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

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(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.


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)

  • Roger* says:

    I had assumed requalifying for platinum would require up to £5,000 purchases. However, checking the FAQs in the Red by Dufry app I see:
    Q What are the different levels of membership?
    A … Once you reach Gold and then Platinum, you stay 12 months at this status. EVERY PURCHASE YOU MAKE AUTOMATICALLY EXTEND YOUR STATUS FOR 12 MORE MONTHS. Similar text after ‘How long can I keep my points?’ My caps, their grammar.

    This seems to imply one ‘duty free’ purchase a year retains platinum membership and the opportunity of $10 lounge visits.

  • Jane says:

    Got my passes, which lounge would you recommend for Heathrow T3. I’ll be there late morning, on a Tuesday. thanks. Currently leaning towards No1. Would that be the right way to go ?

  • Keith says:

    This is terrific, thanks for the deal and the step-by-step instructions.

  • Marcelo C says:

    tks a lot! working like a charm even for the user that I already had!

  • Peter says:

    The Apple app reviews and Trust Pilot reviews for Dragon Pass aren’t exactly flattering. Does anyone use a Dragon Pass on a regular basis? The reviews make it sound like the pass is not widely accepted. Is that true?

    • Shoestring says:

      not true

      • Rob says:

        It is true that some lounges will turn you away if full but that is identical to the issue with a Priority Pass or Lounge Club Card. It is outside the control of DP.

        • Charlieface says:

          It’s perfectly within their control. They just need to make the correct contract with the lounges. Obviously that would cost them more…

          • Shoestring says:

            be careful what you wish for! the only way to limit numbers is if lounges put up their prices to everybody by about £10-20

            they have finite spaces and are presumably pretty happy (in Heathrow/ Gatwick from what I can gather) to currently run at a level which could often be called 100% capacity filled @busy times for flights – but the clear way for their model & profitability to be improved is through greater income (they can’t do much about costs)

            so the only way to appeal to them is through revenue, ie making it worth their while to let in a D/P or PP etc customer compared to whatever airlines pay to pre-book g’teed lounge places

            it’s probably to most lounges’ credit that they don’t treat D/P & PP cardholders worse than walk-up customers paying (say) £40 (if that premise is true!)

          • Rob says:

            Of course it isn’t. No-one can guarantee that an unlimited number of people who turn up unannounced can be accommodated.

            I was with one of the big lounge groups recently and this is clearly low quality business for them – not in terms of people, of course, but in terms of revenue per head. That said, I am guessing they don’t track what these people consume. I often walk into a PP lounge, have a cup of coffee and leave. Anyone paying £25 will be planning a big binge and potentially less profitable than the £10 (at a guess) they get from PP.

            On a group visit to Spain in 2018, 15 of us went into a PP lounge via one of the team who had a US credit card with unlimited guests. We stayed for 10 minutes as the flight was boarding. That was decent money for the lounge however you cut it.

          • Doug M says:

            Rob, whilst that’s obviously true, how does a lounge operation already at the point where the £5 is almost the only way to enter, reconcile this price with those paying a lot more through membership. To me it’s trashing your core customers for more £ from people that chose not to pay the original price.

          • Doug M says:

            Who subsidises them doesn’t change the issue for the person dropping £600 on Plat Amex or whatever other method they got there by. Lounge operator by chasing jam today at the expense of long term core business. Make the lounge experience so crowded and unpleasant, and the terminal becomes a better bet.

  • Fiona Whyte says:

    Anyone know if Edinburgh or Glasgow are included in this offer?

  • Gymbo says:

    I’ve just downloaded this and looking for a lounge at Gatwick South but none are showing even though in the article it looks like it is included?

  • Mark S says:

    Can this be done on the website itself rather than an app ? (have an older iphone where app isn’t compatible)