Bits: EXCELLENT £994 Club World fare to California, the Starwood Amex may not be on its last legs ….

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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(EDIT: This fare appears to have been withdrawn early despite the 14th December ticketing deadline.)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 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

You can book on hereBA’s special page on Oakland is here.

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.

My long article from Monday on why you should think about getting the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card (10,000 bonus Avios or other miles for a start!) is 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.)

Bits: 2000 M&M miles with a car rental, targeted 50% bonus on Amex - Hilton transfers, KLM Flight Bundle
BA closes OpenSkies from Paris, launches LEVEL - use Avios to Martinique and Guadeloupe

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  1. RussellH says:

    Further plus points for OAK:

    1. It is a much better starting point than SFO of you are heading north to wine country – Sonoma and Napa Counties. It is a much shorter drive, no driving through built up San Francisco and no queues from the Golden Gate bridge. You need a $5 for the Richmond bridge, but it is free on the return journey.

    2. When we arrived with BA there was no other international flight. No messing around with passport machines, just a few old fashioned desks with perfectly polite staff.

  2. Love2Travel says:

    OT: I want to cancel my Amex Platinum today. I will clear the balance as no pending transactions but points for recent purchases haven’t posted. Can I transfer them after I’ve cancelled? Else I will need to pay about £40 for an extra month of Platinum. Also, can we cancel via chat or does it need to be via phone?

    • the real harry1 says:

      you wouldn’t pay £40 for waiting a couple of days – you’d pay pro-rata on a daily basis

      I think you might stand to lose the points so better to wait, always depending on the number of points!

      2 days would be 2x (£450/365) = £2.47 or so

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Can be done via chat but finding chat useless and slow vs the old email system

    • New Card says:

      I thought when you close an Amex MR account they usually give you 30 days grace to transfer any outstanding points out. However there’s obviously an element of risk involved in this. May be better to swallow the pro rata daily cost x 3 or so.

  3. Natwest Black still offers 0.5% on all spending – also foreign FX free which is a nice bonus.

  4. guesswho2000 says:

    And, from the way I read it, I believe cards applied for after 11/1/18 won’t have the cash back feature at all, so anyone thinking of applying for it might as well do it prior (though granted, it doesn’t pay cash back on overseas transactions anyway, and you can do better on domestic transactions, but still).

  5. O/T – BA Amex 241 – Does anyone know if I change my mailing address from the UK to the US if I will lose my 241 or my Lloyds upgrades? The warning says I will be unenrolled from any promotions but doesn’t specify anything else related to my upgrades.

    • Yes. You won’t be able to redeem the voucher and you won’t be able to earn any Avios from using the card (they will pile up in Amex and go across when you move your address back).

      This is because of BA’s deals with US card issuers.

      You cannot move an account to a non-UK address. Remember that you cannot use Combine My Avios if the account addresses are different so your Lloyds Avios will be stuck there if your BA account moves to the US.

  6. Not seeing any Oakland return business fares for £994 at all. Searched within January-Feburary and with varying lengths of nights via the BA low fare finder tool.

    Cheapest return fare I see on my screen is £1495.

  7. Well I have had fun this week. Having had invitations to meet some MEPs in the European Parliament in Brussels as well as to tour a coach builder near Eindhoven I decided to take a “holiday” and drive my hybrid car to the Continent form my Beer, Devon home.

    Night one use a free voucher from my HHonors to stay at the Hilton in Bearsted Road, Maidstone. It has been a long time since I last stayed at a Hilton property so I was very happy with the reception and room. Especially so as I was the guest of the day and received two free drinks vouchers !

    On to Le Shuttle using my Tesco vouchers which give a 66% discount on the return fare

    First night in the Holiday Inn at Brussels Schuman where I had to pay full whack on points but at 30,000 points instead of €125 I think I got an OK deal. I got a bonus when I was able to charge my car in the underground car park

    Then on to Holiday Inn Express at Hasselt where I have had 3 x nights at 5,000 points per night which was a real bargain. Even better, we received 7 x €5 vouchers to use for drinks in the Holiday Inn 100 metres up the road. I value the cost per night as a result of the vouchers as £11 per night !

    Tomorrow I go home via Holiday Inn at Ashford for 15,000 (£60) of points.

    Happy days !!

    • the real harry1 says:

      nice one

      you didn’t go for the free Eurotunnel offer wyb a few bottles of wine? 🙂

      just kidding – it’s only for 1 night in France

    • following from behind says:

      I’m from near Beer. Used to love hiring the boats in the bay during the summer and trying to catch mackerel. Beautiful village 🙂

  8. dicksbits says:

    fares definitely not there! Looked for mid-Jan and the prices are at least double that.

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