Bits: Virgin card retention bonuses, win a NY holiday with Hotels.com, another NY start-up airline

News in brief:

MBNA offering Virgin Black retention bonuses

I’m not sure if this is linked to the news last week that Virgin Money has signed a financial services deal, believed to include credit cards, with Virgin Atlantic.

However, two readers have contacted MBNA recently to cancel their Virgin Black credit cards and have been offered a generous retention bonus of 5,000 miles.  The only criteria was to spend £1,000 within 90 days.

One of the readers has been offered this deal twice.  He originally tried to cancel a month ago, got offered this deal, earned the extra 5,000 miles, called again to cancel and was offered it for a second time!  If you are thinking of cancelling Virgin Black – I doubt they will be offering much to keep holders of the free Virgin White – it is worth a call first.

PUBLIC New York hotel

Win a New York holiday with Hotels.com

Hotels.com got in touch with details of a ‘win a holiday in New York’ competition they are running until 14th August.

Whilst the flights are economy, you will also get four nights for two people in the new high-profile PUBLIC By Ian Schrager hotel, photo above, which should be fun.

The link to enter is here.   You can also enter if you live in Norway, Denmark, Finland, France or Germany but you’ll need to find the relevant URL on your national site.

Odyssey Airlines_CS100_Bombardier

Another New York start-up …. Odyssey Airlines

Yesterday I wrote about Primera Air and its plans to launch an Economy and Premium Economy service to New York and Boston from Birmingham and Stansted …… using short-haul A321 aircraft.

There is another airline start-up out there waiting to take to the skies.

Odyssey Airlines is planning to launch ‘all business class’ services from London City Airport to New York and other long-haul destinations (Toronto is rumoured) very soon.   Their website is here if you want to learn more.

The key point about Odyssey is that it will use Bombardier’s new CS100 aircraft.  Odyssey has 10 CS100 planes on order, and the aircraft was recently certified for use at London City.  City is problematic for larger aircraft because of the need to gain height very quickly in order to avoid the towers at Canary Wharf.

SWISS is currently the only European airline operating the CS100 which – in their layout – takes 125 passengers in a two-class format.  Odyssey is planning to have just 40 seats in an ‘all business class’ format.

It is difficult to see how this will succeed, given the BA has just cut one of its two daily London City to New York flights – although Odyssey will not require the refueling stop in Shannon.  I will keep you updated with news as I hear it.

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Comments

  1. Tim Millea says:

    The CS100 aircraft is a very welcome addition to the mix. Not since I flew on a British Caledonian BAC 1-11 have I been on a 2-3 seat configuration aircraft. In practice this means that any size party can sit together without a stranger among them. There are other details which may have been forgotten The BC 1-11’s had their return meal in the back of the seat in front. The over-wing emergency exit rows faced each other. Pressurisation was terrible and I got my essential chewing-gum stuck in my seat – as a boy.

  2. and another OT…

    With the Hilton promos at the moment is the 2x points package option a better deal? Would it stack with the current double base points promo?

    • Don’t think so because the 2x only applies to the base points.

      • Thanks Alex, but isn’t it the base points which are doubled at the moment for stays before 12th (?) of Sept?

        • I think the doubling of the base points in the double base points promo is effectively recorded as “base points” and “bonus base points”. Only the “base points” would be doubled on the 2x package, not the “bonus base points”!

          So no bonus bonus base points :-)

  3. Such an interesting business model to have all business seats planes, many companies have failed trying this. Wondering what makes Odyssey think they are different, surely the CS100 is more cost efficient then the A318, but is it enough? Plus a new brand. they are really bidding high on the potential trade deal in future with US.

  4. OT: How long should I leave it before chasing Accelerate tracking? Two stays over a week ago should have triggered targets but neither has been recognised yet. The base points posted several days ago.

  5. Martin Barber says:

    With reference to the Virgin Black/White credit cards, the info in the article http://www.headforpoints.com/2016/04/14/virgin-atlantic-flying-club-credit-cards-241-voucher/ is no longer correct. The situation has improved further with Upper Class fare classes C, D & I added. :-)

    See footnote 3 here: https://www.mbna.co.uk/compare-credit-cards/airline-credit-cards/virgin-atlantic-black/

    I have just booked an Upper Class return from Gatwick to Havana for next summer using a companion voucher. The cheapest UC fare for my dates was £1,874 each in Z class. Using the voucher booking in I class brought this down to just under £1500 each on average. (£2540 + £457 for each ticket.) So the voucher has proved worthwhile for me.

    However, the booking process is not straightforward and took just over two hours!

    Virgin Atlantic cannot sell revenue tickets to Cuba, because they trade in the USA. So what you have to do is:

    – Call VS Flying Club and get them to create a reservation for the “free” companion and put this on a 72-hour hold.
    – Call Virgin Holidays Cuba line and book your revenue flight for the Flying Club member who has the companion voucher. Getting this booked into I class causes them problems. In my case, they had to call another office three times with lengthy delays to (a) get the seats to show up in their system, (b) price them, and (c) ticket them. There appears to be no way currently to avoid a 1.5% fee when using any credit card other than to use a debit card.
    – Call VS Flying Club again to link the two bookings and apply the companion voucher, and pay for the companion reservation taxes/fees. There are no cc fees with Flying Club.

    The Virgin Flying Club parts were very quick and straightforward. The Virgin Holidays parts took all the time.

  6. Just a quick query.

    I called Virgin Atlantic and got the 5,000 bonus miles added on my account. Having spent £2,200 in my first month since the offer was added to my account, I assumed the bonus miles would be added with the rest of the miles I earned through credit card spend. However, this does not appear to have happened.

    What have other people experienced? Do you have to wait the full 90 days to get the bonus miles??

    Comments welcome!