This is our review of the No1 Lounge at Birmingham Airport.
As I was already at Birmingham Airport for Flybe’s inaugural flight to Belfast we thought it was worth reviewing the No1 Lounge which re-opened just before Christmas.
Having reviewed the Aspire lounge at Birmingham I was keen to see how it compared. Both brands are now under the same ownership so there’s no competition between the two, although Collinson and Swissport appear to have decided to keep both open.
Note that, for now, the second Aspire lounge and the Clubrooms lounge remain closed.
Where is the No1 Lounge Birmingham Airport?
The No1 lounge is just to your left as you leave duty free, in the central part of the terminal and sandwiched between Next and WH Smith:
Note that opening hours are still a little restricted. It opens at an impressively early 5am but closes at 5pm.
The entrance is easy to spot (and it is also the way to the public toilets):
Just down the corridor is the actual (and very classy) entrance:
As it was the Easter holidays, the lounge, and indeed the entire airport was extremely busy when I was there. Initially the lounge attendant said they were going to be fully booked in about twenty minutes and therefore couldn’t let me in (I hadn’t pre-booked.)
However, she was happy to let me in for fifteen minutes or so after I told her that I would only be there briefly to grab a coffee and a bite to eat. This worked for me but clearly most passengers will want to wait longer. With the second Aspire lounge still closed at Birmingham Airport lounge capacity is down, particularly over the holiday periods.
Inside the No1 Lounge at Birmingham Airport
The lounge was last refurbished in 2019 so – after two years of closure – it is still almost brand-new. I was very impressed with what I saw, starting with the classy entrance you saw above.
The lounge occupies a fairly square space. The main area is divided into two broad sections: the dining area with the bar and buffet, and the lounge area.
Here is the bar:
…. and the dining area:
Whilst here is the lounge area, which has impressively large windows:
As you can see, there is also a small mezzanine area:
Tucked away, on the right hand side of the lounge, are also a number of small, privatish rooms. These had ‘reserved’ signs on them so may have been pre-booked by groups or by airlines with a small number of premium passengers:
There is also a meeting room:
…. and also a sort of TV room:
Overall it’s a nice space and I think No1 has done a great job when it comes to the fit and finish – it feels classy with marble (effect?) and wood finishes. It’s certainly a lot nicer than the older Aspire lounge at Birmingham Airport (review here).
What’s the buffet like at No1 Lounge Birmingham?
I was there during the breakfast period. This consisted of a small buffet of pastries, yoghurt and cereals, plus eggs, bacon, sausage (including a veggie option), baked beans and potato balls:
It would’ve been nice to have some mushrooms and cooked tomatoes too!
Juices, tea and coffee are also available:
All pretty standard and similar to what you’d find at other No1 and Aspire lounges.
The lounge staff did a great job of topping up the buffet during this busy period – I saw them do it several times and nothing ever ran out. The croissant and pain au chocolat in particular were fresh, I presume having just come out of the oven.
Alcohol is also available, albeit not self-pour – you have to ask at the bar. Normally that includes a couple of basic spirits plus house wines and beer – you often have to pay extra for champagne or prosecco.
How to get entry to the No1 Lounge at Birmingham Airport
There are two ways to get access to the No1 Lounge at Birmingham Airport. One option is to book ahead on the No1 website here, with headline prices starting from £28 per person. This guarantees you a spot at your booked time.
The alternative is to use a lounge membership program such as Priority Pass or DragonPass, both of which are accepted at the No1 lounge. Standard Priority Pass membership is currently £69 per year, or you can get it for free via the following cards:
- The American Express Platinum Card with Priority Pass membership with unlimited lounge visits for you and one guest at 1,300+ lounges globally
- The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card comes with a FREE two-visit Priority Pass membership (and Amex Gold is free for the first year too)
- The HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard comes with a LoungeKey card (owned by Priority Pass but missing some lounges) and offers unlimited lounge visits, although you will be charged for bringing in guests.
Using a Priority Pass or LoungeKey membership doesn’t guarantee you a spot – it is first come first served – and as you saw above I almost didn’t get in, albeit during peak school holiday season. Alternatively, No1 Lounges allows you to prebook a slot for £6 per person to guarantee entry.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (May 2022)
As a reminder, here are the four 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.
The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
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 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.