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Bits: BA’s Heathrow domination, Amex Platinum closes ‘UK Hotel Collection’, Regus at T3

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News in brief:

How British Airways dominates Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic sent me a press release this week about the expansion of Heathrow.  There is nothing in it that you haven’t heard before, but it did contain three interesting statistics about British Airways position.

According to Virgin Atlantic, for Summer 2017:

52 short-haul routes from Heathrow were operated by just BA and other IAG airlines – including Glasgow, Dublin and Barcelona

21 long-haul routes from Heathrow were operated by just BA and other IAG airlines – including Bangalore, Buenos Aires, and Chennai

In total BA / IAG controlled 54.7% of Heathrow take-off and landing slots in Summer 2017.

I’ve no idea what you are meant to do with this information, but I found it interesting ….

American Express UK Hotel Collection

Amex Platinum closes “UK Hotel Collection”

American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders get a number of decent hotel deals, mainly through the Fine Hotels & Resorts programme (late check-out, upgrade if available at check-in, free breakfast, bonus amenity).

A relatively new venture over the last 5-6 years is the Amex Platinum UK Hotel Collection (PDF document, this is the 2016 version – there is no 2017 version.  Mobile users should click here instead.)  It showcases 31 top properties, both city and country, such as Chewton Glen, Gleneagles, The Grove, Coworth Park, Lucknam Park and Cliveden (photo above).

Unlike many hotel promotions, this scheme manages to tick all my boxes:

Your upgrade – it is guaranteed AT TIME OF BOOKING

Late check-out – GUARANTEED for 2pm, except at two properties

Breakfast – included for two guests per room

And a special amenity, which is often a food and drink credit so as good as cash

Rates are guaranteed to be no higher than the Best Flexible Rate offered by the hotel itself.  This means, if you need a cancellable rate, you will get value here as your only alternative is Best Flex from the hotel without these benefits.  If you are happy with a cheaper, non-refundable rate, you’d need to weigh up the benefits of this programme versus the extra cost.

Unfortunately, American Express is closing the UK Hotel Collection on 31st March as you can read here.  It isn’t clear if 31st March is the last day to book or the last day to stay.

It is a shame to see the end of this offer, although Amex did a bad job of promoting it.  There has always been quite a lot of churn in the portfolio since it launched and the total number of hotels kept getting smaller.  It would have been better if all of the hotels had been folded into Fine Hotels & Resorts instead although I can imagine that some would not want to do the 4pm guaranteed check-out required by FHR members.

If you are planning a UK break over the next few weeks and have an American Express Platinum card, you may still be able to squeeze in a booking.  You can find out more here.

Regus Express now open at Heathrow Terminal 3

If you have a Regus card (or a DragonPass, as they are usually accepted at airport locations), you’ll be interested to know that the new Regus Express business centre in Heathrow Terminal 3 I wrote about a few months ago is now open.

Unlike the Terminal 5 centre, which is in the Arrivals area, this one is in Departures.  You need to go up the Terminal 3 escalators in Departures to the level where security is.  Instead of turning left towards security channel, turn right towards Pret.  Regus Express is just around the corner.

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  1. BA can barely hold together an operation at 3 London airports so I’m not sure exactly how things would be better if they flew directly from more UK origins.

    Is AF not really Air Paris?

  2. OT
    If you, or someone you know, registered a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) between 2013 and 2017 you need to read this article on Money Saving Expert which tells you how to get part of the fees back. We have just claimed £54 each in about two minutes each.
    The article also explains why you should have an LPA.

  3. Beard McBeardyface says:

    At school, the word ‘Beard’ was a synonym for the word ‘lies’ and while the press release isn’t a lie, it is at best, misleading.

    Virgin tried short haul and failed. The dream of holding onto those remedy slots long enough to convert them into something profitable was a bridge too far.

    Give Virgin a slot pair at LHR and they sure as hell won’t be starting flights to Chennai but would likely add another frequency to a North American destination. (See above)

    BA compete with the slew of carriers flying west (albeit with a stop) and Virgin as they fly east. Virgin have chosen their network strategy and represent something that no other European carrier has, competition on direct routes against the incumbent.

    • “BA compete with the slew of carriers flying west (albeit with a stop) and Virgin as they fly east. Virgin have chosen their network strategy and represent something that no other European carrier has, competition on direct routes against the incumbent.”

      Either I have misunderstood what you are saying or you have your east and west the wrong way around?

      Its probably me.

    • Virgin have spare slots at Heathrow. They are leased to IAG I believe.

      • How ironic! So they can’t fill the slots they have but want a third runway to open competition and more slots for them not to use?! Maybe they should use their own slots currently / lease them to Delta before they want new ones. They could of used the release to mention what markets they may look at if there was a third runway and they had extra slots

  4. Thanks – on my platinum but not on my SPG or BA cards.

  5. OT – How long should it take to receive the 20k points for the upgrade to Platinum from Gold once you have spent the £1k. I thought it triggered right away?

  6. OT: HSBC Premier Elite 20k for £12k bonus…

    After waiting quite a while, I’ve now had an “official” rejection from someone in the UK come through saying that I won’t get my bonus until my card anniversary. She did give a number to call back on and discuss though, which I will do today.

    I know quite a few people here were successful – what were your main points other than the mis-selling/rip-off/etc.?

    • New Card says:

      Failure to pay the points in the 1st year within 60 days of the £12k spend threshold being met is contrary to the specific Terms and Conditions of the card. (See page 21, para 3:

      In any event, even to the extent there is any ambiguity about this (which I don’t personally see, although HSBC will argue the heading refers to “First Anniversary”), the terms are not “fair, clear and not misleading” and any ambiguity should be resolved in favour of the consumer.

      • New Card says:

        and Good Luck!

        If not successful – first ask to speak to a Manager; and if that doesn’t work, ask for a Deadlock letter so you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service…

    • Has it been 60days from when you spent £12k? I opned my account in May last year and met the required spend in November. The anniversary points posted January 2018. I had not conatcted them about it at all previously.

  7. On my Gold (*supp) and BAPP

  8. New Card says:

    OT – Some bad news I’m afraid, looks like Amex have lost their appeal before the Court of Justice:

  9. Tom Cook says:

    Ta – only on my Plat not SPG / BAPP

  10. OT – Wyndham are running a promotion at the moment for 15000 bonus points when you make 2 qualifying stays

    Apologies if already posted.

  11. New Card says:

    Another OT – Rob, is there any update on when the new Virgin Money CCs are likely to be announced? I recall a while ago you mentioned early February…

    • I did. We are down there tomorrow as it happens but I’ve had to sign something which says I can’t tell you what they tell me, so actually I may become even less speculative! The blanks are printed and waiting for Virgin Money to press the button.

      • New Card says:

        Thanks for the update – will be interesting to see what their offering is…

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