Bits: American drops Manchester-New York, Emirates launches 50% off economy reward sale

News in brief:

American Airlines to drop Manchester to New York

American Airlines has confirmed that it is dropping its seasonal Manchester to New York service.  It will not be returning in March for the launch of the Spring timetable, with the last flight departing in late October.

I have reported on this rumour before.  I suggested at the time that British Airways may take it over, since the airline has better brand recognition out of Manchester – let’s see if it happens.  Virgin Atlantic took over the Delta service between Manchester and Atlanta for the same reason.

Manchester area residents are not short of options to New York.  Virgin, United and Thomas Cook will all still fly it.  There is no longer a oneworld option for earning Avios or BA tier points, however.

American has confirmed that it will continue to fly to Chicago and Philadelphia from Manchester.  The Chicago service will be upgraded to a Boeing 787 next year.

American AA 350

Emirates Skywards launches economy reward sale

Emirates is currently running a redemption sale.  You can save 50% on the usual number of Skywards miles required for a redemption in Economy in Saver class.  Full details are here on the Emirates website.

Seats must be booked by 9th September for travel between 1st October and 30th November.  You must book a return flight to get the discount.  Note that Gatwick and Manchester flights are not included.

Unfortunately, just as World Traveller redemptions are generally a very poor use of Avios points, economy redemptions are generally a bad use of Skywards miles.  However …. this sale covers the start of the peak Winter travel period to Dubai, including October half term, so you may actually get some value.

I did a dummy Economy booking from Heathrow to Dubai for mid November.  The flight came out as 22,500 miles plus £283 of taxes and charges.

You can usually get cash tickets down to Dubai for around £350, so even at 50% off this would not be great value for your miles.  This time, reward flights may be better value if you travel over the school holidays and you see cash prices at £500.  Another upside would be if you needed the flexibility to cancel.

Remember that Emirates is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner and that your points will go across instantly once your accounts are linked.

All you need to know about the sale can be found on this page of the Emirates website.

(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.)

What BA economy tickets can be upgraded using Avios?
Should you convert Clubcard, Amex, Heathrow, HSBC points to Avios on receipt?
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. Looks like a good offer for point collectors

    How often does this offer repeat? Once a year and every year?

    Also, are there offers to convert amex membership points to skyward miles?

    • Never been a Skywards conversion promo apart from the launch one a couple of years ago.

      Emirates runs the 50% off every 12-18 months but, as the travel window is tight, it is less useful. When Virgin does its redemption sales, you can book for the full 11 month booking away and save.

      • Virgin haven’t done any redemption sales since the new pricing system set in in January… Do you think that is the end of them? I booked three flights using those sales last year..

      • Very disappointed, I tried to make a booking using my skymiles (LON to DXB) outwards Eco Saver was 11k + cash and inwards Bus Saver was 45k points plus cash… when I went to checkout after entering my card details (I tried all options, different times, machines and cards) it always bumped it up to 65k points – the booking page and offer is deceptive!!

  2. OT Bit: The amex offer for £100 off £1000 at trailfinders is back, use by 30/9.

    • Haven’t got it on my amex, which is just as well as have already paid the final deposit of the honeymoon!

      • I came unstuck too as I would have needed an October closing date to use. IIRC it was £200 last year. I’m also missing out on Hilton opportunities so looks like a bad quarter for me but will be at home during shop small for a change.

        • Genghis says:

          Doesn’t it work on Trailfinders gift cards? Or not worth the S75 risk?

        • johnny_c-l says:

          Could presumably bag the offer with the gift cards then part-pay for the holiday with a small amount on a credit card and the balance using the gift cards so you’re S75 covered too.

        • Genghis says:

          Good point

        • Thanks guys, I’ll give the giftcard option some thought. The downside would be being tied to trailfinders for a substantial sum.

        • Definitely did last time – I pushed a purchase through for my folks, they were delighted at the saving! No expiry date on the TF gift vouchers either.

        • totaltool says:

          i have seen reference to shop small in several posts over the last few months but don’t know what it refers to. Can someone enlighten please?

        • Annual promotion by Amex that runs in Nov-Dec, gives you £5 back when you spend £10+ at small independent businesses. Has been unlimited in the past so you can generate a lot of benefit from it.

        • totaltool says:

          ok thanks will look for it

        • Genghis says:

          @totaltool – it’s a good idea to maximise the amount of Amex cards you hold around this time so benefit from the £5 back offer. Stocking up on xmas meat, cheeses, stamps , birthday cards for the year etc works well for me.

        • And MBNA amex cards have been eligible in the past too.

    • Kinkell says:

      @ JamesB Is this a targeted offer? Just checked all our cards …..not there. Could do with it ! Mind you, I benefitted last year when it was £200 off £1100 spend, x3!. Maybe that’s why we don’t have it this time.

      • It was on my dad’s PRG so he asked if I wanted to make use of it. I only have BA standard amex at the moment so obviously not on that.

  3. pointsarb says:

    @ Genghis, I used it successfully twice on Trailfinders gift cards last year. Got £400 off a £2000 gift card spend (split over 2 txns).

  4. Jonathan says:

    OT – Just spoken to MBNA regarding my Virgin Atlantic Black card.

    1) The 5000 bonus points for cancelling take up to 8 weeks to post from meeting the £1k spend which is only realised at statement time so in my case it could take 2 more statements (3 in total) before i get the points at which point i will have rolled over to another year.

    2) and most interestingly i asked when the Virgin Atlantic license agreement with Amex was due to expire and although she couldn’t give a definitive date she said it was January 2018 and more information will follower nearer the time. Spend whilst you can?

  5. O/T I have found a flight fare on ITA matrix, can’t seem to replicate the price on iberia. Its about £200 more expensive doing a multi-trip on Iberia. Is there a better way to do it to match the price?

  6. RussellH says:

    For travelling from MAN to New York City, a friend of mine who does this once or twice a year swears that it is significantly quicker from PHL to downtown NYC than it is from JFK. Much quicker immigration in his experience, and a direct Amtrak link at PHL

    • Now that’s something I’ve never thought of. We normally have to do MAN-LHR-JFK with BA. I’m quite happy as we use our 2-4-1 and go in First. I do miss BA at MAN terribly though.

    • No way. You have to get the SEPTA line from PHL to 30th street station then change there for Amtrak. Whole trip will take about 2 hours and then the waiting times.

  7. BA has better brand recognition out of Manchester than AA? Could have fooled me!

    • Agreed. They desperately need to get back in the game at MAN.

      • Colin JE says:

        The Man – Ord AA flights are very good value. Managed to get a business class return ticket for £1680 in November including two nights in a four star hotel in Chicago though BA holidays. The plain flight is £1400! From LHR I couldn’t even get a BA Premium Economy ticket for that.
        Virgin dropped its Chicago flights last year – a real shame, because they are head and shoulders better for Upper – but the AA fares are stonking and who wants to change to a regional carrier in the US, turning a 7 hour flight into a 10 hour+ journey?

        I just hope AA don’t do the same with their Chicago route out of Manchester. If they do, what are my rights if they drop a route I’m booked on?

  8. totaltool says:

    O/T – last year about this time i got a hilton challenge fron silver to gold for four stays. Have found H gold to be very worth while but need some more stays to retain gold. Have silver anyway through HH visa. Does anyone know if its likely to happen again?

    • Genghis says:

      It’s happening now – see some recent articles. Alternatively it’s easy to get gold through £10k spend in calendar year on Hilton card / Amex Plat.

      • totaltool says:

        I thought those related to Marriott etc matching across than within Hilton but will have a look

        • Genghis says:

          Sorry – you do need to have something to match your Hilton status to with the current offer.

    • Is taking out amex platinum for a month not an option for you?

  9. OT – was asking about eurostar lounge entry restrictions a couple of days ago (thanks for the answers!). So was just let in St Pancras with amex plat 1h45 before train. They didn’t check my ticket so could have been anytime really.

  10. Am doing a night at Paris Le Grand using the free night voucher. Anyone know whether the breakfast comes remotely close to being worth the rather high price they charge for it – 45 euros!

    • No breakfast in any hotel anywhere worth €45 IMO. Would suggest a decent coffee and a pastry from a bakery and then a decent lunch someplace nice.

    • There are some nice cafes nearby. Off Rue scribe in Edouard VII Square.

      • Pay for lounge access instead – €140 per room if not Ambassador, €120 if you are (I think). You can’t have restaurant breakfast but you can get a lot of food and champagne all day in the lounge.

  11. OT. Unimpressed with the service in WT returning from GCM overnight (managed CW seats outbound so admittedly spoiled). For the first 3 hours all we got was a tiny portion of orange juice. After touching down in NAS service resumed but it was still nearly four hours before any kind of food was served – it was tomato pasta or chicken curry, with a cheesecake pudding. By this time it was 11 pm so not really what we fancied. Thankfully I had my usual stash stock of ham sandwiches. Then nothing else until an hour before we landed, when we got a croissant, cereal bar and a thimble of coffee. This was a (nearly) 12 hour flight and a standard economy ticket costs around £1000. Is this normal for BA these days?

    • We are flying to BKK next week but despite it being CW I’m planning on following your strategy with sandwiches etc. There has been too many reports of poor service and catering this year for my liking, and even my partner who is not a big eater felt starved given the portion sizes last time round.

  12. Camille says:

    So the Emirates Economy redemption sale dates worked for a family trip I was planning anyway.

    Cash Price for the flights I wanted over October Half Term were coming to £494 each. I managed to bag the following for LHR-DXB-LHR (for 6 nights): –

    8 pax x 22,500 = 180k miles (instead of 360k)

    EK then wanted YQ (“Carrier Imposed Charges”) of £140 each OR I could elect to pay 16,250 miles per pax. Now, I would usually never take the latter option because its generally not the best use of mile. But I find the problem with EK redemptions in Biz or F are the crazy so called “taxes” – circa £700 – for a Business Class return to Dubai. To me that is a tax on the use of these miles….which is too heavy for my liking.

    So, this is what I did: –

    8 pax x 16,250 = 130k miles (instead of £1,120)….so, 0.86p per mile approx for that

    So I ended up with the family trip to Dubai over Half-Term for a total of 310k miles + £836 total (i.e.. APD, and various non-YQ charges. Total cash outlay of £104.50

    I’m smiling I got a good deal…..I hope others agree!?

    • Camille says:

      £104.50 per person that is


    • If it’s a good deal for you Camille it is a good deal regardless of what others might think or do differently. The good/right deal is very much dependent on personal circumstances and can vary over time for the same person.

  13. Camille says:

    Fair point JamesB. I just wondered what others thought.

    I still have about 100k EK miles left and will likely collect more via the mbna cards (as long as they last!)…..but Emirates for me will be similar redemptions in Economy going forward.

    I am more looking forward to collecting AA miles on the £1/1.25 miles Visa I recently got thanks to this site pointing out the recent 15k intro bonus. And then using them on Etihad redemptions in C, as I gather those do not attract ridiculous YQ.