BA Sale

Bits: Lloyds Avios cards dead?, when Lee won our Christmas Party raffle, Tesco / LEGO Star Wars Avios deal

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News in brief:

Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards now fully closed to new applicants?

The Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards were closed to new online applications on 1st March as we wrote here.

At the time, Lloyds told us that you could continue to apply via telephone or in a branch for a limited period.

That period appears to be over.  A reader tried to apply this week by telephone and in a branch and was rebuffed on both occasions.  Apparently it no longer even appears as an option on the branch IT system.

On the upside, as Lloyds made some in-branch applicants watch two videos on ‘how to use a credit card sensibly’ before they would process the application, this may be for the best ……!

I am told, however, that we may not have seen the back of these cards for good.  How Lloyds expects to compete with a £24 Mastercard earning 0.25 Avios per £1 when Virgin Atlantic now offers a free Mastercard earning 0.75 Flying Club miles per £1 is a different question.

When Lee won our Christmas Party raffle ….

If you were at our Christmas Party in December, you will remember that the star raffle prize was a business class ticket to any destination of your choice on Qatar Airways who generously sponsored the event.

The winner was Lee – see photo below.  Lee is the one who hasn’t got his arm around the (then) UK marketing head 🙂

He just dropped us a note to tell us about his prize flight:

“I thought I would send you both an email to say I took the Qatar Airways flights that I won at the HfP Christmas party to Tokyo and arrived back last week. Qatar Airways exceeded my expectations and the whole trip was excellent.

I exchanged a few emails with Qatar Airways to arrange the flights and gave a selection of dates that suited me in the hope they could arrange one of the flight combinations. I also asked them if it was possible to get on the A380 and the 777 Qsuite so I could experience all of the best cabins and to my surprise they managed to arrange exactly that for me! A week before I went they changed the 777 Qsuite flight for DOH-LHR to an A350-900.  This was a brand new A350-900 with Qsuite which was delivered a week before I flew on it!

The A380 daytime flight (10:50) from LHR-DOH was excellent; the seat was really spacious and very comfortable, Bric’s amenity kit, Lanson champagne, and crew that couldn’t be more helpful. The whole flight had just over 90 people on-board; 12 in business, 0 in first, 69 in economy. The business class cabin had almost 1:1 crew to passengers! I had some really good food and wine during the flight, and also visited the bar and stood chatting to the crew who were running the bar for the flight whilst sampling a couple more drinks and snacks.

I had a 6.5 hour connection in Doha on my way out, but that was fine as I got to experience the amazing lounge, showers, restaurant, and bar before taking the ~12 hour late overnight flight to NRT. There was plenty of food available in the restaurant and the staff were pleased to help wherever they could. It was also refreshing to get a shower before the next long flight to Tokyo.

The 777 to Tokyo was a 2x2x2 business class cabin and had loads of room at each seat. I didn’t have anyone next to me so I had even more room and nobody to disturb when moving from the window seat. Although it wasn’t quite as comfortable as the A380 I managed to sleep well for the first half of the flight which was great for an evening landing in Tokyo and fighting off the jet lag. Again, the crew, the food, the Giorgio Armani amenity kits, The White Company sleep suit, and lie flat bed, all very good! The flight was about 45 minutes late taking off due to a technical fault but this was quickly resolved and they kept us updated throughout. As it was a 2:20am flight, I was glad to finally sleep!

Coming back from NRT to DOH, I visited the JAL lounge and had some excellent Japanese food before the next overnight flight (22:20) on the same 777 with a 2x2x2 cabin. I had a middle aisle seat on this flight which was just as comfortable and as much room as the DOH-NRT flight. The service may have been slightly slower than outbound but it was completely full in comparison and an evening service to contend with, but still all the crew were very attentive throughout.

I had shorter connection on the way home in Doha of 3 hours which meant I could have another quick shower and get ready for the last flight in Qsuite, right at the front in 1K! I didn’t know at the time that it was a brand new plane but I did notice a number of times how it had that ‘new car/plane’ smell! The crew showed me to my seat and explained where and what everything was and had the champagne and hot towels ready to go. My first thought was “this is amazing, it’s an actual suite with a closing door!”.

As it was a daytime flight (06:35) back to LHR I didn’t have any reason to sleep which was good because I could experience the Qsuite, but not so good because I didn’t get to see how well I slept! Just like the other 3 flights, the crew were excellent, the food was fantastic, more Bric’s amenity kits, and an ultra-comfortable seat (which probably had less than a dozen people in it) with a large and really responsive touch screen entertainment system. The crew popped by every so often to see if I wanted anything and were always available otherwise. I didn’t see much of the other suites, but the double and quad suites look fantastic for travelling with other people. 

We landed back in Heathrow on time and the staff waved us goodbye, and I realised how much I wanted to fly with Qatar Airways again! This is the first time I’ve flown with Qatar Airways after having many flights with BA and continued loyalty with them. Other than a few minor things with BA they’ve always been good and I’ve always been loyal. However, Qatar Airways are on a whole new level with their service and business class cabins.

To sum it up; Qsuite, the crew, the food and wine/champagne, the seating and cabin, the A380 bar, the whole A350-900, Giorgio Armani, Bric’s, and The White Company, the lounges and staff – all fantastic.”

Qatar Airways UK marketing team

New Tesco Direct / LEGO Star Wars offer

Tesco Direct has brought back its Tesco Clubcard bonus deal with LEGO Star Wars which gives you a chance to pick up Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles along with the toys.

Until 7th May you will get:

  • 500 extra Clubcard points (1200 Avios, 1250 Virgin miles) when you spend £30+
  • 1,000 extra Cubcard points (2400 Avios, 2500 Virgin miles) when you spend £60

Full details in this Shopper Points article.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

My review of the SAA Premium Lounge at Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport
Exclusive May-long 10% minicabit discount for HFP readers
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Comments

  1. Mark LLL says:

    Congrats to Lee. His prize flight sounds as good as my whole holidays LOL.
    Such a great raffle prize, well done HfP and Qatar airways.
    Rob, more comps please 🙂

  2. OT- new buy on board menu at BA for May-Aug. It’s all the same stuff with slightly different choices. Same prices and avios as far as I can tell

    • Roberto says:

      The new IPA replacing Tribute will get my attention today. Just for research purposes I might add.

  3. Richard says:

    90 people on an A380… ouch.

    • Yuff says:

      More Qatar sales 😉
      Like the one last week 241 🙂 first decent sale for a while

    • Quite the opposite on the other 3 flights though, they were very full! The crew on the A380 were also surprised to see it as quiet as that, it was unusual.

    • JamesB says:

      My partner was on an SQ a380 flight to LHR on Boxing Day dome years aho that only had 4 or 5 people in business.

    • Czechoslovakia says:

      Best service I ever had was on a CSA A320 to Manchester. 4 crew, 4 relief crew, extra pilot and copilot, and, erm, 7 paying pax, including myself. Was December 24th, mind.

  4. callum says:

    The reason they make you watch that video is because of all the scam-artists claiming they were “missold” PPI etc. (some very clearly were, I have my doubts about many of them!)

    TSB made me do a long interview just to open a second current account ages ago – I already had one, they should have been pretty aware I knew how to use it…

  5. Anna says:

    OT – is there a page on the BAEC website which shows “pending” avios similar to the one on the avios.com site? I’ve started shopping via the BA portal but can’t find anywhere which shows the avios I’ll earn.

    • Anna, I don’t know if this is consistent with other people’s experience, but sometimes BAEC send me an email soon afterwards with the number of pending avios, which then always post eventually, Sometimes there is no email but the avios still post.

      • meta says:

        I always get an email from avios.com. Actually two, when pending and when they arrive. I also now get from BAEC too.

      • Anna says:

        Thanks Tom, found it now!

  6. Mike says:

    Lee – great report, glad you enjoyed your prize

    • Thank you, Mike! A fantastic prize.

      • John says:

        Lucky Lee! How did you get on in Japan? Did you stay long, travel around?

        • Very lucky, John! Japan was amazing, just a quick 5 day trip to Tokyo but had a day in Osaka too. Fantastic place, so glad I got the flights there as it made the whole trip excellent.

  7. Simon says:

    Thanks Lee
    I’m going a bit pedantic nerdy here but was it the new 350-1000 on the way back, or a new -900. Not that there is any difference at the front.

    • It was the A350-900 (A7-ALZ), and I was surprised to see a brand new one as I thought the 1000’s would be coming in about now. It was very nice to fly on!

      • JamesB says:

        Glad to hear you enjoyed your prize Lee. Was this for one person or two? How were tge noise levels on the a350?

        • It was one ticket.

        • xcalx says:

          Agreed, It’s good to here from a prize winner. I may have missed the recent winners comments although I do read the comments a few times a day.

        • xcalx says:

          Hear.

        • Thanks, it was definitely a prize to be enjoyed! The noise on the A350 was really low, I expect an overnight flight where you’re sleeping on it would be pretty good. I’m sure it helped being brand new too.

  8. Ahop says:

    OT: How far in advance can Virgin Atlantic redemptions be made? I’ve looked on their site and it appears not as early as BA, but I can’t quite pinpoint exactly when.

  9. eBungle says:

    Exactly, I spend about 2000€ a month outside the UK so save about 50GBP a month on this alone. so this would give me 600GBP to make up the difference between 500 Avios and 1500 VFC points (Of course at the moment I am putting about 70% through the Amex so I am earning around1450 Avios a month from foreign spend anyway) so if you take 1.000 Avios to be worth 10GBP I am still 590 in profit!

    If Lloyds/Avios sacrifice the 0% for a higher earning rate I will almost definitely need to switch to a non-rewards 0% card (If there are any left after the EU regulation dust settles)

    • Andrew says:

      Tandem is fine, it’s ex-Harrods Bank.

      Aqua though? It’s only a half step up from having someone from the Provi knock at your door in the cover of darkness to collect cash and initial your repayment book.

      • Under reader pressure I am planning to look at Aqua soon, although my view is similar to yours!

    • Most of us are probably ineligible for Aqua. From my experience they are not going to accept people who are low credit risk that’ll probably never pay a single penny in interest.

    • Callum says:

      Aqua is fine, and this intense snobbery towards it almost made me stop reading this site last time Rob brought it up – how ghastly, someone might think you’re poor!

      Maybe just colour it gold and you can pretend to all your mates down at the country club that you’re not one of those filthy commoners?

    • Cate ⛱️ says:

      ‘and this intense snobbery towards it almost made me stop reading this site’

      Oh well it’s hard pleasing everyone. So when are you leaving?

    • Callum says:

      Cate, I very clearly said ALMOST stop reading…

      I take no pleasure in talking to people who act that way, so if you don’t want me here then do feel free to ignore me – I think that would satisfy the both of us…

    • I have to admit that until I read HFP the concept of credit-card snobbery had never even occurred to me. I still don’t really understand the idea. 99.9% of the population have no idea who Tandem or Aqua are. The only people that even see my credit cards are shop assistants and waiters/staff. If you’re actually worried about their opinion of your financial status, then do you think they judge you on your brand of credit card or on the size of the tip. Take a guess…

    • the_real_a says:

      I constantly get compliments and conversation openers on my… monzo card. (no one cares about my AMEX platinum)

    • Anna says:

      This site is not just frequented by people with loads of money, there are plenty who clearly have average or even (relatively) modest incomes but who manage their money extremely well, and therefore wouldn’t consider paying interest on a credit card.

  10. Will says:

    And a 241 voucher that works. Yeah it doesn’t get you First. Underrated card IMHO.

    • Will says:

      Forgive me for terminology before I get gunned down. Whatever the voucher is that gets you upgrades from PE to CW 😉

      • eBungle says:

        Yes, I love the Upgrade voucher – very under rated. I know in Avios terms it isn’t as good as the 241 but I still get fair value out of it. My latest one was for a peak upgrade PE to CW from Sao Paulo to LHR which saved me 60K Avios (two x 60k instead of 2x90k) obviously I know with the 241 I would have saved more Avios but I would have needed to fly from the UK and thefore paid around 1K in Taxes, Fees and Charges in stead of 40.

        As I am Avios rich (from work travel) I am happy to spend more Avios in return for saving cash.

      • Kathy says:

        The upgrade voucher is way more useful for a solo traveller than the 241! Mine saved me 96k avios on my trip to Oz.

        I’m pondering how I’m going to use the next one I have earned. Either LHR-DEL return – which would be a saving of 60k avios – or LHR-HND (if I can find the availability) which would be a 72k avios saving.

  11. Will says:

    When my card expires in July will that be it or will they just replace it?

    • Anna says:

      Do you mean the Lloyds card? There’s not been any mention of existing accounts being withdrawn.

      • Will says:

        Yes. What I’m getting at is will new cards arrive in the post or is that it?

    • Would like an answer to this as well – the Mastercard is in my wallet 24/7. I would have thought they will withdraw existing cards given the whole concept of an avios.com points wallet is now dead

      • I thought the cards would go into run-off but it seems I may be wrong based on a recent discussion. Let’s see.

        • guesswho2000 says:

          Please elaborate? Are these likely to be killed to existing customers sooner, rather than later? I still use these to trigger the voucher, which gives amazing value ex HKG, and was hoping to get one more out of it before they go!

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