir.  You can pick your favourite bit of dire-ness, but for me I think it is hard to top the Escape Plus lounge.  This unbelievably average, and too small, airport-run lounge is where Virgin Atlantic and Qatar Airways send their premium passengers.  And premium, frankly, it isn’t.

With the new pier at Manchester getting ready to open (image above) we can expect a dedicated Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.  I doubt this will be on a par with the London Heathrow lounge, given that even the New York JFK Clubhouse isn’t life-changing, but it will be a million times better than Escape Plus.

It is also possible that we see a new independent lounge in the new pier.  Manchester Airport is not keen on allowing third party lounge operators into the airport – it would rather run its own – so don’t hold out much hope for a No 1 or an additional Aspire lounge.

Bournemouth Airport lounge

Bournemouth Airport – Premium Lounge

  • Opening date: 2020
  • Quality estimate: 5
  • Customer benefit: 9

Bournemouth Airport was due to open its first lounge in June 2019.  We wrote about this back in February 2019 and an image is above.

It never happened, however.  There were ‘construction delays’.  It is still happening, I believe, and will be in the area above the duty free shop.

I’m not expecting a huge amount from this lounge, given that the airport is apparently going to operate it directly.  On the other hand, as the airport has no lounge at all today, it is a major improvement for everyone who passes through it.

Amex heathrow centurion lounge entrance

Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 – American Express Centurion Lounge

  • Opening date:  Spring 2020
  • Quality estimate: 9
  • Customer benefit: 3

This lounge was due to open last Autumn.  I never saw this as realistic, to be honest, given that the project was only announced in the Spring.  Building airside in airports is very difficult, due to the difficulty in getting goods and people airside, and when you need cooking outlets is even harder.  Spring 2020 sounds more reasonable.

The American Express Centurion Lounge network has an excellent reputation.  Over the last few years Amex has opened a number of these spaces across the US and Hong Kong and feedback has been great.  The only problem has been overcrowding.

They are open to all Platinum and Centurion charge card holders, plus guests.

It is fantastic news that Amex is opening in London.  It is less fantastic that they are opening in Terminal 3.  It is a HUGE waste.  Terminal 3 probably has the best collection of airport lounges in the world.  OK, the BA and AA spaces are poor but you’ve got two great Cathay Pacific lounges (review), the Qantas lounge, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse (review) and, for Priority Pass cardholders, two well regarded options in the No 1 Lounge (review) and Club Aspire lounge (review).

The Centurion Lounge should be better than the two existing Priority Pass lounges but it won’t add much.

All in all, there is a lot to look forward to in 2020 and we’ll keep you up to speed.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (November 2020)

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 Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club lounge – see the list here

The Lounge Club list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list.  Additional visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  There is no annual fee 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 HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to almost all of them – indexed here.

Comments (66)

  • Sloth says:

    O/T @Shoestring… re matching the National Emerald club to Hertz, could you confirm what email address you sent It to pls? I emailed [email protected] twice now but getting no response

    • Shoestring says:

      that’s the correct address, worked for me!

      Hello Shoestring fella,
      Good morning.
      Thank you for providing a copy of your National Executive Elite profile. Your Hertz Gold profile has been status matched to President’s Circle Gold.

      • Sloth says:

        Ok thanks, been waiting for 8 days and 3 days… 2 emails sent 🙂 I’m sure I recall you saying they replied pretty quickly?

  • A449 says:

    Can’t agree more about the shocking lounge situation at Manchester Airport. Mind you, at least the lounges are in step with the rest of the customer experience at MAN…

    Problem with the new Premier Terminal is that you can only use it with some airlines (including not with with Emirates or Singapore when going to the US).

    Best lounge experience I’ve had from Manchester Airport Group was at MSP, where they have an Escape lounge!

  • Philip says:

    You missed out the new lounge that Newcastle airport announced for 2020!

    Looks like it will be operated by the airport directly. They also have an Aspire and Aspire Plus lounge and a BA lounge. Neither of the BA and Aspire lounges are particularly overwhelming, BA is dated but large for the size so never too cramped and Aspire is just rammed with package holiday makers abusing the booze.

    I be interested if Emirates, Lufthansa, KLM and Air France negotiate deals with the airport for their business passengers or they keep them in the Aspire lounge.

    https://www.newcastleairport.com/news-and-reporting/latest-news/brand-new-luxury-lounge-set-to-open-at-newcastle-international-airport/