Bits: Luxury Travel Diary auctions, new BA strikes, new Finnair long haul routes

Links on Head for Points pay us an affiliate commission. A list of our partners is here.

News in brief:

Luxury Travel Diary auctions

The Luxury Travel Diary site dropped me a line about another wave of its auctions closing soon.

Most of the items offered tend to go for far less than the standard retail price.  Interesting options closing in the next 48 hours include five nights in Koh Lanta, Thailand, two nights at a boutique hotel in Paris and three nights in a riad in Marrakech.  Not everything will work for you, either in terms of location, length or dates, but you’ll probably find something of interest if you poke around.

BA A380

New BA strike dates announced

A further six days of strike action by British Airways ‘mixed fleet’ crew has been announced.  The dates are:

  • 5th – 7th February
  • 9th – 11th February

The impact from the earlier strikes has been minimal, with flights on popular routes merged and a few charter planes brought in.  BA claims that everyone will get to where they are going on the day they are booked.

Remember that City and Gatwick flights are not impacted at all.  At present it is not possible to use the strike as an excuse to change or refund any non-refundable tickets you may hold for those dates.  This page of has up to date strike information.

Finnair A350

New Finnair long haul routes announced

We like to cover Finnair on Head for Points because, as a oneworld member, you can earn and spend Avios points on its flights.

It also has an excellent business class product on its new A350 aircraft (I reviewed it here) and often has excellent low fares from London, Manchester and Edinburgh via Helsinki.

With four A350-900 aircraft arriving this year, the airline has announced four new leisure routes to operate over Winter 2017.  These are:

Goa – twice weekly from 29th November

Havana – twice weekly from 1st December

Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic) – weekly from 30th November

Puerta Vallarta (Mexico) – weekly from 19th November

As Helsinki to Goa is under 4,000 miles, it will be 120,000 Avios in Business Class.  This compare to 150,000 Avios with BA on a peak date from London to, say, Delhi as that is over 4,000 miles.  You still need to get to Helsinki of course!

(Finnair to Dubai is also interesting for a similar reason. I should do another article on that.)

If any good fare sales emerge I will cover them as they tend to be a good way to pick up British Airways tier points in style.  You can find out more about Finnair on their site here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

My review of the Gran Hotel Montesol Ibiza - Curio Collection by Hilton (Part 2)
BOOK FROM 2pm-ish: 129 new IHG PointBreaks hotels at just 5,000 points
Click here to join our email list and receive all of the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

Amazon ad
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. Good Morning, what is the best way to book Finnair flights with Avios? On the BA website? Thank you.

  2. When I checked last night avios availability to Goa on AY was extremely limited for Dec-Jan. Only found 2 dates with Y seats (only 2 seats) and no dates with business. Hope this will increase.

    • Yes.
      Saw that too.
      Wish they started flying from this summer.

      Also could not see any availability at all for Business class awards.

  3. BA is becoming more and more unreliable as an airline. I hesitate to book non-refundable hotels rooms now when I’m relying on BA to honour the contract at the times and dates booked months in advance.

    Yesterday, our friends were due to fly from GLA to LGW, a 1h 20m flight but it was cancelled and they were rebooked via LHR. Instead of somebody waiting at Heathrow to take those rebooked passengers to LGW, they had to visit various different desks before they were finally given a voucher to use on the National Express coach to LGW. 3 hours late arriving home from a domestic flight!

    Now to watch them announce strikes on the very day I’m relying on them to get me to PSA for my QR biz deal to Auckland …. !!

  4. OT: is there a pattern to the Virgin Credit Card(s) higher bonuses?

  5. Buy on board stand with competition and “goody” bag at paddington station this morning.

    • Genghis says:

      What do you get? A packet of crisps that you would have got onboard?

      • Or maybe free water

      • I got a 40g packet of (sea) salt and (balsamic) vinegar (hand cooked) crisps and a brownie bar.
        the competition was something about wining some ET flights.

      • the real harry1 says:

        probably get Cruz with a glove flicking you left & right across your face

        ‘bastardo que tu es! eet la sheet, mal y verdammt toreador manqué! – I weel not give you Moor than 1000 Avios compo for your meesing eet some sheet & dreenk some sheet freebie food & dreek on my NewVuelingBA airline you complete sheet’

  6. Partner redemptions just don’t have the value they used to have.

    Never enough availability for a family, peak prices all year round and no 2for1.

    • BA has no control over availability on partners! Qatar usually release 4J per flight. We have 4J on JAL over Easter for a mid-haul and 4 PE on JAL into China.

      For light Avios users it clearly isn’t attractive. For users who use their 241 on another trip and are on a peak day anyway, it makes no difference unless leg-by-leg pricing hits you.

      • Happened to be looking at MIA in October, stumbled across a flight with 7 J seats available. Was rather amazed!

  7. the real harry1 says:

    O/T reminder Tesco 250 points
    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.


    bit worried this is targeted – I didn’t get the mailshot – but surely worth a go even if you normally hoard Tesco points

    • What exactly do I need to do to get this to work, e.g. at Pizza Express or Zizzi’s?

    • I was thinking of trying this (also not targeted) but seem to be unable to access the Tesco Clubcard website. Getting an error message from Tesco with redirection back to their overall homepage. Anyone else having problems?

      • You’re not abroad are you? Just Clubcard site is blocked from all non-UK access.

    • Clubcard bonuses have been so abysmal in this last collection period and Waitrose have offered such better offers that my CC total was 297, including a bonus of 150.

  8. OT for the 2016 offer would flying Finair LHR HEL on a BA coded flight be valid for Triple Avios?

  9. Something very screwy going on with BA business class prices – for the next month, all US cities are £5-6k business class return – every single day, and yet on many of these there are plenty of AVios Seats available, so clearly not fully booked – BA system glitch?

    • Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

      Also been finding that the BA CityFlyer TXL-LCY route has been £10 cheaper than the economy fare for a lot of dates…

  10. Any experience/issues/stories with BA strikes and long-haul flights? I’m due to fly to Tokyo on the 9th on a redemption in F..

    • You may get Club World catering as they seem to be taking a crew member off long hauls.

      10,000 Avios compensation if they do.

    • Hi Dave, lucky you off to Tokyo, fantastic place! Weather has been good of late (better than expected that is) HND or NRT?

      I’m there in March (same F redemption, on 789/NRT) – If I may ask, what are your plans? Am seeking tips / advice generally. Good luck and do share your ‘strike’ experience if you can. Cheers, J

  11. Very OT… I have (finally) set up my own Tesco Clubcard account rather than just having one household account. Does the Virgin offer to get extra bonus points when you set up auto convert require you to click through a particular link or just to set it up on the Clubcard home page?

  12. Finnair helsinki to dubai is on a european A321, no?

    That means european seats, not long-haul, and bob for food in economy.

  13. rams1981 says:

    OT I have a booking to Buenos Airies using a 2 for 1 in November which I want to change. Looking at the seats there is no availability whatsoever to change it. Do seats free up nearer the time so I can hold off making the change? Or is it better to cancel totally now? Do both options incur the £35 change fee?

    • mwinfield says:

      rams1981 you ask about Buenos Aires availability in November. In 2014 I watched business class flights for November very closely and very little was added (although we did eventually get 2 seats, I assume, due to a cancellation). I have also been looking this year and eventually got flights out to Santiago (crossing over Andes into Mendoza) and returning EZE-LHR. My suggestion is that you will either have to watch very closely for cancellations or maybe look for availability for Lima, Santiago or Rio as an alternative routing.

      • rams1981 says:

        thanks for the reply. I originally got the flights the day of release. I see flights to/from Rio which may work but that can’t be changed online.

        Anyone know the change fees involved? This was also booked on my wife’s BA 2 for 1 and she has cancelled the card so I’d like to avoid cancelling the flights just in case.

        • It will be £35 per ticket change or cancellation fee. The only time it isn’t is if the taxes are less than £35 then you can cancel and just lose the taxes.

  14. OT
    If anyone wants to book Holiday Extras, is a Lloyds current account customer and has Avios Rewards Amex, you will be able to get both Amex 15% cash back and Lloyds 10% Everyday Offers on the full amount paid i.e. 25%.

    • the real harry1 says:

      + the best discount you can find, eg the MSE ‘cheap airport parking’ link to Holiday Extras discounts

  15. OT, but have any people received their 4500 Avios from the Times travel subscription yet? had an email a while ago saying there was a delay on it, but wanting to know when to expect them

    • MrHandBaggageOnly says:

      Mine reached my Avios account on 29th November, having made the application on 22nd October. A week or two after the email saying there was a delay.

      • Cheers, i just checked in 1 of my account and were in there. I must of had an avios account under an old email. Have received them, which is good. Now have enough to book some flights!

  16. rams1981 says:

    OT @genghis booked the return from Jo’burg yesterday at midnight. Called this morning, cancelled flight and added it to my 2 for 1. I swear the taxes were less on the re-booking. @Yuff’s method works 🙂

    I was wanted the seats could go between cancelling and booking but you’d have to be really unlucky for that to happen I’d have thought.

    • And seats reappeared in the inventory immediately for rebooking?

    • Genghis says:

      Thanks @rams1981. Good to know the method works. So cancellation and rebooking (onto the 241) all done on the phone? I shall be using it in a couple of weeks’ time. Was there any F availability at t-355 (obviously not guaranteed)? I want to clear out my MIL’s account and so want just the right number of avios in the HHA for the purchase.

      • rams1981 says:

        @genghis. All done on the phone with the same agent. I didn’t check for first availability as my research showed the earlier flight (A380) was the better plane to use and that never has first available from what I’ve seen.

        • rams1981 says:

          and just to follow up the agent told me the taxes would be £380.40 compared to £470 I paid to do it as a one way last night, interesting.

        • Genghis says:

          But a return taxes price is not necessarily equal to the two single legs? Did you do a bag a fag packet comparison to the return taxes price online?

        • rams1981 says:

          no I didn’t. I imagined it was something like that i.e. 2 singles more expensive than a return

  17. Brendan says:

    OT but it appears all but confirmed now that Club Carlson EMEA 2 for 1 and 4 for 2 rates are now a thing of the past. No notice given either.

    • Bugger! I was looking at some of those for a trip in the next couple of months, but hadn’t finalised my leave plans.

    • Apparently this has been confirmed to a flyertalker from CC CS 🙁 madness
      it’s still on the landing page when you type 2for1 or 4for2. arghhh

  18. OT //
    Does anybody have any tips for One-Way car rental in the US? – lots of the companies to do not state their one-way fees, only that a fee is payable.

    I’m looking to pick up a car in Nashville, and drop it back in Atlanta 3 days later.

    Do offer one-way rental?

    • Try Alamo UK or Holiday Autos .

      Got to watch out that you have the correct insurances as US customers often have coverage through credit card or their car insurance. Booking with a UK company means these are included

      • nate1309 says:

        I used Avis via BAEC to go one way San Francisco to San Diego in September. Prices were competitive and came with free additional driver.

    • We do one way USA hires all the time now for our road trips – we use Avios to book Avis- prices are better if you call them and ask for a further 5% discount – there will be a one way fee as you are going from state to state but it shouldn’t be too much – we are hiring a car from Atlanta to Washington DC later in the year and the one way fee is £89. Our Route 66 trip from Chicago to LA wanted $1000 surcharge – for long distance hires you need to break up the hires into smaller distances – we have split our trip in to two for 2 x $300 surcharges. We now Book only a C or D car and hope for an upgrade by flashing the Platinum credit card and Avis Preferred card – worked last year as we were upgraded 3 levels.

  19. OT (Bits) – I mentioned yesterday, but anyone happen to know the rough timescale for Clubcard points posting after Tesco Current Account debit card transactions?

  20. Are all these AY flights from HEL or London?

    I rather fancy earning avios/TPs on the HAV route! Waited a long time for that one… 🙂

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.