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

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 avios.com and what is shown on ba.com.  This was not always the case in the past.

Thirdly, to clarify what we wrote last week, ba.com 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).

We try out Virgin's new afternoon tea in the Clubhouse and in the air!
BA bits: LA and San Jose 787 cancellations, good US Winter Club World fares, are YOU called Harry or Meg(h)an?
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Comments

  1. Peter K says:

    OT Anyone else getting a message on Amex website saying that live chat is not working. Been trying for 45 mins but no improvement.
    Would ring but it’s to cancel Mrs K’s card and my falsetto is not well rehearsed.

  2. OT just tried to look online at MMB for our upcoming internal Qantas flights in Oz but just realised they do not appear on the list of flights. I added the booking reference and it says flights that are not BA are not shown. Does this mean I can’t check in online at T24. Flights were booked on BA.com. Or will I be able to add the booking reference on the Qantas site and check in that way or will I have to wait till I get to the airport?

    • Just found it on the Qantas site and it doesn’t allow online check in!

      • Liz, were you able to actually pull up your booking reference on the Qantas site? Did it tell you online check-in wouldn’t be available?

        Normally you can choose seats ahead of time for domestic flights on Qantas, as long as it is more than 24 hours before the flight.

        • Yes I pulled up our booking – said online checkin not available please check in at the airport

      • I recently had a couple of internal and international Qantas flights and had to airport check in for them all. As did everyone else judging by the size of the queue

    • David S says:

      Sometimes Qantas have a different booking code to the one that BA gave you and I had a similar issue a couple of years ago with domestic qantas booking on BA.com. Rang Qantas and was sorted quickly. Might be worth a try.

  3. Tom Cook says:

    Is it just me (potentially it is), but have the offers on BAPP and PLAT AMEX been uninspiring / irrelevant of late? The only one I can recall using recently was the Aldi £5 cash back, and even then that was only due to one opening in my neck of North Leeds.

    • Craig says:

      Nothing decent for weeks.

      • Months for me.

        £15 off £25 spend offers have been downgraded to 2% or 3% off. Aye right.

        • the real harry1 says:

          We can assume a few thoughts. Eg Amex’s budget for this kind of promotion has been significantly reduced. They are maybe directing marketing investment elsewhere such as the current new recruitment drive via TV ads and I assume other media. They have to be less generous as they have been hit hard by the interchange rules – don’t forget they lost the EU court appeal on co-branded cards as well https://www.headforpoints.com/2017/07/14/amex-loses-eu-court-appeal-on-ba-amex-interchange-fees-what-now-for-the-card/

          I don’t think the good old card offer days will come back but that there will be interesting spend opps nonetheless such as the Trailfinders and Amex Travel deals; also Shop Small?

          Incidentally I ran into problems on Aldi £5 as I had it 4x and they all failed to credit – turns out because it was a new store opening and not in their system. They reluctantly gave me £20 total over the 4 cards but the agent on the phone told me I would not be allowed to claim anything more (credits) for 6 months. Ridiculous as it was their offer in the first place.

    • MarkH says:

      I’ve had HoF £10 off £50, Harrods £30 off £100 and Paul £3 off £10 recently across multiple cards which I thought were decent.

      I’ve found it takes a while for the offers to pick up when you get a new card

  4. Shadowfixer says:

    This is bonkers, the Avios website says book through flybe, there are no links flybe says log in with your avios account – but wont take an account name. can someone point me in the right direction please?

    Thanks!
    SF

    • the real harry1 says:

      What route are you trying to book? I did 2 putative Flybe bookings this morning, logged in on BAEC, no problem at all.

      • Brian W says:

        Welcome back Harry, you’ve been missed!

        • the real harry1 says:

          cheers Brian – I am going to keep a lower profile & may disappear from time to time

          thanks all others for messages of (health) encouragement, I read that recovery from bad pneumonia may mean a year to get your lungs back to normal with older people (55!) & I reckon I fall into that category

        • Alex W says:

          Get well soon harry. I had pneumonia at 17 and that was bad enough.

  5. 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.

  6. the real harry1 says:

    With avios.com closing soon, I moved a few thousand Avios from IB—>avios.com—>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 avios.com start closing accounts.

  7. 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. https://secure.tesco.com/clubcard/christmas-savers/

        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) https://www.shopperpoints.co.uk/2018/01/18/victory-for-clubcard-members-tesco-delays-devaluation-of-redemption-partners/

          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

  8. 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.

  9. Jovan says:

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

  10. Lady London says:

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

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