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Bits: Virgin redemptions with infants, Qatar increasing Scandi frequencies, Amex and Ryanair

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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? – October 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

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 (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable 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.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (181)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Steve says:

    I don’t understand what people have against Ryanair neither. I am not buying £30 ticket to some local airport to get the first class treatment. One cabin bag, passport and ticket ready, put my headphones on, be nice to the staff and in 2 hours I am almost anywhere in the Europe.

    I still value the priority exit row seat (leg room) more than many business class offers other airlines have.

    The only thing I have against them is the constant noise pollution on the airplane with all the announcements but for that price, I am ok to survive it. Nothing good headphones can’t deal with.

    It’s still cheaper than traveling 30 minutes outside of London with the insanely overpriced trains in much worse conditions and people do that daily!

    It is great to have options and freedom to chose whatever suits you. I would use my Amex for this offer if I would have it.

    • Richard G says:

      It’s a principals choice for me. I refuse to give that company any of my money (I appreciate they’ll do just fine without me). I did use them once upon a time, but now I’m happy to go out of my way to avoid them.

      • Leo says:

        Me too. Used once as a friend booked a flight for me. It was very grim. Do they still make the crew buy their own uniforms? I’ve no time for O’Leary. I don’t tar EZ with the same brush and I think Air Asia is great so it’s not inherent LCC snobbery.

        • Will says:

          Air Asia pay their cabin crew less than £200 a month.

          Nothing wrong with that but to anyone bad mouthing Ryanair based on making staff buy their uniforms then saying air Asia are great it’s not a black and white argument.

        • the real harry1 says:

          @ Will it’s a fair bit more than that after extras (same as BA mixed fleet concept) – about £1250/ month typically

        • TripRep says:

          Will – appreciate the info, I’ll be sure to tip AirAsia crew for good service in business class in that case.

          Personally I try to avoid RyanAir where possible because I find the experience uncomfortable, did a trip to Malta a few years ago and it wasnt pleasant at all, on balance in general I do find EasyJet ok though. Again it often depends on your journey starting & end points, timings and cost. Based on that formula I might have to use RyanAir later this summer. If BA had direct flights to Europe from more of its regional airports that would be my top preference.

        • CV3V says:

          Air Asia paying £200 per month in Asia would roughly equate to about £1000 in the UK, rough rule of thumb i have sometimes used in some asian countries that seems to work out. But still not good.

    • shd says:

      On short haul, I find the over-long – and not funny – BA safety video, charity chugging for Flying Start, and High Life shop announcements just as annoying as Ryanair’s announcements.

      I recently flew Ryanair Dublin to Manchester for EUR 10.19 including credit card fee, and yes, I paid with Amex 🙂

  • Graham Walsh says:

    I’m still waiting for VS to do a sale on redemption tickets like they did last year. 30% saving on points and then use my PE upgrade vouchers.

    • lev441 says:

      Since changing to the peak/off-peak model, seems as if they have stopped doing them… Which is a shame as they used to come around like clockwork – it gave really great value when using the PE upgrade vouchers in conjunction with the sale during peak dates like school holidays.

      I actually let 2 x vouchers lapse in September – would have been more tempted to book a redemption somewhere if they’d had a 30% off sale as it may have swayed my opinion on potential holiday destinations.

    • TripRep says:

      When checking my PE Upgrade vouchers had posted, Lady at VS FC advised me to wait for the next seat sale as “they can be combined”.

      I thanked her for the reminder as I’d done this a few times in previous years… 🙂

      But yes, Reward Seat Sales maybe history now….?

  • Tilly says:

    O/T – can someone explain the BA cabin bonus avios to me please? I get them credited when flying in CE (not flown CW yet) separately to the normal avios and tier points. What are they and how are they calculated? TIA.

  • Rob says:

    Has anyone had success yet in triggering the Amex £5 back on £10 spend at the Post Office by buying the One4All gift cards? I just read the terms and conditions and it specifically excludes gift cards. I have this offer on 6 cards, so would like to use it but have no use for stamps.

    • Genghis says:

      Yep. Bought this morning and all triggered the success email. The cashier was very patient.

      • Rob says:

        cool thanks, will go do it tomorrow. I hope my PO is just as patient as I do six transactions on separate credit cards instead of one!

        • Tom says:

          I bought two gift cards yesterday, triggered to immediate emails – my T&C’s state;

          “Offer valid for items and gift cards purchased in-store over the counter only.”

    • Richard G says:

      I read that and in my opinion it was excluding gift cards that weren’t bought in store (IE, online).

      • Tom says:

        Ah yeah, we have a big PO close to may office to I popped in and bought their one4all cards.

    • Crafty says:

      Worked for me, two different Amexes in two different post offices.

      Bear in mind Amazon is no longer a partner.

    • xcalx says:

      Used 1 plat and 5 sups today . No emails as yet.
      Did anyone get the PO offer on SPG

      • mark2 says:

        BAPP only

      • the real harry1 says:

        contactless doesn’t seem to trigger an email half the time – though Amex do seem to pick up the purchase later so you get the £5

        I prefer the lazy good feel of getting a success email, so stick it in

      • Liz says:

        We have 4 SPG cards and got zilch! Got it on our BAPP.

        • xcalx says:

          Non on our 2 SPGs that’s what prompted me to ask. Only 7 offers on 1 of the SPG cards, but then we don’t keep them long enough to load the offers lol, just chasing the Marriott TP
          (one more referral for mrs xcalxs mum in Jan should do it) and don’t want to use MR points

        • Charlie says:

          I didn’t get the order on my Gold amex, but went ahead and spent £10 at the PO and then called Amex who credited me with £5 after I asked politely for the offer!

        • Alan says:

          Didn’t get it on SPG, Nectar or Plat.

      • xcalx says:

        Used 1 plat and 5 sups today . No emails as yet.
        Did anyone get the PO offer on SPG

        update was looking at wrong email. arrived in 2 min intervals.

  • TripRep says:

    Slightly OT: Virgin Amex Black Camncellation

    Just a data few points to share..

    My 2x PE Upgrade vouchers posted to my VS FC a/c 5 days before my MBNA anniversary date.

    Was offered 5000 miles for a £1000 spend for not cancelling the card, I declined as they couldn’t offer any guarantee when it will be pulled and tbh I thought the offer wasnt enough.

    They will refund the £140 for the next year as long as no spend after anniversary.

    • Ben says:

      Thanks for this, I have my anniversary coming up on the 8th Dec so will be calling just before then.

      I am still waiting for my 5000 from my last threat – I wonder if they will come before the 8th.

      • Alan says:

        Yep, still waiting for 5k from my white card attempted closure – they’ve confirmed I’ve met criteria, just waiting to see if they post…

  • Cate says:

    Amex just aren’t offering us any offers we want and the offers are getting fewer. They’re pushing the shop small stuff but there is only a takeaway near us and they’ve confirmed they shouldn’t be on the list. I’m happy to spend money as the lovely MrCate can attest but as a non alcohol drinker it’s no good offering me four different suppliers of alcohol by the case because I’m just not interested.

    • Choons says:

      Where would you like the offers to be from?

      They are not that suitable for me either, although I have used a few, like spend in Tesco with 500 avios and will most likely use the post office ones, if I can bear the usual long queue at lunchtime…

  • Brandon says:

    Ive got 3 amex cards, dont/didnt see the ryanair off on any of them

  • Simmo says:


    Earnt my 2-4-1 on the BAPP – Voucher in my BA account.
    Is it still the case I can cancel the card (not downgrade to Blue) and keep the voucher?
    Only risk being booking using the voucher then needing to cancel?

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