British Airways Executive Club’s latest partner is Bicester Village, the designer shopping outlet mecca in the Chilterns.
The link to the BA promotion is here (click on Chic Outlet Shopping).
The long-term BAEC offer will be 5 Avios points for every £4 you spend. You need to take your receipts to the Visitor Centre at the end of the day and have them credit your account. (There is also a similar offer with Miles & More [EDIT: linked removed as dead] which gives you 1 M&M mile per £1 spent.) You also earn Avios at the other outlet sights around Europe owned by the same group, see the BAEC link for details.
Until 30th September, there is a special BA promotion available. Show your BAEC card in the Visitor Centre and you receive a 10% discount card and a £5 voucher valid (with no minimum spend) in any of the cafes or restaurants, so fundamentally free money. The 10% discount applies in every retailer except Prada, but only on ‘full-price discounted’ merchandise, if you know what I mean! Anything discounted further than its original Bicester price does not qualify.
Bicester Village is an easy train ride from London Marylebone, albeit at a spookily high £32 for a standard class return. This includes the shuttle bus from Bicester North station to the village. The xx:07 departures from Marylebone are classed as ‘Mainline’ trains and have free wi-fi, which worked fine for me, and a (paid for) trolley service. These are also the fastest trains, taking under 50 minutes. There is no price difference between a Mainline and a regular service.
I had no problem collecting my £5 voucher and 10% discount card from the Visitor Centre. Sadly, the latter didn’t get used! The only thing I bought was a Polo Ralph Lauren jumper for my little boy, reduced from £89 to £19.99. There was no further 10% reduction because it was already double-discounted.
I nearly bought a cashmere trench coat in Prada (60% off) but sadly (or not, for my bank balance) it was cut with a nipped-in waist, in just the area where my waist starts to nip-out!
The range of shops is unmatched anywhere in Britain. The ‘poshest’ is probably Loro Piana, with Prada, Gucci, Armani (mainly cheaper Armani lines), Ferragamo, Missoni, Burberry (a h-u-g-e store) following on, all the way down to Superdry , Ugg and Ted Baker. Stock is massively variable, though, especially at the high end brands, so you can’t be too focussed on what you go for.
The Polo Ralph Lauren outlet seems to primarily sell ‘made for outlet’ lines which are not actually available in ‘normal’ stores. I’m not sure what other Bicester brands do this as well, presumably the US-owned ones are most likely to do so as the US is the real global heart of the outlet store.
So … if you fancy a shopping trip to Bicester, pull out your British Airways Executive Club card and get down there before the end of September. And, if you value your sanity, try to avoid weekends!