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Bits: Thameslink / Great Northern declassify First, BA’s short-haul deep clean, Hilton Blackpool goes to Britannia!

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News in brief:

Thameslink and Great Northern declassify First Class

As part of their attempts to get passengers moving during the current major service disruptions, both Thameslink and Great Northern trains have declassified First Class in the AM and PM peak periods.

This is worth knowing if you are heading to Luton or Gatwick Airport over the next two weeks.

This will run until 15th July when a new interim timetable is launched.

  • The AM peak is from 6.30am to 9.30am, Monday to Friday
  • The PM peak is from 4.00pm to 7.15pm, Monday to Friday

First Class season ticket holders can claim a refund – full details are on the Thameslink website.  Thanks to Andy for this.

Thameslink First Class declassified

The British Airways ultra deep clean moves to short-haul

British Airways has now completed the deep clean of all of its Heathrow based long-haul aircraft.  A new 45-day inspection cycle is now in place which will hopefully stop the planes getting back into the state they were.

Starting next week, all 116 Heathrow-based short-haul aircraft will begin to undergo the ‘Ultra Clean’ process.  It will take a while to work through the fleet but there should be improvements in overall cleanliness.

Hilton Blackpool

Britannia Hotels to take over the Hilton Blackpool

We recently reported that the Hilton Blackpool was deflagging – although the good news is that a new Hampton by Hilton (click for details) is now open in Blackpool and is getting good reviews.

It seems that Hilton Blackpool will now be run by Britannia Hotels which is, erm, interesting.  The local council is not happy.

PS. Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Hilton Honors points.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

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  1. xcalx says:

    OW status holders can choose seats on AA. Input your OW FF No. then when you choose seats they will show as free instead of a $$ fee

  2. Graeme says:

    OT, I have an Amex Platinum, partner has a supplementary card.

    I’m going to refer her for her own plat card. Should I cancel the supp card first? She has Priority Pass also, just wondering if it would make it easier otherwise she would have 2 in her name.

    Thanks in advance.

  3. Howard says:

    Sorry to be off topic but I have an Amex Plat Card travel insurance question

    Would you be covered if you are on blood pressure
    and colestrial pills?

    • Genghis says:

      I don’t think this is a question for HfP. Read the terms / call Amex.

      • Howard says:

        Thanks for your helpful response.

        • Genghis says:

          Not helpful whatsoever, I know. I wouldn’t rely on a blog response for the answer to such a specific question where the consequences could be very costly.

        • Jimbob says:

          I think Amex express platinum insurance excludes pre-existing conditions. So should something happen, such as a stroke or heart attack occur while on holiday, you would be left with a large bill, as they would be secondary to your pre-existing conditions.
          Personally, I would be looking for alternatives that included pre-existing conditions, for peace of mind

    • the_real_a says:

      AXA the underwriter offers add-ons for pre existing medical conditions on the AMEX policy. The issue is getting through the right office, so phone the claims line and start form there. Phone them up and ask about how much the extra premium will be. In my case they just covered my issue without any extra payment.

    • Brighton Belle says:

      You have to declare everything. If you don’t and there is the slightest connection between your newly broken ankle and blood pressure you can expect a conversation if you make claim. Insurers seem to see every human ailment as conditional and related to everything else.

      My advice is don’t try to navigate around the declarations in the hope you avoid premium add ons. It’s not worth it. Despite having an Amex Platinum I use the Nationwide Flexplus because Amex regards anyone over 70 as near death and won’t insure them. They wouldn’t insure President Trump at 72. Too high risk.

      • the real harry1 says:

        the travel/ health insurance on the Barclays Travel Plus pack – 6 free lounge visits – allows 80s and under

        £15.50 / month last time I checked, minimum 6 months so 6 lounge passes (Dragonpass) @ £15 (can all be used on the same day if you like, ie cardholder plus guests) and the travel/ health insurance on top free

        plus RAC breakdown insurance free

    • Martin Valt says:

      Most interesting spelling of cholesterol I’ve seen in a while.

  4. Alex W says:

    45-day inspection cycle!! Why isn’t BA inspecting for cleanliness after every flight?? What a disgrace.

    • They are, they get inspected after every clean (every flight) and they call back the cleaners if it isn’t good enough.

      The 45-day ‘inspection cycle’ is for deep cleaning

  5. Craig says:

    Quick question re Curve, can I connect a credit card with a different name? i.e. get Mrs S one and use my card, it would save me an additional fee for a HSBC WE?

  6. testpie says:

    Shi!!annia – the worst hotel chain I’ve ever stayed in. Once put up there for work on an overnight job; finished at 7 AM, walked in to hotel for kip and breakfast… Walked out and commuted home instead.

    They are handy for a cheap pint, however.

    I think the chain stays afloat on top of “first time never again” victims and elderly guests, presumably reliving the nostalgic opulence a given hotel had in the 50’s rather than the dump they are actually in, present day

    • Craig says:

      Yep, many an elderly coach party including the dreadful club singer. Smallest breakfast plates I’ve ever seen too.

    • 1nfrequent says:

      Britannia remains the only hotel where I was literally presented with a storage cupboard with a single camper bed in it when I checked in. Hotel had overbooked. Reception denied it was a cupboard. I pointed out it didn’t have an en suite bathroom and there was a bucket and mop in the corner. Ended up checking into a different hotel and after a couple of months culminating in my threatening legal action, I got a refund. I wouldn’t keep a dog in a Britannia hotel.

  7. OT – has anyone tried booking a long haul redemption on today? Availability is showing on the flight finder tool but when I come to make the actual booking I keep getting an error message telling me to try again later. I’ve tried changing destinations and cabin classes but the same thing keeps happening.

    • Kevin H says:

      Anna – this happened to me a couple of days ago. I gave up.
      Have just tried again and I get the same error message as you. Seems to be yet another BA IT issue.

  8. Craig says:

    OT: What happens to a partially refunded card fee when an Amex account is closed to leave the account in credit?

  9. Kevin says:

    OT – When moving points from Tesco to Virgin are those points then able to be moved from IHG or are they locked in Virgin? Also, can I send my Tesco vouchers to any Virgin account or does it have to be linked to my name? Thanks!

    • Clive says:

      They just become Virgin miles and you are free to do as you wish with them.

    • Alex W says:

      I have successfully transferred from a Tesco account in one name to a virgin account in another name. Last name was the same, first name was different.

      • the real harry1 says:

        I had a couple of mates at Univ, bro & sis twins, one was Alexander and the other was Alexandra (not sure what the parents were thinking!)

        I guess one Alex sending points to the other Alex would not exactly have been difficult

  10. Graham Walsh says:

    Amex Plat referrals. Anyone else seen that the link you generate can only refer other Amex charge cards? Not able to select credit cards such as SPG Nectar etc. My brother is seeing this. I referred him for Gold, he then made the spend and then upgraded to Plat. Now can’t refer for anything else.

    Anyone else experiencing this?

    • lev441 says:

      So i’m seeing the same page as always. Brings up the page for the Platinum card but then you click ‘view other cards’ and there’s the various different types.

      Maybe try a different browser?

      • the real harry1 says:

        yep when you refer somebody, you don’t choose the ‘only’ card the referred person can get – they follow your referral and can select whichever card they want

        so you didn’t actually refer your bro for Gold, despite appearances

        you referred him to take out the Amex card of his choice

      • Graham Walsh says:

        How odd. I tried chrome on iOS and bingo it works. Safari is a no no.

  11. The other Blackpool hotels run by Britannia (Savoy, Norbreck and Metropole) are ranked 68th, 70th and 71st out of 73 hotels on Tripadvisor.

    • Where does “Trades” rank?

    • Will Squires says:

      Jesus. And the standard of guest accommodation in Blackpool is really not that good to start with.

      If anybody is looking for an off-chain recommendation, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Big Blue, and as long as you get a decent room The Imperial is fantastic too. Those two places, and occasionally the Village hotel are the only places I’d consider staying. The football club has what looks to be a decent hotel too but I can never find a tempting enough rate.

    • Andrew says:

      It’s funny how a brand name can change a perspective…

      One day it’s a Hilton and you pick up the phone to complain if the room isn’t quite right. The next day it’s a Britannia and it’s a relief that the linen has been changed and the carpets aren’t too sticky.

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