Bits: BA long haul buy-on-board confusion, interesting Accor / Economist deal

News in brief:

British Airways tells the press it is considering long-haul buy on board

I had been told, prior to last weeks big British Airways press event which we covered in depth, that Chairman and CEO Alex Cruz was being deliberately kept away from the media.

This or may not be true, but it isn’t hard to believe.  Clearly feeling full of confidence after Wednesday’s event, he gave an interview to The Sunday Times yesterday in which he declared he was interested in introducing buy on board in long-haul economy.

This was not a secret.  He has spoken about the possibility of adopting a different business model at Gatwick to combat Norwegian, and this would be a key part of any plan.  Saying it openly to a newspaper only four days after getting BA some decent press coverage for the first time in weeks was not a great idea, however.

It was quickly picked up by other media outlets and the Press Office was forced into action.  The Times article is behind a paywall but the Evening Standard version is here.  (The Press Office once called me on a Sunday afternoon whilst I was toy shopping to ask me change something in a HFP article!)

The same Times article also suggested that the amuse bouche and ‘flower in the loo’ could be returning to First Class.  Whilst this is good to hear, any impression that this would be funded by charging for food down the back is also not good PR.

PS.  I was also confused by this quote from the Times.  Speaking of buy on board in short-haul economy, Cruz said:

“It’s going great. Customers say to us: ‘Finally, I have good choices. No more chicken or beef’

… which makes no sense, because you would need to go back 10 years, perhaps 20 years, to find a time when short haul Economy passengers were offered a choice of two hot meat meals.  It is all very bizarre.

Economist

Interesting Economist / Accor promotion

We have seen a number of Economist promotions recently, including one with Avios which only closed on 31st March.  It offered 13,200 Avios for a one-year subscription.

This new deal is more intriguing.  It is organised in conjunction with Le Club AccorHotels.  The landing page is here.

You will earn up to 12,000 Le Club AccorHotels points with a two-year Economist subscription.

1 Accor points = 1 Avios point in Iberia Plus if you choose to convert them.  (Do NOT convert into British Airways Avios as the rate is 2:1.  Convert to Iberia and move them across to BA via ‘Combine My Avios’).

However …… 12,000 Accor points are also worth a €240 discount on an Accor hotel stay.  Given that a 2-year Economist subscription (print and digital) is £315, this is a very strong rebate if you were after the magazine in the first place.

If you are self employed and can offset the cost of the magazine as a business expense, it is even more interesting.

The deal runs until 31st May.  Thanks to Steve.

(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.)

What is the best hotel scheme? - IHG Rewards Club - The Facts
Back in the Etihad First & Business Class lounge, Heathrow Terminal 4
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Comments

  1. Separate OT:
    My wife upgraded her Amex Gold to Platinum, after her card anniversary, but before receipt of the 10k bonus MRs. She has subsequently tried to claim these, but it has been rejected as she is no longer eligible, given she upgraded to Platinum.
    Anyone been in a similar situation? Strictly speaking I guess Amex are correct, though seems a bit harsh having met all the criteria to receive the bonus.
    And also a lesson to other to wait until he points come through…!

    • Handy to know, I might upgrade my wife once the 10k posts.

    • She should have waited for the points… They post around 30 days after the renewal..
      You could possibly call up and may get an agent who may do it out of goodwill, but I think you’ve learnt a lesson.

    • Scottydogg says:

      When you say upgraded , did you get any American express sign up bonus for upgrading to Platinum ? I’m in a similar situation , we are thinking of up grading just to take advantage of the holiday insurance and Priority pass for an upcoming trip where we will be visiting 8 different airports , I plan to cancel after that pro rata

      • Yep got an upgrade bonus, after contacting customer support. There is also a link floating around for an upgrade but might be targeted, not sure

        • Scottydogg says:

          Could I be cheeky and ask you what bonus you got ? reading on the internet ive seen some people say 15,000 and some saying 20,000 ?

          • Was 15,000. Though I got offered nothing myself.

          • I got offered 5k then asked if it could be increased at all (was hoping for 10k at least) and got offered 20k… so worth persisting!

  2. O/T but Accor related. I am going to book 2 nights with Accor and want to benefit from the triple avios promotion. I can’t see to find where I choose earning miles over accor points, I have looked all over the site……

  3. Mark newstart says:

    O/T
    will I get the bonus points if I upgrade from Amex Gold to Platinum after I get the bonus from
    the gold?
    Also if I refer someone from a SPG Amex to a Amex Gold or Platinum with I get a bonus?
    know this is old hat to you guys and girls ….. just starting out …………..

    • Genghis says:

      1) Yes, provided the link that is being circulated is not targeted
      2) Not possible. You can only officially refer within family (i.e. Amex Gold->Gold/Plat, BAPP->BAPP/BA Blue, SPG->SPG) though @rams1981 I believe reported some success going from Amex Gold/Plat->SPG.

    • Scottydogg says:

      So there is a link circulating for upgrading from Gold to Platinum ? we are wanting to do this but wanted to hopefully get the sign up bonus for taking out the Platinum . How should I go about this ? any ideas ?

      • Genghis says:
        • Optimus Prime says:

          Interesting… so by being referred to Amex Gold, spending 2k, upgrading to Plat and spending 1k one would get 22k+2k+20k+1k = 43k MR points as opposed to 37k when signing up with Amex Plan via referral?

          I just missed out on this 😛

          • Genghis says:

            I make it 45k, but yes :)
            For “internalised referrals” it might still be best to refer to Plat if you can spend £2k relatively quickly (as refer gets 18k vs 9k)

          • Optimus Prime says:

            Lol yes, 45k.

        • When you upgrade to plat does the hotel status kick in instantly (i.e. as soon as I get approved I get automatic gold status without the card arriving)? Also, if you’ve been approved but your card hasn’t arrived does your spend on gold start counting towards the sign on bonus?

        • Does this link still provide the previous ‘benefit’ when upgrading from gold in the first year?

  4. Thanks for flagging this. I was just about to book some BA long haul flights for the autumn, but will go with a different carrier in case they bring in this policy in the interim.

  5. Scottydogg says:

    O/T questions ,

    If I take out a Amex Platinum , with regards to the Priority Pass , do you get a priority pass membership for the card holder and supplementary card holder that allows you to bring a guest in each ? So 2 adults can bring in 2 kids for free ?
    Sorry , I’m just trying to get my head around it , it seems that this could make the £450 fee more realistic for me , is the £450 fee put on the first months bill ?

    • Genghis says:

      Yes.
      £450 fee is usually put on first bill but it can be charged straight away through a statement produced soon after application.

    • Yes, so you can get 4 people into a lounge if your supplementary cardholder is with you. We do this.

      • the real harry1 says:

        is the 5th guest £15?

        or should I tell Mutley to go to Boots meal deal?

      • thehornets says:

        and just to be clear, the Priority Pass is cancelled if the Platinum card is cancelled, whereas the hotel status upgrades remain in place?

  6. Keith S says:

    Would certainly end any flights for me for BA if they do BoB for world flights – totally unacceptable for such long flights and agree with the asia comments

  7. If they bring this in before a pre announcement booked flight do you get a full refund option?

    • When BA introduced this “enhancement” for short haul, all it gave was 1,000 Avios compensation – BUT this was a total of 1,000 Avios regardless of how many flights you had booked ahead
      i.e. 1 flight = total 1,000 Avios, 10 flights = total 1,000 Avios . Unbelievable, but sadly true!

  8. Linda Butler says:

    I was on a flight from Rome last night to Heathrow. I was seated in the extra legroom seats by the wing. We were spending such a lovely time in Rome, we didnt have time to eat before boarding the plane. Unfortunately ALL the food ran out by the first quarter of the flight. By the time the flight attendants got to us there was no milk left for a cup of tea and just one chocolate bar! I think that it is better to offer no food that way we will all make sure we take some on board. Running out after only serving 1/4 of the flight is unacceptable.

    • Yeah, but you only paid £29. Snr Cruz told us. I bet you were ‘glad of the choice’ or some other drivel.

      • the real harry1 says:

        indeed

        you only paid £29 & it wasn’t just a choice between chicken or beef

        actually it was nothing, ¿tienes hambre, amigo? – but that’s better than being forced to choose between chicken or beef

        according to Senor Alex ‘Loco’ Cruz

  9. OT, at least BA havent resorting to downgrading like this..
    https://thepointsguy.com/2017/04/united-passenger-forcibly-removed/

  10. OT: Somebody told me u get bonus MR points for booking flights on Amex Travel website – does anyone know if this is true? They might have been talking about a US Amex card…

    • I think here you get 2 MR points per 1£

      • James67 says:

        x2 for booking flights anyplace and x3 for booking travel at amex travel I believe?

        • Has to be a direct booking with an airline not an OLTA I think for 2 points.

        • Gold card only not Platinum!
          If you book through Amex Travel, check that you get the triple points. I booked a cruise through them which was charged by Our Holiday Centre and I had a big struggle to get the extra.

          • Platinum gets bonus MR for booking through Amex Travel, but not any other bonuses (sadly)

  11. David2910 says:

    OT: Greenwich council tax. Payable by Amex at Coop paypoint?

    • Genghis says:

      It was when I lived in SE10

      • Sergeant Major says:

        Does anyone know if Dartford Council tax can be paid by Amex? No barcode on the bill and the council doesn’t do a payment card either. Much appreciated

        • Genghis says:

          Note if you currently pay by DD, a barcode won’t appear on the bill

          • My CT bill is on my desk. I do not pay by direct debit and there is no barcode, but they do issue an AllPay card which allows payment of up to £150 per transaction at Coop etc.

          • Genghis says:

            ‘A barcode won’t be on the bill if you pay by DD’ and ‘There is no barcode on the bill and I don’t pay by DD’ can both hold true. My council only puts barcodes on bills where don’t pay by DD (Dartford could be the same) whereas yours clearly does not.

    • IDK about Greenwich but be aware that there may be a £200 transaction limit for Co-Op Paypoint. When I did mine, they had to break it up into five or six transactions to put it through. The first clerk I saw didn’t know this, so the system kept declining the transactions until his colleague came over and told him about the limit.

  12. I don’t terribly mind BoB, regretfully that is the way things are going, however I do mind it being done appalling badly. 18.40 service back from Zurich last week (dinner time) and they loaded only two of each hot sandwich options for a full 767. Sat in row 9 and nothing left by the time the got to us, flight attendants requested we fill out complaint forms as “they never listen to us”!

    • I fully understand Buy on board when people fly for 30 pound one way but I actually paid almost 200 euros Amsterdam to London and back in Euro Traveller the other day. Let’s just say it didn’t feel right.

  13. S jacob says:

    The cost of food served on board is very expensive and if passengers are given an option, i am sure a lot of passengers will opt for not having airline food. They can pick up a sandwich or some thing else from the airport for far less money. That means the fare should go down considerably. I don’t think there is a need to feed twice on an 8 hour flight. Instead reduce the fare substantially. This should attract more passengers at the back end. Obviously passengers in the front end would like to be pampered with best food and wine. They should be provided such luxuries as they pay a lot more than the back end passengers.

  14. There’s really nothing confusing about Cruz statements. He’s just fully embracing the ‘post-truth’ world, where it doesn’t matter if a statement is actually grounded in fact. His whole tactic since taking over at BA has been about using normative influence to soften the damage that drastic cuts to service standards have on the brand. Simplified, the idea is that people like to fit in. If you tell people enough times that everyone else loves the changes you’ve made, they will start to express love for the change as well, even if they actually hate it, and will even start to question whether they’re wrong to inwardly hate it…they must be missing something if everyone else loves it, right?! Almost everyone’s desire to fit in eventually trumps their rational thought process, and so that is why every cut has been announced as ‘in response to customer feedback’, and why Cruz is constantly telling us how much customers love the changes. It’s nothing more than a psychological trick.

  15. Seems BA employee also agrees that the company is in a race to the bottom:

    https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Reviews/Employee-Review-British-Airways-RVW12418650.htm