News in brief:
Virgin Atlantic has still not changed its infant policy, one year on
When the Virgin Atlantic website was relaunched last December, it changed its policy on the pricing of infants on Virgin Flying Club redemptions.
Redemption tickets for infants had historically been charged at 200 miles (Economy), 750 miles (Premium Economy) or 1500 miles (Upper Class) plus taxes and charges.
From last December, they were charged at 10% of the lowest cash fare, plus taxes and charges.
This appears to have been forced on Virgin by the limitations of the new booking software, which they inherited from 49% shareholder Delta. The new policy is identical to the Delta policy.
The problem is that 10% of the lowest cash fare can be a LOT of money. This is especially true on one way bookings where no discounted tickets are available. A one-way Upper Class flight to New York on 1st February will cost you £5,897. This means that Virgin will ask you for £589, plus taxes and charges, for your infant redemption ticket.
Virgin Flying Club told me a year ago that they were fully aware of this problem and that a fix would be in place in H1 2017. It is now December, and a recent email from a reader confirms that nothing has changed. Whether you book a cash ticket or a redemption ticket on Virgin Atlantic, a lap infant will still cost you 10% of the cheapest cash fare at the time of booking.
British Airways, for comparison, will charge 10% of the adult Avios and 10% of the adult taxes for a lap infant. This is more like it.
Qatar Airways increasing frequencies to Scandinavia
Qatar Airways has been offering some truly exceptional deals out of Scandinavia this year, such as the recent £1300 business class fares to Australasia.
They have proved so popular that the airline is increasing its frequencies. Oslo will increase from seven to 10 flights to Doha per week whilst Stockholm will increase from 14 to 17 per week.
17 long haul aircraft a week out of Stockholm is a lot of premium seats to fill, so hopefully the flow of good value business class deals will continue.
Do American Express customers fly Ryanair?
Whilst this is not ‘news’ in any sense of the word, I found it amusing. A reader sent me an email he had received from American Express encouraging him to sign up for new cashback offers. See here:
Whilst 12,000 people had chosen to register for the ‘£20 back on a £60 Eurostar spend’ deal, only a paltry 311 had signed up for the offer of ‘2000 bonus Membership Rewards points when spending £80 on Ryanair’. There isn’t even any guarantee that those 311 people were eventually going to fly to Ryanair – many will have saved the offer ‘just in case’.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – August 2022 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
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.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
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
60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
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
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.