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Bits: $75m for Heathrow slot pair, new InterCon in Pattaya, Flying Blue miles sale

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News in brief:

Pair of Heathrow slots sold for reported $75m

If you want proof that no-one expects to see a new Heathrow runway in the near future, Oman Air has reportedly paid $75m to Kenya Airways for its Heathrow slot pair.

Oman Air will use these to add a second daily service to Muscat, this time in the morning, starting on 12th April.   This will put pressure on the daily British Airways service which is hampered by having to stop in Abu Dhabi on the way, as it leaves at roughly the same time.

Kenya Airways will remain at Heathrow but with new flight times, using a slot it is leasing from KLM.

Oman Air

New InterContinental resort opening in Pattaya, Thailand

A rather smart looking new InterContinental resort is due to open in Pattaya in April.

That’s the good news.  The bad news is that this will be a rebranded Sheraton and the renovations required to take it up to InterContinental standard will not start until after the rebranding, to be completed by 2018.

I would be a little nervy of booking in until then unless the room rates are low, unless you are after some IHG promotional credit or have an Ambassador free weekend night voucher to use.

The hotel website is here.

A new InterContinental has also been announced for Venice although it is at least 2 years away from opening.

Up to 50% bonus for buying Flying Blue miles

Flying Blue, the Air France / KLM loyalty programme, is running a bonus promotion for anyone who is looking to top up their account.

Until 18th March the following bonus is available when you buy miles:

  • 2,000 Award Miles = 10% Bonus
  • 4,000 – 8,000 Award Miles = 20% Bonus
  • 10,000 – 28,000 Award Miles = 30% Bonus
  • 30,000 Award Miles = 50% Bonus

Members can buy up to 75,000 miles per year, excluding bonuses. Elite members have no cap.

At the top end, buying 75,000 miles with an extra 37,500 will cost €2,062.  That works out at 1.4p per mile which is not a massive bargain.

At the end of the day, though, I don’t imagine anyone except an existing Flying Blue member topping up an account getting excited by this. It is also worth remembering that Flying Blue is an American Express Membership Rewards partner – why pay for a pile of FB miles when you can take out an Amex Gold and get 20,000 miles free (22,000 if I refer you)?

If you are interested, the link to buy miles is here.

How to earn Flying Blue miles from UK credit cards

How to earn Flying Blue miles from UK credit cards (December 2023)

Air France and KLM do not have a UK Flying Blue credit card.  However, you can earn Flying Blue miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.

These cards earn Membership Rewards points:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Flying Blue miles which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Flying Blue mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.

Comments (16)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Anon says:

    PAH to Flying Blue… :-p

    What about the BA Avios points purchase bonus.

    Is 30% extra worth a tickle? 🙂

    • Anon says:

      Dear Mr Anon,

      Be rewarded when you treat yourself, or somebody else. Enjoy up to 30% bonus Avios when you purchase or gift Avios between now and 17 March, so you can reach that reward flight or upgrade and be on the beach even sooner.

      Here’s how much you could earn
      10% bonus when you purchase or gift 1,000 — 15,000 Avios
      20% bonus when you purchase or gift 16,000 — 34,000 Avios
      30% bonus when you purchase or gift 35,000 Avios

      • Rob says:

        Will get around to this but, basically, not in my view.

      • Genghis says:

        You’re not really being rewarded at the price per avios cost

      • harry says:

        it’s 1.3p/ Avios ISTR from yesterday’s calculation

        You could have got them for 0.7p on the Groupon deal

  • JamesLHR says:

    Should also be mentioned that Emirates now have a 6th slot, again from AF/KLM according to reports.

    • Rob says:

      6 x A380s plus the Qantas flights as codeshares ….. that is more people than some small airports handle in a day I reckon!

      Overnighter though. They need a slot around midday.

  • Daniel says:

    At those prices for a slot I imagine BA are very happy with all the slots the purchase of Aer Lingus will give them.

  • Nathan says:

    Just on route back from Thailand (currently in Doha for 20 hours of stop over) and can say Pattaya is certainly a place to go for 1 or 2 nights just to have many many jaw dropping moments. It is however known mainly for its sex tourism….
    The IC and Hilton in Hua Hin however are incredible and it’s a much nicer place 🙂

    • Mark LLL says:

      Hua Hin I think a very nice place.
      My friend, a seasoned S.E. Asia traveller, encouraged me to go off and explore Hua Hin unaccompanied. He didn’t do that anywhere else we visited in Thailand, which included Pattaya.

      • Londonbus says:

        Hua Hin is a quiet and pleasant little place.

        The beach however is filthy.

  • Talay says:

    Hua Hin is stale and boring and the beaches are very disappointing as they lack features along hundreds of kilometres on that coast. It is not Bangkok, Pattaya or Phuket.

    The Sheraton in Pattaya has the disadvantage of being well off the transport routes and subject to “mafia” price gouging for short distance transportation. For instance, a journey of similar distance from the city centre might be THB100 (£2) but as you are a captive audience or returning to a (supposed) 5* place, they will want THB400/500 (£8/10). Do this a few times a day and you rapidly rack up costs which make other hotel rates look attractive.

    The beach there is just a rocky outpost with a bit of imported sand. Not remarkable, quite overpriced much of the time and with a change to IC status, surely that will continue.

    • Waribai says:

      Hua Hin is a great destination especially for those with a young family. For young singles though, it has a lot less to offer possibly.

  • BlueThroughCrimp says:

    Off topic, but a save £50 when spending £250 with Hilton has appeared on my Amex Gold (though not my BA Amex).

    That, coupled with a reduction in rates for my Hilton booking has made me change it from a redemption to a cash booking.

    • Trickster says:

      Different versions of this may be available: I have £25 back on a £150 spend on my Gold card.

  • Al says:

    Recently flew with Oman Air for the first time. Nothing particularly special, but 34 inch seat pitch in Y makes a nice change from many other airlines. Their mileage program is redeemable at duty free, and our LHR-BKK return gave us 2 litres of spirits and a couple of bottles of wine.

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