Bits: poor BA Amex sign-up deal via ba.com, IAG’s NIKI deal collapses, Carlisle Lake District Airport reopens

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News in brief:

ba.com offering unreasonably poor BAPP Amex sign-up bonus

For a while, ba.com has been promoting British Airways American Express cards to random visitors during the booking process.  Whilst this is a perfectly logical time to try to catch a new customer, the sign-up offer is deliberately poor.

Take a look at this (click to enlarge):

BA is offering you £50 and 6,000 Avios for signing up for the Premium Plus card during the flight booking process.

The problem is that the current public offer is 25,000 Avios as you can see here.

If you value an Avios at 1p, you are getting a sign-up package worth £110 via the ba.com offer compared with £250 via the usual offer.  The only difference is that you do not have to spend £3,000 to receive the bonus if you take the ba.com deal – but if you can’t spend £3,000 in three months then you shouldn’t be getting this card, as it means you are unlikely to trigger the 2-4-1 voucher.

Whilst BA is free to offer whatever deal it likes through whatever channel it likes, what does it say about an airline that is basically trying to fleece people who have just spent money with them?  And what will the customer think when he finds out?

IAG bid to buy NIKI collapses

IAG’s plan to buy Austrian airline NIKI falls through

What everyone assumed was a ‘done deal’ – for BA’s parent IAG to acquire the Austrian low cost carrier NIKI from the wreckage of Air Berlin – has fallen through.

The original deal collapsed after the German courts allowed the insolvency process to be moved to Austria.  This gave other bidders a period to revise their offers, and Niki Lauda – ex racing driver and the original founder of NIKI – was successful in the second process.

You can read a full report on Reuters here.

Carlisle Lake District Airport reopens

Carlisle Lake District Airport to reopen

Stobart Group, owners of Southend Airport, announced yesterday that they are reopening Carlisle Lake District Airport to commercial flights for the first time since 1993.

Flights will begin on 3rd June.

Exact routes are not yet known but the airport talks of connecting “major tourism and business hubs including London, Dublin and Belfast”.  It doesn’t say which London airport but logically it would be Southend given that Stobart Group also owns that.

Stobart Air currently operates some flights under a Flybe franchise deal so it is possible that this may be used here, meaning that the flights will be bookable with, and will earn, Avios.  Stobart also operates some flights for Aer Lingus so it is possible that brand may be used for Dublin.

The airport is located six miles east of Carlisle and 20 miles north east of the National Park.  It is currently used by a number of general aviation flying schools and an aircraft maintenance facility.

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Comments

  1. OT – I’m plat, can I refer myself for SPG? How many points will I get?

  2. wally1976 says:

    OT – can anyone recommend the best Hilton in Dublin for wife and I. Minimum of free breakfast for gold members please 🙂

    • All Hiltons give free breakfast for gold.

      The best one really depends on what you want to pay and what you are looking for.

      starting from most expensive:
      Morrison – central
      Conrad – poor experience compared to other Conrads
      Hilton – convenient for Luas but dated
      Kilmainham – far and a bit lacking in service
      Custom House – close to tourist areas but bit basic as it’s HGI
      Airport – only worth staying at if very late or very early flight

      • wally1976 says:

        Thanks John. To clarify, this will be a booking using points for 1 night and free vouchers from the credit cards for the other 2 nights so cost not really an issue.

        I had been thinking the Conrad but based on your comments maybe the Morrison is better? We want something central really.

        Thanks.

        • Optimus Prime says:

          One caveat – sometimes the free breakfast is just a continental one and not full buffet.

          I got full buffet in Brussels City but just continental in SF Financial District. At SF I was told I could upgrade to full breakfast for $10. I did and when finished they said they wouldn’t charge me the extra because I hadn’t eaten a lot.

    • Waldorf Astoria.

      • wally1976 says:

        Are you saying Waldorf Astoria don’t do free breakfast for golds? That’s correct but there aren’t any in Dublin to my knowledge.

        • Andrew C says:

          Since 1st January 2018 you have a choice of 1000 points or free breakfast (at least continental) as gold, or points and breakfast as diamond, at Waldorf Astoria.

    • wally1976 says:

      Sounds like a toss-up between the Conrad and the Morrison…anyone else any thoughts? Both 4.5 on Trip Advisor!

      • Andrew C says:

        I’ve stayed at the Westin many times and enjoy it although the rooms are small and it’s quite a fight for any SPG status upgrades here as they are often sold out. I also stayed at the Conrad once and the location didn’t seem as good,.the rooms were fine although no upgrade as gold.

    • Philip White says:

      Stayed at both the Conrad and Custom House. If you are using free night vouchers I’d recommend the former. It’s been renovated in the last couple of years and we recently enjoyed a visit there a couple of weekends ago. Slightly obscure recommendation but the Irish Black Pudding for breakfast is very tasty.

      For a cash booking, the Custom House HGI is good value with a decent breakfast.

  3. Harry S says:

    Looking for some advice regarding BA premium Amex :
    I’ve triggered the 2-4-1 voucher and this has appeared on my BAEC account but I haven’t yet used it.
    If I cancel the BA Amex before using the 2-4-1 voucher will it disappear?

  4. O/T So as a Platinum Amex, I can refer myself and others for SPG amex, and earn 18k MR points, then just cancel the SPG card when it arrives?!

    • why cancel it straight away? its only a 1k spend to get the 11k star points, which gets you a night in a reasonable hotel? I’m really starting to see the benefit of star points. even if it takes you a month then thats only 6.25 in fees.

      • I hear you Mark. Just never really collected hotel points. Avios flights using 241s has always been my end game when collecting. With a young family, and wanting a suite when staying at hotels, redemptions seem too tricky to benefit us at hotels we want to go to…..

        • SPG points transfer to avios at 1:1. Every 20k transferred gets an extra 5k. SPG points also transferrable within the same household so two of these cards (one for you, one for partner) referred from Plat = 18 x 2 = 36k MRs + (11+1) x 2 = 24k SPGs after 2 x £1k spend = 29k avios

        • SPGs also transfer to Marriott who do Suites / large rooms (eg Domes) on points. See the article yesterday.

        • You still might as well collect the starpoints and you can convert them into avios if you don’t want to use them for hotels.

        • All very valid points! The maths seems odd to me though…. 1 SPG is 1 Avios. That works. But 1 MR point = 0.5 SPG points. So I will need 100k MR points to convert to 50k SPG points to get 2 rooms for one night at the Westin Dubai for example. That totals 700k MR points for a weeks holiday for my family. Leaves me to think moving SPG to Avios is only sensible use of Starpoints. Use them for flights, pay cash for hotels….

        • But you wouldn’t do that. You’d pay 13,333 SPG = 40k Marriott per night in where Rob wrote about yesterday. And transferring MR->SPG does result in a hypothetical loss in value if then going onto redem for airmiles but works for say a Marriott travel package

    • Thanks Genghis. much appreciated. I can see benefits of this. Marriott Travel packages deffo. Just a shame the 1 SPG -> 1 Avios exchange can not be done both ways….

  5. For anyone’s who is keen on applying for the BA cards, if you’re a BAEC member and have opted in to receive their marketing spam, they sent an offer two weeks ago for the BAPP with a 30K and the free BA with a 10K bonus. Might be targeted but I assume they sent it to anyone who hasn’t signed up as yet. This is by far the best offer I’ve seen on these cards.

    • Sideshow Bob says:

      Yeah got that too but it is only most generous as a standalone application. Referrals beat that rate.

  6. Is there a bonus for upgrading from the free BA card to BAPP?

    • No Avios bonus, but you get to unlock the companion voucher at £10k.

    • Not officially. Unofficially most people get 6,000 Avios but no-one knows why – Amex know nothing about it. Seems to be an IT glitch or an old promo someone forgot to delete from the system. Has been going on for literally years.

      • I upgraded from the free card to the premium to hit the voucher spend. Although I never received the 6,000 Avios bonus. That’s a Shame!

      • Is that 6k Avios referral-related or just seems to happen with any such upgrade?

    • I got the 6k bonus back in October; but as Rob wrote – this doesn’t appear to be the case across the board. I wasn’t expecting it & didn’t make a fuss of it to Amex!

  7. Graham Walsh says:

    Interesting tweet from BA. Telling customers to delete internet history to clear the price hike.

    https://twitter.com/british_airways/status/955856069732913152

    • Well that’s a serious admission to make but not surprising!

    • Lady London says:

      HaHa @Julian Walsh I enjoyed that. I’ll bet British Airways will take care not to openly admit that again. If anyone does car hire IME Hertz has ratcheted up the price on repeated searches in the past and definitely don’t log in before you do your first search so you can get a truer result quickly about the pricing.

  8. rams1981 says:

    OT virgin premium economy vouchers from credit card.

    I have these. How do they work? Do they upgrade two one way journeys so you’re a couple only one way works? When is the best time to use it?

    • yes if you only have one voucher they allow 2 people one way upgrades from EC to PE on reward bookings, so effectively you pay the miles for an EC ticket but get PE but you do need to pay the PE taxes and charges. There has to be availability in PE to use them. I used them this year for orlando no problem. Literally could pick any day I wanted there was a lot of availability.

    • Best time to use it in the past was in conjunction with a reward seat sale – but these seem to have stopped since the change to peak/off peak pricing.

      Nowadays, best time to use it (like most miles) is during school holidays when cash seats are high. I believe that the old cards gave 2 x vouchers per year for spending £5k and then £10k on the black card so in theory you should be able to use both vouchers for both of you on a trip as each voucher is 1 return journey.

  9. I’d expect 90% of the people who apply for the BAPP card through the ba.com booking process will never discover that the sign-up bonus was better elsewhere.

    Of those that do discover, some of them won’t care.

    And, in any case, it depends how you value Avios. As I use mine for a lot of short haul RFS, I haven’t got more than about 0.5p recently, so the £50 plus 6k Avios is a lot closer to £0 plus 25k Avios in cash value.

    • unless you value 19k Avios at less than £50 i.e. 0.26p, you’re still worse off.

    • I think it’s a really bizarre offer. Get a £50 statement credit but we’re going to charge you £195 on your first bill.

      If they offered a credit with no avios on the free card I’m sure they’d have lots of takers, especially if the credit could be applied to the card if you were approved immediately by Amex.

    • They will discover as soon as Amex tell them to refer a friend! I hope no-one who values an Avios so low would pay £195 for a card.

  10. OT:
    Does my BA companion voucher need to be used within the 2 year period or do I just need to redeem a flight within the next two years with a view to taking the trip later? E.g. Can I book in January 2020 for a flight in May 2020?

  11. Talking about cancelling BAPP and keeping the 241, is it possible that Amex/BA may tighten up the T&Cs to prevent this while they are removing other anomalies?

    • This is more of a BA IT limitation I think.

      • I cancelled a BAPP recently, having hit the bonus and earned a 241 (unintentionally), and the agent insisted I agree to this:

        “If you have earned a British Airways Companion Voucher, please be aware that Companion Voucher bookings must be made using the British Airways Card they were earned with. This is set in the Terms and Conditions on the Companion Voucher. Cancelling this Account may mean you are unable to redeem your Companion Voucher.”

        I took with with an A380 full of salt 🙂

        • BA are not enforcing this at present, but in a general tightening-up it would be very easy to do so.

      • Isabella says:

        Maybe Alex reads your site after you bumped into him on the tube…. I’ve just received a ‘30,000 bonus Avios sign-up offer email from BA -‘ just for you’ – BA Gold.

        • Down the Back says:

          When booking flights on BA website yesterday I was offered the 6k bonus but then today recvd email from BA offering 30k if I sign up before 31st Jan, nice improvement…… wonder if somebody from BA is monitoring HfP or just coincidence ?

      • Scallder says:

        Thinking about the logistics of this if it were implemented, given the 2 year validity of the BAPP surely that would mean having to pay up to £390 extra to use the voucher (c £390 at the 2 year mark, used the day before flying). I know it’s in the T&Cs but surely that would be a pretty outrageous thing to require someone to do for using something they earned in ‘year 1’ of holding the card.

        Am I right to presume that if you downgrade to the free BA Amex you get a new card number different from your BAPP? If so that would mean having to keep the BAPP itself.

        Not got anything to hand, but surely consumer laws have to be fair and reasonable do they not? If you couldn’t downgrade the card, I would like to think a court would side with the card holder over Amex (even of the ombudsmen might not)…

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