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Bits: using Aer Lingus lounges with BA status, BA announces new Marrakech route, Tesco Direct closes

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News in brief:

Using Aer Lingus lounges with British Airways status

A reader asked me about this topic a couple of days ago, so I thought I would quickly run through the longe access rules for Aer Lingus if you have British Airways status, just in case you are heading off to Ireland for the Bank Holiday.

And it isn’t simple!

In Heathrow:

Aer Lingus has a pleasant lounge in Heathrow Terminal 2Anika reviewed it here.

The rule here is that British Airways Silver or Gold cardholders can use the Aer Lingus lounge at Heathrow.  Your ticket does NOT need to be issued by BA and it does NOT need to be a BA codeshare.  If you have BA status, even a super-cheap ticket booked on will do the job.

In Dublin or Shannon:

Again, BA Silver or Gold cardholders can use the Aer Lingus lounge in Dublin or Shannon.  It doesn’t matter if your ticket has an Aer Lingus or British Airways flight number.

This only works if you are flying to Heathrow or Gatwick.  If you fly from Dublin to, say, Manchester you will not get Aer Lingus lounge access in Ireland with a British Airways shiny card.

In Gatwick:

And to confuse matters further …. Aer Lingus has no lounge in Gatwick.  However, if you have a British Airways Gold card, you can use the British Airways lounge in Gatwick South.

No guests are allowed.  More importantly, your ticket must have a British Airways flight number.  An Aer Lingus ticket with an EI flight number will not get you in.

British Airways Silver cardholders do not get into the Gatwick lounge in any scenario, irrespective of who issued their Aer Lingus ticket.

Glad we got that cleared up …..

British Airways launches Heathrow Marrackech

New BA Heathrow – Morocco route now bookable

British Airways has announced a new route from London Heathrow to Marrakech in Morocco for the Winter season.

From 28th October 2018 there will be a four-weekly service from Heathrow Terminal 5 to Marrakech.

BA currently has eight flights per week from Gatwick to Marrakech which means that you will be able to choose from 12 different flights in total.

Avios availability for the newly added Heathrow flights will be wide open with the guaranteed four Euro Traveller and two Club Europe seats and there is a good chance to get key dates.

However, as of yesterday, the flights had not been properly loaded into  There were no inbound flights and no economy flights showing on the BA system but they may have been added by now.  It is fine if you want a one-way outbound in business class though!

Return trips start from £332 in Club Europe and £123 in Euro Traveller.  Round-trip Avios redemptions for Club Europe are 34,000 plus £50 on off-peak days and 40,000 Avios plus £50 on peak days.  In Euro Traveller a round-trip redemption off peak is 17,000 Avios plus £35 and on peak days 20,000 Avios plus £35.

To maximise your miles when paying, your best bet is the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card which earns double Avios (3 per £1) when you book at or via BA Holidays.  You do not get double Avios if you book with the free British Airways American Express card.  Another option is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.

Tesco Direct to close

Tesco Direct to close

Tesco has surprised the market yesterday by announcing that it is closing Tesco Direct on 9th July.

Whilst some products will continue to be sold via the Grocery website, it is very likely that we have seen the end of the generous points bonanzas of the past – although, to be fair, pickings have been slim over the last couple of years.  This was always of great interest to Avios and Virgin Flying Club collectors due to the ability to transfer Clubcard points into airline miles.

Anika has the full story over at Shopper Points here. She also cropped up in the BBC News version here and in the Daily Telegraph here.

Feel free to share your best Tesco Direct points deal in the comments!

(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. Tilly says:

    O/T but Dublin lounge related – presuming lots of readers will have experienced the exec lounge at Dublin terminal 1. Planning to visit on our return to LCY on bank hol Monday using priority pass from amex plat. Only BA bronze so can’t access aer lingus lounge. Is the lounge any good? What’s the food and drink offer like?

    Also, do you think the T5 plaza premium lounge will be busy this Friday p.m. ? Hoping to get us in on my Amex plat.

    • T5 PP has never been reported full yet!

      • Tilly says:

        Great thanks. If I can’t get in will post on Friday afternoon. Will be nice to check it out and get a meal before our flight.

        • We should be in Galleries First about 6.45 on Friday for half an hour. I’m the one with the annoying kids 🙂

      • Was full on Saturday morning around 8am when I visited – everybody leaving the country to miss the wedding?!!

        • You mean full as in busy or full as in your couldn’t get in? I have never heard of anyone not getting in.

        • Tilly says:

          Busy I don’t mind, it’s full can’t get in that I’m more concerned about. Will be there around 6pm ish.

        • HAM76 says:

          almost empty Tuesday around 6:00am and Friday 5pm. Galleries Club South was rather full and comparable dirty…

    • Stu N says:

      Dublin T1 lounge is pretty poor. Very limited food ( I was there early evening and wasn’t much on offer at all). Usual coffee and soft drinks but anything alcoholic is all bar service. I wouldn’t plan on spending any more time there than strictly necessary.

    • The Original Nick says:

      Hi Tilly, I used the T5 Plaza premium on Wednesday morning on our way out to Toronto via DUB and was very happy with the lounge as it was very quiet and the food was better than the Galleries lounges (for English breakfast anyway). It’s quite a small lounge but definetly with a visit if you have no access to Galleries. I also wanted to take a look for a change to just going to the Galleries.

      • Tilly says:

        Great. Thanks Nick. Hopefully we can definitely get in to try it out for dinner. Hubby will be hungry as will I. Flying in ET this time so no access to Galleries lounge. Got exit row seats though.

    • Generally poor food and drink offering, as in it’s some snacks laid out, no hot food available to order and no champagne or anything like that.

      We’ve no good lounge offerings in DUB really. It’s nicer than sitting downstairs and is about 5 mins walk from the BA pier so once boarding starts you’ve time to walk down

      • Tilly says:

        Thanks Jack. Very helpful. We’ll probably check it out but maybe pick up a sarnie on our way to the airport.

        • Good idea, the food is not great anywhere at the airport, if you’re in the city centre there’s lots of fantastic places to get food to go (Fallon and Byrne, avoca, the pepper pot are all fantastic)

        • Tilly says:

          Thanks for the recommendations. I’ll look them up.

  2. Create a video and it (almost) comes true:

    It’s now been a week since the announcement that Virgin Trains East Coast will have their franchise terminated on the 23 May and replaced by a government owned company LNER. This is meant to be temporary but last time it happened we had East Coast for almost 6 years.

    As usual with a franchise switchover any tickets you already hold will remain valid. If you buy tickets for 24 May and later which are restricted they’ll likely still say VTEC only on them but they’ll be valid on LNER.

    If you have any eVouchers (or paper vouchers) these will continue to be valid until expiry (this includes any from Nectar/Flying Club).

    I can’t see the Flying Club partnership lasting so if you want to earn miles on your VTEC/LNER tickets it might be worth buying now. (Please note you do NOT earn miles purchasing eVouchers just when you redeem them, so you can’t use the trick many of us used in EC Rewards days).

    I don’t think a new loyalty scheme will be their top priority although I’d love to be proven wrong. I can’t hold this against the new operator. Virgin Trains East Coast inherited an excellent scheme from East Coast and could have chosen to keep it running (but with tweaks if they thought it too generous). LNER will not have that same luxury so if they decide to implement a new scheme they’ll need to start from scratch.

    It will be BETTER for us if they scrap Nectar. If you want Nectar you can get it on all rail travel if you book via GWR, SWR or TransPennine Express so LNER offering it offers little additional value. Having a contract with Nectar however would limit their flexibility in the future to launch their own scheme.

  3. @alastairtravel says:

    Thanks for the Marrakech nod – all booked up

  4. terri says:

    When I flew BA code share on Air lingus metal Dublin to gatwick as a silver I was not allowed to bring a guest into the AL lounge. This was unexpected and embarrassing for me and my guest. Lounge dragon said BA was tight and wouldn’t pay AL for guest so no guest allowed.

    • Mzungu says:

      I had similar flying LHR to SNN on EI with a BA flight number (I’m BA silver). We were flying with friends, so said we were going to the lounge and left them to do their own thing. Grumpy lounge dragon said “no guests” and produced a laminated sheet from her folder to back it up. She even suggested that I could come in and leave my wife outside! A bit embarrassing, having left our friends to go in there. It would be a lot better if these things were clearer at the time of booking – you could potentially even make different choices.

  5. +1 on this a few years ago flying DUB to LHR as BA Silver. There is no publicity about this anywhere and you only find out when trying to gain access. It is therefore better to book on BA metal out of DUB for this reason + there is no priority checkin 🙂

  6. wally1976 says:

    Is it possible to view just products with bonus Clubcard points on Tesco Direct? If you click ‘Offers’ they’re all just “Save up to 30%”, “Save £10”, “2 for £50” type offers and no bonus point offers. I know there’s some bonus point offers on there because of the Now TV sticks. Just seeing what I can get as a last hurrah!

  7. pauldb says:

    Other changes reported here:

    Extra flights to Cyprus and Gran Canaria for winter sun.

  8. vlcnc says:

    Note to anyone travelling to Palermo on BA this winter – seems it’s being cancelled as my partner was due to fly over for Xmas to see family but email saying was cancelled with only Catania offered as an alternative which is silly as it’s not especially easy to get between the two. Guessing BA have no responsibility to get him to Palermo even on an alternative carrier?

    • Yes, covering this tomorrow.

    • pauldb says:

      BA are obliged to rebook him to PMO per EU261 though they’re not adverse to trying to wriggle out of it. For longhaul cancellations they tend to publish rebooking guidelines including, a few dates later, arrangement on other airlines … but I’ve never seen that shorthaul. You might give it a few days to see what they suddenly start to offer.
      You have plenty of time. If I were you I would decline the refund, insist on rerouting and if they refuse, book my own flexible rerouting and MCOL them for the cost. Nothing to lose and you’ll know the outcome in a couple of months.

      • vlcnc says:

        Thanks – he’s already asked for a refund unfortunately (without telling me lol) as he’s fed up with BA as well but will keep in mind for future.

  9. Michael Canning says:

    Surely this article should be enough for BA to realise that its lounge access rules when flying Aer Lingus need alignment across all UK and Ireland airports – it’s utter madness and confusing as it currently stands (with those flying from regional airports often being penalised over those flying from London).
    Is there good reason for the misalignment or just poor management by BA?

    • Before IAG bought Aer Lingus and BA bought BMI, BMI had a deal with Aer Lingus for lounge access. When BA bought BMI it inherited that deal. IAG then bought Aer Lingus! If Aer Lingus joined oneworld all this faff would go away.

      • Michael says:

        Ha! Simple then (i.e. that takes a bit of getting my head around).
        Thanks for explaining Rob.

  10. O/T, cancelled my SPG Amex last week after triggering the sign up bonus and referring, and then when asking on online chat when my points will post they said I forefeited them by cancelling the card before they were sent to SPG and that this was read out in the cancellation call…I have asked Amex to listen back as I don’t remember being told this when I cancelled, anyone else aware of this?! Did I mishear?!

    • The Original Nick says:

      I think you’ll be losing them AFAIK.

      • Sorry to hear that Mark, but I too think you are stuck.

        I’m currently in the midst of a SPG Amex churn as well – does anyone know how long points take to be ‘transferred’ from my Amex SPG account to my actual account? Very nearly made the same mistake…

        • MarkH says:

          Believe it’s the same day each month that you opened the card account – so if you opened it today the points would sweep across on the 23rd each month.

    • Jonathan says:

      I cancelled my SPG card a few weeks ago and asked via the chat before cancelling and was told that any points which hadn’t transferred would be forfeit. I don’t know if I would have been proactively told had I not asked.

      Like you I assumed that they would just be transferred to my SPG account.

      • Thanks all, I am 99% certain that the BA cards transfer any left over Avios when you close and that you have 30 days after closing MR cards to transfer these out too so was really surprised when I heard this. I will wait to see what the Amex agent says after listening back to the call and report back…

        • When I cancelled my BA card I was told this and still cancelled as I only lost about 100 avios in the process.

        • Crafty says:

          Oddly, I thought I’d lost about 1,200 Avios on the BA Amex because of this, but about a month later the points came across anyway, which was nice.

      • Roberto says:

        This also happened to me today.. the Chat operator asked me to read their terms online before going ahead, one of which stated that outstanding points would be forfeited..

    • I suspect you might be OK – wait until the normal day of the month when your points transfer and see if they arrive.

      I have had leftover pints turn up on Spg cards and BA cards after cancelling. I wait until the bonus has moved across before cancelling just to be on the safe side. I’ve been told that any points that haven’t yet appeared in my Amex account will be forfeit, but even that isn’t definite in my experience.

    • When I cancelled my SPG card over the phone last week, I was specifically told that any points not transferred would be forfeited I’m afraid.

    • I think you’ll be fine.

      I cancelled about 4-6 weeks ago, was told I’d forfeit the points. There were 10 points left in my Amex/SPG acocunt so I wasn’t too fussed about it.

      A few days ago I logged into that card to transfer my credit balance out onto another card and noticed that the the Starpoints had dropped to 0. Checked my SPG account and they’d turned up there.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        You may have got lucky. I cancelled knowing I would lose 7 points and have never received them. been 2 months.

        AFAIK if you have a balance when you cancel you won’t ever see those points

  11. Cuchlainn says:

    OT – ( partly posted in BITS 2 days ago but late in day )
    Has availability ceased for Flybe from November onwards ? Can book return flights BHD to EMA until end of Oct 2018 but cannot get an inbound from 1st Nov onwards.

    PS Got DUB to ACE with EI / AL sorted for Feb 2019 on platform but took approx 6hrs for BAEC to transfer to show up.

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