Bits: new low tax Toronto Avios redemptions on airberlin, Pine Cliffs with SPG Moments

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News in brief:

airberlin launches new Toronto service

As I wrote in this long article, airberlin offers an excellent way to fly to North America with Avios without paying much in the way of taxes and charges.

When Anika flew from New York to Berlin in Business Class last year, the taxes for the one-way flight were just £4.  Her review of airberlin Business Class is here – it isn’t bad at all.  You will pay well under £100 for a return flight starting in Germany.

airberlin has just announced a new route from Dusseldorf to Toronto.

Flights will start on 1st May and operate four times a week.

airberlin is also adding Dusseldorf to Chicago five times per week, on top of the existing Berlin service.

Tickets for these new routes will be bookable with Avios on from 1st August, so don’t start checking today.

There are usually two business class seats available per flight but you will struggle to find more as it is a small cabin.  Remember that, as a BA partner airline, you cannot use a BA Amex 241 voucher and all dates are ‘peak dates’ – there is no off-peak Avios pricing.

Pine Cliffs

Good SPG Moments deal at the famous Pine Cliffs in Portugal

If you can get down to Albufeira in Portugal on 4th August, SPG Moments has a very attractive event at the famous Pine Cliffs resort available.

This resort is painfully expensive at the best of times, but you can visit during the resort’s summer gala.  The auction package includes:

  • Two-night stay at Pine Cliffs, a Luxury Collection Resort, checking in Friday, 4 August 2017, and checking out Sunday, 6 August 2017
  • Diamond package for two to the summer gala on Saturday, 5 August 2017, including welcome cocktail, gala dinner, UB40 concert and after party with open bar
  • Meet Ali, Astro and Mickey from UB40 before the performance

There is only one bid so far, probably because of the short notice, at the reserve price of 25,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points.  The auction ends at 7am EDT tomorrow, so you’d realistically need to bid tonight.

The full auction listing is here.  You can find out more about the hotel 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.)

New IHG PointBreaks list of 100 x 5,000 point hotels released, book on Monday
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  1. Sanjay says:

    Given how anti-competitive the Canadian travel market is, let’s see what the tax fees will be. Doubt it will be anything like the GBP 4 from NY. Canada is notorious for being expensive to fly from/to due to taxes. Soooo much cheaper to fly from the US. Cheaper to fly to Europe than within Canada!

    • Peter K says:

      A friend of mine just booked Canada for £700 for two in economy. That seems cheap to me…

      • Flights within Canada can be ridiculous – I paid £300 per person for Toronto to Halifax, a flight of about 2.5 hours. Flights to Canada can be pretty good value, especially in winter. This AirBerlin option is great news for those with family in the Great White North!

        • Canuck says:

          I’ll second that. Just paid C$450 Calgary – Vancouver return. Imagine paying that for London Edinburgh… no chance.

  2. So how many Avios is the flight to Toronto? low tax plus………..?

  3. Simon says:

    I flew back from San Fransisco on Air Berlin booked via Avios earlier this month and was impressed, much better than Club World in my opinion.

    I’d recommend getting a window seat where your seat is nearest the window, the ones where the seat is aisle side seemed a bit exposed. It was probably me being thick but I couldn’t work out how to change my seat using the BA or Air Berlin sites, ended up using the Royal Jordanian site.

    • the real harry1 says:

      can you change seats using the RJ site (or Finnair, istr is often cited) without being a member of their points progs?

      • Simon says:

        I’m 99.9% certain you don’t need to be for RJ, just click manage my booking and put in your booking number and surname.

      • The_real_a says:

        Yes you can. Just need the book code and last name. RJ works well, but you can use Finnair too.

  4. the real harry1 says:

    O/T school hols 2018 – most state schools will break up on Friday 20/7/2018 so, parents: T-355 for BA is coming up fast – in 2/3 days depending on whether you plan to travel on that Friday or the next day Saturday etc

    • Hoping to get redemption seats to the Eastern USA for August 2018 – even with the taxes on a CW redemption, the cost of a holiday in Western Europe in the summer is so outrageous now, you can go to America for roughly the same price!

      • Oh I agree, it’s crazy. I only began to see why people go to Dubai in August (45 degrees!) when we went to Mallorca last year and realised that – if we’d gone for one of the top 5-star options – we’d be paying £2,000 per night for 2 rooms for the 4 of us. And none of the top properties even have a decent beach.

        Hence our choice of Hilton Sa Torre, which was actually very pleasant but a shuttle ride from a (poor) beach.

        This year we are abandoning beaches, almost. 1 week in the Dolomites at a ‘family hotel’, 3 nights in Venice (will do a day at the Lido on the beach, which I like) and 3 nights in Croatia (ferry from Venice). Coming back on the new BA service from Pula to Heathrow.

        • That sounds like a much better option! I enjoy the odd beach visit, but not for a whole week – all sounds vastly better than Dubai too, esp at that time of year!

        • Lev441 says:

          Just returned from Croatia.. fabulous place!

          • the real harry1 says:

            big fan of Croatia, myself

            still lots of relatively unspoilt bits full of charm

  5. The SPG event is very attractive. Up to 26,000 at the moment – a steal at this price…..

    Thanks Rob.

  6. Jason says:

    OTT does anyone know any points options to get a trip on the orient express?


  7. OT but just received notification that Tesco are closing Clubcard Plus legacy credit card accounts as of Oct 17. Means no more 1 point per litre of fuel 🙁

    • Alex W says:

      You can still get 1 cc point per litre of fuel with the debit card.

      • Dynamo says:

        You can’t even use the new clubcard fobs at the Esso garage near me

        • Johnny_c-l says:

          Nor at the self service tills in my Tesco. Thankfully managed to rescue my old one with the bar code from the bin!

          • Genghis says:

            I complained to them at Monument the other day. How can they roll out new club cards when they’re not recognised by all systems. Fell on deaf ears.

          • the real harry1 says:

            presumably you were not exactly making your points to the UK Marketing team

  8. Alan C says:

    We were going EDI to AUH on Monday with Qatar. They cancelled the DOH to AUH leg. Re-booked us on to KLM tomorrow and get there at 8pm gaining an extra days hols. KLM OLCI offering Biz class upgrades AMS to AUH for £258. I would but there are 4 of us.
    Could be a hassle doing the 72 HR re-booking next weekend from the UAE as the QR office is closed.

  9. Bits OT – via OMAAT, a very nice vid showing everything that goes on behind the scenes in an airline – (it’s slick, so not BA!)

  10. James Wagner says:

    Gutted I didn’t look at this first, would have enjoyed a trip to Canada 🙁

    Need to use a load of AirBerlin points (TopBonus) by September something as they are expiring.
    Grabbed a return in J DUS-CUR (Curacao) and a single in J Dus-Curacao (~380euro tax) to use up all points.
    The other person travelling with me doesn’t care about business class (can sleep anywhere !) so just using 25k Avios & £30 for an economy back CUR-DUS. Happy enough. Notthe best use of the points but suits me & my schedule.

    May have missed a trick as might have been able to add in London to Dusseldorf for the same cost, not quite sure, as think AB allow a free stopover in the originating region on redemptions. I may have made that bit up though !!
    Would have preferred a couple of flights to Canada to be brutally honest with myself but 2 weeks in the Dutch Antilles will do very nicely.

    Just looking at car rental now. Need to ask a question about AMEX Platinum car rental insurance.
    One company I’ve found (ACE) say 3rd party insurance is included and CDW/LDW is an extra charge.
    Now, I know AMEX covers certain things but do they top up from 3rd party to fully comp ?! Wouldn’t want to find out they’ll cover the damage to my vehicle BUT not the other vehicle or its passengers (or any pedestrians etc…) ? Bit surprised to see 3rd party mentioned.


    • Canuck says:

      I can’t speak for your specific card, but my Canadian AMEX Plat covers me up to C$85,000 worth of vehicle damage. Unsure about liability.

  11. James Wagner says:

    OFF TOPIC. AMEX Platinum car rental insurance.
    A car hire company in Curacao I’ve found (ACE) say 3rd party insurance is included and CDW/LDW is an extra charge.
    Now, I know AMEX covers certain things but do they top up from 3rd party to fully comp ?! Wouldn’t want to find out they’ll cover the damage to my vehicle BUT not the other vehicle or its passengers (or any pedestrians etc…) ? Bit surprised to see 3rd party mentioned.


    • Yes. You can refuse everything offered (that used to be the exact wording in the brochure). Only restrictions are around you being on holiday and not living there at the time I think.

      • James Wagner says:

        That is great news Rob. I’ll give Amex a call so as to not fall foul of some odd condition that may have snuck in and will report back if things are not as you suspect.

        That’s the AMEX Plat saving me another ~£200.

        (Although a £50 separate policy would possibly do the same so its saving me £50 really !)
        Thankyou very much for the reply.

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