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A new Priority Pass option lands at London Heathrow, but ….

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Priority Pass has moved quickly to fill the black hole that opened up at Heathrow Terminal 2 last week when the Plaza Premium lounge left the programme.

The Big Smoke Taphouse & Kitchen has joined!

Not everyone can take advantage, however …..

The Big Smoke Taphouse & Kitchen has joined Priority Pass at Heathrow

What is the Big Smoke Taphouse & Kitchen?

It is described on the Priority Pass website as:

a pub and restaurant that showcases Big Smoke’s range of craft beers, small-batch spirits and English pub classics alongside American-inspired dishes.

It is on the ground level of Terminal 2, down the escalators after security, by Gate A20.

It is open from 7am until the last flight departs.

What does my Priority Pass get me?

You will receive £15 credit against your bill when you show your Priority Pass.

If your Priority Pass allows extra guests for free, you can request multiple £15 credits.

Do NOT do this if your Priority Pass does not allow free guest visits. The Priority Pass guest charge is usually £20, so you will be £5 out of pocket.

The Big Smoke Taphouse & Kitchen has joined Priority Pass at Heathrow

Can I visit if my Priority Pass is free via American Express?


This is a big snag. Only ‘paid for’ Priority Pass cards are valid at Big Smoke, or Priority Pass cards issued by financial institutions other than American Express.

(The other Priority Pass restaurant in the UK, The Grain Store at Gatwick South, DOES accept Priority Pass cards issued by American Express. The Grain Store is an exception to the global rule, and I expect it to stop accepting Amex-issued Priority Pass cards now that No1 Lounges is under the same ownership.)

If you received your Priority Pass via The Platinum Card or American Express Preferred Rewards Gold, you will charged £20 if you claim £15 credit at Big Smoke. This applies even if you have free visits in other circumstances.

This obviously means that this new option is of little use to most HfP readers. If you have The Platinum Card from American Express all is not lost in Terminal 2 as you can still enter the Plaza Premium lounge by showing The Platinum Card (not your Priority Pass) on the door.

What’s it like in the Big Smoke Taphouse?

As it happens, a HfP reader was one of the first people to try this new benefit and is writing a review. I will hopefully be able to publish it in a few days.

EDIT: Our review of the Big Smoke Taphouse at Heathrow Terminal 2 is now published – you can read it here

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (April 2024)

Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK credit 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.

You also get access to Eurostar, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 £24.  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.

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

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free Priority Pass card, allowing you access to the Priority Pass network.  Guests are charged at £24 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.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (31)

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

  • Josh says:

    Outside the author’s Amex bubble, World Elite MasterCard holders, eg from RBC, ARE able to get the £15 credit.

    • Rob says:

      You’ll find we take a lot more interest in World Elite Mastercards soon ….

      Amusingly HSBC rejected me for theirs recently due, I think, to confusion over an unpaid electricity bill when we moved house. THis is despite having Jade status.

      • Track says:

        Rob, DO NOT use an electricity supplier that reports to a credit reference agency.

        This is an overkill. Now with the facilities of landlords and utility companies (and mobile/Sky/BT) able to report a non-payment on credit file, the pool of prime borrowers is noticeably smaller than it should have been.

        Surely, that should be a concern at least for telecoms and utilities (banks couldn’t care less if they not gain you as a client).

        • BuildBackBetter says:

          I avoid the big six for that reason. They arent cheaper anyway.

      • joe says:


      • Dan says:

        You can’t leave us hanging like that…any hinters!? Specifically when…?

      • Tomgold says:

        does this include Curve metal holders, or will i still need to pay £15 to get £15?

  • MW says:

    Few two tier system with Amex issued PPs worries me a bit. How can a cardholder know whether they will be charged or not if they don’t read HfP?

    They may hear that PP is taken for restaurant credit and then end up paying more than if they hadn’t used it.

    • Genghis says:

      Exactly. Leads to “confusion and delay” and undermines trust in the product.

  • MW says:

    * Few=The

  • Adam says:

    Big Smoke is owned by the Morgans – a family who own a load of pubs in London and the South East (although you wouldn’t know if as they don’t look like chain pubs). The Express Tavern near Kew Bridge is one of my favourites. I’ve since moved out of London to find that my new local is also owned by Dick Morgan and serves Big Smoke. Generally good pubs that are well run with decent food and drink.

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

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