Bits: Etihad’s Business Class Studio comes to Manchester, Grand Hyatt opens in Athens, Virgin opens its pub!

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News in brief:

Etihad bringing the Business Class Studio to Manchester

In an encouraging boost for the region, Etihad is swapping its morning departure from Manchester to a Boeing 787.  This is the first time that Etihad has operated a 787 from the UK.

This means that Manchester customers will be able to experience the hugely impressive Business Class Studio for the first time.  It is one of the top 2-3 business class products on the market – you can read my review of the A380 version here.

The evening flight from Manchester will remain as a Boeing 777 with a more traditional lie-flat seat.  However, from 31st March 2019 there will be a switch with the 787 moving to the evening departure from Manchester.

The Boeing 787 arrives on 1st November and the flights are already showing online at

You can find out more about the Business Class Studio on the Etihad site here. If you are not already an Etihad Guest member, you can sign up here and receive 500 bonus miles.

Etihad Business Class Studio Manchester

Grand Hyatt opens in Athens

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the official opening of the first Grand Hyatt in Greece.

The 309 room hotel is only the second property of the group to open in Greece, after the Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki.

Nikos Trikourakis, general manager of Grand Hyatt Athens said about the new hotel:

Athens is fast becoming the destination of choice where ancient history sits alongside modern coffee shops and rooftop bars. Our hotel will offer guests who seek first-class hospitality unforgettable experiences and a luxurious place to stay.

The hotel is currently running an opening offer with room prices starting at €105.  Rooms can also be booked with World of Hyatt points starting from 12,000 points per night, although I wouldn’t do that if you can pay €135 or less for cash.

Virgin Atlantic Joint Venture pub

Virgin Atlantic and Delta have opened their pub!

Virgin Atlantic and its joint venture partner (and 49% shareholder) Delta have opened their pop-up pub.  I was down there last night for a couple of drinks to take a peek.

The Joint Venture pub Virgin Delta

“The Joint Venture” is at 33 New Oxford Street and has taken over “The Old Crown” for the next 10 days.  (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 is selling 230 different brands – one from each of the 230 cities which Delta and Virgin fly to in the US.

virgin atlantic the joint venture pub london

It is open to the public from lunchtime today until Sunday 19th.  There are various events planned throughout the week including quiz nights – details are on the Virgin Atlantic website here.

PS.  Apparently this person was there as well, not that I would know …..

(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.)

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  1. How the change of an airplane seat will ‘boost a region’ is beyond me! If the seat is better than other seats then business will be transferred. Also, I’d wager a certain football team that has links to Etihad is the primary driver of thenchoice of Manchester at this stage of the rollout.

    • The difference in the 777 and 787 seat is minimal. The only noticeable difference is the 787 looks newer.

      I don’t see it boosting the region as the 787 carries significantly less people than the 777. So maybe they switched to the 787 because this route is not selling enough seats.

      • Boost FOR the region as in good news for customers is the way I read it rather than a boost for the economy of Greater Manchester

    • If people always complain when regional airports get the worst products in the fleet (as they do), logically they should be happy when they get the best …

  2. If you like the beers at the Virgin pop up, a bunch were supplied by The BottleShop wholesale dept who conveniently have a retail space in a railway arch in Bermondsey. [end of shameless plug!]

    • I had some Trappist thing …. when faced with a list of 230 beers I’ve never heard of, I just told the barman to give me something at random!

      • ????

      • I had an email saying come have a drink on us but can’t find if I just show the email etc, any idea?

        • I had an email from clubindividual (Bank,piccolino etc) saying they had deposited 400 points into my account which is worth 20 quid. Must be used before 31st Aug.

  3. Off Topic.. SPG Amex..

    For everyone on the double points for 3 months retention offer…

    I called Amex again today as I’m still only getting 1 extra point instead of double (should now be 3 extra points). Last time I spoke to them a few days ago they said to call if it happens again and they would add them again manually. Well I noticed that the last set of points had not been added at all and all my new purchases since were still not posting correctly. This time the member of staff tried to blame the whole thing on the delay in points posting and said the points would post mid September. I explained this is not an issue with points moving from Amex to Starwood but the number of bonus points they are issuing on every purchase. He said he couldn’t even see the points for purchases on his system (find that hard to believe). He suggested I keep an eye on things over the next few weeks..

    Has anyone else spoken to Amex about this in the last few days?

    • Yes, same response. I’m spending on my Barclaycard for the foreseeable future.

      • I’ve just spoken to them again. Everyone I speak to seems totally clueless! I’ve got over £10,000 of purchases I want my triple points on. I had always found Amex customer service to be very good in the past, but they seem to have no idea what they’re doing with this

        • Genghis says:

          Have you actually raised a “formal complaint”. I’ve never had to make sure a complaint at Amex but surely that would then need to be reviewed by a manager?

    • I’m in the same boat. However, not particularly worried as I have put most of my spend through that I’ve wanted to and the bonus points ending in a couple of weeks time.

      Wait until your statement comes through, then call again (hopefully getting through to Brighton). Whenever I’ve had any issues with points not posting correctly, they have always manually put it right and thrown in some more points as a good will gesture. Hold tight, you’ll get your double points!

  4. “Athens is fast becoming the destination of choice”, yes but only viewed over a period of several centuries! It would be more accurate to say the threat of experiencing riots and mass destitution is, at last, retreating. So many good private hotels in Athens closed in recent years it is heartbreaking. This is Grand Hyatt moving in to a vacated space.

    • We’re talking about Athens not Mogadishu.

    • Last time I went all the street were closed and authorities everywhere for some protest but in general nothing went on apart from some cheering

  5. Mariusz says:

    OT: Referred someone from Plat card for BAP card but points haven’t posted despite instant approval. Any chance amex might pulled the plug?

    • No. How long have you waited?

    • Points Chaser says:

      The trigger for getting the referral points is them activating their card, not on acceptance. My referral bonus came in as soon as the card was activated.

    • New Card says:

      Exactly the same cards. Referral was day after cross-family referrals were reintroduced. No points yet.

      • Ditto – although they didn’t want to issue it at first (no doubt as they gave me a stupidly high limit on another card!). Called and asked them (MBNA-style) to transfer some credit limit over from existing card and they said they’d ask – credit limit on that card as now gone down so I think it’s done the trick.

  6. rashad Rasul says:

    OT: Flying out of Manchester on QR A350 next March, is there a way to know if this will have the QSuites available? Thanks

  7. Catalan says:

    O/T: My Amex bill is due for payment in the next week or so. Can I pay it off using my Curve Debit card attached to my Virgin Rewards+ card? Effectively getting ‘double dip’ on MR points/VFC miles?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Best way to find out is try it and never mention it in a public forum

    • Try just a few quid first, see what happens & then quietly run with it if necessary.

    • Frenske says:

      *start mumble* I did it last week with MBNA Horizon connected to Curve *end mumble*.

    • I have been doing this with the free Virgin card for a few months until last month when they blocked my account after trying it. When I called up to unblock they said that this transaction requires “additional authorisation”, which seems to mean that they block your account. Not sure if this has happened to anyone else.

    • Best to attach to. IHG for 2 points per pound!

  8. Mr Bogart says:

    O/T (bits) Advice please about the best way to avoid the £35 fee for changing an Avios booking… would be very grateful. Thanks.

  9. Roy Ducker says:

    Etihad were flying there 787-9’s into Manchester last year because we returned from Abu Dhabi on 1 in January 2017.

  10. OT: Just transferred from HSBC WE to BAEC and received the 25% bonus. There was no mention of it on the site and I hadn’t received any emails mentioning it, the only place I had seen it mentioned was here.

    • Andrew M says:

      Good to know. I’m still waiting for my test transfer of 2000 HSBC points to arrive with BAEC.

  11. O/T – I’m sure this has been asked before but (until forthcoming new search facility) it just takes too long to trawl through 100s of comments – so apologies!

    I hold Amex Plat and BAPP. Can I self refer for SPG and collect both bonus and referral points?

  12. OT –

    I have 1 reward night to use by Feb 18th 2019. If I was to make a paid stay via, does my reward night date get extended or will it always remain with this expiry?

    • I THOUGHT it rolled over as long as you’d made a paid stay in the last 12 months but don’t quote me on that ….

      • Genghis says:

        Indeed they get extended to a year from your last paid stay check out date. I’ve got loads of them to use up

        • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

          I thought redemptions also extended expiry but I might be getting confused with IHG

    • It is a bit ambiguous – my account says:
      “Book and stay by xxx to keep your collected nights and any reward nights you haven’t redeemed. (You have 12 months from the last date you collected or redeemed nights).”
      “As long as you **book and stay** within 12 months of your last completed booking, your nights won’t expire”
      Which implies you will be OK. But best ask them directly…
      BTW you can part-pay for a pricier booking, but don’t get change for a cheaper one, which I assume why you asked…

  13. AndyGWP says:

    “PS. Apparently this person was there as well, not that I would know …..”
    You’re not the only one to be clueless… (I had to look at what you’d called the image filename and Google her!)

  14. Any idea when the IHG Accelerate promotion for Sept-Dec stays will be announced? Last year it was announced around this time of the month.

  15. CountryKerry says:

    Has anybody had issues with Curve payments not appearing fully on the underlying card? I’ve noticed they appear as pending on the underlying credit card, but invariable drop off after a few days as if I’m not charged. We’re talking about nearly £1.5k now over the last month and a bit! The merchant says they’ve got the money; Curve says they’ve got it from the underlying card; but the underlying card doesn’t show it on the statement. It’s tricky to budget for if it goes on much longer!

    • Been mentioned a few times. Surely not that difficult to budget for my just keeping the money aside anyway? Interest free loan for you until they sort it!

    • I too have been having issues with Curve payments appearing on my Creation IHG card and then dropping off. Nothing much has been successfully charged since July 25th

      • #MeToo – but do they appear on the actual card statement?

      • Well mine seems fine. I certainly hope there will be no problem with Curve and IHG cards. I have had enough IHG points for Spire status already, plus the free night of course.

    • I got a response from Curve CS about this today:

      Thanks for bearing with us.

      We’ve investigated this with our payment processing partners and can confirm that there was an issue which prevented some transactions from being settled on your underlying card. This meant that transactions were incorrectly reversed after 7 days.

      We can confirm that transactions will be reconciled in the coming days. In cases where you can see a reversal on your statement, you will see that a replacement charge will be sent through. Rest assured that you will only be charged once for affected transactions.

      We apologise for any inconvenience caused. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
      Best wishes,
      Team Curve

    • Curve issues, sometimes they don’t charge the underlying card for over a week…

  16. Already pencilled a bday celebration for a friend at this wUnderful pUb next week

  17. OT
    Sat on an easyJet plane on the tarmac after our flight is delayed due to severe storms. Any possibility of compensation? I have read that knock on effect from a storm early on in the day is not enough to be extraordinary circumstances…

    • So why is YOUR plane delayed? Because of the storms, or because other planes have to take off first, and these were delayed storms earlier in the day?

      • Air traffic control have apparently grounded all planes according to the crew. No updates apart from that

        • Lady London says:

          Which airport are you at. I would check if other flights really are being cancelled that are leaving at the same time as yours. Weather issues with a plane they had lined up to come in and pick you up, is not a weather issue with your flights. The weather issue has to be with YOUR flight not with the airline’s inability to rustle up a plane that will land you within 3 hours of your original landing time, due to weather problems affecting other filights. You can google later to check asap, what other flights took off around the same time and the extent of any air control restriction.

          Having said that I have had generally truthful reasons from Easyjet. Whereas Ryanair apparently have changed their reason for delay or cancellation after the fact. to a reason that miraculously would not be eligible for EU261. Even had lies from LX about plane not taking off due to weather from ZRH . At a time when every other airline’s plane apparently had no difficulty taking off several of which were also going to similar places.

        • Can’t reply to the latest message. We are at Gatwick. Now told we have the all clear but they don’t have the vehicle to move us to the runway so we’re just waiting….

  18. LaserBeams says:

    O/T – I have reached the £10k spend on my BA Amex and received the companion voucher. If I cancel the card now and get a pro rata refund of the annual fee, do I lose the companion voucher or will it remain in my BA account?

    • Lady London says:

      You keep it. Make sure you move the points out though before you close.

      • LaserBeams says:

        Thanks for all the replies. Am I able to transfer the points out before they get automatically transferred at the end of the month? I can’t seem to find a manual way to do it. Thanks!

    • It stays despite what Amex will tell you.

    • Memesweeper says:

      If you’re worried about cancelling then downgrade to free BA Amex. Even Amex concede this keeps your voucher !

      Or do as everyone else here does and just cancel entirely. As long as you have another Amex handy when you book your 2-4-1 you’ll be fine.

  19. O/T just had an email from marriott saying cannot use or upgrade existing travel packages between 18/8 and 18/9. So still no clearer on how they will convert legacy 7 night certificates.

    • Yes and No. As this would have been the perfect opportunity to tell you what they are planning to do with them, you have to assume that some sort of mapping is now envisaged rather than a points refund.

      • Indeed – an emails don’t seem to have been sent consistently, some with unattached packages (like me) haven’t received an email, yet those with attached packages have received an email! Am hoping cat 6 (old) will map to cat 5 (new) but bit annoying to have a one month hiatus before being able to book – although at least I’m not planning to use it for 6/12 time.

  20. James A says:

    The Etihad 777s are threadbare in business. The padding is gone and their are major lumps and bumps in the seat. Often a number of the seats don’t work.

    It’s a poor product which badly needs a refresh, but it’s unlikley to get one given EYs current financial state.

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