Bits: Primera Air’s Birmingham troubles, HFP competition winners, Hilton’s Bastille gig

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News in brief:

Primera Air drops Birmingham to North America services

Primera Air’s attempts to operate low-cost transatlantic flights from the UK have not gone to plan, partly due to delays in receiving the planned aircraft.

A slug of short notice cancellations in Birmingham have now been announced:

Birmingham to Newark is cancelled from 20th June

Birmingham to Toronto, due to start on 23rd June, is cancelled

Birmingham to Boston, due to start on 22nd June, was cancelled a few weeks ago

You can read more on the Birmingham Mail site here.  It is worth noting that the airline says it had a 70% load factor on the Newark flight.  It tries to spin this as good but it is actually very poor, especially for a budget carrier which is reliant on volume.

Primera Air Birmingham cancellations

Competition winners

Over the last few weeks we’ve run two competitions.

Three lucky readers could each win a luxury polo shirt by Niccolò P.  We can now announce the winners!  The three winners of Niccolò P. polo shirts are

Matthew R.

Neil V.

Sam H.

Congratulations! All winners have been notified.

The winner of the 35,000 Avios from insurance brokers Alan Boswell Group will be announced shortly ….

Hilton Bastille gig

Finally, if you are going to the Hilton Honors / Bastille private gig at St Luke’s Old Street tomorrow night, Anika and I will both be there so do please say Hi if you see us.  We should also be able to introduce you to some of the Hilton Honors people if you’re keen.

(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.)

Gone: no more ability to (quickly) find cheap BA Club World tickets via ITA Matrix
Virgin Flying Club launches new redemption seat sale on selected Economy routes
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  1. O/T: Does anyone have any experience of how long Hilton pool transfer points takes? Some people say instant but I’ve been waiting since yesterday. In fact my MR transfer turned up first.

  2. OT: I’m trying to work out if a purchase on a barclaycard product codes as a cash advance or not. If it did, would it show up as such in the online account straight away (i.e. with cash advance fee)? Or would I have to wait until it was no longer “pending”? Or would I have to wait until the next statement to actually know?


  3. So Primera stop BHX USA pretty much before they even commenced! Local news says they will recommence next year. Are they taking delivery of flying pigs??!!

    • Mark2 says:

      No, Boeing 787

      • Lady Londonh says:

        At present isn’t that potentially a flying pig?

        • the real harry1 says:

          No 787s have actually gone down or anything near that due to possible engine deterioration earlier than expected. All engines wear out with use – the 787 RR engines just seems to be showing earlier signs of stress than was planned.

          In that situation we have a classic cover backside/ Millennium bug scenario where overkill comes in as nobody in positions of authority wants to be the fall guy for a nasty but possibly predictable failure some time in the future. There might also be people thinking getting a dig in at RR helps GE and P&W.

          Hence withdrawing perfectly serviceable planes with the ‘dodgy’ engines, for remedy, when those engines aren’t really dodgy at all judged by logical methods of assessing risk.

  4. Tracy says:

    O/T I am looking at a rewards flight and wondering how much extra the taxes should be on a regional connection? The taxes from LGW are £569 and from GLA are £651. Does £82 extra taxes sound about right? Thanks

    • That sounds not far off but if you click through to the next page on the booking system (depending what stage you are at) it sometimes comes down a bit more. At some point I need to check whether the taxes for “free” regional add ons are worth it any more, the only real benefit is being able to check your luggage all the way through, and you can get round that in CW by allocating all your checked bas to 1 or 2 passengers who have the same PNR on both sectors.

      • Tracy says:

        That was me at the final booking page so I doubt it was going to change. Its a real pain to have to pay £82 each more for this Club World flight I would never pay for in the first place just so my bags are checked through….

        • We have the same issue flying from EDI. If u want the connection on the same ticket you are forced to pay the CE taxes for the domestic leg. You will probably need to phone if you want economy for the domestic part and CW for the long haul. I am not bothered about sitting at the front of the plane and don’t need to eat on the domestic leg when I’ve just been in the lounge -it’s another added cost which I don’t want.

        • There is a way to book ET onto a CW connection, I’m just trying to remember how! I think you have to use the “choose stopovers” option but put the same date in. Unless it’s changed, you can then select different travel classes.

      • Genghis says:

        Protect the connection?

        • Tracy says:

          What do you mean Genghis?

        • Genghis says:

          E.g. If you book two separate tickets and the first flight is delayed, your connection is not protected (i.e. you turn up to your second flight and it’s then been cancelled).

        • Colin MacKinnon says:

          The way we usually do it is buy the flex economy ticket that allows a change on the day up to an hour before departure.

          So buy a domestic flight allowing a but of a layover in London and then as soon as the inbound long-haul lands, phone to rebook on the earlier GLA/EDI flight.

          The other week, coming back from Denver in F, the flight was more than an hour early and we had booked a through ticket because we had some luggage for our children coming home a few weeks later. BA refused to let us check in to the earlier flight (which we had first booked, but it was then moved back by 5 mins so we would miss minimum connection time) and insisted we wait in the CCR for four hours to get our last leg home.

          So back to hand luggage only for our travels!

          ps And, beleive it or not, now looking at Norwegian economy rather than BA F for our next trip!

          (Thinking DEN to NYC and after a day or two there, a direct flight to EDI with Norwegian would be better than the Heathrow hang-about with BA!)

        • Tracy says:

          Genghis, Yes I guess that makes sense, put the responsibility back on BA to make sure we get there on time lol.

        • Tracy says:

          Liz, I will be using a 241. Can I book online CW for both legs and then call the call centre to downgrade the domestic to economy? Will it actually save much money?

        • Tracy says:

          Colin, I can see the logic but there is only one GLA-LGW flight and one EDI-LGW that we could get before the long haul flight anyway and they are within 20 mins of each other. The flex economy return ticket for the domestic leg is about £400 each unless I am missing something. Think I will just have to swallow the £82 each extra for the domestic CE leg…

        • Memesweeper says:

          Flex economy isn’t required — just get a regular one for free same day changes

  5. Londoner says:

    Promised to get back with regards to gift cards bought at Heathrow for the Heathrow Rewards offer (3000 points for £ 150 spend in one day).

    I spent 78 in World Duty Free which tracked automatically a week later or so. Bought a 75 GBP H&M Gift card at WHSmith which did not track, but upon sending a picture of the receipt, the points were added and the bonus triggered. It was WHSmith at T5, the one just above World Duty Free (close the Galleries lounge).

  6. Faithy says:

    How long until a 241 voucher posts? Where will i see it?

  7. Nick M says:

    Lounges at T5 without status… am I right in thinking that our options are Plaza Premium (accessible with Platinum card – do they swipe it?) and Aspire (accessible with Lounge Club via Amex Gold)?

    We’ll have a 3.5 year old and 1 year old, are either of the lounges flexible on children’s ages? – don’t fancy paying £15 for the older one to have a small bowl of fruit!

    • HAM76 says:

      Plaza Premium swipes, but kids are officially free. Great lounge, better than GC and close to GF if you don‘t mind the bar service, the lack of a kids play area and the overall smaller size. We didn‘t bother with Galleries on the return and walked straight to PP with our five-year-old.

  8. Tracy says:

    O/T again, if I want to book a 241 to fly out on Friday 28th June 2019 on a morning flight, I understand it is midnight 355 days before I should see the flights available. So is that 11.59pm on 8th July 2019? As you can probably tell this will be my first 241 and I really want specific dates….

    • Genghis says:

      I normally work it out closer to the time by following say from a week before I think it is when exactly it will be. I CBA to count exactly. It’ll be at 1am BST, however (midnight GMT).

      • Tracy says:

        I’ll maybe start to track it soon then, will give me an idea how quick they go too….

        • Genghis says:

          Note that if v popular route (eg CPT), BA CS on the blower can hold them before they even become available to book online. Call at 12.55am BST.

        • the real harry1 says:

          I was always intrigued by the notice that if you require to book your BA tickets more than T-355, please contact CS

        • Lev441 says:

          @therealharry1 – I think this is just a generic message. When I’ve called to add the return from CPT in the past before 1am, I’ve been told it’s too early, not been released yet blablabla and maybe 20 seconds or so before midnight she checked again and held them, but there wasn’t much in it.

          @genghis – have you had a different experience?

        • Genghis says:


        • Dean Murphy says:

          But seconds matter on a popular route

        • the real harry1 says:

          Genghis are you also Dean Murphy? lol

  9. Mark2 says:

    Am I right in thinking that a can just book flights for others on (soon) with no other action required please?

    • the real harry1 says:

      Sure, I booked tickets for my kids & wife without knowing we were connected as a family, might as well have been Mr Chips from the Chippy down the road or Jones the Postman

      • the real harry1 says:

        Not that I would go on holiday with those two reprobates

  10. Darren says:

    OT, Amex Platinum question –

    When booking a FHR trip do you need the Platinum card at check in?

    • the real harry1 says:

      ‘Per the T’s and C’s of FHR, you must pay with an American Express card when checking out of the hotel. However many front desk agents don’t notice or care so it is possible, but not a guarantee, that you can pay with a non-Amex card.’

  11. Robman says:

    O/T help required from those of you more mathematically capable than I.
    Want to book a hotel for the Goodwood Festival of Speed and use IHG points to stay in Portsmouth HIX North. Normal value can be had as cheap as £70 per night, but on night of 14/7 is £300!
    Whats the best option for me please as I can’t work out whats the best deal?
    a) 20000 points
    b) 15000 points +£40
    c) 10000 points +£65
    p.s. I brought 120000 IHG points a little while back with a 100% bonus for £480, so 20000 points cost me approx £80.
    Grateful for any advice.

    • Genghis says:


      • I concur!

        • For anyone interested in the Maths (sorry, occupational hazard), so that you can do this yourself, using Rob’s valuation of 0.4p (or £0.004) per IHG point (which is exactly what you paid)
          a) 20000 x 0.004 = £80
          b) 15000 x 0.004 + 40 = £100
          c) 10000 x 0.004 + 65 = £105

        • the real harry1 says:

          Not everybody paid 0.4p

        • “so 20000 points cost me approx £80”
          The “you” was singular! 😉

  12. Robman says:

    Thanks everyone.

  13. Andrew Carter says:

    Out-there. Qn for you HFP gurus! A family member has sold up in the UK and moved to the continent. His/her UK Amex has expired and he/she has just re-applied, using my UK address. I know because the new BAPP card has arrived. He/she did not ask me for permission. Is this above board? If I live with it, are there any risks for me to be aware of? Thanks in advance Andrew

    • the real harry1 says:

      Not exactly good manners to do that unless you’re, like, close as brothers – wouldn’t bother me personally overmuch if a sibling did that – as to risks, provided there’s nothing in your name, just the other person using your address, I think the risks are small. So the family member has problems and ends up owing Amex £5000. No bailiff can take your goods (though thick ones might try, I suppose). Amex know that houses can be in multiple occupancy so won’t identify you as being the same person as the relation, ie you won’t get tarred with the same brush if things go wrong. Credit records belong to the person, not the address. It’s not identity theft, in other words.

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