Bits: last call for these offers, first World of Hyatt promo, $75m slot sale

News in brief:

Many decent offers closing today, 31st March

We’ll be running our fortnightly ‘offers closing soon’ article over the weekend.  There are a slug of good deals which finish TODAY, however, and I wanted to highlight a few in case you still want to jump in.

If you want to redeem Avios points on Air Malta or Aurigny, today is your last day – Article

It is the last day to buy some shirts from Charles Tyrhwitt and earn 8 Avios per £1 – Article

It is the last day to earn 13,200 Avios with an Economist subscription – Article

It is the last day to earn bonus Avios booking hotels with Agoda PointsMAX, for stays by 30th June – Article

It is the last day to earn 50% bonus Virgin miles with a hotel booking – Article

It is the last day to buy easyJet Plus membership before the price rises – Article


‘World of Hyatt’ launches its first promotion

Hyatt Gold Passport relaunched as World of Hyatt a few weeks ago.  I have just finished a comprehensive two-part article on the new scheme which will run over Easter and will explain what I think are the strengths and weaknesses.

In the meantime, registration is now open for the first World of Hyatt promotion.  It is a little underwhelming, to be honest.

(My gut feeling with Hyatt is that, with Starwood now out of the picture, they are content to be a follower and not a leader.  When your competitors consolidate and become less aggressive, you have two choices – become more aggressive yourself to try to win share from them, or choose to coast in their shadow and ease off the gas.  Hyatt seems to be doing the latter.)

Called ‘Double Points for Being You’ (?!), it is a simple offer.  You will receive double World of Hyatt base points on all stays between 1st April and 30th June, starting with your second stay.

I would have preferred to see double points on all stays, to be honest – it does nothing to encourage a booking for a light stayer, or someone who is rarely near a Hyatt (they only have 700 hotels globally, after all).  You need to register in advance via this page.


SAS sells Heathrow slots for $75m

Via Air Transport World and Business Traveller comes news that Scandinavian airline SAS has sold two of its 19 Heathrow slot pairs for $75m between them.

The buyer is unknown.  As SAS will remain in situ for three years, it is presumably a carrier who does not currently have the necessary aircraft.  As Heathrow slots will become worthless when the third runway opens, it is almost certainly a long-haul airline and one that believes it can sell enough seats each day to recover the investment over 10 years or so.

My money would be on Etihad.   Their three daily Heathrow departures do not match the scale of their ambitions, although the airline is currently making financial cutbacks elsewhere.

Qatar?  As a major BA shareholder and codeshare partner they could simply do a deal to lease additional slots from BA.

Emirates?  Add in the Qantas codeshare flights and the fact that they are ‘all A380’ and you must assume they are at the limits of what they need – unless they want to switch the Gatwick services across.

Virgin?   They already have spare slots at Heathrow which are leased out, some to IAG IIRC

Delta?  As above, given they are a 49% Virgin shareholder

AA?  Same as with Qatar, I am sure BA could come to some arrangement for less than $75m.  In any event, the slots are probably not early morning landing slots as they are more expensive (Oman Air paid $75m for ONE pair of early morning landing rights last year).

Cathay?  They are in financial difficulties and unlikely to be doubling down on Heathrow – although they could move their Gatwick flight over.

We will find out in time.  Prices like these make it clear that British Airways got an amazing deal when it bought bmi British Midland, and that the Star Alliance airlines were foolish not to come together to buy it and divvy up the slots between themselves.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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  1. James67 says:

    Rob, regarding slots, isn’t it more likely that flybe are hoping to generate income from the slots in future as opposed to from operating flights themselves? I think your earlier assertions regarding flybe are likely correct, particularly given their lack of marketing and their failure to deploy an E190 on the route. A 6am departure from EDI is good, it will be a pity to lose that.

    • Andrew says:

      There were a few shocked faces when those connecting from transatlantic flights heading to Edinburgh saw the Q400 yesterday afternoon. Didn’t help we were bussed passed an A380 parked up alongside.

      The gate was a touch amateur with the chasing of too-large cabin bags and cabin was far too hot.

      I booked the flight knowing the Q400s are a noisy functional bus with wings, it was £150 cheaper than BA, the flight arrived early, I was off it about 10 minutes quicker than the usual BA farce too. T2 is also very handy for my favourite Flightpath car park.

      I’ll be a regular on Flybe from Heathrow – hope that there is a business case for the Embraer aircraft.

      • insider says:

        the flight probably arrived early because the slot time is ridiculous on Flybe! ABZLHR is 2hr15 on some flights, compared to 1h30/40 on BA

      • Matthew says:

        I’d imagine the controllers are not too happy with the extra time required behind a Dash 8!

  2. Could the slot pairs have been bought by Oman Air again? They have a number of 787s on order for delivery in 2018 & clearly want LHR slots given the price they paid Kenyan last year!

    • Could be Oman again, they clearly have the money and, launching Manchester soon, they are expansive mood. Going from 2 to 4 a day from Heathrow would be a massive statement of intent though. Do they have a big enough network to get the connecting traffic?

      • Maybe not, but if they want to join the ME3 they need to make a bold statement of intent. As slots don’t come up for sale all that often they have to take them when they can get them.

        Slots are only useful if you can pair them up with something at the other end so it is likely the the purchaser will be someone with plenty of flexibility downroute such a state sponsored/controlled carrier.

        • Exactly – I don’t think Oman has the network onwards from Muscat to support 4 aircraft a day from London.

  3. Has anyone had any joy with the Economist? Signed up nearly a month ago but still no sign of the Avios…

    • NigelM says:

      Nope. Signed up 2 months ago and nothing…
      Terrible customer service when enquiring about it too.

  4. It’s also the last day that ParentPay accept Amex

  5. Barry cutters says:

    jet blue?? Would fit with new airctact delivery timings.
    I think I read somewhere that they would be making a lhr slot purchase this year

    • Transatlantic jet blue mint would be a cool option

      • If the slots are worthless in 13 years, which implies a decade of use, they amortise at $150,000 per week. Could a low cost JetBlue model handle that? Why not take free Gatwick slots?

        • Barry cutters says:

          good point and the a321 only have 14 mints on , thats only 196 a week.

  6. Concerto says:

    As always, I believe the whole bmi thing should never have been allowed to happen. It permitted the most ghastly monopoly to come into being, which all BA ever wanted to be.

    • Callum says:

      Weren’t they sliding towards bankruptcy at the time? Though I didn’t pay much attention back then so I guess there could have been “better” viable buyers than BA?

      • The issue was the pension liability which scared a lot of people, and would have been a problem with the regulator if the airline had been broken up. That said, the value of the slot assets would easily have covered the pension gap plus what BA paid in the end.

    • Mzungu says:


      And we lost the UK based Star Alliance airline in the process. I did really well with *A, took me quite a while to bring myself around to knuckling down to use BA and collect Avios instead!

      Mind you, with the current direction of BA, I’m seriously thinking of reverting to *A and accepting the lower earnings etc. It’s just hard to decide which airline/scheme to go for – I have a few thousand points with SAS, but if others are better long-term, I’d make the switch first. Any thoughts?

      • Really depends on what your flying pattern is… turkish are a good option but with the country’s political problems it could be a risk…

        If you mainly fly to asia or beyond then id highly recommend singapore krisflyer… great product, ok redemption costs despite the elimination of online 15% discount but now no surcharges so save money there. And also an amex partner.

        Or lufthansa means only short connections and they also have an mbna card to earn miles with. Not flown them much but at least their first class is highly regarded

        • Although watch out for hard expiry. I tend to transfer MR points to SQ to book and use United for main *A points deposits.

        • Reddot says:

          +1. Hard expiry makes it very difficult to work.

        • Yeah hard expiry is defo the biggest downside to krisflyer…

        • Mzungu says:

          Thanks for all the inputs. Yes, hard expiry is an issue, my SAS points have a hard expiry, although at least they give you 5 years.

          I’m checking whether any of the *A partners don’t have a hard expiry – I have a feeling that Aegean might be worth a look…

          Otherwise I guess I’ll look at keeping the MR points and transferring in when they’re needed.

  7. An OT as this is Bits…

    Rob – is this worth a tickle?
    (if you you’ve used up free Lounge passes from Amex, etc)

    Priority Pass standard membership £6 inc first visit

    • Barry cutters says:

      It’s £6 for the 50% discount .
      -you still have to pay the membership costs

  8. Not really. The fees on Trainline (booking fee and credit card fee, IIRC) amount to about 2%. So you’re much better off booking direct and getting Nectar points (at least on some operators).

  9. Scallder says:

    OT re IHG Barclaycard – following on from someone else who mentioned on here that they got in touch with the Executive Office to make a complaint about the closing of the card and not being able to hit the £10k for the free night, I emailed them asking fot compensation.

    I received a letter from them yesterday saying they were rejecting the complaint and would not be paying anything on top of the pro-rata refund in May, and that that was their final decision.

    Given Rob mentioned the call centre were seemingly paying out £25 per £1k of spend, I presume that it would be an easy win if going to the ombudsman (or whoever else it may be) given that Barclaycard have taken a different outcome with others? Has anyone else been declined compensation and had it over turned at all?

    • You either got a bad agent or Barclaycard is running scared after paying out thousands to HFP readers over the last month.

      if you were working towards the voucher then you are 99% certain to win a compensation claim given that, by paying others, the bank has already accepted the case.

  10. Stuart says:

    Personally I think this is the best reward you can get for booking a hotel, when you take the lower Avios rate. We have it sometimes on a work reward gateway thingy. To get Avios AND the extremely good Hotels(dot)com rewards is great value. Just check they are not more expensive, as they can be sometimes, or not “sold out” when available on other sites.

  11. Reading the article headline, I wasn’t sure whether HfP readers were likely to bid $75m for the Heathrow slots. It wouldn’t surprise me if they did!

  12. Is it possible to sale and ease back slots. Sell your slots for $75m and then lease them back for $Xm a year with maybe an option to rebuy. Could be an innovative piece of asset based finance particularly if you have losses so any capital gain on selling the slot would not involve a tax outflow.

    • BA tried to issue a bond secured on its Heathrow slots a couple of years ago but they couldn’t get it away.

      • Howard says:

        Virgin Atlantic international is a seperate airline with its own AOC which was set up to hold the Heathrow slots of its parent company virgin Atlantic. A £235M bond was then taken out becoming the first bond secured on airport slots. It should be pointed out that the total value of the slot holding of ba/ virgin is much less than the sum of its parts since they will be unlikley to find buyers at a high price for all slots

  13. Michael says:

    The Hyatt promo is so underwhelming it makes you wonder why they even bothered!
    And you have to opt-in.
    I was considering booking a stay in a Hyatt next month for a few days but this has annoyed me so much that I’ve actually changed my mind, I’ll be booking elsewhere.

  14. OT does anyone know roughly when the off peak dates will be for May 2018 – this year is the last few days of May into early June – will it likely be the same again next year?

    • They only seem to be releasing the dates 355 days in advance ….

    • wally1976 says:

      School half-term is 26th May to 3rd June so (based on this year), I would expect that will be peak and any other dates around there will be off-peak. No guarantees though!

  15. the real harry1 says:

    Why will the 3rd runway render Heathrow slots worthless? Less valuable, I’d readily accept

    • Callum says:

      That was puzzling me a bit. To become worthless the runway would have to add so much more capacity that any airline that wants to fly from Heathrow can fly as often as they’d like. I’d also imagine demand in 13 years time, if it’s even finished by then, will be much higher than now anyway.

      Are there any projections for how many new slots would be created?

      • the real harry1 says:

        Raffles may mean that although there may be – say – 35% more slots, the monopoly/ duopoly/ slot ownership advantage may be broken – there will be enough slots available & not 100% takers to ensure you can always join in

        Don’t agree, if that is the premise

        • the real harry1 says:

          gets I before
          or even 50% more slots

        • The slot allocation is already agreed I think – or, at least, it is agreed that BA does not get anything like its proportional share and that new entrants will be prioritised. This is probably good as BA would simply pull out of Gatwick overnight if it got enough new Heathrow slots, which would have meant 15 years of unbelievable disruption would have achieved nothing except leave Gatwick bankrupt and BA with an indentical route network to what it has now.

        • Howard says:

          I don’t think slots will be worthless when the new runway is built, especially if they are morning or even afternoon slots. (I believe currently slot values go down in value on a straight line basis depending on time of day). Additionally, if new slots are given on a pro rata basis to existing slot holders (except ba), then 2 slots will become 3 when the new runway is ready.

  16. O/T I just received 50 Avios in my Avios account for “super boost app download bonus”. Not sure what it’s for but not complaining 🙂 (2400 coming my away for actual super boost too)

    • Far higher operating margin than both AFKLM and Lufthansa group according to the Airline Weekly podcast this week

    • Callum says:

      The audience on this site really does not come close to representing the average passenger. Its easy to forget, but many “new” travellers don’t even know free food and drink on a plane is a thing let alone get upset about them being removed on short haul. People don’t expect service on a typical coach journey, the same will eventually happen on a typical flight.

      As I’ve said many times on here, you don’t have to like it but that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong business decision.

  17. Concerto says:

    Mentions rumours in the City that BA.may snap up its low cost rival (meaning Norwegian). Really??

    • IAG bought Aer Lingus for no other reason than to take out newly resurgent competition, so yes you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll try. Hopefully Norwegian will hold out and provide competition for a while though.

      • callum says:

        I hardly see how Aer Lingus was such enormous competition to BA, Iberia and Vueling that IAG decided to buy them out, despite not wanting them…