No1 Lounges sold to Aspire and Collinson – they will rejoin Priority Pass
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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 (April 2023)
As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable 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 Air Lines and Eurostar lounges. Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four 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 four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £20. You get four 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.