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Bits: BA cabin crew to strike, Accor / Amex cashback extended, SAS / Avis deal

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News in brief:

British Airways cabin crew to strike

The British Airways ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew – which is pretty much everyone who has been hired since 2010 – have voted for strike action following their rejection of a 2% pay rise.

Union Unite has given notice of strike action from 21st December, although no dates have yet been confirmed.

Of the 4,000 members of Mixed Fleet, only 1,500 took part in the ballot.  80% of those of who voted were in favour of the strike.

According to a BBC report:

According to a recent Unite survey, half of Mixed Fleet staff have taken on second jobs to make ends meet, and more than two-thirds were going to work “unfit to fly” because they could not afford to be off sick.

It said 84% reported experiencing stress and depression since joining BA because of their financial circumstances.

Some even admitted sleeping in cars between flights, because they could not afford the petrol to get home.

Salaries for mixed fleet crew are reported to start at £12,000 per annum plus £3 per hour of flight time.  Average pay is reported to be £16,000.

I will keep you updated with news of strike dates as they are announced.  As Mixed Fleet only represents 25% of BA’s cabin crew, any action would not have a crippling effect on the flight schedule although there would clearly be substantial numbers of cancellation.

Accor and Amex extend their cashback deal

Accor Hotels, which operates Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure, Ibis, M Gallery, Pullman etc, has a long-running cashback deal with American Express.

There are two variants – £30 back on £250 spend and £50 back on £500 spend.

You need to log into your American Express account and look under ‘Offers’ on each of your card statement pages.  The offer may be there under one of them – if it is, save it to your card.

This offer was meant to end on 21st October.   What I didn’t notice until recently is that Amex rolled it over and it now ends on 31st December.

You need to complete a stay at a Sofitel, Pullman or M Gallery hotel by the year end.  A list of participating hotels is on the Amex site but pretty much every hotel globally under those brands is included.  Ibis, Novotel, Mecure etc are NOT included.  If you stay outside the UK, the converted bill must be over £250.

You might not be aware of which hotels fall under M Gallery as these are generally local hotels which kept their original branding.  In the UK, participating hotels are:

Castle Hotel, Windsor

Francis Hotel, Bath

Queens Hotel, Cheltenham

The Sofitel properties at Heathrow and Gatwick as well as the St James’s flagship pictured below are also included as are the Pullman hotels in Liverpool (brand new, see the article here) and Kings Cross.

The Accor booking page is here.  Don’t forget to register your American Express card before making a booking.

Sofitel Heathrow Accor

Get 4,000 SAS EuroBonus points from Avis

I don’t cover SAS EuroBonus much on Head for Points, although it is a Star Alliance programme and an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner.

This offer from Avis did catch my eye though.

For Avis rentals booked by 31st December for completion by 30th June, you will receive:

  • 2,000 bonus miles for a 2-3 day rental
  • 4,000 bonus miles for a 4+ day rental

….. as well as a free additional driver.  Full details can be found here.

How to get FREE car rental status and other benefits via UK credit cards

How to get FREE car rental status and other benefits via UK credit cards (July 2024)

If you hire a car in the UK, you can get special benefits (discounts, upgrades, free additional drivers etc) if you have elite status with a car rental programme. You can get elite status for free via certain American Express cards.

The Platinum Card and American Express Business Platinum

The Platinum Card from American Express and American Express Business Platinum come with two free car hire status cards. Your supplementary Platinum cardholder can also receive status in their own right.

From Avis, you receive President’s Club status in Avis Preferred. This gets you up to 25% off standard rates, a free additional driver and a guaranteed one class upgrade. For weekend rentals you will receive a two class upgrade, subject to availability.

From Hertz, you receive ‘Five Star’ status in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards. This gets you up to 15% off standard rates, a free additional driver and a one class upgrade, subject to availability.

Hertz also offers Platinum cardholders a 4 hour grace period on rentals. Your final day is treated as 28 hours, so a 1pm pick up with a 5pm return the following day is only charged as one day, not two days. We wrote about the Hertz / Platinum 4 hour grace period here.

The Platinum Card also comes with full car hire insurance with no obligation to pay for the rental via American Express. You can refuse any attempts to sell you additional insurance at pick up. This benefit has substantial value if you rent on a regular basis.

You can find more details on the two Platinum cards, and apply, in our full reviews linked below. You can apply here for the personal card and here for the business card.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel Read our full review

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is an excellent card in its own right. You receive 20,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up (convert to 20,000 Avios amongst other things), four airport lounge passes and £120 of Deliveroo credit. Even better, your first year is free.

There are two car rental benefits:

  • you receive Preferred Plus status in Avis Preferred
  • you receive a special package with Hertz – 10% off best available rates at participating locations, a one class upgrade for rentals of 5 days or more, subject to availability, and no additional driver fees

Find out more about the benefits of American Express Preferred Rewards Gold in our review. You can apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

Comments (86)

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

  • RussellH says:

    OT Re Shop Small

    I have just sent the following to Amex Cust Services…

    How accurate is the information on the website?

    I was surprised to find 38 businesses listed locally as taking part, as I had no idea that many of them took Amex.

    Having successfully taken part in the offer earlier, I tried again today, at

    LAKES HOME CENTER, LOW ROAD , COCKERMOUTH CUMBRIA CA13 0HH, Tel: 01900 827282 which is listed at 21 for COCKERMOUTH businesses on the website.

    They told me, very bluntly, that they did not take American Express and that they never had done. Their card machine did not respond to me card.

    I have noticed that at least three of the other merchants on the list have no Amex stickers in their windows, let alone a Shop Small sticker, so I really wonder if the reason that I did not know that most of the businesses took Amex is because, in fact, they do not!

    Anyone else experienced this?

    • Genghis says:

      +1. Not as good this year. I’ve had many shops not take / say don’t take Amex. At least Artisan du Chocolat at Borough Market this afternoon happily agreed to my negotiated price on multiple chocs, were happy to take individual £10 payments and then gave me a free hot chocolate. Top service and top product.

      • RussellH says:

        Amex have responded to my query.

        I assure you that all merchants that we have listed for you on the map agreed to participate in the campaign. I am sorry to learn that ‘LAKES HOME CENTER’ refused to accept your Card despite being listed on the map.

        I have also updated our Marketing team, informing them about your current experience. We will take all measures to contact the merchant to resolve the situation so that you do not face any issues going forward.

        They say they are also paying me £5 anyway! (I took the business elsewhere, not least because the product I planned to buy was not exactly what I wanted and the price would only have been vaguely reasonable with the £5 discount.)

        I am intrigued, though, that Amex reckon that they have an agreement with a firm that says that they have never, at any time, accepted Amex cards.

    • Jason Hindle says:

      Problem: Pretty much any problem.

      BA solution: Slash and burn baby! Slash and burn!

      Lack of creativity at the top?

  • Ramones says:

    I am getting close to dollar voting BA by using other airlines. I do have some ethical purchasing beliefs and moral boycott a number of companies (Sports Direct, Amazon, Starbucks blah blah). BA management appear to be greedy and out of touch with both customers and work force.

    • Boris says:

      I live close to Sporting Direct, and people who work there tell me that much of the campaign is humbug.

      There are also some amusing idiocies such as local accidents on public roads being included in claims about Sports Direct.

      Be a discerning consumer.

      • Ramones says:

        Never heard of Sporting Direct so cannot comment. Sport direct is the company well known for giant mugs

  • Simon says:

    Are those reports of £12,000/yr + £3 flight hour true? That is crackers.

    • Rob says:

      Welcome to the world outside the M25. Except these people have to work, if not live, inside the M25 ….. I would actually be ashamed to pay that. Always a good wake up call for those of us who drop a months mixed fleet basic pay on a decent lunch with a few friends or a weekend in a hotel.

      Wait until you read the story on Saturday about how a HFP reader dropped £13,000 for an aviation treat for his 30th birthday …..

      • Alan says:

        Wow, that’s some lunches you have, Rob!

      • David says:

        I hope I’ve made a mistake taking that to mean £1000 on lunch? Rob, in a world where the majority of people struggle to get by every month, that comment was in poor taste.

  • Andy S says:

    OT Curve
    Just had an email saying android app is available, and got a link to choose blue for free or black for 50 quid.
    obviously can’t decide without advice from here, but searching the site or google, recent curve articles have been deleted (errror 404).
    so do you no longer support curve, or is this a technical error?

    • the real harry1 says:

      interesting question

      has hfp abandoned Curve?

      • Rob says:

        Article on the Android app tomorrow.

        I actually use the card daily because it is contactless, unlike my main MasterCard which is linked to it. I also use it for all my cash withdrawals – I don’t know anyone who has yet been charged a fee despite the new rules.

        • Nick M says:

          Interesting to know thank you…. I might start using mine a bit more then! – Was holding off until Curve Rewards was implemented properly…

    • Rob says:

      The last Curve article redirects to the new Curve article tomorrow – which isn’t live until 5am, which is why you get the 404.

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

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