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Bits: BA losing all US ground staff, United drops three UK/IE routes, 40% bonus buying Hyatt points

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News in brief:

British Airways to make remaining US ground staff redundant

According to reports from BA sources on Flyertalk, it was announced internally on Friday that remaining British Airways ground staff in the US are to lose their jobs.  A private contractor will be taking over the handling of British Airways flights.  It is likely that the current staff will be given the chance to transfer, although I don’t know if there are similar rules to the UK on protecting existing pay and conditions.

This follows the recent decision to transfer the Manchester and Newcastle call centre staff to Capita.

Even New York JFK is included in this move.  You would have expected British Airways to want to keep direct control of its staff at such a key gateway, but it seems not.  The airports affected are San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Washington, Philadelphia, New York Newark, New York JFK and Boston.  All of the other BA US bases are already outsourced, I understand.

In case you’re wondering, this is not the normal way that long-haul airlines operate.  Most of the major foreign long haul carriers at Heathrow use their own dedicated staff and it is generally seen as a better way of keeping control of the situation on the ground when things go wrong – which, in the airline business, they often do.

united-airlines

United Airlines drops three UK and Irish routes to New York

United has announced that it is ending services between New York and three UK and Irish destinations:

Birmingham to Newark will close on 5th October

Glasgow to Newark will move from year-round to Summer-only, with no flights between 28th October and 4th May 2018

Shannon to Newark will move from year-round to a 75% service, with no flights between 25th November and 9th March 2018

Aer Lingus will continue to fly from Shannon to New York, and Norwegian is likely to pick up the slack elsewhere over time.

Hyatt Regency Churchill

Up to 40% bonus when you buy World of Hyatt points

Until 9th August, Hyatt is offering a 30% – 40% bonus when you buy World of Hyatt points.

You get a 30% bonus when you buy 5,000 to 9,000 points and 40% on any larger purchase.  This is a better deal than those we have seen recently from Hyatt which have tended to cap out at 30%.

This is obviously worth a look if you need to top up your account.  It may also be worthwhile if considering a stay in a top tier Park Hyatt such as the ones in Paris or Sydney, where buying the points may be cheaper than paying cash.

The new Park Hyatt resort in Mallorca is another location where buying points may make sense.   Prices for cash are still a little scary – rooms from Euro 545 in August, or Euro 680 if you want a cancellable one – despite being about 25% lower than they were in 2016.  A redemption at 20,000 points per night ($336 / £256) would be a good deal.

The Hyatt ‘buy points’ site is 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.)

Comments (44)

  • the real harry1 says:

    O/T looks like I could be flying on Qatar metal on Friday

    According to this, I might get free F&B https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/15/british-airways-cabin-crew-strikers-prepared-for-long-haul#img-1

    Can anybody confirm that economy fares get free F&B on the Qatari planes?

    • Catalan says:

      Yes. Apparently as Qatar crew are not trained to use the BoB machines BA are supplying the F&B free of charge. Happy days

  • Chris says:

    OT recently discovered that my dad has amassed 500+k avios just from all the money he spends for his business. This has taken him years, right back from when it was Air Miles. Doesn’t have a clue about air miles and has never even made a redemption so I’ve been trying to put that straight recently. Have churned the gold and spg cards for him.

    I’m not sure where to go from here though, he’s definitely someone who would prefer not to be messing about signing up to cards all the time and cancelling. He puts through about 70-100k spend a year so there’s potential to earn a lot of points. He’s amassed all of his avios in recent years using the lloyds avios card they gave him when air miles switched to avios, and from what I can calculate from his statements it only gives him a paltry 0.2 avios per £ spent (so less than the 0.25 anybody can get nowadays?!).

    I think BAPP is a given so that he can shift 10k spend a year onto that and take advantage of the 241. But was thinking he should put the remainder on another card to build up a different airline balance and diversify. He also needs a visa/MasterCard for most of his spend anyway. AA would give the best rate but then it’s oneworld again. United looks like a good choice to gain access to star alliance but then the earnings rate is half that of AA, so he’d be missing out on half the miles every year for the privilege of opening up star alliance. Thoughts anyone? Him and my mum travel long haul maybe once a year, to destinations all over.

    • Sundar says:

      Sicne Churning is limited, I would suggest Amex MR and SPG for the flexibility they will give, after you have done the BAPP 241 for the year.

    • Rob says:

      Best options for big spenders (if the airline route networks suit):

      Virgin Black – 2 miles per £1 on the Amex
      Emirates Elite – 2 miles per £1 on the Amex
      HSBC Premier World Elite – 1 miles per £1 (Avios, Asia Miles, Etihad, Singapore) on a MasterCard
      AA – 1.25 miles per £1 on a Visa

      None of these cards are free but at that level of spend the fee is a rounding error.

      • Chris says:

        Cheers Rob! I’ll discuss it with him, see if he has any preferences. I guess my original question was is the opportunity to diversify and get a decent number of miles in star alliance per year outweighed by the poorer earning rates of the Lufthansa/United cards. Now that I think about it, I’m guessing it is. 100k virgin (assuming MC spend) or 125k AA miles looks like a better deal than 62.5k united miles, even with the existing avios stash.

        • JamesB says:

          Forgot to mention, you could hedge on Etihad because it gives you the option of flights or cashing out with pointspay or via giftcards. Rob seems to rate their J and F on a380 best around at the moment. Another mbna sign up bonus will likely come around and you can get direct or indirect bonuses for MR transfers from time to time.

  • Crafty says:

    OT: Stayed at Hilton Syon Park earlier this week as Gold. No acknowledgement of status let alone benefit. Didn’t want to press it then as with a work crowd, but shouldn’t they at the very least be throwing a few points my way in lieu of free breakfast (didn’t need one as included in rate)?

    • Rob says:

      No, the point of your status is that you could have saved money by booking room only!

      If you were part of a block booking you would have had a very low rate and upgrades may have gone to bigger spenders. Upgrades as Gold are mainly ‘higher floor’, ‘better view’ etc anyway so if you weren’t facing the social housing behind the hotel then you probably were upgraded.

  • Tony says:

    Speaking of BA’s use of Capita, I had the misfortune of dealing with them yesterday. Perhaps this is old news, but is anyone else aware that calls to the BA Executive Club Silver contact centre are first routed through Capita’s ‘General Enquiries’ desk? I only found out about this after spending nearly 30-minutes to get a simple change made to my profile, which the website would not allow for some reason. Imagine asking the same question 6 times, politely explaining to the agent that they don’t understand the request, and then repeating it. I could go on, but I think you get the point. Finally we got to the point in the call where the agent figured out he couldn’t actually help me, and to my surprise, explained that I was being transferred to the BA Executive Club Silver contact centre. After getting connected to an agent in the Manchester centre, she fixed the issue in less than 60-seconds.

    This is worse than cost-cutting. Personally, I would love to see Alex Cruz have to deal with this level of uselessness on every future service interaction he makes.

    • the real harry1 says:

      Capita are generally fine in terms of professionalism, once they understand the remit. They are just bloody expensive. About twice or 2.5x the cost of employing somebody yourself.

      I guess once you factor in pensions & the ease of getting rid of people, it is worth it for the likes of BA.

    • Nick says:

      Never one to let facts get in the way of good hyperbole, eh? Capita currently have no contract with BA and do not handle any calls for them. The discussion is a proposal to do this in the future. But not now.

  • the real harry1 says:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travel-truths/do-not-pair-list-pilots-who-take-like-each-other/
    The secret system that prevents pilots who hate each other from sharing a cockpit