Bits: Iberia A350 test flights from Heathrow bookable, 2400 Avios with Hasbro board games, Lapland

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News in brief:

Iberia A350 test flights from Heathrow now bookable

A few weeks we wrote about the new A350-900 long-haul aircraft, with an improved business class seat, that are coming into service with Iberia this year.

To get the crew familiar with the aircraft before they start long-haul operation, the new aircraft are going to be tested on the Heathrow to Madrid route.

From 20th July to 3rd August and from 17th August to 31st August, an A350 is due to fly IB3166 and IB3167:

IB3167 (BA522 as a codeshare) leaves Heathrow at 18.50, landing in Madrid at 22.15

IB3166 (BA7058 as a codeshare) leaves Madrid at 15.55, landing in Heathrow at 17.20 

Oddly, only the Madrid outbound flight has been updated to an A350-900 so far.  The return flight from London still shows a long-haul A340 but that must change because it is the same plane.  On, both flights still show as an A340.

You clearly need an element of faith if you are going to book one of these!  I would be very wary of booking one for non-refundable cash rather than refundable Avios.

I have booked myself on one to give it a go.  Remember that, whilst you will get a flat bed business class seat, you only pay the standard Avios cost of 30,000 Avios return.

Here is a handy tip which I have covered before – Iberia has better Avios availability for its own flights on than can be booked via  If there are no Avios seats in business class on IB3166 or IB3167 showing on, use Combine My Avios to send your points over to an Iberia Plus account and book from there.

Remember that you can only use Combine My Avios with Iberia Plus if your Iberia account is 90 days old and has earned at least one Avios.

PS.  If you book your return flight on Iberia Plus with Avios you will be offered an interesting ‘part cash, part Avios’ deal.  I was offered the chance to pay 15,000 Avios or 3,000 Avios + £105.  This means I was basically ‘buying’ 12,000 Avios for £105, which is just 0.875p each.

Iberia A350 Heathrow Madrid

2400 Avios or 2500 Virgin Flying Club miles with Hasbro board games

Tesco Direct has brought back its extra Clubcard points offer with Hasbro gaming.  Until 25th March, you will get:

  • 500 extra Clubcard points (1,200 Avios or 1,250 Virgin miles) when you spend £25
  • 1,000 extra Clubcard points (2,400 Avios or 2,500 Virgin miles) when you spend £50

Full details and potential good buys are in this Shopper Points article.

Train to Lapland

Off to Lapland ….

I am heading off to Lapland for Easter later today.  Normal service will continue but I am also taking the opportunity to run updated versions of our overviews of the seven major global hotel loyalty programmes.

Whilst Lapland is conspicuously short of branded hotels (our booking went via Rewards) I might cover it if it is interesting.  In particular, we are taking what is possibly the greatest remaining sleeper train ride in Europe from Stockholm to Lapland.  A 14 hour trip, the £300 cost of a private cabin for the four of us is only marginally more than I just paid for four First Class tickets from St Pancras to Sheffield ……

(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.)

UPDATED: Amex changed the bonus rules when you are referred for an Amex Gold card - but this morning changed them back!
The British Airways 'On Business' programme explained (Part 1, 2018 edition)
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  1. I’m pedantic but BA522 is the prime code for the flight, it’s technically BA operated by Iberia. The reason for this oddity is that it makes it easier in T5 is everyone just uses the BA systems.

    This only happens on the LHR-MAD leg but it explains why the flight number is BA522 and the return one is BA7058 as this one really is a codeshare

  2. A reader posted about issues with Viator yesterday or the day before. I had a great experience with them last year and today used them to book a tour of Boston for 3 of us at the end of our summer US/Caribbean holiday. Totally different experience. The voucher they sent had no departure time on it, only an instruction to call a US number to arrange it myself (kind of misses the point of “organised tour”.) I had to trawl Tripadvisor to find a phone number for Viator, which they don’t answer. They don’t now seem to have an email address for enquiries, however they do seem to communicate via Facebook if anyone else needs to contact them. Fortunately the tour company in the US responded very quickly to an email and sorted my booking out. My 14 avios per £1 had better appear on time!

  3. OT I have just received my first free night cert from Creation and was going to just use it for our Helsinki trip later in the year as we didn’t have any other hotel trips planned for this year but we have just booked a concert at the London Pallium in Oct – staying with friends near Banbury on other nights so just need the one night booking. I normally gloss over the comments when others ask about the best hotels in London for free nights as I never need them. Does the IC at Park Lane have a lounge that we would get access to? I have Spire status. What about any of the Crowne Plazas – we will have friends with us that will need to pay cash! Thanks!

    • Has a decent lounge but no access unless you have a club room (not sure if you can pay separately like Paris).

  4. you caution against booking the IB a350 flights for non-refundable cash … but you then go on to talk about the great part cash / part Avios payment option … but wouldn’t that result in the cheap Avios refund option disappearing ?

    at the very least, surely you should issue the warning !

    • I meant using Avios but adding cash to reduce the Avios part. I shouldn’t have used the PPWA words, sorry.

  5. JamesB says:

    OT: I’m tempted to redeem my Marriott Travel Package with a *A airline in the interests of diversiying my miles portfolio. Does anyone know which *A partner generally offers the best value when redeeming on other *A partners?

  6. Depends, but UA will give you 132K miles.

    • JamesB says:

      UA is the one I was thinking about as their change fees/rules are not too bad. Was jusg wondering if I might be missing a gem elsewhere.

  7. rams1981 says:

    OT Virgin upgrade vouchers. When do they tend to deduct the miles from your account for such flights? I’m flying tomorrow and still not had the miles deducted, is that normal?

  8. OT but Bits: Malaysian Airlines have a 3 day sale starting tomorrow at 9am. Don’t know if the fares advertised are good or not for HFP readers ………

    Asia from £464 Economy and £1559 biz

    Australia from £619 economy and £2249 biz

    New Zealand from £669 economy and £2299 biz

    • Not as good as the Qatar £1360 from Manchester to New Zealand two weeks ago. £2249 is, given recent pricing, looking toppy for Australia amazingly – although if Christmas was covered it would be different.

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