Bits: Virgin and Flybe to codeshare; Business Traveller auction; I’m looking for a Dutch HFP writer

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News in brief:

Virgin Atlantic and Flybe to codeshare to Heathrow

As I covered a couple of weeks ago, Flybe is to launch flights to London Heathrow from Edinburgh and Aberdeen in March.  These will use the slots previously given to Virgin Atlantic for its Little Red services.

Virgin Atlantic and Flybe have announced an extension of their codeshare deal to cover these routes.  This will allow customers to book connecting flights under a VS flight number via the Virgin website and to check bags through to their final destination.  Passengers will need to change terminals from 2 to 3, or vice versa.

I am guessing that you will earn 25 Virgin tier points each way for Flybe bookings made under Virgin flight numbers but that has not yet been confirmed online.

You can find more details on the Flybe website here.

Business Traveller auction

Business Traveller charity auction ends today

Our friends at Business Traveller have been running a charity auction over the Christmas and New Year period which ends at lunchtime today.

Here is a list of the lots – note they are priced in US$.  Most are fully priced but a few did seem to be good value, and all of the money goes to a good cause.

I’m looking for a Dutch-speaking HFP writer

One bit of feedback from my recent reader survey was a desire for more Flying Blue (Air France / KLM) coverage on Head for Points.

In my little London bubble it is easy to forget about Flying Blue.  If you live outside the M25, however, taking a KLM flight from your local airport to Amsterdam and then onwards is generally less trouble than connecting in Terminal 5 at Heathrow.

The problem with Flying Blue is that I don’t know much about it.  I am therefore interested in hearing from you if you would like to write the occasional Flying Blue article (no more than one per week) for the site.

These are the criteria:

  • you can read Dutch, since there are deals posted on Dutch-language frequent flyer sites which will otherwise be missed by an English speaking audience.  This is non-negotiable.
  • you have a good understanding of Flying Blue, as I will want a few introductory articles on the good and bad points of the scheme
  • you can use WordPress
  • you think you can write in the HFP ‘house style’
  • you can dig out your own content – I won’t be telling you what to write, you need to tell me what is worth covering.  My plan is that your articles will arrive, unprompted, in our inbox whenever you find something interesting to write about.

The content you produce will need to be from a UK perspective.  I’m not bothered about earning miles from Dutch or French supermarkets, from Dutch or French credit cards or subscribing to Dutch or French newspapers.

I don’t mind if you already have your own blog or write for another one, although if you write for another site in English on Flying Blue it will be a problem.  You don’t need to be living in The Netherlands to apply.

Drop me a line at rob at if you’re interested.  Payment would be per article and at a decent rate.

(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.)

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  1. DUTCH CAP says:

    Wat is het beste ding over trouwen met een Nederlandse man?

    Op uw huwelijksreis geven ze je iets lang en hard … Hun achternaam.

    • SydneySwan says:

      For the non-Dutch or Afrikaans speakers;

      ‘What is the best thing about marrying a Dutch man? On your honeymoon they give you something long and hard … their surname.’


      • the real harry1 says:

        Er was eens een muis – waar? – daar op de trap!

        heh heh been a while, I must be rusty

    • TigerTanaka says:

      Ik kan spreek een kleine beetje Nederlands (lived there as a student) and I am Platinum on Flying Blue.

      Happy to contribute some background on the scheme.

  2. Calling henkybaby?? Although his surname is short…

    I wonder how many things in the UK are going to be priced in USD over the next few years. These auctions were running for 2 months. I certainly wouldn’t bid in USD 1 month ahead for a UK item (even though I have assets in USD).

    The latest bids seem to have been placed today although the current highest bidder (5 days ago) for the HK Peninsula Suite will be paying £30 more than he expected to if he only has GBP… that would cover an Accor sale room :p

    • I get a feeling BT got a bit of software which can’t handle multi-currency auctions (they are also running auctions for their overseas editions).

  3. i am interested in collecting flying blue points via shopping, etc. – so would love some guides on that.
    Easier for me to fly local to Paris or Schipol than it is for me to get to a major UK Airport.

    • Mikeact says:

      In any KL/AF article, I would certainly not discount any earning opportunities easily earned overseas. I for one have earned thousands of ‘miles’ over the years.

  4. Rob – can you enquire with your Virgin/FlyBE contacts..

    1) If the codeshare is to become a proper one, allowing a single redemption of VS miles for both sectors.
    2) Treat it as one through ticket, so that INV-MAN-USA on FlyBE/VS is treated the same as BAs INV-LHR-USA. ie exempt from APD.

    TIA 🙂

    • Totally agree, this would be very useful to know. I had a long discussion with SQ CS via email and they didn’t think this was going to be an option with them but would be great if it was with VS.

    • 1) Unlikely – and BA doesn’t let you redeem on most of its codeshares outside oneworld, eg Bangkok Airways
      2) stripping out the APD would be automatic in the pricing as long as it stays on one ticket

  5. Looking forward to a regular FB article, the only regular snippet I read is the monthly promo offers, here are the January deals

    Also an article pointing out some of the Alaskan mileage plan sweet spots would be great. They use the old AA award charts, so only 20,000 Europe to Hawaii economy 50,000 Business and 62,500 First flying AA plus low low taxes. Asia is also a sweet spot from Europe flying CX plus free stopover in HKG. Alaskan is an SPG transfer partner.

    • I am nervy about pushing Alaska, they have been known to make changes to the programme overnight without notice and I’m not sure the average HFP reader would want their miles to be so far away!

      • I think the AS sweet spots are something that those who use the system to their advantage at the moment would be quite happy it’s kept quiet.

    • You don’t get a free stopover at HKG from Europe to Asia. AS chart only allows Europe – HKG. Also AS agents see less seats than OneWorld pool (BA/QF/QAL search).

  6. the real harry1 says:

    O/T reported elsewhere – Tesco Clubcard:
    ‘From thin crust pizzas to cost weekend escapes, getting even more from your vouchers is easy. Especially when we’re giving you 250 bonus points.
    All you have to do is try one of our Partners before 28th February 2017 and we’ll turn those points into a £2.50 voucher in your statement.
    Go on, it’s the perfect excuse to say ‘yesssss’ to trying something new.
    To claim the 250 points, the person named on the coupon must exchange with a registered Clubcard Partner using their corresponding Clubcard membership before 28/2/17.
    Clubcard points are awarded once, for the first qualifying exchange with a Tesco Clubcard Partner.
    Points from the offer will be added to your May 2017 statement.’

    You MIGHT be in a position where you had transferred (say) Tesco points to BAEC but not to – or vice versa. Or a small bonus for trying some of the regular ‘genuinely good’ offers eg Eurotunnel 3x is real value.

    • the real harry1 says:

      also worth exploring if there’s a partner where the minimum conversion required is trivial ie under £2.50 – you could be in a positive points situation…

  7. Concerto says:

    Frankly there is so little going on over at FB that you might have to wait several years for an unprompted article. You caught the best deals yourself, such as that one before Christmas offering 8,000 miles for a 2 nights Pointshound hotel booking.

  8. OT
    My Experian credit score has just dropped from 997 to 864 and I cannot see a reason.
    Is there any way to ask the reason please?

    • I should have said that I got the score via Barclaycard.
      Doe not anyone know if an Experian membership will give this information please?

      • Quark999 says:

        Also worth reiterating that there is no universal score, and the Experian pretty much seem to be making it up as they go along – not necessarily in line with what any lender would think of you.

        If it’s free it is obviously worth having a peek and a change usually does indicate something has changed – but whether that would affect anything in the “real” world is no sure at all.

    • AndyBAFlyer says:

      @mark2 that is very off topic! Common reasons are that you have recently moved, changed name, job or bank, searched for credit, got a new credit card or closed one recently or switched contracts on your utilities. Experian, Equifax and Call Credit all give you access to your complete file for either £2 or for free.

    • Very OT Indeed.

      All kinds of things can affect it, Experian is constantly adding additional organisations to their system and refining the data.

      As AndyBAFlyer says, pay your £2 and get your statutory report. (The monthly service isn’t worth it.)

      If there are any inaccuracies, get them sorted immediately. I’m in the middle of an ongoing dispute with sub-prime lender “Capital One” who made the unilateral decision to Credit Score me – a complaint is on the way to the ICO.

      • I believe you probably agreed to let them check your your credit report whenever they want – that is, if you actually have a credit card from them.

        If they did a credit search on you, and you don’t have any of their products and haven’t applied for them – then you should be more concerned about who entered your details fradulently and why.

        Btw, no UK financial organisation requests the made up scores from Experian, as they all calculate their own scores. They only get the data from Experian etc.

        • Nope, I’ve never had a product from Capital One.

          Indeed, following an earlier intervention by the ICO after a non-consensual marketing campaign, I’m on their marketing “kill list”.

          Apparently they are “unable to identify which of our marketing partners undertook the credit search”!

    • Stopped using Experian as they kept trying to sell me stuff. I just use Clearscore and Noddle, both of which are free and clear to follow.

    • I wouldn’t put much stock in their random number generator 😉

  9. BrotherBear says:

    O/T – Dubai / Abu Dhabi

    Got a 5 night stay coming up in a few months time. Been looking at Dubai hotels and seemingly for a decent one you are looking at circa £350 a night (I know it isn’t cheap over there).

    Anyone got any suggestions of nice hotels that are reasonably priced? When we last went a few years ago we stayed at the Fairmont on the Palm which was lovely.

    Is it worth considering Abu Dhabi or stick to Dubai?

    Is just me and the missus and we’ll be sunbathing in the day and then dinner and drinks in the evening. So the hotel wants to have a holiday feel about it I think.

    Cheers in advance and cheers to Rob for the site (I don’t post that often but read every day)

    • Graham Walsh says:

      I was there last March for work and nothing is cheap there now. Still a great place. When I went on holiday there in 2010 stayed at the Westin down by Dubai marina which was good value then. The other option (which I don’t know if they still do) in the past I’ve also stayed at the Emirates Towers and used the shuttle bus to the beach at JBR Wave. Might work out cheaper staying away from the resort.

      • We used Emirates Towers for a few years when you got unlimited access to Jumeirah Beach / Madinat for the beach. It was 65% cheaper than Madinat with minimal practical difference apart from the 20 minute cab ride there and back each day. They canned that deal eventually.

        • Genghis says:

          Emirates Towers is a great hotel – stayed there last year. Very convenient for DIFC.

    • BrotherBear says:

      Thanks for the replies all – will take a look at the suggestions.

      On a related note – how do I go about booking my free chauffeur transfer as we’re flying airberlin business class? Do I just email customer services?


      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        There’s a phone number on the website. They speak excellent English in my experience.

        • BrotherBear says:


        • mark1980 says:

          Do you get the free chauffeur at both ends of the journey i.e. Berlin and Abu Dhabi or just Abu Dhabi?

        • Berlin too but apparently calling airberlin to arrange it can be a pain.

        • mark1980 says:

          Thanks Rob. Brother Bear – I’m just finalising details for my trip in March. My child turns 2 at the end of March so we’re going before then so he can travel as an infant. I’m points rich and reasonably cash poor so with that and travelling from the regions my plan is as follows:
          LCC flight from MAN to Berlin
          Overnight in Berlin at an IHG property to count towards wife’s IHG Accelerate target
          TXL – AUH in AB J
          4 nights at the Hilton Dubai the Walk on points. This is a converted apartment block across from the Jumeirah Hilton which you get to use the facilities and private beach of. With diamond status I get free breakfast and lounge access and I’m hoping for an upgrade to a suite.
          2 nights at IC Dubai Marina on Points
          Return flight from DXB – DOH – MAN in J
          Total cost will be approx £500 in cash (taxes and positioning flights) for what would be a £3-4k holiday. My biggest decision was whether to do a direct Y flight MAN – DXB on Emirates for circa £300pp i.e. £100 more than what we’re paying (plus of course the saving of 195k in Avios. However the thought of a 6/7 hour flight in Y with a hyperactive toddler fills me with fear. I’m hoping that breaking the flights into 2 shorter ones and in the comfort of J will outweigh the inconvenience / increased travel time.

  10. Good News about the codeshare arrangement.

    The Flybe hold luggage maximum is 20Kg, the Virgin maximum is 23Kg. It’s not going to be an issue for outbound trips to the US. But what happens on the inbound after I’ve stocked up in American Eagle, Macy’s and Target?

    • you get clobbered for VAT and import duty baboomtsssh 😛 😛

    • How does baggage reclaim work at EDI for international passengers who have connected onto a domestic?

      At GLA if you arrive on a domestic flight after connecting off an international flight your bags are on a separate international baggage belt, next to the domestic belts. You then have to pick up the phone to customs to make any declarations. Obviously if you arrive into GLA on a direct international flight you still have to go through customs (the Emirates flights always seem to be the interesting ones).

      • Same way, belt 6 at Edinburgh contains the bags originating abroad, although there’s no customs channel so they depend on your honesty if you want to declare anything.

      • Well, it’s all out in the open at the front of airport…

        It’s a bit naughty, but when I’m being picked up by family and as EDI baggage handlers can be very quick when they want to be, more often than not they’ve collected my luggage and are waiting for me with it.

        (There are barely noticeable signs at low level that say “passengers only” beyond this point but nobody seems to bother).

  11. Oh that’s a pity as I can speak/read French.
    Also I could do it the same thing for Japan Airlines(JL) and ANA(NH) as I’m a Japanese blogger 🙂

  12. I currently live in Amsterdam and am keen to hear of FB earning/shopping opportunities. I read this site every day, thanks Rob. ik spreek geen Nederlands (I do not speak Dutch).

    • Sussex Bantam says:

      That’s about the only sentence of Dutch I learned when I lived there too !

    • Just about to move to Amsterdam so would also love to hear of FB earning and redemption opportunities.

  13. O/T but I have just stopped my virgin money ISA direct debits after making 8 payments so I need to close the ISA to get next years sign up bonus?

  14. For everyone interested in collecting FB miles, there’s an interesting promotion with Avis: 4000 miles for any 3 day rental or more (it’s not as attractive as the famous 18000 Avios) but if you need a car and already collect FB it’s a good way of topping up you FB account.

  15. Hi Rob

    Just dropped you an email with some ideas and Qs about this. Let me know what you think when you have a minute


  16. You cannot earn Flying Blue miles in a “à la Tesco” way in France, and I guess in the NL when buying at supermarkets.

    One reason why Tesco fails in France was that Tesco prices were too much high compared to competitors.
    The UK consummers still pays much more than continental europeans consummers for day-to-day basic products from supermarkets.

    • the real harry1 says:

      might have been ‘more true’ 8 months ago (actually 3 years ago it WAS true) but not now

      so give some current examples of basics where you think your point is valid…

      not including wine or booze

      • Baguettes?

        I certainly find pretty much any European country south or east of Germany to be noticeably (but not anyways significantly) cheaper than the UK. Doesn’t remotely mean we’re being “overcharged” though – different countries have different living costs.

      • I bought today 2 kilos of carrots for 1 euro.

        Do you find any carrots in a UK supermarket for £ 0,46 the kilo?

        I mean I ask because I have always been amazed by London prices in supermarkets.
        But I have not been in one of them for 4 years now, so things may have changed.

        • the real harry1 says:

          sure, that’s a common price these days, there is a fruit & veg war going on

          if you’ve been away for 4 years you won’t have seen the march onwards in terms of gaining mkt share by Aldi/ Lidl

        • Genghis says:

          Even Tesco sell them for 45p/kg. Aldi/Lidl/London market bowls much less

        • Interesting to see that!

  17. Colin JE says:

    Interesting news about the Virgin/Flybe codeshare, but how does this work in practice when booking? I’ve just tried the Virgin website to see if I could book an EDI-LHR flight in May and it says there are no flights. Had hoped to be able to book Flybe and top up my Virgin tier points to stay Silver if not get to Gold.

  18. Very pleased to see you will be covering Flying Blue – since BA have gone so far downhill I’m using KLM as shorthaul carrier of choice. Plus they serve my local airport. It seems quite easy to get silver status, just 15 flights, can do that with 4 round trips to EU destinations connecting via AMS. And that’s no hassle since the Schipol redevelopment, although it can be hairy on a 50 minute connection when you arrive 30 late … ! However the silver status is more bronze – it doesn’t give lounge access, fast track or priority boarding. (The free seats and hold baggage is worth it for me though). I need to work out whether it’s worth the extra 15 flights or another 4 round trips to get gold, given I have priority pass anyway so can get into a lounge

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