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Bits: SLH scraps The Club, Emirates A380 to Birmingham, Virgin / Malaysia partnership

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News in brief:

Small Luxury Hotels to launch new loyalty scheme

Via Business Traveller, hotel marketing consortium Small Luxury Hotels of the World has announced that it will scrap its current loyalty scheme, The Club, next month.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World is a consortium of 520 luxury hotels in 80 countries. These are primarily independent properties, many of which are well known in their respective markets.

The Club is currently an Avios partner, and you are able to earn 500 Avios per stay at any SLH property.  Details are on here.  It is not clear if airline miles will continue to be offered in the future.

Taking their cue from the stupid tier names used by the new World of Hyatt programme (Discoverist, Explorist, Globalist), SLH will name its tier levels Invited, Inspired and Indulged.  

The focus will switch to ‘personalising stays’ with benefits such as ‘recommend a friend rewards, birthday gifts, complimentary nights, small luxuries’ and more.

If you are not already a member of The Club, this link for American Express cardholders still lets you join at Loved level, their current base level.  You may want to sign up now at this level in the hope that you are grandfathered into the new scheme at a higher level.


Emirates doubling up A380 services to Birmingham

Emirates has announced that the Birmingham route will move to ‘all A380’ operation from 29th October.   At present only one of the two daily services uses the super-jumbo.

This move is a partial reversal of the service cut planned for September.  The airport currently has three daily Emirates services, of which two are operated with a Boeing 777.  One of the 777 services is being dropped from September, but the upgrading of the second 777 flight to another A380 sees much of the missing capacity being reinstated.

Emirates A380

Virgin Atlantic ends partnership with Malaysia Airlines

I don’t know if this is brand new news but it had passed me by.  The partnership between Virgin Atlantic and Malaysia Airlines is ending on 31st August.

You will no longer be able to earn Virgin Flying Club miles when flying on Malaysia Airlines after this date.  That is not a major loss of course, since Malaysia Airlines is in oneworld which means you can also credit their flights to British Airways Executive Club.

You will also not be able to redeem Virgin Flying Club miles for Malaysia Airlines tickets after 31st August.  On the upside, you can book before 31st August for travel at a future date after the cut-off.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (August 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  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.)

Comments (21)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Angmo says:

    Wonder if the Virgin – Malaysia news is due to MAS changing its loyalty scheme to a revenue based one?

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      They are changing their whole reservation system. Perhaps VS didn’t fancy doing all the plumbing.

  • Rob says:

    Re A380 BHX, my parents were on one of the 777 services a few months ago to DXB and they mentioned it was empty (50% capacity), flight attendant also confirmed that generally the utilisation is around half.

    Replacing those with a single A380 sounds sensible though generally Emirates has so much capacity that is not being used. Not sure if anyone else has seen such low usage (bar ex London).

    • Angmo says:

      But how much cargo?

      • Rob says:

        A380’s have very little cargo space relative to the 777s. It’s of the reasons why BA flies 1x A380 and 1x 777 daily to Hong Kong when it could easily accommodate 2x (or even 3x) daily A380’s.

        A380’s great piece of engineering but they are useless for all but the most niche of routes presently.

  • James A says:

    Virgin may as well end all their partnerships except ANA, Air China (on that one route) and Delta for all the use that they are. Even the agents acknowledge that searching for Singapore or Air New Zealand availability is a futile business.

    • Rob says:

      ANZ premium availability is futile even if you use their own miles, I think.

  • Fraser says:

    Anyone had any update on redeeming VS miles on Singapore? It was on temporary hold since January when I tried in March, which they made clear was not “ended” but just held off due to issues with ticket confirmation by Singapore Airlines.

    Gutting, as it meant I couldn’t redeem for the First Suite from Changi to Sydney! 🙁 #firstworldproblems

    I have booked Air China First to Beijing for later this year though, with no hassle at all (except the Virgin site saying to call Air China when in fact you need to call Virgin). Plenty of availability despite Rob letting everyone know about this “secret” best value redemption! 😉

    • Alan says:

      If it’s any consolation, I believe Suites were always nigh-on impossible to book via anything but SQ KrisFlyer miles!

  • Robbie says:

    O/T Rob, but Norwegian pricing is up and booking from EDI to NY Stewart and Providence RI for Boston – £199 return with dates to next March on the new 737 Max. Not London, not biz class, but not bad pricing for what will be the shortest direct US-UK flights… worth a mention?

    • Rob says:

      Will take a look, although in general they only put out a handful of seats at that price which go quickly – and Stewart is a bit of a trot ….

  • Robbie says:

    O/T and the code flyusa99 gets you the outbound Norwegian flight discounted to £99 one way only – £63 back… unbeatable

  • Darren says:

    Re SLH, I have received the free breakfast benefit and upgrade on arrival a number of times. I also have a stay booked with this benefit, will that go with the changes?

    • Rob says:

      We need to wait and see if a) the benefits actually get worse and b) if they do, whether they respect benefits you were due at the time of booking.

  • Brian says:

    OT, and apologies if it has already been mentioned – but the Waitrose/Virgin deal seems to have ended, i.e. they aren’t offering ANY miles now.

    • Brian says:

      Interesting. Must be personalised, a bit like the Avios/Caffe Nero deal was for a while. Waitrose doesn’t feature on my account at all (apart from the online shopping deal).

    • VS says:

      I also have 5 miles/£ showing, but both before and after logging in.

      • radiata says:

        On my part 5miles/£ on home page when hovering over Waitrose sign but 1/£ when clicking on icon to see full page information on the offer.

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