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How To Access British Airways Lounges [Concorde, Galleries, Arrival, JFK]

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James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
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British Airways, the flagship carrier of the U.K., operates an airport lounge network of over 60 lounges in 30 airports worldwide. British Airways lounges are primarily located throughout the U.K., EU, and the U.S., and offer an enhanced airport lounge experience to the airline’s premium customers.

There a multiple tiers of British Airways lounges, including Concorde Room, Galleries First, Galleries Club, and Arrival Lounges. Let’s take a look at what each tier of British Airways lounge has to offer, and how you can access them.

British Airways Concorde Room

The British Airways Concorde Room is in a league of its own. So much so that Concorde Rooms aren’t technically a part of British Airways’ standard first class lounges (Galleries First) and there is only 1 of these lounges — at London Heathrow.

Travelers visiting the Concorde Room have access to amenities like a dedicated dining room that is more akin to restaurant dining than typical airport lounge dining and complimentary beverages like Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle Champagne.

How Do You Access the British Airways Concorde Room?

Since the British Airways Concorde Rooms are by far the nicest of all British Airways lounges, access to them is also the most restrictive.

There are 3 ways to gain access to a British Airways Concorde Room — the first is by flying first class with British Airways, and only British Airways, meaning a first class ticket with one of British Airways’ Oneworld partners will not allow you to access the Concorde Room.

British Airways Concorde Room at LHR
British Airways Concorde Room at LHR. Image Credit: British Airways

Your other option is by holding a Concorde Room card, which is an unpublished status level of the British Airways Executive Club loyalty program that is rumored to require around 5,000 Tier Points each year. For comparison’s sake, the top (public) status, Executive Club Gold, requires 1,500 Tier Points each year. So receiving a Concorde Room card requires a lot of flying with British Airways.

Finally, if you’re an Executive Club Gold Guest List member, you can access the Concorde lounges when flying any class of service on British Airways.

Hot Tip: For more options, check out our full list of British Airways lounges in the U.S.

Chelsea Lounge

In New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), British Airways operates 3 joint lounges with American Airlines in Terminal 8: Chelsea Lounge, Greenwich Lounge, and Soho Lounge.

Very similar to the Concorde Room in London, the Chelsea Lounge provides an exclusive atmosphere with private dining, a Champagne bar, a fireside lounge, and shower suites. This lounge replaces the old Concorde Lounge that was offered in Terminal 5.

Chelsea Lounge JFK barstools
Chelsea Lounge Champagne Bar. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

American Airlines ConciergeKey has access to this lounge on premium transcontinental routes, premium Hawaii routes, and all long-haul international flights.

Alternatively, Flagship First International, Flagship First Transcontinental, or Flagship Business Plus on a qualifying same-day flight marketed by a Oneworld airline will also get you access.

British Airways Galleries First Lounge

Unsurprisingly, the British Airways Galleries First Lounges are British Airways’ first class, and best quality, lounges, behind only the Concorde Rooms. In Galleries First Lounges you’ll find premium food and beverage options, wine galleries, and/or Champagne bars.

Forty Winks nap lounge British Airways First Lounge
Guests at the First Lounge in London Heathrow can enjoy the Forty Winks nap lounge. Image Credit: British Airways

How Do You Access a British Airways Galleries First Lounge?

Access to British Airways Galleries First Lounges are available to first class passengers traveling with British Airways, or one of its Oneworld partners, on the same day or connecting onwards after having arrived traveling first class. For instance, if you fly from New York to London in first class with British Airways or American Airlines, and then are traveling onward to Paris with British Airways in economy, you’re still eligible to use the Galleries First Lounge during your layover.

Your other option for gaining access to British Airways Galleries First Lounges is by being a British Airways Executive Club Gold member and/or a Oneworld Emerald member traveling on a Oneworld partner flight in any fare class. That’s right, if you have Oneworld Emerald status you can access British Airways first class lounges, and other partner first class lounges, even if you’re flying in economy.

When traveling through JFK, the Soho Lounge in Terminal 8, jointly operate by British Airways and American Airlines, is available with the same entry requirements.

British Airways Galleries Club Lounges

British Airways Galleries Club Lounges are the airline’s business class lounges, and while they’re certainly not as nice as British Airways’ first class lounges, they still offer a great experience to British Airways and Oneworld travelers alike with excellent food and beverage options and shower facilities.

British Airways Club Europe A380 Heathrow Terminal 5 Galleries North Lounge self service drinks
The Galleries lounge features self-service drinks and a full bar. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

How Do You Access a British Airways Galleries Club Lounge?

In order to access a British Airways Club Lounge, you must be traveling in business class with British Airways or one of its Oneworld partners. As with first class lounges, travelers on a layover who flew in business class, but are continuing on in economy, are still entitled to use the Club Lounge.

Those with British Airways Executive Club Silver status and/or Oneworld Sapphire status can also access British Airways Club Lounges, regardless of what fare class they are flying.

If you’re traveling through JFK, British Airways and American Airlines jointly operate the Greenwich Lounge in Terminal 8, which replaces the Galleries offering at this airport.

Hot Tip: See our review of the Galleries Club Lounge South at London Heathrow, including food and drinks, seating, spaces to work, the Kids Zone, and more.

British Airways Arrivals Lounges

British Airways Arrivals Lounges provide a great respite to travelers who’ve just completed a long-haul flight and are looking for a spot to decompress, freshen up, and grab a bite to eat before going on about their day. The offering of British Airways Arrivals Lounges is similar to what you would find in one of its Club Lounges with premium food and drink options, along with plenty of places to relax after your flight.

How Do You Access a British Airways Arrivals Lounge?

To access a British Airways Arrivals Lounge you must either be arriving on a British Airways or Oneworld long-haul flight in business or first class, or be a British Airways Executive Club Gold member arriving on a long-haul British Airways flight in any cabin.

Credit Card Options for Airport Lounge Access

If you’re looking for an easy way to get airport lounge access, there are quite a large number of travel rewards credit cards on the market that offer some sort of airport lounge access to cardmembers.

Unfortunately, none of those card options will give you access to British Airways lounges (including the British Airways Visa Signature® Card), but if you’re fine with lounge access of any kind, like Priority Pass access, you can access them just for holding a certain card — no matter what fare class you’re in. See these cards below:

BEST LOUNGE ACCESS
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
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The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
80,000 points
$1,760
$695
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

Pros
  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com
Cons
  • $695 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)
The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$395
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-840)

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the premium Capital One travel rewards card on the block.

Points and miles fans will be surprised to see that the Capital One Venture X card packs quite the punch when it comes to bookings made through Capital One, all while offering the lowest annual fee among premium credit cards.

Depending on your travel goals and preferences, the Capital One Venture X card could very well end up being your go-to card in your wallet.

 

Pros
  • 10x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 5x miles per $1 on flights purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
  • $395 annual fee (rates & fees)
  • Does not offer bonus categories for flights or hotel purchases made directly with the airline or hotel group, the preferred booking method for those looking to earn elite status
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

 

Our Favorite Cards for Lounge Access

At Upgraded Points, our absolute favorite card for airport lounge access is The Platinum Card® from American Express, which includes access to not 1, but 6 different airport lounge networks including Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, Escape Lounges, and Delta Sky Clubs when flying with Delta. While the Amex Platinum card comes with a $695 annual fee, it provides you access to over 1,400 airport lounges in over 130 countries worldwide.

The Amex Platinum card isn’t just great when it comes to lounge access, though — you’ll also receive benefits like 5x points on flights purchased directly with the airline or at AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year), an annual airline incidental credit of up to $200, complimentary Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status (upon enrollment), and much more.

Looking for a business card? Consider the business version of the Amex Platinum card, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers the same airport lounge access as the Amex Platinum card and many of the same elite travel benefits like hotel elite status and an annual airline incidental credit.

Final Thoughts

Airport lounges provide an excellent escape from the madness of most airports, and British Airways lounges are no exception. A lounge is a fantastic way to relax a bit before your flight, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy a cocktail while you prepare for your next adventure.

Ultimately, if you want to gain access to British Airways lounges, you need to fly in business or first class with British Airways, or one of its partners, or hold British Airways Executive Club or Oneworld status. While there is a bit more of a barrier here than some other lounge networks like Priority Pass, the added effort can certainly prove worthwhile once you’re relaxing in a first class lounge!

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a British Airways lounge?

That will depend on what class of airfare you’re flying with British Airways, or whether you have elite status in its Executive Club program. Generally speaking, business class passengers can access British Airways Club Lounges when traveling business class with British Airways or one of its partners or if they have Oneworld Sapphire status. First class lounges are reserved for those traveling first class with British Airways or one of its partners or those that have Oneworld Emerald status. Finally, the exclusive Concorde Room is only accessible to British Airways first class passengers or those that hold a Concorde Room Card status within the Executive Club program.

Can you pay to use British Airways lounges?

You cannot purchase day passes or any sort of membership to access British Airways lounges. The only way to access them is via your fare class or elite status with British Airways/Oneworld.

Is the food free in British Airways lounges?

Yes, all of the food and beverages, including alcohol, are free in British Airways lounges.

Does British Airways Premium Economy have lounge access?

British Airways Premium Economy passengers do not receive lounge access unless they have British Airways Silver status and above or Oneworld Sapphire status and above.

How long can I stay in a British Airways lounge?

There is no specified time limit for how long you can stay in a British Airways lounge.

Which British Airways lounge is the best at London Heathrow?

Without question, the very best British Airways lounge at London Heathrow is the Concorde Room in Terminal 5. After that would be the 2 Galleries First lounges in Terminal 3 and Terminal 5.

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About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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