Bits: Great Virgin US deals, No 1 Clubrooms coming to Birmingham, Tesco Premium Credit Card reprieved

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News in brief:

Excellent Virgin Atlantic US deals in Upper Class from Amsterdam

Virgin Atlantic has filed some excellent Upper Class fares from Amsterdam to North America.

These are valid for travel from late July / early August up to 3rd September and between 17th and 31st December.  Connections from Amsterdam are on Flybe or British Airways.

Typical deals include:

  • Amsterdam to New York (via London / Manchester) €1291
  • Amsterdam to Boston (via London / Manchester) €1276
  • Amsterdam to Washington (via London) €1222
  • Amsterdam to Seattle (via London) €1374
  • Amsterdam to Los Angeles (via London) €1491

You can learn more about Virgin Upper Class on this page of their website.  New York and Boston via Manchester can be booked via the Virgin booking page here but the other routes via London require you to use Expedia (don’t forget to claim your Nectar points!).

Hat-tip to German blog YHBU.

Virgin Atlantic Amsterdam deals

No 1 Lounges bringing Clubrooms to Birmingham International

The No 1 Lounge at Birmingham International suffers, along with its sister lounges at Gatwick and Heathrow T3, with capacity problems.  This is especially acute in the mornings, when Priority Pass holders are at risk of being turned away if they have not paid the £5 reservation fee (you can reserve spots here).

The good news is that No 1 is bringing its Clubrooms product to Birmingham.  A new lounge is currently under construction opposite Gate 54, next to the Emirates lounge.

I took a look at the Gatwick North Clubrooms here.  At Gatwick South, the lounge has table service and is arranged in a more restaurant-like style.  Instead of one large open space it is made up of a number of small rooms, with individual airlines – or private individuals if they wish – able to reserve a particular space.  Gatwick North was done differently and looks more like a standard lounge, done out to a plusher standard than a standard No 1 Lounge.

There is no opening date, and indeed there is no mention on the No 1 Lounges website that the lounge is even on the way – but it is.

No 1 Lounges Clubrooms Birmingham

Tesco Premium Credit Card is reprieved …..

I ran an article last week saying that the Tesco Premium Credit Card was being withdrawn from the market on Thursday night.  This was taken verbatim from an email sent to me from Tesco’s marketing agency, which also explained that is was being withdrawn because “[Tesco] won’t be able to offer all of the features” going forward.

It seems that someone jumped the gun a little, because the card is still available for new applicants on the Tesco Bank website.  I’m not sure what is going on here and I will try to get to the bottom of it.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Which hotel chains offer lifetime status? (and the BA criteria revealed too)
Bits: Exciting HFP Summer Party changes (NEW DATE!), last day for 50% off BA economy redemptions
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Comments

  1. Off topic..
    Anyone heard any rumours of when the BA sale is likely to start? I’m hoping it will be this week.

    Also, is there a way to view an available seat map for a BA flight before making a booking?

  2. Graham Walsh says:

    Just looking at flights for next month last week and decided on going via DUB to LAS and flights in business was around £1700. Went to look just now to a view to booking and all over £3k now 🙁 Tried different devices and browsers. Any other tricks to see if I can get similar prices? Will try a VPN next.

    • Some fares have a 28 day advance booking requirement. Perhaps that?

    • Kevin H says:

      Strange. Have just looked and dates next month from 16 July (ie 28d+ in advance) for DUB/LAS/DUB are shown from around €1800 ( £1,575) in business.

    • Chris says:

      Make sure you stay a Saturday night to get the cost down

      • Graham Walsh says:

        Yep going Thursday to Thursday 12-19th

        • Jonathan says:

          As mentioned above, you’ve missed the 28 day advance purchase requirement for most cheap Business class fares. If you were looking before Thursday last week then these would have been available. Unfortunately it’s a painful lesson to learn but airlines work differently to hotels and you won’t find a last minute bargain so take whatever you can find now as prices will increase again at t-21 & t-14 days. Rarely pays to book more than 6 months out but almost always significantly more expensive within 4 weeks as this is when a lot of business travel is booked (exceptions include the more tourist heavy airlines like Qatar who often have no or minimal advance purchase requirements in their sales).

  3. the real harry1 says:

    Looks like I have a mortgage with Virgin Money, give us some points then.

    Yorkshire & Clydesdale names to disappear.

    • Andrew says:

      It’s certainly causing some confusion. There are newspapers who are using images of Yorkshire Building Society instead of Yorkshire Bank in their reports.

      Richard does have the kind of whispy hair and beard that bank note designers love to use on a bank note though! Perhaps it’s time to say goodbye to Alexander Fleming (£5), Robert Burns (£10), Robert the Bruce (£20), Elsie Inglis (£50) and Charles Rennie Mackintosh (£100) and a big hello to a licensed image of Richard Branson.

    • Lumma says:

      I’ve got a “B” current account, only opened to get the £250 switching bonus. For an app driven account, the app is terrible, I wonder if it will improve of it turns into a virgin money account?

      Although I’ll have probably switched again by the time that happens

      • I also have a B account, and also agree the app is terrible! It’s supposed to be targeted at people who want more data on their financial transactions (and also offers a FX free credit card for HfP readers…) But then, the app is slow and often requires several passwords if you are transferring over a set (but small) threshold. Will stick with Barclays (much much better app).

        • My account is used as the bills account for the flat I live in and the housemates pay their rent and their share of the bills into it. For “security” you can’t do more than £500 as a transfer without putting in the password, which I couldn’t work out what I used as I can log in with my fingerprint on the app. Solved the problem by doing multiple £499 transfers to my main account.

          I need to check that they won’t try and get back the £250 switch bonus and find a new switching bonus.

          Having said all this, the previous account was co-operative and their app was even worse

      • Lumma, I’m in the same position. I’ve just applied to switch my B to M&S for £220 in vouchers over a year. Don’t normally shop at M&S but am sure I can make it work for a while since it’s essentially ‘free’. No doubt will switch again this time next year!

        • @Lumm I switched a few weeks after getting the £250. They don’t claw it back so you should move as soon as

    • RussellH says:

      Were I running it it would be the Virgin name that went. Or has Branson got enough shareholder clout to force this on a couple of respected names? AFAIR Clydesdale + Yorkshire both avoided the worst exceeses of 2008-2010, while Virgin is just a rehashed Northern Rock, which was the first to collapse.

      Why is it that marketing geeks so love the word “Virgin”?
      I could come up with all sorts of unprintable Freudian explanations!

    • the_real_a says:

      More importantly – to “use” the virgin brand only costs them £15m a year… Absolute bargain.

  4. OT Hmmm, seeing the news this morning, hoping that the CYBG takeover of Virgin Money will help and not hamper the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards… ????????

  5. Oh Matron! says:

    Virgin often have fares like this ex manchester. In fact, I’m off to NYC this weekend starting in manchester, UC for £1200

  6. Geoff says:

    OT: Wondering if anyone has seen the promised refund of the ‘cash’ fees from using a Tesco CC via Curve? I have not.
    Or if anyone has successfully used Curve with a Tesco CC and not been charged since Tesco announced they would ‘pause’ the charges…? (I haven’t tried.)

    • Richard G says:

      No refund here yet. I’ve removed my Tesco card from Curve and I’ll be paying off / closing my account in due course. Terrible way to treat customers.

    • Do any other CC companies charge the fee?

    • Cuchlainn says:

      No refund yet and interest charged on cash transaction – all detailed out in monthly statement.

      #TescoPremiumCompleteCrap

      • James knox says:

        nothing yet for me either – will also be cancelling my tesco card once this is sorted out, and will thank them for 25 months of interest free spending and balance transfer (that was zero fee to do the transfer)

  7. Hi, Qatar related, next month have a350-1000 on leg 1, 787-8, a350-900, a350-100 – I take it the only iffy one is a350?

    • Lumma says:

      All Qatar A350s have the same reverse herringbone seats as the 787s. Or did you mean a330 as the iffy one? I actually like Qatar’s old 2-2-2 seats over the reverse herringbone ones for comfort, although if you’re not in the centre 2 you’d need to step over someone or be stepped over yourself

    • Adrian says:

      I’m no expert on QR, but I thought all the new A351’s (A350, 1000) are being delivered with the new q suites, which are delightful. The 788 and 359 will have the reverse herringbone and are very nice seats. The only old angle flat seats are the a320’s. This is assuming you are in business.

      • Lumma says:

        Ah yes, I see. To be fair, I don’t think any of Qatar’s business cabins can be described as iffy. It’s like saying strawberry ice cream is your least favourite. Other flavours might be better but you’d never say no given the chance

        • I don’t like ice cream. I’ve also never flown QR… now wondering if I should avoid it!

  8. Benylin says:

    Applied for a platinum card upgrade from Gold charge card more than 5bd ago, nothing back yet. Anyone know how long it takes from experience? I know it says 10 days from after you apply.

  9. My BA Premium Amex was just renewed and I was charged the £195. I would like to cancel asap, primarily to be able to get the 25k avios in 6 months time.

    I do have 2 companion vouchers in my BA account. I will continue to hold my Plat card.

    1) are my vouchers at risk? What if a book using the voucher, and then want to cancel and rebook at a later date?

    2) any instances of Amex “offering” me something to keep the card? Waived fee or increased avios?

    3) Anything else I should be aware of?

    • Kinkell says:

      I’m in same position, so would also welcome responses from ‘those who know’

    • the_real_a says:

      1) Although AMEX will tell you that you will lose the vouchers (provided they are showing at BA) i don’t think anyone has actually lost them.

      2) Yes retention offers can be very good, but depend on your spend history. I like the extra “point” for every £1 which is for 3 months as i can put some serious spend through the card at various points of the year. Typically your reason for leaving needs to fixed by the retention offer… you have to play the game a little.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Cancelled my BAPP a few months ago and the 241 is in the “bank” still

  10. Geoff says:

    1) If you ask Amex they will tell you that the voucher becomes void if you cancel the card. However, experience here and on FT is that the vouchers is not voided once issued, and people report even cancelling a booking and the voucher returns to the BAEC account. However, you would of course have no grounds to complain if somehow the rule was enforced.

  11. AndyK says:

    OT. Does anybody know if there will be a fee to use new Virgin Atlantic CC to fund Revolute?

  12. Faithy says:

    OT. BAPP
    If I cancel with 241 voucher just received and want to reapply in 6 months. When would I be able to get new voucher? TY

  13. William Jones says:

    Hi All,

    This may have come up or been explained previously and if so apologies for missing this.

    Since the closure of the UK Avios program I am no longer able to log into avios.com. This means I am unable to see the points my Lloyds Avios card would be generating. My understanding was that these points should now automatically drop into my BAEC account instead. The points posted immediately on statement date before the closure of Avios, it has been 18 days since my statement and no sign of them appearing in my BAEC account.

    Have I got this wrong, is there somewhere else I should be checking or is this a problem? Has anyone else experienced this?

    • Mark2 says:

      I just logged into my Avios.com account with no problem.

    • Yes, they should automatically be going across. I would ring Avios and check they are linking to the correct BA account.

    • William Jones says:

      Thanks for your comments guys. I spoke to Avios using online chat, apparently my account had been blocked. I can get in now and see my Avios. For reference in case anyone else get’s this, the non-descript error I was getting was “A Key system is unavailable” when trying to login.

  14. RussellH says:

    There was an interesting article in yesterday’s Observer Financial section about the impact of the interchange fee cap.
    The basic thrust was that by and large fees charged to retailers have **increased** since the imposition of the cap, because Visa and MasterCard have increased their “scheme fees” by around 100%.
    Shop prices have increased to cover these increases and further increases are expected, unless the regulator can be persuaded to insitute a proper review of card fees as a whole.

    • New Card says:

      I saw this too – looked very interesting and perhaps challenges the idea that meaningful reward cards can’t exist in a 0.3% world, if Visa/MC/Amex can earn the same amount by bumping up other fees.

      • RussellH says:

        Is it not the card issuer that issues the rewards, though??
        If Visa and MasterCard keep increasing their take, that puts pressure on the card issuer to **reduce** their ma\rgin, leaving less for us.
        But, as a vertically integrated operation, Amex surely should be clever enough to find ways around the problem, as however it is split up, it all goes to Amex in the end anyway!

        • New Card says:

          I guess i was thinking either VISA/MC/Amex might issue rewards cards directly, as Amex already do, or there might be some kind of rebate from Visa/MC (out of the increased scheme fee) to the card issuer (to put them in the position they would have been in pre-interchange fee cap)

    • Yep, that’s definitely been the case at the (large) company I work for! We’ve gone to I++ and despite the breakdown we pay more overall. Visa and MC don’t tell you what they’re going to charge (or give you an itemised bill afterwards), they just hand you an invoice and demand their money. They are the real ‘demons’ now, and I would love for the next EU ‘investigation’ to focus on their duopoly.

      They’ll never issue cards themselves, it’s too risky and they make too much from the current structure to change that (unless forced).

  15. Mark2 says:

    OT
    Has anyone managed to connect a new Virgin Money card to Curve lease?

  16. OT but is anyone having trouble paying for ‘business’ transactions with there Curve card? I cannot seem to make any.

    • Mark2 says:

      Almost all the payments that I have made have been classified by Curve as ‘business services’.
      I did have trouble at first, but found that lots of moderate payments, £300-400 do not cause a problem.

      • I have had no problem, however over the weekend I have tried 5 times to put a payment through and it is not accepting them, not even the £200.00 ones…..

  17. Has anyone had issues with the Gold to Plat upgrade link?(https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/content/platinum-charge/upgrade/)
    I fill out of the application form and submit and then get a blank red error box on submission. I tried last week and again today and I’ve tried a couple different browsers, but still no luck. Can I call and do it and still get the 20k points on 1k spend for upgrading?

    • Mark2 says:

      Is it a charge card that you are trying to upgrade?

    • Jonathan says:

      Yes – never successfully managed to upgrade online (3 attempts over the past 18 months for my wife and I). Everytime i have had to do it over the phone, then argue with the Amex person that i would be due 20k bonus points as per the website T&C’s. Always got the card and the points.

      • Mark2 says:

        Similar attempts over the past 18 months for my wife and me have always been successful with the points being awarded with the last qualifying purchase. We have never been charged the £450 either.

        • Darren says:

          Now that’s interesting, just received my 20K and my first statement since an upgrade to Platinum. I was expecting the fee to be added this month but it hasn’t.

        • Darren says:

          as a reference, I used an upgrade link

    • Alex W says:

      I had issues with the upgrade link. Applied by phone and they confirmed I would get the bonus. I got the 20k bonus, can’t remember if I had to chase them or not.

      • Darren – I too had the same…I cancelled the Platinum card via “chat” and no fee was forthcoming.

  18. Geoff says:

    How do you see a points per purchase break down in the Virgin flying club or Virgin Credit card like we do with Amex or B.A?
    I only see the total per month once per month.

    Thanks
    Geoff

    Reply

  19. Lumma says:

    OT, spent the afternoon in terminal 3 lounge hopping. I’ve got to say, the Qantas lounge was the most disappointing, downstairs dining closed “until 6pm” felt like I was an inconvenience to the staff when I wanted a drink from the bar, which includes coffee.

    Biggest surprise was the American Airlines lounge, which was the only one I’d never been to beflre, if they had some decent craft American craft beers instead of just Budweiser and Carlsberg, dare I say it, I’d prefer it over Cathay. Cathay might have the noodle bar but AA had refresher chews 🙂

    • Richard Garcia says:

      That’s a shame. I found the Qantas staff to be absolutely brilliant when I used the lounge last.

      • Genghis says:

        Great for brunch. Good for dinner IMO. Not so good in the afternoon

      • Lumma says:

        To be fair, they were friendly enough, it just seemed like they had things to do other than manning the bar, which should be a given in a lounge with no self service alcohol or coffee. It also seems to take longer for them to check you into the lounge than any of the others, although the AA lounge said to me “you’re flying British Airways, do you not want to use their lounge?”. My response was, ‘have you been in the BA lounge?”. Although the BA lounge is the best if you just want to get drunk

        My next T3 flight is a 1pm departure, maybe I’ll give it another go at breakfast time before moving on

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