Bits: Gatwick lounges (partly) open, avios.com Clubcard competition, use Avios with Amazon Echo

News in brief:

New British Airways Gatwick lounges now open

The two new British Airways lounges at Gatwick had a soft opening over the weekend.  I understand that there is no table service food offering yet in the First / Gold lounge.  It seems that Club Europe customers are not being allowed to use the Business Lounge but will be redirected to the Speedbird (ex Virgin) lounge.  Reports on Flyertalk suggest that the Business Lounge had to close entirely yesterday afternoon due to ‘toilet issues’.

Feedback is generally positive so far, which is good news.

If I can get down there this week I will do a report.  If not, I need to be in Gatwick next Saturday anyway and will do a review then.

Clubcard vouchers

Competition for converting Clubcard points to avios.com – but not BA

Regular HFP readers won’t be surprised to learn that there is no bonus for converting Tesco Clubcard points into Avios this quarter.

There is a 10% bonus for converting points into Virgin Flying Club miles (see my article from Friday) but as this is only open to first time converters I doubt many readers will qualify.

If you are converting into Avios, it makes sense to convert via avios.com because of the competition they are running this month.  BA has not launched any sort of offer.  (EDIT: it appears from the comments that BA is offering a Madrid holiday competition to targetted people. This is not on the BA or Tesco websites.)

Remember that it doesn’t matter which route you take as you can move your points around, instantly and for free, using ‘Combine My Avios’ on either site.

This is how the competition works:

For every £2.50 of Clubcard vouchers you send to an avios.com account before 28th February, you receive one entry into a prize draw.

50 people will win 10,000 Avios points.

You convert via this page of tesco.com.  The competition is not mentioned there but it is on the Tesco page at avios.com.

If you collect Avios via Clubcard points, remember to follow our sister site Shopper Points which has daily articles on new Clubcard (and Nectar) offers.

Avios partners with Amazon Alexa

Avios has launched a new ‘skill’ for Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service.  It is now available in the UK through Amazon’s voice-controlled speakers, Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot.

Alexa is the ‘brain’ behind Amazon Echo.  As you can see from the image above, it is basically a cross between Apple’s Siri service and a hi-fi speaker.  It allows customers to play music, get information, news, sports scores, weather and more, just by asking. Alexa also provides capabilities, or skills, that help customers to interact with services in a more intuitive way, using just their voice.

If you download the Avios ‘skill’, you will be able to ask your Amazon Echo or Echo Dot questions such as:

How many Avios are in my account?

How many Avios are needed for a particular award? 

How can I increase my Avios balance?

“Avios is passionate about embracing new technologies that enable our customers to interact with Avios in new and innovative ways” said Paul Miller, Director of Strategic Innovation at Avios, using that strange press release version of English which people never use in real life. “We believe that working with Amazon to offer the Avios skill for Alexa will increase our ability to make recommendations that will inspire customers to travel using their points.”

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

My review of the excellent new Eurostar Business Premier Lounge in Paris
Bits: Airportr ski equipment offer, BA refusing to budge on 'two tickets' baggage transfer
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Comments

  1. I haven’t exchanged any vouchers this quarter but I received a competition email for BA last week.


    Wouldn’t it be nice to be packing a suitcase instead of unpacking a grocery bag? Well, now’s your chance. For every £5 worth of Tesco Clubcard vouchers you exchange for Avios by midnight, 28 February 2017, you’ll receive one entry into a prize draw to win a three night Club Europe holiday in a five star hotel in Madrid, between April and June 2017 – plus, 1,200 Avios.”

    So looks like they are doing something.

    Thanks

    Adam

    • Sorry, was logged in under my brothers name, should check these things before posting.

    • Sergeant Major says:

      Yes, I received that too

    • melonfarmer says:

      I go this too, which is a bit odd if it is targeted because I only convert £1 – £3 per quarter so am excluded from the competition anyway due to minimum spend! Conclusion: not very well targeted.

  2. It’d be great if for once, they’d announce these things in advance of the vouchers dropping into people’s CC accounts; I converted mine to BA yesterday! Grrrrr …..

    • According to BA email I got you’ll still be eligible for their draw.

    • They did, the emails came before the vouchers, however, it seems not everybody gets the emails. It was the same last quarter.

  3. OT Bit: new amex offers out including naked wine, heals, Kurt Geiger and appleyard flowers.

    • +£50 off £250 at hilton, 1000 avios at oak furniture land, and somethingcalled boux avenue.

    • Oh no….not a dreaded Naked Wines offer after the last debacle!

      • Wasn’t that Laithwaites? Ie. Amex cash back and a code. This naked wines one is just a code

      • the real harry1 says:

        not sure what you mean? LY we got 2x the NW deal – stacks with other offers including the brilliant Amex discount (different to statement credit) – superb wines, even superber when you get £250 headline price for not much more than £50 :)

        I’ll have a look later to see if we can get that working again

        • the real harry1 says:

          got it x2 again – BA cards – I suggest you earmark it straight away as it went unavailable quite quickly last time

        • Looking forward to your analysis, Harry.

          • So am I :)

          • the real harry1 says:

            https://www.nakedwines.com/amex

            gets you a £100 coucher, use a new email address

            judging by Matthew’s comment below it won’t combine with today’s deal as it’s not a statement credit this time

          • the real harry1 says:

            looks to be the case but it seems you therefore don’t need to register your Amex card to get an alternative £100 off – not bad if you can get close to £150, I’ll see if any of the wines appeal :)

            Click ‘Get this offer’ to reveal promo code. UK American Express Cardmembers are eligible to receive £100 off at Naked Wines, between 06/02/17 and 05/03/17. To redeem this offer, visit nakedwines.com/amx17 and quote promo code AMX17. Delivery cost is not included in this offer. Market Place deals and Angel orders are excluded from this offer. Offer not combinable with any other offer. Offer only valid on delivery within the UK. Full payment must be made on an American Express Card. This offer is fulfilled and promoted by nakedwines.com Ltd. Registered address: Majestic House, The Belfry, Colonial Way, Watford, WD24 4WH. Registered in England & Wales with Company No: 06672317. Full terms and conditions are available at nakedwines.com/terms. For UK residents aged 18 or over. This voucher can be used against your first order of £150 or more. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Full terms and conditions are available at nakedwines.com/terms.

          • the real harry1 says:

            so it’s £54.98 to get the recommended case incl delivery – not bad at all if you just wanted the wines – £4.58/ bottle for some excellent wines normally worth about £8

            probably best to see this for what it is – something of a loss leader for Naked Wines – Amex cardholders are desirable target consumers – just remember to phone & cancel your Angels membership if it gets confirmed after the waiting list – or just cancel it as soon as your wine arrives

          • the real harry1 says:

            this case is also pretty good for much the same price with one of the £100 off vouchers (can’t use 2!)
            https://www.nakedwines.com/cases/rioja-and-sauvignon-case-2016.htm

          • Will be his usual…all very drinkable :)

        • That’s what caused them to pull it on most people!

      • It was a £100 statement credit last year and lots including me spent the required £150 and then nakedwines split it into two transactions (despite being just one order) so the credit didn’t trigger. Then amex said they pulled the deal. It was honoured eventually but only after a prolonged battle.

        This year the deal is different and is a voucher code rather than a statement credit.

  4. Guess the Speedbird lounge for CE is a temporary measure? Flying out to Malta from LGW in a couple of months in CE and wanted to check out the new lounge!

  5. OT – 20% discount code for Uber, on rides until Friday, not clear if it’s targetted:
    “Make Uber a part of your work week this week. Enter code 17WKDAY in your Uber app to get up to 20% off 5 rides this week only.”

  6. Rob, I’m in LGW for 4+ hours in a couple of weeks time, so will be v keen to see your upcoming review on the new BA GC lounge.

    Is there a protocol for guesting people in? Also maybe a guest invite list on FT, or did that get pulled?

  7. Does anyone know if the rules for BA Combine My Avios are any different from IB or avios.com? I can transfer my points between IB and avios.com without issues, but when moving to/from BA to IB, or to/from BA to avios.com, get a message that it cannot be done.

  8. OT if I am BA silver and have malaysian airways bookings, can I choose seats now for those flights? The booking code doesn’t seem to work on the BA website.

  9. Anyone actually get Alexa to link to your Avios account? Mine just keeps refusing the username and password when you try to link via the Alexa app

    • I’ll try it when I get home.
      Checking Avios account balance isn’t as much fun as checking when the ISS is next passing overhead!

    • Tried 3 times, but no joy. Off out to kick people now, so will try again later.

      • the real harry1 says:

        who are you planning to kick? :)

      • Glad its not just mine fella. Yeah the ISS is more interesting that checking your avios balance. Would be nice if they actually get it to work though!

  10. I’m at LGW Saturday morning, i have my lounge club access from the Amex Gold card. Which lounge is best to use there at North terminal; Aspire, My or No1 ? Have not used any of the lounges at LGW before. Thanks

    • I would probably go for Nbr 1 if I was you. I used to use them all the time but then after all the lounge changing they became very hard to get in (Full of BA customers) now they have gone it should all be ok. For the last few months I have been using Aspire and although it is not highly regarded I don’t mind it, not the best selection of food/drink but I prefer the self service to hanging around the bar in Nbr 1 waiting to order some food. But for everything else I would say Nbr 1 are probably superior.
      My lounge I have used twice when the other two have been full and i would never use them unless I had to, even the bit that should be good (the kids play area when I have my daughter with me) has never been any good as it is tiny and everytime I have been in there it has a group of adults sat in front of the tv so my daughter has spent her time loitering in the doorway – I am not sure Mylounge really knows what its target is as the offering is eclectic at best.

    • I think a lot of people will be there Saturday morning :)
      We have an early flight so hopefully it won’t be too busy at 7am 😉

  11. OT. I saw this pop up on my LinkedIn feed.
    Lloyds Banking Group wins Best Achievement in Customer Service in the Cards and Payment Awards 2017. Judging by some of the stories posted in the comments, I fail to understand why…
    http://www.cardandpaymentsawards.com/finalists/2017-2/

    • perhaps because of the generous compensation that they pay?

    • I think the term to remember is “You should see the other guy!”

      I think it is a bit like winning “Most popular MP.” or “Most trustworthy Estate Agent.”

  12. I visited the new LGW BA First lounge on Saturday, a couple of hours after it opened. It offers terrific views of the runway areas. Food serving area is somewhat cramped which will be a problem at peak times.

    Nice bright area with plenty of seating. Good bar and self serve champagne island.

    However, most of the seating has no access to power, which is strange for a new build. Plenty of sockets in the business centre area and along the windows but overall the are fewer sockets adjacent to comfy seats than at LHR galleries.

    • the real harry1 says:

      that’s really odd – you’d have thought that it’s not really very expensive to put in a generous number of power/ USB sockets – yet very much desired by users

  13. Can anyone confirm/refute that the stairs are the only access? Not sure I’d feel safe walking down them in heals carrying hand luggage.

  14. *heels* even…

  15. Ot:
    What’s the best time of the day or night to get through to Virgin flying club CS department? Tried three times since 6pm tonight and held for 20 mins each time.

  16. OT: I bought United flights in November 2016, flying in July 2017. I’ve just signed up for Aer Lingus (today). Do you know if it’s possible to get Avios points for the United flights via Aer Lingus? I understand that this might be possible if making new bookings, but I haven’t managed to find anywhere on United or Aer Lingus websites where I can apply this for my existing booking.

  17. “Hey Alexa, what meal will I be served on board my BA flight to Cyprus?”

    Beauty of it is you get the same answer whether your Echo is turned on or not.

    • the real harry1 says:

      heh heh

      no free food or drinks for you, old son

      BA despises its customers and the fact that the customers paid for tickets to include a snack & drinks is totally irrelevant – as BA says: show me the “f£cking money!”

      • Lady London says:

        I sooooo want to see that challenged in law.

        Trouble is, if anyone gets seriously near a legal challenge I’m sure BA will just throw a load of miles at them in exchange for a confidentiality as agreement.

  18. Ba is also offering %35 bonus on Hotel Points to Avios conversions.
    https://www.britishairways.com/travel/executive-club-offers/public/en_gb?ts_pageid=2017-q1-hotel-points-to-avios&lb=2017-q1-hotel-points-to-avios&nocache=4773

    Would it make sense to convert any of them?