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Bits: BA innovates its long-haul deep clean programme, update on redeeming Avios for Flybe, MBNA closes its AA cards

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News in brief:

British Airways starts long-haul deep clean

BA has been circulating some images internally of the innovative deep clean programme which has been taking place on all 120 long-haul aircraft.

With surprising honesty, it says “Dirty interiors have been a source of complaints from customers and cabin crew for some time.”

Each aircraft is getting 140 person-hours of cleaning, as you can see from these images.  It is unlikely that it will stop your Club World footstool collapsing etc but it is good to see.

Update on redeeming Avios on Flybe

I was chatting with the Avios team about Flybe redemptions and a couple of things came up which were news to me and so may also be news to you.

I don’t think any of it was meant to be secret but there had been no real effort to communicate it widely.

Here’s the first thing:  there are now Avios seats made available on ALL Flybe flights.  This mirrors the guaranteed availability offered by British Airways in Economy on its own services.

Secondly, there is no longer any difference in availability between what it shown on and what is shown on  This was not always the case in the past.

Thirdly, to clarify what we wrote last week, will tell you that you do not get a checked baggage allowance on a Flybe redemption.  This is not true – even though your e-ticket will also tell you that you do not get a free suitcase.  At the airport it should be visible to the check-in staff that you do actually have a 1 x 23kg baggage allowance.  The call centre staff have been reminded of this anomaly and should no longer be giving incorrect advice to anyone who calls to enquire.

Flybe redemptions are not always good value because of the taxes and charges, but their pricing can be high on some of the niche routes and – adding in the free suitcase – it may work out OK.

You can take a look at the Flybe route network here.  Details of their Avios partnership are here.

MBNA closing American Airlines credit card

MBNA closing the American Airlines credit cards

MBNA wrote to holders of its American Airlines credit cards yesterday to tell them that they are closing on the 28th July.

It is likely that holders will be transitioned to an own-brand MBNA card which you should cancel ASAP!

There is no word yet as to what is happening with the Etihad, Emirates, United and Lufthansa cards.

I am slightly surprised to see the AA card close because the most recent version does not have an American Express element.  It was a decent Visa card with a £70 annual fee and should have been sustainable in the new interchange fee environment, despite giving 1.25 miles per £1 spent.  It would not have been impact by the withdrawal of the Amex issuance licence from MBNA.

If you are looking for an alternative for earning AA miles, I will do an overview tomorrow or Saturday.  The obvious choice is the Starwood Amex which earns 1 Starwood points (= 1 AA mile) per £1, rising to 1.25 miles per £1 if you convert in chunks of 20,000 points.

If you want to move away from AA, the highest earning Visa or Mastercard currently available is from Virgin Atlantic – 0.75 miles per £1 on the new free Reward card (5,000 miles bonus, click here) and 1.5 miles per £1 on the paid Reward+ card (15,000 miles bonus).

(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. OT – BA J from LHR-DEL and JAL DEL-NRT J in different booking. Any chance BA would check my bags through NRT? Would save some cash to get Indian visa. Any idea? Thanks

    • David S says:

      No. BA are among a few (?only) Oneworld airline that doesn’t do it. They would not do it for a BA to BA flight for me, so you have no chance I am afraid. Sorry but you will need to get an Evisa for India.

  2. the real harry1 says:

    With closing soon, I moved a few thousand Avios from IB—>—>BAEC yesterday as I always had problems (Household a/c @ BAEC) moving them IB—>BAEC.

    Didn’t want to see them stranded.

    I think it’s May 21st when start closing accounts.

  3. the real harry1 says:

    @Genghis & anybody else interested

    So It transpired that Xmas Saver money when refunded because you don’t need the item goes back onto CC points. Though you need to wait for the next qtr. £200 + £12 = £212 or 50880 Avios/ Virgin miles (more on promo) or 0.417p/ point – have I got that right?

    • Genghis says:

      That’s very interesting. I know the original vouchers can only be used for items at Tesco but didn’t realise that they go back as cc points if item returned. v. v interesting. £636 Uber credit for £212. Nice. We really have missed you!

      • Genghis says:

        x 2 for me and wife which is what we normally do.

        Need to be mindful of the 30k quarterly cap though if doing this…

      • the real harry1 says:

        Easy way to buy cheap points for you and significant other

        • the real harry1 says:

          Thanks G for alerting me to Xmas Saver in the first place

    • Kipto says:

      I seem to have missed the previous entry relating to this. Where does the £200 example come into play ?

      • the real harry1 says:

        @Kipto – Tesco Xmas Saver – £200 minimum top-up limit to get max £12 bonus. It’s intended to help people budget for Xmas by saving into it month by month.

        Deadline is 16th October then you get the £212 back in vouchers with the November Tesco vouchers issue. This doesn’t affect your 30,000 quarterly clubcard points limit. The £212 vouchers can only be used for store/ online purchases – ie can’t be used to convert to BA/ Virgin miles. What I described above is a workaround so that you can actually get airmiles out of it. You might as well just pay in the £200 a few days before the deadline, which gives astonishingly good annualised ‘returns’. Ie say it’s just 3 weeks between paying in £200 and getting out £212. Annualised, that’s over 100% ‘interest’ per annum! 🙂

        OK I can do that easily without that fuss just by buying Amazon vouchers with my Tesco money off coupons, currently both Mrs Harry & I are getting them in the post. That works out to be something like an 11.4% discount @ Amazon. (ie 3x MOCs, £10 off £70, £7 off £70, £7 off £70 = £24 off £210.)

        Nice but the Xmas Saver is worth it as it lets you turn the fuss into BA/ Virgin points, 50,880 @ 0.417p/ point or alternatively Uber credit on the very cheap as Genghis pointed out last night.

        • the real harry1 says:

          Redspottedhanky changes to 3x value with effect from sometime next month (I guess with the next Tesco voucher issue)

          So that would also be £636 of train travel for a £212 investment.

        • xcalx says:

          Welcome back Harry. This sounds right up my street. Would it not be better to top up the MAX £360.

        • the real harry1 says:

          Cheers. Yes, now You mention it! I just needed to see if it worked as I thought they might refund you cash or reinstate the restricted Xmas Saver vouchers, so obviously the more the merrier this year.

          So that’s going to be £372 of CC points, 89,280 of BA/Virgin miles @ 0.417p

          Or with the Virgin 20% bonus, 107,136 miles @ 0.347p

          Or £1116 of Uber/ Redspottedhanky credit for £372

        • the real harry1 says:

          I just looked up whether Redspottedhanky sell season tickets – they don’t – which is a shame as my 2 younger kids take the train to school, that’s about £1300 pa so this would have been perfect. More when my son hits 16 next year. I still manage to save about £180 pa by ticket splitting, though 🙂

        • birdman says:

          Nothing to see here-Lets move on-remember- 3V-Sainsburys-NI-

        • the real harry1 says:

          You’d need to buy thing/s that won’t take you over the 30,000 limit if you decide to get a refund, no problem using more than 1 qtr as the Xmas vouchers just sit there. The £12 bonus has a fairly short expiry (6 months?) so use that first.

      • PerkyPat says:

        sorry, should have stuck this here…
        According to T & C
        If you opt out of the Christmas Savers scheme and have topped up £25 or more in the 2018 collection period (26/12/17 – 16/10/18) you will not receive a bonus in your November statement.
        Does this mean you wouldnt get the extra £12? Still good value of course.

        • the real harry1 says:

          You can opt in or out instantly online. So you only need to opt in before you pay in to the scheme (say) 10th October then opt out after you get the vouchers about 3rd November.

          Opting into Virgin miles for this quarter is giving you 1000 miles for free, you can opt out shortly before the vouchers are issued to avoid auto-conversion, ie you don’t need to auto-convert to get the 1000 free miles

  4. PerkyPat says:

    According to T & C
    If you opt out of the Christmas Savers scheme and have topped up £25 or more in the 2018 collection period (26/12/17 – 16/10/18) you will not receive a bonus in your November statement.
    Does this mean you wouldnt get the extra £12? Still good value of course.

  5. Jovan says:

    I guess it is only a matter of time before United MBNA cards follow?

  6. Lady London says:

    Surprised the cleaning staff in the picture aren’t wearing masks.

  7. Generic Middle Management says:

    Hi – Newbie, forgive me if I’m in the wrong place.
    Regarding Flybe/Avios. I mainly fly to Middle/Far East from Manchester, so have been an Emirates Skywards Gold Member for some years. Over the last couple of years I’ve ended up doing 1-2 short haul flights to Europe per week, and pretty much always use Flybe.

    So, I took the plunge and went Avios, using BA/Qatar/Cathay for long haul. Problem is, I can’t find any information as to what Flybe intend to do when Avios shuts down. Will the points just go into my BAEC account?

    Having stuck with Le Club Accor & Emirates for years, this is all a bit confusing for me, sorry!

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