Bits: 50% off Avios redemptions from Birmingham, new Regus lounge in T2, Iberia / Groupon

News in brief:

50% discount on Avios redemptions from Birmingham

British Airways has launched a 50% discount on the ‘regional Cityflyer’ services which run at weekends from Birmingham International, using the small Embraer 190 aircraft which operate from London City during the week.

The discount is valid in Euro Traveller and Club Europe.  If you are considering Club Europe, remember that the Embraer planes are 2 x 2 seating throughout so there is no ’empty middle seat’ in business class.  You will benefit from lounge access and improved food and drink.  Snacks and drinks in Euro Traveller are still free as the M&S ‘buy on board’ range has not yet been launched on these aircraft due to logistical issues.

The Birmingham routes on offer are:

Birmingham – Florence
Birmingham – Ibiza
Birmingham – Malaga
Birmingham – Palma Majorca

The 50% discount is available on both one-way and return bookings.

You need to book by 30th June for flights before 25th November, although not all routes will operate until that late in the season.


New Regus Express business centre opens in Heathrow Terminal 2

Serviced offices group Regus has opened a new Regus Express business centre in Heathrow Terminal 2.

This follows on from the existing Terminal 5 landside facility, which I have used a few times, and the two centres at Gatwick.  There is also one at Birmingham International.

It appears to be very similar to the Terminal 5 site, with a co-working area and meeting rooms.  Entrance is free to anyone with a Regus Businessworld Gold or Platinum card.  I’m not sure if non-members can book meeting rooms or not.

The lounge is landside so you do not have to be flying anywhere in order to use it.

Regus is also a partner with airport lounge card Dragonpass and if you have one of those it should also be valid at Terminal 2 – it is accepted at Terminal 5.  These Regus centres are not really suitable for ‘lounging’, however – the co-working spaces mainly consist of shared table where everyone sits with their laptop.  You will get free coffee!

Regus Heathrow Terminal 2

Iberia / Groupon deal returns

Iberia has brought back its regular Groupon offer which allows you to buy Avios points at a discount to the official price, usually around 1.1p each.

I have written about the pros and cons of these offers in the past so I don’t want to repeat myself again.  My article on this deal last time it ran is here.

The cheap loss-leading 2,000 Avios package at €19 is sold out.  The cheapest one currently available is 4,000 Avios (€59) which is not a bargain in my book.  The Groupon site – in Spanish – is here if you want to take a look.

(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.)

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  1. Any new user codes around for groupon?

  2. Any news on STN lounge?

  3. Can you please enlighten us as to why whenever HFP has discussed Birmingham in the past, you have felt compelled to use an image taken in the 1960’s?! A majority of the buildings in that picture don’t even exist anymore!

    As the second largest city in the UK with one of the fast growing airports in the country, can please show us the respect by using a photo which is a little more respresentative and fair to our amazing city?!

    • Kevin says:

      Some members (I am one of them) like the vintage pictures and hope they continue.

      • It’s nothing against Birmingham – I just find that an iconic 60’s image. I think I have also used a pic of Selfridges in the past too.

        Less chance of getting sued for using vintage pictures too 🙂

      • Seconded – I like the vintage pics too!

    • Fenny says:

      A big building site?

    • czechoslovakia says:

      Rob frequently uses pictures of vintage BA aircraft too…

      Shame BA don`t replace them really.

  4. Dirtyneedebluesky says:

    Let me be the first to enquire if a Manchester sale might be offered soon?! . (I’ll check later in the hope it’s already included in this sale).

  5. JamesB says:

    OT: A few reports on status recognition from my recent travels that may inform choices of other HFP readers.

    Hilton Brussels City, 19000 points per night, as diamond got upgraded to a huge and lovely room on top floor overlooking Place Rogier, full buffet breakfast, two free drinks (as no lounge) and complimentary water. Staff very friendly. Metro just a few meters outside front door.

    Hilton Prague, 12000 points + £50/night on old points and money rate, diamond got us upgraded to a one bedroom suite on executive floor, full breakfast in our choice of lounge or main dining room, complimentary chocolates and water. Very friendly staff and decent lounge. Metro and trams about 150m away.

    Holiday Inn Express Rome San Giovanni, 20000 points/night. A great option to see Rome on a budget. Decent and clean roons, satisfactory breakfast, friendly and helpful staff, a few decent eating places locally. Very nice Indian shop owner near bottom of the street, we even got adaptors there aftef forgetting ours. Three minute walk to Tuscolana rail station and 83 bus to Coliseum in 15 minutes. Ten minute walk to Porte Lungo metro. Anybody opting for this hotel should request a room far from the lift as it’s noisy. Hotel is underbranded as HIE.

    Holiday Inn Paris Gare de Lyon, 35000 points/night. Selected this hotel as we had an early train to Zurich. It was a real peach, they have been refurbishing some rooms and we got upgraded (as platinum) to the first use of one. It was very tastefully done, modern but still very much recognisable as Paris style. Fantastic bed, the best quality of the nine encounted on this trip. Large room by Paris standards, complimentary water but no breakfast as expected. Fantastic staff and 3 minute walk to metro.

    Indigo Berlin Ku’Damm, 20000 points per night. Upgraded room, cool but still (too) small. Complimentry water but not minibar as on my previous experience of Indigo, no breakfast. Great staff and great location. Under 5 minuts walk to Zoo station where you can also get X9 bus to TXL in 20 minutes and the number 100 public bus which passes most sights of interest in Berlin. Tiergarten is about 200m from the hotel.

    Crowne Plaza Towers Copenhagen, 25000 points/night. Received early check in and upgrade to a large room on 23rd floor, also complimentary water and chocolates. No breakfast or lounge access which is consistent with recent reports that these are no longer being offered to platinum elite members. Not in city centre but given frequency and short distance of train and metro station in might as well be. It also has an airport shuttle but we used the train. A large mall with many dining options (including breakfast) is just 150m away. On checkout they attempted to charge us for the upgrade but that was quickly resolved without a fuss.

    Courtyard Vienna Prater Messe, 15000 points per night (now 20000).I picked this hotel on the basis of needing to use up some Marriott points and its excellent TA reviews. Despite the latter it was a dud IMO. I think it is used mainly by coach parties on full/half board basis and this explains the positive reviews. The location is adjacent to a residential area showing evidence of extremism, there are few dining options other than greasy spoons and takeaways, and it requires use of two metro lines to the city. Gold status got us an upgrade to a deluxe room which was large but uninspiring but that was it, no breakfast or even complimentary water. Staff were not particularly friendly and the internet was a bit of an issue which wasn’t helped by a poor roaming signal in the area. Anybody heading to Vienna and looking for a cheap Marriott option would be best advised to give this one a miss in favour of the other Courtyard or Renaissance out by Schonbrun which are better located, and have better repirts of elite recognition.

    • Genghis says:

      Nice mini trip report. Where did you stay in Zurich?

      • Can’t comment on the hotel itself, but from the Prater the tram network into the city is top-class, no need to use ‘two metro lines’ at all.

        • JamesB says:

          Yes, I had read that but didn’t bother finding it because I already knew metro and it was only in once in the morning and back in the evening. The hotel wasn’t bad but was just the poorest of those we used on the trip and, along with Ibis Milano Centro, the only ones I would not return.

      • JamesB says:

        It was supposed to be Crowne Plaza at 30000/night but read so many horrible reviews about it that I cancelled it and booked the Ibis using points a few days before. No regrets, Ibis was clean and functional, staff were very pleasant, got 50% discount on breakfast, and the tram was only 100m away. Met up with two friends and had a pleasant relaxing visit, weather was glorious and many people gathered at the lake. It was like a perfect break in the middle of what was otherwise a bit of a hectic trip.

        Also stayed at Ibis Milano Centro where I was curious to try their superior rooms. Was not worth the price differential for a slightly larger room, nesoresso machine and complimentary water.

        My choice of hotels may seem odd at first glance but all were chisen to offer decent hitels at goid value in locations suitable for train stations and airpirts whilst still being in city. Worked out good in every respect except Vienna.

        • Genghis says:

          I don’t suppose you took the Bernina Express (and connections) between Zurich and Milan, did you? When I have the time and next in Zurich on a Monday I’d like to go to Milan on the Saturday and then take this train on a Sunday.

        • JamesB says:

          No, but on the list for a future trip. If you have time you could go to Milan Friday evening, spend Saturday at Lake Como and then take Bernina Express to Zurich on Sunday. Should you do it in reverse direction then purchase tickets exGermany not Zurich to cut costs. See the seat61 web page. The first half of the train trip from Zurich to Vienna was also very scenic.

        • Genghis says:

          I’ve been to Lake Como before – beautiful. The EUR29 also appear to be available northbound. I’m a big fan of Seat61. Reason for doing it north bound is so I only have to pay for one night extra accommodation in Milan (relatively cheap) vs a night in Zurich (expensive) and another in Milan for southbound as I never have be in Milan for work.

        • JamesB says:

          @Genghis, Moxxy Malpensa was only 5000 points per night but I think it has gone up and I’m not sure you would want to stay out there even for a night.

        • Lady London says:

          I have taken that in spring and winter when still lots is snow and it was fabulous heading south in the early morning.

    • Nick M says:

      Re Vienna – I thought Gold = guaranteed breakfast for 2?

    • Can you clarify that Hilton Prague means Hilton Prague and not the Hilton Prague Old Town (opposite the Marriott)?

      I only stayed at the Hilton Prague once and never again, no visible upgrade, poor location, long queues to check in. On the other hand the Hilton Prague Old Town has always looked after me well.

      If things have improved I would give the Hilton Prague another go.

      • JamesB says:

        It was Hilton Prague next to Florenc metro and not Old Town. If you are Diamond you can go directly to the 8th floor and check in there at Diamond desk. They also have an honors check in at main reception but I doubt that helps much if hotel is very busy. Perhaps you got unlucky precisely because the hotel was busy because reports on internet on elite recognition are generally good for this hotel and also Old Town. Duty manager even came to greet and personally welcome us which is a bit too much in my own view. The prices at this hotel and the other at Old Town appear to fluctuate in odd ways so personally I would just take whichever represents best value on a stay by stay basis unless leisure facilities are important in which case I’d choose Hilton Prague. Agree the location is poor compared to where one could stay in Prague but tram and metro get you everywhere fast and easy from Florenc. In our case the slightly longer walk (20 min) along the river to Charles Bridge was perfect after breakfast. If you want to try it again you might want to consider dropping them an email enquiring what status b(enefits you could expect as you felt disappointed last time.

        • The manager at Hilton prague came to greet me too but no upgrade. Hotel appeared very full.

      • David says:

        I had a great upgrade to a suite for a one night stay in April at the Hilton Prague Old Town. My room wasn’t ready on arrival and I got a bottle of Czech fizz as an apology. Fantastic service.

        • The Sunday brunch at that property was fantastic too – complete with Yorkshire puddings (thanks to a previous English sous-chef!)

  6. Gareth says:

    The flight times for the Birmingham BA flights are horrific!!

    • Which is why they are on offer…..surely people realise this?

      e.g. You don’t see iPhones reduced in price during an Apple ‘sale’.

      My sister in law once queued outside an apple store (for hours) on the first day of an Apple ‘sale’….thinking she was going to get a cheap iPhone. Mmmmmm

      • Mr Dee says:

        I assume you are referring them launching the new iphones rather than a black friday sale

  7. O/T Tier points if flight not actually flown?
    If I do online checkin, but dont actually take the flight, do I still get the tier points?
    Sorry if it’s a naive question. Am just shy of 30 tier points to retain silver but short of time to take an actual flight.

  8. OT, Quick tip, I’m going to copenhagen and I noticed that amex travel sells the cph card via the experiences, so I was able to benefit from £50 travel credit. If you have this promo, maybe check if there is some experiences available for your next hol!

    • BigDave says:

      thanks for that but don’t seem to have the amex travel offer available at the moment…

  9. simmo says:

    Balls! – Booked BHX-PMI last week using avios (and an expiring 2-4-1!)

    Quite looking forward to a ‘new’ airport and ‘new’ plane for me!

    Anybody interested apparently BHX uses the Aspire lounge for CE passengers.

  10. Wally1976 says:

    OT – I booked airport parking back in January using a BA Amex (the free one) which I cancelled not long after. The amount of the parking was required to meet the spend requirement for the card. Any idea what will happen if I cancel the parking? Presumably the money will make its way back to me via Amex but will they claw back the points? Thanks.

    • Wally1976 says:

      Scrub this – just looked at the terms and realised I can just pick up the car a few hours late for a £10 charge rather than the £37.96 Holiday Extras wanted for extending the booking (presumably they’re just deducting what we’ve paid from the current price). So I don’t need to cancel it any more. Might still be useful to know the answer for future reference though!

      • Genghis says:

        If the card has been cancelled, nothing will happen. I’ve done it a couple of times for genuine refunds. You can then call up Amex who can then send the credit to you by bank transfer / cheque / transfer to another Amex account.

  11. OT – I stayed up till the small hours to bag 4 x RFS from Manchester to Nice for May half term 2018, but needn’t have bothered as there is still loads of availability in both WT and CE! Still happy though, as I’d be looking at around £800 return for 4 seats on Ryanair plus horrific baggage charges.

    What are people’s views on whether they will still be serving refreshments on Cityflyer this time next year? On my booking it says I can order a meal, but it also says, “Charges may apply for food and drink. Please check operating carrier website for details”. Hedging their bets?

    • Genghis says:

      Have FR released availability for May 18?

      • FR? The Cityflyer flights are available up till May 26th.

        • I should have said EasyJet, no they haven’t released their May 2018 prices but I have flown with them Sat-Sat in half term hols (May and October) a number of times and the prices compared with term time and/or weekday dates would make you weep if you thought too much about it!

        • Genghis says:

          Does the flex ticket trick still work?

        • I don’t know, it sounds like a lot of faffing about!

  12. Brasov says:

    OT What’s a Eurobonus SAS point worth for a UK-based person?

    • You can use them for Radisson hotels at an OK rate, I think (I used some for a May Fair Hotel stay once). Flight redemptions are generally seen as expensive (in miles terms) vs the competition so probably less than you’d value an Avios.

  13. Donald says:

    What is the best option for Regus now? My A3 Gold partner card has expired. I’m thinking of a Gold membership out of one of the cheap countries if I can’t find a free Gold.

    • Lady London says:

      I would like to know this too. I think finding out where top level Dragonpass can be had may be the answer.

  14. It is unusual for the 2,000 Avios package to be sold out immediately.

    • Someone posted the other day that Groupon messed up and failed to restrict the 2k package to 1 per person. People jumped in and ordered them in huge quantities.