An interesting route has popped up to allow you to get free membership of the DragonPass airport lounge programme.
This allows you to enter any DragonPass affiliated lounge for just £19, which often represents a substantial saving on the standard cash rate.
Let’s take a step back first for some background …..
If you do not have airline status or are not travelling in Business or First Class, the only way to get airport lounge access (without paying steep walk-up prices) is via membership of a lounge club.
The three major lounge access schemes are:
- Priority Pass (buy outright here or free with Amex Platinum or two free visits per year for Amex Preferred Rewards Gold cardholders)
- LoungeKey (for select MasterCard World Elite cardholders, eg HSBC Premier)
- DragonPass (perhaps best known in the UK for being given to premium NatWest customers)
Priority Pass and LoungeKey are owned by the same company, Collinson. Whilst there are some differences between the lounges available, the similarities are far greater.
DragonPass is the only other independent group offering airport lounge access cards. It is not connected with Collinson. This has allowed it to cut some interesting deals which are not available with the the Collinson products.
What exclusive deals does DragonPass offer?
Here are some interesting London examples which are NOT available with Priority Pass or LoungeKey:
Exclusive DragonPass offers at Heathrow:
In Terminal 5 and Terminal 2, you can use the Regus Express business centre lounges (temporarily closed)
In Terminal 2, Terminal 5 and presumably from next month Terminal 4, you can use the Plaza Premium departures lounge – Terminal 5 is pictured below
Whilst currently closed, you can use the Plaza Premium arrivals lounges in Terminal 2, Terminal 3 and Terminal 4
You get dining discounts – but no freebies – at The Prince of Wales (T4, when reopened), Giraffe (T5), Spuntino (T3), Leon (T2), The Curator (T3), Wonder Tree (T2)
Exclusive DragonPass offers at Gatwick:
In the North Terminal, you can use the Plaza Premium lounge, which was previously the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse
In both terminals, you can visit Aerospa and receive a 15 minute massage or nail file & polish (this is charged as one lounge visit)
You can get dining discounts – but no freebies – at Nicholas Culpepper (North), Giraffe (South), Wonder Tree (South), Shake Shack (North), Joe’s Coffee House (South), Sonoma (North)
DragonPass used to get you access to the Regus Express business centres at Gatwick but these are no longer listed as a benefit and may have permanently closed.
You can search the DragonPass lounge directory here.
What does a DragonPass card cost?
The standard prices for a DragonPass card are listed here (toggle to GBP in the menu bar).
The standard fee for a basic membership is £68, which comes with one free lounge visit. Additional visits are charged at £19.50 to your registered credit card.
However, there is a way of getting the basic card for free. You won’t get a free lounge visit included, but you save (£68 – £19.50 cost of one visit) £48.50.
The Regus deal
As you saw above, Regis works with DragonPass and lets you access selected business centres with your card. Here is a review of the Regus Express centre at Gatwick, albeit it may have now closed.
Visit myregus.com and sign up for a free account. Note that you can skip many of the questions you are asked.
Membership is free and you can now, if you wish, book yourself meeting rooms or hot desking space at any Regus centre.
Once registered with myregus, you can sign up for a free DragonPass via this page of their website. (A lot of people find that this link does not work unless you come via the Regus website – it seems to detect where you are coming from and divert you if its not from myregus.com. If so, you will need to click through from inside the Regus website. Set yourself up as a company and then go Quick Access / Partner Offers / Airport Longe and click through.)
This offer is exclusive to Regus members. You will be emailed log-in details for the DragonPass app – there are no plastic membership cards.
There is some confusion over how you pay for your lounge visits. On the registration page, it says:
“Before you visit a lounge you must top-up your account with a Visit. This can be done in the DragonPass using a Visa or Mastercard.”
This implies that you need to buy a visit pass for £19 via the app before the card will be accepted by the lounge.
However, the confirmation email says:
“Your visit will be automatically processed to your registered payment card. No need to top up. No fuss. Just fast, easy access to relaxed lounges worldwide.”
In practical terms it makes minimal difference. You can top up in seconds via the app if necessary, and unused prepaid visits are refundable.
This offer is an excellent way of accessing the very decent Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 (see our last review here.) This lounge charges £40 on the door and the only other way in is by showing an American Express Platinum charge card. It does NOT take Priority Pass or LoungeKey.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (June 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.
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 30,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.
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.