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Bits: £1080 business to Bangkok from London, Tesco cuts hotel partners, Rip Off Britain

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News in brief:

£1080 Garuda business class deal to Bangkok

Garuda Indonesia is currently offering an excellent business class fare to Bangkok via Jakarta.  Unlike many of the deals we feature, this involves departing from Heathrow and not positioning yourself in Europe.

The cheapest price seems to be on the Garuda website.  You are looking for days showing £630 outbound and £450 inbound.  I cannot replicate the fare via ITA Matrix so I can’t access the fare rules regarding booking dates, but the deal is there – try 15 March out, 26 March back for example.

My review of Garuda business class is here albeit that is based on a short hop between London and Amsterdam back in the days when they stopped off on the way.

Garuda is a member of SkyTeam so you can credit your flight to Flying Blue, Delta or one of the other SkyTeam programmes if you don’t want to earn miles with Garuda.

Your best option to maximise your miles when paying is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold.  This offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.  Our review of Amex Gold is here.

Garuda Indonesia

Tesco quietly dropping some hotel redemptions from Clubcard

It is taking a while to piece together the changes to Tesco Clubcard as the company is not making it easy to find the data.

We have covered the change in many redemptions from 4x face value to 3x value on Shopper Points in three articles, which sit at the top of the home page.

There are also changes to some of the hotel redemptions.  The good news is that the main ones – Hilton, Mercure, Novotel, Warner Leisure – are unchanged.  The following partners will cease to accept Clubcard vouchers over the next few weeks:

  • Classic Lodges
  • Hastings Hotels
  • New Forest Hotels
  • Select Hotels of Ireland

This HFP article explains how to book Hilton hotels in the UK via Clubcard.  Despite what Tesco tells you, it is possible to book and search availability online if you know the right corporate code.

Some package holiday companies are also leaving Clubcard and are listed in this Shopper Points article.

Rip Off Britain on Avios

Rip Off Britain on Avios

If you’re not at work at 9.15am tomorrow, Rip Off Britain on BBC1 is running an episode devoted to reader problems with airlines.  This will include the segment on Avios that I filmed for them in Manchester last Autumn.

(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.)

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  1. Booked a one way to Bangkok for 600 quid after Christmas to return from my visit home – bargain! Travelup via Skyscanner seems to have these very cheap – note it is an overnight connection outbound (in the winter season at least)

    Note that from what I could figure out this books into D- which all the D fares in ExpertFlyer have change/cancel rules for 100 quid – but when I look in my booking on their website it says no changes, no cancel – so seems these are some kind of private fare

    • Fare basis is ILOXSOUK – an IT fare so not pubically being sold

      Taxes are apparently 336.71 – so not actually sure these are correct/being sold correctly….

    • Hi Sam, thanks for this, very interesting that you got a one way exLHR at that price. How did the overalljourney heel to you? I am guessing about 15h and 4h although the overnight flight compensates. Was the connection in Jakarta straightforward?

      • This fare is bookable as a cheap one way, yes.

        • Very tempted with one way for £609 and using avios/virgin miles to come back from Hong Kong

        • That’s awesome!

          @Lumma, back from HKG for cheap avios redemption. Althougm more expensive than just doing the return on Garuda, a one way back in J with Sri Lanka gives opportunity for a stopover for a two centre trip if that interests you.

        • @JamesB do you mean a one way cash ticket with Sri Lankan? Starting from where? BKK?

        • @Mumma, yes, one way on Sri Lankan is a great way to get back to UK for cash if insufficient avios are available. It was typically £600 but increase to £800 as a result of the falling pound. Sometimes cheap from other Asian cities too but exBKK is generally the best option.

        • *Lumma

      • It’s going to be this December (advanced planning !!)

        For my specific circumstances this works out great. For getting to Bangkok the overnight connection is pretty tedious and I would definitely not want to have to route back via Bangkok on my way home.

        Connecting between Garuda flights is simple – other terminals and to reach a hotel for transit you have to clear immigration but that is a lot better these days and no visa required

        So I think the post above planning to use this one way and then out of HK (no tax from there ) is smart

  2. palcsaky says:

    Would this Garuda fare alone earn Skyteam Elite Plus status in any of ST programs or get close to earning it?

    • by my reading post April 1 you’d get 36+15+15+36 = 102 XP on Flying Blue – but that only gets you Elite

      The Delta program you seem to need a PHD but I think you’d still be far from the Gold status you’d be looking for

      • Qatar still the best for silver or equivalent status chasing in any of the programs. The 4 sectors counting. Obv you still need the 4 x ba coded sectors.
        I got a so called Gold offer on as yesterday it’s only like basic status.. hope nobody bothered taking that up…ok it gets you a free bag but no lounge etc…
        James l always agree with you about the AY and TK routing straight there but many of us are actually chasing tier points sadly!

        • AndyGWP says:

          “I got a so called Gold offer on as yesterday it’s only like basic status.. hope nobody bothered taking that up…ok it gets you a free bag but no lounge etc…”

          Hi Polly – can you expand on this a little? 🙂

        • Yes I know Polly and that’s an understandable goal. I don’t do enough flying OW airlines in Y or longhaul to make status perks pay off for me personally

  3. Michael C says:

    For what it’s worth, the Garuda price to BKK was around 1200-1300 GBP in Nov. too (when I was looking to book for Easter) but not daily so I couldn’t quite make it work.

    • Also worth noting that thoughout 2017 £1100-£1400 could be found on TK which offers a substantially shorter journey time. I have checked lately as I’m already booked for tge year but presumably TK remains competitive.

  4. I would have been a bit annoyed about this fare, had it been available for Easter, since we’re taking the long route through Helsinki, with QR.
    Luckily for my sanity, they only seem to be showing £1895 via AMS for my dates!
    There was a Ukraine International fare showing for £1085 ex-LHR but on balance I think I’m happier with my original choice!

    • Had you booked in November you could have had Easter on TK exLHR for about £1150. QR from HEL makes little sense IMO unless you value the tier points because AY usually offers comparable fares from regional airports in Scandinavia with overall journey times that are substantially less than Qatar. There are frequent bargains to BKK and most of Asia in reality so if you want to go back I would recommend tracking fares on skyscanner. Me and others frequently post cheap fare here in the HfP comments as OT so worth a quick scan through articles that might not normally get your attention.

      • Thanks James. Will keep checking.

        • Skyscanner is a but of a nuisance because the month long view is not available for premium fares. It might be worth setting up their fare alerts but I have not used it myself and have no idea how good it is.

      • Michael C says:

        Hi James, I signed up for the Skyscanner alert specifically for my LHR-BKK, and it was beyond annoying: frequent emails with subject in caps PRICE HAS FALLEN…and it would be by 4 pounds, literally. Day after day. Had to scrub it, obviously.

        • Thanks Michael, that was my fear and why I never tried. Now I will certainly avoid it.

  5. Andrew M says:

    Rob: Re “Despite what Tesco tells you, it is possible to book and search availability online if you know the right corporate code.” Is it really possible to actually book online? If so, how do the mechanics of using Clubcard voucher work? Your article seems to suggest still need to call to actually book, having searched availability online.

    • That article is being cautious. In reality it seems you can just book it and then order the vouchers. All the call centre does is make an identical booking using the same corporate code.

  6. OT ; looks like the Qatar sale didn’t go that well….it’s been extended for 3 days.
    There was a cracking fare from Muscat, in J, to BKK £300 return 400tp points 😉

    • Ignore that, I forgot to double the fare ????

    • The route l was looking at still have the same number of special red box J seats left. Not many biting at those prices. First time we haven’t got ours in a few years. Next sale might be better. Have to wait it out now!

    • I thought the same thing – I wasn’t interested at those prices. If I’m going via Doha in the middle of the night it has to be worth my while to be blunt; TPs or £s. I can find better more direct routes which I can mix and match with points and cash flights etc. I was going to ask if this extension had brought any further reductions with it but Polly’s comment indicates not.

    • Qatar is the DFS of airlines…but good while it lasts 🙂

  7. The Garuda £1080 is an IT fare so shouldn’t be sold as seat only! But if they have messed up and are selling it on their website so be it… the taxes are correct (£487.61), but the compulsory overnight on the way out is a pain (look at the Bandara Airport hotel / FM7 for cheap options) and a 06:35 start on the return. Remember it’s a 3h30 flight from Jakarta to Bangkok, so very much a long way around to Thailand. The Business Class is fab though so very recommended. Flights are Tue/Thu/Sat in both ways if you’re looking for them, but really restricted I Class availability in 2018.

    • Cheers, takesbtge gloss off but still eorth considering for a cheap one way I guess.

    • Delbert says:

      Very attractive fares on Garuda but the stopover is too much and further than BKK just to have to fly back.

  8. Oh I wonder if Trailfinders could book this fare too. I have the £100 off on Amex offers.

    Looking at doing this and one way return from HK, but only have 10 days to play with, 3 would be travelling. Would 7 days between Bangkok and Hong Kong be worth it? Or should we go for longer

    • 3 nights in each is about perfect IMO, if going all that way though I’d add a week to relax at the beach or countryside too.

      • Sorry, missed the ten days…add on 3 night stay at Koh Samet, a taxi and ferry or minivan tour from Bangkok. Or Chiang Mai if you prefer countryside. It Asia for cash fares or CX or EY for avios on the short flights.

      • Thanks James

  9. Not sure how strict Amex are, but my £200 off did say booked and paid online.

  10. The last time I had one of these offers (£50 off £200) I looked up the cheapest fares to various destinations on and then searched for the same flights on amex travel with a hotel.

    Ended up with 3 nights in Istanbul in a reasonable hotel plus flights on Turkish airlines for £150ish. Flights were on a 777 outbound and an A330 on the way back. Free food and drink and decent IFE

  11. When booking a hotel on points is any payment required, do points cover taxes and fees? The question relates specifically to Hilton. If they ever get round to posting my bonus points from an Amex transfer I’d like to book 6 nights, the 5th night free makes it quite a good deal.

    • Andrew M says:

      Never had anything to pay on any of my Hilton (admittedly all UK) reward nights.

    • Yes, except any fixed local tourism fee (eg Dhs 20 in Dubai)

      • Genghis says:

        Even then it depends. In Paris in Nov IC Le Grand asked for the tourism tax, Hilton Opera didn’t (both points bookings).

    • Peter K says:

      Hilton in Barbados didn’t charge the tourist levy staying on points. Hotel Indigo in Rome did. I know others have said the Hilton in the Maldives have waived it for points offer.

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