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News: British Airways now has a Newcastle lounge, Branson raises more money for Virgin Group

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News in brief:

British Airways flyers now have a lounge at Newcastle

The British Airways lounge at Newcastle Airport was a casualty of coronavirus. The lounge was closed permanently and has already been ripped out.

The good news is that the Aspire Lounge at Newcastle reopens today. It will open at 4am, seven days per week, with closing times varying depending on the flight schedule.

The even better news is that, according to the ‘Lounge Finder’ tool on the oneworld alliance website, eligible British Airways customers will have access.

Here is our last review, from 2017, of the Aspire and Aspire Plus lounges at Newcastle Airport. The premium Aspire Plus lounge will not be reopening at this time.

British Airways flyers now have a lounge at Newcastle

Sir Richard Branson raises another $300 million

Sir Richard Branson sold another slug of shares in Virgin Galactic last week, raising $300 million. Bloomberg has the story here.

The reason given for the sale was to “support its portfolio of global leisure, holiday and travel businesses that continue to be affected by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Part of the money may end up with Virgin Atlantic – although Virgin Atlantic is reportedly planning an IPO – but there are also likely to be funding issues at the nascent Virgin Voyages cruise business. Virgin Active is also reportedly in difficulties.

Virgin Group remains the biggest shareholder in Virgin Galactic with 18%. Branson went into space on the last Virgin Galactic test flight, and it is reported to be ready to reopen bookings for paying customers. Whilst down over 50% from its peak in February, Virgin Galactic is still valued at over $6.5 billion which puts the remaining Virgin Group stake at $1.1 billion.

HFP Virgin Atlantic Rewards credit card

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 2021)

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, one has a bonus of 15,000 Points):

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

Until 2nd November 2021, there is a special offer on The Platinum Card from American Express.

You will receive a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points which converts into 60,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee 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 (10)

  • riku says:

    The lounge was closed permanently has already been ripped out

    missing an “and” or “that” somewhere in the sentence.

  • Hbommie says:

    Aspire Plus was also used by Emirates business, flights are being sold from November.

  • Nicky says:

    Thank goodness for that. I did think it was out of order that we could go from a full lounge to nothing. I am not a lover of the Aspire Lounge at Newcastle but it is better than nothing.

  • Paul A says:

    Looking at the Executive Lounges website, Edinburgh Airport’s Aspire Lounge, the ‘new’ one, will be finally reopening on Friday the 20th of August.

  • Frankie says:

    Aspire in Inverness is now open and accepting eligible British Airways customers. I was there yesterday. Table service. Lovely staff. It currently has reduced hours so best to check their website as that might change.
    This is the current hours as per their website
    Monday – 10:30am – 5pm
    Tuesday – CLOSED
    Wednesday – CLOSED
    Thursday – 12pm – 5pm
    Friday – 10:30am – 5pm
    Saturday – CLOSED
    Sunday – 10am – 6pm

  • GaryC says:

    Other than table service, have any other changes been made? I fly in/out of Inverness quite regularly but haven’t even been checking if it’s open – it’s a very small enclosed space, even by out station standards, so even double-jabbed the appeal is not currently high.

    • Frankie says:

      There was also plastic dividers between groups of seats. No other changes.

  • ADS says:

    A few years ago Virgin Active sold off a huge number of UK gyms (mostly to Nuffield), leaving them were a portfolio of mostly central London gyms.

    Whilst suburban gyms may be fairly busy, I suspect that Virgin Active gyms are harder hit that their competitors.

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