If you missed my interview on CNBC on Wednesday ….

I am assuming that the majority of Head for Points readers were in front of the TV and watching CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’ at 6.30am on Wednesday.

Just in case you weren’t, you missed me talking about the current state of the frequent flyer business.

If you are reading this via our Thursday morning email, the video below probably won’t work. You need to click:

http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000541927 for part 1 and

http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000541926 for part 2.

For everyone else, you can watch the segement in two parts here:

and here:

PS. I didn’t ask to be called ‘CEO’ on the caption! My suggestion was ‘Editor’ ….

Bits: Tesco trialling 12,000 Avios bribe for Premium Credit Card, developments at Aer Lingus
Amex cuts the rewards on its cashback cards - a sign of things to come?
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  1. Why the video of the private jet at end?

  2. Peter Taysum says:

    I was up at 05:00 to make sure I didn’t miss it 😉

  3. In my short time collecting avios I have only ever done one long haul (Calgary) on BA metal, and I wasn’t all that impressed by CW.

    As a family I’ve alway used avios for CE in order to preposition us for a business class long haul (Gulf carrier) out of another European country. I would probably never pay for CE, but with avios the benefits of extra baggage and lounge access makes the whole thing add up.

    The avios for CE to get to the Xmas markets in Munich is also a bonus as hotels are extremely expensive in the Altstadt in December.

  4. Next stop Hollywood Rob..

  5. Am I alone in thinking its a swiz that you still have to pay taxes and fees when redeeming avios, sometimes as much as half the cash fare (thus halving the value of the redemption) ?
    when cashing in your nectar points on sainsburys shopping they don’t ask you to additionally pay the VAT with cash !

    • Ahh but! Let’s dissect my example above: If I booked 3 x rtn CE seats to Munich in Dec, it would’ve came to just under £1000.00. With avios it’s 46000 + £50 each and that’s not bad;

      I did grumble when I had to pay £500.00 for CW though.

      • If you would have paid the £1k for the CE seats then you got a decent ‘deal’. I wouldn’t pay that though.

      • You are very likely to get 1p per point on a Club Europe redemption.

        More importantly, you STILL, in 2016, cannot buy cheap Club Europe tickets if you don’t stay away for a Saturday night. Avios are invaluable in that scenario, in the same way they are great for one-way long-haul flights where you generally can’t buy them cheaply.

        • Nick Haley says:

          Last-minute Berlin trip this weekend to see a best buddy – CW only thing that’s available on Avios – had to use cash and avios – 11200 + £120. BUT when you compare that to the price, last minute, of CW in Cash (£685) – can we ever moan ? (685-120=565… 565/11200=a value of 5p a point!)

        • Lady London says:

          BA claimed a long while ago they’d dropped the “Saturday night rule” but that never really seems to have stuck. Most return flights are rather cheaper if you include a Saturday night away.

          • To Europe, most fares don’t have a minimum stay at all, while some have a 1-3 day minimum. In random fare displays I just checked to BER and PSA, only about 9% of the fares still had the Saturday night rule.

            To the rest of the world however, Saturday night stay minimums are regular. Shorthaul, not so much.

        • Use multicity – enter the details of where you want to fly to and from as your first leg (on the flight / route you intend to take) then enter the second leg on a throwaway route Vueling fly (e.g. CDG – LGW). Select ‘business’. This will throw up CE fares for the outbound leg, at a much more reasonable price, and somewhere in the inbound leg options there will be a flight in economy on Vueling, which unfortunately you miss.

    • RFS (Europe) is pretty good value, no particular complaints even when – rarely – the fees would have been lower than £17.50, ie coming back.

      But your point is valid enough for LH, which is why people generally think the value comes elsewhere than pure economy redemptions.

      However, swiz implies BA are complicit whereas I think most of it is explained by taxes/ fees. Hence advantages of ex-EU!

      • Lady London says:

        No it’s a swiz.

        BA (and Lufthansa)’s so-called charges, that they try to imply are taxes and airport charges, are breathtaking.

        • Is that true for RFS (Europe) redemptions, though – my point?

          Hard to argue that £17.50 is a swiz out of LHR. That leaves BA a fair bit out of pocket in taxes & airport fees, surely?

          • It does. Heathrow charges are well above £17.50 for a start and the APD is, what, £13?

          • Lady London says:

            RFS is the only bright spot and pretty much only out of the UK especially LHR. Without it the program would look very poor.

            My comment was focused on Long Haul when the brass neck of BA and Lufthansa as to what they imply is taxes and airport charges is breathtaking.

    • I would call it annoying.
      I have just booked two First class tickets out to Seattle and back from Vancouver at a cost of c£550 each plus £150 for BAPP card. Of course I have foregone other rewards and paid a few hundred pounds along the way.
      This is my own free choice and I am very happy with it.
      It would be good if the charges could be paid in Avios though.

  6. Well done Rob! Great opportunity & good profile for the site.

    The angle of CNBC was a little odd (points are only worthwhile for corporate premium cabin travelers) but I guess it’s to be expected. Sort of the the equivalent of trying to convince a non-collector that miles & points are worth the effort.

    I travel very occasionally on business but the vast majority of my miles come from other means – mainly credit cards & almost exclusively through things featured on HFP. Never really find myself short on miles for a RFS or even long-haul premium cabin redemption with a 241. Main issue is getting time off work to go!

    • Lady London says:

      Then you are exactly the sort of traveller that air miles programs were invented for, so that where the traveller had discretion then the airline offering miles would be chosen for the business traveller to direct the company’s budget too.

      As soon as air miles programs became commonplace it was amazing how many corporate travellers would enter into extended discussions about why it was essential for them to have fully flexible tickets costing 10x the amount a cheaper ticket that could be thrown away if business plans changed would have cost and those arguments continue today. Air Miles programs have been a raging success for the airlines. They have done just what the airlines wanted them to.

  7. Great job there Rob. But I must admit, you did sound a bit like a BA spokesman. Went straight for BA when asked for best how to take advantage of airmiles. Virgin definitely offers better product and value compared to BA… just that it doesn’t fly as many routes!

    • Thanks Rob for making HFP required reading! As for the CNBC piece, I agree with your emphasis on the benefits of RFS and – since most viewers probably associate “Air Miles” primarily with BA – understand why you highlighted BA. However, when it comes to longhaul, VS has a better product in all cabins, their Miles are easier and cheaper to redeem; and most of all they value my business.

      • That is probably the first time I have ever been accused of being a BA spokesman :-)


        • Harry Holden says:

          Well… the first caption they put up after they have displayed your name states:
          BA… “Business class quality always improving”

          I’m not sure many HFP readers would agree with that statement. It would appear that whoever was typing that was not listening very carefully.

          • I gave them some notes in advance but the interview went off script. They made the captions from those notes.

            What I said in the notes, and would have said if they had asked the question I wanted them to ask, was that – whilst the price of miles seats does tend to go up – the quality of what you get these days (looking across oneworld as a whole) is light years ahead of what you got 10 years ago in business class.

    • Is that why Rob has, since day one of his site starting up directed his readers to cheaper ways of flying J and F using their Avios with different carriers than BA. I’ve flown no end of long haul in J including my family with minimal taxes on other carriers than BA. In FACT, I’ve not flown BA in J or F using my Avios. And I don’t plan on doing it either. BA, RFS around Europe yes but that’s it.

    • But Avios are easier to earn, and therefore better for many of us.

      • Exactly my point but I’d sooner redeem my Avios not on BA long haul because of their high taxes. So Europe RFS on BA and that’s it using my Avios.. Long haul redeeming Avios id sooner travel another OW carrier with less taxes. And a better product especially flying CX or Aer lingus..

  8. CEO sounds good to me :-)

  9. I didn’t even get to the video. Hilton free Wi-Fi not good enough to stream the ad even! I did get an update tho to an exec room

    • Are you Diamond? You should be able to use the Premium service for free.

    • Probably still better than the “premium” wifi at the HI I stayed at in Rome recently. I refused to pay for it on check out and the Reception staff completely agreed it was worse than rubbish!

  10. Excellent little snippet, well done.

    Just in case anyone has forgotten you can still book Moscow in F as a reward flight saver.

    That was my first ever BA companion ticket redemption!!

    • I don’t think they fly F to Moscow, do you mean J?

      • I believe there is still one flight a day offering F, CW service on RFS.

        • That should read ‘offering a long haul service’

        • Not every day. One flight on Mondays and Fridays are scheduled to be 777 operated. Not spotted any other discernible pattern.

          Other flights are mid-haul A321s so no PE cabin if looking to upgrade WT-CW.

          Reward availability generally good too, in my experience.

  11. LaineyLing says:

    O/T: Cancelled flight from BA – help requested
    BA have cancelled my return flight on Christmas day 2016 from Frankfurt to London (one that I booked through a travel website GoToGate). Their alternative is via Madrid which will not work for me as I want to be home for Christmas lunch. The travel agency have said BA will not offer partial refund; only a full refund (but I want to keep the outgoing flight), BA have told me they can do a partial refund and to contact GoToGate.

    I have now spent 4+ hours on this mostly on hold telling each party what can be done. The BA call centre say they cannot make calls or send emails, GoToGate claim BA tell them no partial refunds and the team that deals with clients can only take incoming calls.

    I am at my wits end to know what to do as no one is willing to take responsibility. The money is no longer the issue but I am persevering for the principle. As salt in the wound the customer service number line simply goes dead as they are at full capacity and the customer support complaint line is only after you fly (or in this case won’t fly).

    Really tempted to stop flying BA, their service is disgraceful.

    • On FT they say to avoid the call centre and go direct to more helpful customer service people based in UK. I think you just use the phone lines intended for the top echelons of BAEC. Probably worth googling FT with specific search terms such as ‘escalating complaint’ etc

      Or others here might be able to tell you the best phone number straight away.

      Otherwise I would take the full refund and find another flight.

      • LaineyLing says:

        Thanks Harry, I will do as you suggest. My fault for using GoToGate; at least it was a cheap flight so minimal cost for this lesson learnt! :)

      • The_Real_A says:

        Its a travel agent ticket, so can be amended only by the travel agent themselves. Its unlikely that BA would have been paid for the ticket yet, so understandable that there process to help is limited. This is why i always try to book direct whenever possible – although these policies/processes belong in a bygone age.

  12. John Tickner says:

    We know the BA product is not great compared to others, but for me the guaranteed/better availability and the 2-4-1 make up for that for me.

    • I agree – we use the 2-4-1 and last year 2 of us went 1st Class return to Chicago. This year 4 of us 1st Class to Atlanta and back ( 3 days there and then drove down to Orlando ), and have already booked 2 1st class returns to Atlanta for next year, when we will be starting a 2 week fly-drive of the deep south. Also has other CE flights and domestic all from points. The availability for Atlanta is really good. Been very happy with everything, and the 1st Class although not maybe like Quantas etc is an experience I never thought I would be able to enjoy. All my points are earned via credit cards and Tesco etc, none by flying. Its a great hobby, and I look at this site every day. Just will be disappointed when my nephews are too old for lego !!! Thanks Raffles.

    • Guaranteed/better availability????? Not in the experience of most people on here, it would appear.

    • In my experience, BA RFS is hard to beat for shorthaul (although availability ex LHR is often poor compared to ex LGW at invariably less convenient times); but – apart from a promptly booked Xmas 2-for-1 to the US via a “non-business-oriented” gateway such as ATL, DFW or IAH – much harder and more expensive to redeem than VS (or even OW partner IB) westbound and much harder (if less expensive) to redeem in premiun cabins than (superior) OW partners AY and CX eastbound..

  13. I Watch CNBC every day. Interview went well, hope you enjoyed it. They try to cram what they can into a very short time frame.

    • I did actually, it was more laid back than I expected. I was lucky in that I got to see 10 minutes of Geoff doing his stuff before it came to my segment so I had a feeling for how I should respond to him.

  14. Totally OT sorry guys! Just had an email from IHG about a special “birthday offer” ( as my birthday is coming up) whereby if I register for this offer and then stay a weekend (fri-sat or sat-sun) I get 3000 bonus points. I already have two weekend stays coming up (one will complete my current “accelerate” and the other was booked recently for a weekend getaway), will either of these count towards this new offer or will it only count for nights booked since signing up. both existing bookings are non-refundable so i can’t just rebook. For my current accelerate one night from a pre-existing booking counted towards the 6 required hence my question.

  15. Avios-related – stay away from the US blogs if you don’t want to be depressed about how good a deal they get there 😉 http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2016/08/10/amex-british-airways-transfer-bonus/

    • I can see BA doing something similar here if business does not pick up.. sitting on a wad of amex MR in readiness….

      Here’s hoping anyways..

    • Not to mention their massive sign up bonuses on a huge range of cards…

      • Oh absolutely! As much as I don’t like the exorbitant BA fees when booking redemptions at least it keeps them relatively unappealing to US-based customers compared to the low-fee redemptions on other airlines via the US FF programmes.

  16. Well done Rob. Not easy appearing on TV, especially if they go “off piste!”

    Thanks for all that you do.