Virgin Atlantic Sale

Bits: £973 oneworld deal to Rio for August, Etihad F1 packages, Starwood loses four Dubai hotels

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

News in brief:

LATAM launches a £973 business class deal to Rio for August travel

LATAM has launched a very attractive business class fare to Rio, from just £973 in Business Class.

In theory this fare can be booked out of Madrid, Barcelona, Frankfurt and Rome.  By late last night, the two Spanish starting points were virtually out of availability.

Rome and Frankfurt were still available.  Here is a screenshot from 22.30 last night showing Rome to Rio from £973 return (click to enlarge):

LAN availability

Similar fares were also still showing from Frankfurt.  The issue is that Rome and Frankfurt use older aircraft without the newest seat.  Anika did a review of LATAM / LAN business class here, albeit on the short-hop from Madrid to Frankfurt, but that was on a Boeing 787 (the A350 is similar) and not the older Boeing 767 or 777 you are likely to find here.

Note that the 1 hour connecting flight from Sao Paulo to Rio is in Economy.

As LATAM is a member of oneworld, alongside British Airways, you will earn BA tier points (140 points each way for the long-haul segment) and Avios on the ticket.

You need to book by 17th July.  More importantly, all travel must be completed by 31st August.

You can book on the LATAM / LAN site here.  Hat-tip to Flyertalk.

Etihad Holidays Formula 1 packages

Etihad Formula 1 packages available

If you were at our Summer Party on Monday, you will have heard Gurdeep from Etihad Holidays talk about the Etihad Holidays packages to the Formula 1 grand prix in November.  This is the last race on the 2018 calendar.

You can find out more here.  You need to book by 31st July to get the current special rates.  Packages include entrance to the after race concerts which include The Weeknd, Sam Smith and Guns N Roses.  Packages start at £999 per person including flights, hotel, race entry and all the after-race events which would appear, frankly, excellent value to anyone who has ever looked at the cost of attending the British Grand Prix.  And you get a weekend away in the sun in November ….

In addition, if you are not already an Etihad Guest member, you can sign up here and receive 500 bonus miles.

How to earn Etihad Guest miles via UK credit cards

As a reminder, Etihad no longer has its own UK credit card.  However, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.  These are:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – 10,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

The Platinum Card from American Express – 30,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

American Express Rewards credit card – up to 5,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Etihad Guest miles.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Etihad Guest mile.

Etihad Guest is also a partner with the HSBC Premier Mastercard (0.5 miles per £1 spent, reviewed here) and HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard (1 mile per £1 spent, reviewed here).

Starwood loses four top properties in Dubai

If you’re wondering why there is a picture of me with Jamie Cullum here, it links back to an opening party for the super-luxury St Regis hotel in Dubai which I attended at Easter 2016.

“Nice party, shame about the hotel” was my view at the time.  Whilst the hotel was, in itself, suitably glamorous inside, it did feel like a ‘luxury hotel by numbers’ piece of construction.  More worrying, though, was the fact that the site was shared with a Westin and a W hotel, both of which literally towered over the St Regis in what is a surprisingly small plot of land.

The lack of an uber-luxury feel was not helped by the fact that the three hotels are literally on the edge of Sheikh Zayed Road, which is the equivalent of building The Savoy 10 metres from the edge of the M25.  See below:

Not surprisingly, it hasn’t worked out well.  It was announced this week that the St Regis, Westin and W at Al Habtoor City will be leaving Starwood on 31st July.  The second St Regis in Dubai, in the middle of nowhere at the Polo Club and which shares the same owners, has already been deflagged.

It isn’t clear if the hotels will be rebranded or not. Habtoor operates the Waldorf Astoria Dubai on The Palm (reviewed here) for example which seems to be working better although could be improved.  It also operates hotels under its own brand, although how it can do this with three totally different properties on the same site remains to be seen.

In the short term, this is a blow for anyone looking to redeem Marriott or Starwood points for a luxury stay in Dubai although these were not exactly ideal vacation choices.  The ‘best’ Marriott / SPG holiday option remains, I think, the Habtoor Grand Resort (Autograph Collection) although I have never been there and it is never discussed in any ‘best resorts in Dubai’ article I have read.  The JW Marriott Marquis is probably the best city option.

In terms of value, you are FAR better at the two The Ritz-Carlton properties just down the road in Ras Al-Khaimah which are exceptional value for redemptions – see my review here (desert resort) and a news article here (beach resort).

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Celebrate World Cup failure with £66 off a British Airways long-haul flight!
What happened at the Head for Points Summer Party
Click here to join the 14,000 people on our email list and receive the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

IHG Sale
Amazon ad
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. Canuck says:

    O/T: Looking for some advice on aircraft changes;

    Booked on YYC>LHR on a BA 787 in Sept. Today it was changed to a 789. All our seats have been shuffled from 21HJK to 30F / 33JK. We did originally have bassinet seats for infant, but not anymore.

    Is this a case of tough luck? or any advice on what to say to the agent? Sounds privileged but I chose BA for the bassinet seats for our infant.

    • the real harry1 says:

      Can’t you choose bassinet seats for free if you are travelling with infant? Have they been grabbed by somebody else?

      Or try booking them yourself if you have an infant included, on the Royal Jordanian MMB site.

      • Canuck says:

        BA show no bassinet seats at all on a 789. I tried Jordianian – picked new seats but get;

        Please provide us with a birthdate. (1429)

        • Crafty says:

          Call them. Depending on age of child I would be kicking up a real fuss about flying without access to one where that access had been expected.

  2. the real harry1 says:


    • the real harry1 says:

      Otherwise ring up, sounds like the seats you want are available, I used 0191 4907901 the other day

      • Canuck says:

        Thank you. Finnair deep linked to BA MMB. I called BA and there are no bassinet seats. Agent moved us to sit together (no charge) but other than that we have to just suck it up.

  3. I’ve just got an email offering HH points for 50% off until August 15th. I’m new to HH so not sure if this is a good deal or not! I guess it depends on the cash price of the hotel room you would redeem them for?

    • Genghis says:

      In general, 50% off / 100% bonus is not good for speculative purchases but may work for specific redemptions, discounting for lack of points earned etc

    • Crafty says:

      Still seems way too expensive from a quick play.

  4. Wally1976 says:

    OT – just wanted to say thanks to whoever posted the First Direct/Nationwide Co-op offers on here last weekend. £30 saved on each of my water bill and council tax :-).

    • Mark2 says:

      So was that two purchases on the same card or two cards?
      I received an email from First Direct about it, some time after the account was transferred to Nationwide so registered both of our accounts for future offers.

      • Wally1976 says:

        It was two cards – one First Direct debit card (our main current account) and one Nationwide FlexPlus debit card (account we have for travel insurance, breakdown cover etc). Both offers were 10% off up to £30 max (I think some people only got 5% (or nothing!)). I pay both bills at Co-ops using Paypoint, usually with an Amex.

        • Mark2 says:

          Thanks. We have each got a Nationwide account (for the £200 to switch) and this £30 each was another bonus (although forgoing 450 Avios for each).

    • Crafty says:

      Annoyingly my co-op has a £100 max for paypoint so only saved £10×2!

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.