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The Club Aspire lounge at Gatwick North has closed for good

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In a surprising move, the Club Aspire lounge in the North Terminal at Gatwick Airport has closed for good.

For a lounge that only opened in 2018 following an expensive refurbishment, and in a terminal that should be close to its pre-covid capacity next Summer, this is unexpected.

There is a reason, of course.

The Club Aspire lounge at Gatwick North has closed for good

Club Aspire lounges – as opposed to standard Aspire lounges – are owned by a joint venture between Swissport and Priority Pass-owner Collinson.

The same two partners recently acquired No1 Lounges, which includes the flagship site in Gatwick North. In fact, it came with three sites in Gatwick North – No1 Lounge, Clubrooms (still closed) and My Lounge (still closed).

You can see how four lounges could be seen as overkill and Club Aspire had a poor geographic position. It occupied the bottom level of the Gatwick lounge pavilion.  This is unfortunate, as it means it was two floors below concourse level and had no views from the main area.  There were windows but they were frosted.

Is four lounges really too many for Priority Pass though? Especially as, at present, only two – now one – are open. As any regular Gatwick North traveller will tell you, it is difficult to get in anywhere with a Priority Pass card – British Airways has block booked a lot of capacity across the independent lounges in Gatwick North for a start.

Without stating the obvious, it seems odd for Priority Pass to devalue the perceived value of their product by closing a lounge that their parent company part-owns.

The Club Aspire lounge at Gatwick North has closed for good

Plaza Premium’s takeover of the Virgin Atlantic lounge may have played a role

As we exclusively revealed, Plaza Premium has re-opened the old Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse as an independent lounge.

Plaza Premium is not part of Priority Pass, so this lounge will not be siphoning off that business from Club Aspire. However:

  • the ex-Virgin Atlantic lounge is ideal for premium airline passengers, and I would expect British Airways and the other legacy carriers operating from Gatwick to move here
  • it is accessible by American Express Platinum cardholders (who get a Priority Pass by default) and DragonPass cardholders, so it will take some traffic from No1 and Club Aspire
The Club Aspire lounge at Gatwick North has closed for good

It will be interesting to see what happens to the Club Aspire space

Are there any airlines operating from Gatwick North – and planning to remain there when Gatwick South re-opens – who would want their own lounge?

Are there any independent lounge operators willing to take it on? I suspect that Priority Pass would refuse to deal with them, preferring to send traffic to lounges that its parent partly owns, so it would need to survive on airline contracts and/or DragonPass. Would any other financial institution be willing to take it on and create a branded lounge?

Across the UK there are now a number of abandoned airport lounges. This includes the old BA spaces at Newcastle and Manchester, the No1 / Clubrooms lounges at Edinburgh and Luton and this Aspire space. I am sure that more lounges which we expect to re-open will not do so.

There is an opportunity here, if someone is willing to seize it ….

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

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

Comments (28)

  • Luke says:

    I abandoned Priority Pass when I discovered that it had a silent “Lowest” in front of it.

    • Dave says:

      Totally agree. For me it was the straw that led to me cancelling Amex Platinum. I feel them offering PP damages their brand.

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        If anything, Amex platinum has become more useful now with plaza premium leaving priority pass.
        The rest of the PP (priority pass) world cannot access the better plaza premium lounges.

  • Phil W says:

    It would be good if Amex took a decision to expand their Centurion Lounge growth into these UK locations. It would demonstrate that Amex isn’t solely focused on London in the UK.

    • Youllnever says:

      Unlikely now that there’s one in Heathrow.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I’m not sure why that makes it unlikely they’ll expand further.

        They may even get a good deal on rental (can’t see any of the decor being of use)

        • Youllnever says:

          I think it’s more likely that they’ll try to open more lounges globally where there are larger traffic than Gatwick.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Amex focusses primarily on where US travellers frequently visit. Which is why they chose T3 at LHR.
      Instead of Centurion, they can do ‘Amex’ lounges like they have done in second tier cities across the world.

  • Bobri says:

    So many lounges yet impossible to get in anywhere with a priority pass / lounge key

  • marcw says:

    Isn’t easyJet planning a lounge? I can’t remember whether I read or dreamt it.

  • Terry says:

    That basement lounge in the north terminal was always the worst of the lot.

    It didn’t have any atmosphere, you couldn’t see out of the windows and I was precious little in the way of food other than crisps and nuts.

    We can but hope that the space is used to better effect by somebody else.

    • Lady London says:

      Brekkie was good though for simple English and it was clean with very nice staff.

      The loos were a bit gimcrack though, reminiscent of the BA Lounge ones in T5

  • Memesweeper says:

    If I’m flying BA long haul from Gatwick in Club, what lounge(s) can I use?

  • Sam G says:

    You’d think even someone like holiday extras might have a go at it – that is one of the few locations that a predominately cash offering could work and they could bundle it in with their other offerings. I imagine they run at a pretty small margin though so not having the buying power of a group may not be ideal (though potentially if they contract the operation to SSP or similar that could be overcome)

  • Pip2021 says:

    Looks like it’ll open as an easyJet/Holiday Extras lounge (just seen on LinkedIn) – interesting!

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