Bits: SLH scraps The Club, Emirates A380 to Birmingham, Virgin / Malaysia partnership

News in brief:

Small Luxury Hotels to launch new loyalty scheme

Via Business Traveller, hotel marketing consortium Small Luxury Hotels of the World has announced that it will scrap its current loyalty scheme, The Club, next month.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World is a consortium of 520 luxury hotels in 80 countries. These are primarily independent properties, many of which are well known in their respective markets.

The Club is currently an Avios partner, and you are able to earn 500 Avios per stay at any SLH property.  Details are on ba.com here.  It is not clear if airline miles will continue to be offered in the future.

Taking their cue from the stupid tier names used by the new World of Hyatt programme (Discoverist, Explorist, Globalist), SLH will name its tier levels Invited, Inspired and Indulged.  

The focus will switch to ‘personalising stays’ with benefits such as ‘recommend a friend rewards, birthday gifts, complimentary nights, small luxuries’ and more.

If you are not already a member of The Club, this link for American Express cardholders still lets you join at Loved level, their current base level.  You may want to sign up now at this level in the hope that you are grandfathered into the new scheme at a higher level.

SLH

Emirates doubling up A380 services to Birmingham

Emirates has announced that the Birmingham route will move to ‘all A380’ operation from 29th October.   At present only one of the two daily services uses the super-jumbo.

This move is a partial reversal of the service cut planned for September.  The airport currently has three daily Emirates services, of which two are operated with a Boeing 777.  One of the 777 services is being dropped from September, but the upgrading of the second 777 flight to another A380 sees much of the missing capacity being reinstated.

Emirates A380

Virgin Atlantic ends partnership with Malaysia Airlines

I don’t know if this is brand new news but it had passed me by.  The partnership between Virgin Atlantic and Malaysia Airlines is ending on 31st August.

You will no longer be able to earn Virgin Flying Club miles when flying on Malaysia Airlines after this date.  That is not a major loss of course, since Malaysia Airlines is in oneworld which means you can also credit their flights to British Airways Executive Club.

You will also not be able to redeem Virgin Flying Club miles for Malaysia Airlines tickets after 31st August.  On the upside, you can book before 31st August for travel at a future date after the cut-off.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Bits: free in-flight books and magazines with Amazon Prime, Hilton Asia-Pacific flash sale
Bits: Should you buy Waitrose gift cards today?, Amex MR and the Heathrow Rewards deal
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Comments

  1. Wonder if the Virgin – Malaysia news is due to MAS changing its loyalty scheme to a revenue based one?

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      They are changing their whole reservation system. Perhaps VS didn’t fancy doing all the plumbing.

  2. Re A380 BHX, my parents were on one of the 777 services a few months ago to DXB and they mentioned it was empty (50% capacity), flight attendant also confirmed that generally the utilisation is around half.

    Replacing those with a single A380 sounds sensible though generally Emirates has so much capacity that is not being used. Not sure if anyone else has seen such low usage (bar ex London).

    • But how much cargo?

      • A380’s have very little cargo space relative to the 777s. It’s of the reasons why BA flies 1x A380 and 1x 777 daily to Hong Kong when it could easily accommodate 2x (or even 3x) daily A380’s.

        A380’s great piece of engineering but they are useless for all but the most niche of routes presently.

  3. James A says:

    Virgin may as well end all their partnerships except ANA, Air China (on that one route) and Delta for all the use that they are. Even the agents acknowledge that searching for Singapore or Air New Zealand availability is a futile business.

  4. Fraser says:

    Anyone had any update on redeeming VS miles on Singapore? It was on temporary hold since January when I tried in March, which they made clear was not “ended” but just held off due to issues with ticket confirmation by Singapore Airlines.

    Gutting, as it meant I couldn’t redeem for the First Suite from Changi to Sydney! 🙁 #firstworldproblems

    I have booked Air China First to Beijing for later this year though, with no hassle at all (except the Virgin site saying to call Air China when in fact you need to call Virgin). Plenty of availability despite Rob letting everyone know about this “secret” best value redemption! 😉

    • If it’s any consolation, I believe Suites were always nigh-on impossible to book via anything but SQ KrisFlyer miles!

  5. Robbie says:

    O/T Rob, but Norwegian pricing is up and booking from EDI to NY Stewart and Providence RI for Boston – £199 return with dates to next March on the new 737 Max. Not London, not biz class, but not bad pricing for what will be the shortest direct US-UK flights… worth a mention?

    • Will take a look, although in general they only put out a handful of seats at that price which go quickly – and Stewart is a bit of a trot ….

  6. Robbie says:

    O/T and the code flyusa99 gets you the outbound Norwegian flight discounted to £99 one way only – £63 back… unbeatable

  7. Darren says:

    Re SLH, I have received the free breakfast benefit and upgrade on arrival a number of times. I also have a stay booked with this benefit, will that go with the changes?

    • We need to wait and see if a) the benefits actually get worse and b) if they do, whether they respect benefits you were due at the time of booking.

  8. OT, and apologies if it has already been mentioned – but the Waitrose/Virgin deal seems to have ended, i.e. they aren’t offering ANY miles now.

    • Interesting. Must be personalised, a bit like the Avios/Caffe Nero deal was for a while. Waitrose doesn’t feature on my account at all (apart from the online shopping deal).

    • I also have 5 miles/£ showing, but both before and after logging in.

      • radiata says:

        On my part 5miles/£ on home page when hovering over Waitrose sign but 1/£ when clicking on icon to see full page information on the offer.

  9. Yeah, I wouldn’t mind so much if I’d used a promo/corp rate, but these were just standard bookings! I did receive upgrades and check-in (the Hilton Belfast gave me a massive suite!), but that’s as expected for Diamond and shouldn’t impact on cashback!