News in brief:
British Airways selling Oakland for £994 in Club World
British Airways has quietly started selling tickets to Oakland in California for £994 return for travel in January or February.
(EDIT: This fare appears to have been withdrawn early despite the 14th December ticketing deadline.)
You can take a look at the Low Fare Finder tool on ba.com here.
This is clearly an excellent deal for anyone thinking of a California break in the New Year. There is a direct rail link between Oakland Airport and San Francisco which makes it easy to get around even if you don’t want to hire a car.
Here are the fare rules:
- Both legs must be flown between Monday and Thursday
- Fly between 7th January and 28th February
- Must stay a Saturday night
- Must book by 14th December
If you have an Avios redemption booked to San Francisco or Oakland during this period, you may want to seriously consider cancelling – getting a full refund of the Avios and taxes less a £35 per person fee – and rebooking for cash. As well as getting your points back, you will be earning a large number of Avios (16,142 for a Blue member) and 280 British Airways tier points per return trip.
It seems the Starwood Amex will be sticking around …..
In a move which will have future repercussions, Marriott has signed new agreements with JP Morgan Chase and American Express to issue partnership credit cards going forward.
Whilst this announcement – which you can read here – only covers the US market, it will have an impact here too.
Marriott has had a long and exclusive US relationship with Visa. Many people expected this to continue, and for the American Express relationship, which was inherited with the purchase of Starwood, to be abandoned. This would have been terrible news for American Express which is still reeling from losing 10% of its global billings after Costco moved its US credit card contract. The SPG Amex accounts for a further 5% of the Amex loan portfolio.
Instead, Marriott has signed new agreements with both JP Morgan Chase (as a Visa issuer) and Amex. For the US market:
Marriott expects to introduce new, co-brand products starting in 2018 with enhanced member benefits – super-premium consumer and small business co-branded products from American Express and mass consumer and premium consumer co-branded products from JPMorgan Chase. Additional details on the future products will be shared in 2018. In the meantime, both companies will retain their existing portfolio of accounts and continue to offer their current products.
Whilst nothing is certain, this makes it more likely that American Express in the UK will have the option, if it wants, of continuing to issue a ‘Marriott Preferred Guest’ (or whatever the new merged scheme is called) card from 2019.
Whether Amex wants to do this is a different question. With the card caught under the EU interchange fee cap, subject to final appeal to the EU courts, it may not be financially viable for them.
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