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You can use Avios for Plaza Premium lounges – but shouldn’t

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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.

Plaza Premium lounge Heathrow Terminal 5

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.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

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.

You also get access to Eurostar, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points 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

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) 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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

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.

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 (12)

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

  • zapato1060 says:

    For how long did the Plaza Premium T5 remain “premium”? Looks like if it was looked after it would be. Maintenance issues include sockets hanging off exposing cabling, soiled carpet, patches in floor, wobbly tables, you name it. Shame as its a nice space with brilliant views.

    • BBbetter says:

      Probably until it was opened up to PP card holders.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      about 6 months – buy cheap, buy twice. pay peanuts get monkeys, etc etc cheap cheap cheap

  • navara says:

    Tesco giving double points
    From Monday 8 January until Sunday 25 February, Tesco Clubcard shoppers will earn double points every time they shop, fill up at Tesco petrol stations, or visit a Tesco café. To get the double points, customers only need to scan their Clubcard at the tills, or make sure the Clubcard is linked to their Tesco account if shopping online.

    • Mike Hunt says:

      Wow – thanks for letting us know.

      Perhaps someone should set up a website focussing on clubcard special offers which earn bonus points

  • TB says:

    If you buy a one off DragonPass for one visit, does that guarantee entry?

  • JR says:

    Out of interest, do virgin have fifth freedom rights to sell tickets between Turks and Montego Bay ?

    Note. Be great to have an updated article on world city freedom flights now that Covid restrictions are well and truly over

    • ADS says:

      I just looked up Skyscanner for 6th November (when the LHR-PLS flight is available) … and there are no direct flights from PLS to MBJ … so I guess that’s a no!

      I wonder if airlines could claim that redemption flights are not actually sales, and offer seats that way? But I couldn’t be bothered fighting with the awful Virgin website to find out!

    • Chris W says:

      I don’t believe Virgin sell any fifth freedom flights.

  • BILLMOTTE says:

    Hi Rob.

    I believe that you can also get a free DragonPass membership as well through the RED by Dufry membership and then purchasing lounge access passes for $28 USD.

    • cariocaseb2005 says:

      Interesting indeed, I didn’t know that about DragonPass, thx for mentioning. I recently did a status match from Marriott Bonvoy Titanium to Red by Dufry Platinum for 12m. Worked seamlessly (3 day turnaround), and I now get 10% off each airport DF purchase where Red by Dufry operates. Not bad.

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

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