(EDIT: This deal now appears to be dead again. We’ll let you know if it returns!)
We covered this deal a couple of weeks ago. It went absolutely crazy and was one of our most-read articles ever, at least in terms of Day 1 readership. The Platinum upgrade code was then blocked by Dufry and no-one else could take part.
The good news is that the deal is working again. This is a clever way to buy airport lounge passes, valid globally, for just £7.80 each.
Even better …. the passes are refundable if you end up not using them.
(Plaza Premium in Heathrow Terminal 5 was just voted ‘Independent Airport Lounge of the Year’ by your fellow readers in the Head for Points Travel & Loyalty Awards.)
Regular BA flyers from Gatwick will also be able to access My Lounge in Gatwick South which is rarely crowded as it is also not in Priority Pass or Lounge Club.
How do you get your cheap lounge access?
Let me explain what you’re going to do in three bullet points – I will then spend the rest of this article expanding on how it works:
You are going to sign up to the RED by Dufry loyalty programme (this is the loyalty scheme for World Duty Free and many other airport duty free shops globally)
You will then use a code in order to get yourself a free 30-day period of top-tier Platinum status
Once you are Platinum, you can take advantage of the only useful benefit – being able to buy DragonPass lounge passes for $10 each
Frankly, it doesn’t matter – for the purposes of this deal – what RED by Dufry is! However, for completeness, Dufry is the dominant global duty free retailer. As well as owning World Duty Free in the UK, it also owns:
- Dufry (various locations)
- World Duty Free (outside the UK, it is in Western Europe, Americas, Middle East, Asia)
- Nuance (Europe, Asia, North America)
- Hellenic Duty Free (Greece)
- Colombian Emerald (Carribean, Central America, Norwegian Cruise Line vessels)
- Duty Free Uruguay (Uruguay)
- Hudson (US & Canada)
- Duty Free Shop Argentina (Argentina)
- RegStaer (Russia)
Dufry has its own app-based loyalty programme called RED By Dufry. The key benefit of downloading this app is that you get a 5% discount on purchases at selected Dufry stores.
If you buy at World Duty Free or Dufry on a regular basis, you could make decent savings by signing up for RED By Dufry. At Heathrow, the discount for Silver level members – which is what you get when you sign up – is 5%. Tobacco purchases are excluded, as are airport arrivals stores. This makes it a no-brainer to sign up if you ever make purchases at World Duty Free stores in UK airports or from other Dufry businesses abroad.
But how do you get your lounge passes …..?
Step 1: Sign-up for RED by Dufry
Register for RED by Dufry by downloading the app from your local app store.
If you have a DragonPass account already for any reason, use a different email address for RED.
If you intend to keep your RED account open for the long-term, add your Iberia Plus or Vueling Club number on the sign-up page under ‘Programme’. This will allow you to earn Avios as well as RED points when you spend in Spanish duty free shops.
Step 2: Get yourself upgraded to Platinum status
Platinum status normally requires you to spend $1,000 or equivalent over a two year period. This unlocks a bigger discount on your shopping. More importantly, it unlocks the airport lounge benefit.
Click on ‘My Profile’ / the face icon in the top right corner of the initial page:
You then select ‘My Profile’ (again) for the next menu. Scroll down, past your personal details, and you come to a box marked ‘Promotional code’:
The code you need to use is HAPPYBIRTHDAY2020. Scroll to the bottom and click ‘Save Changes’.
Go back to the home page and you are now Platinum:
(If you get a message saying ‘Code used too many times’, it has probably still worked. Log out and log in again.)
Step 3: Get RED to create a DragonPass account for you
Dufry has a partnership with DragonPass which is a competitor to Priority Pass / Lounge Club / LoungeKey, all of which are owned by Collinson.
As a Silver member of RED by Dufry – which is what you get just for signing up – you can pay for access to any DragonPass lounge for $25. Virtually every lounge in Priority Pass is in DragonPass PLUS some others. In particular, the Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 is in DragonPass, as is the Regus Express lounge in Terminal 2 and Terminal 5 arrivials and Terminal 3 departures (pre-security). My Lounge in Gatwick South is also included, even though it is not in Priority Pass.
Gold and Platinum members of RED by Dufry get additional discounts on DragonPass vouchers. Gold RED members pay $20. The cost for you as a Platinum member is just $10.
To order a lounge pass, this is what you need to do.
Click on ‘Enjoy’ at bottom left. It will bring up the redemption options available to you at that particular airport. Click ANY lounge at random which displays a ‘Platinum benefit’:
You then go to this page which explains that you will be transferred to DragonPass to make your purchase:
Click ‘Submit’ and a DragonPass account is created for you. This account is valid for 12 months, apparently.
Step 4: Download the DragonPass app and log in with the membership details that RED created for you
When you open the DragonPass app and log in, you will see on the home page your membership card and a QR code. Under that it says ‘Add Visits’. Click there.
You can then purchase as many lounge access vouchers as you wish for just $10 per voucher:
These are valid for 12 months from the date your DragonPass account was opened, so if you open it today they are valid until 6th January 2021.
I bought one voucher as a test for $10. My home screen was updated to show one available visit:
To get into a lounge, you simply go along – in the same way that you would access a Priority Pass or Lounge Club lounge – and have the app home page scanned. As long as you have a valid voucher in your account you will be allowed in, and a voucher will be deducted from your account.
Vouchers must be pre-bought. You CANNOT turn up at a DragonPass lounge and have $10 automatically charged to your account. However, lounge passes are refundable if you can’t use them. I’m not sure how you do this, but it is clearly stated before you buy.
I will probably end up using it at a Regus Business Lounge in Heathrow or at My Lounge in Gatwick South (not in Priority Pass) given that I can access almost all other DragonPass lounges with my Priority Pass or American Express Platinum.
And there you go! You can now purchase lounge passes for $10 (£7.80) each for the next year.
There is one important thing to note. You cannot share your vouchers with others.
In the app under ‘Card Details’ it says:
Accompanying Guest Allowed: No. The visits can be used by the cardholder only.
This means that you need to get your partner and potentially kids a separate account.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (January 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.
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 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.