Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

No1 Lounges increases its reservation fee for Priority Pass airport lounge card holders

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

No1 Lounges has increased its reservation fee from £5 to £6.

There is, however, still an option for getting it for £5 as I will show you.

The majority of No1 Lounges locations, which include My Lounge and Clubrooms, are part of lounge card schemes such as Priority Pass (currently 10% off), Lounge Club, DragonPass and LoungeKey.

Our main Priority Pass review is here if you don’t know anything about it.

The problem is that No1 Lounges are a victim of their own success.  At peak times, especially at London Gatwick, is has become very difficult to get in as a ‘walk up’ guest.  A lot of airlines have taken to using No1 for their premium passengers, which means that the space available for lounge card scheme guests is reduced.

To get around this problem, No1 Lounges allows you to reserve a slot.  This guarantees that you will get entry on the day.

The fee for this is now £6.  To be fair to No1, your £6 also gets you Fast Track Security at Gatwick, Birmingham and Edinburgh which makes it better value.

Whether it is worth paying £6 is up to you.  People who have paid cash for a Priority Pass are understandably aggrieved to be asked for extra money.  People who receive a Priority Pass card via American Express Platinum or a Lounge Club card via Amex Gold (2 free passes) may see it differently.

I am assuming that overcrowding at Gatwick South has dropped sharply since the new Club Aspire lounge (review here) opened last year, and promptly won our ‘Best Independent Airport Lounge 2019’ award.  You can also still claim £15 credit at The Grain Store cafe.

Gatwick North also has other Priority Pass options (Aspire, My Lounge) and does Heathrow Terminal 3 (Club Aspire).

You can reserve No1 Lounge access for £6 via their website here.

However …. if you have a Priority Pass, you can still reserve for just £5 via this page of the No1 website.  I’m not sure how long it will remain at £5 via this link, however.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (May 2022)

As a reminder, here are the four 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 (SPECIAL OFFER) 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.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Amex Gold

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 you get 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 (83)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Brussels Sprout says:

    My Lounge at Gatwick North is now part of this scam. On Thursday morning last week they were turning people away when I arrived and when I left despite their being over 40 seats free on both occasions. I think they have moved to a default position that you don’t get in unless you pay.

    • Rob says:

      If you understand anything about marginal revenue on a business with a high fixed cost base you would realise that this is not happening.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Does the person behind the desk fully understand how to implement the direction they are being given?

        Do they interpret “give airline and prebooked priority and let a few walks ins in if we have space” as “no walk ins”

        I’m not saying that’s the case but the Multiple stories about people being turned away aren’t made up.

        • Shoestring says:

          the lounges normally give 3 hours’ use and obvs have fixed capacity

          so a lounge with 40 free places can’t allow walk-ups to enter if they’ll need the space for pre-booked/ airlines in the next 3 hours

          they probably are more elastic than that as 3 hrs sounds too long in any model, probably 2 hrs headroom would be fine

          but you could easily see how 40 free places visually doesn’t mean 40 free places in the coming 2 hours

          • Shoestring says:

            I have managed to swerve a refusal at No1 T3 by – sensing the imminent ‘sorry, no room’ – quickly saying – ‘we wouldn’t be able to stay long as our flight is in 90 mins’

          • marcw says:

            I think it´s a dangerous business and missing potential revenue. Quite often I visit the lounge for either a quick coffee and something to nibble or a quick beer and some snacks. I usually spend less than 30 min each time (I have better things to do in my life than spending times at airports + lounges).

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Im with marcw I think the majority spend far less than 3 hours in a 3rd party lounge and probably more like 1.5 hours max.

            Here’s my thinking you get to the airport T-3 as per advice you spend 45 mins bag dropping, security, walking around a few shops. You head to the lounge you spend 90 mins and you’re off because the gate closes T-20 and you don’t want to be that person. That’s if you actually get there T-3 I’m more a T-2 and 30 mins in the lounge.

          • Shoestring says:

            I don’t love lounges or anything like that! but those of us with a long journey to airport have to build in quite a bit of contingency time in case of traffic etc – so if everything goes to plan you end up with more than 3 hrs to wait at airport

        • Rob says:

          The stories are 100% true BUT No1 would require psychiatric help if they turning people away if the capacity genuinely is there. The maths for their lounges will go like this – up to 1000 guests per day = lounge loses money, above 1000 guests per day = 90% profit on what we get from number 1001+.

          As I have mentioned before, I went into a Priority Pass lounge in Spain as part of a group of 15, using a US credit card which allowed unlimited guests. Flight was just about to board. We each grabbed a coffee and a snack and left immediately. That was £150-£200 of revenue from my group for those 10 minutes and 15 drinks. You don’t turn that down unnecessarily.

          I also reckon, as marcw notes above, lounge club visits can be as profitable as cash visit. Yes, the lounge gets less money, but Priority Pass guests are not usually concerned with drinking or eating the place dry. If you’ve paid £25, you want your moneys worth …

      • Charlieface says:

        I still don’t get it. Surely they can see as well as we do that the contracted guests don’t turn up. Maybe there’s some kind of disconnect between front-line staff and management, won’t be the first business……

        • Shoestring says:

          I guess partly because room capacity is legally defined (fire regs etc)

          so imagine the lounge were trying to strike just the right balance between letting in a few more PP or walk-ups, estimating that an airline’s contracted 25 places were rarely all used so they could juggle the numbers

          but that particular day, all 25 airline contract customers come to use the lounge and by law the lounge has to refuse some of them entry

          it would look terrible when it got back to the airline and the lounge would risk losing the contract (guaranteed income, year round) etc

          • Alex M says:

            I have a feeling that if they do allow few people above the legal limit no one will say anything (no one is counting how many people are leaving the lounge, only number of entrants).

          • Shoestring says:

            sure & I guess nightclubs, pubs & restaurants do the same on occasion

            but it couldn’t possibly be *policy* to do this – no member of even middle mgt is going to risk his job by sanctioning that sort of thing

    • Lady London says:

      I have absolutely no doubt this is being implemented. No idea why as on the face of it it does not make sense for the lounges to do this as much as they are but they are.

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        If airlines are using it then they are presumably contractually obliged to have 40 seats free between X and Y (or whatever) and are paid to do so. If you can “fill” your lounge with such bookings so that there is now very little capacity for paid guests (as it would break the terms of our contract) then you don’t care if those 40 use the lounge or not … in fact you hope they don’t … and an empty lounge is now your ideal moneymaker.

        • Lady London says:

          I’ve lost count of the times in recent months, as I’ve finished signing in and just moving away from the desk into UK priority pass lounges, I overhear the person that checked me in say to another member of the reception staff ‘right that’s it, no more priority pass now’ or one says to the other ‘no more priority pass’ when I’m just behind a party being checked in in front of me.

          Luckily possibly because they vaguely remember me as someone who is practically teetotal and doesn’t stay long they’ve let me in anyway when that’s happened.

          Turning up to a practically empty lounge and being turned away with nobody queuing just me pitching up, and no comments overheard has only started happening to me as well since around October last year with no change to my travel pattern.

          • Shoestring says:

            but that could just mean that capacity had been reached – ie no more PP or walk-ups because the reserved/ airline places over the next 2 hrs meant there’s no more free space

    • Lady London says:

      Have been turned away when there were literally no more than 6 people there (I suppose one or two more could have been in the toilet). I am not aware of which/any airline contracts they hold. But the place is almost always empty. I got really excited one day when I walked past on my way to No.1 and saw about 30 people in there.

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    Does anyone know if you can now move miles from Flying Blue (etc) into Virgin Miles in a “combine my Avios” sort of way? If so, a link to the global “combine” page would be useful.

  • Roger says:

    Anyone struggling to use Amex £50 off £200 spend?
    I am this time, as flight bookings are inflated by £50 compared to airline.
    Most hotel stays already booked.

    • Froggee says:

      Hi Roger – have you tried clicking through to payment or just priced up flights? I was confused as the BA ones I booked initially priced up more expensively but then the price dropped to the same as the BA website when I clicked through to book. Might be worth a try if you haven’t?

      • Roger says:


        Only priced up without actually booking.
        Will give it a go and update here if positive.

        • Roger says:

          checked and the price is still roughly £25 more than booking direct with BA/IB.
          No use of offers to me

      • Lady London says:

        Would it work to buy hotel or flight vouchers that you could use later?

    • Tom1 says:

      Is that the same offer that started around Christmas time? Or a new one?
      I managed to book Virgin flights on Amex travel for the same price as direct. Would love to do it again!

    • Travel Strong says:

      Same here. Have 3 x Amex travel offers and no uses. and struggling to spend effectively. Hiltons cheaper direct via hilton + free breakfast. No easyjet flights and BA flights are so much expensive they offset the £50 discount.

    • Harry T says:

      I used mine for an independent hotel in Tasmania. The price was similar to booing directly. There are no Hilton, Marriott or IHG Properties in Tasmania (the Tasman, Luxury Collection opens later this year).

      Perhaps use it if you are going somewhere with only independent hotels?

  • Paul says:

    Ive just been charged £3.15 for £90 top up on my Monese account at the coop (BAPP Amex)

    I guess something changed and I missed it?

    • Andrew says:

      A £3.15 fee doesn’t make sense. If it was a straight £3, then that would be a cash advance fee (3%, minimum £3).

    • Shoestring says:

      1MONTHFREE and PREMIUMPLEASE (3 months) give free premium status (apply them in that order) – enabling free top ups and a free debit card in the post

    • Paul W says:

      Thanks Nick. The £3.15 fee therefore makes sense – but I missed the introduction of the charge (I did this for free in January).

      Shoestring – Thank you so much. I added the 1MONTHFREE code and it worked! 🙂

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I thought there was a £200 free top up allowance for the basic but afaik there was always this fee over and above that.

    • Prune says:

      Hang on one moment, is Monese working again with post office top ups?

    • Lady London says:

      This level of transaction charging seems to have got out of hand in the UK. Money can be borrowed at risk for 1 whole year for less %. And yet everywhere there are transaction charges of 2%, 3% or more and there is no risk and no cost that justifies these ‘turns’ on amounts being paid.

  • Paul W says:

    Nick: The fee makes sense. I missed the change in fees (I used to get 2 per month FOC).

    Shoestring – your code worked (added in the same way I got my amazon vouchers!). Thank you so much. Another win from the headforpoints community! 🙂

    I will add the PREMIUMPLEASE code once my one month free has expired.

  • Tom1 says:

    For the first time in years I’m feeling a little lost with my card planning. I’m on the verge of cancelling all my cards.
    Have SPG, plat charge, plat cash back , green charge.

    Some questions if I may..
    1) if I cancel platinum charge, can I then use the green > platinum upgrade route and get the (20k?) points for the spending target which I think is now £4k in 3 months? (Fee pro rata)

    2) or if I cancel the MR cards now, I could apply for the gold business card in 6 months. Could someone else refer me to this from their plat?

    3) I am not eligible for IHG Annoyingly. Contemplating keeping SPG as my day to day spend. Wise?

    • Shoestring says:

      1 – yes
      2 – yes –
      and I’m pretty sure you can be referred
      3 – keeping SPG stops you restarting the 2 year cycle to get new sign up bonuses on regular Amex cards

    • Rob says:

      1. Seems to work for some
      2. Yes and yes
      3. Assuming you keep Plat Charge then you might as well keep SPG, if you cancel Plat Charge then you might as well abandon Amex altogether and start the 2 year clock

      • tom1 says:

        thanks Rob & SS.
        Btw, I think the conversion ratio from MR to Bonvoy is wrong in the Gold Business card review.

        “Amex points also convert into Hilton Honors (at 1:2), Marriott Bonvoy (at 2:1) and Radisson Rewards at a generous 1:3.”

        Should that be 2:3 now we are in the Marriott era not SPG?

        • Rob says:

          Eek! Sorry, will fix now.

          I wrote that line, not Sinead, who is generally more literate than I am!

          • tom1 says:

            No need to apologise!

            Final question… even though I can get Gold Biz after a 6 month gap from other MR cards, once I close that card I need to wait 2 years before I start again ?

      • Paul74 says:

        Whilst on this mini topic, Rob or anyone else. I currently have the AMEX Platinum and the AMEX Gold credit card. I’m also sitting on c72k MRPs.
        I’ve been reflecting on the value of the Platinum. If I cancel the Platinum, am I likely to be able to retain all my MRPs as I’d still have the Gold? I’d be grateful for any thoughts.

        • Shoestring says:

          if your Gold and Plat are in the same online a/c, you’ll retain them

          if, somehow, you have 2 different sign ins, you’d need to link the a/cs

          • Paul74 says:

            Thanks Shoestring. They are indeed in the same online profile so sounds as if I’ll be okay doing that. Cheers

  • DaveL says:

    Club rooms Luton is now showing as £15 each, which I guess is still £5 above the £10 on the door (I am assuming this includes the £10 door entry fee?!)

    Any advice on whether this is worth paying, especially whilst the aspire is closed this next few weeks?

    • DaveL says:

      P.s for a Weds lunchtime flight, so would be using around 10.30am

      • Shoestring says:

        if that’s your only cost (ie you already hold the ‘free’ PP) – then it’s a cheap drink or 3 & food

        plus all the rest – quiet comfortable environment, good wife etc

    • Rob says:

      See our review. If you order some cooked-to-order food off the menu and have a drink then it’s cheaper (and far more pleasant) than the terminal.

      • DaveL says:

        Thanks all. I (we) definitely want in, I’m just uncertain whether to pay £30 up front for two entries or chance it and pay £20 on the door saving £10 (but also bearing in mind bad traffic could mean we don’t make it early enough to use, in which case I haven’t wasted £30).

        In other words, anyone know how busy it is at the moment and the likelihood of being turned away late morning?

        • Shoestring says:

          you’re not getting it, Dave

          you have Priority Pass, right? or Dragonpass? your £15x 2 is for your reservation – it’s on top of the lounge cost – which is free with a Priority Pass via Amex Plat

          otherwise you have to pay for lounge entry as well – hang on, I see from your original post you said ‘I assume it includes the door entry fee’ – but no, it doesn’t, you’re excused, misunderstanding here

          it’s more like £40 walk up entry fee each + reservation fee £15 each

          • Shoestring says:

            big waste of money at £40 each so you’re better off going to the pub or another outlet

          • DaveL says:

            Sorry, I’ve clearly not been clear! I do have priority pass. But club rooms, I understand has a £10 supplemental fee per person for entry and is NOT free with PP.

            It’s £15 to ‘reserve’ online.

            I was assuming that the £15 reservation fee online included the £10 supplemental entry fee – but now I am unsure about that and cannot find confirmation. I would definitely not be up for paying £25 each to get in!

            I’m going to just leave it I think and see what happens.

          • Lady London says:

            At that time of the day and week, with getting in by 1100 or so safest, a little before school holidays, normally I would say you’re going to be fine just pitching up and paying the supplement. However with the Aspire Lounge closed for refurb if you really want to get in then you’d be advised to cough up the £15 each this time.

            For me especially given the early reports on Clubrooms Luton personally it’s borderline. It’s about what a fast food meal in a restaurant where you can sit down but no higher expectations in an airport, costs these days.

            Your alternative is something like Garfunkel’s or similar, that’s next door to the Clubrooms. With a bit of effort that will probably cost you about £12.50 per head.

            How long will you have to wait before your flight? Will you be content with just a nice coffee and a snack from that good Italian takeaway that’s about 3rd on the right as you get into the main shops/food area? (£5-£9 each). I would, until I see some better reports about Clubrooms quality. So if £10 gets me in on the day, fine otherwise I’m off to the Italian. Unless my wait is sure to be over 2 hours in which case I’ll cough up the £15 and reserve now.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          If you don’t have – free entry PP or DragonPass etc then just book the lounge entry. There are virgin etc deals out there that can bring it down to around £20-25 each

  • Craig says:

    OT: Virgin reward availability, I though this was T-330, there is nothing showing beyond the 31st Dec?

    • marcw says:

      That´s when dynamic pricing comes in. 🙂

      Just joking! No idea!

      • Rob says:

        No, it’s not T-330. It is for revenue flights but rewards work differently.

        • Craig says:

          Ah, thanks Rob. They are holding a London-New York for me, fingers crossed the return will be released before the hold expires.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.