Bits: Good KLM / Air France business sale from the UK, Iguazu flights, Cobalt launches loyalty scheme

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News in brief:

Air France and KLM launch strong Business Class sale from the UK

Air France (via Paris) and KLM (via Amsterdam) have jointly launched a good UK sale.  Deals are available across Economy, Premium Economy (Air France) and Business Class – I am just focusing on the latter here.

Details are here on the KLM site and here on the Air France site.  Both usually show the same options covering both airlines.

Here is the headline pricing, other destinations are available.  This is from London Heathrow, prices may vary from other regional airports.  With KLM active in most major UK airports, this is an especially good offer for those outside the M25.

  • Delhi £1239
  • Mumbai £1359
  • Ho Chi Minh City £1489
  • Seoul £1409
  • Chennai £1489
  • Osaka £1739
  • Quito £1800
  • Beijing £1619
  • Cape Town £1909
  • Johannesburg £1909
  • St Martin £1519
  • Panama City £1479
  • Abu Dhabi £1221
  • Dubai £1209
  • Amman £899

You need to book by 17th September.  Travel dates are not given, unfortunately.

Flights will credit to Flying Blue or any other SkyTeam loyalty programme.  Flying Blue is an American Express Membership Rewards partner if you need to top up your account later.

You will also be able to credit Air France and KLM flights to Virgin Flying Club from early 2019.

Take a look here on the KLM site and here on the Air France site.

Air Europa to launch Iguazu service in 2019

Iguazu in Argentina has always attracted tourists looking for something off the beaten track, primarily due to the amazing Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfalls in the world.

From June 2019, Air Europa will become the first European carrier to operate to the city.  It will fly Madrid – Iguazu – Montevideo – Madrid route once a week, with Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft.

Whilst you may not have heard of Air Europa, which is based in Mallorca, it is a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance which means this is a potential redemption option for Delta SkyMiles, KLM / Air France Flying Blue etc.

Cobalt Air Business Seat

Cobalt Air launches a loyalty scheme

Cobalt Air is the new Cyprus based airline which has emerged to fill the gap left by the bankruptcy of Cyprus Airways.

From the UK, it currently flies direct from Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Stansted to Larnaca and from Gatwick to Athens.  Looking at the Business Class seat above, it looks a major improvement on British Airways Club Europe.

(EDIT:  Stansted and Manchester are not available from late October, and are either going Summer-only or being cancelled.)

Cobalt has launched Elements, a paid-for loyalty programme.  Whilst you need to pay €150 to join, the benefits look good if you use the airline on a regular basis:

  • Use of business class check-in desks
  • Priority Boarding
  • Extra luggage allowance
  • Free flight changes (you just pay the fare difference)
  • Free seat allocation
  • 10% discount on fares
  • THREE upgrade vouchers – these can only be applied at check-in and are subject to availability, use of a voucher does not get you lounge access or Fast Track security

You can find out more about Cobalt Elements on this special website.  The main Cobalt Air site is here.

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  1. I’ve got a forthcoming multi leg flight on klm/delta to the US and mexico. only a BA and VS member so looked at the millage options, Flying blue points are based on revenue (4 × euro cost of ticket) so not so great. im going to credit to Aeromexico as it proved nearly do7ble the points that flying blue does. Aeromexico appears to offer some great hotel booking options with points, I’ll provide so more detail after execution but it’s worth checking out. (Aero mexico also offer a short term status match too to boost points earnings)

    • AeroMexico is also I believe the only SkyTeam carrier to offer family accounts.

      Used this option a few years ago. Taxes on a Delta domestic redemption were a bit punchy but it still saved me several hundred $’s and as you say hotel redemptions seemed good value so I used the remainder to get a couple of rooms at the Gatwick Hilton.

  2. Cobault Air – it’s worth noting that whilst they were originally on sale, all flight from STN and MAN after 31st October have been cancelled and withdrawn from sale. This suggests that either the routes are going seasonal or being cancelled similar to their BHX route earlie in the year.

  3. Wow Iguaçu is jointly accessible from Brazil or Argentina. Brazil side is very good view and straightforward. Argentina side is a bit more wild.

    • I thought the Argentine side was much better than the Brazilian side.
      Optional self organised side trip to Ciudad Del Este (Paraguay) very much at your own risk!

      • South America isn’t remotely as dangerous as some people say it is. Walking through Ciudad del Este during daylight hours is perfectly safe if you aren’t acting like an idiot! Unless you specifically needed to buy something I wouldn’t recommend going there though.

        As to the article, I’m also not sure I’d call Iguazu Falls off the beaten track – it’s served by 2 (arguably 3) airports with dozens of flights every day. In fact Norwegian will start flying later this year too.

        • It was probably the fact I was there after dark that made it seem a bit scary.
          Both the Argentine and Brazilian sides of the falls were fine although I definitely preferred the Argentine side.

        • Ah that would explain it! It should still be reasonably safe (emphasise on the reasonably) but I can definitely see why it wouldn’t feel like it.

          Yeah I think I preferred it too – even though half of it had been closed because of flooding. Either way, it’s a must visit for anyone vaguely interested in nature/waterfalls.

        • At the border there were posters with photos of people who had gone missing, mostly young women. The border guard who stamped our passports warned us about kidnappings and sternly told me not to let my wife out of my sight. We didn’t feel comfortable at all and only stayed a short while. It’s rubbish for shopping anyway, cheap electronic brands and pound shop junk.

        • flyforfun says:

          Have to agree that Iguazu isn’t too far off the beaten track – I’m surprised at how many people that I’ve met who’ve been there!

          I stayed on the Argentinian side. Organised a “tour” that was just a lady in her car collecting us and taking us to the Brazilian side where there is a walk that you can do to see the falls. The best bit is towards the end where you’re closest to the falls and can get a little wet. She seemed disappointed we didn’t want to do any boat rides etc. She seemed a bit miserable, but at least she did drop us back off at our hotel rather than the pick up point in town.

          To go to the Argentinian side, we hopped on a local bus. We were staying at a hotel near the 3 borders tourist points and it started from there. It was fun seeing locals and tourists. We spent longer than we thought in the park as it was spectacular. Wish we’d gotten up earlier! Coming back we had to wait for a couple of busses as they were rammed. If i ever go again I’d do it the same way though! Just pick the right time of year to go to avoid the big crowds, but see it at it’s fullest.

        • Michael Jennings says:

          Iguazu is not an obscure destination – if you go to Brazil or Argentina, going there is close to the top of most lists of what to see,, but it is a very long way from anywhere else that is an important destination. You fly in, see the falls, and fly out.

          Air Europa isn’t a particularly obscure airline in the Spanish speaking world. If you want to fly domestically in Spain or fly to Latin America, they often come up in search engines. They fly to a huge number of South and Central American cities, and they are often the easiest and/or cheapest option for getting to those places. Service standards are only middling, alas, although I have ridden in the economy cabin.

        • Iguazu Falls are spectacular, no matter what vantage point you see them from, but you’d be foolish to not spend the entire day exploring and seeing them from every angle you can find. Bring lots of memory cards!

          The Bird Park (Park das Aves) on the Brazilian side is also amazing, for any ornithologists out there.

          Callum – I’m pleased that you weren’t a victim of crime while you were there, but you can’t really extrapolate from that and say that South America isn’t remotely as dangerous as people say, or that you’ll be perfectly safe. Many areas do have their risks, and people should be aware of that, so that they can stay as safe as possible.

        • Shoestring says:

          My 2 nieces (26 & 23) just spent a sort-of-gap year travelling/ working round South America, not everywhere, not Colombia/ Venezuela.

          Just used common sense. No hassles apart from the usual you might expect in Europe.

          2 single young women – go figure if it’s as dangerous as some make out.

        • Again, I’m delighted that they had a hassle free trip, and hope they thoroughly enjoyed themselves (I imagine they did, it sounds fantastic). I’ve travelled extensively in Latin America on my own and loved every minute of it.

          My point is that saying it’s not that dangerous is counterproductive. I imagine that the common sense that your nieces used involved reading the FCO website, working out what areas to avoid walking around after dark, working out where you can separate and do your own thing for the day and where it’s wise to stick together, sussing out where they could get their camera out and where it’s best to leave it at the hotel, which cities it would be wise to arrange to be collected from the airport, things like that. That’s absolutely what I did. When you imply that it’s not as dangerous as people say, they’re less likely to do the research that they should do to stay safe.

          Of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world by murder rate (excluding war zones), a third of them are in Brazil and nearly all of them are in Latin America. I should add that the figures of “The Disappeared” (the frightening number of women who are snatched off the street and are never seen again) are not included in those numbers. In Natal, the city with the highest murder rate in Brazil, 1 person in every 1000 was murdered in 2017. That’s 69 times London’s murder rate for 2017, including the attacks at Westminster Bridge, London Bridge/Borough Market and Finsbury Park.

          Telling people that it’s safe means they are more likely to do less thorough research and be on their guard less. In Latin America, you do kind of need to know that you have to be careful. My cousin was less lucky than your nieces. He’s a big guy. He didn’t leave his camera in his hotel in Rio, thinking he could handle himself. When someone robbed him at gunpoint, he made the rather naive mistake of assuming that they wouldn’t actually be willing to use the gun, and resisted. Thankfully they only shot him in the foot, but if memory serves it took 6 operations before he could walk properly again.

        • Cat – I’m not extrapolating based on one visit. I’ve travelled extensively throughout South America and have spoken with hundreds, possibly thousands, doing the same. Those statistics are complete rubbish as these dangerous areas are generally in slums with fights between locals in places tourists will never go near. It’s akin to saying Chicago is really dangerous for tourists – it’s not, it’s dangerous for the poor locals living in run down areas.

          If you think saying it’s reasonably (emphasis on the reasonably) safe during daylight hours if you use common sense in the comments section of a travel blog will result in people thinking it’s perfectly safe and acting like idiots, more fool them!

      • Haha. Made me chuckle. Went over in 2002 and Ciudad del Este was definitely sketchy but has an amazing Austrian owned BnB. Always thought the best view was from Brazil and it had great infrastructure for it. Just don’t get the moped over as we were dumped in some out of the way Village.

        • If you want to go to Paraguay for a day trip (just to say you have been there) it is far more interesting to go and see the massive dam on the Parana river which is on the Brazil/Paraguay border just north of town. On the Paraguay side you can get a free tour of the site. Its a massive piece of engineering and a man made counterpoint to the falls. Something like 36 gigawatts on the odd occasion it can run full out. I think Hinkley point will be less than 4.
          We loved the whole falls and related experience when we went a couple of years ago.
          Due to Mercosur, taxis can run from Argentina or Brazil through the border though non Mercosur visitors still need to present passports in all directions, eight times if you do the full route from Argentina.

  4. RussellH says:

    Cmpletely OT:
    This is a repost from a week ago, when I posted this late in the day…

    Iam annoyed at seemingly having lost 4000 e-Rewards points which I transferred to LeClub Accor towards the end of June. The “6-8 weeks” for transfer was up on 23 August, but no Accor points – no problems before this. But any attempt to contact them through the ‘contact us’ link has been ignored.

    Any ideas would be greatfully appreciated!

    • Slightly different but I have lost 5 certificates from the Fairmont-Accor merger and was getting nowhere by emailing, have actually managed to get through to someone by phone and have a ref number but still no certificates. But feel I am making some slow progress!

    • Not a useful comment but I have found Accor customer services awful, so I no longer use their hotels.
      Have you tried contacting E- rewards?
      Best of luck.

      • RussellH says:

        Yes, I have only tried contacting e-Rewards, surely it is up to them to send the accor points to accor!

        The first time I just got an automated reply asking me to detail the problem, and assuring me that they would take no further action if I did not. I replied immediately, copying and pasting my complaint from the bottom of the e-mail to the top;, and have heard nothing since: that was mid August.

        I contacted them again through their contact page about a week later and got nothing apart from the usual automated response, saying that they would be in touch.

        Will try again in the next couple of days – I do not have the e-mails on my laptop.

    • Not had the same problem as you but anytime there has been problems with a survey or the points haven’t posted I have always received a reply and an automatic note after filling out the form. Did you get the automatic email when you did the redemption. Just try contacting them again.

      • RussellH says:

        Yes I have the confirmation e-mail. See my response to Peter K for more background.

        Thanks Liz and Peter

  5. I flew Air Europa once from Paris-Valencia. Got an operational upgrade (I assume because of my *G status) but they didn’t give me any of the food or refreshments so just got at sit in what I think was a slightly comfier seat while those around me got full service. Was rather odd.

  6. Norwegian also announced the other day that they are going to be running 6 domestic Argentinian routes from October under the name of ‘Norwegian Air Argentina’ – tickets went on sale the other day and I have booked AEP-IGR one-way with a checked back or £40 each in April, having previously booked a Aerolíneas Argentinas flight with Delta miles.

    If all the flights are as cheap, they will likely be a better option for anyone looking for a short one-way to/from Buenos Aires, rather than using Avios/Sky Miles etc…although I haven’t cancelled my Delta flight yet just in case they get pulled. It feels like anything could happen in Argentina in the next 6 months given the state of their economy at the moment.

    The services will be running rom Buenos Aires to Cordoba, Mendoza, Iguazu, Bariloche, Neuquen and Salta.

  7. OT Shangri la Golden Circle

    Is it possible to request account cancellation for Shangri la ( or for that matter any other Hotels Loyalty program).

    Aim is to resign after few months and status match via AMEX platinum for *silver and take four flights to achieve *Gold early next year.

    Of course I can use new email address but I would rather not do that.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Why would you need to cancel your golden circle account for that?

      You can match an existing account to jade via Plat, I have done this years after opening the account,

      The way I see the silver status match is you can apply at anytime but you just have 4 months after getting it to complete the gold challenge.

      • I have already used it once but with silver having expired now, looking to sign up again

        • In that case you need to close your KrisFlyer and open a new one, not the Golden Circle.

  8. quite OT: has anyone successfully used curve debit to fund ratesetter / funding circle?

  9. Shoestring says:

    Looks like the £15 off £25 Amex/ Amazon offer has finally expired/ all used up.

    Shame if you didn’t get it twice per Amazon a/c.

    We got it 12 times 🙂

    • Give us your home address and we’ll all pop around to pat you on the back!! 🙂 .

  10. Big move that…… 🙂 .

  11. O/T but Bits – just returned from TXL for a weekend break. Stayed at the Marriott as recommended by Rob, booked before the Marriott/SPG changes announced. I was only Gold through SPG status match so should’ve lost access to lounge and the breakfast. At check-in was asked if wanted to add breakfast for a fee, I showed my booking confirmation e-mail and they let me have lounge access. The lady at reception thought I’d been transferred over to the wrong tier – she didn’t know that only had Gold before from SPG match. It was a lovely hotel and the lounge was good. Thanks for the review that led me to book!

    • Excellent, glad it worked out. I liked it there and have booked it again for next March.

      • The location is ace. Very convenient for most of what we wanted to see or we just hopped on the tube network…….. and took a 3 hour Segway tour of the city.

        Thanks again!

  12. Does a first BAPP supplementary card trigger 5k bonus? Thanks

    • No, but there are occasional offers of 500 Avios for adding a supplementary.

      • I got 3k about two weeks ago, no offer received. They just hit my account as soon as I added the supp.

        • How long does a supp Amex take to be processed these days? Applied a few weeks ago and nothing yet…

        • Clive, my partners approval was instant and the card arrived about 3 or 4 days later as is typical for amex in normal times. Seems these are not quite normal times based on comments here but even so, I’d personally be on the phone with them if more than two weeks passed.

    • 3k, yes. Did it about a month ago.

  13. Test comment

  14. Have a 400 Membership Rewards for 10 GBP spend at tesco (instore or online) on my Amex offers today

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