Bits: New Durham lounge, 6000 Virgin miles from Avis, 50% Amex MR bonus to Finnair

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News in brief:

New Durham Tees Valley lounge now open

Durham Tees Valley Airport has opened the Premium Lounge.  It replaces the previous Swissport lounge.

The cash price of £21.95 seems a little toppy, but let’s see.  It makes the £25 – £35 being charged by the three new Leeds Bradford lounges look even more expensive.

You get access for free with a Priority Pass (free with Amex Platinum or buy one here) or a Lounge Club card (two free entries if you have an Amex Gold card).  KLM, Eastern Airways and Loganair passengers with qualifying tickets will also be able to use the lounge.

Further details can be found on the airport website here.

If anyone is there in the next week or so and could send us a few ‘real life’ photos and a couple of paragraphs on how they found it, that would be great.

Durham Tees Valley premium lounge

Virgin Atlantic and Avis bring back their 6,000 miles promotion

Virgin Atlantic has launched a very generous deal with Avis.  If you book a car for 3+ days you will pick up 6,000 Virgin Flying Club miles!  

That’s the good news.  The bad news is that a lot of people had trouble getting the miles to post when this offer last ran.  Not everyone, but quite a few people.  To maximise your chances book via the specific page they link to, even though the rules do not say it is necessary.

Full details of the offer are on the Virgin Atlantic website here.  This is the small print:

Booking date:  until 30th April

Rental dates:  15th May to 31st December

Qualifying countries:   USA, Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia

Rental requirement:  3+ days in a Group C or higher vehicle

There appears to be no cap on the number of times you can earn the miles.  The 6,000 miles consists of 500 base miles and a bonus of 5,500.  This increases to 6,500 miles for a rental of 7+ days as a rental of a week earns 1,000 base miles.

I would be happy to value 6,000 Virgin Flying Club miles at £60 – especially as redemptions on KLM and Air France should be available to members within the next 12 months – so you could even make a small profit on your car rental.

You can see full details of the Virgin / Avis partnership on this page of the Virgin Atlantic site.

How to earn Virgin Atlantic miles from UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Flying Club miles from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Flying Club miles.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

Get a 50% bonus transferring Membership Rewards points to Finnair Plus

Finnair, a oneworld partner along with British Airways, is offering a 50% bonus when you transfer in points to its Finnair Plus loyalty scheme.

This includes American Express Membership Rewards points which transfer at 1:1.

Any oneworld redemption you can book via British Airways is also bookable via Finnair Plus.  However …. Finnair has its own rules regarding the miles needed for flights, the taxes due and cancellation rules.  You should not automatically assume that it is suddenly a better deal to transfer Amex points to Finnair to redeem for a BA flight.  It might be but the answer will vary route by route and class by class.

Finnair has two hotel transfer dealsto Accor (click here) and to IHG Rewards Club (click here).  I have done the maths and, even with a 50% transfer bonus, it doesn’t make sense to me to go Amex to Finnair to Accor / IHG.

If you want to explore this a bit, full details are here on the Finnair site.  You must register by 30th April and transfer by 30th June.

(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. “The cash price of £21.95 seems a little toppy, but let’s see. It makes the £25 – £35 being charged by the three new Leeds Bradford lounges look like a good deal!”

    Is £21.95 the correct number there?

  2. Is Amex offer stackable i.e. two rentals with say £65 each will get £20 off £130 spend?

    • Yes I used on 2 bookings last time with cumulative spend over £125 and got the offer.

  3. callum says:

    Does anyone have any idea if rentals in Australia/New Zealand would work? The Avis site lists them under the “Asia Pacific” region, though obviously they aren’t actually in Asia.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Given that the T&Cs state only Asia, rather than Asia Pacific I’d assume not.

      • guesswho2000 says:

        Although their wording is horrific, so you never know – “the US (North America and Canada)”…didn’t realise Canada was part of the US now.

        • callum says:

          Yeah, I assumed not at first but then realised they’re pretty “loose” with geographical descriptions! I guess I could just ask them…

  4. ‘When you rent a car’ – does a van count for this promotion?

  5. I can’t see any limits on the Avis deal in terms of number of bookings. Could this apply twice on two separate bookings?

  6. The Finnair bonus is a tempting deal tbh but hard to know without experimenting with routes.

    Do you know anyone who has done the research and/or has tables. Imagine the options to Asia might look quite interesting?

  7. Sandgrounder says:

    Finnair charge 59k return in business from the UK to Dubai via Helsinki. You cannot perform a dummy booking to check availability and see the tax/charges amount unless you have a balance sufficient for the booking. Does anyone have any experience/knowledge they can share?

    • You can find the taxes / charges on ITA Matrix or do a dummy cash booking

  8. Not tempted by these offers any more, they are usually more expensive when you have status with Avis, and I have never received the promised 5000 avios from the BAEC promotion at Christmas.

    It is so much hassle to try and chase these up

    • I didn’t receive mine either so called Avis customer services, who wrote to the appropriate department within BA Exec Club and within a couple of days, the points were posted. Was efficient and easy.

  9. palcsaky says:

    Does the Virgin offer stack with the Avis preferred membership or would the latter rule out the bonus miles?

    • Chris A says:

      I’ve just spoken to somebody at Avis customer services, who said that being Avis preferred will not affect whether you get the miles or not.
      This is enough for me to go with, and will make a booking today using my Avis preferred as it is a reasonable price for a hire that I needed in any case.

      • Just to clarify for everybody and someone please correct me if I am wrong but last time the points were ONLY being credited if you booked via the link specific for the promotion. A few folks who did not get their 6,000 miles credited had booked through the normal Avis website…

        • Seem so, yes, although the rules do not specify that.

        • We booked via the link and got the points last month; further bookings made also via the link so if any probs will report back. Avis in San Diego tried to rip us off on the petrol….all sorted eventually with Amex assistance.

  10. ‘New Durham lounge’ it says in the headline. As Durham doesn’t have an airport I was hoping that Virgin Trains East Coast had opened at first class lounge at Durham station. I did notice a doorway temporarily boarded up in the station when I passed a couple of weeks ago so I thought there was some work going on.

    • Darren says:

      Durham Tees Valley, referencing the County rather than the city.

      It was rebranded from Teesside Airport a number of years ago and has been in a spiral of decline since. The last time I used it, which was many moons ago, there was a charge for simply walking through the door due to a lack of any decent revenue streams within the place.

      It’s been clinging on for some time now.

      • It’s the perfect airport, if you live in Darlington and like flying to Aberdeen or Amsterdam.

        It’s actually a shame how much it’s declined, wasn’t a bad airport 10 years ago with some decent low-cost options with BMI baby. When I briefly lived in Ireland the flights to Dublin were far better timed than the ones from Newcastle

        • Darren says:

          Agree it is a shame, a London link and a Holiday airline are sorely missed. I think Easyjet run training out of it?

        • Genghis says:

          And the railway station is a mile away from the airport and the train stops once a week! I remember flying from Teesside as a kid on charter flights. Shame.

  11. fritzrob78 says:

    With the Finnair transfer promotion is there anyway of transferring on to BAEC? Or is there any sign of an MR transfer bonus to BAEC in the near future?

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