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.  And 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.


HFP Virgin Atlantic Rewards credit card

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (January 2021)

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, one has a bonus of 15,000 Points):

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

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)

  • Richard Tonge says:

    my wife and daughter had their Gatwick flight cancelled this week. I called BAEC and was able to change them to any flight – as they were in Club, we moved them to the JFK-LCY flight that I’d wanted them to be on originally but didnt want to have to pay the difference for! FYI, booking was UUA to Club. Seems BA will change to any flight without an additional charge given the cancellation is due to strike action.

  • Daniel says:

    I am flying with BA this weekend – how do I know if my flight might be with normal BA or Qatar?

    • Rob says:

      Try to book a seat on ba.com and click on the flight number, it will say ‘Operated by Qatar Airways’ if it has been switched. They will know by now what services Qatar is doing this weekend.

      Mine is not switched, and I really want a Qatar plane.

      • Nick says:

        Where are you flying? Am I remembering correctly that you’re off to Innsbruck? If so (and apologies if I’m making it up completely!) but that will never be a QR plane as captains have to undertake an extra course to command an aircraft in/out of there, and their staff won’t be doing that just for a few (to them) charter ops.

  • James Wagner says:

    OT: I signed up for the Times Travel Magazine for £30 with a bonus of 4,500 Avios (Cheers Rob)

    https://headforpoints.com/2016/09/29/4500-avios-for-a-30-subscription-to-the-sunday-times-travel-magazine/

    and its coming up for the time to cancel if I don’t want to get stung for a renewal cost.

    I have however also been receiving the Times Literary Supplement without subscribing to it at all. Has anyone else had this happen ?
    There was a blog post from Rob on a deal for some Avios with a subscription to the TLS but I didn’t take that up.

    https://headforpoints.com/2016/12/17/4500-avios-times-literary-supplement-subscription/#comments

    Just a bit confused ! I’d rather they sent me the Avios in error rather than the supplement !

    Anyone else had this happen ?

    • Rob says:

      They have changed their subscription management company and it seems a lot of data has got lost or messed up. I know people have had problems trying to cancel credit card debits.

      • James Wagner says:

        oooh, bit of a faff going on then. Good luck to everyone. Sunday Times Subscription email address for anyone who needs it is [email protected]

        • Concerto says:

          It’s a major screw up, like everything in Britain and other banana republics. I already cancelled last month, but I don’t trust them because I never got a confirmation. The phone number is 01293-312214, but it won’t help much, it sounds like the local camping and caravan site. How can a major newspaper (Sunday Times) be such a joke?

    • Johnny_c-l says:

      I’ve been receiving TLS for 6+ weeks now and recall getting a letter saying it was either included or complimentary to my existing subscription for a period (12 weeks?).

      Such a waste as I really have little interest in reading it so it goes straight into recycling.

    • Alan says:

      Nope, just got the Avios. I cancelled my DD as soon as the Avios arrived though, magazines have kept arriving fine (as it was a one-off annual payment) – takes the stress out of remembering to cancel though!

  • Roger says:

    Any suggestion on LHR T2/T3 parking for weekend?
    All costs seem too high even just for 2 days.

    • Rob says:

      Use JustPark, see my old article, to book a spot in a hotel car park on Bath Road?

    • Aeronaut says:

      Or Hatton Cross or Hounslow West tube station car parks.

  • Steve says:

    You can just use your Amex Platinum and use the American Express lounges though surely?

    • Steve says:

      That should say it doesn’t matter which airline you’re travelling on, your Amex card can get you in the Amex lounge. It’s average, but cheaper than being in the ripoff terminals!

  • Andy E says:

    The Amex lounge at SYD is only accessible for international flights
    Howver Priority Pass now has some good domestic food outlet options in both Int and Dom in SYD & BNE

  • David says:

    Quick question about compensation- I’m flying AMS-NRT with Qatar in business in November (I got it on one of the flash sales in January so return was only EUR 600). I haven’t had any notifications about flight time changes but when I logged into my booking yesterday I see they are trying to get me to confirm that I accept a new flight departing a day later and a return DOH-AMS which gives me 12 hours in DOH rather than the original 2. As these are both flights departing from or flying to the EU, would I be entitled to EU compensation for this? I wanted to understand my rights before I call them to discuss. I can reschedule but it will be a pain and I would only want to do it if I got good compensation to do so. Thanks.

    • Rob says:

      No compensation unless changes occur within 2 weeks of departure. You are allowed a full refund. In reality, if you ring Qatar I’m sure they will be flexible.

      • David says:

        Thanks Rob. I’ve made other flight bookings and hotel bookings so it really is a pain for me to cancel or reschedule… I’ll see how it goes when I call them

  • Optimus Prime says:

    According to LL strikes have been extended until 30th August.