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Another new Luton Airport option for non-Amex Priority Pass customers

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Priority Pass has added another new option at Luton Airport for cardholders.

Unfortunately it is NOT available to anyone who gets their Priority Pass via American Express. It is available to anyone who gets their pass directly from Priority Pass or via another financial partner. It should also be available for LoungeKey customers, which in the UK primarily means HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard holders.

The new deal is with Avalon Crafted Coffee in the departures area, airside.

New Luton Airport option for Priority Pass customers

To quote:

“Avalon offers travelers at Luton Airport a very special coffee experience. Delicious dishes are served here throughout the day using local produce such as eggs, biscuits, breads, baked goods and honey to provide customers with fresh groceries and snacks.”

Priority Pass customers will receive a £15 credit towards any transaction. If your Priority Pass allows a free guest and you arrive with someone else, you will receive a £30 credit.

Avalon Crafted Coffee is open from 4am to 10pm daily.

If you’re not a coffee fan, Priority Pass has similar deals with The Big Smoke Taphouse & Kitchen and Italian restaurant Nolito on the same terms.

There are a grand total of TWO restaurant experiences globally that Amex-issued Priority Pass customers can use. One is The Grain Store at London Gatwick’s South Terminal. Given that this is the British Airways terminal, it is at least convenient for most HfP readers. The other is the Moevenpick Cafe in Berlin Brandenburg.

My best guess is that Priority Pass wants to charge American Express a higher fee for restaurant visits, as it pays out more than it pays a lounge operator, and that the two parties could not reach an agreement.

This is something that American Express may want to look at again given the frustration over being unable to access UK lounges with Priority Pass due to overcrowding. The fee differential cannot be more than £1-£2 per visit, given that no other bank or credit card provider has brought in a similar restriction.

There is also the Aspire lounge at Luton (our last review of the Aspire lounge at Luton Airport is here) which IS accessible with an Amex-issued Priority Pass. Recent reader feedback has not been too impressive though.

You can see all of the Priority Pass options at Luton on this page of their website.

Comments (11)

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

  • Ian says:

    Seems like a trend to eliminate Amex card holders from various locations

    Not looking good for Amex here

    • John says:

      On the other hand, it might divert some non-Amex PP holders to “better” rebate offers with terminal restaurants, leaving Amex holders free to roam dilapidated lounges looking for crumbs 🤷‍♂️

  • nerock says:

    This practice of excluding certain cards of the program of using certain lounges is a total mess in my view. The Big Smoke Taphouse & Kitchen has accepted my Amex issued PP once, I don’t know whether that was an error or initially it wasn’t excluded. Next time I tried the card reader presented an error message, however staff insisted it’s an error with their machine and I should be able to just claim back from PP by sending them the receipt, of course they haven’t… This is the first time I realise this smallprint stating that this outlet is not accessible with all PP cards.. If I search for PP lounges at Luton this comes up on their website, I now realise the smallprint next to it but I wouldn’t ever spot it in the rush when I’m at the airport.. Plus the fact that nobody at The Big Smoke Taphouse & Kitchen staff is aware of this rule either speaks for itself..

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Yes, shows how stupid the arrangement is and I feel sorry for staff. People turn up with (to the server) identical Priority Passes, some of which work and some of which don’t and the 3rd party staff are nothing to do with Amex or PP, and are restaurant workers, not product advisers. So they either take the flak or have to start quizzing people about their financial product history.

      • Rob says:

        All PPass work, but an Amex one results in a £20 charge to your card.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      AMEX have asked for the exclusion afaik not PP – they don’t want to fund it.

  • JammyBear says:

    The lounge at Luton has gone downhill so fast since the last HFP review (It’s almost comical to compare), you can get a feel from the last 20 google reviews. I have had the pleasure of flying 8 times from Luton this year, only once has the lounge experience be as it should. The other times – closed randomly (x2), short staffed – always, change of hours last minute (x2), scraps for food, broken wifi, broken drinks dispenser, grim toilets….the list is long. Shame this other option doesn’t work for Amex PP holders.. might have made me feel a bit better haha!

    • lumma says:

      Used the aspire lounge twice in the last 12 months, last time in March and don’t mind it at all, especially compared to the rest of the terminal. Toilets are palacial compared to the public ones downstairs

  • Tim W. says:

    Is there any way to find out if an Amex PP card will be accepted in any particular lounge in advance?

  • Philip says:

    I hadn’t spotted this article at the time but I just had this problem at Luton a couple of days ago (PP via Amex Platinum). I went to one of the restaurants showing on the app (the Aspire lounge already having closed by the time of 20:15 despite there still being 12 flights remaining that evening). Their terminal refused to accept, the staff member said it displayed “API error” (I did not see the screen). I assumed this was a temporary connectivity fault with the terminal so went to another of the restaurants. This time they told me they accepted PP and would sort it out later. So I ordered. Then, just after my meal had arrived, another staff member brought the terminal, and it gave what I assume was the same error as previously – “API error 780 – Access Denied: Sorry this outlet is not part of your membership program”.

    So I ate the meal (even though I wouldn’t have ordered it had I not expected £15 off the price!).

    Later I found that on logging into the app the three restaurants disappeared, leaving only the Aspire lounge showing. (Nowhere have I seen it stated in official PP material that viewing the app list without being logged in can be misleading.)

    On complaining to PP they responded with what seemed to be standard text, including:

    “Because your membership is a benefit through American Express, you only have access to our lounges and not any other alternatives like restaurants, cafes, spas and etc. This is because Amex decided to pull off of all the alternatives.

    This is why we advise American Express members to always check lounge information on the app and never the website, as the accurate information about lounges are on the app.”

    Despite the 2nd paragraph, I can find nowhere where either Amex or PP advise people that not all PP cards allow access to airport restaurants, or – the key point in my case – that the app is misleading if not logged in. Instead all I can see are statements like “Download the Priority Pass app for the most up-to-date information on airport lounges and travel experiences”. Even the (very detailed) small print for the airport restaurants on the app and website doesn’t state that this benefit is not available on all cards, instead the only caveat is that cardholders who pay per visit should ensure that they are getting good value.

    Additionally, these restaurants should not be letting people in without checking that their PP card is accepted up front! My PP was only put through the terminal after food arrived!

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

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