Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: Gatwick to NYC cancellations, £28 BA Bordeaux flights, more on Australia domestics

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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.

InterContinental Bordeaux

£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).  Anika also did a ‘what to do in Bordeaux’ article 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 …..!)

Etihad Virgin Australia

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

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (October 2022)

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):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn 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.)

Comments (73)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Optimus Prime says:

    Oh dear. I have a 241 redemption for LGW-JFK in mid-September..

  • Waribai says:

    The only caveat being that the flight from LGW which has most availability lands into Bordeaux at 0915. With kids in tow that’s potentially a long few hours before checking in to the hotel!!!

    • Anthony Dunn says:

      Not if you opt to take the rather “around the houses” airport bus into town. That will, quite easily, consume another hour or so….

      The hotel will take any bags whilst you head off into town for a walk along the river frontage and grab a late morning coffee or two.

      Really, Bordeaux has a very pleasing city centre and, I daresay, an extremely pleasing surrounding area – particularly if you are into the local reds.

  • CV3V says:

    Air Berlin gold status will also get you in to the Virgin Australia lounge, as well as giving some other status benefits when flying with Virgin Australia, need to have physical card to show.

    Was impressed with Virgin Australia, cheap fares which included a decent luggage allowance and decent service.

    • Hingeless says:

      Air Berlin should be the go to scheme for a status match if you can get it when travelling in oz

  • Crafty says:

    OT: How long should I leave it before chasing Accelerate tracking? Two stays over a week ago should have triggered targets but neither has been recognised yet. The base points posted several days ago.

    • Rob says:

      Give it another week then email. I am still fighting over my June Kimpton stay, the service centre has gone mad. I was promised the credit but now they are saying it was a reward stay, despite the points for a cash stay clearly showing on my account!

    • John says:

      3 weeks.

      Mine have never failed to trigger the targets automatically but it can take a while.

      • Michael Jennings says:

        Ah. I used an Accelerate offer for an IHG hotel for the first time on Sunday night. The base points have tracked, but the extra Accelerate points haven’t yet. I guess this is normal.

        • Rob says:

          Yes, it takes a few extra days to track and then a few extra days for the points to arrive.

  • GG says:

    BA no longer uses the lounge at BOD. Eligible passengers are given Euro15 food vouchers instead,

    • Rob says:

      Thanks, will amend

      • Stu_N says:

        The EUR15 voucher from check-in desk (and if you’re doing it right you have >100ml of liquids) gets a decent breakfast at the cafe just up the stairs from check-in. Great wee airport and an excellent weekend destination.

  • Optimus Prime says:

    OT: BA having issues with check-in at LHR this morning:

    • BLT says:

      Not just LHR, LGW as well. FLY system keeps crashing and website is down as well!

  • Aeronaut says:

    Re low fares to Bordeaux… the benefits of competition – both easyJet and Ryanair also fly there from London (from Gatwick and Stansted respectively).

  • Isa says:

    OT: got an email from Amex offering 3000MR for adding a supplementary cardholder to my PRGC. Now, given that the cat doesn’t need a card, does anyone know if I can just have it in my name?

    • pauldb says:

      Presumably you have a parent, sibling or friend you can buy a beer. They don’t have to be at your address and they won’t get a credit check, plus the card will be mailed to your address and never need be activated.

      • Isa says:

        I’m French, so my mum’s over there, no siblings. I guess I’ll have to ask a friend here.

    • Isa says:

      I’ve called Amex and they’ve confirmed that the supplementary card can’t be in my name.

      • Alan says:

        I doubt it’s eligible for the points offer, but Amex do allow a single supp in the cardholder’s name – it comes as name [A.C.] – can be handy when Shop Small offers are on and if you need to keep some spend (eg biz expenses) separate.

        • Genghis says:

          Didn’t know that. That is another great tip! Cheers.

          • Alan says:

            As Plat they also give you another Plat card – potentially handy for those with relatives with similar names I guess!

        • Isa says:

          Yep, shop small was the first thing I thought about… Maybe I should complain to Amex that their offer discriminates against single people; also we should have a lower spend threshold for extra points since there’s only 1 person doing the spending :p

          • Alan says:

            Haha I agree, although we do then have it easier on the redemption availability side too 😉

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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