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bizflyer
7th Jun 2004, 22:16
could i get some plain language advice please....

under what circumstances can i use the ba or partner lounges world wide? in particular if i hold any (flexible or lowest) business/club ticket can i go in regardless of the blue/silver/card level?

worded another way, is it actually necessary to hold an exec card to use a lounge - as long as you have a qualifying ticket level?

like many of you, i frequently see adverts in the high life mags and similar for privilidge? (i think that's what they're called) cards to gain lounge access, how much are they and are they worth it? do they get you access to the types of lounges such as ba at lgw, lhr and jfk that might make it worth the cost over a year? if so can you sign in a guest aswell?

thanks for your help

ps, based on annual travel say atlantic of 4 return trips and 8-10 europe, what's the fastest and cheapest way to book my way into the silver/gold tiers - are there any short cuts that won't break the bank....

NickE
8th Jun 2004, 08:15
Travelling Club or First will get you into the appropriate lounge regardless of any card you hold. Silver card gets you Club lounge if you're travelling BA, Gold gets you Club or First lounge, regardless of who you're flying with. Also, you can take in a guest with the cards, can't do that if only you have the expensive ticket.

Other benefits are priority waitlisting and, for me the best benefit, ability to use Club (silver) or First (Gold) checkin counters, regardless of what ticket you hold - great for cheapo economy ticket going on holiday, saunter up to the First desk! Regular upgrades on long haul from Club to First was always a nice perk of the Gold card, never guaranteed but I seemed to get lucky quite a lot.:D

Ascending the tiers isn't as easy as it used to be, Europe and USA trips especially take a loooong time to reach it. Silver is doable that way, but you need a lot of trips to hit Gold, best for that is long haul in the other direction i.e. Far East, Oz etc. Good tip is to have a stopover in Bangkok or Singapore, booking as two separate flights then you accrue points for both legs.

Globaliser
8th Jun 2004, 08:54
Is your flying going to be exclusively BA? And in which classes?

If you make BA Executive Club Silver or Gold, you will get partner benefits across the oneworld alliance as well.

You won't earn points towards status on BA if you fly on discount economy fares - but subject to that you will earn points towards status on most oneworld flights as well as BA flights. (Most notable exception - no earning on AA from London to the US.)

If you want to use the BA lounges when not flying a premium class, the only way is to hold a BA Executive Club Silver or Gold card or a oneworld partner equivalent, plus the Qantas Club (Qantas paid lounge access scheme). BA is a partner in that scheme so if you're a QF Club member you can use BA lounges when flying BA.

The paid stuff that gets advertised in the glossy magazines generally won't get you into BA lounges, because BA doesn't participate in those schemes. However, it will usually get you into some other lounge - for example, Priority Pass will get you into KLM's Holideck at LHR T4.

If you do four return trips a year to the US in business class, you should easily qualify and requalify for BA Silver every year. If you need to pay for these trips yourself, then the cheapest way to do it from Europe is to buy a premium class ticket from Lisbon when BA have promotional fares originating there. You have to fly there to start the ticket, but they are very cheap when they're available.

bizflyer
8th Jun 2004, 10:54
thanks for the advice, very revealing and far more straightforward than anything on BA's site!! The reason I asked is that I should hit into silver this year and it's nice to know what I can do if I reach that tier and also nice to know what I can do if I don't (but hold a business ticket)

Globaliser

I'd be interested to know just how much you can save via Lisbon? seems a bit extreme to get a cheaper business ticket, but you're right I do pay the fares myself so I'd like some idea of what the potential saving could be, perhaps more to the point, how do you find out when these offers are being run?

Globaliser
8th Jun 2004, 14:19
bizflyer - YGPM

Wannabe Flyboy
9th Jun 2004, 06:53
If you don't earn tier points travelling cheapo economy in Europe do you still get the miles?

I know that if you fail to get upto silver your points get reset after a year but does the same occur with the miles?

WHBM
9th Jun 2004, 09:50
I've had to "negotiate" my way into the Glasgow lounge, to my surprise, when on a full C ticket and the lounge, I was told, was full. I got the impression there would have been no questions asked if I were a cardholder.

The negotiation comprised, on being told that the lounge was already full, me asking if I could go in, get a drink, and come out and drink it on the public seats outside !

All the BA Executive Club questions you can ever imagine, and a few million more, can be asked (or have already been asked) here:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=446

Globaliser
9th Jun 2004, 13:38
I think if you're a member of the BA scheme, you'll earn 25% of flown miles but no tier credits on a discount economy flight. As long as you have miles in the BA account and there is some activity at least once every three years, the miles will not expire.

bizflyer
9th Jun 2004, 14:06
globaliser

thanks for the pm

wannabe flyboy

the one thing I do know is that if you are a card holder you get miles regardless of the type of ticket you hold, tier points not on the cheapest tickets tho.

Key value points in exec club membership for me are lounge access (generally obtainable with a business ticket anyway), choosing a seat up front and upgrades. I only hold a blue card and generally buy cheapo tickets but it's surprising how many times I've been upgraded from WT to WT+ and from ET to Club/Business. Maybe I'm just lucky or the advise oft read about turning up suited and booted holds good if you'd like to move up one, as a note - I have asked at check-in to go on the upgrade waiting list but have only ever been moved up on the occasions when I kept my mouth shut, anyone else find the same?

Wannabe Flyboy
9th Jun 2004, 18:35
Bizflyer,

I only ever go cheap euro economy (though I'm looking into their club class offers on currently) and am also on the blue tier. When you say 'suited and booted' do you mean that in a literal sense or more of 'smart casual'?

Jimlad
9th Jun 2004, 20:29
I recently bought into Priority Pass (after looking here for comments) and was VERY impressed. It cost me 159 for one year and allows 10 visits to around 450 lounges worldwide. After that you pay 15 a time and can sign guests in. Other versions include unlimited visits 250ish and also a no visit pay as you go 60. I figure the cost of 10 years membership equals roughly the cost of one transatlantic business flight.

The lounges vary in quality, I wasnt too taken with Servisair in T3, but I liked the one in Dulles which is pretty good. A lot of decent airlines participate and there are a lot of lounges in less salubrious places where facilities are scarce. This makes it worthwhile in my opinion.

Amazingly the Priority Pass will apparently give members access to the lounge in Lisbon where I too fell foul of BA's ticketing.

All in all a good deal, well worth the money if you fly regularly but dont fly business. It makes the airport experience bearable - also there are quite a few arrivals lounges listed as well. Definitely look into it. (No I don't work for them, but am very pleased so far with the level of service I've received).

Final 3 Greens
10th Jun 2004, 05:15
I can confirm that Priority Pass works in Lisbon.

It was quite amusing to get access on my cheapest of cheap M class e-ticket, when they were turning away C class :-)

Bumz_Rush
10th Jun 2004, 12:01
Priority Pass is so secret that I would be banned from my club if I even mentioned it.....So I'm not going to......Bumz (non SLF)

PAXboy
10th Jun 2004, 12:54
But then, Bumz, the clubs that you belong to. :rolleyes:

Priority Pass works a treat. On two occassions, I have had a four hour wait at JFK and been able to use the North West lounge. Not fancy but snacks and (non-alco) drinks and the papers but, most importantly, large and quiet.

Oe point on their billing system: Their charges for a guest often take a couple of months to appear on your credit card. So one can be slightly puzzeled by the appearance of a 15 charge when you have forgotton about the particular trip.

Momo
11th Jun 2004, 11:36
Diners Club appears to be the cheapest way to get lounge access around the world without tier cards or C/F tickets. In the UK, the Diners Club lounges are only at Glasgow, Manchester and Heathrow.

Note that there are circumstances in which a BA Gold card will not get you into a lounge. As a specific example, you cannot use the BA lounge here in Geneva when flying on a charter airline during the ski season. I suspect there are similar restrictions in other holiday destinations.

Other alliances are generally more restrictive with Silver tier cards. Silver cards tend to get you lounge access only in home countries. Lufthansa and Austrian have this restriction. Swiss does not. A few years ago in Houston on a C ticket, I discovered a Gold (Senator) card was needed for access to the lounge. Don't know whether that is still the case.

Momo