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Bits: No more Avios from Pizza Express?, Primera drops Birmingham-Boston, use your luggage allowance for a good cause

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News in brief:

Pizza Express removed from Avios and BA site

The direct partnership between Avios and Pizza Express seems to have been a short one.

Pizza Express was originally working with loyalty app Bink to allow you to collect Avios via their platform.  Avios then dropped Bink and allowed members to collect Avios directly at Pizza Express by simply registering their credit card via the Avios estore.

It looks like this partnership has come to an end.  You can still find the dedicated Pizza Express page on avios.com but once you click the link to register the company is no longer there. We could also not find anything on the BA website.

PS.  Debenhams appears to have disappeared as well …..

Primera drops Birmingham – Boston before it even launches

Before the route even launched, Primera has dropped its proposed low-cost Birmingham – Boston service.

The four times weekly service was set to launch on 22nd June 2018 but if you look at the Primera website now, you can no longer book.  It looks like you can still book Birmingham – Newark as well as Birmingham – Toronto.

Primera also seems to have had second thoughts about their food pricing (meals are not included).  Primera was charging a ludicrous amount for their on-board dining with the premium fish meal being £60 and a standard infant meal £30.  A quick look at their website shows that the airline has come to its senses with the fish meal now £30 and the infant meal £12.  Not that I think there will be many takers at £30 either.

Use your spare luggage allowance to help others

Next time you have some space left in your luggage you can use it to help community projects around the world.

One of our readers sent us a link to the non-profit organisation Pack for a Purpose which lists projects and specifically requested items in various locations all over the world.  You are encouraged to pack a few items in your hold luggage – often school supplies such as crayons, maps, calculators etc – when travelling to these destinations to hand over on arrival. It’s definitely something worth considering next time your suitcase is only half full.

A list of all destinations supported by Pack for a Purpose is here.

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Comments

  1. Pack for a Purpose sounds like a nice idea until someone there abuses it and hides contraband in your haul landing you in in the Bangkok Hilton! Not for me I’m afraid ….

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      I assume you get to pack yourself. It’s not a courier service. Just leave the prescription meds at home.

    • You buy the stationary (or whatever is actually required at your destination) and in Barbados the charity project collects it from your hotel. Seems like a good use of the extra hold allowance that Head for Points readers are likely to have.

      • We visited Kenya a couple of times some years ago and packed all sorts of things to hand out to local children. It’s quite sobering to think about the basic things we take for granted – e.g. writing materials, toothbrushes, socks and t-shirts – which are classed as luxuries by many.

    • Ah right, I get it now – there was me thinking you were helping out literally as a courier service (doh!). Teach me to read things fully before making assumptions …. sorry!

    • The scheme sounds brilliant. Must try remember if we visit any of those places.

    • Thailand isn’t on the list but the Bangkok Hiltons are rather nice 🙂

    • Hmm, I thought the same as you before reading the site.

      I’m not so sure about this – it doesn’t seem very environmentally friendly for individual travellers to go out and buy small amounts of crayons or toys and then transport them over large distances by air. For places like Barbados, everything they want is probably available locally unless it’s just after a hurricane or something. Why not just donate £50 and let the charities buy what they really need themselves?

      Just over 10 years ago I did something like this for Kenya with my school. While the teachers were getting drunk we ventured out to a local supermarket. All the supplies we had brought were being sold at half the price we had paid in the UK. We also brought 3 computers (must have been 50kg) but nobody listened to me when packing them, so all the hard drives were damaged beyond repair. The orphanage sold them as scrap metal.

      It would make more sense to bring supplies donated from UK organisations that would otherwise have been thrown away, and you can always inspect everything yourself to be sure there are no illegal items.

      • Lady London says:

        Yes, via charities in some countries I sometimes wonder whether things will end up being sold for private gain in the local markets. But it’s a really good idea to think about what local people might need if you visit somewhere and perhaps bring things to hand directly.

      • Exactly this just helps to increase CO2 footprint further, there are lot more efficient ways to provide those in need with what they need, sourced locally, thus helping the local economy and using efficient ways of transport for goods

        • When we went to Kenya and Tanzania on safari, my friend and I had 5 extra items of hold luggage that we weren’t going to use. I asked friends and family, as well as my school (they were moving sites, and needed to get rid of a higher number of old text books etc), for anything that they were thinking of throwing away, and justified the carbon footprint by reusing items that would otherwise go into a landfill.
          Anyway, we found a school / orphanage that BADLY needed resources, and gave a huge haul of stuff to them toys, games, books, art supplies, sports gear. I’m glad we did it – I managed to feel worthy for flying first class!

  2. Even though BHX is less than a 20 min drive along the M42, I always give it a wide berth except for domestic or Western Eurooean flights. Its atrocious passenger service and facilities is shameful and until this (mis) management attitude changes, others, like me, will drive the 90 miles to LHR. It came as no surprise whatsoever to me to read yesterday that the BHX BOS route had failed due to “lack of demand” well before the first flight even flew! Quite why they think that Toronto or Newark or any other North American destination will be a success heaven only knows. BHX has a long history of attempts to fly to the USA by various carriers but it simply cannot attract the clientele.
    The airport is heaving in the school Summer holidays when the masses fly to Spain and when religious affairs take place in the East but other than that its simply useful for domestic travel. It was at its peak when BA built the Eurohub. Since they departed, regrettably, the airport has gone to pot and shows no sign of competing unless BA return, full on.

    • Chris L says:

      Nigel, I’m not sure I agree regarding atrocious passenger service. I’ve always found BHX to be one of the easiest airports to use. It manages to be both compact but offer decent options for food etc, and a choice of lounges, and excellent transport connections (10 mins from central Birmingham, 70 mins from London). 2017 was its busiest ever year with over 13m passengers using the airport. It’s well served by some Eastern carriers – e.g. Emirates, Qatar, Air India, Turkish, and most of the key European heavyweights connect to their hubs – Lufthansa, SWISS, Air France, Aer Lingus, Iberia, KLM. Yes, when compared to Heathrow, it is not a hub for a LH carrier, so can’t compete in that respect, but you can get a decent connection to the USA via Dublin. A lot of the existing BA routes were taken over by Flybe, so I’m not sure that a full-scale BA return would make a huge amount of difference.

      • I’m with you. Living along the m40 (not literally) I can get to bhx slightly faster than lhr and will head North whenever I can.

        Yes the terminal is a bit rough around the edges but the time savings with no holding for takeoff or landing, plus avoiding London airspace (40 mins to Scotland, anyone?) make it hugely more efficient than Heathrow.

        • ankomonkey says:

          And immigration queues at BHX are short and you get through quickly. This is the opposite to my LHR experience.

        • Lady London says:

          Amen to that. Heathrow immigration is a really sore point a lot of the time.

          • Just walked out of T3 in 30 seconds, helped by not having the kids so I could use the (empty) egates.

        • ankomonkey says:

          Granted! I should have said T5 immigration with my kids.

    • Budget carrier flights to a city where there is little in the way of affordable hotel accommodation doesn’t make sense – especially when the main carriers all offer cheap flights pretty much all year round anyway.

      Newark and Toronto are also very well served.

      Is there not a gap in the market for a budget carrier to serve two of Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Cincinatti,Cleveland etc a couple of times a week?

      If I could be confident of an Embraer on the BHX-EDI run and the parking was cheaper than Heathrow, I’d seriously consider using BHX more often.

      • Chris L says:

        I’m def with you re an Embraer on the BHX-EDI run!! But there’s no competition on the route…go figure. Also, I think you have a point that BHX should be looking to fill in the destination gaps at LHR. To their credit, I believe the new Air India service to Amritsar is the first direct UK connection.

  3. Sir Richard B says:

    This is a great cause. My island is on the list as my house recently blew down. Any help rebuilding it is most welcome. Cheers.

  4. Primera Air appears to have announced they’ll be flying from STN to IAD instead (i.e. from one inconveniently located airport for most passengers to another) from ‘just’ £199 each way (i.e. about the same price all the full service carriers from LHR also charge for the route).

    Sure that one will be roaring success though …

  5. I’d found Pack For A Purpose on the website of the safari lodge we’re using in SA and we’re going to do it. There was a helpful list of what the local school needed.

    And yes you choose what to take and pack it yourself.

  6. OT: What lounges would you guys recommend for Zurich(Gate E) and Singapore(Terminal 3) for someone with a priority pass.

  7. Debenhams is still on the Avios site (for mail order): https://shopping.avios.com/en/department-stores/debenhams

    • I think that Rob means register your card and get (or not get now) Avios for instore purchases.
      You can also get Marriott MORE points for online purchases. When you return goods bought online at Debenhams you can credit to any card, not just the one you bought on.

    • It’s the in-store debenhams collection that has stopped, along with pizza express and a small number of other bar and restaurant chains.

      https://www.headforpoints.com/2017/09/19/british-airways-relaunches-seychelles/

      This article from last September lists several new partners and it looks like only 1 still exists. Interestingly, I did spend a fair amount of money at one of these places last year while they still did the avios and my rate got cut to 1 per £, while when not logged in it still said 5 per £.

  8. I’ve only looked quickly but aren’t those meals still £60 for international flights??

    • Even on international flights those prices are mind boggling expensive. The price of a one way ticket on Norwegian LGW-BOS is only £135.20. Even £30 is still too steep.

  9. OT – is anybody aware of shopping portals that can be used by programmes other than Avios that U.K. residents can use? I normally use the Avios portal when booking hotels but Ideally I’d rather use a different programme.

    Where do we stand on this? I have checked Alaska T&C’s and it states you must be US resident.

    Many thanks

    • Scallder says:

      I’ve used both SIngapore’s. In my opinion a much smaller selection than BA and Virgin understandably, but a fair few of the global players (I’ve used Groupon amongst a couple others on there).

  10. Pack for a Purpose is an absolutely wonderful idea – thank you for writing about it. We only travel with carry-on, but have 100kg of luggage allowance to South Africa this Sunday, so will go out and buy some of the items they are requesting for one of the lodges we are staying at in Botswana.

    • Brilliant news Tom I found this and sent Rob the link thinking that some of this community might help, you are a ⭐️

  11. OT The cheap Garuda Indonesia flights to Bangkok that were mentioned a couple of weeks ago are still available for around £1080 return and you can now get a same day connection in Jakarta rather than having to overnight

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