Bits: the best Amex MR redemption is dropped, don’t appeal your BA compensation!

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News in brief:

The most valuable Membership Rewards redemption has been dropped

Once a year I publish this list which ranks American Express Membership Rewards redemptions in terms of ‘value per point’.

It is clearly very subjective but – on my maths – the best deal was, surprisingly, Melia Hotels redemptions.  You could redeem Membership Rewards points for a voucher for a free night – 14,000 points for Grand Melia down to 5,500 points for a Sol Hotel.

I reckon that you would easily get 1p per Membership Rewards point at those prices, and probably more.

The problem was that the booking process was complex and not well explained by Amex.  You had to ring Melia and speak to an agent who had probably not heard of this offer.  They had to find availability and reserve your room.  After that, you called Amex and ordered a voucher which you presented at the hotel at check-in.

Melia Hotels redemptions have now disappeared from the Membership Rewards website.  This is a little odd as Melia has been deepening its Amex partnership and now offers Melia Rewards Gold status to Amex Platinum cardholders.  My best guess is that the vouchers proved too complex to use and were causing negative feedback.

PS.  A review of Melia’s smart new INNSIDE hotel in Hamburg will appear next week.

Melia Hotels American Express Membership Rewards

Why you shouldn’t appeal your BA compensation!

A friend of mine recently flew British Airways First Class.  After a litany of issues, including BA only loading one fish plate for a cabin of nine people and only loading one bottle of a particular wine, he wrote to complain.

10,000 Avios was offered.  He felt that was not suitable and wrote back to say so.  This is what happened (note that the person is BA Gold):

Apparently he can have the 10,000 Avios back if, at any point in the next 12 months, he changes his mind and decides that it is suitable compensation.

PS.  I have, in the past, received a written complaint from BA for referring to Avios as ‘Avios points’, which apparently they are not.  It seems no-one told the app development team.

(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.)

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  1. I’ve just returned from 11 days in South America. F out to São Paulo and J back from Santiago. Left my coat with house keys in the cupboard next to my chair. Realised later that day and called You First, was told that someone would be in touch, but didn’t hear back. Also, wrote twice to You First, again no reply. On flight back spoke with Cabin Services Director and he wrote them an email, still no response. What are my rights and expectations of compensation? (Coat probably worth £100, but annoyingly, the keys are expensive to cut, and when I got back after 15 hour fight, needed to spend many more hours travelling to my mother’s house to pick up spare set).

    • You’re expecting BA to offer some kind of service recovery because they apparently don’t care about their customers?

      Sorry, wrong airline.

    • Andrew says:

      You forgot some stuff on a BA flight and expect them to compensate you? Really?

      Claim off your travel insurance. That’s what it’s there for.

      • He expects that they did not throw away the coat and that it could be found at a lost & found counter. Is it too much to ask?

        • Andrew says:

          BA could have done more to locate the passenger’s possessions but they don’t have to and in this case they didn’t. By the time they’d have received the passengers communication the possessions will have long since been removed by cleaners. By all means be disgruntled at BA and take your business elsewhere but no compensation is due for the passengers own forgetfulness.

        • Does this generalise? Perhaps it’s universal – *The First Law Of BA*, perhaps?

          “BA could have done more to ______ but they don’t have to and in this case they didn’t”

        • Oh wow at the comments.
          I forgot a jacket with certain positions in a bus in London and after reporting it to tfl, they contacted me one month later informing me that they had found a jacket which seemed to match the description and managed to get it back!
          Seriously if tfl can do that, BA giving a call back to a First Class / Business customer is not that much to ask for…

        • Andrew says:

          There’s a difference between BA should have been more helpful and BA now owe the passenger for his forgotten belongings

      • +1. Things left on planes should end up in airport lost property at the arrival airport. It’s not BA’s job to find your lost possessions.

        • (That was +1 to Andrew’s comment).

        • Anthony Dunn says:

          Correct, I now have a drill whenever I get up from a train/tube/bus seat and/or from an aircraft seat: I pad myself down to confirm keys, wallet, passport, phone etc. I now prefer to take a little bit more time getting up and departing to ensure that I have everything after leaving an ancient mobile phone on a BA LGW/AMS flight and not having it found or returned. For all I know, it’s still down the back of the seat.

          In the meantime, excellent response and service from when I did leave my jacket behind in the AY First lounge in HEL: very prompt response and despatch upon receipt of my payment.

    • Catalan says:

      Wait a minute. YOU forgot YOUR property on the aircraft and want the airline to compensate you? Am I reading this correctly?

      • A little presemuptious in my first posting. I conflated leaving an item in known place which has since gone missing with not getting an adequate response from customer service. I guess if the first person I spoke to had acted quickly, the coat might not now be lost. In any case, just a question, thanks for you answers.

        • Technically if someone has found the coat/keys and kept it or thrown it away, they have stolen it (legally they have no right to retain it or dispose of it). I doubt very much that BA would offer compensation under these circumstances but if it’s not in a lost and found property store you could log a complaint of theft with them.

          For something like this, unless you are covered for simply “losing” an item, your insurer may well ask for a crime reference number before paying out.

        • Ah barrack room lawyering…..

        • No Leo, professionally…

        • Ditto….

    • sunguy says:

      Oh! Come on folks – its not that bad…

      You will usually find that its the airport not the airline you have to deal with (yes, even in 1st).

      When I left my iPad and headphones in the seatback pocket on a BA LHREDI (returning 2 days later), I very nearly wasnt able to get them because of the stupidty factor.

      The handling agents (Menzies) and the Airport (EDI) make it absolutely impossible for anyone to contact them, especially at the weekend. At EDI, lost and found is outsourced to a private shop that sells suitcases and charges £20 per item (yes, this includes your £2.50 umbrella).

      EDI suggest that they had too much pilfering to allow the baggage/security folks to look after it!

      From Friday night, it took until the Sunday evening for my stuff to make it to the lost property office and be listed. They dont make it easy, it has to be listed on their website before you can possibly ask about it – oh and it used to be that Items collected within 2 hours of being processed are subject to a £2 administration fee only – however, not only was that rule not upheld by the outsourced shop, but, the way the items are dealt with meant that was totally unlikely to happen anyway….

      SO, this is probably where your coat is – somewhere between the aircraft cleaners, handling agents, airport security and the outsourced lost property shop.

      Try … and be prepared to pay a fee…

      • They can’t charge you to return your own stuff, unless you’ve undertaken to abide by their conditions.

        • Andrew says:

          Correct. If you can get to Sao Paulo airport and convince the Brazilian police to help you then you can get your belongings back for free.

          Alternatively if you’d rather an independant third party communicate with the airport and then transport the belongings to your home (dealing with any customs paperwork along the way) then you might have to pay them for their trouble

      • Rebecca says:

        I left some headphones behind on a CW flight and they were never handed into lost property. I was a bit disappointed, you’d hope they possibly might hand stuff in that gets left in a premium cabin. I know its my fault for leaving them, but it was a sleeper flight and I’d not been awake long!
        Have to wonder what happens to them.
        I did have travel insurance but between the fee I have to pay to the police site for registering them lost and my travel insurance excess I wouldn’t have got much back so I didn’t bother. Lesson learnt.

        • “the fee I have to pay to the police site” ?

          What fee? What site?

          There is no fee to report a loss to the Police (in the UK)

    • Also don’t see why compensation would be due.
      I left an item on a QR flight a couple of weeks ago, this was their response (after 3 days):
      Greetings from Found Property Central Office!

      Please accept my sincere apologies as we were not able to reply
      to your email immediately due to the large number of emails we
      are receiving on a daily basis. All inquiries are being replied
      to in order by which they are received.

      In reference to your claim ID No.xxxxx, we are pleased to
      inform you that the same item was found and now in our
      storage lockers for safe keeping. The is under
      found property reference number xxxxxxx.

      As a part of our commitment to give you a 5-star service,
      kindly advise if your currently in Doha or the nearest airport
      to your location where Qatar Airways operates, and we will
      arrange to send the item to our colleagues.
      You will have to collect it personally and present a valid
      Photo identification and your boarding pass/ticket as a
      proof that you travelled on the said flight.

    • Just to clarify you are talking about the cupbord next to your seat on the plane right? Otherwise I am having trouble understanding your complaint.

    • Partner left earphones on CX J flight in Hong Kong. Still at the airport when realised and raised issue in the lounge. All very smiley response but couldn’t help us – nothing on the air craft 10 minutes later etc. Claimed on NatWest Black insurance – paid up no problem, that’s what insurance is for. Sympathetic re-losing expensive keys, have done it myself.

    • A similar story in the interests of balance: my wife did the same thing on a flight to Singapore. The fantastic cabin crew chased after us for quite some distance through the airport to return it. She was one of the older cabin crew with loads of experience – amazing service throughout the flight. This is BA’s biggest asset from a flight experience perspective, but sadly they don’t seem to value the amazing service that many of their staff provide.

    • Another story with a different outcome: a friend left an iPad on an Etihad flight (economy) and remembered when he was in Abu Dhabi airport terminal (after a bus from the aircraft). Ground staff said they couldn’t do anything and told him to call Etihad. Several calls, including at his final destination in Melbourne, seemed not very promising as they just said they would pass the message on to Etihad baggage services. Then about a week later he suddenly gets a call from Etihad’s office at Melbourne airport. They had found the iPad and sent it on a later flight. He just picked it up with no fees – we were impressed with the service.

  2. Sundar says:

    Quick question – Lounge card, obtained through Amex Gold, allows holder +1 for 2 free entries/year ?

  3. OT Amex Platinum. I’ve read many articles on this blog about Hotel chain status that you get with Amex Platinum but, as yet, I haven’t found any of the articles state how you go about getting those statuses.
    How do you go about claiming your higher status and is it the same process for all chains involved with AMEX platiunum? If there is an article explaining the process then I apologise for this post but I couldn’t find it

    • Lottietiger says:

      If you log onto your account and go to rhe card benefits section you will find the links to the relevant hotel chain upgrades under the travel section. You then just need to fill each one in separately with you hotel membership numbers. All sorted very quickly apart from Hilton who is still sorting despite several chats.

      • I had to give details 3 times for HH, on the third go it worked!

        • Amex Platinum kindly awarded HH status to some complete stranger, no idea who. Certainly not me though as the HH number shown on my Amex account is not mine. It’s at least six weeks since I raised this with Amex and I’ve had a number of sympathetic emails but as yet nothing concrete to sort this out.

        • Took 23hrs when I did it. Havent had confirm on others but not checked

        • Stuart_f says:

          Louie – it probably is yours. Amex have most likely opened a second account in your name.

    • Whilst not necessary, you should open the relevant accounts yourself first so you have the log-in details.

      Go to where there are online forms to fill in for each chain. That’s it. Wait a few days (longer for some chains) and your status will update.

      Following the website revamp, your supplementary cardholder now needs to register their card via their own online Amex account. They can then also log in at the Platinum website and request their status upgrades.

  4. Wow, that really is a new CS low. We’ve come to expect very little in terms of the way BA handle these kind of things, especially over the past couple of years since Cruz took over.

    Even so, 1530 TP over a year is likely to represent a reasonable amount of spend, and they’re being petty over that person accepting 10K avios for service issues of BA’s own making. Clearly they thought that was an appropriate level of compensation, so why not just say that’s all they’re able to offer?

    • Cate ⛱️ says:

      But are they being petty or is this a correction in our thinking that loyalty schemes were created just for our benefit? Like you say Mark all those tier points have come from spending. They’ve had this customer’s money – ‘next please’.

      • It’s not really about the loyalty scheme though, it’s about how you treat your customers and how that message plays out to a wider audience.

        Travel spend is typically not a one time thing. I’m assuming there’s future travel spend up for grabs (BA wouldn’t know if there wasn’t).

        Whether it makes any difference will depend in part of course in whether Rob’s friend has any control over who they fly with. But even if they don’t this is the sort of thing that has the potential to generate negative publicity, for the sake of 10K avios and a point being made…?

        If it’s CS policy I really don’t understand what they’re trying to achieve.

        • Cate ⛱️ says:

          They’re not trying to achieve anything though, alas they don’t have to. They’ve had this person’s money – obviously many many times over – and that’s all their interested in sad to say. They’re not thinking about the future, they’re thinking now.

          The only thing that causes significant damage to an airline’s reputation is if their aircraft makes an unscheduled landing into terrain.

        • I have total control of who I fly.

          Been an EC member for 20 odd years and scrap by gold and sometimes silver.

          All this has done is made me smile, realisss they don’t care any loyalty is one way. I have been flying less and less BA over the last 3 years. This single CS agent has made my TP target for next year zero.

  5. Here’s the real mind boggler… Is ‘Avios’ plural or singular… or both?

  6. OT: Just in from Bloomberg:

    Damn, that’s Norwegian downgrading from a low-cost carrier to BA standards 😉

    In all seriousness, big news

  7. Cate ⛱️ says:

    Damn, that’s Norwegian downgrading from a low-cost carrier to BA standards ????


  8. Faithy says:

    Plat referral. Do you get 18000mr for refering any card?

  9. Jason K says:

    Does anyone know how long the MBNA Virgin upgrade and companion vouchers are valid for?

    Ive hit 10k spend, just waiting for my anniversary in June to get the 2x upgrade vouchers. Im assuming MBNA are still obligated to issue these vouchers even if they remove the product?

  10. OT: Re the closure of the Avios Programme.

    I got a letter in the post from avios today telling me about the closure and reminding me how many points I had. Interestingly my points balance on the letter is totally wrong but on closer examination the account number quoted is not my normal account number. It looks like I might have a 2nd Avios Account that I had forgotten about if so it must be very old, and is maybe a hangover from when I converted my paper Air Miles vouchers many many years ago! Either that or its an Avios IT error! Sadly the balance on this 2nd account is only 2,110

    Has anything similar happened to anyone else?

    I wonder if they will merge it with my correct BAEC Account if I do nothing about it!

  11. Optimus Prime says:

    OT – those with an AwardWallet account, have you received the email about FoundersCard? I know it’s US only but wouldn’t it be great to have something like this in UK?

    Membership includes:
    Elite status and/or preferred rates with top travel partners:
    PREMIUM AIR: American Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, British Airways, JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qantas
    LIMO & CAR: Hertz, Avis, Sixt, Silvercar, GroundLink, Carey, EmpireCLS
    HOTEL PROGRAM: Hilton Honors, Marriott Rewards, Caesars Total Rewards, Mandarin Oriental, Park Hyatt, W, Kempinski, Omni
    Over $10,000 of account credits and complimentary subscriptions including MR PORTER, Trunk Club, BMW, CLEAR, TripIt Pro, ShopRunner, and JetSmarter.
    Savings on business services and supplies from UPS, AT&T, Dell, Lenovo, Shopify, TriNet, LegalZoom.

    • Optimus Prime says:

      Doesn’t mention the actual elite level. I guess it’ll be the lowest one – i.e. BA Bronze and equivalent.

      • The ONLY airline status is Cathay Silver (ie BA Bronze). The other airlines listed just give fare discounts, often restricted to ex US flights.

  12. OT. I booked a flight 2 weeks ago on the phone with BA using companion voucher. BA haven’t taken the voucher or the avios for the flight but the flights are showing on my BAEC account. Do you think BA will take the avios and the voucher in the future or maybe just a glitch?

    • they do often take some time

    • Genghis says:

      Has it ticketed? Though even if ticketed, I’ve seen it where they haven’t taken avios or cash payment until later.

      • Darren says:

        +1 ring them and confirm, better than not getting the flights.

      • Yes the flight is ticketed got the confirmation straight away, plus took the taxes aswell. Just thought it’s strange they haven’t took the Avios or the voucher.

  13. OT – seen BA have up to 40% off sale on CW/CE holidays until Monday. Any good?

  14. Andrew says:

    Many years ago on BA flight to Manchester, I left a brand new and expensive book on the aircraft. When I returned home I called the BA office in Manchester and spoke to someone who confirmed it was in their offices in Manchester. The following day I called again to confirm BA s postal address so I could send a padded envelope . The response was “what book ” ? I wrote to BA customer services to report the theft of my book from their offices and received a very sharp response advising that BA do not employ thieves and the matter was closed !

    • Back in my early days of flying I received an upgrade to business class on Air France. I left the last chapter of my book to read on the connecting flight to LHR, but accidentally left the book in one of the numerous extra business class storage holes when transferring. Had to buy the whole book again just to read the last chapter, but I just think of it as a very cheap upgrade to business class!

  15. On first reading that screenshot I thought BA had stripped the customer of his tier points in a fit of rage! 😀

  16. Graham Walsh says:

    Flying LHR to DUB with Aer Lingus a few year ago, I left my Surface Laptop in the back of the seat. I also moved seats to an exit row too. Arrived at customer offices about 1hr after landing and I got a phone call as I was walking in. It was Aer Lingus asking my name and did I leave my laptop on board. Thankfully I was able to collect it from them the following day when heading home. £0 cost.

    A colleague left his laptop at OSL airport when going through security. I picked it up for him the following day at the airport lost property and had to pay around £15 for collecting it.

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