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New luxury lounge planned for Newcastle Airport

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It looks like a lot of regional airports in the UK are seeing value in adding high-end lounge offerings.

I was recently in the Lomond Lounge at Glasgow Airport (review here) which has also just opened and offers, to my view, a genuinely premium experience – albeit for £40.

Newcastle Airport is the latest to announce a new premium lounge, and is hoping to have it open and running by Summer 2020. Our experience with lounges, however, is that they are almost always delayed ….

The new lounge is being designed for 100 guests – so it will not be huge – and will compete with the existing British Airways lounge reviewed here  and the existing pay-to-use Aspire and Aspire Plus lounges (review).

To quote Nick Jones, chief executive at Newcastle International Airport:

“Airport lounges are becoming increasingly popular, and with the introduction of this new premium lounge in summer 2020, this will ensure we are satisfying customer demand.

“We are working closely with the designers to create a high-quality facility that responds to a range of customer requirements.”

It does look very classy (see artists impression above) with a warm brown-grey finish with wood and brass accents, as well as excellent views.  We will be up there to try it out next Summer.

Newcastle new luxury lounge

Getting airport lounge access via a UK credit card

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

The Platinum Card from American Express

Two free Priority Pass cards (one for you, one for your supplementary Platinum cardholder, each admitting two – so a family of four gets in free) giving access to every lounge in the Priority Pass network – search it here.  You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

You get a Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club network lounge – see the list here.  The list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list, but not by much.  Additional visits are charged at £20 per person.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  No annual fee in Year 1.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

You get a free LoungeKey card allowing you access to any property in the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although regular travellers will find it cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card (adults only, of course).  The card has an annual fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

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  1. OT I’ve got £200 off Emirates first class or business class when spending £1800 on my rewards credit card

    • Harry T says:

      I’ve had this on my Platinum for a little while. Only card it’s appeared on.

  2. RussellH says:

    No 250 avios for spending £5, but I have just got £20 off £80 at Eurostar, which could be quite useful!

    • Same here, no 5 pounds but the Eurostar offer will come in handy!

      • In the same position here too. I only have the Eurostar offer so will try to use it to go to Amsterdam next year. Ironically a one-way standard premier ticket I was looking at is £79, so I’ll have to see how I can trigger the £80 spend for the Amex offer.

    • aDifferentSimon says:

      rats, I have a eurostar payment from yesterday in pending… I take it if I add the offer now that’s too late!?

      • I got away with adding it after buying with a Ted Baker purchase last year. Worth a shot.

  3. Bits…

    Just saw this on the BBC website concerning the recent seat hogging elderly couple :-

    “Yet her predicament reveals the hollow promise of advance train reservations: they are enshrined in law, and the rail industry says they are the only way to guarantee a seat.

    But in practice train companies say that, when faced with peaceful protest from those unwilling to move, they often cannot enforce them.

    Even the British Transport Police says it would only deploy officers to a reservation row “appropriately and proportionally” after a call from train staff.”

    Think the airlines would allow me to have a “peaceful protest” by sitting in someone elses seat?

    • Not if you were on United.

    • Problem is PIC can off-load you, very easily.

    • Don’t know Andrew, I’m seeing more vigorous behavior from those who self upgrade. A few months ago I was flying back on Iberia short haul in j (only passenger) and someone came up from the back to use the loo and sat down in a j seat. Given j was empty apart from myself he was swiftly spotted and told by the FA to return to his seat. As he went passed my seat he deliberately banged into me. No apology. A short time after someone else tried to come through the curtain and again stopped by the FA. Customer then started reeling off why it wasn’t fair I had the whole cabin to myself. The mushroom ravioli was very nice by the way Iberia!

      • Flying to LAX in CW a couple of years ago, a couple tried to self upgrade. Cabin crew didn’t notice. The cabin was half empty and J passengers had moved around. This couple moved into CW about 3.5 hours into the flight after the meal service had finished and the lights had been dimmed. Given the timing, I’m guessing they had done this before.

  4. JeffStrongman says:

    OT – reaching out to those HFPers who have a good Australia points collecting knowledge. Is there a set order to apply for Amex credit card in Australia to max bonus offers? Just arrived long term and would like to retain my Avios points earning. Also have virgin flying club which I think I can use in conjunction with virgin velocity earnings CC. And would opening a Qantas points CC work in conjunction with my Avios? Main use of points will be to explore Asia from Australia base with some inter Oz flights and NZ options. Unlikely to use points back to UK but may look at upgrades. Anxious not to make a rookie error in card order application!!

  5. OT. Does anyone fly AA first regularly enough to offer some advice on meals? I’m flying PHL – LAX next week and have read a whole bunch of negative stuff on food options provided. Is one of the special meals options particularly good? Many thanks.

    • Spaghetti Town says:

      i’ve heard they’re pants. I think if you’d been flying from JFK you’d of been able to get first class dining on the ground

    • Rooster says:

      First domestic is like club Europe, the other week there was the option of chicken salad or chicken wrap, the salad was actually quite big. Still it’s better than the offering on Delta first which is just the same crisps/sweets going round continuously.

    • Rooster says:

      Also no lounge access if you haven’t had a international connection! Makes CE look good!

  6. OT Plat business card
    Card arrived today, PP card too. Do I have to sign up for Insurance benefits, I am sure I didn’t see any box to tick on the application page. Same as no box for pin No.


  7. OT Cathay Pacific Business Redemption
    Looking to redeem AS miles for Cathay Pacific Business from Europe to HKG. Available routes are DUB, BRU, AMS in A350 and FRA in 777.
    If I pick FRA for the CX lounge experience, I miss out on the A350 J experience. Are any of those A350 locations preferred over others or should I just go with FRA ?

    • CX lounge cannot justify the premium departure tax ex-FRA (maybe for CDG)
      Essentially same product on 350 and 77W, but better IFE and cabin pressure/moisture on 350 should swing it
      personally I would choose whichever that is easiest for positioning (DUB/AMS)

      • Neil Donoghue says:

        Agreed! Service is fantastic regardless – I usually pick Dublin and position using avios

      • Don’t think Cathay is flying out of DUB anymore. £70ish fees for a J redemption was great value.

      • +1, would be crazy to fly a 777 when you could fly an a350. Who cares about the lounge, most are overcrowded unpleasant places these days.

  8. OT: how soon before a BA flight do all seats open up (including paid exit row seats)?

    • roberto says:

      Its not that easy..
      If you have no status its 24 hours on short and long haul flights except the exit seats on Long haul are often not available as are the bassinets.
      If you have Bronze its 7 days before but not exit LH or Bassinets
      If you have silver you can nab a seat at booking but not exit LH or bassinets
      If you have gold you can choose your seat at booking in exit and row 1 on SH plus other select seats like 64K ina 747
      If youre in First you can choose your seat from booking.
      If you have a economy seat + bag ( ie not HBO ) very often you can choose your seat at T-48 hours but again not exit on LH or bassinets
      If you are HBO often you cant choose your seat at all and will get stuck in the middle at the back

      Harry’s top tip was always nab a seat ( the best you can get ) – DONT print you boarding pass and then try to change it at the airport if you want to… NB even the day before as the machines at the airport often allow you to take seats that are blocked online and the app.

      • Thanks. Very comprehensive answer.

        I take it, being silver, I won’t ever be able to select LH exit row (for free) until the self-check in machine?

      • The 24h is not 24h before the flight but 24h before the first flight on your reservation. eg if you fly from HEL-LHR-ATL then you can choose your seat LHR-ATL 24h before the HEL departure, not 24h before the LHR-ATL like passengers starting in london would have.

      • Genghis says:

        Business seats (incl 64K) are not restricted to Golds. 1A and 1K in F are, however.

  9. OT – can someone remind me what time I have to set my alarm for to book reward seats?. is it midnight now it’s winter ?? thanks.

  10. OT: BA email offering 30K Avios for taking out the Amex BAPP. Can this be combined with friend referral so they earn 9K as well?

    • I looked and don’t think it possible as the friend referral needs you going through a specific link of the friend

      • Depends if Pierre receied a targeted promotion or if it is a new open to all offer. N if the former, yes if the latter.

  11. O/T: 35% hotel points to BAEC avios transfer bonus through 2 December. Includes Marriott.

    • Includes Best Western!

      • Significance of that please? Conversion rate is 5:1 and they are US$10/1000 to purchase so nothing good by default. Been through the current promotions and cannot see any opportunities there unless I’m missing something.

        • You’re not missing anything – except that Best Western is never part of these promotions, but for some odd reason they have turned up this time (with Hilton dropped).

    • Genghis says:

      Shame the Marriott travel package isn’t as good as it once was.

      • If the £ wasn’t so dismal I would have considered buying Marriott points under the recent promo to do an LH TP. Unfortunately LH closed that avenue themselves earlier this year…never rains but it pours. However, if the £ does go back up it could get to the point buying Alaska miles with bonus could work for ne.

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