Bits: 2400 Avios with £99 tablet, Norwegian adds Singapore, more Amex Plat lounges

News in brief:

2,400 Avios with a £99 Samsung tablet

Tesco Direct is running an interest Samsung Galaxy Tab offer this week.  Until April 24th, these four tablets – all priced at £99 or £119 – come with 1,000 bonus Tesco Clubcard points.

That would get you 2,400 Avios or 2,500 bonus Virgin Flying Club miles, on top of your base points.  Full details are in this Shopper Points article.

Samsung tablet white small tesco extra clubcard points

Norwegian adds Singapore

Low-cost long-haul airline Norwegian turned up the pressure on British Airways yesterday with the launch of a new London Gatwick to Singapore service.

Services start on 28th September using a new Boeing 787-9.  It will initially operate four times a week before stepping up to five.  Headline entry fares are £180 one-way in economy (although checked baggage and meals are extra) and £700 one-way in Premium.

This is an aggressive move by Norwegian which has focused on UK to North America routes to date, and it remains to be seen if such routes will remain viable if fuel prices rise from their current low-ish level.

There will now be 50 flights per week between London and Singapore over Winter 2017.

Our recent article outlining the Norwegian Reward programme is here.

Norwegian 787

More Amex Platinum lounges – Bradesco lounges in Brazil

Two days ago I ran an article on the long list of airport lounges which can be accessed with an Amex Platinum card but which Amex doesn’t tell you about.

A reader pointed out that I missed one group.  Amex – in conjunction with its local issuer Bradesco – has a network of lounges in Brazil.  These can be accessed with a Platinum card or, it appears (my Portuguese is a bit ropey) a Gold card.  Full details, in Portuguese, can be found here.  Here are the lounges:

Sao Paulo Terminal 2 – Bradesco Lounge – airside – 1st floor
Sao Paulo Terminal 3 – Star Alliance Lounge – airside – mezzanine
Sao Paulo – Amex Centurion Lounge – airside – opposite gate 5
Rio De Janeiro – Amex Centurion Lounge – landside – 1st floor
Recife Terminal 2 – Sala VIP PontesTur – airside – ground floor

…. and Plaza Premium lounges

Amex Platinum cards issued in Hong Kong – but which look very similar to the UK version – can be used to access a large number of Plaza Premium airport lounges.  You can learn more here.

Most Plaza Premium lounges are in Priority Pass, which means that you can enter anyway by using the Priority Pass card which comes with Amex Platinum, but this is a fall back option if you don’t have your Priority Pass with you.

(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.)

New wine deal - 15 bottles and 1000 Avios for £52
The alternative to hotel loyalty schemes - and Rewards
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  1. O/T: If i refer my friend for an Amex card do I receive the bonus soon after they are accepted or soon after they complete the minimum spend?

    • Normally within a few days of them being approved for the card

      • Furthermore, if they don’t get accepted instantly, the referrer receiving the bonus is often the first indicator that the card application was approved

    • Also keep a close eye on it going forward as they missed my referral for my wife completely. I had to phone them up to get the bonus.

  2. Sao Paulo Star alliance lounge is probably best priority pass lounge i have ever been to…bottomless bubbles, heavenly desserts and huge space…really nice

    • the real harry1 says:

      Sao Paulo Terminal 3 – Star Alliance Lounge – airside – mezzanine

      entry with Plat but not Gold

  3. Amex Platinum – the Hong Kong charge card is by Invitation Only and costs HKD7800 per year (approx USD1000).

  4. Quite interested to know if anyone has any experience of getting into plaza premium just by flashing their Amex platinum or whether the desk still swipe it!?

  5. If anyone is booking Norwegian seems to price up cheaper on the singapore site in SGD

    Though there are plenty of good deals on Singapore Airlines at the moment so do double check before you book as they might not be as good a deal as they seem!

  6. Norwegian is running 50 flights a week to Singapore – they ARE confident.

  7. the_real_a says:
    • Concerto says:

      Is that really all the hotels that are on it? Just one property in Europe??

      • Apparently crowne plaza vilnius lithuania is also on list.

        • Is that the one which is built above a nightclub which pounds out music until 5am on Friday and Saturday?

        • Sandgrounder says:

          I think you might get some noise from the panoramic restaurant if you are on a high floor, but I don’t think they have a nightclub.

          I am slightly annoyed because I need a room in Vilnius in the middle of August when I will be en route from Latgale to Minsk. Will just miss out on the sweet pointbreak action. :^(

        • Rob, you may be thinking of the CP in Bratislava. That had a club below which was “entertaining” throughout the night…

        • That club in bratislava is mental…. good times

      • the_real_a says:

        No the list is usually released at around 4-5pm UK time (those are the left overs from last time)

      • Andrew M says:

        I’m hoping that’s the old list and the new one hasn’t gone live yet. It would be very poor if that was the new list.

    • The list is released today but NOT on that site. The hotels are not bookable until Monday.

  8. Sort of related – is the car hire insurance on the Amex Platinum fully comprehensive (including excess)? Having just been charged $18 per day for car hire insurance in the Caribbean, I am wondering whether it would be worth getting the Platinum for this and the other benefits. I usually get an annual excess policy but I’ve never found a company offering full insurance cover for hire vehicles abroad.

    • the_real_a says:

      Yes it is truly comprehensive, and allows you to decline anything that is declinable (!)

      Also you get a 20% Hertz discount which is useful sometimes too.

      • Plus 4 hours can be added to a rental for no fee . I am using it next week for 2 days and 4 hours charged for 2 days

      • That’s really good to know, I will definitely look into it for next year. Hoping to do a fly drive to Washington DC and Virginia so the Hertz discount might also come in handy.

      • dezeeko says:

        I have been trying to utilise the 10% Hertz discount for Gold Amex holders using the CDP code and booking as a member on the Hertz site to no avail recently. When I called Hertz I was told the discount only applies to NON-prepaid bookings which are obviously much more expensive than the pre-paid rates. Does anyone else have experience of this or know how to get the discount off pre-paid reservations please?

        • Just completed a Hertz rental over easter. It was definitely prepaid and definitely included the 10% Amex discount (have checked on the receipt). If I remember it has to be at least a class C car or above – and maybe there’s a minimum rental period? I used the Gold Amex ‘CDP’ code added to my Hertz profile. If you try and book it through kayak or similar I found that it wouldn’t let the discount be added too.

    • Jovanna says:

      Amex (AXA Travel) still haven’t sorted my claim with Hertz from January of last year. Hertz won’t provide any confirmation that the excess will not be refunded. Without that AXA won’t provide a refund. I’ve just sent a letter before action to Hertz, hoping to get a response.

      I complained to Amex, pointing out that AXA are sat idle. Surely my insurers should be doing the work and not me? They passed me to AXA, who said they’d ‘try to look into it’…

  9. OT- Few weeks ago there were comments here about which utility companies one can make extra payment by CC in (say if DD is £105, pay £100 by CC and remaining £5 will be taken by monthly DD). Has anyone got a complete list of Utilities?
    I am looking at nPower.
    I can confirm it also works with Sky and BT

    • Also, it would be interesting to see if anyone has experience of overpaying a utility when you are about to leave them and when they are expected to send all credit balance to your bank account to which you pay via DD? How much risk does one run by overpaying and getting points/miles from CC spend?

      • the real harry1 says:

        I’ve overpaid by £1000 shortly before changing supplier & got the money back after the final bill, no problems at all

        also overpaid by £1000 without changing supplier & asked for it back, no questions asked

        Also did it with my council tax and here got an awkward question to answer – but in reality you’re hardly going to be money laundering if it’s just £1000 or so – plus with you & partner both able to pay in monies, it’s easy to get confused, isn’t it? 🙂

      • Have a look at British Gas, you can overpay using credit card, then withdraw overpayments to the bank account used for direct debit.

      • And SSE and Spark energy, both refund full balances to bank account once final bill sorted. Am owed approx £1100 for mine now. You really do have to call up and ask if they take cc payments on line or automated PH line. My current SSE one, l ordered a pay point card so l prepay at the coop. (I know, back to that subject again!)
        About to change now as my TCR is gone up by 45% they said my deal was an ultra low one,so they are bringing costs back to normal, their words this morning!

        • With British Gas you can get a refund at any time you want for any overpayments, all done online, no need to wait for any final bill.

    • Does that also work for mobile phone contracts?

      • It works for Tesco mobile. I’ve just bought a new phone with Tesco and now get the new Clubcard perk of 100 extra pts per month for the duration of the contract.

    • Don’t think it works for gas and electricity – if you overpay they still take the normal monthly amount. I assume at some point when you’ve overpaid by too much they will refund you but i haven’t done that. I pay Sky, Tesco mobile and BT each month manually leaving a few £’s to be collected by DD.

      • the real harry1 says:

        it’s not automatic – you either need to reduce your monthly DD online (eg EON allow this) or get it done on the phone

      • I prepay everything with Amex, but sky needs master or visa only. EE x2, bt, but SSE at coop, Sky will take a direct debit from the credit card too, which is helpful. Apart from my council tax, which kills me! Has to be dd only or cheque, will not issue me with a bar code bill. Dark ages. Or a book to take to the bank, not the post office as they told me! Which would have been great with Amex at the counter. Annoying.

    • My experience with SP has been the exact opposite. I have overpaid regularly and claimed it back online. They used to repay to the source card but now repay to the DD account. They are also the cheapest large supplier and the price is capped until 2019.

      • Worzel says:

        I’m pleased with SP also-we are well in credit for dual fuel-I’m sure a refund for overpayment would be a simple process.

        We’ve had fairly low usage throughout the winter-mind you, asking Mrs G to keep her overcoat on, on return from work and providing a blanket and balaclava has helped! 🙂 .

        • the real harry1 says:

          hope you didn’t tell her to put it on backwards 🙂

        • Worzel says:


          The backwards balaclava is reserved for when the mother-in-law pops in.

          It helps- certainly for me ! 🙂 .

  10. O/t but BA has been slammed by sky news journo Sophie ridge in her column in today’s metro as a budget airline. “CEO Alex Cruz says the changes are ‘going great’. This might be so for BA’s profit margins, but not for passengers.”

    • Mzungu says:

      I encountered another ‘enhancement’ yesterday (although maybe others have already encountered this one?)

      I called to book an open-jaw return using a 241, as you can’t do that online, and was charged the £30 fee for booking by phone. When I queried it, I was told that they didn’t used to charge it, but now do. Something mentioned about not previously being able to book open-jaw with a 241, but I don’t believe that.

      I pointed out that I had booked an open-jaw 241 last year, and the £30 was waived, but apparently these are the new (presumably Alex’s) rules.

      Looks like another nail in the BA coffin to me…

      • I was not charged last June when I booked, but £30 seems a good deal to me.

      • There was always a bit of an agent-dependent element before – would be worth pursuing further.

  11. OT
    I have a BA 2-4-1 companion voucher that is due to expire in mid-May (next month)

    There is no way we can travel anywhere by then. Is there anyway to get BA to extend the voucher? Even by 6 months?

    (Just had a baby- so would volunteer to send proof of that etc)

    • Frankie says:

      They won’t extend it. Haven’t you had it now for 23 months? (Or 11 if it’s the free card)

  12. filipino_chino says:

    with it being only 330 from LHR to KUL on MS… i know which i would select..

  13. Pangolin says:

    Apparently you can get significantly lower prices on those Norwegian flights if you use the Norwegian language version of the website (with currency in NOK).

    • From some quick testing is looks like it is between 4% and 10% more expensive to use the UK site and pay in GBP.

      Surprisingly, it seemed like more expensive flights had a bigger markup %

  14. OT – first of all thanks for all the articles on here and comments from everyone. By reading this site I’ve gone from 17k avios a year ago (which took 3/4 years) to 140k now with 2-4-1 voucher in the bag. I don’t fly enough to get status so getting access to lounges via gold or plat is a godsend.

    Anyway – would like to add my experience regarding the platinum upgrade link.
    Initially I’d contacted CS to ask if they would give me a bonus if I upgraded and they offered 10k and wouldn’t budge despite me asking very nicely. So I told them via secure message that I would go for it.

    Then the same morning I saw the upgrade link and decided that 20k avios for a £1k spend that I should get through quite easily within a month was a better deal (even if I had to pay a month’s fee) so I used the link to upgrade.

    Shortly after CS came back to me saying they could see I had already upgraded and would post 10k points now. I checked the other 10k points would post once I’d hit the spend as there was no counter, which they confirmed.

    Over Easter weekend I hit £1k and one large transaction took until yesterday to move from the Pending list but there were no extra points. Checked again today and they have posted an extra 20k instead of the 10k I was expecting. So a very nice surprise indeed!

    • Forgot to mention I’ve also received the first statement and the £450 annual fee is not on there

      • What happens regarding the annual fee, if people aren’t being charged straight away. I have budgeted to pay it in the first statement. (and then churn with a pro rata refund). But obviously if its no-fee for a few months I would like to hold on to it for three months as I have a few upcoming trips and the lounges/insurance would be useful.

        My question is on canceling it in say three months time if no fee has been placed on the account by that point when I close the account will they ask for three months payment £112.50 up until that point? Anyone else had this exp[erience?

        • I suspect if the fee hasn’t been charged and the card is fully paid off they will just cancel the card.

          I’ve paid the outstanding balance and moved the MR points to BAEC so once they transfer across I will cancel and post the outcome.

        • That’s great thank you. I’ll keep an eye out on the comments in future posts.

        • Genghis says:

          If fee hasn’t been charged and you then cancel you don’t subsequently get charged

      • JamesB says:

        Thanks for tge update on tbd fee, I’m hoping the feemis not going to be applied to thd platinum card until the anniversary date of the upgraded gold card.

        • Louise says:

          Can confirm fee would be charged on anniversary date – we just cancelled my OH card as he just reached anniversary and was charged (we kept the platinum for holiday insurance benefits) We cancelled via the online message system and final statement reissued with fee taken off

    • Scottydogg says:

      Thanks for the info , this is interesting to me as im in the same boat as you with regards to upgrading from Gold to Plat . Ive got the link for the 20K saved as I have to finish paying another credit card first , then I want to move from Gold to Plat mainly for the airport lounge passes for a big trip we are doing in August where we will be visiting 8 airports . I messaged Amex and they said I could have the 20k sign up bonus , they said if for what ever reason my bonus doesn’t credit after I have hit the spending bonus then to just reply back to that message and they will manually add them . I need to hold off till the end of June to start that card , hold it for June , July and August and then cancel at the start of September . My maths is £112.50 for having the card for 3 months , 20k Reward points , plus a family of 4 into 8 lounges on our travels

    • Just out of interest, did you hold the Gold card for 6 months before upgrading? Am curious to see if you can do a Gold application, get the signup bonus through spending the required amount, then upgrade to plat and get another (effectively) signup bonus again without having to respect the normal 6 months time frame between new applications? Good if you can, and likely to be my next move if so….

      • JamesB says:

        I believe the 6 months to be irrelevant because thus is an upgrade bonus not a sign up bonus in the way you are perceiving it Russell. I’ve had my latest PRG card for justover a week and hit the spend target tiday; I’m chancing the upgrade as soon as my first PRG statement is generated and paid.

      • thats how I did mine, gold sign up bonus 22k (with referral) -upgrade to plat 20k – refer partner for gold (could of done plat but they didn’t want to) 9k- cancel my gold and then wait 6 months for my partner to refer me for gold again. In the meantime hitting my 10k spend on my BAPP.

      • No i didn’t hold it for 6 months. I did pretty much what the Mark above me has done.

        JP – this is the link I used

  15. Those Norwegian prices don’t feel hugely competitive, BA had had some very cheap offers (I think you’re unlikely to not need a bag or food onboard).

    As already said, Singapore Airlines also has a big sale on at present.

    Good to see someone take on this route directly.

    • Agreed. I had a look yesterday and, adding in £100 for meals and 1 case, the price was more than BA.

      • Prince Polo says:

        Agree. May be worth a look though if you just need a one-way to create e.g. an open-jaw itinerary with an Avios return from SIN or another point in Asia, or when putting together an RTW.

    • Pangolin says:

      See my post above about using the Norwegian version of the booking site. A couple of bloggers have reported success on this. One guy even mentioned 20% difference but that seems absurdly high and I can’t remember the source. I agree that the prices in GBP don’t look compelling when you add on the necessaries.

      Maybe you could take a trip to Singapore with no checked luggage? 🙂

      • Doddle. Before we had kids I never checked bags. My last trip to Japan before this one, probably 10 years ago, was done on 1 holdall. Asian hotels have amazing washing services and your £50 Norwegian (return) baggage charge gets you a lot of laundry.

        • Brighton Belle says:

          +1 I can do 6 days out of a carry on bag and that includes carrying iPad, plus a bucket of cables to run Chromecast/ Firestick/ Slingplayer/ wireless router if the hotel internet was installed by Marconi himself. If I need a suitcase I must be emigrating.

        • Genghis says:

          …if done in local places. I’m sure you couldn’t have got a lot of laundry done for £50 at the RC Kyoto / Conrad Tokyo.