Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Air France and KLM move into the Heathrow Terminal 3 Club Aspire lounge

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

It’s beginning to look like Air France and KLM are hunkering down in Heathrow Terminal 3 with no plans to return to Terminal 4.

This makes sense, of course. Now that the two airlines have joined the Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines transatlantic joint venture, there will be many customers transiting from short haul to long haul. Making them transfer between terminals was never going to be a good look.

SkyTeam announced some time ago that it had permanently closed its huge alliance-wide lounge in Terminal 4, which was a good hint that Air France and KLM were not going back.

Club Aspire lounge London Heathrow Terminal 3

Air France and KLM have now announced a deal with the Club Aspire lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3. All business class and SkyTeam elite members flying on the two airlines will be invited to use the lounge.

Whilst good news for Air France and KLM passengers, it is bad news for Priority Pass, DragonPass and LoungeKey cardholders. With a large influx of SkyTeam passengers throughout the day it will be increasingly difficult to gain entry using a lounge club membership card.

If you are not travelling in Business Class and don’t have airline status, your other options in Heathrow Terminal 3 are:

I suppose we should be grateful that the Club Aspire lounge still exists at all. The owners of Club Aspire recently bought No1 Lounges and, at Gatwick North, have chosen to permanently close the Club Aspire lounge to focus on No1 and its sister lounges. It seems that Club Aspire and No1 will co-exist in Terminal 3.

You can see our review of the Club Aspire lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3 here.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (December 2023)

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 Plaza Premium, Delta Air Lines and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) 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 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. 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 £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 (46)

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

  • Mouse says:

    “long downtown transit times for passengers” – you’re really not joking here -just looked up Chicago RFD airport – according to google a 100 mile drive from downtown, or three times the distance from Luton or Stansted to London. There are going to be some disappointed passengers arriving in “Chicago”!

    • John T says:

      Another issue they will have is that RFD does not feature when you search Google Flights to ‘Chicago’ (only O’Hare and Midway do).

      BA and American are offering return nonstop flights to Chicago for under £500 later this year. You’d think Norse would have to be priced at under £350 return for people to book the inconvenience of RFD. I doubt they will be that cheap….

    • sayling says:

      “London Southend Airport”…

      • Rob says:

        I’m guessing you’ve never been to the airport. With its own train station, you can be in Liverpool Street – and so onto Crossrail – in little more time than a Gatwick Express to Victoria and faster than a tube from Heathrow.

      • Bip says:

        I’m reminded more of the 2006 Ryanair stunt where they advertised flights to London Prestwick – just a short 400 mile train ride across the Scottish border

    • david says:

      I booked some weekend flights to Frankfurt. As it was a group of guys, I didnt want to travel alone via Avios OR give a huge amount of avios to cater for the whole group so we are flying into Frankfurt Hanh. An hour an half away from Frankfurt. Jeez.

  • tony says:

    I hope they have indeed done the sums (or math, sorry) here. From Google maps, Rockford appears to have a stand alone international terminal with a single gate. I recall a story about a charter company, maybe Thomas Cook, wanting to run a ski flight into Sacramento. The airport and CBP offered a guarantee that all passengers would be cleared into the country within 240 minutes of the plane parking at the gate, presumably because they would only have two immigration officers working. Needless to say, Thomas Cook rightly told them to do one.

  • ChrisC says:

    BWI is hardly a secondary airport. It’s busier than IAD and only a couple of miles more distant from DC than IAD is.

    • HPN-HRL says:

      …as well as having better public transport into DC proper.

    • Rhys says:

      I love BWI, I always flew there direct when I was studying in Baltimore with BA. But labelling it as a Washington DC airport is slightly misleading….but at least it’s directly on Amtrak

      • ADS says:

        the “metropolitan area airport code” WAS covers DCA, IAD and BWI

        so this one seems fairly reasonable !

    • dougzz99 says:

      BWI works for Maryland and IAD for Virginia. I hate those stupid mobiles at IAD, and it feels like the metro extension has taken forever. BWI is fine, but a bit nowhere and the BA flight felt too late in the day, unless that’s changed.
      I much prefer DCA – National. Always feel the best route to Washington is JFK and a change to arrive at DCA.

      • VSCXfan says:

        BWI (officially named Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport) Amtrak station offers fast direct trains south to Washington Union Station (as well as north to Philadelphia) and easy road access to the Beltway and DC’s northern suburbs. RFD and ONT on the other hand offer easy access to Rockford Illinois and Ontario California……

  • krys_k says:

    Lounge related question. I’ve always wondered why the club rooms were closed in Luton. Thought that was a good concept and even if I didn’t have a PP I would have happily paid the £30 odd quid for entry. Perhaps not enough others thought the same.

    • Rob says:

      No1 went bust due to excessive debt loaded onto it by its private equity owner. Another operator could probably make it work but the location, tucked around a corner, did not encourage walk ins. The ban on naked flame cooking also seriously impacted the food they could offer (they were bringing in precooked fried eggs and reheating them for example) which was not really cutting it given the premium Clubrooms price.

      • John T says:

        You can’t fry an egg on an induction cooktop?!?

      • lumma says:

        Was very disappointed with the clubrooms when I went in 2019. Slow service but wouldn’t give a glass of wine and a beer at the same time.

        Waiter giving loads of drinks to a rowdy pair of couples but ignoring the rest of the lounge.

  • Matty says:

    Can you use the Virgin Clubhouse if you have a gold card with Virgin when doing a short hop with KLM or Air France?

    • Rhys says:

      Officially no, but I believe they’re quite lenient if your VS Gold and it’s not too busy.

      • Mike Ward says:

        Not at CDG they’re not – I was turned away last month when it was obvious the lounge was half empty. They also refuse to accept ITA Volare gold-equivalent.

  • Richie says:

    Rockford and Ontario may only be successfull if there’s great value car hire and cheap fuel available.

    • Peter K says:

      That shouldn’t be a problem! Oh, wait a minute…

    • John T says:

      If there’s a single coach service into the city for each flight that doesn’t leave until all passengers have collected their luggage you’ll arrive in Chicago or LA about four hours after you land

      • Richie says:

        I’d only fly to Rockford if I planned driving around this part of the US. I’d only fly to Ontario if I was planning a drive East to Palm Dessert etc. Otherwise these flights are unlikely to be cheap enough. Competition is very welcome though.

        • Nick says:

          You’re assuming people actually want the city centre. Business – yes. Leisure – not always. I suspect Ontario might do quite well, LAX is a nightmare and many people drive onwards anyway. Rockford less so, but who knows. Hahn worked for Ryanair, and no one expected that.

          • RussellH says:

            Hahn worked for a lot of my former holiday customers. Convenient for the Hunsrück, Southern Eifel and Mosel Valley,
            No one ever wanted to go to Frankfurt, but with the airport’s good rail connections, convenient for a lot of south-western Germany.

  • dougzz99 says:

    It seems to me a terrible idea to be launching this now. I appreciate the difficulty of predicting what’s to come, but flying to secondary airports to save a few quid only works for the very budget constrained. Right now the costs of a holiday in the US mean saving on the flight is insignificant to the overall cost. They’ll always be people looking for the absolute cheapest option, and those suited by the destination, but for me this is another airline that’ll never make money.

    • david says:

      If its cheap enough during School Holidays as most of their flights are currently, I will take their offers up. But I would always do the sums including car rental etc or public transport into city.

  • RussellH says:

    Given the flights to Ontario and Rockford, I am surprised that they have not gone for Oakland rather than SFO.
    The BART connection from OAK into San Francisco is pretty good, and for anyone wanting to visit northern California – think Napa + Sonoma for wine or Humboldt Co. for Redwoods, OAK is much more convenient when driving than SFO.

    • ChrisC says:

      Ontario prob all much cheaper.

      • ChrisC says:

        Must read before posting!

        Of course ONT is cheaper than LAX which is why they are using that.

        Maybe they got a good deal with SFO rather than OAK? Link to a holiday company?

    • Doug M says:

      Agreed. People taking ‘budget’ flights don’t book cabs from airports, they use public transport. Connectivity at least as important as location with an airport. See Rob’s comment about Southend.

      • david says:

        Your right there. I normally do the sums with car rental even if airport is far.

    • Thegasman says:

      Did Norwegian owe Oakland some cash when they pulled out previously?

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.