Bits: New BA Rome route, do a McLaren track day with Hilton points, Marriott West India Quay refurbishment

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News in brief:

British Airways launches London City to Rome

British Airways has announced a new route from London City to Rome, starting from 11th November.

Flights operate from Monday to Friday, departing London City at 10.50 (arriving 14.20) and returning from Rome at 15.05 (arriving 18.35).  There is also a Sunday service which operates later in the day.

A fifth daily weekday flight to Zurich will be added from the same day.  Four new Embraer 190 aircraft will be delivered to London City soon which will allow a new burst of route expansion.  Further route announcements are on the way.

As a new route, London City to Rome is wide open for Avios availability.  Oddly there is NOT the ‘guaranteed’ four Euro Traveller and two Club Europe seats showing – all I see is two Euro Traveller seats per flight and zero in Business, irrespective of how far in advance I try to book.

Before you book Club Europe, assuming you can find any availability, remember that British Airways does not have a lounge at London City and seating is 2×2 throughout the plane.  The only extra benefit of note is the (far better than Heathrow) catering.  That said, London City flights still offer free drinks and snacks in Economy too!

PS.  Remember that London City DOES have a lounge you can pay to use – in the Private Jet Centre next door.  Here are our reviews of the London City First Class Lounge (which includes private security clearance and being driven to your plane – as long as it isn’t a BA plane) and our review of the London City Business Class Lounge.

British Airways launches London City to Rome service

Hilton offering a McLaren track day for points!

If you are keen on fast cars, Hilton Honors and McLaren have got together to organise an exceptional track day.

This is what you get:

Get ready for the ultimate McLaren Track Day experience at Dunsfold Circuit! You and your guest will have the opportunity to drive both a McLaren 570S and 720S alongside professionally qualified driving coaches. Your day will finish with a ‘hot lap’ where the driving coach will take to the wheel and show you how to maximise the cars performance around the track. Dunsfold Aerodome is a circuit designed to give a mixture of low and high-speed corners as well as a series of straights that will allow you to enjoy the McLaren road cars. This is also the “test track” of the BBC show Top Gear.

When: Thursday, October 25, 2018
Where: Dunsfold Circuit | Surrey, UK

If you know anything about performance cars you’ll know what an opportunity this is.  If you don’t, it’s not for you anyway!

At 275,000 Hilton Honors points, it isn’t cheap but it would be a great day out.  There are three packages available at the time of writing.  You can redeem here.

How to earn Hilton Honors points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

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.

Hilton Honors Auctions McLaren track day

Marriott West India Quay completes its refurbishment

The Marriott hotel at Canary Wharf (West India Quay) has announced the completion of its refurbishment.  To quote:

The spacious guestrooms boast stylish, understated carpets and wallpaper in a neutral beige and taupe palette, contrasted by dark wood furniture detailing and a flash of colour from the hand blown glass turquoise lamps.

“When designing an interior we integrate vernacular of the architecture and local surroundings,” explained Alan McVitty, Director of M Studio London. All flooded with natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows, certain guestrooms also boast scenic views over West India Quay whilst the Curve Suites showcase incredible sights across Canary Wharf’s skyline.

Guestrooms have been decked out with luxurious flat screen TVs and plush mattresses, whilst suites come equipped with Nespresso coffee machines. Up-to-the-minute technology including high-speed Wi-Fi and 8 USB ports can be found in each room, ensuring ease for business travel.

Even if you are not a business traveller, it is worth keeping an eye on this hotel as a good value tourist spot for a weekend break.  It is just a couple of minutes walk from the Jubilee Line, dropping you in the West End very quickly, and the Docklands Light Railway literally runs past your window.

As a redemption, it is now 35,000 points per night – a good deal, given the full refurbishment, compared to 50-60,000 points per night for the equivalent West End hotels.

The Marriott West India Quay website is here if you want to find out more.

(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.)

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  1. Off topic but LCY related, does anyone know why I can’t see any Avios availability for BA001 (LCY-JFK) at all, even looking a year ahead. I’ve heard murmurs that the service was stopping, but a cash ticket is still available in December (specifically I was hoping for Dec 19 and just wanted to get an idea of Dec availability for this year to compare, which sent me down this rabbit hole).

    I did a full year search on Avios site and a few weeks on BAEC with zero availability. Any thoughts most welcome!

    • roberto says:

      There is no availability for december but its a busy time ( and a bit late to book TBH ) but plenty into next year including out bound availability on :-

      and more but you get the drift……

      • roberto says:

        although , after I clicked send I doubled checked and half of that was not there.. So unsure

    • I was about to book BA1 yesterday and the availability disappeared ????.

  2. OT
    I have just upgraded gold to plat after cancelling gold supplementary. Was hoping to get bonus points through applying for supplementary once I receive my plat. However, they have sent me a supp even though I never asked for one. Is there any way to get supp bonus now? TY

  3. smellyden says:


    Off topic but it is bits. Trying to make my first redemption on BA. Had a small balance in Ibera and wanted to combine it to BA. Went online to do it, and once completed some happened and my BA avios have now appeared in Ibera. I phoned up Iberia and they said they have IT issues and cannot transfer them back and to go to the website. On the website there is no option to send back to BA. No one seems willing to help! I tried to open a but unless you have a old avios number there is no way to register. Now because of that transfer I do not have enough avios for my redemption. Any help on trying to get my avios from Iberia to BA exec club would be appreciated.

    • You need to open an Aer Lingus AerClub or Vueling Club account and log in at with those details. Combine My Avios will then work fine, using the page.

  4. If you were still receiving the STTM for free following the generous Avios offer around 2 years ago, I advise you to check your bank account. I’ve had £30 taken off on the 28th despite cancelling a year ago and receiving the magazine since then. I should have cancelled the DD!

    I’ve emailed customer service to have this refunded.

    • I posted this yesterday which might be helpful to others.
      Off-topic warning re those of you with a Sunday Times travel magazine subscription.
      I had cancelled my subscription after the first year with Sunday Times magazine and cancelled the direct debit at my bank. I continued to receive the magazine for the next year and was still receiving it without having been charged the annual subscription fee. Yesterday, another £30.00 was taken from my account. I contacted the magazines customer service and was informed that they had taken over the subscription payment service from a previous company and they had reloaded all the direct debits for annual subscriptions as they had realised that the payments for the previous year had not been taken as they should have been.

      Anyway, I have now cancelled the subscription again and the direct debit at the bank. The gentleman at the customer services told me that they would process a refund and send me a cheque in the next couple of weeks. Just wanted to warn anyone who was still receiving the magazine gratuitously to watch out for the reloading of the direct debit on your subscription anniversary.

    • I now get two copies of the TLS every week.

  5. New Card says:

    OT – has anyone had a retention offer recently on either the Amex BAPP or Amex Platinum cards, when calling to cancel? I know about the SPG offer some have got. Thank you!

    • the_real_a says:

      Since the call center has moved/expanded/re-routed to the Philippines the offshore techniques need to be used to get what you want. You need to be totally blunt and ask directly what you want. Ask them to pull up the retention offers on their system and ask for double points for x months or a partial refund on your annual fee.

  6. The Original Nick says:

    Has TRH gone off the radar again? I miss his humour!

  7. Neil Donoghue says:

    OT: I’m in T3 tonight flying to Spain on an Iberia ticket. Stupidly I only noticed the flight is being operated by Vueling. Rob, I know you’ve done a massive article about this in the past and BA tickets. Is it safe to assume the rules are the same and I’m not entitled to any lounge access as a BA Silver member.

    • Not sure with BA status on an IB flight code on a Vueling plane! I guess no. Let us know tomorrow ….

      • No, BA lounge access on a VY flight is only allowed with a BA code and ticket. That’s not to say you won’t get a generous lounge agent, but it’s against the access rules so you can’t complain if they say no,

        • You still don’t get any lounge access on a vueling flight with a BA code with silver. Need to be gold and no guests I believe

      • Neil Donoghue says:

        @Rob – Thanks for all the comments and replies. This was an Iberia ticket not a BA ticket, and was a codeshare with Vueling. I walked straight in to the Qantas lounge last night without any problems. I must confess, the girl at the counter (Michelle) did remember me from 3 days ago. I’ll be flying back to London tomorrow and then coming back to Spain on Tuesday (I have 4 return legs booked with Iberia / Vueling and will try the BA lounge on Tuesday. Rob, i’ll keep you posted by email.

  8. Hi all
    Can anyone advise please where to find the Gold to Platinum upgrade on your account,or is there a link?
    Come across it in the past but lost it now!

  9. OT – Weird goings on with my SPG card. My balance for transactions over the last month appears to have been adjusted for the change to Marriot points – I.e 3 for every £1 I spend. On £700 spend I’ve had 2,100 points. However, I’ve just hit the sign on bonus this month and had 11,000 points credited (10k + 1k referral). So my ‘starwood’ balance to be transferred, according to Amex is just over 13k. Shouldn’t this now be 33k points, or have they just devalued the sign-on bonus by a factor of three for me, as I was stuck in the middle during the changeover?! My current balance is a messy mix of old points and new ones.

  10. OT!!

    This website badly needs some sort of forum now. Came to the comments to see if there was much discussion about the McLaren offer, and nothing but 10 different OTs with people asking different questions.

    A small, simple forum would resolve this, and the comments can return to being comments.

    • Are you volunteering to moderate it?!

      In general random stuff tends to go under a ‘Bits’ article. The other daily articles tend to have more structured comments.

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