Bits: BA cabin crew to strike, Accor / Amex cashback extended, SAS / Avis deal

News in brief:

British Airways cabin crew to strike

The British Airways ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew – which is pretty much everyone who has been hired since 2010 – have voted for strike action following their rejection of a 2% pay rise.

Union Unite has given notice of strike action from 21st December, although no dates have yet been confirmed.

Of the 4,000 members of Mixed Fleet, only 1,500 took part in the ballot.  80% of those of who voted were in favour of the strike.

According to a BBC report:

According to a recent Unite survey, half of Mixed Fleet staff have taken on second jobs to make ends meet, and more than two-thirds were going to work “unfit to fly” because they could not afford to be off sick.

It said 84% reported experiencing stress and depression since joining BA because of their financial circumstances.

Some even admitted sleeping in cars between flights, because they could not afford the petrol to get home.

Salaries for mixed fleet crew are reported to start at £12,000 per annum plus £3 per hour of flight time.  Average pay is reported to be £16,000.

I will keep you updated with news of strike dates as they are announced.  As Mixed Fleet only represents 25% of BA’s cabin crew, any action would not have a crippling effect on the flight schedule although there would clearly be substantial numbers of cancellation.

BA A318

Accor and Amex extend cashback deal

Accor Hotels, which operates Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure, Ibis, M Gallery, Pullman etc, has a long-running cashback deal with American Express.

There are two variants – £30 back on £250 spend and £50 back on £500 spend.

You need to log into your American Express account and look under ‘Offers’ on each of your card statement pages.  The offer may be there under one of them – if it is, save it to your card.

This offer was meant to end on 21st October.   What I didn’t notice until recently is that Amex rolled it over and it now ends on 31st December.

You need to complete a stay at a Sofitel, Pullman or M Gallery hotel by the year end.  A list of participating hotels is on the Amex site but pretty much every hotel globally under those brands is included.  Ibis, Novotel, Mecure etc are NOT included.  If you stay outside the UK, the converted bill must be over £250.

You might not be aware of which hotels fall under M Gallery as these are generally local hotels which kept their original branding.  In the UK, participating hotels are:

Castle Hotel, Windsor

Francis Hotel, Bath

Queens Hotel, Cheltenham

The Sofitel properties at Heathrow and Gatwick as well as the St James’s flagship pictured below are also included as are the Pullman hotels in Liverpool (brand new, see the article here) and Kings Cross.

The Accor booking page is here.  Don’t forget to register your American Express card before making a booking.

Sofitel St James 350

4000 SAS EuroBonus points from Avis

I don’t cover SAS EuroBonus much on Head for Points, although it is a Star Alliance programme and an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner.

This offer from Avis did catch my eye though.

For Avis rentals booked by 31st December for completion by 30th June, you will receive:

  • 2,000 bonus miles for a 2-3 day rental
  • 4,000 bonus miles for a 4+ day rental

….. as well as a free additional driver.  Full details can be found here.

I finally book the UK's best value - by far - frequent flyer redemption!
Miles & More: 8000 miles with a hotel, 11400 miles with The Economist
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  1. Just a gentle reminder that no mixed fleet crew are based at Gatwick so all the talk above if Gatwick is disingenuous as they won’t be affected at all. They have their own crew on similarly low rates of pay, but they’re out of scope in this action.

    For Zoe, EU261 won’t apply for flights during the strike. On non-strike days though it’s fair game and you would win a case if you pushed it (as above with lufty).

    And for all those saying ‘they knew the pay’… did they? Have you ever worked in a place with variable pay based on non-fixed hours worked? Remember that the max is 900 hours a year, but no minimum, so if BA only rosters you 650 that’s just tough.

    • Yes, but you then know there is no minimum hours and there is a risk. I remember living in central London on minimum wage when I was younger and I survived. I could have lived even cheaper if I was closer to Heathrow, but I didn’t want the commute. You just need to be able to plan and budget and realise the limits when it comes to social life…

      • I agree with that to a certain extent. When at uni I never got into debt by shopping at Netto mainly, not going getting drunk and budgeting carefully. I still had loads of fun, socialised and treated myself etc but kept within the confines of what I had to spend and ended up with debt. I only had about £5k a year as well in 2001ish.

  2. As a point of interest, how does the pay of these crews stack up against other airlines? Are they paid less than VA for example?

    • Norwegian long haul from LGW are just over £1000/month plus allowances (can’t recall what they are). 10-20 day trips with 12 days off per month. So compared to BA Euro-Fleet it’s slightly less money but more time off per month.

  3. I doubt they will call the strike for Xmas and New Year as they will want to avoid the extra negative publicity of doing so. Much better they call it when normal corporate business resumes as that will hurt BA more. In my view BA is walking towards the edge of a cliff, the only three positives they have left are their dominance at LHR, their corporate custom and their cabin crew. If IAG are in profit then they should share some more with their crew Likewise all the other major industries that make enormous sums and pay their workers a pittance. Workers across the UK are being ripped off by their corporate employers who are adept at tax avoidance and facing ever lower corporation taxes anyway. Meanwhile we tax payers face subsidising this corporate greed and through the benefits system, in particular housing benefit in London. People deserve a fair pay for a fair days work. If neither the government nor their employers want to play fair then they have every right to withdraw their labour. As regards the rail strike, I think many might change their tune had they experienced being shut in a train door as I have in May this year, and that happened with guard operated doors.

  4. We have Amex 2-4-1 seats booked to JNB, does anyone know what entitlements/compensation (if any) are, if our flight is cancelled because of industrial action?

  5. Mr Bridge says:

    I think BA crew have a poor deal.
    They code earn more selling sandwiches in M& S….oh wait a minute!!!!!!!

  6. The Independent has a list of what destinations it believes are crewed by Mixed Fleet:

    They are not saying it’s guaranteed to be correct though…

  7. Planned to fly home to Edinburgh for Christmas… From past experience, it will be the EDI, GLA & ABZ flights that are first to be cancelled at any sign of trouble.


  8. Virgin are offering 1000 Bonus Nectar Points for Hogmanay Rail Travel

    Check your Nectar App for details.

  9. Pullman Saigon not on the list 🙁
    Nor is La Residence Hue 🙁

  10. OT Re Shop Small

    I have just sent the following to Amex Cust Services…

    How accurate is the information on the website?

    I was surprised to find 38 businesses listed locally as taking part, as I had no idea that many of them took Amex.

    Having successfully taken part in the offer earlier, I tried again today, at

    LAKES HOME CENTER, LOW ROAD , COCKERMOUTH CUMBRIA CA13 0HH, Tel: 01900 827282 which is listed at 21 for COCKERMOUTH businesses on the website.

    They told me, very bluntly, that they did not take American Express and that they never had done. Their card machine did not respond to me card.

    I have noticed that at least three of the other merchants on the list have no Amex stickers in their windows, let alone a Shop Small sticker, so I really wonder if the reason that I did not know that most of the businesses took Amex is because, in fact, they do not!

    Anyone else experienced this?

    • +1. Not as good this year. I’ve had many shops not take / say don’t take Amex. At least Artisan du Chocolat at Borough Market this afternoon happily agreed to my negotiated price on multiple chocs, were happy to take individual £10 payments and then gave me a free hot chocolate. Top service and top product.

      • Amex have responded to my query.

        I assure you that all merchants that we have listed for you on the map agreed to participate in the campaign. I am sorry to learn that ‘LAKES HOME CENTER’ refused to accept your Card despite being listed on the map.

        I have also updated our Marketing team, informing them about your current experience. We will take all measures to contact the merchant to resolve the situation so that you do not face any issues going forward.

        They say they are also paying me £5 anyway! (I took the business elsewhere, not least because the product I planned to buy was not exactly what I wanted and the price would only have been vaguely reasonable with the £5 discount.)

        I am intrigued, though, that Amex reckon that they have an agreement with a firm that says that they have never, at any time, accepted Amex cards.

    • Jason Hindle says:

      Problem: Pretty much any problem.

      BA solution: Slash and burn baby! Slash and burn!

      Lack of creativity at the top?

  11. I am getting close to dollar voting BA by using other airlines. I do have some ethical purchasing beliefs and moral boycott a number of companies (Sports Direct, Amazon, Starbucks blah blah). BA management appear to be greedy and out of touch with both customers and work force.

    • I live close to Sporting Direct, and people who work there tell me that much of the campaign is humbug.

      There are also some amusing idiocies such as local accidents on public roads being included in claims about Sports Direct.

      Be a discerning consumer.

      • Never heard of Sporting Direct so cannot comment. Sport direct is the company well known for giant mugs

  12. Are those reports of £12,000/yr + £3 flight hour true? That is crackers.

    • Welcome to the world outside the M25. Except these people have to work, if not live, inside the M25 ….. I would actually be ashamed to pay that. Always a good wake up call for those of us who drop a months mixed fleet basic pay on a decent lunch with a few friends or a weekend in a hotel.

      Wait until you read the story on Saturday about how a HFP reader dropped £13,000 for an aviation treat for his 30th birthday …..

      • Wow, that’s some lunches you have, Rob!

      • I hope I’ve made a mistake taking that to mean £1000 on lunch? Rob, in a world where the majority of people struggle to get by every month, that comment was in poor taste.

  13. OT Curve
    Just had an email saying android app is available, and got a link to choose blue for free or black for 50 quid.
    obviously can’t decide without advice from here, but searching the site or google, recent curve articles have been deleted (errror 404).
    so do you no longer support curve, or is this a technical error?

    • the real harry1 says:

      interesting question

      has hfp abandoned Curve?

      • Article on the Android app tomorrow.

        I actually use the card daily because it is contactless, unlike my main MasterCard which is linked to it. I also use it for all my cash withdrawals – I don’t know anyone who has yet been charged a fee despite the new rules.

        • Interesting to know thank you…. I might start using mine a bit more then! – Was holding off until Curve Rewards was implemented properly…

    • The last Curve article redirects to the new Curve article tomorrow – which isn’t live until 5am, which is why you get the 404.