A few years ago it was possible to use Avios to purchase vouchers to visit independent airport lounges, but British Airways pulled the offer.
I realised the other day that you CAN still redeem Avios for any of the Plaza Premium airport lounges at London Heathrow.
The deal is tucked away inside the ‘Experiences’ redemption platform here.
It’s a bit fiddly. You need to search for ‘activities’ at Heathrow, which brings up over 1,800 ways to spend your Avios on museums, shows, attractions etc in the London area. Filter the results with the word ‘lounge’ and Plaza Premium will pop up.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that it’s a terrible deal.
As with everything else on the ‘experiences’ platform, you’re getting about 0.5p per Avios. A 3-hour pass for the Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 is 7,600 Avios per person!
If you expect to be there for more than three hours, you’re looking at 12,400 Avios per person. Given that I value an Avios at 1p+ this is clearly bad value.
If you don’t have access to an airport lounge via a credit card or bank account benefit, the cheapest option is to open a Regus account (yes, Regus, the office rental company) and use it to buy DragonPass vouchers for £24 each. These get you into the same Plaza Premium lounges which require 7,600 Avios via ba.com.
The Terminal 5 lounge is pictured below. We last reviewed Plaza Premium Heathrow Terminal 5 here.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (February 2024)
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.
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.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free Priority Pass card, allowing you access to the Priority Pass 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.