Bits: get Plaza Premium T5 for £15, Lufthansa adds family accounts, 10% off BMI Regional

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News in brief:

Get access to the Plaza Premium Terminal 5 lounge for just £15

Yesterday I reviewed the new Plaza Premium departure lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5 – click here.

It is a classy but small lounge.  You cannot get in with a Priority Pass or Lounge Club card, so your only options are cash (cheapest prebooking is via LoungeBuddy), showing an American Express Platinum or Centurion card or using DragonPass.

It turns out that DragonPass is running a few promos at the moment with selected partners that can get you into Plaza Premium Terminal 5 from just £15.

The best deal is £15 for O2 Priority customers (buy a £1 O2 SIM in your local newsagent and register it for O2 Priority if you don’t have one).  An offer code is needed.

There are similar deals – the ones you are most likely to qualify for are for Daily Telegraph subscribers (£18, code TELEDP17) and Addison Lee customers (£20).

The Addison Lee offer does NOT require an offer code so this one is available to everyone.  Register for an Addison Lee taxi account if you want to strictly play by the rules.  Use code WELCOME15 when you sign up and you’ll get £15 off your first Addison Lee ride.

Please note that yesterday both the O2 and Addison Lee offer sites were being very buggy and there is no guarantee they will be working properly today.  The Telegraph site was working OK.

Full details of all the Heathrow Plaza Premium lounges can be found here.

Lufthansa to launch family accounts for Miles & More

Lufthansa has announced that its Miles & More frequent flyer scheme will offer ‘mileage pooling’ from May.

This is potentially very interesting.  It will allow two adults and up to five children to share an account.  This will allow me to put the 14,000 miles that my wife has to some use.

What is not clear is how this impacts expiry.  I have the UK Miles & More credit card (closed to new applicants) so my miles do not expire.  My wife does not and her miles will start to expire as they reach the three year anniversary of being earned.  Will family accounts allow every member of the pool to be covered by the most generous expiry policy of its members?

If nothing else, you should be able to earn some miles by signing up your kids for JetFriends.  Whilst it isn’t mentioned on the home page, new JetFriends accounts come with a 2000 miles bonus – no flying required – and this will presumably be merged into your family account once pooling is launched.

You can find out more on the Miles &  More website here.

Save 10% on BMI Regional flights

One thing I picked up on my trip to ITB in Berlin this week was a discount code for BMI Regional.

Discount code captain will get you 10% off your next flight.

It is valid for bookings by, and travel until, 31st December 2018.  Codeshare flights are excluded.  The discount only seems to apply to the base fare.

You still get complimentary drinks, snacks and checked baggage with BMI Regional too!

(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.)

My review of the Thistle Heathrow hotel and the driverless pods to Terminal 5 (part 2)
Special offer: 8,000 Virgin miles for opening a Virgin Money ISA
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  1. If LH make this family pooling really compelling this could make a big difference.

    BAs dominance is in part due to their frequent flyer programme which does allow pooling. There is no similar scheme with any other EU carrier and one reason I continue to use BA is because all the family earned miles can be used by anyone.

    This potentially opens up the very real prospect of using Star Alliance from LHR.

    Just hope LH get this right.

    • Stewie says:

      Actually Aegean do something similar if you have status with them (*S or *G) – you can have a household account with up to 6 (iirc) members who don’t need to live at the same address.

  2. OT – I successfully applied applied to a Lloyd’s Avios credit card yesterday in branch. It took almost an hour, including watching 2 videos. The bank manager had not been made aware that online application could not been made any more

    • Mikeact says:

      Two videos? About what ?
      Is this going to be the future trend when applying for a credit/debit card ?

    • What was the video about?!

      You can still apply by phone, 2 readers have told me this week that they did it.

      • Last time I opened an account in a branch (just a little savings account for my son!) I had to endure a 45 minute lecture on financial practices including money laundering. I’ve been banking by phone for the past 25 years and things have obviously changed quite a bit in that time!

    • The first video was before starting the application – that applying might affect my credit rating, about fraud and other general credit card stuff. The second video was after my application was accepted and was about the Lloyds Avios card specificities, about the interest rate, how to pay the card balance, the Avios earing rates and other rewards etc

  3. Gareth says:
    • Mikeact says:

      Not particularly good value for points ‘value ‘ on shorter runs. Brisbane to LAX is far better ‘cost’.

      • Genghis says:

        Never been to AUS but I thought the shorter domestic runs are extortionate in cash terms?

        • Prices are extortionate for J (at least when compared to CE), but there is no point flying J except PER and possibly DRW to the east coast.

          For everything else there’s Jetstar and Virgin.

          I did a 45 minute JQ flight last month and their BOB put BA to shame, the FAs knew exactly who had food included in their ticket, and were so efficient (though there were 4 of them on an A320), managed to do two runs with ~25% takeup and accepted cash and card without reducing the speed of service. Apparently they will stop accepting cash from May this year, which I think is a mistake as almost everyone paid with cash (and let’s just say the type of people who bought things were those who go round with pockets jingling full of coins).

        • Mikeact says:

          Not necessarily, can be a bit like the rest of the world…last minute, pricey , but with careful planning, dependant where you’re going, and the seasons, (numerous people make for the warm/hot Northern Territories when it’s Winter down South.)
          The other thing with Qantas awards are the pretty much, out of proportion, ‘taxes/charges ‘, (sound familiar ?) they add on.
          Don’t let that put you off…you must visit.

        • David S says:

          Depends. The last few times we have been, we did a lot of domestic flights and we bought the tickets well in advance (4 months +) and flew with Qantas economy on their red e-deals which are reasonably priced but obviously restricted tickets. Virgin were closer in price to Qantas but Jetstar were definitely cheaper but by the time you add luggage etc, Qantas was reasonably priced and being Emeralds, gave us lounge access.
          If tickets were bought nearer the time of departure, they are certainly ridiculously priced.

        • Lady London says:

          If you go get close to departure when you need to buy tickets so they are ridiculously priced (and I could have flown to London for some prices I saw for internal Qantas flights bought close in to departure date in the past) then remember Avios is exceptionally good value for internal Oz flights and not bad for internal US flights if you get caught there too.

    • Michael Jennings says:

      There are either two or four major airlines in Australia, depending on how you look at it. Qantas and Virgin are full service, and Jetstar and Tiger are low cost subsidiaries of the two larger airlines. Virgin is usually a few dollars cheaper than Qantas, and the discount subsidiaries are usually cheaper than the full service airlines, assuming that it is a busy enough route for all four airlines to operate on.

      Australia is much bigger and much less densely populated on average than Europe or the UK, but the populations is much more concentrated. There are five very large cities, followed by about 10 medium sized cities and after that little more than would count as a small town over. here. For aviation purposes, this means the following (discounting Perth perhaps, because it is so far away from everywhere else):
      – flight frequencies and competition are extremely high between Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. As a consequence, there is plenty of competition and flights can be extremely cheap if you book a long way in advance and/or can fly at off-peak times. (I have flown Brisbane-Sydney for $30). A flight at a peak time booked at little notice may be expensive, but that is true anywhere.
      – for flights between one of those large cities, and a second tier city (Gold Coast, Newcastle, Canberra, Hobart, Townsville, Cairns, Darwin) frequencies are less and bargains are a bit harder to find, but they are still there. (I have flown Gold Coast – Sydney for $40).
      – for flights between two second tier cities, you have to be really lucky to find something cheap. It’s not unheard of, but you probably aren’t going to get it. My parents live on the Gold Coast and my sister in Canberra, so I fly this route every time I visit Australia. If I pay cash, it normally costs me about $200. (It’s a very good value redemption using Etihad Guest miles on Virgin Australia, however).
      – any flight to any city smaller than these is going to cost you.

      So what comes from this: as redemption costs are based on distance, they can be good value if you are flying routes in the third or fourth categories, or if you need seats between major cities at should notice. If, on the other hand, you need to fly between the big cities and are flexible and/or are booking months in advance, cash is going to be a better option.

  4. bmi regional (they always write it lower case) seem to be referring to themselves as just bmi these days. They’ve used for quite a while now, but more recently on Twitter they’ve gone from @bmiregional to @flybmi (unfortunately in the process they deleted all of the original bmi Tweets from that account)

    Back when bmi regional launched they promised a frequent flyer scheme coming soon, it never seemed to happen. As they codeshare with Star Alliance on some flights on solution would be if they joined the alliance as an affiliate and then hooked up with Miles and More. Wouldn’t exactly be back to the Diamond Club days but would be better than nothing.

    • RussellH says:

      You have been able to credit bmi flights to topbonus since 17 Dec 2017. Hardly as good as Sta Alliance, I know. And at present it seems that you cannot redeem on bmi, only on Germania and Condor.

      My partner had a disastrous experience with bmi last month – she had booked an overnight trip to Bruxelles. Got to Newcastle airport at around 0430 for a pre 0600 departure. Check-in desk unstaffed, just a notice to say that the flight was cancelled, and for help to phone the number below – which had a recorded message to say that the office opened at 0630. No one at the airport had a clue as to what was going on, later she was given the option of rebooking via Amsterdam on KLM late in the day and at vastly increased cost.
      They refunded her fare quickly, but so far no help with the cost of the airport hotel, train fares to/from Newcastle and from Bruxelles.

      • Lady London says:

        They are meant to rebook her even on a more expensive route without cost to her. She should not have had to pay out, not even to get reimbursed later.

        Absolutely outrageous. Hearing this I’ll definitely not ever consider bmi regional in future even though NCL is a very convenient airport and I’ve often considered them..

        • RussellH says:

          I do not know what other alternative flights there may have been, thoughshe said that the KLM offer would not have got her to Bruxelles before the evening, which would have been of no use anyway.

          She has put in a compensation claim.
          An interesting quote from their website “Notice of your rights”

          “An online dispute resolution platform operated by the European Commission is now available to help access to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for complaints. Please follow the link:
          “Please note that bmi regional is not required to offer, and does not subscribe to an ADR scheme therefore neither the ODR platform nor any approved ADR providers will be able to accept your complaint.”

          I am hoping that BA service out of NCL in 12 days time is better!

        • Genghis says:

          So bmi didn’t offer a re-routing under comparable transport conditions but your partner had to pay for the rerouting? I’d have a good read of the ec261 thread on FT:

          Fair enough they don’t use ADR. There’s always MCOL if needed…

    • Lady London says:

      I so wish I’d been in this hobby in the Diamond Club glory days! I only joined as BMI was closing. It seems like every couple of months I hear about some outrageously good deal someone found on there… ! The gaming aspect is what got me into this hobby.

      • It was totally outrageous, although the more extreme stuff was also dodgy, eg sending in boarding passes from redemptions for retro credit ….

        2.5 miles per £1 on the Mastercard and a VERY cheap redemption chart (as BMI flyers were mainly short haul and did not earn many) were unbeatable. Swiss and LH F were also freely bookable at this time, I think LH F to Dubai was 50k return.

        HMRC also charged 0% card fees at this time and it coincided with the best years of my banking career ….

        • I was late to the game and missed the BD Mastercard but did get the duo Amex and Visa combo. Was really surprised how long they kept it going after being taken over by BA. Earning 2.5 miles/£ on the Amex towards the end was great. I never expected BA to do much to appease bmi flyers but they status matched, kept the credit card going for a long time and even offered us online discounts (they weren’t usually that big but there seemed to be a bug that got me some really cheap flights)

        • They didn’t do much to appease BMI ‘Golds for Life’ did they?!

          The card deal was contractual as MBNA had agreed to buy a fixed volume of miles. The 10% online discount was a generous perk admittedly.

          By the way, G-MEDN – the first densified A321 – is one of the old BMI mid-haul A321 planes.

        • Lumma says:

          Rob, does this mean that the mid haul A321s will be disappearing? Any idea what is likely to happen to the routes that they’re used on? Widebody planes or club Europe seating?

        • RussellH says:

          I thought that sending in boarding passes was standard practice last century?

        • Michael Jennings says:

          I had some Jet airways flights in India last year for which the miles didn’t track. When they asked me to send in the boarding passes, I gave up.

        • Rob, did you decide to forego the rat race of your banking career? (or was there another reason?)

          (not sure if you’ve written about this before or indeed whether its ‘personal thus private’, in which case just ignore this)

        • I had got old and very expensive at a time (2010) when my sector had been dead for a couple of years. Left with a 2-year non-compete and fancied a change after that.

  5. Scallder says:

    OT as bits – had an email from SPG overnight offering 500 points just for registering for ‘Your World Rewards’ which is their the up with Emirates. Targeted email – valid up until 1uth April. 4-6 weeks for points to post

    • Scallder says:

      *16th April. My wife hasn’t had an email so not sure how they’re picking out people (both Gold from Amex Plat)

    • RussellH says:

      I got this last year. I had to open an Emirates a/c, then link it with SPG. Points did post – yes it was around 5-6 weeks.

      Perhaps they are offering this in batches.

  6. ebungle says:

    “You still get complimentary drinks, snacks and checked baggage with BMI Regional ” Talk about living in the past!

  7. Jovanna says:

    OT: I was in a hire car last week. I wasn’t on a trip anywhere, I’d just hired something a little bigger than my two-seater because we had friends over. Anyway, the car was damaged down the local supermarket.

    I’m trying to claim on my Amex Plat insurance. The online form wants to know what type of trip I was on – a flight; travelling abroad; or in hotel accommodation. It also wants an upload of my itinerary (as well as my rental agreement etc.) That’s a mandatory field.

    Is the cover limited to trips / holidays / nights away? Am I stuffed?

  8. Mike L says:

    Been pricing the aspire lounge, Edinburgh for next week and the cheapest I can get is £18,89 pp after a 10% discount via RBS, does anyone know of any better deals out there ?

  9. OT re: Accor. Got email the other day about earning points via their shopping portal. Not seen this before but brilliant way of topping up Accor balance to get the 40€ off voucher. Is this a new facility?

    • Stuart_f says:

      It would be very interesting if it reset the expiry date on the points too.

      • Someone said last week that Club Opinions no longer worked in resetting the expiry date. Not sure if there is a wide clampdown. To be fair the rules say you must do a stay even though historically any earning did the trick.

    • RussellH says:

      I was not aware of this either – potentially useful as I need just 14 points to reach 2000.

      A quick browse did not show anything of even vague interest though. Maybe I need to look harder?

      • Lady London says:

        I deleted it. Now I’m interested. If anyone still has the link could they post it please?

        • Lady London says:

          Thank you @SH83

        • Lady London says:

          Hum. Just spotted this one available at Gatwick.
          CLOUD SPA nails & beauty
          Airside- North Terminal, International Departure, opposite Harrods

          •Maximum 2 hours stay. .Exchange a lounge visit for a spa treatment of up to £20.

    • Relaxo says:

      As an aside – Accor dont issue vouchers anymore.

  10. JamesB says:

    OT Marriott Travel Package: I am thinking about transferring my Marriott points to a United Airlines travel package. However on travel package page it refers to RewardsPlus. Do I need to be a RewardsPlus member to transfer or just a UA member? I have not used my UA account for ovef 11 years so I have lost track of all the rules and I’m trying to get to grips with the current ones.

    • JamesB, it looks as if they are using RewardsPlus as a marketing name (Marriott Rewards + MileagePlus?) to encourage United elites to stay with Marriott.

      You certainly don’t need to be a RewardsPlus member to transfer Marriott points to United with the 20% discount (relative to other airlines such as AA) as reflected in the tables of how many points translate into how many miles in the different airline programmes.

      I imagine this would be the same for travel packages, but I don’t actually know.

      • JamesB says:

        Thanks Lyn, I tried signing up with RewardsPlus this evening but got an error. I will call VS tomorrow and ask them to do it for me. From a few things I have read today I believe you are correct but will still join if I can.

  11. NIck_C says:

    OT. Just received my first ever Amex PRGC (never bother with churning up until now, but I thought I should do it while it is still possible!). I tried to add it my existing Amex on-line account (BA) but it would not allow this. I had to set up a new on line account with a new user ID. Is this normal for Amex? (Also tried adding the BA card to the new account, but couldn’t do that either).

    • Not normal if you have never had the card before. Can often play up if you have. Pain as you cannot use the app fully now.

      • NIck_C says:

        First Charge Card. Only had the BA card before. Its an inconvenience but I can live with it.

        But on a positive note, I’ve received 4000 Avios on my BA account for referring myself! Not sure who posted that tip, but it was a good one! (I’m using the free BA card currently as I have a couple of vouchers banked).

        • Luthar says:

          Does this work with all Amex cards? Can I refer myself for a BA card if I have the Gold card?

      • My wife had this with BA card but it’s in her married name rather than maiden name of her previous cards so assumed this was the reason.

    • sunguy says:

      When we changed from corporate AMEX to M/C I got a personal BA (Free) AMEX card.

      The card refused to be added to my online account, despite the fact that the AMEX was now showing as closed….(and had been for > 3 months).

      I was told by Amex that certain types of cards cannot be mixed in the online portal and I needed a new online account…..

      • Cate ⛱️ says:

        I was told the same. I said thank you, put the phone down, called back later and the next CS operator added it ????

  12. Karen says:

    OT. Has anyone else had any issues with the bonus points from the Membership Rewards to Hilton posting? I did the transfer on the 31st January and deleted the email and now Amex are saying the offer doesn’t exist.

    • Tracy says:

      Mine posted fine, got last lot of bonus points on 15th Feb for a transfer on 31st Jan.

  13. OT – Marriott Travel packages,
    Just had email from Marriott, that they are offering 10% bonus miles on travel packages, I guess this will stack with the 35% miles bonus that BA are offering, so their usual 120k miles become (120 x 10% x 35% ) 178k

    Seems a very generous offer

    • New Card says:

      Nooooo I’ve just redeemed for 2 of these for the 35% bonus (without the 10% uplift)…
      Interesting that they’ve decided to do a promotion on these – am hoping this signals they’re not going away after the SPG merger

      • Roger says:

        Saw this too.
        Not too sure, if it not for UA (United Mileage Plus only)?

    • JamesB says:

      Did your email say avios? Mine is for United. Hence my earlier question. I heard about it yesterday before receiving email confirmation this afternoon. I thought it was for the RewardsPlus scheme.

      • JamesB says:

        I should add that RewardsPlus seems to attract a 10%bonus anyway so it is ubclear if email just refers to that or if it is an additional 10%.

    • New Card says:

      Ah, that would perhaps explain it. I think UA RewardsPlus always has a 10% bonus offer from Marriott.

  14. Tracy says:

    O/T I know this is asked just about every day but is there a current gold to platinum upgrade link? Thanks 🙂

  15. Tracy says:

    Sorry another O/T, I am trying to transfer MR points to Starwood, what is the work around for inputting your SPG number? I sort of remember something about adding zeros…….?

    • Roger says:

      IIRC, it is four leading zeros before actual numbers

      • Tracy says:

        Lol, I tried four zeros at the end earlier in the week and the points have been returned to my MR account. Will try zeros at start….

    • JamesB says:

      I recommend you call them Tracy. I called yesterday to both register and transfer. I was told it would take up to two weeks but points hit my SPG account today.

      • Tracy says:

        Will try a few zeros at start of account number, if no luck I will give them a call, thanks

  16. Roger says:

    Men took two days to transfer, although it was to an already registered account.

    • JamesB says:

      Yes, I was very surprised as the amex rep said yesterday that SPG were very slow at the moment.

  17. Hingeless says:

    We could do with a complete list of all the lounge types you get can access to with an amex platinum card, Amex don’t provide this

    Eurostar is not shown as a benefit if you live in Australia
    Virgin Australia is not shown as a benefit if you live outside Australia

  18. James W says:

    OT – if I refer my spouse for the free BA Amex card, from my Amex plat, do I get a referral bonus, and if so how much?

  19. Louise Allen says:

    The AddLee website can’t be used to book the DragonPass offer. I emailed customer services and this was the response from DragonPass:
    “To purchase an eCertificate you have to purchases these through the mobile app rather than the website.”
    I don’t know if that’s the AddLee mobile app or the DragonPass one…

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