Bits: BA ‘enhancing’ First Class menus, final call for Azimo £10 Amazon voucher and ‘buy SPG points’ deals

News in brief:

British Airways reducing First Class food options

According to reports on Flyertalk from a well regarded BA cabin crew member, the ‘tasting menu’ is being withdrawn from First Class on the A380 routes.  It will disappear from Vancouver from tomorrow and from 1st June on all other A380 routes.

I reviewed the A380 First Class tasting menu here and one course I ate is pictured below.

I wasn’t hugely impressed but it was an attempt at doing something different and did help pass the time on lengthy long haul flights.  It was only offered on the A380 because it has more modern ovens which give the caterers more flexibility in what can be offered.

The bistro menu is also reportedly being withdrawn from ALL First Class routes.  This was the additional ‘comfort food’ menu which you would normally use if you wanted a meal outside the traditional meal times.  I ate from it coming back from Dubai this month – with two kids to keep an eye on and having eaten well for the previous 10 days I didn’t feel the need for anything fancier.  Apparently one ‘comfort food’ option such as a burger will be added to the existing four First Class meal options.

You can, of course, make the case that First Class is a small cabin and there are potential limits to how much food you may want to load given wastage.  It is worth noting for comparison that Etihad is happy to load a huge volume of random ingredients onto every flight so that the First Class inflight chef can make you fundamentally anything you want and will actively encourage you to order ‘off menu’ ……

British Airways A380 First Class tasting menu 4

Two deals closing today #1 – £10 gift card with first Azimo currency transfer

There are two interesting offers ending today which you may have been considering but forgot about.

If you need to send some money abroad soon, online money transfer group Azimo is offering a £10 gift card for new customers.  You need to use voucher code AZIMOGIFT when processing your transfer.

Azimo is especially good value for sending money to more ‘obscure’ countries which other online transfer firms do not cover.  For mainstream transactions, compare their prices with TransferWise who are their main competitior.

The promotion is not featured on their website.  In order for the AZIMOGIFT code to be accepted, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be a new customer
  • Excludes SWIFT, mobile top up, transfers made with a credit card and transfers from Euro to Euro or GBP to GBP
  • Minimum £50 transfer required
  • gift card will be sent within 60 days
  • Offer ends 30th April

The Azimo site is here.  You won’t see any indication of this offer on the site, but those readers who took part when a similar deal ran at Christmas will confirm that it works OK.  The deal closes tonight.

Azimo new logo

Two deals closing today #2 – 25% off when you buy Starwood Preferred Guest points

Starwood is, until tonight, offering a 10%-25% discount when you purchase SPG Starpoints. The link to buy points is here.

The discount is staggered.  You get 10% off purchases of 5,000 to 9,500 points, 15% off 10,000 to 14,500, 20% off 15,000 to 19,500 and the full 25% off only when you buy 20,000 to 30,000 points.

At the top end, 30,000 points will cost you $787.50. These can be converted in 35,000 airline miles in the majority of programmes. The price per mile works out at 1.6p, which is certainly not a bargain.

The best deal is to buy 20,000 points for $525 as that converts into 25,000 airline miles and a price of 1.5p per mile.

The rules are straightforward – points post within 24 hours, maximum purchase of 20,000 points per year (increased to 30,000 during this deal), your SPG account must be 14 days old to participate.

This deal has, in the past, been more attractive.  However, the strength of the $ against the £ has pushed up the price since this offer last ran.  One of the best uses is to stock up on Lufthansa Miles & More miles as these can no longer be bought directly from Lufthansa.

Immaterial of whether you use the points to buy miles, it can still make sense to buy ALL the points you need for a room.  The Aloft in Liverpool costs £179 on 21th May. Alternatively, you could buy 3,000 SPG points for just £45 (based on buying 20,000 points). The reward night would also be cancellable, whilst the £179 room I quoted is not.

Special offer: 12,000 Virgin miles for opening a Virgin Money ISA
Avios Redemption University – Lesson 16 – Using Cathay Pacific for low-tax Avios redemptions to Asia
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  1. PalCsaky says:

    OT: my Iberia groupon miles have posted today

  2. Referring to Azimo

  3. Flying BA F for the first time early next year. Is there a ‘club kitchen’ equivalent where you can go and get crisps, sandwiches etc. or are you just limited to the options on the menu?

    • Russell Evans says:

      You are limited somewhat to the options on the menu in this said “Bistro selection” albeit the crew have never had a problem with me when flying in F going to raid the Club Kitchen. Some have even offered to get me crisps/snacks albeit I’m not the type to think my own legs cease to work when sitting in F! :-) As Rob says, the choices in there are somewhat limited to a few bags of jelly beans, Kettle chips, miniature size Mars bars/Twix etc. Enjoy your “First First”

  4. Billy Buzzjet says:

    Morning Mark. As I recall, on a flight to Austin recently , no actual ‘First’ kitchen but crew were more than happy to get you anything on request. However, I did visit the CW kitchen mid flight which was practically empty . The FA encouraged me to complain to BA saying that she had noticed stocks had been reduced ……ridiculous for what is quite a long flight , so get there early !

    • The Club Kitchen on the way down to Dubai was appalling … probably less than £10 of stuff provided. A little better on the return when I popped down from F for a look.

      • Not sure what you expect Rob, these days BA = Budget Airline. At least most of the BA flights you have reported on of late are on new metal, you should have a go on some of the horendous old three class 772s I routinely endure, they are truely shocking, even a decent crew fails to compensate for the products and services on offer.

  5. I guess BA are trying to make their F product firmly ‘business plus’. If they keep running these cheap ex-EU fares I suppose that makes sense.

    Is the market for the Etihad-type product smaller? Or rather; if BA fill a J/F cabin, would they make more profit than if Etihad did so, on the same plane & route given the average price difference?

    • BA first is actually a pretty good product when the cabin is clean and the crew are good (which is most of the time).

      For me First is all about service, and although Etihad may have a more luxurious cabin I think we’re in danger of overkill on what essentially is just a seat on an aircraft.

      Where BA are really milking things is in business class. As someone above has commented, CW on the 772’s is a horrible cabin.

      They’ve got a monopoly on heathrow and as such people will travel on them no matter what their cabin is like.

      I genuinely think that if they had real competition then they’d up their game in CW.

      There is also a point to be made in arguing that if you have something like Qatar business, then do you even need F at all? I’d rather see F phased out in favour of that.

      • Had my first CW flight in a few years yesterday – was UD on the 747 and I must stay I still really like it! I find the seat comfy, like the footrest and can alter the angle as I wish (unlike some which have to flip forward to turn into a bed). Lots of window storage and I quite enjoy the backwards-facing seat for take-off too 😀

  6. TGLoyalty says:

    O/T and everyone is probably sick of Curve but anyone else had issues with card pre-authorisations actually being charged to their underlying cards?

    • Curve seems to be working OK for me. Have spent about £1k on it the last 3 days including an atm withdrawal. Got an insufficient funds message for 2 transactions the day after I got the card.
      Haven’t tried larger payments since.

    • I had a circa £1000 online purchase declined with Curve but then went through to double the in person purchase I made (due to the online one being declined !).

      They should not really be trading with these faults as they are school boy errors in programming. Their license could / should be suspended and I suspect their business model is too poorly funded to allow for enough SIT/UAT etc. before release, even to Beta.

      A small investment bank project team would have nailed this on the first go. Who have they got ? muppets ?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Had £300+ of declined / pre-auth transactions now shown as charged on my card and while the first ATM withdrawal worked fine its failed both yesterday and today while traditional card transactions worked fine in between

        25% first time transaction hit rate online at the moment and 1/5 on ATM withdrawal. Not impressed really especially as failed transactions are being charged to my card

  7. Chris Anderson says:

    Hi Raffles,

    I’m booked on first class A380 for later in the year which was supposed to include these tasting menus (was actually sold to me as a benefit when I booked on the phone). Any word on whether you can claim some sort of compensation for this change? Would be good to get some free avios or an upgrade somewhere else to make up for the “enhanced” menu.