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. lammy52 says:

    Does the Amex £20 off apply only to a single transaction, or is it aggregable?

  2. Quick google tells me that Finnair’s “Junior awards for kids 2 to 17 are half-off” and that “Finnair imposes considerable fuel surcharges on some routes for both its own flights and some partners, but it has eliminated charges on all European routes, as well as flights to Dubai and Tel Aviv”.

    Makes the deal any better? Or is this only applicable to Finnair ant OW redemptions?

  3. Are we likely to see an Amex MR > BA transfer bonus over the summer?

    • No. Amex UK has stopped doing them because it is cheaper if you are not encouraged to redeem for miles and redeem for gift vouchers etc instead. (Cost to Amex = 0.5p per point when you take a gift voucher, 1p per point when you take a mile)

  4. I think you probably need to spend more time in regular airport facilities if £21.95 looks toppy!

    I paid £9 for two coffees in an airport the other week. I recall buying a double G&T at NCL a year or so back and that was over a tenner.

    Price it below this level and it’ll be eternally rammed.

    • I admit I am not a frequent user of regular airport facilities in the UK! Although I assume the Pret in T5, tucked around by A3 etc, is cheap and decent.

      • Unless I’m departing very early, I tend to think that £20 for lounge entry is a no brainer if I don’t have access otherwise. A couple of beers and a snack are going to set me back somewhere around that anyway. Once they become over £25 that’s when it’s worth checking out a review or 2.

        It’s not the greatest lounge but the MyLounge at Gatwick North is exceptional value at £12pp when booked through Virgin Atlantic, plus 200 miles and premium security

        • Admittedly the coffee was at Salzburg, but the point stands.

          I recall maybe 10-12 years back, the Pru’s egg credit card ran a promo for half price lounge access, which back then made it about £8 a pop. We were flying EK J out of Birmingham, who used what back then was probably the only lounge.

          2hrs before the EK flight left, the lounge “angels” came round and turfed everyone out who wasn’t flying EK.

          Far from classy, but a great illustration of how to get lounge pricing wrong.

  5. Is the VS / Avis deal a bit of a conn? Just looked at weekend hire from nearby location and got price of £75. Then went via the VS link and price in now £162. Given I can buy miles for £15/1000 this does not seem to be a good deal…..

  6. Faithy says:

    If you cancel amex plat, do you still get lounge pass for the year or is it also cancelled with plat?

  7. @mkcol says:

    What always puts me off the Virgin/AVIS deal is that I can get a free additional driver with my BAEC account, and that’s worth a lot of £ in some places.

    However I did learn last year in Florida (at least) that spouses/domestic partners aren’t charged any extra to be an additional driver.

    • Always found this an odd policy as I would have assumed it is safer if two share the driving.

  8. For those interested, you can get a status match with Avis if you have say Hertz Presidents circle. Which gives double upgrades on weekends, and free additional driver

  9. Graeme says:

    What wpuld happen if i used the Avis offer, paid up front with my Amex. Then cancelled my amex before the rental. Would they accept a different card or do they need the card thst was used for the booking?


  10. mutley says:

    I am preferred plus with Avis and Presidents circle with Hertz, how do I get the status match?

    • Check statusmatcher or google on flyertqlk and you can get the email. Sorry I’m on my phone and don’t have access to get the exact email address

  11. TigerTanaka says:

    I will try and take some pics of the Durham Tees Valley lounge in a couple of weeks.

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