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.
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.
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 (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.)