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British Airways Johannesburg airport lounge closing today

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The two British Airways lounges in Johannesburg, Club and First, close today for a five month refurbishment. Re-opening is currently planned for October.

During the closure, passengers will be split between Comair’s SLOW Lounge (First Class passengers only, NOT Gold card holders) and the Aspire Lounge (Club World and Gold and Silver card holders).

The SLOW lounges have a good reputation, but I don’t know anything about the Aspire facility.  This is the lounge used by Iberia, although it is dropping its Jo’burg service.  A photo is above.

There is little information about whether the two separate lounges will remain after the refurbishment or whether a ‘Concorde Bar’ will be introduced for First Class passengers – not Gold card holders – as is seen in Dubai.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)

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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

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

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

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

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

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

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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.

Comments (129)

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

  • Bee says:

    OT – How do you use your virgin 241 and how do you see it on your account. I know I have reached the threshold and on my statements on my flying club account it says “virgin atlantic
    reward credit card- reward qualification” with 0 mileage and 0 tier points.

    I hope it is straight forward process like BA.

    Also if I book 2 premium economy tickets, does that mean we get upgrade to upper with the 241?

    • rams1981 says:

      Think you can only upgrade from economy to premium economy

    • HGT says:

      Why do so many people use this site as a lazy way to find answers that can be easily found by clicking T&C’s. Come on, this is a forum, not the flying Citizens advice bureau!

  • Murray says:

    OT – I’ve been approved for the green charge card and have the upgrade to platinum offer already – would it be OK to apply for the platinum upgrade now (about a week after applying for the green and a few days after receiving it) or would the second credit check be harmful to my credit score / more likely to get my upgrade declined?

    • Shoestring says:

      there may or may not be a credit check, there’s no particular evidence that having a credit check (or 2 in short order) for credit card approval/ taking out 2 credit cards damages your credit score significantly in any case

      usual caveat being that if you are applying for a mortgage, play it safe for 6 months

    • BJ says:

      Based on reports last week, if you upgrade now you will very likely be charged the annual fee on your next statement. I think it is better to take the £60 fee then try the upgrade.

      • Shoestring says:

        I’m waiting for £60

        • BJ says:

          Me too, might even risk giving them 2 full months of green.

          • Murray says:

            Sorry, can someone explain about the £60 fee / being charged the annual fee in the next statement? I’m not really sure what you mean but it sounds interesting, as I won’t apply for the upgrade yet if there isn’t good reason to!

          • BJ says:

            @Murray, we do not discuss this widely. If you want to upgrade green to platinum recent reports suggest you should not do this before receiving your first green statement and paid the £60 green annual fee. Even that may no longer help but it is the best advice for the moment.

          • Murray says:

            Ah okay, I understand. Being that I’ve just recieved the card in the last few days, am I right in assuming that my first statement (and £60 green card fee) wouldn’t be billed until after the new Platinum fee comes into effect in June? Not sure I want to risk having to pay the higher annual fee if so. Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it!

    • Charlieface says:

      Personal feeling is that credit reports are not sophisticated enough to show definitively that it’s two separate applications if they come from one bank. They can’t see approvals so may assume it was a secondary check for the same application

  • BJ says:

    OT: Barclays Blue Rewards monthly fee increasing to £4/month. There is a promise of more benefits to be notified later (I think we’ve all heard that one before!).

  • Shoestring says:

    Car insurance renewals. So I renewed my Tesco car insurance yesterday. Don’t be a loyal loser. My quote was £320. I reapplied online as if I were a new customer – result: £285 plus I got 3650 Avios.

    Loyal losers are getting ripped off everywhere – car insurance, breakdown insurance, gas, electricity, cable TV, broadband & phone. [Save 10% on your council tax as well.]

    I pretty much re-negotiate all of those every year, the only one I’m stuck with is water. Can’t avoid the TV licence as well, I guess.

    • Shoestring says:

      *but no problem getting Amex MR points on TV licence & water

    • Fc99 says:

      I was quoted over £1000 when I called the AA to get my insurance moved onto a new car. The same cover was £400 with admiral

      • Michael says:

        Admiral lost me last year after 3 years when they wouldn’t come down to what Hastings Direct were offering.

    • Darren Morrison says:

      We need a masterclass article from you Harry!

      • Shoestring says:

        it’s a masterclass in one sentence – never accept annual renewals without checking what else is available

        though you might need advice on 10% off council tax 🙂

        • Mzungu says:

          though you might need advice on 10% off council tax 🙂

          OK, I’ll bite – yes please!

          • Shoestring says:

            Halifax current a/c and various other – 10% off at Co-Op on the Halifax card twice a year, max £300 so £30 off – your significant other gets her/ his offer as well with a separate online a/c, sure it won’t be more than £120 off but I’ll take it 🙂

          • Shoestring says:

            * @Paypoint

    • BJ says:

      And if applying as if you were a new customer doesn’t work always the option to do alternate years with policy in OH name.

      I’m hoping that the the amex changes have driven down nectar card applications and consequently nectar themselves might boost their own regular October promotion to 2ok points this year. I hope we don’t have to wait that long though before the next big game.

      • Shoestring says:

        good old IB90K, that was fun x2

        should have enrolled the kids

    • Jonathan says:

      I would say the direction of travel is not good for switchers. Look at reduction in number of tariffs for gas/electricity suppliers, talk of compulsory switching to cheapest phone deal at renewal etc. Not to mention vaguely related issues like interchange fees. Unfortunately with more regulation the savvy pay more to bring down the prices for the lazy/less financially literate to pay less.

      You can make a moral argument that most of the pro switchers probably need the money a lot less than those currently getting ripped off but I think the regular contributors to the comments may be finding they have to invest a lot more time & effort to match the returns they’ve had over the last few years.

      • Shoestring says:

        anybody proactive/ a researcher on prices will always beat the lazy

    • LB says:

      Commercial and industrial customers can choose any water company from April last year. If you are self employed and work from home (as your office base) you can choose.

    • Qwerty Bertie says:

      Actually there is another option regarding TV licence. I’ve been getting a 100% discount my entire adult life, simply by ignoring their letters and their occasional visitors. I refuse to open any letters from them as my name is not The Householder. I refuse to acknowledge the existence of any entity sending correspondence without my name on it.

      • TV Licence Payer says:

        Well Qwerty Bertie, better say a big thank you to the rest of is who subsidise your evasion then!

      • Brian W says:

        Surprised someone reading this blog can’t afford to pay a hundred odd quid for the TV licence and then actually admits it publicly to the rest of us who can!

        • Qwerty Bertie says:

          I can afford it. It’s principle. If the law were enforceable, then even though I strongly disagree with the concept of the licence I would have to pay it.

          I find it objectionable that I should subsidise the rot generated by the BBC. More than 80% of my viewing is one obscure freeview channel, for which I pay the price of time – I am subjected to far more minutes per hour of advertising than most other viewers. The rest doesn’t include BBC.

          I believe I should be able to watch non-state telly without having to pay the state telly producer. It should be a case of pay to view, not pay whether viewing or not. How ironic you used the word subsidise. In fact, if I were to pay it, it would be me subsidising those who like the BBC content!

    • Spurs Debs says:

      You can avoid the TV licence don’t watch live TV. Why give that corrupt outfit any of your hard earned money.

      • Shoestring says:

        TV cheat/ thief. You need to pay TC licence for catch up BBC TV now, you thief.

        • BS says:

          Calm down. Whatever infringement is made by not having a tv licence, it is NOT theft. Libel could give you a far bigger penalty than not paying your TV licence.

    • Alan says:

      Had my motorbike renewal through last week. £90. A quick search of the comparison sites I saw I could get it for £70. A quick phone call to my supplier to cancel my auto-renewal and was asked why I wanted to cancel “because I can get it cheaper elsewhere”.
      “Do you want me to check if we can do anything?”
      “Might as well while I’m here”
      “OK, we can do it for £70”
      “OK, go ahead”.
      10 minutes work for a £20 saving. I’ll take that.

  • auntie says:


    To upgrade to BAPP from std blue Amex – phone or online for best chance of success?


    • GeoffGeoff says:

      I tried on the phone and they told me to do it on line.

    • Anna says:

      You can just apply as though it was a new card and they will send you the BAPP and make the changes on your account.

    • Gavin says:

      Also FYI in case anyone needs to do it, you can also downgrade by just applying for the basic BA Amex online. My account changed over after 3 days.

      • Annabelle says:

        Hi Gavin. Thanks – that’s what I need to do. Did your existing BAPP balance / annual fee refund move across to new blue card account? Or did you ensure you had zero balance before transfer?


  • Jtz says:

    Data point: plat card I got last week, made spend 2 or 3 days ago and points hit and also the full fee

    @shoestring does he Halifax account need a credit check? Oh has Halifax clarity credit card already and signed up to their current account 2 days ago and was declined.
    He just checked his credit score and it’s quite low, (gold and spg jan) (cancelled spg march)
    Fully pays everything on time.

    I was also planning on applying for virgin, as I applied for plat last week, is this probably a no no? I don’t have any major loans/mortgages coming up. How long does it take to ‘smooth out’ your credit score?

    • Shoestring says:

      just a couple of months (smoothing)

      no idea on Halifax credit check

      • Jtz says:

        Think I might chance the virgin card then!

      • Genghis says:

        IME whenever I’ve applied for a current account linked to a debit card, it has been subject to a credit check (even if no overdraft). This is because, and I know it sounds strange, a debit card is a credit product.

    • BJ says:

      Jtz, was that a green to platinum upgrade and, if so, did you upgrade before your first monthly statement for green?

      • Jtz says:

        BJ, yes upgrade, and yes upgraded before any green fee hit (tbh i didnt even know there was a fee for green!) And 2 days ish for spend bonus to hit account.

        • BJ says:

          Thanks, and sorry you missed out on getting platinum fee-free. It might be that none of us are any longer, even if we wait 1+ month and the higher fee kicks in. It will be interesting to see what people soon start to report on that.

  • Cat says:

    Hey, totally OT, sorry.
    I know Iberia CS / complaints dept isn’t supposed to be the best, but does anyone have any advice on which way to contact them in order to get a swift, helpful response? Had a pretty awful experience on board just now.

  • Brian says:

    OT but seems to be actively discussed – how often can you use the Green > Platinum strategy to get 20k MR each time?

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