Bits: Opodo and ebookers discounts, Virgin MAN and LGW routes using airberlin planes, World of Hyatt changes

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News in brief:

Opodo and ebookers launch new discount codes

Opodo and ebookers have new discount codes for anyone booking a flight or a ‘flight and hotel’ package in the next few days.

Via this link (click here), Opodo is offering £35 off a £500 flight or £100 of an £1100 ‘flight and hotel’ package.  You need to book by 11th January.  You can travel at any time but must depart from a UK airport.

Via this special link (click here), ebookers is offering £60 off a £500 spend.  You must book a flight and hotel package to qualify.  Book before 8th January for travel by 31st October.

Virgin Atlantic releases list of airberlin aircraft switches

We have covered the saga of Virgin Atlantic’s ‘out of service’ Boeing 787 fleet in recent weeks.

To get around the medium term loss of a number of aircraft which require new engines, Virgin Atlantic has leased a number of ex-airberlin A330 aircraft.  These are currently having a light refurbishment to give them the Virgin Atlantic look and feel, albeit with the existing airberlin seating.

(Our last review of airberlin Business Class is hereIt is a decent seat and actually more suitable for families and couples than Virgin’s Upper Class product in my view.)

The Virgin Atlantic website – click here – has now published a list of services from Manchester and Gatwick which will be flown with ex-airberlin aircraft (click to enlarge):

Virgin Atlantic A330-200 plane swaps airberlin

If you have been booked to fly Premium Economy on these services you should already have been contacted, as no Premium Economy seating will be available.  If you are booked in Economy you may want to look at your seat reservation as the seating is now 2-4-2.  In Upper Class, you may also want to rethink where you sit as you are effectively getting a staggered 1-2-1 configuration.

PS. Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Flying Club miles.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt changes announced

The transition of Hyatt Gold Passport into World of Hyatt last year was a bit of a mess and led to the departure of the head of the programme.

Before Marriott acquired Starwood, Starwood Preferred Guest and Hyatt Gold Passport would slug it out to be the most innovative hotel loyalty scheme.  As small chains, they knew they had to punch above their weight to get noticed.

With Starwood now effectively gone, Hyatt has decided that it is better to quietly co-exist with the big boys rather than fight aggressively.  World of Hyatt introduced a number of painful changes including a requirement to complete 60 nights per year – very difficult for a chain with few hotels, especially if you are in Europe – to gain top tier status.

The two changes which took place on 1st January are an improvement but don’t go far enough:

reward nights will count towards the nights required to earn status (something most other hotel schemes have adopted in recent years)

the free night vouchers you get for hitting 30 and 60 qualifying nights in a year will now expire after 180 days and not 120 days (this had led to people moving stays away from Hyatt to avoid triggering the voucher at a time of year where they couldn’t use it within 120 days)

There is still no move back to being able to earn status by number of stays rather than just nights, but hopefully the new programme head will take another look in the year to come.  Hyatt continues to run some excellent hotels – I think Park Hyatt is the most luxurious brand owned by a major chain – and hopefully will soon once again have a worthwhile loyalty scheme alongside them.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

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  1. OT on bits: did anyone receive the 500 bonus Avios points from linking their Avios account to their kulula ID? Points were due to be added within 30 days of the end of the promotion (30 Nov).

  2. wally1976 says:

    OT – Rob – are you still planning to run something with Bud? Don’t want to miss out on the 500 Avios through but if you’re going to do something better….

    • Has gone quiet, because the whole process of being able to have Bud access all your bank details has been delayed by a few months. Feel free to sign up direct as I can’t promise anything at the moment.

  3. Good deal for you 🙂 I had a former boss who was very suspicious of my bypassing the corporate travel agent but he never worked up the nerve to address the issue; a good job for me!

  4. the real harry1 says:

    We are also introducing several new destinations to the Gatwick programme, including Palma (Majorca), Mahon (Menorca) and Gibraltar.

  5. Tom Cook says:

    Is anyone else having issues when clicking through on BA holidays, hotel choice etc that the page suddenly doesn’t exist? Seems very odd!

    • stevie g says:

      Happened to me earlier today. Had to press refresh a lot and wait for it to recover. Then start again. It worked eventually.

  6. Concerto says:

    And opodo, once it has your money, just keeps it. I wrote about this on FT in the Flying Blue FAQs thread. I booked an AirEuropa business flight, only to find out that the O booking class would earn no miles on Flying Blue. I wanted to cancel the tkt, being within 24 hours, but opodo flatly refused saying you can only cancel on the same day it was booked. Is that true? Also, the Indian call center experience was dreadful.

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