News in brief:
BA strike hitting Gatwick to New York this month
Another wave of British Airways cabin crew strikes start today, running to 15th August.
This only impact flights from Heathrow, with Gatwick, London City and ‘Regional CityFlyer’ services unaffected. That said, most passengers will not notice any difference, and if you’re lucky you may find yourself on one of the nine Qatar Airways short-haul planes which BA has borrowed, with free food and drink and very comfy Business Class seats.
There is one exception. BA announced to the travel trade yesterday that it intends to cancel the Gatwick to New York JFK service on “some” strike days. If you are due to travel on this route during the next two weeks, you should be prepared to be moved onto a Heathrow service at short notice. Make sure any parking or hotel arrangements are flexible.
£28 British Airways flights to Bordeaux
BA sent out a note yesterday highlighting its lowest fares from London Gatwick this Autumn.
To give them credit, some of the deals are very attractive. The lowest I could find was Bordeaux, which is £28 one-way for a Hand Baggage Only ticket on selected dates.
Remember that you can now select seats for free on Hand Baggage Only tickets if you have British Airways status. Frankly, £56 return – for anyone with access to the excellent new Gatwick lounges and Fast Track security via their BA status – is an exceptional deal, however you look at it.
If you like the idea of a cheap Autumn break in Bordeaux, here is our review of the fairly new InterContinental Bordeaux pictured above (website here). Here is her warning about visiting the lounge at Bordeaux airport on the way home …..
(EDIT: comments below suggest that BA has luckily dumped the lounge and is now handing out €15 food vouchers instead. So half of your £28 fare returned …..!)
Free lounge access on Virgin Australia
I ran an article yesterday on using Avios points for flights in and between Australia and New Zealand.
There was something that I should have added as a PS. to that article but forgot. If you have an American Express Platinum charge card, you receive free lounge access when flying with Virgin Australia as I wrote here. This might swing you away from redeeming Avios and into buying a Virgin Australia cash ticket instead.
Virgin Australia is also a partner with Etihad Guest, and if you have any Etihad Guest miles – or could get some via, say, an Amex Membership Rewards conversion – you may also want to look into that as a redemption option. You can, of course, also redeem Virgin Flying Club miles for Virgin Australia – the rates are here.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (December 2023)
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):
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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into 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.)