In a discussion on HfP yesterday about the value of the Fast Track airport security passes that you get at Gatwick when you pre-book the No1 Lounge, reader Keith mentioned that you can get free Fast Track security at selected airports if you have a Mastercard.
This includes London Gatwick and London Luton, plus five other UK airports.
This was news to me, and is probably news to you too.
You need to register here for Mastercard Travel Experiences.
How does Mastercard Travel Experiences work?
It’s very simple:
- you register your ‘participating’ Mastercard at the Mastercard Travel Experiences website here, or via their app
- you receive THREE Fast Track airport security passes every 12 months
- you receive discounts at selected airport restaurants when you show your Mastercard Travel Experiences ‘e-Cert’ or the app
The only catch as far as I can see is that only the named cardholder can use the Fast Track passes. Your family or partner can only accompany you if they register a Mastercard of their own.
Which Mastercard cards are ‘participating’?
It isn’t clear, so you need to use trial and error.
My Curve Card was accepted. Our reader yesterday said that his Barclaycard Avios card was refused, but this was very shortly after launch so the situation may have changed.
If you don’t have a card that works, you can order a free Curve Card here. Curve will even give you £10 for ordering it via our link. It doesn’t show on your credit file as it isn’t a credit product.
Please post your successes or failures in the comments.
(EDIT: Reader feedback below is mixed and confusing. Curve cards seem to work for some people but not others. The same goes for Currensea. Other UK cards seem to fail, but cards issued in the EU seem to be OK. It is all very odd.)
Which airports offer Fast Track security to Mastercard holders?
You cannot see the full list of 177 participating airports on the Mastercard Travel Experiences website. It shows the first 15 alphabetically but you can’t see the rest. The app doesn’t show any of the 177 airports and insists that you plug in random airport names to search.
However, I tried the major UK airports with manual searches.
You can get free Fast Track security passes for the following airports:
- London Gatwick
It doesn’t work for Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Derry, Doncaster Sheffield, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Exeter, Humberside, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Leeds Bradford, London City, London Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester, Newquay, Norwich, Southend or Teesside.
What restaurant discounts are available?
The list of airports with restaurant discounts is far bigger than the list of airports which offer Fast Track.
At Heathrow, for example, you have:
- 10% off at Leon (T2)
- 15% off at Giraffe (T5)
- 15% off at The Curator (T3)
- 15% off at The Prince of Wales (T4)
- 15% off at Wonder Tree (T2)
- 15% off at Spuntino (T3)
Remember that, whilst I have focused on UK airports here, you can use it at airports globally.
I haven’t tried it out yet but I can see it being useful for low cost flights from Gatwick and Luton. If you have used Mastercard Travel Experiences, please let us know how it went in the comments.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – October 2022 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
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
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.