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No1 Lounges sells Australian arm, drops My Lounge and may not reopen Luton and Edinburgh

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No1 Lounges announced yesterday that it has sold its Australian arm to Swissport, owner of the Aspire lounge brand.

No1 entered Australia in 2018 when it took over the management of Etihad’s lounges in Sydney and Melbourne. The idea was to open these up to other airlines whilst still providing a good environment for Etihad’s passengers. It also opened a branch of My Lounge at Brisbane Airport.

The press release announcing the sale was interesting for another reason.

No1 Lounge Gatwick

This is what it said:

“No1 Lounges is an award-winning airport lounge operator offering two lounge brands – Clubrooms and No1 Lounges. No1 Lounges currently operates nine lounges in the UK across both brands, located at Gatwick, Heathrow and Birmingham.”

Notice what’s missing?

  • It doesn’t mention the ‘hipster’ My Lounge brand. Going off to the No1 website, it seems that all mentions of the two My Lounge spaces at Gatwick have disappeared. These lounges may not reopen.
  • It doesn’t mention the Clubrooms lounge at Luton Airport – will this permanently close?
  • It doesn’t mention the No1 Lounge at Edinburgh Airport – will this permanently close?

All No1 Lounges are closed until at least 22nd July, so the four lounges above have not been removed from the website purely because they are currently shut.

Clubrooms airport lounge birmingham

What happens to No1 Lounges now?

There is chatter in the market about Collinson acquiring No1. As well as running Priority Pass, Collinson runs a US lounge network called The Club and also owns 50% of the Club Aspire brand, as found at Heathrow and Gatwick.

A deal would make sense. No1 Lounges has pulled out of Priority Pass, as has Plaza Premium. Priority Pass will be a far harder sell to UK bank and credit card partners without either of those lounge portfolios in it.

Buying No1 and putting it back into Priority Pass would go a long way to help Collinson keep Priority Pass contracts with the likes of American Express in the UK. DragonPass and Plaza Premium are now working together to pitch for corporate contracts such as this and will become a far stronger competitor.

Who else could buy No1 Lounges?

Other potential buyers could include:

  • Plaza Premium – I am told they are not interested, although it would be a dream fit in terms of network overlap and product quality
  • American Express – if it wanted to roll out its Centurion Lounge product quickly in the UK

…. or, of course, No1 could rebuild under its own steam and try to achieve a higher price in 3-4 years. Let’s see how this story plays out.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (July 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

30,000 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 30,000 points.  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 (18)

  • MrIO says:

    Off topic. Can anyone recommend a good luxury but child friendly hotel around Marbella, Alicante? Happy to drive a bit further for the right hotel.

    • Peter K says:

      This question needs to be in the chat page to get the best responses.

    • Anna says:

      That’s a big area – it’s over 300 miles between the two! Maybe narrow it down a bit?

  • Ikaz says:

    Talking about lounges, the 1903 at Manchester T1 is now another Escape lounge (although they were all closed when I was there on the weekend), the airport website seems to indicate that 1903 is still in the same place, so it looks like they haven’t moved it elsewhere

  • Aliks says:

    Looking at lounges in Gatwick North – is Club Aspire the only one that is open at the moment? and is it worth spending my Amex Gold vouchers on this lounge?

    • Mark says:

      Curious too. Doing table service for the food apparently.

      • IanM says:

        Was in the Aspire at T5 on Friday, yes table service only which is what was expected, pretty decent fare actually. Closed at 5pm unfortunately but not many flights after that,

        • Mark says:

          Used Aspire Gatwick North a couple of times late 2020 after Priority Pass was no longer accepted at No. 1. First time was breakfast in a box – pick up from hot plate and it was ok, drinks from the bar. Second visit was full table service with a decent full English breakfast and drinks all table service.

  • Colin JE says:

    Very sad if the Edinburgh No1 is to close, but also very puzzled. It only opened in 2019 and was always busy. It’s still listed on the No1 website but not bookable.

    On another note is the BA lounge open there yet? Or anywhere else?

    • Rob says:

      The website page has not been deleted but you can’t get to it except via Google. The ‘Locations’ tab no longer lists Edinburgh.

      • Stu N says:

        Edinburgh was linked from No.1 homepage as recently as last weekend so a recent change.

        • Rob says:

          No1 has done a CVA which gives it a lot of flex to get out of contracts.

    • Stu N says:

      All the lounges at Edinburgh are currently closed. BA lounge just has a note on the door saying “closed due to restricted flights but we hope to welcome you soon”. Aspire next to it has similar note up.

      NB the airport website isn’t that accurate on opening times for shops etc, I was pleasantly surprised to find All Bar One open on Wed evening after 1800.

    • Tim says:

      But since 2019, Aspire opened their second lounge next door. Not sure what the long term plan was for Aspire (close original lounge?) but whatever it was there’s extra capacity there now. On another note: when flying with Turkish from EDI, I used to get sent to No. 1 instead of Aspire. That’s changed now to Aspire according to Star. Might be coincidental or covid related though.

  • Tom says:

    I doubt Collinson can afford to buy No1, as there in a dyer financial situation at the moment.

    • Rob says:

      You think? Seriously? Ignoring the fact it is privately owned by very wealthy people, much of the revenue keeps on coming regardless. Priority Pass fees, insurance policies etc. They had no problem funding a big push into testing.

      No1 would cost single digit millions and that is loose change to Colin. Collinson also has a history of buying damaged companies on the cheap.

  • David D says:

    I’m of the opinion No1 Lounges would be a good fit for Plaza Premium prior to the sale by No1 Lounge of their Australian operations. However, if Plaza Premium really want to take on Collins on then it is a transaction that proves they want to really get involved in the provision of lounges across the UK. Otherwise, Plaza should solely focus on hubs.

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