London Luton Airport is in dire need of additional lounge capacity, and thankfully it will be getting it next year.
No1 Lounges announced recently that it is taking over the existing Aspire Lounge as well as the former Clubrooms lounge, which has not re-opened since the pandemic. They will be rebranded as MyLounge and No1 Lounge respectively.
No1 Lounges is owned by Swissport and Collinson. These two companies also jointly own the Club Aspire brand, whilst Swissport wholly owns Aspire. Apparently No1 won a competitive tender for the contract, which means it presumably beat its 50% shareholder’s solo bid!
The Aspire Lounge was last refurbished in late 2020, so it seems odd that Collinson and Swissport have decided that it would be better off with another new look under a different brand.
Goodbye Aspire, hello MyLounge
The new MyLounge will take over the larger Aspire space, which has room for 155 guests. MyLounge is the ‘value’ brand from No1 and tends to feature a smaller selection of food and drink than you’d find in a No1 Lounge.
Given that Luton is a low-cost airport, it makes sense to open a larger space for MyLounge. That said, MyLounge isn’t exactly cheap these days if you pay to get in, priced at ‘from’ £30. Pre-pandemic you could buy access for £15 during promotions.
Aspire (which is closer to No1 than MyLounge in terms of standards) never had any problems attracting custom and was often oversubscribed.
The new No1 Lounge will take over the former Clubrooms lounge which we reviewed in 2019 just after it opened. This is smaller, with capacity for 70 people, and has remained dormant since it closed.
What do we know about the timetable?
We now know, subject to last minute delays, how the construction timetable is going to work.
The new No1 Lounge at Luton Airport will open on 15th December
Bookings are now available via this page of the No1 Lounge website for cash, from £34.
The Aspire lounge will close on 14th December
It is going to be a straight swap. From 15th December you will not be able to access the Aspire lounge and you will be sent to the new No1 Lounge instead.
This means that the lounge situation at Luton Airport is going to be very crowded for the first six months of next year. Only the 70-seat No1 Lounge will be open with about half the capacity of the existing Aspire lounge.
The new MyLounge will open on 30th June 2024
Anyone who has ever experienced an airport lounge construction project will take this deadline with a pinch of salt. However, as the core facilities (kitchen etc) are already in place, I have a little more confidence than usual that No1 can pull it off.
You can never underestimate the difficulties in building inside an airport, however, where every hammer, knife etc has to be signed in and out each day and where all of the contractors and all of the building materials need to be screened.
We will see if we can get a look at the new No1 Lounge before it opens to the public.
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.
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.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
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.
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.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.