Bits: Qatar launches Cardiff with a 787, last call for 500 Avios with £25 Amazon spend, Charles Tyrwhitt sale

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News in brief:

Qatar Airways to launch Cardiff with a Boeing 787

I must be honest.  When Qatar Airways announced its plans to launch flights from Cardiff, I assumed that it would use a short-haul aircraft.  This is what it does out of some other smaller cities.

This week, however, Qatar Airways announced that Cardiff services will start on 1st May – using a Boeing 787.  It will fly daily.

This is very bullish, because Qatar needs to create a brand new market for long-haul travel out of the airport.  It isn’t just about enticing flyers to switch airlines, they need to change behaviour and stop people driving down the M4 to Heathrow.  They have 254 seats to fill every day.

This is great news for Avios collectors in Wales.   Avios availability should be excellent on this route, at least in the early days as the route builds up.  We will hopefully see some good sale fares as well.

If you want to know about other Avios redemption ideas from outside London, this HFP article looks at Avios flights from UK regional airports.

Last chance to get 500 Avios or Amex points with £25 Amazon spend

Tomorrow is the last day for the fantastic American Express Amazon offer.  It is available for many – but not all – British Airways American Express, Amex Gold and Amex Platinum cardholders.

If you haven’t done yet, check your offers on your online statement page for a combination of:

Get 500 / 1,000 Avios / Membership Rewards points when you spend £25 at before 17th September using your BA Amex / Amex Gold / Platinum card

There are various rules about what you can and cannot buy to trigger the bonus.  The easiest thing to do is buy a £25 giftcard via this link and add it to your account via this link.

If you are making a purchase at Amazon, we are always grateful if you use our HFP Amazon link which is here (click).  We earn a small commission on your purchase which helps keep us ticking over.  Thank you.

12% off Charles Tyrwhitt shirts this weekend – and earn Avios

Finally, shirt company Charles Tyrwhitt is offering 12% off everything – no minimum order – this weekend with code UK12CT.

Tyrwhitt is an Avios partner and you will also earn 4 points per £1 on your shopping.  The site is here and the current clearance offers are here.

(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.)

Important dates for your diary - offers about to close which you shouldn't miss (Sep 2017)
New travel (and High Street) cashback deals launched for HSBC and First Direct customers

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  1. Hopefully they do some good deals from CWL. I don’t find the airports QR fly from other than LHR any cheaper though so not sure if they will.

    I also thought DUB might have some good prices as they do going East on BA/AA but nothing so far.

  2. My worry with CWL is the route will be dead before the M4 around Newport is upgraded & the Severn Bridge tolls are abolished.
    I remember when CWL was bigger than Bristol. Maybe once the M4 is done & tolls gone they can attract a Budget Airline.
    Maybe if Welsh Government can get the same as NI DUP deal and the ability to set its own airport duty’s would help it grow. Being the owners of the Airport its something they would like to powers to do.

    • CWL have killed themselves. They held out and refused to do deals with budget airlines, insisting on sticking with ‘traditional’ airlines. BRS did the opposite. But by the time the owners sold out BRS had become a decent hub and no one wanted to move. BHX did the same for a while, but even they saw sense and invited the cheapies in.

  3. Would be very happy to support cwl if we could get an almost equivalent ex eu at J sale price from there. No problem driving down the m4 to make a flight there. Always check dub in these sales but think they are price fixed by ba there. So stuck with positioning flights into the eu.

  4. the real harry1 says:
    • Tried this at a co-op yesterday and they had no idea what I was talking about!

      • the real harry1 says:

        I don’t get it, if they are a PayPoint outlet they’ll know all about scanning barcodes to pay a bill such as council tax and this is no different

        my local store hadn’t seen the Amazon barcode before but took it in their stride, 4x success, 4x free fivers

        • The Esso next to Anika couldn’t do it either.

          • the real harry1 says:

            but couldn’t do what, exactly? it’s just scanning a barcode, same as usual

            if you mean they thought it was a scam & refused, then try somewhere else

            if they couldn’t scan a mobile phone barcode, that’s understandable – I think somebody said it worked only on full brightness

            printing the barcode is just simple

            no criticism intended but sounds like user error as opposed to any issues with getting the Amazon barcode to scan

        • You would think so but reports suggest otherwise. The two co-ops I tried in Edinburgh city centre both refuse but have never refused anything else.

          • the real harry1 says:

            you should report it to Amazon on Chat and off chance you’ll get a £10 credit, they do that at a drop of a hat

          • Thanks Harry, I was going to try calling amazon or paypoint but it was the day before my current trip and I had other priorities. Will try again on my return and and follow your advice if they fail to process again.

      • Surely they just need to scan it?

        • I have used my Esso offer for paypoint top up on two different account (£20 each).
          So if all works out I will have £50 Amazon credit for £35 spend.

          Shown two different barcode but paid £40 using HSBC card (for £5 off £40 spend at Esso Paypoint).

  5. Problem with CWL is the lack of public transport and the road from the M4 to the airport is poor.

    • I live 30 minutes from LHR and about 45 minutes from LGW but 3 hours on a good day from CWL.

      Seeing as that 3 hours could turn into 5 hours each way, just how much would you want to save from the far to put up with that ?

      I’m not sure I’d risk that for £1000, maybe not even for £2000 and we’d not save £2000 on 3 x business long haul flights anyway.

      So the market is perhaps quite captive and not too far reaching ?

      • the real harry1 says:
        says there are 12m people within 100 miles of Cardiff Airport

        you’re probably right to exclude London, as travelling uncertainty is a bit of a risk – western Greater London wouldn’t have much of a problem, though – and neither would Birmingham & Central England

        so catchment area is probably more like 25m+ within 2 hrs drive

        • I live nearer Cardiff than west London but wouldn’t consider it as it is too far away.

          People living in Birmingham and central England already have airports and would also have to suffer 3+ hourly travels to get there. Further away and you have feeder airports into the main hubs.

          I can’t see realistic catchment area having more than the Welsh and an hour over the border (travelling time, not theoretical crow flying time).

          • the real harry1 says:

            living in Cornwall, it would be a cinch to get to Cardiff rather than LHR – bought an Ebay rug from Cardiff a couple of years ago (quite a nice one!) and immediately regretted the journey but it wasn’t so bad

    • Richard G says:

      Yup, it only takes me about 15 mins longer to get to Bristol airport vs Cardiff despite living in Cardiff (20 miles to Cardiff airport, 43 miles to Bristol airport).

      The roads really aren’t great.

  6. What routes?

  7. Anyone else get a BA branded Charles Tyrwhitt catalogue through the post? Offering a shirt for £19.95 with a free tie and also 500 bonus avios and the usual 4 avios per £1 spent. Seemed like a good deal.

  8. OT: does anyone have a hotel recommendation for a first visit to Bangkok? Paying with own money (not employer funded) and having statuses that come with Plat. Any tips appreciated 🙂

    • Conrad bangkok

    • Memesweeper says:

      How long for? Did three nights at the Conrad with the Amex deal which gives $US 70 off your dining bill. On your own coin anything more than two or three days there is too rich for my blood though.

      Sign up for Grab Taxi app before you leave to avoid rip off cabbies.

      • Conrad can frequently be something like £75 per night (pound is going up too)

        If you feel that it’s “too expensive on your own coin”, not sure why you would dine at the Conrad when there is cheap food everywhere in Bangkok

      • I don’t know how people keep claiming they get ripped off by Bangkok taxi drivers. I’ve been here on and off for the last 14 years and problems are few and far between. The important lessons are to flag the taxi down and avoid those that sit at main tourist haunrs. Reputable taxi drivers don’t sit, they move because that way they know they will get another customer soon. Be aware taxi drivers often find themselves far from their normal operating area and sometimes genuinely don’t know how to get to where you want to go so you have to be patient with them as they find their way or find another taxi driver who does know the way. If you or taxi driver wish to use the expressway you have to pay the tolls in addition to the fare. The tolls are clearly displayed at paypoints. If you disagree about using the expressway just ask to be set down by the driver who will not charge you if the journey has not been long to that point. All taxi drivers dis*9play their number inside the doors, remember it or take a picture of it uf youare the worrying type. Some places like Central World now enforce certain ranks and it is otberwise quite difficult to flag taxis down near those areas as they are attempting to reduce congestion. The fares are dirt cheap, grumbling about the fares are inapprooriate. Two or more people will often find the taxi cheaper and more comfortable than using tbe skytrain or underground, especially where a change between the two is required.

        • I must be unlucky, during 10 years of travelling to BKK I have had a few dodgy taxi drivers, its inevitable. There are the ones who try and keep some of the change as their tip (i.e. they decide their tip). The time we agreed a fare via hotel concierge, then the driver tried to make out the fare was per person! I asked him to let us out on that occasion, instead he drove extra fast, with no seat belts fitted! The driver who swore about us in Thai for only wanting to go to the airport rail link station and not all the way to the airport. The driver who didn’t want to drive in a traffic jam and said we were close enough to walk, and then asked for more cash for traffic jam. The taxi driver who seemed surprised that i had coins for the toll (not notes) and started asking if i had been before, and wanting me to tell him what roads to use.

          Then at BKK terminal they will try and drop you off at the first available point so they can get another fare, if you are getting the Emirates flight where drop off and check in are at the far end they don’t like it!

          Agreed its not a lot of cash involved, but when i do get a good taxi driver i always make sure they get a good tip as reward. But i do prefer to use Grab and Uber whenever i can.

          • The issues with change, traffic jams and directions are all ‘normal’ in that they do it with Thai customers too. The toll I guess he wanted to try and keep some or all of the change but there is no problem paying exact toll with coins and Thais usually keep their loose change in cars for this purpose. When staying at a medium or high end hotel it is generally better to walk 30m along the road to get a taxi. It is a good idea to be on side of the street heading direction you want to go. If you know it. I heard the departure level pickups at BKK have now been stopped. It is common for Bangkok taxis to refuse fare but to take you and swear at you for it is a new one on me. Personally I’d never take Airport Link over taxi based on few times I tried it. As for the speeding one I’d have paid him exact change and walked off leaving his doors and boot open.

    • Stay near a mrt or sky train station. I’m a big fan of the Sofitel so which is over the road from an mrt station, or an1km walk to sky train. Not a lot around it if you want easy access to 7/11. The higher grade rooms / lounge are excellent and it has the park opposite which is nice for a walk.

      Last trip stayed at IC had suite and lounge access which were good but the So has character. IC is opposite a sky train station. Conrad basically is a station, but I don’t recall it has a lounge. The shangri la is in a nice place but tired, I think some rooms have balconys on the river, their boat cruise evening meal was good. It’s not next to but not so far from sky train tho.

    • Under £25 Ibis Sathorn for budget.
      Good midrange £40-55 Park Plaza at Sukhumvit 18 or Asoke, Aloft, Doubletree Sukhumvit, Millenium Hilton and Avani Atrium.

      Forget Marriott in Bangkok. Overpriced for what they are. IHG also overpriced except perhaps HIE Sathorn and Holiday Inn Silom which sometimes have decent rates. If you want to push it to £75-110 the choice is enormous. At this price consider Siri Sathorn, Conrad, LEM Suriwongse. Given higher standards of Asian hotels I would suggest midrange is fine though.

      Millenium has a spectacular riverside location but transport is a bit of a pain. LEM is in the heart of the main red light district.

      I agree with comment on skytrain and underground but be aware that for 2 people or more taxi will often be as cheap and more comfortable. Flag down a moving taxi as opposed to one sitting at major tourist areas. Uber in Bangkok is hit and miss, I prefer the regular taxi.

      • Forgot to mention you might also be able yo make Hilton Premium Club work for you if staying long enough. Rob wrote an article here on HFP so search Hilton Premium Club

        • I complained to a crew member on the way back to Geneva who tried to put a suitcase on top of my flimsy tote bag, which had a laptop in it.

    • Many thanks for the replies, guys! Very helpful!

      • I stay at the JW Marriott usually or the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit with occasional stays in Silom and Lumpini if the deals on various 5* places materialise.

        If looking for waterside then Peninsula is a great choice and you have the hotel boat to Saphan Taksin BTS station. Downstream you have the ex Marriott, Anantara which has a great pool set up.

        Bangkok traffic is terrible and unless you are right next to a MRT / BTS station then walking 10 minutes in the heat is pointless and any advantage over a taxi from your door is wasted as you are sweating anyway. Better to get a hotel next to where you want to be really with so many good 4* and 5* hotels available all over town.

      • Just to add Hotel Indigo Lumphini/Wireless Rd and Sofitel So as higher end options, both great

    • W Hotel is beautiful and amazing location but not cheap !

    • Also OT, but OT related, would welcome any recommendation for hotels in Hanoi.

      • We just came back after a 3 weeks trip to Vietnam and stayed 4 nights in the Hilton Hanoi Opera as a diamond – the lounge was excellent, especially for evening drinks and plenty of hot snacks; and breakfast in the main restaurant was really good; highly recommended.

  9. Rob – I take it an Amazon account £25 top up doesn’t qualify for the 500 MR points, ie you need to buy & email yourself a £25 gift card and then apply it to your account?

    • the real harry1 says:

      top up is fine

      • ah ok, in that case I’m guessing the 500 MR pts offer hasn’t activated for a supplementary card that I’d copied it to, can’t complain, it was worth a shot.

        • Top up worked for me

          • Decided to go on the AMEX online chat, apparently it can take a few more days for different cards to process the offer, agent checked it out and can see in processing, so he’s confident that I’ll get the points.

            Thanks to you both for your suggestions/feedback! 😀

  10. O/T Amex fine hotels and resorts query – i want to book 3 nights. OH and i are both platinum card holders, can we book alternate nights, me night 1, him night 2, me night 3 to maximize the $100 per stay credit? Would the hotel be awkward about it? We would prefer to stay in same room for all 3 nights but it wouldnt be the end of the world if we had to move rooms especially with 4pm late checkout each day.

    • Hotel will be awkward as they are funding it. Do not recommend it.

      • I’ve done this some years ago and had mixed results the first time so I cleared it in advance the next times we did it.

        Personally, I think it is a piss take that if you want to stay 5 days then you only get 1 offer but they happily give out the same offer for someone staying a single night. Clueless marketing IMHO as people staying longer have far more free time to use other hotel cost options such as the spa, room service, etc.

        I have threatened to do it of late and had the hotel simply offer the deal without having to jump through the hoops. Never had a hotel be so pedantic as to make us check out and then move rooms but I guess it could happen. I’d bet the vast majority would never be so petty though.

        Would i do it again ? Absolutely but I’d offer the hotel the option to make it easier on the check in staff by arranging it beforehand with their management.

        • Yeah, a three night stay should get more resort credit than a one night stay IMHO. Will contact the hotel directly and see what they say…..

      • Really? I wouldnt have thought they would care that much. We regularly alternate nights for stay credits & bonuses, especially with hilton. Never had any issues, albeit never for a resort credit, maybe thats a bit more of a money grab lol.

        • I think if you asked the hotel for £85 a day because you’d juggled the names every day they might feel differently! With Hilton Honors promos they probably admire your ingenuity.

  11. OT – can I force transfers into an Iberian account which hasn’t satisfied the 90 day rule bit by buying IB avios and then transferring points in from elsewhere immediately afterwards? I take it you can then spend the points in the Iberia account on flight redemptions without waiting 90 days? Thanks

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