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Bits: Qatar Airways “hopes to launch Belfast”, £30 Harrods Amex cashback, Clubcard to Virgin transfer offer

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News in brief:

Qatar Airways hoping to launch Belfast services

I was in Cardiff yesterday to watch the First Minister of Wales and the Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive inaugurate the new service from Cardiff to Doha.  It is currently operating five days per week but will increase to daily from June.

All services will use a new Boeing 787 in a 22 Business / 232 Economy configuration.

The Qatar Airways CEO gave another of his famously unscripted speeches.  One of his plans is to build a five-star hotel in Cardiff – there are no five-star hotels at present – as part of the airline’s nascent hotel arm.  This would, as he said clearly, be dependent on ‘support’ from the First Minister.

The most interesting item of note was the stated wish to launch services from Belfast as the next UK departure point.  Given that the airline is about to start flying to Malaga, Luxembourg, Valletta, Antalya and Tallinn, Belfast doesn’t seem that crazy.

£30 Amex cashback on £100 Harrods spend

Harrods has launched a generous cashback offer with American Express.  If you are targeted for this (log in to your online account and look at ‘Offers’ on each of your statement pages) you will get £30 back on a £100 spend before 30th June.

Airport stores do not count so it is only Knightsbridge or online.  The terms imply that the £100 should be in one transaction but Amex often allows multiple purchases to accumulate.

The terms says ‘gift cards are not allowed’.  Last time this offer ran, I tried it with a gift card and did NOT get the credit.  After many years of running these offer Harrods may have got its IT in order!  A friend ordered a gift card online and it DID credit but that could have been a fluke.

Harrods American Express cashback offer

What we know about the new Tesco Clubcard to Virgin Flying Club offer

Tesco Clubcard points from the last collection period should now be showing online at which means it is time to think about how to use them.

If you convert to Virgin Flying Clubyou will find that this quarter’s offer is not as good as previous ones.  There is no transfer bonus – we have seen 10% or 20% fairly regularly for the last year or so.

Everyone who agrees to auto convert their future Clubcard points to Virgin Flying Club miles will get 1,000 bonus miles.

Everyone who converts their existing Clubcard points (including those who don’t auto convert) before 12th June will be entered into a prize draw and have the chance to win 50,000 Virgin Flying Club miles.  You get one entry per conversion so, if you have a lot of vouchers, you will increase your chances of winning – but waste quite a bit of time – by doing a separate conversion for each.

We know that BA has a competition of its own in the pipeline for converters, but we don’t have a lot of information about it yet.  We will keep you posted.

You can find out more about the Virgin Flying Club offer on the Virgin / Tesco website page here.

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.

(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 day out at the new Aerospace Bristol museum - Part 2 (Concorde)
My day out at the new Aerospace Bristol museum - Part 1
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  1. Nigel Williams says:

    £100 Harrods spend?

    That will be two coffees then 😉

    • Spend a couple of grand and your Harrods Rewards status increases and you get unlimited free tea and coffee in the restaurants.

      Harrods sells expensive things but is not overpriced, if that makes sense. Your bottle of EDT costs the same as it does in Debenhams if you buy the same brand.

    • Lady London says:

      That was why I used to get my lunch in Fortnum & Mason when I worked in Mayfair. It was cheaper than most of the sandwich bars around. Far nicer too.

  2. Combat Johnny says:

    Damn, i work 5 minutes walk from harrods but no offer

  3. Bonglim says:

    O/T but interesting regarding Marriott/ SPG changes.
    I have recently signed up for Amex platinum and applied for all the hotel schemes. I have been given SPG gold as expected – that came through really quickly!

    I expected that to be matched to Marriott Gold – part of the reason I took Amex platinum now rather than waiting for August. Instead I have been matched to Marriott Elite Silver.

    This is the paragraph from an earlier article:
    “The Marriott team did not know, but went away to consult. When we reconvened at a Rag’n’Bone Man private gig last night (as you do) Marriott’s European VP of loyalty confirmed that any Amex Platinum member who has matched their SPG Gold to Marriott Gold will become ‘Merged Scheme’ Platinum until the end of 2018. Tom is my witness to this!”

    Do we think that new SPG Golds are now only going to be matched to Marriott Silver (so they do not have to go to new scheme platinum in August)- or perhaps special rules for those who have newly achieved status from amex platinum?
    Or have I just got something completely wrong?
    Thanks for your advice.

    • No, SPG Gold should match to Marriott Gold. Nothing has changed in that respect AFAIK.

  4. mike says:

    hi Rob

    curious to know whether you decided to request the Marriott Platinum challenge you asked readers about couple of weeks ago?

    what was your thinking/maths in the end?

    asking as I am thinking of doing the same


    • Yes I did, and indeed stayed at the Marriott in Bristol this week. I also have Zurich and Atlanta nights booked in and can swing at least one more work trip. That leaves me 5 stays short. I’ve got some Moxy Excel bookings in for £45-50, although rates start going up after the end of May.

      So … I reckon I’m looking at £250 maximum marginal cost for the 5 Moxy nights, offsetting the points earned. Given that I have 1 million+ Marriott points to spend and that the cost of (for eg) breakfast for 4 adds up quickly, I don’t see any problem getting value from that. If I get a soft landing to Platinum for 2020 then I will be substantially ‘up’.

  5. Roger says:
  6. rash says:

    I know others have, I am due my 3rd booking next week to hit the spend

    • rash says:

      BTW Jovanna and other regular renters… have found that Hertz Australia and CDP 211762 (Amex Plat code) still the cheapest method for booking car hires in the UK?

      • Louie says:

        I usually find Hertz USA (+ the Amex Plat code) cheaper than Australia though the last booking was cheaper through Oz.

      • Jovanna says:

        I use 633306 as the Amex Plat code for the CDP and WOW in the Rate Code. Changing to Australia doesn’t always work for me, particularly when renting in mainland Europe. Just had a good one-way price from Heathrow, using the above and Australia as the country. Unfortunately, I’m very pressed for time following my next couple of flights and, for speed, it’s quicker to rent Avis from T5 rather than trek around to Hertz.

        I’ll make a note of 211762 and give it a go soon.

  7. Chris says:

    How on earth would Amex know if you bought a Harrods gift card? Surely it would be only if you paid through a different merchant account.

    Is it possible that the Harrods tills can utilise different merchant accounts through the same chip&pin device, and send to a different account for gift cards?

    Or Rob, was your gift card purchase done at the Harrods Rewards concierge? (who may well use a different merchant account).

    • No, I bought it in the toy department, on its own. Absolutely no idea why it failed to track.

      • Paul says:

        I managed to successfully put it through on three different Amex cards last time. Let me see how I get on tomorrow

  8. totaltool says:

    O/T but Virgin miles related. Just found out that 8k points for opening a Virgin Money ISA last June have never posted. The site to claim back miles has a link to everyone possible partner apart from Virgin Money. Any advice welcome on the best way to claim back these miles. Thanks

    • wally1976 says:

      Contact Virgin Money itself via their secure messaging facility.

  9. Anna says:

    OT – which Amex-accepting retailers sell B & Q vouchers, have some decorating planned? No joy in my local Boots and Smith’s.

  10. OT:
    Hubby upgraded from PRG to platinum. Prior to this he had cancelled my supplementary card ( about 3 weeks before upgrade). Ticked no supp during application. Annoyingly they have sent me a supp card even though I was no longer a supp on his gold. This messed our plan to add one later for bonus.
    Anyone had same experience? Options?

    • brenda says:

      More or less the same experience here.
      I only found out the supp was still current when they charged me £170 for a second supp.
      Open a CHAT and cancel the supp.
      Wait until letter arrives, or contact chat again to confirm it’s gone.
      Then apply again.
      Worked for me.

  11. Kinkell says:

    OT: clarification please. I have booked a city break with BA holidays for 3 of us, travelling ET from ABZ-LHR-VIE. I have BAEC Silver status, the other 2 are Bronze. The BA itinerary ( with all our names) tells me each pax. is allowed 2×23 kgs ( very generous, not that we need it for 4 nights away!) and also gives info on where to access Lounges. Do I take it that all 3 of us get into the lounges as it is my booking, or is it just me + guest.? If that’s the case , do you think the Lounge Ladies would let 3rd person in ….if I ask nicely? ( hubby just recently soft landed to bronze at end of April).

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