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Bits: £1500 Qatar business class Gatwick to Hong Kong, Virgin Atlantic flash sale from 9am, new Aer Lingus routes

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News in brief:

£1500 return Business Class flights to Hong Kong from Gatwick on Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has loaded a £1500 return fare from London Gatwick to Hong Kong, in Business Class.

This flight will earn you 560 British Airways tier points (4 legs due to the change in Doha x 140 points each).  This means that you are 90% of your way to a British Airways Executive Club Silver card, although remember you also need to fly four BA flights for cash in your membership year to be promoted.

In general, this is bookable from November onwards into 2019, flying out of Gatwick on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

(EDIT:  this morning, outbound availability seems to be confined to November 2018.  Outbound availability seems to have gone once you get into 2019 even though the odd inbound date is still there.)

The best way to search is to go here, do a random search Gatwick to Hong Kong leaving on a Friday from November onwards and – if you don’t see a good price – switch to ’15 day view’ from the results page.

The Doha to Hong Kong flight is, I believe, on the new QSuite product which is impressive – see the Qatar website here.  From Gatwick you are getting a Boeing 787-9 – see here for details of the seat there, which is also good.   I reviewed the 787-8 seat here.

The Qatar Airways booking site is here.  Hat-tip to Flyertalk.

Qatar Airways Hong Kong sale

£50 off Virgin Atlantic Upper and Premium fares

Virgin Atlantic is due to launch a flash sale at 9am today (EDIT: the prices are loaded but the website is not actively promoting the offer yet).

On the usual Virgin Atlantic website flights in Premium and Upper Class can be booked for £50 off. There is no special code needed.

Lead prices in Premium are:

London to Las Vegas from £668

London to New York from £632 (November)

London to Orlando from £777

Flights must be booked between 9am today and midnight tomorrow (Tuesday) for travel between 28th October and 11th December or 24th December and 29th March 2019.  Obviously £50 doesn’t move the needle much on Upper Class tickets but £50 off Premium is worth a look.

Aer Lingus to launch new US routes

Aer Lingus to announce two new North American routes

Aer Lingus said on Friday that it is poised to announce two more North American routes within the next few weeks.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Montreal are amongst the names in the frame.  Pittsburgh has just paid British Airways a chunky sum to launch a service to the city next year which may rule that one out, given that the city presumably has a limited budget.

Services would launch in July 2019 as deliveries of 12 new Airbus A321 aircraft – adapted to be able to fly long-haul to the US East Coast – begin.

Given the low taxes charged on Avios redemptions on Aer Lingus, we will be keeping an eye on this.  Our review of Aer Lingus business class from Dublin to Boston – which is better than BA Club World overall – is here.

(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.)

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  1. Brian S says:

    OT: I have the Hilton MR Offer saved on my Plat Card.

    I have a few stays coming up this month so should it it no problem. Does anyone know if the prepayment on a stay counts towards this?

    • Yes, it will do, although you can never be sure when prepayment is taken. Some hotels don’t bother until the day before check in for example so there is a risk if it is for a stay beyond the end of the promo.

      • I usually find that if they haven’t charged the card within 3-4 days, a phone call to the hotel directly asking them to do so usually does the trick.

  2. OT – having booked cash flights with AA (via their website), is it now possible to upgrade them with avios or would I have to use AAdvantage miles (which I don’t have any of!)?

    • not possible with Avios

      • Boo! Only realised at the weekend when I managed to bag 3 x domestic First seats for 20,000 avios and £4 tax each how much better value than economy these are – you get priority check in and boarding, free checked bags (as opposed to $25 each) which are unloaded first and free F & B on board.

  3. Genghis says:

    OT. I’m a Virgin novice but applied for the Rewards+ card yesterday. I’d like to take my wife to New York next year using the upgrade voucher to fly out PE and then back in J. Looking at the aircraft types for dates next year, there’s the A330-300 and the 789 (though I believe they are out of action currently and the AB A330-200s are being used?). When do the A350s come in?

    If you were in my shoes, for PE and J, which aircraft listing would you select? Thanks in advance.

    • The A330-300 are now perfectly OK following the UC seat replacement which took it down to 1-1-1 from 1-2-1. The replacement Air Berlin seats will also be in place on the A330-200 by then so it depends whether you want to sit side by side on that or in two parallel ‘coffins’ on the -300 / 787!

    • Lady London says:

      would you not want to bump up the outward leg to J as well, Genghis or have you already “done” the Virgin Club Lounge?

      • Genghis says:

        I’d like to make use of the Virgin upgrade voucher and having no status there, the two one way in PE is better than the 241 economy.

        • I find Virgin PE quite poor but then again I have only flown their HKG route.

        • You’ll be ok on VS PE Genghis – specially on the short day flight to JFK. Just make sure you get one of the pair of seats. Its not exactly a treat but its a perfectly acceptable flight. Separate check in helps. Clubhouse at JFK feeds and waters you well enough to enable you to get your head down straight away coming home.

        • Genghis says:

          Thanks all.

        • I find the opposite to RTS. For a day flight I find P/E on Virgin pleasant enough that I’d never pay cash for U/C and can barely justify the points. If travelling with others I know many actually prefer it to the U/C coffins….

        • Have to say, the front row of PE on the new Iberia A350 is outstanding (excluding the middle block). Unlimited legroom due to the doors and just two seats.

        • Agree with Leo, I think PE is adequate for flights up to about 8 hours, especially daytime flights. It is anything over 8h when I want a flat bed.

    • I see VS 789s flying around every day… someone should really tell Virgin if they need to come out of the sky ????

      More seriously, SOME of the 787s are out of action. MOST are ok to fly, with more being (re)added once the engine overhauls are complete. There are rules around which engines can fly with which others, but as long as those are met, some aircraft are fit to fly. Same with BA of course.

  4. OT: if you got a letter from Lloyds today re the closure of the Duo credit cards (NOT Avios Rewards cards) can you let me know the effective date please? Also keen to hear from you if you have the £50 Duo cards about what is happening to those.

  5. O/T – Just tried to use Iberia Avios to book a flight to Italy for next year. The booking didn’t go through using my Amex card (no warning message at all, so don’t know why). When I tried again the Avios seats are gone. My Avios balance remains the same and there is no pending transaction on my Amex. Don’t think someone has booked those seats as the whole month is clear. Anyone know if the seats have been “reserved” somehow by my “failed” booking? If so, how long does it take for them to be released again? Thanks in advance.

    • To answer my own question – the seats are now released (about three hours after my failed booking).

  6. 100% O/T

    4 of us have been caught out by the earthquake in Lombok and we’re now replanning our intended time there (13-21st of this month). We’re currently in Singapore. I’ve got 250k Avios, 270k Marriott, and 90k ihg.

    Any suggestions from anyone? anyone fancy planning an emergency holiday for me?

    To mix things up we’ve got no warm clothes with us so Perth isn’t too attractive. Also got 2 small kids so need to keep the travel to one day each way. Much love to the HFP community in advance.

    • Plenty of choice/availability from Singapore. Kuala Lumpur is only a short (and cheap) flight from Singapore if that appeals? – there’d likely be no need to spend your Avios to get there as it’s so cheap.

      Mainland Japan will be easy to get to using Avios to JAL. Also Korea and/or Hong Kong?

    • Jakarta?

    • SGtoUK says:

      I’d suggest Phuket and Koh Samui if you’d like to continue the idyllic beach vibes.

    • Langkawi – excellent StR and RC options and easy flight connections

    • Michael C says:

      If it’s not just beaches: Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Siem Reap and Yangon all fabulous. Possibly MH with points, but just seen e.g. Yangon direct for 97 GBP if not.

    • Penang, Langkawi or KK (Kota Kinabalu). All a short hop from Sing with amazing and cheap food.

  7. OT: Apologies if this has been asked and answered before. I have just cancelled my BAPP card and will hopefully get another one in 6 months. If My father gets the BAPP and has me as a supplementary card holder, can I apply in 6 months for my own card and will I still get the bonus (if holding a supplementary card of the same type)?

  8. Axel Heyst says:

    langkawi is close and child friendly

    it’s not worth using avois/miles on se asian short haul flights.

    • If you want to travel in J or F and only go one way, my experience was it made great sense to use Avios. We bagged 2F and 3J PEK-HKG, then 4J HKG-BKI. Low one way fares don’t seem to exist in premium cabins and the axes are very low so the value per mile was amazing.

      • We did similar, kul,to bki in j on as. V nice too. And from dps to hkg on CX. Nice addition to an F 241 trip.

  9. Do you get your IHG Certificate (CC £10K Spend) back if you cancel the booking.

    • In my experience yes you get the certificate back in your account if you cancel, as long as it hasn’t expired.

  10. Julian says:

    IIRC only one of the two daily flight to HKG is going to be on a Q-Suite aircraft (of course could change anytime) and that fare basically “restrict” you to the non Q-Suite flight (a 777), I believe you could also price it on BA codeshare for the LGW-DOH leg, useful for qualifying flight count. I have seen LHR at that price too but only on the BA operated flight to DOH but availability very limited (OT that BA flight got cancelled a lot and you might be put on one of the QR flights). Have also seen LON-HKG on Swiss for around the same price available from the regions too very handy for those near BHX, not sure if it’s still around however.

  11. Small correction, the LGW-DOH flights are in a B787-8, QR doesn’t have -9s.

  12. O/T looking at DOH-LHR on BA for a one way redemption (to use Lloyds Upgrade voucher) – paying Avios for WTP to get CW.
    The BA calendar says the dates in April 2019 are peak, yet when I search on the BA website, it shows off-peak (above each column where it shows the day, it says Off-peak).
    Yet going through to the final stage of booking where it tells you the actual Avios/taxes, the amounts are as if it were Peak.
    According to off-peak it should be 26k Avios, but shows 40k which is Peak I believe.
    Any ideas?

    • Depends which dates in April, as far as I remember peak starts around April 6th and continues until after Easter weekend. If you’re travelling in the school holidays it’s more than likely to be peak.

      • It was 8/9/10 – I just wondered if it was different because it’s a one way starting in Qatar rather than starting in Uk

  13. O/T Taking up the LATAM MAD-FRA flight, so will arrive at FRA around 1740. There is a LH flight back to LHR at 2000. Both flights are to/from same Terminal. Looking for advice if I should take the 2130 flight instead, which is slightly more expansive. I will be travelling HBO. TIA

    • Lady London says:

      I would take the risk. That seems quite a long time between the flights even allowing for a bit of lateness. HBO and same terminal also make it a bit easier. It’s miserable taking the last 2 flights from Frankfurt. I’d take the earlier flight, and I’m very conservative so if I think it’s safe I’ll bet most people will think you’d be very unluckly if your incoming flight arrived so late you miss it.

      • Roger1* says:

        I rarely use FRA these days. It used to be the case that LH and BA used different terminals, IIRC LH in T1 and BA in T2.

        How easy would transferring from LATAM MAD-FRA to BA FRA-LHR be? Thanks.

  14. Kuching is brilliant with kids – took mine there when they were 10, 8 & 5.

    It’s a compact city with a couple of excellent day-trips on offer – the cultural village & Bako national park (you can only get there by boat, do hire a guide, insanely reasonable). There is a 4 points if you’re dead set on using points, but we stayed in the Hilton. Suite on the Club floor for about the same as a Premier Inn in London.

    Then head up to Kota Kinabalu for some beach time?

    You have the benefit of being able to check the weather before you head off, too, I guess! Danang in Vietnam apparently has some kind of microclimate so can be dry when its wet to the North & South.

    • That was in response to the post way back regarding Lombok alternatives, btw….. Tech fail from me.

  15. Hi Rob,

    I can’t find any LGW to Hong Kong flights for £1500 or even close on the Qatar website. The cheapest I can find is around £2100. Do you think I have just missed it already or am I looking in the wrong place?


    • The day I wrote the article they disappeared after November, although November was still there. If you can’t see anything for November then they are gone.

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