New British Airways business class lounge at New York JFK airport about to open

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There is good news for anyone heading to New York next week.  The fully refurbished British Airways Galleries Club lounge is about to open.

The lounge partly opened last week.  British Airways told me yesterday that the full space should be open at the ‘end of this week or early next week’.

British Airways Galleries Club lounge New York JFK

I have been promised a full set of photographs so keep an eye out on HFP.

The Galleries Club lounge can be accessed by anyone with a Club World ticket or who has a British Airways Silver card or oneworld equivalent.

I will be in New York in June and will do a full review then.  The image below is one of the mock-ups of how the new BA facilities will look.  There is a special BA website on the changes at JFK which you can read here.

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  1. Any news on the SFO BA lounge? It’s been closed for about 4 months now.

  2. OT as bits!
    I am off to New York next week with a friend, in economy, flying LHR-EWR-LHR. I have 2 free lounge club passes from my Gold Amex to use – question is, which end to use them at, LHR on the way out or EWR on the way back?

    We fly from LHR wednesday morning at 10.50, so will be aiming to arrive about 8am ish and have breakfast at the airport.

    We fly back from EWR at 18.05 on sunday, will aim to have lunch in the city and get to the airport mid-afternoon.

    It looks like Lounge Club gets access to the Virgin Clubhouse at EWR – but with a much reduced offering. Is it worth using them there just for a look-see?

    • Flying from Terminal 5 at LHR and Terminal B at EWR, I should add.

      • Michael says:

        The virgin club house closes at 5pm to Lounge Club holders as it reverts back to a Virgin lounge ready for the evening departures. So depends what time you arrive at EWR. There’s also another lounge club eligible lounge in Terminal B but I’m not sure what it’s like.

        I have been in the aspire lounge in T5 however – while not the quality of the BA lounge, it’s solid enough to use your passes on providing it’s not too busy. Drinks will be plentiful and the food offerings aren’t too bad.

        • The other lounge club lounge at EWR is before security, which makes me nervous about leaving enough time to get through and reach the gate.

      • Michael C says:

        Kathy, I recently did this trip with BA – the Newark lounge I saw was very underwhelming. But having said that, so is the airport itself, so you wouldn’t want to be delayed there!

        On the upside, total breeze to travel to/from.

        • I recall it being a very expensive cab ride (nearly $100 six years ago), they said it was because we were going from one state into another! If I didn’t have much luggage I would try and get there on public transport if practicable.

        • We flew in and out of there a couple of years ago and found public transport an absolute breeze and (crucially) security much quicker than JFK. May have just been lucky!

    • memesweeper says:

      I’d rate the Aspire T5 as the most disappointing in Heathrow. Not the worst in the world by any means, but poor by comparison. No experience of EWR.

      • My friend has never had a lounge experience, being strictly an economy flyer despite my evangelising about miles collecting, before so won’t be making comparisons either way!
        I wouldn’t pay for either of them, but since I have the free passes we may as well use them.

    • Allycat says:

      I sampled the EWR Virgin lounge mid-afternoon Sept last year using Priority Pass access just to see what it was like and was very under-whelmed. Usual Virgin colours but no windows, very quiet, staff attentive enough but not providing the “Virgin Experience” that you might get after 5/6pm when it is only for Virgin customers. Food & drink options much reduced. Poor mobile signal. After about 40 minutes I went next door to the BA lounge (flying J on Aer Lingus) and was much more impressed. Food and drink were fine, lots of windows, a bit of a buzz. Got quite busy with Aer Lingus then BA customers coming in. The Virgin lounge would beat the general seating area where you board the plane from, but not by much. I didn’t try the pre-security lounge so can’t comment. The entrance to it seemed to be off a busy corridor parallel to the front of the terminal but before security or check-in. Would speculate no windows there either.

      • Thanks. Yes, we were unimpressed by the general seating area at EWR and if I recall correctly had trouble just finding a seat.

        T5 has much better general facilities and we’re normally quite happy paying for breakfast in one of the restaurants there. Using the Aspire lounge would save us buying breakfast, and if not too busy would get the trip off to a nice start, but we might regret it on the way back if we can’t even find a seat at EWR…..

        Decisions, decisions!

        Thanks all for your input.

        • Lady London says:

          If you really must blow them (and assuming Pl P doesn;t take these particular passes) then there is only the Aspire at T5. Which I’ll pay for either Gordon Ramsay’s, or even Pret a Manger on the ground floor, to avoid.

          Personally Kathy have you looked into other ways of getting into Pl P at T5? I think I would go that way. Then you could keep the passes in case you got stuck at EWR. But faced with the Aspire, or a lackluster experience at EWR, I might be tempted to forgo use of the passes and work out another way to get decent lounge, airport hotel bar/restaurant, or other similar access at either end.

        • My only other flights before I’ll be cancelling the gold card are in business class anyway. May as well use them!

          Think we’ve decided to go with EWR, since we’re happy enough buying brekky in T5 and remember finding it overcrowded and stressful flying back from there. We’ll have been in our feet all morning so a quiet place to sit and relax and have a drink will do us nicely.

  3. Scottydogg says:

    Just took out the Wine deal , got 20 bottles on the way , working out at 3.85 per bottle

    I dont think you get the 2 free bottle as stated in your article as is has a note to say it cant be claiming in conjunction with any other deal , and the wine case is in the deal ?
    Still good deal , plus 2 free wine glasses

  4. KBuffett says:

    OT – Can I self refer from my Amex Platinum Charge card for a business charge card and receive bonuses on both sides?

    • You won’t get a bonus on the Business card, because you have a Membership Rewards account already.

      You CAN do this in reverse, from Business to a personal card, because the new rules on personal cards only ask about other personal cards you’ve had.

      • Will Avery says:

        So with a business it probably makes sense to use the business cards on a cycle and then refer to a personal once the 24 months is up?

        With Capital on Tap, the business community is now much better served. The categorisation as a debit card element is a real winner though Curve also does this so can link to a personal VA card.

  5. OT: Is it impossible to use a BA 241 voucher on a flight originating outside of the UK, or can you call and make this happen?

    Thinking about flying back from the US after a transatlantic cruise, but the website says no.

  6. OT:
    Which visa/master card would you apply for if you qualify for all (incl HSBC Premier)?
    I dont mind miles or hotel points( I collect both) , just want the best deal all things considered.
    I can also meet spend targets.
    Currently I have hilton and free virgin.

  7. Will Avery says:

    The BA JNB news really is a case of NSS. It was very handy to have a third service to use Avios on last Nov but our flight had 50 pax according to the crew. Could argue that is a launch dip but ask yourself how people get to JNB to a 7:30 am flight when it is a hub for Southern Africa? Surely BA knew this or was it just a temporary filler? I’d love to know what goes through a route planner’s head with that one?

  8. Waddle says:

    Sorry for the very OT:
    I need to pay a friend a large amount of money and they’ve asked to use PayPal. I understand I can fund the transaction with my Amex. Does a friends and family payment on PayPal come through as a points-earning purchase? Have people had any issues with this and are there fees involved?

    • I’m pretty sure there’s a fee involved if you use a credit card to do this, it would depend on Amex’s terms and conditions.

      • Anna not sure if you have seen it but I replied to your comment re return taxes for US 2-for-1 in yesterdays bits article. Only saw it this am. Hope it helps.

    • Genghis says:

      I’ve read some horror stories about Paypal’s AML / KYC procedures. Tread carefully

    • Peter K says:

      I have paid small (£200 or under) amounts with amex on PayPal with no fee from either PayPal or amex. It went through as a purchase. This is a relatively new thing. Be aware that paypal can get funny about too much going through as friends and family as they make no money from it

  9. Optimus Prime says:

    OT though JKF related.

    We’ve just cancelled 2 reward tickets in Business class MAD-JFK. Outbound MAD-JFK on 4th May IB6251, inbound JFK-MAD on 10th May IB6250.

    Hope someone can take advantage of them.

  10. OT BA 241

    Does this work if I book my return flight from a different airport? We want to fly from London to Johannesburg but will be coming back from Mauritius. I am assuming this won’t work with the 241 but just wanted to check

  11. Nick M says:

    OT – does anybody know how IHG reward availability works? (And if there is a way to monitor any changes at a specific hotel other than manually searching each day)

    My CC night has just hit my account, and I have a hotel in mind… they didn’t have availability when I checked a few weeks ago, then they did, but now they don’t again – I have some flexibility with dates, but need to get childcare in place as soon as possible

    • Peter K says:

      The free credit card night is cancellable and goes back to your account (within the 1yr useable period). Book the hotel room you want, then if not convenient you can cancel the night and get it back straight away again to use elsewhere.

      • Nick M says:

        Thanks – I didn’t have the certificate (or sufficient points) in my account when the availability opened up frustratingly

    • They are obliged by contract with IHG to put up 5% of standard rooms, but after that it is up to the hotel. It is a game, basically, because when the hotel is under 95% occupancy they get peanuts ($25-$50) and when it is at 95% they get full rate. At times it can make sense to open up more rooms for redemption, even with the peanuts payment, because if they hit 95% then all the other redemption rooms are worth a lot more.

      Starwood had a lawsuit a few years ago with a hotel that was deliberately faking room occupancy to hit 95% and so trigger full payment on redemption nights.

      • Nick M says:

        Ok thanks – so basically, best to do a quick search each day on the dates I’m considering and hope something opens up?

        (Or book a load of refundable rooms for that date and hope they add more reward availability before the CC statement is due?!)

      • Rob – it would appear that the Credit Card free night inventory is separate from the ‘normal’ redemption inventory. There might be a link but I don’t think the CC night is a subset of the other, because I can find dates when the CC night is available yet a points redemption is not, and vice versa.
        Nick, you’ll have to keep checking. If there is another hotel nearby with CC night availability, you could book that and cancel the booking if availability appears at your preferred hotel. You can cancel and reuse before the expiry. Before your free night cert expires you can book a night post expiry, but you will forfeit the cert if you cancel.

        • Nick M says:

          Oh – I hadn’t realised this… I’ve only been searching for Reward Nights using the app – do I need to do something different to use the certificate?

        • @Nick – in the app, click on your name (top right) and under ‘available to redeem’ it should say the number of points you have but also 1 free night, click on the free night to find the validity dates for making the booking.
          If you go into ‘find a hotel’ and enter your destination and move onto the next page, under ‘rate’ you should be able to select ‘IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Car…” rather than ‘Rewards Nights”
          It’s slightly different in a desktop browser, the free night should appear above ‘account activity’ and you can click through from there.

        • Oh and sorry in my initial reply I’d not thought this through. If you were to use your free night to book the contingency room at another hotel, you’d not be able to see availability any longer at your preferred hotel using the free night cert, as it will have been consumed already. In which case it would be better to make contingency booking using points, unless you really want to use the cert on that booking. Hope this is clear!!

        • Nick M says:

          Excellent, thanks

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