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Review: the British Airways arrivals lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 5

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This is my review of the British Airways arrivals lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5.

This is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK.  You see all of the reviews here.

It had been a long time since I visited the BA arrivals lounge – certainly longer than the four years I have been running this site.  When we travel as a family we usually just want to get home as quickly as possible, and in any event flights from the Middle East arrive after the 2pm closing time.  At the same time, my solo flights over the last few years have generally been on airlines other than BA as I try to test out the competition.

My visit 13 days ago was a rare one.  I won’t be forgetting it in a hurry, since I landed in Heathrow to the fall-out from the EU referendum and the first thing I saw when I entered the lounge was David Cameron resigning.

Let’s jump back a bit.   The British Airways arrivals lounge is situated landside in Terminal 5.  Once you pass through customs and emerge into the main terminal area, you need to head to your left, past the massed ranks of waiting Addison Lee drivers, and take the lift or escalator up to the first floor.

The entrance rules for the British Airways arrivals lounge are slightly different to the airside Galleries lounges.  This is how I believe it works:

BA Gold Guest List – you’re in, if you arrived on a long-haul flight on any airline in any class.  Bring a guest.

BA Gold – you’re in, if you arrived on a long-haul BA flight in any class.  No guest.

Iberia or AA top tier member – you’re in, if you arrived on a flight which is part of the AA / IB / BA joint venture agreement (ie anything across the Atlantic) in any class

Any other oneworld Emerald card – no access

BA Silver or oneworld equivalent – no access

BA Bronze or oneworld equivalent – no access

Arriving in First Class or Club World – you’re in, but you can’t bring a guest

If you arrive into Terminal 3, you may – when it reopens after refurbishment – also use the American Airlines arrivals lounge which has its own complex set of access rules.

The British Airways Terminal 5 arrivals lounge

As you enter, the spa area is off to your left and the casual seating area (where I went, to watch Brexit on the TV) is to your right.  Directly in front of you is the main dining area:

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

…. which has a look you will be familiar with from the British Airways departure lounges:

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

It isn’t fine dining but, for breakfast, it does the job.  Note that food is only available until 12.30 even though the lounge remains open until 2pm:

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

If you are arriving in First Class, there is a special First Class dining room.  You still need to carry your food from the main buffet which makes it pretty pointless to be honest.  I don’t know if there are any special ‘to order’ items because I was outside watching the TV.

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

Here is the seating area off to the right:

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

and

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

Here is the entrance to the spa area which includes showers:

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

I am guessing this is somewhere where you can do your nails ‘n’ stuff …. looked a bit confusing to me 🙂

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

Opposite the spa entrance is a decent size business centre:

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

All in all, the British Airways arrivals lounge in Terminal 5 is a good facility.  I have always had a soft spot for it.  It wasn’t too busy when I was there and the food on offer was more than adequate.  One advantage of having it is that you can refuse breakfast on the plane in order to get some extra sleep, knowing you can eat as soon as you land.

If you’ve never been, it is worth visiting next you time you arrive in Terminal 5 in Club World or First in the morning.

If you want to find out more, there is a special page dedicated to the lounge on ba.com which you will find here.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

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There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

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

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

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You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

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.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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The Platinum Card from American Express

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Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

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You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

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There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

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American Express Business Gold

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Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (80)

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

  • Robert says:

    Just to be clear re access for GGL arriving on any airline, I assume that’s just OW?

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

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