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News: BA NYC lounge, play a PGA Pro-Am with Hilton, Virgin codeshare with Middle East Airlines

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News in brief:

British Airways reopens its lounge at New York JFK

British Airways has followed Virgin Atlantic and will today partially reopen its lounge facilities at New York JFK airport. The lounge have been closed for the last 16 months.

In the first stage, the Galleries Club lounge will open. The Galleries First area and the separate Concorde Room will not reopen yet.

As at Heathrow, the lounge will be using the ‘Your Menu’ digital system for food and drink orders. This allows you to bring up a menu by scanning a QR code on your table and then place your order online. Your food and drink will be delivered directly to your seat.

The Premium Zone check-in facilities are also open for passengers in First and Club World.

British Airways reopens New York JFK lounge

Play in the BMW PGA Pro-Am tournament with Hilton Honors

If you are a decent golfer – which counts me out – Hilton Honors has something very special on offer.

Here is your chance to join the European Tour Circuit. It is auctioning, for points, three places in the BMW PGA Pro-Am tournament in September.

Even better, the tournament is being played at the iconic Wentworth Golf Club on 8th September.

There are two packages up for auction. EACH package consists of three places, so you will need to have two golfing friends to join you.

All three of your team will also receive a free night at the DoubleTree Woking hotel on 8th September.

Unsurprisingly there is a handicap requirement. Men must have handicap of 18 or better & women must have a handicap of 24 or better.

There have been no bids in the few days that the offer has been live. The minimum opening bid is just 60,000 Hilton Honors points which, given that I’d value those at £200, is laughable. You can find out more, and bid, here. The auction ends on 13th August.

Middle East Airlines Virgin Atlantic codeshare deal Beirut

Virgin Atlantic launches codeshare with Middle East Airlines

Virgin Atlantic has announced a new codeshare arrangement with Middle East Airlines. This will see a VS flight number placed on MEA’s flights from Heathrow Terminal 3 to Beirut.

The strategy is to allow Virgin Atlantic to sell ‘one ticket’ flights from the United States to Beirut, and vice versa, with Virgin Atlantic flight numbers. With both airlines using Terminal 3 at Heathrow it should be a seamless transfer process.

MEA flights with a VS flight number should qualify for Virgin Flying Club tier points and Virgin Points. However, this will only be possible as part of a connection to a US-bound Virgin Atlantic service.

It isn’t yet clear if the new arrangement with include the ability to redeem Virgin Points on Middle East Airlines. The airline is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, alongside Virgin’s partners Delta, KLM and Air France. It also isn’t clear if MEA premium passengers who are not travelling on a codeshare ticket will have access to the Heathrow Clubhouse lounge. I would lean towards ‘no’ in both cases but we need to wait and see.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (March 2023)

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

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin 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 comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

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

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (20)

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

  • TripRep says:

    It mentions that you can’t resell, but can you gift it and treat someone?

    • TripRep says:

      Apologies too early on a Sunday, I’m referring to the BMW PGA Pro-Am Hilton offer

      • Matthew says:

        Not normally, although buying for a family member is usually allowed but you will need to get permission first or risk it being forfeited.

  • rowpott says:

    Do you know whether the Belfast Aspire lounge is open for BA passengers? The oneworld site just says that the BA lounge there is shut?

  • JohnT says:

    At the Double tree Woking now. Even number rooms face the road so can be noisy as sound proofing not that good. Fully booked last night so didn’t get any Gold upgrade (despite being told I would get one yesterday morning – they had emailed me to ask me to confirm my room type request). £15 overnight parking. Rooms ok but lacking USB points, plug only one side of bed. Will update on breakfast later..

    • Andrew says:

      Plugs on one side of the bed, or only accessible by dragging out bedside furniture is a top annoyance in hotels. For US and EU trips, I always carry a home-made 1 metre extension cord. I knocked them up a few years back from US and EU “kettle” leads wired to a 2 socket UK masterplug.

    • JohnT says:

      Breakfast reasonably ok – self serve buffet, tea pot (on request!). Yes true, perhaps not quite “Wentworth”.

    • Tariq says:

      I found breakfast to be a bit of a zoo when I was there in June. For future reference, overnight parking is cheaper and more plentiful in the public multi-storey car park next door (I think I paid about £5.50, sorry…!)

  • JDB says:

    The combination of Wentworth and the Doubletree Woking seems quite incongruous. My wife played in a BMW golf tournament in France, where the hotel sponsor was Barrière Hotels, which are 4/5*. BMW showered the first round winners with golfing gifts – bags, umbrellas, boxes of balls + trophy and for the final they put everyone up in the Barrière hotel at La Baule for two nights with all food including a gala dinner. Hilton seem to be a bit mean in comparison although they don’t have a lot of good options nearby.

  • Andrew says:

    Some great offers in London at the moment.

    I’m at Exel for an event on the 28th/29th September, there’s not much in it between travelling in daily by train (£70 daily), or taking the coach in on the Monday night (£18 period return) and staying in the Forum in Kensington (£72 a night).

    I could probably do a bit better than the Forum though with current Amex offers. Any suggestions for a point earning deal that maximises current Amex offers for a net £150ish?

    I don’t need to stay in Docklands, it’s the 7am trains into Marylebone or Paddington that I’m trying to avoid.

    • Rob says:

      The Forum is a dump. Whatever you can find for the same money is almost certainly going to be better. Obviously decent location next to Gloucester Road tube but that’s about all it has going for it.

      It has been slated for demolition for years so all investment stopped, but the council and/or Mayor kept rejecting the plans. The latest scheme is now officially dead so I suspect the hotel will drag on, with no investment, for another 5 years whilst new plans are drawn up.

    • Tariq says:

      For the week before yours, I booked two nights at Hilton Canary Wharf for just over £200 which was the best price I could find in the area. Should get decent value out of that as a Diamond.

      • Lord Doncaster says:

        Hilton Canary Wharf is ok but staff go in and out of the place like a revolving door and the lounge continuously declined its offering even before Covid. Golds are usually upgraded to an Exec room.

    • ianM says:

      Many of the AMEX offers expire in August, Lincoln Plaza is a much nicer hotel than canary Wharf

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        Lincoln Plaza (curio collection) is currently closed. I think it opens in November. It has never reopened since it closed for COVID last March. I like the hotel so I hope it does end up reopening.

    • Lady London says:

      Doubletree Greenwich if you like Hilton?

      • Yvo says:

        Surely we all like Hilton 😉 I’m currently in the London Conrad on cash and points and highly recommend as Diamond.

  • Chris M says:

    Just booked Saturday hospitality at Wentworth. At 60k points for 2 tickets this is a steal even if you buy them at 0.5p during promos.

    Anyone gone previous years any good?

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