Bits: Virgin Boston spend offer, Delta / Westjet partner, 4 x Tesco debit card points

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News in brief:

Virgin Flying Club offer on Boston flights

Virgin Flying Club is running a special deal on the new Manchester to Boston route in Upper Class.

For bookings made by 2nd May, you can book Manchester – Boston for 70,000 Flying Club miles return on off-peak dates and 90,000 miles return on peak dates.

There are also special mileage deals for upgrading from either Economy or Premium Economy.

The standard cost for Manchester – Boston in Upper Class would be 95,000 miles off-peak and 115,000 miles peak.

Full details are on this special page of the Virgin Atlantic website.


Redeem Delta Skymiles with Westjet

If you have Delta Skymiles from travel in the US, or from an American Express Membership Rewards transfer, you now have a new redemption option.

Delta now allows redemptions on Canadian airline Westjet, albeit only in Economy.

One-way redemption costs are:

  • Domestic Canada / US – 12,500 Miles
  • Mexico / Caribbean – 17,500 Miles
  • Hawaii – 22,500 Miles
  • Europe – 30,000 Miles

You can find out more on the Canadian Kilometres site here.  I can’t find much information on Delta’s own site just yet.


Double earnings on the Tesco debit card begin today

It is a while since this announcement was first made so it may have slipped your mind.  From today, the Clubcard earning rate on the Tesco Bank debit card is quadrupled when you shop in Tesco or buy Tesco petrol.

You will now earn 1 Clubcard point (2.4 Avios or 2.5 Virgin Flying Club miles) for every £1 spent in Tesco and charged to a Tesco debit card.

This rate is guaranteed to remain in place until at least April 2019.

This now makes the Tesco debit card four times as generous as the Tesco Clubcard MasterCard!  The MasterCard earns 1 Clubcard point per £4 in Tesco and 1 per £8 elsewhere.

Full details are on the Tesco Bank site here.  Thanks to Jonathan.

(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. Luke Stevens says:

    It would be worth pointing out that you can upgrade WestJet flights to Plus (which is essentially Club Europe, has the blocked middle seat etc) at online checkin from around 20CAD to 100CAD depending on the distance and there is pretty much always upgrade availability (Often all the seats are free). I do this weekly (I now live in Calgary). If you check in at exactly 24 hours before, you’ll always get a seat.

  2. Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Tesco remain closed to new applications.

    • Just seen the ‘we are pausing applications for new accounts’ on their website. How very annoying.

  3. Noted that they are not taking new applications, but is that 1 Tesco point per £ on top of what you would earn from just using the Clubcard, i.e. 2 points per £ spent in store?

  4. O/T there is an article in this weeks economist magazine about BA’s cuts and why it is moving more towards being a low cost airline

  5. JamesW says:

    You missed a trick this morning as you could have run an article stating BA had made some positive ‘enhancements’ to the BAEC and its in-flight hard product !!

  6. Roger says:

    OT – SQ Silver

    Thanks to a status match opportunity from last year (does not work any longer), I am SQ Silver now, but as I have not had any SQ miles credit SQ would not send out “physical” silver card. It says you need some account activity to be able to get card sent out to your address.

    I have some flights coming up with other *A airlines this summer, but just wondering is it worth getting a physical card? I can possibly transfer 1000 AMEX MR points to SQ and get the physical card. Or can I use silver card

    • There’s not really any major benefits of *A Silver, just having your SQ number on the booking should suffice.

    • Andrew* says:

      Assuming you’re talking Shangri-La and SQ match. I got that and got sent physical card.

  7. Tempted by the BOS VS UC offer, maybe just as an outbound for an open jaw.

    Still trying to get confirmation from VS if linking with FlyBE via INV avoids APD on a VS UC flight from MAN

    Rob – any thoughts on this, any useful contacts at VS that could help, FC seemed confused last time I phoned.

    • It should automatically waive the APD when priced irrespective of what call centre says if on same ticket.

    • James67 says:

      Had similar hassles trying to connect with CX via MAN to HKG. It showed up on BA but wouldn’t ticket. Calling CS didn’t help, claimed they could not do it manually either but offered no explanation why. In the end I just gave up, paid the extra cash, saved the avios and went BA.

  8. Simmo says:

    OT// Hilton Status, I think the cut off is start of April? My account still showing Diamond? Anyway to see an expiry date? Have a stay tomorrow night

    • IIRC, It’ll probs take a day or two, if you were scheduled to drop a tier, you might want to give CustServs a call. I was due to drop to Silver but they allowed me to stay at Gold due to my stays so far in Q1 & my booking pattern for the rest of this year.

      • James67 says:

        Why didn’t you guys do the diamond match through 2018? I did that but run into a lot of hassle after my account got suspended, but they sorted it all out eventually. Next spring I’ll take out amex platinum if I don’t get a soft landing to gold.

        • I did that – I’m hopeful that now we’ve passed the 31st March and I’m still showing Diamond it should be good through to 31/3/18. It was confirmed in an email months ago from Hilton that they’d extended it, but I never quite trusted them! At least if any issues I can go back to them with that email though!

        • James67 says:

          Yes, I have an email too so they will be receiving a return copy if my status falls. I’m not really fussed about foom upgrades as I spend so little time in tbem but breakfast and lounge and bonus points all welcome. Mist importantly, I hope to stay diamond this year so I’m gold next year ax I don’t do enougb paid stays.

        • Mine is still showing 3/18 and I received a card in the post too!

        • James67 says:

          @Liz , where do you see 3/18? Thanks.

        • James – my account just says Diamond with no date but the card I received in the post after the status match says expires 3/18. Also if you go to My Honours Card on the left hand side and download a paper one, mine also says 3/18

        • Ahh, I hadn’t noticed that one gave the expiry date – if only they’d just put it front and centre on the account page instead!! 3/18 on mine too – result 😀

        • I don’t think it used to show on the downloaded paper card – maybe an improvement with the changes to the website. Glad you have it to 3/18!

        • James67 says:

          @Liz, you’re a star, mine too 🙂 I had always checked the app not the site. Downloaded a copy and requested a physical card to be mailed. We drove up the (almost deserted) A93 to Aberdeen last week, passed what looked like a well maintained caravan site on outskirts of Braemar. Busy already, stunning locarion.

        • We just came back yesterday from 3 days away to Blair Altholl – we went to Braemar and Ballater on Wednesday! Great couple of days. Suspect we will be up and down the A9 a fair few times over the next year or two! Being ambitious next week and heading to Manchester area for a christening. I gave up on my Accelerate target this quarter and cancelled my IHG bookings! The drive will be a bit daunting but we need to get used to it if we want to travel into Europe in years to come.

        • Genghis says:

          @James67 How come your account got suspended?

        • James67 says:

          They were having a problem with status match fraud and closing accounts as a result. Me and a few other HFP readers got caught up in it. It was difficult to get it sorted but we eventually did. No goodwill gesture or even an apology though which remains a sore point with me.

    • My Hilton status updated late afternoon (US time?) and my Diamond status match dropped to Silver, but will be up to Gold account thanks to Amex Plat card.

      However when i did the status match they opened a new honours account, which i then had to get merged over to my existing account for Diamond status, where i already had points sitting. This old, new account remains at Diamond status. So another year of enjoyable status benefits at Hilton – which has changed my booking preferences.

      • James67 says:

        Thanks for info re diamond-silver, I was hoping for gold. Now I know I better plan strategy for amex platinum application first quarter 2018.

  9. Jason says:

    OT parentpay get a last minute deal with Amex!

  10. James67 says:

    HFP readers really need to rigorously examine their tesco and avios habits in relation to the redemptions they are making. I’m convinced many (if not most) are getting poor value. The absolute maximum value I can squeeze out of a clubcard point on a CW zone 7 redemption I frequently use is 3.02p if used in conjunction with a 2for1, a little worse for the Lloyds voucher and obviously much worse for a standard redemption. Shifted our shopping to Sainsburys 6 months ago, my partner and I were both able to benefit from online introductory shopping offer, and have received a never ending flow of coupons and offers. Although I have not tracked it in detail I’m certain our return over this period is comfortably over 10% of our total shop. By contrast tesco coupons and offers have virtually dried up, return on tesco shop via clucard-avios is at best only one third of our return on shopping at Sainsburys. In addition to this we have also achieved further value from the nectar credut cards, and the nectar virgin trains offers. Admitedly, the vouchers are no longer as valuable as they were but we will be away from home much of the coming months so may switch to Waitrose or Tesco for a few months before trying Sainsburys introductiry offers, new nectar accounts all over again.

    • Interesting re vouchers from Sainsbury’s. Agree re Tesco ones drying up – I’ve had almost nothing in a couple of years now. However price-wise I’ve found Sainsbury’s to be consistently much more expensive than Tesco so the vouchers I received from them were only reducing their prices to similar levels – all depends on local store prices I guess!

      • James67 says:

        It’s curious because when I shifted to Sainsburys I stuck with it because I was convinced the prices were no worse, perhaps even better, than tesco. Most people tell me same as you though.

        • Will vary a bit depending on what you buy I guess and the local market conditions. Tesco Clubcard are investigating why I’m no longer getting vouchers!

        • James67 says:

          It might be local, have 3x Sainsbury, a huge Asda, Tesco extra, Waitrose, Morrisons, Iceland, Lidl and Aldi all within 15 minute drive of us. I got the impression that Sainsburys were often a few pence more expensive than tesco on many items but these. could usually all be wiped out by a single good useful offer.

        • Alan what are Tesco doing re your lack of coupons – I wrote to Tesco a few months ago when others here were all receiving 150 pts coupons and double points etc. I never receive marketing emails on our original joint cc account which is our main account – I never get coupons – they said they would pass it on to their marketing people but as far as they could see I am all signed up to receive stuff – I just never do. Told them it would appear loyal customers like me never get rewarded with any of their offers – been a member since 1994 when it launched and do 95% of my shopping with them. Never heard anything back.

        • Clubcard team are investigating. Had a reply mid-week saying “I just wanted to email you to let you know I am still looking into this. I’m sorry it’s taking so long; I just need to liaise with other departments and unfortunately it can take some time to get the answers you need. I will be in touch with you again within the next few days.”

          So will see what they say!

        • Callum says:

          “Sainsburys were often a few pence more expensive than tesco on many items but these. could usually all be wiped out by a single good useful offer.”

          But the same would apply to Tesco though – I.e. One good offer will make Tesco cheaper overall again. As someone said it depends on your shopping habits, but Sainsburys is significantly more than Tesco for me (which in turn is more than Asda).

          Out of curiosity I just calculated the savings of my last redemption. HKG-LHR in CW, BIO-LHR in ET and LHR-SCL in CW using a Lloyds voucher. Total cost 88,000 + £160. Comparing to the cheapest economy flights (with horrible connections instead of direct) gives a value of about 2.9p per Clubcard point, direct economy gives 4.6p per point and business gives about 10p per point. Though granted my redemption was such good value the operator was in disbelief and actually called someone over to their computer to come and see it, so maybe not representative!

        • James67 says:

          To be fair though CT in Scotland has been frozen for years. Had councils had free reign over that period it would probably be 30% more than it is now and despite that there would likely still be a funding crisis in local government. For benefit of Genghis and others who may not be familiar with system here, water is included in CT. At the bands Liz and I are paying water exceeds £600/year but even taking that into account we are still left with £2k bills for local government. Standing charges and other fees on water meters are applied in such a way that they would not benefit you unless living in a fully occupied 6+ bedroom home.

        • Yes it’s scary how water charges have gone up – I found it weird being metered for it in Australia (separately for hot and cold water!) but found my actual usage was really low and ended up not costing much at all. For Band E it isn’t quite as big an amount, so still would be cheaper overall in London!

      • Fenny says:

        I can’t remember the last time I got any Tesco vouchers other than an occasional till spit. I haven’t done more than a Sunday evening milk & snack shop in Tesco for well over 6 months. Apart from a weekly email of offers that don’t appeal in the slightest as most of them are utterly irrelevant, I’m not seeing any enticement to go back to them. Aldi are far better on price and Waitrose are far better for offers and vouchers (and free coffee!).

    • Andrew says:

      Loyalty schemes are great, the algorithms that calculate disloyalty just brings on a raft of offers.

      I need to go shopping at some point today, in front of me I have the following vouchers:-

      £8 off £40 at Waitrose
      £8 off £40 at Tesco
      £6 off £30 at Lidl (New Aldi opened nearby)
      £4 off £20 at Sainsbury
      Along with a rather miserable 10% off at the Co-op.

      • Genghis says:

        The 10% at co op isn’t the Halifax spend offer is it? I paid BG st paypoint and got £30 back

        • James67 says:

          Thx for tip. Paying CT there tomorrow but limited to £150 per transaction.

        • Genghis says:

          Is it not £150 limit per Paypoint but you can put through more? Eg. IIRC BG limit is £199.99 so I put through £199.99 and £100.01 = £300 for the 10% = £30 cash back

        • James67 says:

          Yes, £150 for paypoint council tax in Edinburgh. PITA, have to go to a coop twicd to pag CT each month but whorth it to hit spend targets.

        • the real harry1 says:

          Genghis is right, my council’s Paypoint limit for CT is £200 so at Co-Op they key in 3x £200 and I put my card in once to pay £600

        • James67 says:

          Ok, thanks guys, I’ll give it a try tomorrow.

        • James – like Harry says you can pay more than £150 at a time. MIne was over £200 and my Coop takes up to £200 – I just tell them to key in £200 first then the balance – you get 2 Paypoint slips but one credit card receipt for the full amount. Only positive about a £43 pm hike in CT is the pts on my Amex card!

        • Genghis says:

          @Liz £43 hike a month in CT? Wowsers

        • Yep, massive hikes across the board here – partly council driven, partly SG. Well over £2,000/year for a mid-range 2-bed flat in Band E, which by comparison would only be around £1,300 in London! (using RBKC as an example –

        • RBKC is an oddity though. Most dense housing in UK, many kids in private schools, fewer social problems to fund (although the borough has some dodgy areas). We got our bin collection cut from 3 to 2 per week – that is the extent of cuts.

        • @Genghis – yes £43 pm hike courtesy of SNP and Dundee CIty Council! It’s painful!

    • Genghis says:

      We were getting loads of £12 off £X spend at Tesco just before Xmas. I’ve even had a couple of till spits since Xmas.

      What’s your usual zone 7 route that you’re getting poor value on?

      • I use self-scan so sadly seem to get no till splits for over a year now. However now also getting zero offers via Clubcard vouchers, which I used to get regularly before (same spending pattern) 🙁

        • Genghis says:

          We haven’t had coupons from the cc acct for ages. Till spits have come from self service. Strange

        • Perhaps they’re just not bothering with issuing them locally as they don’t feel they’re under sufficient competition from rival supermarkets?!

  11. OT but Rob thankyou so much for your earlier article about The Grain Store at LGW joining Priority Pass. I took a Norwegian flight to BOS yesterday and arrived very late without time to even be knocked back from the No 1 Lounge hahaha.
    Asked if Grain Store did take away, they knew all about the PP offer and with 2 of us with cards we got 2 paninis, 2 big slices of cake, 2 packets of crisps and 4(!) bottles of water for free. Brilliant deal and I prefer it to the PP lounge there!

  12. the real harry1 says:

    they’re pretty stupid about all this

    why not just allow ‘force’ most passengers to choose their meal choice at booking stage?

    • Genghis says:

      Agreed. It saves money and passengers like it (I like to choose my meal ex-LHR)

    • Because while this is a benefit you’d like, a large chunk of passengers change their flights – and by definition these are the higher-yielding ones. No matter how many Ts&Cs you put in shouting ‘not applicable if you change your flight’ you’d still annoy too many of these people. The logistics of moving catering from one flight to another (they’re built a few hours in advance) is extremely difficult and there’d be just as much waste.

  13. Tesco has now reopened applications for the current accounts but new applicants need to transfer in £750 each month and have 3 direct debits in order to qualify for the 3% interest

    • Interesting, the direct debit requirement definitely makes it more of a pain for folk, although I’m not surprised at them doing it – here’s hoping no retrospective changes for existing accounts!

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