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Can I use Avios to get into a British Airways airport lounge?

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Today I want to look at if you can use Avios points to get into an airport lounge.

British Airways has a very impressive set of lounges at its London hubs, as well as some surprising gems overseas.  A brand new BA lounge complex opened at London Gatwick Airport in 2018 which we reviewed here – it is possibly the smartest lounge that BA has.

At Heathrow, British Airways has EIGHT lounges.

Can I pay to get into a British Airways lounge?

In Terminal 5, you have:

Galleries Club South – review here (main building, business class tickets and Silver card holders)

Galleries Club North (main building, business class tickets and Silver card holders)

Galleries First – review here (main building, Gold card holders)

The Concorde Room – review here (main building, First Class ticket holders)

Galleries – review here (Terminal 5B satellite, business and First Class ticket holders, Silver and Gold card holders)

Arrivals – review here 

In Terminal 3, you have:

Galleries Club – review here (business class tickets and Silver card holders)

Galleries First – review here (First Class tickets and Gold card holders)

British Airways also has lounges at many UK regional airports, although the Manchester (below) and Newcastle lounges were permanently closed during the pandemic.

Can I pay to get access to a british airways airport lounge?

That’s the good news.  The bad news is that British Airways does not allow you to use your Avios points for airport lounge access.  A lot of airlines have started to offer lounge acce in recent years but not British Airways.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t buy access to a suitable lounge, however.

All UK airports have ‘pay to visit’ lounges.  We have reviewed lots of them – click here and you will see all of our airport lounge reviews.

The three main UK ‘pay to enter’ lounge networks are (click to visit their websites):

No1 Lounges 

Aspire 

Plaza Premium 

Heathrow Terminal 5 has an excellent Plaza Premium lounge (review) pictured below and a very average Aspire lounge (review)Our lounge reviews list covers the rest of Heathrow, Gatwick and some other UK airports.

You can also buy a Priority Pass card which gives access globally to over 1,300 lounges globally.  You can learn about Priority Pass here.  Two free Priority Pass cards allowing unlimited access, which get four people into a lounge between them, are a perk of the American Express Platinum charge card.  My full review of Amex Platinum is here.

can you pay to get into a british airways airport lounge

Can I get into an airport lounge for free?

Yes, there is a way to get into an airport lounge for free.

Apply for the – free in the first year – American Express Gold credit card.  Here’s my Amex Gold review.

It comes with a version of the Priority Pass airport lounge card.  Your first two airport lounge visits using the card are FREE.  Further visits are charged at £20 each.  If you are a family of four, your partner could also apply for an Amex Gold which means you would have two Priority Pass cards between you, which would get four people into a lounge for one visit.

Priority Pass does not get you into British Airways lounges but it DOES get you into the majority of No1 and Aspire lounges as well as many many more.

Even better, Amex Gold comes with 20,000 American Express Membership Rewards points for signing up.  These convert into 20,000 Avios, 20,000 Virgin Points or many other schemes, which is an amazing sign-up deal.  You can learn more about the Amex Gold credit card here.

(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works.  You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )

(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 2.0 million monthly page views.  Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios?  Click here to read our latest news storiesclick here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.)


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also good bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These are available to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

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

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

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