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British Airways closes the New York JFK Galleries First lounge

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The British Airways Galleries First lounge at New York JFK has closed for refurbishment.

There is no fixed date for reopening apart from a vague ‘summer 2018’.  The work is part of BA’s major project to fully refurbish JFK’s Terminal 7.

The Concorde Room remains open for ticketed First Class passengers.  British Airways Gold card holders and oneworld equivalents who would normally use Galleries First will be redirected to Galleries Club.

You can learn more about the work taking place at JFK on this special page of  The two images above show how it will look by the end of the year.

British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

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

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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 (59)

  • Sam G says:

    Have had two great deals from Luxury Travel Diary in the past (not dirt cheap but ~50% off so still v good) but am finding the latest auctions to end up being pretty expensive – definitely check the pricing elsewhere – particularly in Asia the RRP is often beaten by other public deals available

  • Alex W says:

    I’ve just dropped to Accor gold, too.

  • john says:

    My Accor also dropped to Gold.

    Aside from the (basic) welcome drink, I never found any significant advantage from Platinum, never had a room upgrade even when hotels were sparsely occupied, brand-specific benefits were often not offered or were unavailable when I asked.

    Undoubtedly varies with which hotels one stays at, but it’s not going to be a big change for me!

    • Alex W says:


      • shd says:

        Accor Platinum once got me lounge access at the Sofitel T5 (booked via!) but apart from that, it’s been almost as useless as IHG Spire….

  • hypascend says:

    Not sure if this has been mentioned but for anyone wanting an easier route to get Accor Platinum back: If you are Accor Gold and can get 5 stays or 10 nights with Fairmont to reach Premier, you will get Accor Platinum till Dec 2019.

  • N says:

    OT – Would love some HfP input into my upcoming hols to South Africa;

    Flying in and out of JNB (first First – 2-4-1),
    2 nights in Kruger (via a Luxury Travel Diary auction),
    7 nights in Cape Town (Marriott Rewards cert),
    1 night in Franschoek (Marriott Rewards redemption),
    1 night in George (Marriott Rewards redemption),
    2 nights at the Conrad Pezula (cash booking via a BRG claim),
    1 night at Port Elizabeth (Marriott Rewards redemption),
    before flying to JNB for one night (Marriott Rewards redemption) before London.

    Definitely a holiday sponsored by Marriott Rewards points!

    What to do/see/experience/eat in any of these places?

    • Gomigo says:

      JNB- we did Pilansburg so couldn’t comment on Kruger. If you have spare time in JNB, then Soweto is a must visit. What a cultural celebration that place is !! Of course, good to be accompanied by a local.
      CPT- 1 day to Robben Island ( you need to prebook in advance to avoid disappointment), 1/2 day at Table Mountain ( weather dependent ), 1 boulders beach ( penguin capital of Indian Ocean) and rest of days for wine tour, water front (My fav hangout) and some stunning beaches all over.
      PLZ – we did Mandela bay (suburb) , SANCCOB Penguin rescue centre ( you will love it and it’s very close to heart if you are maritime & animal lover ) and whale watching at Algoa bay ( season dependent ).
      We drove through Garden route from PLZ to CPT, it’s about 1000kms journey connecting Indian Ocean to Atlantic Ocean via scenic landscape ( I would rate it as best drive in SA )
      We also did Victoria Falls, Zambia & Zimbabwe as part of this itinerary but yours look like very planned & pre-booked so looks fine. You will enjoy It!! Cape Town was my personal favourite of all 100 + cities & 55 countries that I visited.
      Ps: Interest level vary from person to person so you may do your research on places before you plan.

      • Kinkell says:

        CPT: go to The Heart of The Cape Museum at Groot Schur (?)hospital where the first heart transplant took place with Christian Barnard. Absolutely fascinating. Highlight of our Cape Town visit. Also enjoyed Kirstenbosch botanical gardens. I,too, loved CPT.. Hire a car and drive down to Cape.
        Have a lovely tme

    • Paul says:

      When in Franschhoek you’re a bit spoiled for choice, but Bread and Wine for lunch, simply fantastic, both location, quality and value. Probably worth booking, but we’ve been lucky just turning up in the past. Michelin star quality for about £35 a head for 3 courses and drinks.

      • Ishan says:

        I second this. Franschhoek is one of my favourite places and Bread & Wine is a stand out place.

  • mark2 says:

    The One4All cards sold by the Post Office (sometimes Amex statement credit) can no longer be used at Amazon. But they can be used at John Lewis to buy gift cards which can then be used at Waitrose.
    There are also various gift card purchase schemes run by SVM which are available from employers etc. and a worth a look.

    • Craig Strickland says:

      They can also be used at M&S including food, 6 vouchers gave us £60 of Xmas treats although it was a pain having to do 6 transactions.

      • Genghis says:

        I bought a M&S gift card in store with the One4all cards we had and then used that online.

        • Lawro says:

          Did you use multiple One4all GC’s to purchase?

          Problem with the M&S website is that it treats the One4all GC’s as a Visa card as opposed to a giftcard meaning you can only use one per transaction. Been meaning to call M&S and put an order through over the phone but an M&S giftcard instore might be another way round it.

        • Genghis says:

          Yes, I used 4 One4all cards each of £10 to buy one £40 gift card. The cashier couldn’t do it at first but a manager then could.

        • Tom Cook says:

          I’ve had issues using mine in M7S which has resulted in complaining emails to One For All. They blame M&S, M&S blame them!

      • ankomonkey says:

        We did the same.

        • Lawro says:

          Thanks both – assuming you also only had the PO offer on 4 cards 🙂

          Will have a go.

  • Lostantipod says:

    My Accor level also dropped to Gold this week after many undeserved years as Platinum. Having said that, unlike above post, I was regularly upgraded , enjoying lounge access including both breakfasts and evening canapés, free in-room mini bar in some cases, free welcome drinks, and sometimes the choice of extra points or an in-room amenity, and up to a 5pm checkout, across European and Australasian destinations. So this Platinum membership that I held often swung my buying decision in favour of an Accor Property. Today I checked out of a Sofitel and had the gold experience, compared to Platinum just 10 days earlier in the same property – no upgrade, no lounge access, 3pm late checkout instead of 5pm.

  • Brian says:

    OT – not sure if it’s been mentioned elsewhere on here. IHG has just started a flash sale for UK, Ireland and Germany. Can already be booked on the app. Savings are on a par with the Mastercard discount – slightly more, but offset by breakfast being included. And since Mastercard bookings can’t be done on the app, this is perfect for meeting the app bookings target some may have for Accelerate.

    • Scott says:

      I’m seeing the exact same price for the two hotels I’m looking at, whether using the app for the sale rate, or a browser not logged in to my IHG account. Usual fake sale nonsense, or just unlucky with the hotels I’m interested in?

      • Andrew McLintock says:

        Rates appear pretty rubbish to me!

        • Brian says:

          The price you see at first on the app is NOT the sale price! Odd, but that’s what I’ve found. So it looks rubbish, but it gets better if you actually click through to see the various rates available.

      • Scott says:

        Brian’s comment below is correct – cheaper rates once you click through to select a room. Great IT!

    • Gavin says:

      Thanks Brian – I need 2 stays over Easter, and the sale price is a bit cheaper than before AND includes breakfast. This should allow me to achieve 3 of my accelerate targets for 9300 points, which isn’t bad off a £77 spend. The other targets are not possible so a decent return for once.

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