Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

(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, 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 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.

Plaza Premium Heathrow Terminal 5

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.

Conclusion

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.

Plaza Premium Heathrow Terminal 5

Getting airport lounge access via a UK credit card

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

Two free Priority Pass cards (one for you, one for your supplementary Platinum cardholder, each admitting two – so a family of four gets in free) giving access to every lounge in the Priority Pass network – search it here.  You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

You get a Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club network lounge – see the list here.  The list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list, but not by much.  Additional visits are charged at £20 per person.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  No annual fee in Year 1.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

You get a free LoungeKey card allowing you access to any property in the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although regular travellers will find it cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card (adults only, of course).  The card has an annual 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.

Comments (160)

  • Doug M says:

    Scrooge mode. What a fabulous underlying devaluation of anything that previously gave you lounge access. Amex have done their best to trash their offerings, this makes the near £600 for a Plat even less worthwhile.
    Congrats to anyone winning via this.

    • Shoestring says:

      true if £7.80 were widely available – but it’s not – limited to a few thousand people, which is chickenfeed ie well under 0.1% of all DP lounge entries in a year

      lounge passes – walk up prices are steadily increasing, & eg even the old £15 for extra passes on Gold Amex Lounge Club went up to £20 [still £16 on Barclays DP though 🙂 ]

      plus availability on PP for people who don’t pay £5 to reserve where possible is deteriorating – meaning a successful lounge pass entry becomes more valuable than ever

    • Flying Misfit says:

      Doug… I think you have hit nail on head… I actually sought out to achieve Plat on Dufry a few months back thinking ahead to when i cancel Amex Plat in Feb 20 (or potentially downgrade to Gold charge) on the basis of the one true benefit of Dufry Plat as Rob highlights being the US10 entrance fee.

      Two ways to achieve Plat on Dufry. It’s actually a bit less than 1,000 spend as when you move up the tiers you get more points per pound. You can stack this @approximate 1,000 spend with Heathrow Rewards as well, either by doing staged payments (such as the 150 pound in a day bonus that HR gives and collect on that too albeit being mindful of one account per household rule) or do what Rob did for his better half a few years back and buy an expensive item of jewellery and try combine with Heathrow Rewards with their other bonuses for higher purchases.

      I personally went down the route of 150 batches with new HR accounts on cosmetics and fragrances for the other half and family members.

      Dufry also run a promo whereby if you get 3 referred friends sign up and each makes at least one purchase on Red Dufry, you get handed 6 months of Plat status (and been known to actually be longer than 6 months cause they credit you with 5,000 points and sometimes they forget to take off and which may also occur on these 1 month upgrades). This route has a bit of faff but not insurmountable.

      I believe it was worth the effort to achieve Dufry Play given my previous route with Amex Plat needs to be curtailed after fee hike. Also in churning hiatus on HSBC WE but that doesnt allow guest entry, so this dufry I considered essential for my travelling partners even when I am on Lounge Key.

  • MP says:

    Anyone else getting the “your request cannot be processed” page when clicking submit to get a Dragonpass account?

  • Grant says:

    OT but lounge related. I have 9am flight from T5 coming up soon, flying BA in Club Europe so I will have access to Galleries Club, but I understand it is not up to much and could well be stacked out at 7:30 / 8am on a Wednesday morning with the commuter crowd.

    I picked up a few passes when this offer dropped last week, so would I be better off using a couple of them to get us in to the Plaza Premium?

    Will be coming from the Sofitel and just want a decent breakfast and somewhere nice to sit before the flight.

    • Harry T says:

      I prefer Plaza Premium to Galleries for food and ambience. There’s a lot more free booze in Galleries but I assume that’s not a priority at that time (though it appears to be at all hours in the aspire lounge at Newcastle!).

    • Grant says:

      Just reading Rob’s review from 2018 and it seems to address my question. Didn’t know that I could get in gratis with a guest by flashing my Plat card so might as well try it out. If anything, it seems that it will be a lot quieter than Galleries.

      • Harry T says:

        I recently had to spend a fair few hours in T5, armed with a club Europe redemption ticket and a platinum card. Plaza Premium is usually much quieter than Galleries (I’ve visited it a few other times too).

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Head to B lounge. Very quiet and pretty high chance your flight will actually leave from B or C

  • Paddy says:

    For further clarification,
    Once you have the dragon pass account, can you then buy $10 access all year??
    Or only during your 30 day platinum period with RED. Seeing conflicting reports, does anyone have hard fact?

  • Philip says:

    Done! Thanks Rob for flagging up that it is operational again. And thanks to Shoestring for discovering this :hack” in the first place.

  • Nori says:

    Adding DragonPass to Apple wallet. Anyone done it? I don’t seem to be able to see how to do it.

  • Holly says:

    Just followed the instructions as above and added HAPPYBIRTHDAY2020 but it only gave me silver status not platinum…possibly changed the details of the offer?

  • Roger* says:

    Further to Francesa at 07:07, Shoestring at 07:35 and Paddy at 09:30 (about buying passes after 30 days):
    When in My Cards in the Dragonpass app, the bit that shows DP Classic card and code, I see ‘+ Add Visit(s)’ at bottom right. Clicking on this allows further purchases at $10 each with no need to go via Dufuy.

    We don’t know whether this will change after 30 days. I have been a plat member since 6 January. I’m tempted to buy further pass/es after 6 February (say 13 Feb to allow for any status change).