Bits: amazing deals at InterCon New York, BA cuts Philadelphia, inside Cathay’s Gatwick A350

News in brief:

Stupidly cheap deals at InterContinental New York Barclay

I reviewed the newly reopened InterContinental New York Barclay back in July.  Situated just around the corner from the Waldorf-Astoria and in front of Grand Central Station, the hotel had just emerged from a two-year top-to-toe refurbishment.

Unfortunately, things have not gone well.  Whilst the rooms are perfectly OK, the internet is awash with complaints about staffing and especially the treatment of elite status members.  This now seems to be having an impact on rates.

In February, you can book the Barclay for as little as $103 per night.  You can see this rate for Friday 10th February for example, or Friday 24th.  It is, of course, low season but on the same night the InterContinental Times Square is $221 per night.  The Holiday Inn Express on Fifth Avenue is $150 – almost 50% more than the Barclay!

To put this rate in perspective, Ambassador members will get 2 x $20 vouchers to spend in the Barclay bar, so that is 40% of your expenditure back already!

If you want a cheap weekend break next February, I recommend a brand new five star hotel in New York!  You can check out pricing via the Barclay home page here

InterContinental New York Barclay lobby

British Airways halves Philadelphia services

British Airways announced yesterday that it is dropping one of its two daily services to Philadelphia from 27th March.

The 17.15 departure (BA69 / BA68) will be cancelled.  The 12.45 departure will continue to operate, as will the daily American Airlines service.

If you have a booking to Philadelphia in the diary you should take a look to see if you have been affected.


Inside Gatwick’s Cathay Pacific A350

At the start of September, Cathay Pacific launched its new service from Gatwick to Hong Kong.

What makes this interesting is that the airline is using a brand new Airbus A350 on the route.  This article from is very detailed and is based on a tour of the aircraft.  Thanks to Andrew for the tip-off.

It looks impressive and, for regular Hong Kong travellers, a good excuse to avoid Heathrow – especially as the new Cathay Pacific lounge in Terminal 3 is still not open!  Remember that, as a oneworld partner, you earn Avios and British Airways tier points on Cathay Pacific flights.

Tesco replaces its Avios-earning gift card promo with .... the same thing (and a Tesco deal round-up)
Up to 100% bonus when you buy IHG Rewards Club points - four days only
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  1. O/T bits – you Londoners all have the Uber app, right? Read on if you know somebody who likes the Fifa game series – HT HUKD – be quick only live until 2pm

    [You can grab a copy of FIFA 17 today for FREE, thanks to UBER apparently.
    FIFA 17 is released today in North America, but us Brits have to wait until this Thursday to own and play the incredible new FIFA release.

    Thankfully though there is a way to get your hands on the game TODAY and pay absolutely nothing!

    Between 11am and 2pm, Uber will be delivering FREE copies of FIFA 17 on the Xbox One to users living in London and Manchester.

    Uber has also said that a few fans might also recieve some of other EA SPORTS titles, such as Madden NFL 17 and NHL 17 for the Xbox One.

    If that wasn’t enough they teased that some fans might even score a a brand new Xbox One S console.

    Who will be delivering these extra special packages also seems to be a bit of a mystery, with Uber suggesting that “some players from your hometown team” may be “on hand for the ultimate assist on deliveries.”

    All you need to do to grab yourself a copy is this:

    Open the app between 11am – 2pm in London (Zones 1/2 ONLY) and Manchester tomorrow, September 27.

    Tap on the Profile icon on the left and select the Promotions menu.

    Enter the promo code GAMEONUK to unlock the special ‘GAME ON’ option.

    Receive your free copy of FIFA 17 on Xbox One.
    As expected Uber has warned that (understandably) demand will be HIGH and availability limited. In addition they’ve advised that this offer is provided for a limited time on a first-come, first serve basis. ]

  2. O/T – new partnership between Shangri-La Golden Circle and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. My Jade status in the former (courtesy Amex) has given me instance Silver with SQ. They would also give Gold if you manage 3 SQ flights in 4 months after status match (which I won’t but still pretty decent). Handy to have lower fees for SQ redemptions and higher waitlist priority.

    • Hi Alan. That’s good to know. I’ve recently requested upgrade to Jade via Amex Plat. How long did yours take to process? Also, how did you carry out the upgrade to SQ Silver – is it via the S-La website or SQ? I’ve got 4 SQ flights coming up in 3 weeks so hopefully will be in time!

      Many thanks

    • Hey Alan I just did the match for my hubby – I signed him up for Jade with Shangri-La via Platinum but didn’t really plan to use it but now it has come in handy. The Jade status is valid till 12/18 – will the KR silver status match till then too do you think – we are saving KF miles at the moment with a possible trip to Oz stopping in Singapore in 2018/19.

      • Liz – from the FAQs:

        Q: I have successfully registered for a membership status match benefit to KrisFlyer Elite Gold, and have been upgraded. Can my KrisFlyer Elite Silver or Gold status be renewed for the following year?

        A: No. You will only enjoy complimentary KrisFlyer Elite Silver or Gold status for one membership year. You will need to fulfil the published KrisFlyer programme requirements to qualify for subsequent renewal.

        If people here are Manchester based – could easily rack up the 4 flights with a few return trips to Munich before the end of October on the fifth freedom route before it finishes…

        • Ahh, thanks – hadn’t spotted that FAQ. MAN-MUC definitely an interesting option, looks like it’s available for about £160 return, personally I just don’t fly Star Alliance enough to outlay the cost but definitely worth considering for some!

        • THanks Scallder – that match was short lived!

      • Hi Liz – the status match seems to be for a year from date of application. Whether it will be renewed automatically after that is unclear. KF Silver itself doesn’t seem massively useful, mainly just priority waitlisting/slightly reduced fees/ability to extend miles expiry by 12 rather than 6 months. The upgrade to Gold after 3 eligible SQ or SilkAir flights is more interesting, especially if you were able to do so at a cheap price one of the short routes. I guess no immediate need to rush to match given the time limit for upgrading status – I’ve got no paid SQ flights planned anyway so thought I’d try it out as a bit of a guinea pig for HfP 🙂

        • I should have waited – wonder if it will let you match again next year – will diary it and try again this time next year

      • Interesting … is there any airline which will status match from SG silver ?

        • If you could get a Oneworld mid-tier match somewhere that’d be great, sadly the problem is within Star Alliance Silver is pretty rubbish, all the benefits really come from Gold, hence even if you can get a status match of Silver it might not be worth much elsewhere!

    • Just received the email from Shangri-La, the upgrade to star Gold after 3 eligible SQ is quite interesting, but looks like it needs to be done over 4 months after registering, so I guess it is important to get the timing right..I am also hoping it will still available next year…until my current star gold expired.

  3. OT: hubby and I have 2 nights from past accelerate promo which are due to expire at the end of the year. Any recommendations on a UK romantic weekend away that would make good redemption for the 2 free nights? Nice IHG property…. we live in Leeds but open to suggestions.

  4. Not surprised at BA dropping one of it’s Philly flights. In economy, AA offer 2-4-2 seating on the A330 and free seat reservation. And of course AA’s J class on the 330 (former US Airways) is an outstanding hard product.

  5. pointsarb says:

    On the subject of lower taxes ex HKG back to LHR, does anyone know if you are better off booking a round trip with Virgin as two one ways instead of a return to avail of the lower taxes. I remember reading about this on HFP some time ago but cannot find the post sorry! I ask because I am just about to book 4 upper class returns LHR to HKG with VS for a family trip and so wondered if there was a play here to lower the overall taxes paid to Virgin the upper class agents for which tell me that the HKG taxes have infact gone up!

    Thanks in advance for any insight on this.


    • Pointsarb – doing a quick dummy booking for dates with availability, the charges are coming in at:

      One way to HKG = £336.15
      One way from HKG =£35 (HK$350 @ 10:1)
      Return = £515.45

      So in this instance it definitely is better to book as one ways. However not always the case as I found out earlier in the year for flights to Atlanta – was about £100 or so cheaper to book a return flight in UC as seemingly Virgin whack on quite high charges for one ways from the US (and this was back in April before the £ crashed). Always worth a quick check 🙂

    • My Gatwick to Vegas flights were slightly dearer as two one way award bookings.

  6. Qatar virgin says:

    So i need to travel to NYC next year, any tips for getting an IHG rewards account (eg sign up bonus).. Ive only done air-miles to date, eg should i get an IHG credit card for 10,000 points etc? cheers

    • The Premium card, at least in Year 1, is worth the £99 due to the higher bonus and the Platinum status that comes with it.

      Sign up for IHG Rewards Club and see if the Accelerate promo comes back for Jan-March. If so, you may find that you earn a lot of points from a couple of stays which would let you get a decent redemption in NY.

      Also think about the Hilton credit card which comes with a free weekend night and would work nicely at the Conrad New York, which is ‘all suite’.

    • Transfer Virgin Miles to IHG if you have them.

  7. Damn. Good tip but I didn’t act quickly enough!

    Any tips on horses? Or shares? 🙂

  8. Off topic, but I just looked at Shopper Points, and saw that Tesco’s 150 CC points on £50 of gift cards has been replaced with …

    75 CC points with £25 of gift cards! LOL. I must check SP more often. But thanks anyway Rob and Anika.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      For 3 weeks

      Would still pull forward any proposed GC buys as who knows what it will be post that

  9. Snevillio says:

    Regarding the elite benefits at the NYC Intercontinental properties, are you saying that you get 2 x $20 drink vouchers at the Barclay and if yes, what do you get at the other TS one? I’ve got a one night credit card stay as a spire ambassador next year so i might shift the booking if i get some better freebies!

  10. Yep. Matched betting. I think I hoovered up well over £1k back end of last year. I stopped when I’d used up most of the reputable bookies.

  11. Any intercontinental deals on 11th Nov…?