Bits: BA US Christmas Club World sale, Air Passenger Duty hiked, Surf Air moves to London City

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News in brief:

British Airways launches US Club World Christmas sale

This has not been officially announced yet but the fares have been loaded into

Many US routes are showing at £1,500 (East Coast) to £1,650 (West Coast) return in Club World.

You must fly out between 25th December and 31st December.  The minimum stay is 3 days.

Book at here.

British Airways black Friday sale

Air Passenger Duty hiked in the budget

‘Premium rate’ Air Passenger Duty took another battering in the budget yesterday.  The biggest hit comes from April 2019 when – instead of increasing all bands – the entire increase is being absorbed by Premium Economy, Business and First Class passengers.  They will be paying an extra £16 per person.


Short-haul Economy: £13

Short-haul Business: £26

Long-haul Economy: £75

Long-haul Premium Economy and above: £150

From 1st April 2018:

Short-haul Economy: £13

Short-haul Business: £26

Long-haul Economy: £78

Long-haul Premium Economy and above: £156

From 1st April 2019:

Short-haul Economy: £13

Short-haul Business: £26

Long-haul Economy: £78

Long-haul Premium Economy and above: £172

Short-haul is defined as any flight under 2,000 miles.

Surf Air to fly from London City Airport

The American membership based private jet company Surf Air, which expanded to Europe earlier this year, has listened to their members and the press and is moving their London base from Luton to London City Airport.

From December, the daily Surf Air flight to Zurich will operate out of the City Airport Jet Centre using the First Class lounge which I reviewed here.  To be honest, I see this as a very positive move – both Rob and I have trialled private jet flights from Luton this year and we both felt that the trouble involved in getting to the airport outweighed many of the benefits.

A while ago Surf Air was offering a free private jet flight to top tier members of frequent flyer schemes.  I was informed that applications are now closed (although quite a few HFP readers are booked in to fly) and those who booked a flight from Luton can still fly from London City Airport.

My review of the Surf Air flight from Luton to Zurich is here.

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  1. Michael..if you are not in a hurry to book l would wait on another Qatar sale in January. Usually one then. That would get you near ba silver and lots of avios plus 560 tier points. You would probably have to hop to Europe to depart like we often discuss on this site. Sounds like you are time positive and flexible. Probably pay between £800 to £950 return plus your positioning flight and eu overnight hotel (much advised) the night before your eu departure.

    • Michael C says:

      Polly, thanks a million for that: even with the extras, that sort of price would be fabulous.

      • Not sure what it is at the moment but TK were selling BKK in business from LHR for £1180 return over Easter about 1-2 months ago. There was also the opportunity to stopover in IST reducing APD.

  2. I heard Private jet APD is going up by only £47 is that correct??

  3. Roger I* says:

    Add code DOUBLE at checkout for 10% off. (May require previous purchase so not guaranteed.)

    • the real harry1 says:

      DOUBLE takes off £4.35 for new customers

      might be worth waiting for £10 off for new customers to re-appear

  4. Dragonpass absolutely huge improvement on Airport Angel.

    It genuinely helps keep me loyal to the Barclays Travel Plus add on pack.

    Perhaps unusually I find that the insurance etc in the add on works well for me financially.

    But even if I shopped around and found marginally cheaper alternatives, the hassle free and very useful Dragonpass feature would probably keep me with Barclays.

    I’ve a suspicion that good loyalty programmes are supposed to work for the promoter as well as the customer.

    Incidentally Rob, I find that the list of available Dragonpass lounges is kept up to date on their website and app, and that they regularly cull substandard ones.

  5. OT – last week I mentioned being declined by Amex for a BAPP which when I called they said was declined in error. Well, after being told to call back several times with no resolution, the card just turned up at the weekend. Then last night I received a ‘You were declined – did this upset you?’ questionnaire e-mail from Amex – so I let them know.

    As no-one at Amex can answer me – does anyone know if this is likely to impact my credit rating? I smell compensation Avios if it does….

    • You must get sorted. Get a manager involved as you don’t want a decline card on your credit record. And you will get 1000s of me s compo!

    • Having the similar problem with the SPG card. In a ”he says/she says” loop. Neither Amex or Experian will tell me why. They both say it is down to the other to explain.

      Not had time to chase it properly but will this weekend.

      • Had the same decline for the SPG card recently, despite having a great credit score and various Amex cards in the past.

        • This seems to have been an IT wobble. After having a lot of people I referred being refused, I have now had a run of acceptances which is back at the usual level.

        • Interesting (and good to hear), Rob! Wonder if they applied some over-strict criteria without meaning too or just totally mucked things up?!

      • My rating is a couple of points off the maximum with Experian, so it wasn’t them – it was definitely a mistake on the Amex end, as they said.

      • Just got accepted online for SPG 7 month after cancelling. Was a bit nervous after reading of all the refusals of late. Very close to the Marriott TP. Now its time to decide United, AA, Alaskan or Singapore. One thing is for sure it will not be Avios.

    • johnny_c-l says:

      No idea if this will impact your credit rating; my guess is that other lenders would only see a search, but seeing a new account opened shortly after would imply you were accepted if they’re bothered to look into it.

      I was also declined for BAPP a couple of weeks ago and had the rejected Experian letter. When I rang Amex they said it was internal systems which stopped the application, and I suggested they take a credit limit increase they’d given me and put it on a new BAPP instead. Rang back a few days later and it had been approved with a credit limit 10x my request!

  6. O/T, but some help needed from you experts out there re Amex Platinum and its hotel and other benefits. I currently have PRG card and will use an upgrade link to get the Platinum with 20000 MR points. Can anyone tell me if there is a best time of the year as such to sign up for the Platinum card, i.e. are the hotel benefits only for a year from sign-up or will they go to the end of a calendar year?

    • George J says:


      Definitely not tied to sign up as you can cut into the hotel program any time you like. I was a normal Starwood member though I seldom used them. However I did open a Marriot account and linked it to SW and converted both to gold a couple of months ago since I am doing quite a bit of travelling over the next few months where Starwood and Marriot work well. I can’t see anything in the T&Cs as to when the gold offer will lapse but unlikely to be calendar (if it does at all). However if you cancel the card, Amex reserves the right to inform their hotel partners such that you lose the benefit.
      All the programs are slightly different, e.g. for Hilton it will continue to give you status as long as you have the card (this is in T&Cs).
      nb I have the International $ card and its conditions are different from the more normal sterling card (in my experience always in favour of the holder).

      • Pls note it takes up to 8 weeks to get gold status with hotel program through anex plat (so i was told by amex).

    • Assuming you never apply for another Amex Plat, wait till Jan. Personally though I wouldn’t bother as you (or your partner) will likely have another Plat over the next year or so.

  7. Totally OT
    Looking to buy a iphone 8, 64 best deal is techinabasket @ £584 not keen on paying with paypal.(no s75 etc)
    Anyone know of a point earning deal.


    • Sounds dodgy as I am very sure the profit margin on an 8 is nowhere near that much. Dixons Travel at Heathrow – combined with the current Heathrow Rewards bonus points on technology (and 3000 HR points if you open a new account for the transaction) is an option.

      • Yeah just checked them out 33% of reviews are terrible ( thought it was too good to be genuine ) Not heading to Heathrow for a while now. Thanks rob.

        • You can get one for 20% off = £560 from very through a finance deal. Today is the last day. Search for details on the shopping portal with heat and cold applied to the comments..

        • Thanks James, I did see that but not keen signing up for finance, can it be paid off in full straight after purchase. Not a lover of interest.

    • Thanks again James. I took another look at the Very deal and set mrs xcalx the task of signing up to Very and buying the phone.

      Result Iphone 8 64 20% off finance deal 10% new customer deal = £503.28 total. Nice one

      • You’re welcome, glad it worked for you. I prefer android myself and so far not used Very. In the past it had a poor reputation but not hearing problems for a long time already. I would happily shop there myself these days. If you are not already aware of it there seems to be an issue with iPhone from some retailers locking onto the first network used so take care. IPhone users can advise better than me but I think most networks are now happy to unlock phones for a small fee of about £20. Enjoy your new handset.

  8. the real harry1 says:
    • I wish they would add some genuine Cornish icecream too, about 3 scoops and some fresh strawberries or raspberries.

  9. OT – On BA this week to Oslo and saw the new flight safety Video. It’s really annoying chopping and changing voices and people. I don’t think the humour works with other people. Suitable for the UK but not for other flights.

    Or is it just me?

  10. OT

    I hit my PRG card renewal in September and it hasn’t seen much action since then, and was thinking of cancelling, getting the pro-rata refund, and waiting for 6 months to reapply for either PRG or Platinum.

    But now I’m thinking, does it make more sense to upgrade to Platinum, get the extra bonus within a month, then cancel and reapply after the 6 months? I’m only losing one month…

    Am I forgetting something?

  11. Can you elaborate on the trial flight by Surf Air? Is it off for application by now?

    • Offer now closed. They would have given you a free flight on sight of your BA Gold card.

      • Was about to send in my application as I saw a colleague of mine on the trial flight…is it because of the massive number of application in? cheers for the reply!

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