As we predicted a couple of weeks ago, No1 Lounges has been sold to a joint venture of Collinson (owners of Priority Pass and 50% owner of Club Aspire lounges), via its Airport Dimensions subsidiary, and Swissport (owners of Aspire lounges and 50% owner of Club Aspire lounges).
The deal includes the nine remaining No1 Lounges sites, covering London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Birmingham.
The sites in Luton and Edinburgh have closed permanently.
No1 Lounges undertook a CVA process at the end of the last year to free itself from onerous leases. The Australian arm of No1 Lounges was sold two weeks ago which only left the UK sites.
It appears, at the moment, that the No1 Lounge and Clubrooms brands will be retained. The My Lounge brand looks as if it will disappear, as No1 had already planned, with the two Gatwick sites reopening under a new name.
Whilst it isn’t clear, it seems that No1 will operate independently from Swissport and Collinson. The press release implies that CEO John Upton will remain, at least for now.
One positive move for HfP readers is that No1 Lounges will return to Priority Pass, which is owned by Collinson.
For Collinson, acquiring No1 Lounges is about far more than making money from the lounges themselves.
With the UK Plaza Premium lounges pulling out of Priority Pass on Wednesday and No1 Lounges having pulled out last year, there was a big risk that UK financial institutions would drop Priority Pass.
After Plaza Premium withdrew, No1 became a ‘must have’ if Collinson wanted to retain momentum for Priority Pass and Lounge Key with American Express, HSBC and other partners.
This move is a blow for Plaza Premium and DragonPass. Acquiring No1 – or at least seeing it kept away from Collinson and Priority Pass – would have been a key driver in expanding DragonPass’s penetration with UK banks and credit cards.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (August 2021)
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 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.
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 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.