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Bits: changes to HfP August posting, three offers closing today, United launches Denver

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News in brief:

Changes to Head for Points posting for August

As is now traditional, Head for Points will be dropping the ‘three posts per day’ schedule for August.

History shows that there isn’t a great deal of news about this month.  If there are three stories worth covering then we’ll do it.  Given that we work a little in advance, I am fairly sure it will be three per day this week at least.

I will also take the opportunity to update a few older reference articles for the benefit of new readers.  If there is nothing worth covering, though, we won’t bother.  If you don’t get three emails in the morning, don’t panic!

There will definitely be new content every day, so continue stopping by.  Anika will be checking out the new Plaza Premium T3 and T4 arrivals lounges at Heathrow this week, as well as trying a flight simulator.  We also have two good competitions lined up for August which you won’t want to miss.

And, if you’re at work twiddling your thumbs because all of your colleagues are away, remember that our ‘Favourites’ page here has links to the best of our older articles.

Virgin Atlantic 787

Last call for these deals ….

As it’s the last day of the month, I wanted to flag these offers one last time in case you had been planning to jump in but forgot.

First up is the 25% discount on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class miles redemptions from Manchester (link).  Remember that the discount applies to EVERY flight currently on sale for the next year, including peak periods.  It may even be worth coming up from London to Manchester given the savings on offer.  Full details in this article.

Today is the last day to earn 8,800 Avios with a subscription to The Economist.  A full article is here.  These offers come and go, however, so it isn’t a disaster if you miss out this time.


United announces new Heathrow to Denver route

Regular readers will know that United Airlines has recently 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

The airline hasn’t turned its back entirely on UK expansion, however.  The airline will start flights to Denver next year during the summer timetable, which runs from 25th March and 27th October.

The route will use a Boeing 787-8 although it is not confirmed whether or not it will use the new United ‘Polaris’ business class seat.  Polaris is not a life changing product – the Middle Eastern airlines are not exactly panicking, and neither is American given its (better) new business class seat – although it is better than British Airways Club World.  You can read my thoughts on Polaris, admittedly based only on sitting in a mock-up, here.

Comments (100)

  • Mike says:

    I think I flew to Denver on UA in 2009 maybe so technically it’s a relaunch!

    • Andrew says:

      You may well have. We flew that route in 2009 as well heading on our honeymoon. Sadly his was in the days before I understood this hobby, so we were in economy. Although they did give us the 6ft legroom exit row on the 777 and the crew sent us packing with a bottle of the 1st Champagne… Can’t imagine that happening now and it’s not even that long ago.

    • JamesB says:

      Yes you are correct. Denver was one of my favourite airports, fantastic design which enabled very
      rapid transits.

  • d4ve says:

    OT – for those who could not get the recent Avis/Iberia competition to work, I tried again this morning and won 9k Avios on each of my completed July bookings. Last few times I had tried it didn’t seem to work but may be worth trying again today if you had similar experiences.

    As to whether they post or not, is a different matter but has got to be worth a punt.

    • David says:

      Has anyone had them post? I tried again this weekend after it hadn’t worked in the past and apparently won 9k. I’d be interested to know if anyone actually gets them.

    • n says:

      I won 9k and 18k for two one day van hires. Spent just under £80 on both hires in total, and I needed the vans.

      If these post, this will be excellent for me! I’ve put reminders in my diary to chase.

  • Nick M says:

    OT – does anyone know how busy the T5 Aspire lounge is likely to be on a Thursday morning (11.30 flight)? – i.e. Are we likely to be able to get in? (Planning to upgrade my Amex so will have PP, but don’t want to do this just yet if it’s likely that we’ll be turned away).

    • Oli says:

      Same question for Monday 1pm please? I just upgraded my Amex as will be flying next Monday

    • The_real_a says:

      FYI they operate a wait list for priority pass passengers. So even if totally full they will just ask you to come back in 20 or 30 minutes. Personally I have only once been turned away.

      • Nick M says:

        That’s very helpful, thanks.

        Just upgraded and acceptance confirmed, but told that the supp card needed some additional checks… hopefully these won’t take long as I’d like both PPs within the next 2 weeks! – is it normal for an existing supplementary cardholder not to be auto-accepted?

        • the real harry1 says:


          • Genghis says:

            Really? I always input the supp at time of application and have always been auto accepted.

          • the real harry1 says:

            we got the extra checks required message on upgrade, PP cards arrived 3 days later

    • Will says:

      If you search in google ‘Aspire Lougne Terminal 5’ ( a chart with the popular times will appear on the right. It will not be exactly correct but you can use it as a good guide.

  • Wivus says:

    Hi Rob,
    Will there be an August card update? I am hitting all the bonus levels on my existing cards and would like to double check if there are any recent changes before trying to decide what card to take next.

  • Anna says:

    OT – more bad news for regional flyers connecting to long haul, apparently. I’ve just been checking redemptions for next summer, taxes and fees quoted at an extra £200 PER PERSON if you start in Manchester! Anyone else noticed this?

    • JamesB says:

      It might just be an error Anna, check again lzter if tomorrow. Have you tried pricing it up at avios?.

      • JamesB says:

        Update: just checked my usual zone 7 redemptions from EDI via LHR early July 18, about £20 more expensive than I paid for same flight next month which was booked T-355.

        • Anna says:

          For 2 x CW next July I’m getting:

          LON-NYC £1071 taxes
          MAN-LON-NYC £1487 taxes
          EDI-LON-NYC £1479 taxes
          ABZ-LON-NYC £1105 taxes

          • Anna says:

            Though on the taxes from MAN are coming in at £1112. Be careful who you book with just now!

          • JamesB says:

            I’m sure the MAN and EDI departures are errors. If you need to book do so via avios or call BA with an enquiry. If not, check back soon to see if pricing is adjusted.

  • the real harry1 says:

    O/T just logging on to HIFX and their opening page reminds me why the Virgin currency guarantee is so useless – they only let you invoke the guarantee against high st banks – so you’re nearly always better off going to one of the specialists, HIFX being one I like but we’ve also used Azimo & Moneycorp (& Sainsburys/ Travelex on EU referendum result morning if anybody remembers that & wants to say thanks again! 🙂 ) – they say…13th June…

    £10,000 will get you + Fees
    HiFX €11,344 No fees
    NatWest €11,115 £30
    Lloyds €11,054 £9.50
    Barclays €11,016 £15
    HSBC €11,010 £0

    • JamesB says:

      I’m not sure about the EU but elsewhere it could be even worse than this because the receiving bank and any intermediate banks involved might also apply fees. The sending banks in the UK always state this in their T&C but it is rarely obvious and staff are usually clueless as to how much these fees might be. Anybody sending large sums really needs to do some serious reseach first.

      • Gavin says:

        I used to do some consultancy work with HiFX and they were very nice people!

        When I had to transfer some KRW(South Korean Won) to Mrs Gavin I think we had to go via a bank due to there being quite a low transaction limit (both annual limit and one-off amounts) via Fintech companies. Fortunately, as she used to worked in banking in Seoul she was able to access some preferential rates – or so she said anyway!

    • Mike says:

      Thanks again Harry.
      I only did 15k of USD and EUR at moneycorp but it was very useful for holidays over the last year.
      I therefore also thought to reserve a 5k of USD before our general election and this gave me slightly over spot (the markets didn’t price the close result).
      I guess moneycorp got a bit burned as the limit had reduced.

  • Andrew H says:

    O/T Any sign of a Clubcard/BAEC conversion bonus? If not I may as well do

    • the real harry1 says:

      none whatsoever but my hunch/ guess is we’ll see the next one in November

      there ‘definitely’ won’t be one this quarter as Tesco just started the usual ‘win Avios’ competition on conversion to Avios and they don’t do both at the same time

      • Anna says:

        Would you recommend holding off till November then? Though after I got the quote for the Manchester connection I am seriously considering quitting the avios game! Nearly £1500 in taxes for 2 x CW MAN-LHR-IAD.

        • the real harry1 says:

          each to his/her own strategy!

          but I have enough Avios in the bank so there’s no immediate need to convert, it was worth the wait last time – particularly as in their wisdom they were duplicating the 24,000s so we got a few for free 🙂

          also, don’t forget that multiples of the limit went through absolutely fine last time

          • Andrew H says:

            Thanks Harry. I struggle to remember when the last one was – November 2015?

          • Anna says:

            I’ve never had a Tesco bonus, what’s the duplication issue? (If you can say!) I’ve got £200 of vouchers this quarter and don’t need the avios too urgently so would like to get maximum value if possible.

            If I get time later I’ll try a couple of dummy bookings from other regions to see if they’ve had the same increases in taxes. Then I might call BA for an explanation! I can only think they want people to book the connecting flight separately so they have to collect and re-check luggage…

          • Genghis says:

            Last conversion bonus was Nov 2015. The ‘duplication’ was just that the max conversion was £100 but if you sent 5 x £100 you got 5 x conversion bonus.

          • JamesB says:

            @Andrew H, yes, and IIRC it followed a week or so after a competition ended so I have never written one off since simply because they announced a competition. There is a potential spanner in the works because in the past we werd often excluded from conversion bonuses if we had transfered points within a certain time period so if they were to bring a bonus back in Novenber we might find we are not elgible if we convert this quarter.

          • the real harry1 says:

            actually I mean quite a few of us got a free 24,000 🙂

            and the other bit is true as well – together we converted about 17x £100 with no issues whatsoever – all got the bonus

  • Davw says:

    And as of now you can’t book the Virgin sale as the website logins are down – According to chat, no usernames/passwords are being recognised. Got told to try again in an hour.

    Hugely frustrated with Virgin Been trying to book JFK-MAN in the sale for next June but they haven’t released flights for miles after 14th June, even though the outbound MAN-JFK has been available on those dates for over 2 weeks. Nothing we can do say sales, cant speak to anyone.

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