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IT’S BACK: How to buy refundable airport lounge passes for £7.80 each

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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, this includes the Plaza Premium Lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 which is NOT available via Priority Pass or Lounge Club.

Even better …. the passes are refundable if you end up not using them.

Plaza Premium Heathrow Terminal 5

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

Red by DUFRY reviewWhat is RED by Dufry?

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 DufryAt 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 …..?

RED by Dufry review

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:

RED by Dufry review

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’:

Get airport lounge passes for £7.80

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.)

£7.80 airport lounge passes

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’:

RED by Dufry review

You then go to this page which explains that you will be transferred to DragonPass to make your purchase:

RED by Dufry review

Click ‘Submit’ and a DragonPass account is created for you.  This account is valid for 12 months, apparently.

RED by Dufry review

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:

RED by Dufry review

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:

RED by Dufry review

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.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

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:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 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 60,000 points which is a special offer running to 2nd November 2021.  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 (160)

  • Federico says:

    Got it! Thank you!

    Does the first registration gives a free entry to a lounge too?

  • Matt says:

    okay so i originally brought three for me, my wife and 9 year old daughter first time around.

    Now it seems i cannot get them in on my account they need their own, How can i do that for my daughter when you have to be over 18 to join RED??

    • Ruth4325 says:

      I’ve just signed up but would need an account for my husband and kids 12 and 14. Not sure if there is a way to do this and I can’t see the comments on the previous article.

      • Shoestring says:

        @Ruth my kids are not so different in age, youngest 15 in a few days – I’ve bought them passes in their own name and don’t expect too many problems with the lounge desk agent, they just want a valid QR code and should hopefully wave them in.

        • Ruth4325 says:

          That’s useful…did you just buy the multiple lounge passes for your children on your own dragonpass via Red by Dufry? I’m keen to try the new Clubrooms in Edinburgh when they open, and children can enter from 12 yrs old apparently.

  • SG says:

    At Plaza Premium at Heathrow T5 they let us use two visits from my pass for the two of us(me and Mrs),superb lounge
    Then at Gatwick North,we decided to use Aspire,to get Aspire Rewards as well,I would not go there again..

    • Matt says:

      Given i will be using at T5 Plaza i am kind of in a bind here. Risk just having one a account with three passes or sign up my 9 year old daughter somehow.

      if they were clever enough to know that i could not use my purchased visits for guests they are going to be clever enough to know my daughter could not have signed up aged 9.

      any ideas?

  • Francesca says:

    So do I need to buy the vouchers while I’m still a free platinum member on Dufry? Or any point during the 12 months membership to DragonPass?

    • Shoestring says:

      I thinik you get 1 month to buy the passes, which are then valid for a year – my wife got lucky somehow & her passes are valid for 18 months

  • Claire says:

    I had also bought passes for my daughter on my account. It is confusing as i’m sure i read on dragonpass you could. Has anyone else tried?

    • Matt says:

      you need to be 18 to sign for red and be 18 to have a Dragon pass account.

      So the advice of signing up your children (lets assume children refers to anyone under 18) at the bottom of this article is not valid or possible (sorry Rob)

      I am tempted to sign my wife up with this offer and then i cannot see how any lounge covered could refuse two dragon pass members with their child

      • Claire says:

        Thats what i did. I have the extra passes on my account but husband has his own. If refused would i just need to pay £20 for our daughter. If this is the case still cheaper than getting something to eat at most airports and nicer experience.

        • Shoestring says:

          @Matt some rules are there to be bent, I imagine the 18YO bit is there to prevent younger kids getting in on their own & accessing alcohol ie covering backside, but with parents there simply won’t be much of an issue

          • Matt says:

            I agree, I really don’t think there will be any issues but i like to have bases covered

            I still think the better option for me is to have both parents signed up with enough passes cover all three of us. any issues i will just pay for daughter to get into the Plaza at T5.

            3 passes for each adult will cover out and return journey.

          • Shoestring says:

            @Matt £18/ pass backup plan (scroll to latest comments)

            these can be printed out, they have a name on but again I don’t think most lounge desk agents will care much about matching to BP, ie you could get 1 in your or your daughter’s name as back up but probably use it for anybody as a guest once the main cardholder has been checked

      • Matt says:


        Many thanks for posting but the link just returns you this page. It would seem the comments from the first post of this deal are no longer available.

        could you elaborate here by any chance.

        Many thanks again. 🙂

  • Judy says:

    Francesca – I think you need to buy all the lounge passes during your 30 day Platinum membership. See the extract below:

    “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”

  • Lopoi says:

    Sadly deal is now dead.

    Congrats to those who got in.

  • Scottydoggiom says:

    OT , can anyone answer me a question about the travel insurance that comes with Amex Platinum .
    I have 3 or 4 trips coming up this year so need to take out anual family travel insurance which is coming out at about £100 .
    Im planning to take out an amex platinum in the next couple of months (mainly for the lounge access)
    Will Amex insurance cover me for these trips , as they are already pre booked before i
    took the card out , sure i read somewhere that you are covered if you pay for the trips on that card ? could be wrong

    Also as a side note , 1 of them holidays is a ski holiday that im going on with friends , wondering if that will be covered too ?

    • Shoestring says:

      can’t answer the Plat question though I think paying on any Amex in the past and now holding Plat would be OK if you did that

      BUT – skiing hols – IMV you’d be crazy not to get proper skiing insurance to know you’re covered (or else read the Amex Plat T+Cs *very* carefully). Speaking as somebody who first broke a wrist and second a humerus (upper arm) skiing – latter in 3 places needing pins – £10K+ to you, sir 🙂 – good job I had BUPA!

    • Peter K says:

      I’m sure this was answered the other day when you posted the same question.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      check the T&C’s available online very carefully to see who is covered and for what activities (don’t ski so not bothered looking)

      If there’s any doubt ring them up to clarify and if you still aren’t sure pay the £100 for proper cover or get a nationwide account £13 pcm

      The big insurance stuff is covered regardless of how you pay it’s the Flight / baggage delay cover etc that isn’t.

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