Bits: Virgin’s NY-LON bar, Aer Lingus new short-haul business, buy Hyatt points, Etihad / Kaligo

News in brief:

Virgin / Delta’s O2 bar now open

I wrote back in June about the new bar that Virgin Atlantic and Delta were opening at the O2 Arena in Greenwich.  The facility is now open and has its own website here.  You can reserve booths online.

In theory, there are meant to be special deals for members of Virgin Flying Club.  I haven’t seen anything yet, and I can’t find anything on the Flying Club website, but I will keep my eyes open.

Ny-Lon entrance

Aer Lingus launches short-haul business class (but pretends it hasn’t)

Via Business Traveller, Aer Lingus is launching what looks suspiciously like a short-haul business class product this Autumn.  For reasons I can’t understand, though, it refuses to call it business class!

Let’s take a look at what the new service, to be called Aer Space, will offer:

  • Empty middle seat
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Priority hand baggage acceptance
  • Full ticket flexibility
  • Lounge access
  • Free food on-board

That sounds suspiciously like a business class product to me!  It is virtually identical to the British Airways Club Europe product, although there will not be a curtain dividing the cabin.

Calling it ‘economy class’ may mean that the airline does not have to pay the higher rate of Air Passenger Duty on flights to the UK.  However, the airline will continue to alienate potential long-haul passengers who refuse to book it because they are put in economy for the final short hop.  All very odd.

It does, of course, make the job of British Airways easier when it comes to integrate the Aer Lingus product once the takeover completes.

Aer Lingus 350

30% bonus when you buy Hyatt Gold Passport points

Hyatt Gold Passport is offering a 30% bonus when you buy points before 31st August.

There may, just, be some arbitrage in doing this if you are looking to stay at some of their prime Park Hyatt hotels, such as Tokyo or Paris.  In general, though, this is a deal which will only make sense if you are topping up your account.

As Hyatt points are hard to earn (no UK credit card, not an Amex partner) this may be worth doing, especially as Hyatt is beginning to take a harder line on points expiry.

The link to buy is here.

Etihad 350

Etihad launches with Kaligo.com

Finally, hotel booking site Kaligo.com has launched a partnership with Etihad Guest.

You receive 3,000 bonus Etihad Guest miles with your first booking.   There are an additional 7,000 miles to be had if you spend $1,000 at Kaligo.com between now and the end of September.

You can claim this bonus even if you have already had the bonus from a Kaligo / Avios or Kaligo / Virgin promo, although you may want to use a different email to avoid confusion if you registered for the recent BA deal.

Details of the Etihad offer can be found here.

REMINDER: Get better deals on luxury hotels with Head for Points and Propeller Travel
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Comments

  1. Calchas says:

    If it really comes with priority baggage handling it’s better than BA’s Club Europe!

  2. Daftboy says:

    I expect part of the positioning of Aer Space as Economy will be for business travellers who have a Y only policy – particularly for travellers originating in Ireland, where it would only have really been the banks which would have paid for business intra-Europe, and they are certainly not doing that now post financial crisis.

    Similar to the bmi model of Economy Plus (or whatever they called it).

    • Agree corporate travel policies seem the most likely reason!

      • The_Real_A says:

        Agree. Outside of finance its common place for Y only travel – even long haul.

        I have endured this for for a number of years with my current employer. My only way to circumvent is ex-eu where the price is cheaper than the equivlent best price Y direct from LHR.

    • “Flexible economy” was the bmi name. Which caused a good deal of confusion, becaues you could have an inflexible flexible economy ticket (no changes, but sit at the front), and a flexible non-flexible economy ticket (changes, but sit at the back)…

    • Agree and other airlines have been doing this as well.
      For example, Germanwings/Eurowings have an economy class tariff called BEST that is more business class than most inter-European business class service as it also features increased seat pitch on top of all the other things.

  3. Chris Sutter says:

    > For reasons I can’t understand, though, it refuses to call it business class!

    Because Aer Lingus has not (yet) been “enhanced” by BA’s deluded marketing types? 😉

  4. Hey

    I got the Hilton Honnors credit card in January, and last month spent the 10k. If I cancel it today, when does my Hilton Honnors gold run out?

  5. Has anybody been to a “Hilton Grand Vacations” sales talk? – I keep getting the invites and wondered whether it’d be worthwhile for a discounted stay or if they’re a bit too aggressive/not worth the time/hassle?

    • Went to one a couple of years ago when staying at the W=A. Talk wasn’t too long, sales pitch afterwards was almost longer. Overall not bad value though with the giftcard we received and spent on a rather nice lunch! Had a read about it online and seems they put a stop to 3rd party purchases granting HHonors Gold status (as it used to do) – given the much higher price when buying direct and the major devaluation in HHonors last year (you’re able to swap your timeshare for HHonors points each year) I was glad I didn’t take it forward seriously.

      • Thanks.

        Yes I have absolutely no intention of taking out the timeshare… although I guess that is probably the thoughts for most people attending, and the reason behind the promotions!

        • We’ve got one in New York to attend in a few weeks at the Hilton on 57th street! I think we get $250 or something!

        • Yep, that’s the one we went to and IIRC the amount we got too 😀

        • Just been to one while on holiday in Hawaii. Was given 30,000 Hhonours points to attend a 90 min presentation, although it actually took about 2 hrs. While the offer was not too bad if you want to stay at Hilton timeshare properties for the rest of your life I did not like the fact that they would only give us some of the bonuses if we signed up immediately. Not giving someone a few days to think about an investment is little pushy I think. Anyway not really an issue as never intended to sign up, just wanted the points!

    • I’m off to one today at The Metropole in London – needed to be in London anyway this weekend, so it’s tied up perfectly. They were chucking 10K HHonors points at me IIRC.

  6. On Hyatt points, I organised 5 nights for a friend at a MGM property almost 6 weeks ago – 125,000 points still not deducted from my account. A later 2 night stay by me has not credited to either Hyatt or MLife … anyone have a similar experience ?

  7. We’ve booked a flight to Dublin with Aer Lingus with our daughter who will be nearly 13 months when we fly… for an extra £2 we booked her a “child” seat rather than “infant” and so should have the middle seat free. The only slight issue is that we will be trying to this with hand luggage only! Definitely worth checking the difference in prices for anyone with children under 2

    We’ve previously used Avios (Economy there, CE back) – having that bit more space made a huge difference, but it didn’t feel like the best use of 25,000 avios!

  8. I’m a bit skeptical that this will keep the APD at Y level, but I can’t be bothered to look up whether the CAA / HMRC have explicity defined what constitues a “class” of travel.

  9. I suspect there’ll be a few offers for the NY-LON bar appearing in the Virgin Red iOS app in the near future.

  10. cheekychappie says:

    I just cancelled my Amex Gold card – my wife was a supplementary holder.

    So can she open a new Gold a/c next week & get the welcome bonus without waiting 6 months?

    With myself as supp this time?

    • She can, as being a supplementary cardholder doesn’t count when it comes to the bonus.

      However it’s a shame you’ve shut your account as you could have earned a bonus yourself for referring her!

      • cheekychappie says:

        Can’t win them all. OTOH they seem to have messed up the pro rata refund of the 2nd year fee and refunded me 11/12 of the annual amount, which hasn’t actually been charged to me.

  11. Interesting Aer Lingus news, as my other airline loyalty status cards are at the lowest level i’m just left with gold for Aer Lingus and had enough points to keep it for 2 more years so interested to hear what is my best move when the absorption happens. Must use up my avios for a Dublin-America flight on Aer Lingus while I can get them at lower taxes and charges too.