Bits: good Amex / Nespresso deal, Vueling sale, BA flights to Tehran resumed

News in brief:

Amex / Nespresso deal

Three people dropped me a note about a new American Express promotion which, to be honest, I saw on my account but dismissed without investigation.  Two readers rated the deal highly, one thought it stunk!

Details of this deal should be under the ‘Offers’ section on your American Express online account. Check under each card you hold.  It should be there for one of them.

This is the deal – you order a specific coffee machine (link removed as broken overnight) which sells at £129 but you pay just £39.  However, you must order 400 Nespresso coffee capsules at the same time which cost you a minimum of 29p each.

Nespresso products are rarely heavily reduced so this is a decent deal in terms of value for money.  Whether you want to commit to buying 400 capsules upfront – especially as you may not be familiar with most of the flavours – is a different question.


Major Vueling sale

Vueling is the little known sister of British Airways and Iberia.  International Airlines Group, the parent of BA and Iberia, took full control of the Spanish low cost carrier in 2013 and since then it has expanded rapidly to serve over 160 airports across Europe.

You can redeem Avios points for flights on Vueling as long as you transfer them to Iberia Plus first.  This is good news for travellers outside London who have a wider range of regional Avios redemption options.

From the UK, Vueling flies to (some services seasonal):

Birmingham – Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga

Cardiff – Alicante, Barcelona, Majorca, Malaga

Edinburgh – Alicante, Barcelona, Paris, Rome

Leeds Bradford – Barcelona

Liverpool – Barcelona

London Gatwick – Asturius, Barcelona, Bilbao, Florence, Paris, Rome, Santiago de Compostela

London Heathrow (T3) – La Coruna, Barcelona

London Luton – Amsterdam, Barcelona

Manchester – Alicante, Barcelona, Rome

Newcastle – Barcelona

Until 13th September, Vueling has a major sale with 1 million seats at €29.99 one way.   This could be a decent option for a cheap Autumn break in Spain.  Details of the sale are here.


British Airways resumes flights to Tehran

British Airways flights to Tehran resumed last week, opening up an interesting range of new tourist options for more intrepid readers.

The service will operate six days per week with a four class Boeing 777.

British Airways’ only Farsi-speaking captain, Kami Johnson, explains the appeal of Iran for first time visitors in this video:

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  1. Link for the nespresso deal seems to be broken

  2. To book a flight on Vueling do you have to use the same Iberia site as for points. It is frequently broken!

  3. I’d love to go to Iran, but you’d be stuffed for going to the US after. You’d need to obtain a visa for the US if they see you’ve been to Iran. I hesitate to imagine all the other problems which would arise too, including lots of S’s on your boarding pass.

    • Clare Gibb says:

      Quite – see below:

      Under the Act, travelers in the following categories are no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

      Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).

    • Lewis Watson says:

      If you are a UK passport holder you can have 2 passports at one time. Make sure the Iranians stamp one and Americans the other.

      • But you will then have lied to get the ESTA, no?

        • bit of a white lie imv

          they used to say get 2 passports if you’re going to Israel as well, to hide it from ME destinations

          I guess these days you can’t/ won’t want to visit the likes of Syria/ Libya etc & I imagine the Gulf States don’t care any more

    • I’m more concerned about Irans requirement for you to always be escorted by a tour guide.

      From reading around it seems very easy to just line up a guide for day one then travel alone, but no matter how minuscule the risk, I don’t really fancy breaking the law in Iran! Another good reason to apply for an Irish passport (the rule doesn’t apply to them).

    • I had to get a USA visa recently having visited Iran in late 2011 (before having a tour guide was necessary – it only applied to Americans at that point). I was worried I’d be stuck in long passport queues at US immigration but you can actually use the new machines just like an ESTA user so it’s just as quick. I’ve had no other problems. The visa lasts for 10 years so no need for an ESTA until 2026.

  4. I haven’t had any offers on any of my amex cards for months now. It’s starting to annoy me

  5. And spare a thought for the several dual British-Iranian nationals like Kamal Foroughi imprisoned in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison on spurious charges and without consular representation. Kamal reached age 77 at the weekend, is going blind, and is now the world record holder for the longest period an EU citizen has been held in an Iranian jail.

    BA are obviously very quiet on their website about the risks of arbitrary detention highlighted on the FCO’s travel advice.

    If you have a moment, please sign the petition above.

  6. Anyone see eBay resale potential on the nespresso deal?

    • I had a look and you could make money on the machine but you would lose money on the capsules. Overall I think you would be lucky to break even so no it is not worth it. A good present for someone maybe if you want to spend ~£150 on them however.

  7. I would love to go back to Iran, but until they remove the required guide for British nationals i will not be back :/

    It’s a shame, i would love to go back to this beautiful country, honestly one of the friendliest nation i have been to.

  8. Does anybody know how to check Avios redemption flight availability on Vueling?

  9. Lewis Watson says:

    If you have BA status do you get longue access priority boarding check in etc with vueling?

  10. Is anybody else struggling to find any €29.99 seats? Some of the “promo” seats I have looked at are €100+.

  11. OT/
    Strange Amex offer on my gold account (I had to google the retailer…)
    10,000 Bonus points – Yes 10,000 for £1,000 spend at BOTTEGA VENETA

  12. The nespresso deal looks good but as raffles pointed out being forced to buy 400 cups of coffee you have never tasted before could be a waste of money. Might be a good idea if you wanted to buy one for the workplace though and just chose a selection of coffees

  13. Anyone ever flown srilankan? I did economy years ago and it was fine, but i understand the biz seats are hugely improved these days, and they’re also now OW. I get sporadic emails on e.g. weekend fare deals. Example from today in below link. Direct flights to Colombo or Maldives from London are both interesting. This particular offering is pretty cheap for a direct, but econ only. Note, however: you can (sealed) bid online for upgrades close to departure; I bet it’s quite easy to win those bids at still very good prices-surely one of the cheapest ways to the maldives direct in style? Would be interested to hear if anyone has experience of the auctions. Note also: they often have cheap business seats outright (sometimes even 2for1) through these offers. Worth signing up to receive the emails if you’re interested.

    • hey raffles – send Anika to the Maldives! she has to buy economy but is allowed a sealed bid to possibly upgrade :)

      [stuck in a BK, wasting away nearly 7 hrs – took my daughter to her new school Y7 & have to wait around until going home time! – she has to learn how to get on bus/ take train/ travel independently etc so I’m holding her hand day 1. Not sure how you guys get much work done in the temporary offices lol, this background music is a bit rubbish]

      • You live so far away from her school that it’s not worth going home for only seven hours? That must be one horrible commute for her!

        Though at that age surely she can work out how to use the bus alone (excuse me for prying, but you did bring it up!).

    • There are some trip reports on FT regarding Sri Lankan. SFO77 did one I believe.

    • I have fliwn Sri Lankan a couple of times in J: ow back from BKK. I was impressed with the service, and their local cuisine for main meals are as good as any inflight food I have experienced but their foray into other stufv like mini burgers for the second meals are poor. They have nice comfortable leather seats immediately adjacent to each other so good for couples. They are full flat and although not comparable to the best flat seats, personally I rate them above CW. The front row should be avoided because the AVOD screens mounted on the wall ahead are much too low to provide comfortabke viewing regardless of whether seat is upright or reclined. The lounge in CMB is very good. Flysmiles is best avoided as most of burning chart is expensive, other collection and redemption opportunities are limited, and the mile expiry is stringent so best credit flights to BAEC or elsewhere. Once, on a third flight they made a schedule change that did not suit me and they rebooked me BA direct to LHR no drama at all. All in all, they provide great valud for money. Fof this reason I would be wary of booking economy with a view to upgrading it; given their premium cabin prices I doubt there will be many unsod seats between CMB and LHR.

      • David2910 says:

        Thanks james

      • I did Sri Lankan business return from DXB to CMB. Loved it. The only irritation was economy Pax boarding first while you wait for the special J bus.

        The best part – 280 BA tier points for £400. Thank you very much!

  14. Was looking on Nespresso’s website and it seems they are doing their own deal (for those that don’t have access to the Amex one)

    £139 machine down to £69 if you order 150 capsules – less of a reduction but less on an outlay on capsules

    • (Actually looks like machine is just £69 and only need to buy 150 capsules if you want to get a £50 Aeroccino for free)

      • This offer is available at House of Fraser.
        Nespresso has a boutique store at Piccadilly and also at Bluewater shopping centre
        Greenhithe Kent.
        I am moving away from this type of machine as there are too many capsules in landfill.

        • I bought the most amazing bean to cup machine a few weeks ago after my last coffee maker died. I tried a Tassimo pod machine once and I find all the drinks capsules disgusting, so I gave it to a friend for her aged Dad to make instant hot chocolate without having to boil the kettle.

    • I’m a big fan of Nespresso and purchased this as a Christmas gift.

      I’ll then split the capsules order which is a win-win as far as I’m concerned :)

  15. 20% off today only on Wizz Air, all tickets

  16. OT – If a Mercure hotel has a lounge – will I get a free breakfast as an Accorhotels Platinum member? On this site Rob says yes. And when I called the hotel directly they said I will need to pay for the breakfast.

  17. Just booked my first 2 for 1 tickets (2 Adults) for New York flying out on Boxing day On the Dreamliner with the New First class cabin thanks to Head for points .

    Im going to use my points from IHG to stay at the intercontinental in Times Square over New Year any ideas for getting some good hotel deals would be much appreciated. Is annoying that the IHG card is holding back my free Night award to my card anniversary date im looking for Hotel dates for the 26/27/28/29/30 Dec 2016

    Ive seen the W downtown for £280 for 2 nights and 1400 airmiles so far…

    • Lee, congrats on getting F using your 241, ESP flying out of JFK??? The F lounge there is Amazing. Truly enjoyable. We upgraded from J to F coming bk from JFK on the Dreamliner. Fab experience all round. Hotels don’t know, we did Airbnb, chap with a garden near times sq. another great experience. Perfect for summer but not winter!

      • thanks polly , We are flying in and out out of Newark as the new Dreamliner 787-9 doesnt seem to fly to JFK but We cant have it all we choose to have the New First class cabin rather than fly 747 or 777 to JFK ,

        Whats the best lounge to use at Newark ?

    • Did F from JFK also, really enjoyed the experience – Get there early if you want to experience it all! However don’t get there too early as the First security and Concorde room doesn’t open until a certain time before the flights, we had to ‘slum’ it in the regular queues and the First Lounge for an hour or so until the Concorde room opened up.

      We also stayed at the Intercontinental Times square using points (IHG Spire/ambassador) and although I cannot fault the location for a first time NY visitor, I wouldn’t stay again due to the fact I felt that they didn’t like the fact I used points (no mention of status, no upgrade, no real perks etc) and then had an uncomfortable call from the front desk following my feedback from the check in experience. Personally felt that I’d be more suited to a Hilton property, where I feel the tend to look after Diamond guests a little better.

    • I really don’t rate the IC TS at all – and wouldn’t stay again. That said room rates are high over new year so doubtless you are getting good value. I can see why a first time visitor might try the IC TS for location (very touristy which can be a good thing) but if you have been a few more times I’d try the IC Barclay or Indigo Lower east side. Or the Conrad if you have HH points. I mainly paid cash at the IC TS and am an ambassador – got no perks either aside from 4pm check-out which was very useful. I cashed in the IHG visa free night as well – no issues. Rob has said many times here that the IC TS is a “bed factory” and he is spot on.

      • Currently in the IC TS. Agree, it’s fine for location. Used points and Ambassador weekend voucher for all of our 5 nights. Very pleasant check in, all staff wished us a pleasant stay and no attitude regarding the fact it was all on points etc. Upgraded to sky view room on 32floor , view up 8th Ave. Got welcome fruit platter, chocs, water, papers and late checkout. Suited us fine, but if we come to NY again, would probably try somewhere else.

  18. Jonathan Brown says:

    Whats happened to the amex referral for a starwood card, has it disappeared?

    My wife wants to refer me (but cant find the link )

  19. Completely O/T, but La Compagnie have just announced the ‘suspension’ of LTN-EWR effective 25Sept.

  20. Looked at the Nespresso offer. On their website is a better deal, buy 150 capsules and the machine is £69.

    • Don’t even have to but the 150 capsules to get the £69 price – if you buy the 150 capsules you get the Aeroccino free

      Discover the Nespresso Pixie coffee machine at the special price of £69, for a limited time only.
      Plus, enjoy a FREE Aeroccino Milk Frother when you order 150 or more Grand Cru capsules.

      • And you can but from any of these shops and still get the deal so could buy via John Lewis and pick up points from Avios/BA estore and from using American Express then order capsules online to get Aeroccino

        John Lewis Partnership
        Harvey Norman
        House of Fraser
        Shop Direct (Very and Littlewoods)
        Power City

  21. Do they still serve Nespresso in First? It used to be Capriccio.

  22. OTT what time are reward seats loaded, is it midnight?

  23. Hi all,

    I may have found something interesting. Via below link one can earn 3500 M&M miles for each best western stay. Worthy of a mattress run?

    • Unless you value M&M miles at much more than 1p each, which I think is unwise, a mattress run wouldn’t be viable. Given that it’s a return of about £35, however, it would certainly be worth putting a few stays through Best Western, if the hotels are worth staying at anyway.

    • Looks interesting, thanks.

  24. Some of the ones near me are £35/£45 range.

  25. Glad to see the direct route to IKA resumed. As someone who goes every summer getting there has been a mission with some long stopovers in the old DOH airport. Was booked on BA this summer but missed out as they postponed the start date. Had a comical return journey via ATH. Next time eh.

    Can’t speak highly enough of Iran. A different country to what is displayed in the media with the friendliest people around.