Bits: new BA flights with Avios seats to LA and Rio, The Westbury on Bond Street joins SPG

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News in brief:

New British Airways services announced

British Airways announced a number of new services yesterday for the Winter timetable.

As usual, what is important here is that the two guaranteed Club World and four World Traveller Avios seats are available on each flight.  This means that you still have a chance to, for example, get to Los Angeles for Christmas even if the rest of the flights were snapped up months ago.

This is what was launched yesterday:

Seven (!) additional weekly flights to Los Angeles, to add to the existing 14.  The additional daily flight will leave Heathrow at 11.55, arriving 15.30

An additional weekly flight to Rio, departing on a Tuesday

An additional weekly flight to New Orleans, departing on a Tuesday

All flights start on 29th October.  Cash and Avios bookings are available now at

Westbury Hotel London Starwood Luxury Collection

The Westbury joins Starwood

This has been kept very low key, but the luxury The Westbury hotel on Conduit Street, on the corner of Bond Street, is joining Starwood’s The Luxury Collection on Tuesday.  The hotel is probably best known for the Polo Bar inside.

If you are looking for a London hotel to use as the base for a major shopping trip, you can’t go wrong here.  It is literally within 60 seconds walk of Hermes, Tods, Berluti, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ferragamo etc.

Redemptions will cost 20,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points per night.  Cash rooms run at over £300 per night so you will easily get my target SPG valuation of 1.5p per point.

That said, redeeming for any top-end Starwood hotel in London now looks expensive.  The most expensive Marriott hotels are only 45,000 points – including the two on Park Lane – which requires a conversion of 15,000 SPG points.  Neither of those are as close to the boutiques though …..

You find out more about the hotel on 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.)

Some lessons in redeeming miles and points from our Easter trip to Asia
Review of the Aspire and Aspire Plus Lounges at Newcastle Airport
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  1. Phillip says:

    Don’t forget the Wellesley in Knightsbridge also opens in April as an SPG property.

  2. Apologies for being OT but some may find the following useful.
    1) Wife (BA Gold) referred me and I took Amex Plat. Wife was credited with 9000 referral points but after an email through website stating there is no incentive to recommend Amex Plat to anyone she knows if the referral points are same as BA Gold she was given additional 9000 points within 24 hrs.

    2) I have BA premium and wife has the basic BA card. We both added each other as additional cardholder (3000 avios bonus on Black and 1000 bonus on Blue card) and got the bonus within 48hrs of application and card in 72hrs!!

    3) Had also referred wife for Lloyds Avios (been 45-50 days since application). It seems we are finally getting there as she got a reply a week ago that she has been approved but she hasn’t got the card yet. It was a couple of weeks before she got the referral link and then she had to go to branch personally for Id verification.

  3. Another OT: Does anyone know what is the cancellation policy for tickets booked with On business points? Is it same as Avios i.e 35 pounds fee and possible to cancel up to 24 hrs before the flight? Are they cancellable without any cancellation fee within first 24 hours? I did try searching on BA website but could not find this anywhere.

  4. Genghis says:

    OT. I signed up to the IHG white a few weeks ago for the 20k IHG sign up bonus. I got the card and spent £200 on it but only 10,000 bonus points have been added. Has this happened to anyone else?

    • OT to your OT, how long did it take for the card to arrive? I’ve got my PIN letter but still waiting on the card.

      • Seemed slow to me too – hopefully arriving soon but received confirmation text, ‘upgrade’ message on IHG a/c and PIN many days ago…

      • Genghis says:

        I applied on 12 March. It arrived when I was out the country 18-25 March so not too sure exactly when.

        • Gareth says:

          i applied similar 13/14th ish and got card about 5 days later(got card and pin in the same post(which shouldn’t happen really)….
          also have the same issue Genghis, only 10k bonus points. might ring creation later find out whats going on.

        • Genghis says:

          I sent them a secure message (but 5 day SLA). If you call Creation, please report back with what they say.

      • I applied about 12/13th March too – I had the PIN ages before the card so I phoned Creation. Was told to expect something like 10-12 working days for the actual card from acceptance. Sure enough it arrived on 27th. So yes quite a while.

    • Gareth says:

      yeh i will this afternoon, got a few bits on until 4 ish

    • I applied for the new start offer for 40k – 20k posted after the initial £200 spend – I phoned and they confirmed I was registered for the 40k offer but that the balance would post within 90 days.

      • Genghis says:

        Thanks Liz. Good info

        • Kinkell says:

          Thanks . I, too ,phoned today to ask about the 40k points. When I applied, it was20k and I was not targeted for the 40k. However, given that the talk here is the non fee card generates 20 k and targeted folk an get 40k points I pointed out I felt a bit miffed! Good news is CS state I will get the remaining 20k points…..but didn’t say when. So will hope it all happens within the 90 days!

    • I applied and got the card but it seems statement was generated within few days of card approval, so did not spend full £200 when statement was generated, and only received equivalent 1 point per £1 spent. No bonus at all.

      Now I have spend full £200+, so would expect to see full 20K bonus.
      If not, might just have to dig out any reference I can.
      I did not take any screenshot etc. while applying, so if Creation was to come back and say that 10K is the final bonus, I will be gutted!

    • Did you get a letter to you personally, saying you had been specially invited?. I did for the black card and I am sure it said 40000 points. Got the card, put an IHG hotel and flight but it is only showing 20000 points. Of course I went and chucked the letter. I got the card pin no etc all within about 5 days of applying.

      • The offer is still online at so it isn’t hard to prove the deal exists!

  5. Another OT,

    If i take out the IHG platinum card, will i still need to collect a total or 75K base points to get to spire elite or will i old need to collect 35K (75-40) points to be upgraded to spire?

    I know the sign up bonus (20K or 40K on targeted offer) does not count towards base points (but virgin transfers do!)

    • Genghis says:

      You’ll need to collect the full 75k to get to Spire Elite.

      Also “it is important to note that points from day-to-day spend count towards elite status. The sign-up bonus does NOT count towards elite status. A heavy spender could get Spire Elite status simply by putting £37,500 of spending through this card.”

    • It’s down to personal preference, but I suggest that you carefully study the (meagre) benefits of Spire Elite e.g. no breakfast before you go to the trouble/forgo other benefits to achieve it.
      The only benefit that I have found is matching to Hilton Diamond but not sure that that is still available without multiple Hilton stays.

      • You get a 90 day Diamond match with a requirement to do 8 stays (not nights) in the 90 days to keep it until 3/19.

      • Genghis says:

        My experience is that it’s not great but:
        – 25k IHGs bonus not to be sniffed at
        – I got a 10k IHG ex-gratia payment due to having to endure a cold shower on a 30 something quid booking at a HIX, and status certainly played a part.
        – I got an upgraded room at Crowne Plaza Jerusalem (not a great hotel though but v good value) and got lounge access with free breakfast, lunch and dinner (saved me a few quid!)

      • Hmmm…it’s hard too tell. I was not charged by the IC Bali for transport on to my next hotel (not back to airport) – when I originally asked about this they said there would be a £35 fee or some such – when they saw I was a Spire Ambassador they told me it was free – this was not an Ambassador or Club Intercontinental benefit – they specifically mentioned Spire. They also gave me 20% off all food bought (not drinks) I was unclear why got this – could have been status. Anyway it was a life saver as it covered the 11% service charge and 10% Tax which all the big hotels seem to charge in Bali.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          A few Resturants/bars I’ve visited in IHG hotels offer members 20% off food, even when you aren’t staying in the hotel.

          They don’t offer points though unlike SPG (Points and Money Off)

  6. You get the points regardless, but it would seem a waste to not get the sign-up bonus. Why not use it to get her some gift cards at the shops she mainly uses and/or some Amazon credit? Hate to see MR points just sitting there for the taking for a relatively small amount of outlay.

    • Graeme says:

      Or add yourself as a supplementary cardholder and do the spend for her? As Alan says, it’s a waste otherwise.

      • Genghis says:

        I’m the points collector in our household and so do all the running around, signing up for credit cards, activating them etc etc. Just place the cards your partner should be using in her purse and then you manage the rest, making sure that sign up bonuses are met etc. I always get supp cards, as Graeme suggests, as it allows you to both direct spend at a particular target.

        • RussellH says:

          Ironically, we were just yesterday discussing a training scenario I was working through, in which a man claimed to have gone through his sisters handbag. I maintained that that was highly suspicious behaviour in its own right – it is certainly not something I would ever do, unless I was specifically told , and even then I am very uncomfortable. She did not agree with me, but it is still just something I would never consider doing.

    • RussellH says:

      Thanks for the thought, but gift cards are NOT a good idea.

      The kind of places we frequent do not accept gift cards. I went to Tesco last year to both boost our clubcard total and and get some spend on my then new Gold Amex. There was honestly nothing of the slightest interest there, until I found book tokens at the bottom. Then check out was a nightmare while the cashier got out the manual on activating book tokens. In some ways I am quite relieved that that particular clubcard promotion has died!

      • I was meaning more just Tesco cards themselves, although appreciate you might not shop there normally – for me I easily spend them on fuel and food.

        • RussellH says:

          Thanks – but given what we spend at Tesco I would need to buy nearly four years supply of Tesco cards, and our local Tesco does not do fuel – they are half way between Morrisons and Asda, who both do do fuel, and are significantly cheaper than the nearest Teco fuel stations.

        • Ah OK, just shows how variable things are. Mainly lots of Tesco where I am & they’re cheapest for fuel on any of the routes I’m on!

      • Genghis says:

        But for the avios, would you have that monthly massage 🙂

      • Yes! But now it feels even better 🙂

  7. Thanks for this. Rebooked out winter holiday to go direct to Rio. Saves a change in both directions and a hotel night 🙂

    • daftboy says:

      Rio Galeao (GIG) is quite improved now post Olympics refurb – the Plaza Premium lounge in particular is a nice place to spend time preflight. Enjoy!

  8. O/T – Harry, what are your airport parking top tips?

    • Have you checked Groupon, they do regular airport parking offers? You can get 3/4 days valet parking for around £30 a from right outside the terminal, such a nice change from lugging everything around the JetParks at MAN!

  9. Graeme says:

    More OT!

    Are Hilton usually good with their Best Price Guarantee? I’m concerned that the price I want them to match will disappear before they get round to looking at it.

    • Genghis says:

      In summary – no

      • Graeme says:

        Fiddlesticks. Do they wriggle out of it on T&Cs?

        • Big Al says:

          They are dreadful, using every trick in or out of the book. I’m Platinum and sent them ample screenshots, copies of bank statements etc and pursued it for 4 months before I finally gave up.

  10. More OT:

    CityJet are giving you 20% OFF all fares on our routes!

    This offer is available to book now until April 2nd for travel from April 12th – October 28th 2017.

    To avail of this offer use code: SPRING when booking on

  11. OT Vente Privee avios posted today

  12. the real harry1 says:

    Use code EASTER5 for a £5.00 discount on a Annual Family and Friends railcard

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