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Do you get BA lounge access flying BA codeshares on Vueling, Aer Lingus, Flybe or airBaltic?

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British Airways lounge access policies are, on the face of it, straightforward.  You get access if you are flying in Business or First Class or have a Silver or Gold card or equivalent oneworld status.

The devil is in the detail.  Can you get lounge access in Edinburgh if flying economy to connect to a Club World flight?  Does it make a difference if the Club World flight is tomorrow and not the same day?  Do you get lounge access at Heathrow on the way to Edinburgh in economy if you just came off a Club World long haul?  How about if you came off a Finnair Business Class short haul?

(I’m not going to answer these questions, but I might do a separate article!)

Today I wanted to look at whether you are allowed access to British Airways lounges if you are flying on a BA non-oneworld partner?  This means an airline with whom BA has a codeshare relationship, such as – from the UK – Vueling, Flybe, Aer Lingus or airBaltic.

This is a situation which comes up frequently now that British Airways has moved to Gatwick South because Vueling, Flybe, Aer Lingus and airBaltic also use that terminal and BA has its impressive lounge complex (click for our review) which is well worth a visit.  If you are flying Vueling from Heathrow, you will be in Terminal 3 which also means that there is potential to use the British Airways lounge.

Imagine ….

you book an economy flight on ba.com

…. with a British Airways flight number …..

…. but which in the small print says ‘operated by Vueling / airBaltic / Aer Lingus’

…… should you get lounge access, assuming you are departing from an airport where BA has a lounge?

Logically, you would think you should.

 Air Baltic

In practice, it is even more complicated.  For reasons no-one really knows, these are the rules.  Even some lounge agents don’t understand them.

A BA Silver card holder does NOT get BA lounge access when flying Vueling, airBaltic, Flybe or Aer Lingus, even when the flight has a BA flight number and was ticketed by British Airways

A BA Gold card holder DOES get BA lounge access (but no guests) when flying Vueling, airBaltic, Flybe or Aer Lingus, when the flight has a BA flight number and was ticketed by British Airways.  (EDIT: an unverified comment below suggests that you can now get a guest in following a recent change)

A BA Gold does NOT get BA lounge access when flying Vueling, airBaltic, Flybe or Aer Lingus if the flight does not have a BA flight number or was not ticketed by British Airways

A BA Gold does NOT get lounge access when flying Vueling, airBaltic, Flybe or Aer Lingus if the lounge is not directly operated by British Airways, which is likely to be the case when flying to the UK or from many UK regional airports, irrespective of whether you are on a BA flight number or whether BA issued your ticket

Bottom line – forget lounge access on a BA codeshare if you are not a British Airways Gold card holder.  If you are a BA Gold, be careful where you book your ticket and whether a BA flight number (eg BA1234) is shown on your booking.

Aer Lingus 350

Flying Aer Lingus from Heathrow Terminal 2

There is an extra quirk to this if you are flying Aer Lingus from Heathrow.  As Aer Lingus is based in Terminal 2, there is not a British Airways lounge you can use.

Aer Lingus DOES have a very pleasant lounge of its own, however, as I reviewed here.

The rule here is that British Airways Silver or Gold cardholders can use the Aer Lingus lounge at Heathrow when flying to Ireland or, if flying to London Heathrow or Gatwick, a lounge in Ireland.  Your ticket does NOT need to be issued by BA and it does NOT need to be a BA codeshare.  If you have BA status, even a super-cheap ticket booked on aerlingus.com will do the job.

This does NOT include the Belfast route, since that is Northern Ireland and not Ireland.  Only a Gold card holder on a BA codeshare can enter the lounge on this route.

Inbound, this deal only applies to flights to London.  If you fly from Dublin to, say, Manchester you will not get Aer Lingus lounge access in Dublin with a British Airways Gold or Silver card.

Yes …. complicated, I know!


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 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:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 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 – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

We also 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

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 (94)

  • Andrew says:

    OT (no bits): Does anyone know how to see the booking class a BA holidays booking would go into it? I want to be able to upgrade using Avios so keen to avoid the cheapest buckets. Thanks in advance!

    • Stu N says:

      The newest version of the Holidays site doesn’t show this – you’ll probably need to phone up to do this. If the upgrade you want is currently available it probably makes sense to phone to book and upgrade in a single transaction anyway.

  • AliD says:

    OT: Lloyds Avios card – my current MC and Amex both have expiry dates in Jan 2019. I have just received a new card from Lloyds – weirdly only the Amex card, with an expiry date in 2022. I’m not sure if this means anything; I am yet to receive any correspondence from Lloyds to inform me of the imminent closure of the card.
    Has anyone else received just a new Amex card?

    • Alan says:

      Unfortunately the expiry dates don’t have any implication. Weird they only sent you an Amex though!

      • David says:

        I got a new Amex in Oct 2018 with a Sep 2019 expiry date. As far as I can tell, it’s all random…

    • Jonathan says:

      I got the paperwork yesterday saying my Lloyds Duo cards are cancelling in 2 months time so i guess it’s early March the new mastercard only replacement will be valid from.

      • David says:

        Are you midway through your voucher year? Have you earned a voucher already this year? Is the annual fee being refunded (either in full or pro-rata)?

    • Graham Walsh says:

      I just got charged my new annual fee too

  • Chris says:

    OT – So, did anyone else redeem nectar points in December for the 50% rebate – and has anyone else not had them?
    https://headforpoints.com/2018/12/11/voco-dubai-hotel/comment-page-2/

    • Froggee says:

      I redeemed and bonus is showing as being posted the same day as points were deducted.

      • Chris says:

        Hmmmmmm..

        Chase time then – thanks

        • Big Ernie McCracken says:

          Would like to hear how you get on. I have not had the 50% reimbursed either.

        • Froggee says:

          Oops – sorry, I’m talking guff. I redeemed 29 November for the Ebay rebate. The rebate is dated 29 November but when I click on it, it is shown as posting 29 December. Give it a month?

    • Mikeact says:

      Nectar…I didn’t think reference to that rubbish was allowed on here ?

      • Genghis says:

        I’m sure many HfP readers also collect Nectar points given there’s some occasional good collection offers. Indeed, no outsize redemptions

        • Alan says:

          Yes the best decent offers I’ve seen recently have been LNER and the summer Pizza Express one. Quite a generous Amex sign-up bonus at times though (esp when combined with 18k Amex Plat referral) and can spend points on fuel so isn’t all bad.

  • Jovanna says:

    OT: How do I search for a flight using Avios on a partner airline?

    I searched for London to Hong Kong on ba.com for 18 April in business. Nothing available in business. I then searched for London to Singapore on the same date. ba.com returned LHR-HKG on Cathay then another flight HKG-SIN with Cathay in business.

    Why didn’t I see the LHR-HKG Cathay flight when initially searching? Where do I need to look to see these?

    • Stu N says:

      Google “married segments”. Cathay and American use them on redemptions, maybe others too. Basically CX availability is based on the start and end points of the journey, rather than individual legs. You might be able to see XXX-ZZZ via YYY but that doesn’t mean that XXX-YYY and YYY-ZZZ will be available to book standalone. The Qantas site is AFAIK the best OneWorld site for finding partner redemptions.

  • Octopus says:

    OT: How many points would those lucky enough to have booked a Cathay Pacific error fare in First/Business class collect for eg. Hanoi to NYC?!

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jan/02/cathay-pacific-blunder-offers-huge-discounts-on-first-class-tickets

  • Anna says:

    OT – I’ve just read that Gatwick Airport has been sold to a French company; presumably they won’t been too keen for travel to be disrupted by Brexit?!

    • Mark2 says:

      would they have bought it if they thought that the disruption was likely?

      • Lady London says:

        Interesting. Vinci owns lots of motorways in France, I think Italy? and also car parks.
        I’m not sure if this is good or bad.
        What was wrong with having whoever’s been running LGW up to now, carrying on?

  • Stephen Payne says:

    Virgin is even worse. If you fly Virgin International Upper Class and have a connecting flight on First Class for a Virgin Code share (effectively Delta), you get access to the Delta Lounge for the internal flight if the flight is on the same day. BUT if fly to JFK on a late flight and then take the day flight from JFK the morning after you don’t get access to the lounge. Ironically, passengers doing this are helloing Virgin, as the morning flight is not the most popular flight from JFK. If the policy said within 24 hours instead of the same day, that would be fair. Virgin say, don’t blame us, blame Delta – but Delta own almost half of Virgin!

    • Stu N says:

      The BA/ OneWorld rule is “same day” as well, so no different really.

      If you have an Amex Platinum you can get into Delta’s own lounges when flying Delta in any class.

      • Alan says:

        Although remember no guest with DL lounges (and they’re very strict about this).

  • Wally1976 says:

    OT – I’m trying to access the page to renew hotel status through Amex Platinum and keep getting an error page. I’ve tried two different browsers – Chrome and Edge – any ideas?

    • DaveL says:

      +1

      • Liz says:

        I’ve had it all afternoon too – it’s the only page not working. Tried IE, Chrome and Safari

        • The Original Nick says:

          Benefits link has been down for a few days. Ask on chat and they’ll give you another link for it direct.

    • Liz says:

      I had to phone HH about some missing pts today and asked what my expiry date was – told it’s 3/2019 despite applying for the status at the beg of Nov. So they haven’t extended it to 2020 as I hoped – called back again and was told as long as I keep the Plat card I will continue to get Gold beyond 1/4 – but I want to cancel Plat now – will check status again on 1/4 but we will be getting another Plat next year so will apply again.

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