Bits: free Etihad luggage tags, Virgin Atlantic opening a pop-up pub, Gatwick Airport train ticket acceptance

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News in brief:

Free personalised luggage tags from Etihad

Via its website, Etihad is letting you design your own luggage tag – for free!

You can upload any photograph or image you want subject to copyright rules (perhaps try an image of a BA Gold card!) for the front.  There is no Etihad branding overlaid as far as I can see.  The back has a small Etihad logo together with your name and contact number.

Take a look here.  Thanks to Charlotte for this.

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

Free luggage tags from Etihad

Virgin Atlantic and Delta opening a pop-up pub in Holborn

For no logical reason whatsoever, Virgin Atlantic and its joint venture partner (and 49% shareholder) Delta are opening a pub.  For 10 days.

“The Joint Venture” will be at 33 New Oxford Street and is taking over “The Old Crown”.  (New Oxford Street is not Oxford Street, it is to the east of Tottenham Court Road.)  If you’re interested in craft beer then this is definitely one for you, as the pub will be selling 230 different brands – one from each of the 230 cities which Delta and Virgin fly to in the US.

It opens NEXT Friday 10th August and closes on Sunday 19th.  There are various events planned throughout the week including quiz nights – details are on the Virgin Atlantic website here.

Note that, whilst the website doesn’t mention this, the press release I received says that they will be giving away free flights to the winners of the quiz nights …..

There is a press opening party next Thursday so I will pop along and see what it is like.

Train ticket acceptance on routes to Gatwick Airport

A new emergency timetable was introduced on 29th July across Great Northern and Thameslink in an attempt to match the number of trains with the number of trained drivers!

Services should now be running with a greater degree of normality.  First Class has been restored and you can no longer sit in First Class unless you have a valid ticket – except on Thameslink services where the rear First Class carriage has ALWAYS been declassified and open to anyone.

There is still some flexibility to save money on train tickets to Gatwick Airport by travelling on Gatwick Express but using a ticket issued by another train company.  Here is the official guidance which is in place as of 29th July:

“For journeys on the Brighton Mainline between London, Gatwick Airport and Brighton:

Valid ‘Thameslink Only’ routed season, single and return tickets can be used on any Gatwick Express, Southern or Thameslink train service that will enable the passenger to complete their journey.

Valid ‘Southern Only’ routed season, single and return tickets can be used on any Gatwick Express, Southern or Thameslink train service that will enable the passenger to complete their journey.

Valid ‘Not Gatwick Express’ routed season, single and return tickets can be used on any Gatwick Express, Southern or Thameslink train service that will enable the passenger to complete their journey.”

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  1. OT:
    Has anyone heard of “Marriott ownership”.
    If so is it good?

    • Is that a time share thing? My uncle had a Marriott one and hated it, too inflexible.

      If it’s anything like the Hilton one then it will be hideously expensive and to be avoided…

      • They say it’s different from timeshare. Called Marriott vacation club.

        • As a long-standing timeshare owner I would not restrict myself to one hotel chain, unless you are happy to stay in the same resort every year. Look very closely at how much it’s going to cost you – we got our 2 weeks as real bargains but every time we’ve looked at buying other weeks the costs seem to have skyrocketed, especially if you are buying “points” rather than a set week, as they can just change how much these are worth as and when they feel like it (and then try and persuade you to keep buying more and more). There will be also an annual fee, regardless of whether it’s “timeshare” or not.

          If you’re really interested in buying into this kind of thing (we’ve had stunning value out of ours, especially when combined with premium travel courtesy of HFP), I would recommend looking at (reputable) timeshare re-sale sites where loads of people offloaded their units during the recession for next to nothing because they couldn’t afford to pay the maintenance fees any more. Then if you do buy one and want to use it to travel around, join a recognised exchange programme like RCI or II.

  2. O/T just gone to transfer some Avios from Iberia to BA for the first time in a few months (earned from Accor hotel transfer) and I get a message on the combine my avios page saying “You can only move Avios from British Airways to Iberia Plus – you cannot move your Avios back again.” anyone else seeing this?

    • Genghis says:

      Yesterday I pulled from and then pulled from BAEC.

      • thanks, seems to be working. Very surprised to see that message as I thought there had never been any restriction for transferring within IAG…oh well!

    • Wouldn’t that contradict what Iberia said at the weekend about moving the bonus avios to BAEC?

      • The Iberia page you go from when combining my Avios says you can transfer back and forth so theres a contradiction there too!

      • That is the long-running CMA IT quirk. Go via and all is fine (unless you’re in a BA household account).

  3. Mark S says:

    OT regarding Virgin Atlantic Credit Card. I signed up to the free Rewards Card, spent a fiver and bagged the points then put the card in the sock draw. Received a letter (almost a package) saying that there was an offer that will apply to new cards and mine of a further 2k points each month for 3 months if spending £500 per month on the card. Card now out f the sock drawer.
    However, the offer on the paid card makes that very attractive. I am travelling at present, and may or may not have thrown the offert away, but the basics was to receive 15k miles on first spend, then 6k (or perhaps 5k) per month for 3 months on a 1k per month spend.
    Thought I’d use some downtime to apply, but can’t find a link with that offer. Anyone have a link?

    • I thought the offer was only if you already had the card? Agree was much more generous on the paid-for one, annoyed I only had the free one, but didn’t seem like they’d honour it if you then did paid-for too.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      No link just apply and they will add the points manually.

  4. KevMc says:

    OT anyone had any issues linking their VFC account to Amex MR? When I try to submit my VFC account number, it seems to send me around in circles and never actually adds it…

    • ankomonkey says:

      Yes. Had exactly the same about 2 weeks ago when trying to add it. I didn’t need to transfer urgently, so left it with the plan to try again soon. I thought I would try Chat if it didn’t work upon next try.

  5. OT can I transfer Amex MR points from my wifes account to my Hilton Honors account?

  6. OT – Potential Now TV offer (not sure if its been mentioned before, as I’ve been away and not kept up on the threads), especially for those of us that remember the various NoW TV/Tesco offers.

    On BA Shops (and avios) they are showing 2,000 points for a monthly cinema/entertainment pass, which seems to cost £7.99 or £9.99, the small print is a bit vague, but the offer runs until mid-August.

  7. OT: Got an e-mail from curve that they are upgrading me from a prepaid mastercard to a debit mastercard.

    It also suggests that if I use my card primarily for personal use I should let them know and they will send me a ‘personal debit card’ instead of a commercial debit card. I’m assuming that I’d no longer get Curve Rewards in that instance?

    • Genghis says:

      I upgraded to personal debit and I am still on the old Curve rewards scheme, 3% at Boots etc.

    • Andy S says:

      I’d like to know too the difference between personal and commercial. There never used to be a choice, they always assumed you were using it for business! What are the pros/cons of switching to “personal”?

    • Darran says:

      Got the email too. I would also like to know the pros and cons of each, particular where HMRC is concerned. We have until Friday to decide.

      • I had issues paying HMRC Childcare (not the main self-assessment) using a corporate debit card the BIN seemed to be blocked but now fine after they switched me to a personal debit card. Not on the old rewards scheme though. I also saw on their facebook/twitter a potential metal card…

      • Personal card lets you use it for deposits at hotels and car hire which you can’t now.

  8. the real harry1 says:

    My complete disinterest in Curve is because I don’t pay HMRC (well, I do, for my sole employee, personal trainer, fit as, but that’s largely irrelevant, cute though she is 🙂 ). No other earthly point in it.

  9. Jimbob says:

    OT – I’m looking on spending my Iberia avios, and looking at BA flight London to Rome on the 18th July. It shows up as available on the BA reward site, but doesn’t appear on Iberia Plus.

    Are some BA reward flights kept back from Iberia Plus? I’m trying to keep to the t&c’s and not transfer the avios out of Iberia

    • Steve says:

      Correct – some BA flight availability does not show up on Iberia plus, eg BA001 from LCY to JFK is non existent on IB Plus but lots of availability on BA, JFK to LCY shows up on some days on IB Plus but not as many days as shown on BA.

  10. Etihad doesn’t like my 7 letter post code…

  11. Something Rob said earlier – can you transfer avios from a BA HHA to I will need to do this shortly as are taking so long to close my (now empty) avios account and I need to use a Lloyds upgrade voucher. Please don’t tell me I am now stuck with an upgrade voucher I can’t use till have completed the changeover ????

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