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Bits: good London to Oz £1850 fare, new Marriott promo underway, South Africa scraps its crazy kids visa rule

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News in brief:

Garuda Indonesia selling £1850 Sydney and Perth fares from London

Garuda Indonesia is currently selling an excellent £1850 Business Class deal from London Heathrow to Australia (Sydney or Perth) for January to July 2019.

The earliest travel date I can find outbound is Friday 11th January so, whilst good for a Winter break, isn’t any use if you’re planning to travel over Christmas 2018.

Garuda is about to end its direct service from Heathrow.  Instead, you will be flying London to Amsterdam (Garuda codeshare on KLM), Amsterdam to Jakarta and Jakarta to Sydney / Perth.

Garuda is a SkyTeam member so you can pick up a lot of miles in your preferred SkyTeam frequent flyer scheme, potentially Delta SkyMiles because you would also get the ability to redeem on Virgin Atlantic.  Etihad Guest is also an option.  (Do check your exact booking class as wheretocredit.com.)

The Garuda home page is here.  They do not fly every day so if your search throws up an error then move forward a day.  Once you have a price up you can easily scroll back and forth seven days at a time to find the best fare.

Thanks to German site YHBU.

Garuda deals London to Australia

New Marriott Rewards  / Starwood Preferred Guest promotion underway

A quick reminder, as it is a couple of weeks since we originally mentioned it, that the new Marriott / Starwood promotion got underway yesterday.

Called ‘MegaBonus In More Places’ it runs until 31st January.  You will earn:

2,000 bonus points on every 2+ night stay

1,000 bonus points for every different brand, starting with your 2nd brand

There are no shortage of brands to stay at, given the combined programmes now cover AC Hotels, Aloft, Autograph, Courtyard, Delta Hotels, Design Hotels, Edition, Element, Fairfield Inn, Four Points, Gaylord, Le Meridien, Marriott, Protea, Renaissance, Residence Inn, St Regis, Sheraton, The Luxury Collection, The Ritz-Carlton, Springhill Suites, Towneplace Suites, W and Westin!

You can register for ‘MegaBonus In More Place’ via this link.

We will do a full round-up of the Autumn hotel promotions from the main chains early next week.

South Africa relaxes visa rules for children

South Africa overhauls its visa rules for children

In an attempt to reverse a decline in tourism, South Africa is to scrap the incredibly restrictive rules on tourists who wish to travel to the country with children.

At present, it is tricky to enter South Africa with a child even if both parents are travelling.  We covered this story back in 2015.  If only one parent is travelling then you might as well not bother.  If one of your children is actually your step-child, then forget it.

These are the rules in place today.  Note the requirement for an affidavit – a simple letter will not suffice – and the unabridged, not short form, version of the birth certificate:

Where both parents are travelling with a child who is under 18:

All parents travelling with children under the age of 18 to or from South Africa must produce an unabridged birth certificate of each child which shows details of the parents of the child.

Where one parent is travelling with a child, they must produce:

an unabridged birth certificate

and either

consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered as a parent on the birth certificate, authorising them to enter or depart from South Africa with the child

or

a court order granting them full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship or where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate

Where an adult is travelling with a child, who is not their biological child, they must produce:

a copy of the unabridged birth certificate of the child

an affidavit from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming that they have permission to travel with the child

copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child

Children travelling alone must produce:

consent from one or both of the parents/legal guardian in the form of a letter or affidavit, for the child to travel into or depart from South Africa. If only one parent is able to provide proof of consent they must also have a copy of a court order granting the full parental responsibilities

a letter from the person who is to receive the child in South Africa, containing their residential address and the contact details where the child will be residing

a copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in South Africa

contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child

You can find out more on the changes hereBritish Airways confirms what I wrote above on ba.com here.

Unfortunately there is no sign of the rule over the number of consecutive blank pages required in your passport being changed.  At present you must have two consecutive fully blank pages and they must be marked ‘Visas’ at the top.  Any page marked Endorsements, Amendments or Observations does not count.  (EDIT: there is some discussion in the comments about the need for two blank pages and, whilst you will read both versions on official websites, the view is that one blank page is enough.)

(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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Comments

  1. This may be controversial – I am struggling to see how £1850 represents an excellent deal – for me it is an eye-watering amount of money! Is it relatively excellent compared to what the usual prices are, or excellent in terms of the product supplied for the price?

    • What do you consider a fair price for Business Class to Australia?

      We’re talking about 48 hours in the air (more, admittedly, with Garuda). Even in a sale, you’d pay at least £1300 for Business Class from London to New York which is only 12 hours in the air.

      Economy would be £1000 return in January – I just did a search and can only find £996 in Economy on a day when Garuda is offering £1850 in Business – and do you really want 48 hours in a tiny seat vs a flat bed? The extra frequent flyer miles for Business vs Economy are probably worth £200 for a start.

      • Hi Rob,
        I had the same thought as Ehosin initially. I think the issue is that without clicking through to Garuda’s website, the story didn’t mention we’re talking about Business Class. I only realised when you mentioned it in your comment.

        As you say though £1,850 for Business class London-Sydney is great value.

    • Eye watering if you dont have the funds, like us. Eye pleasing for those with a lot of wonga (not payday loan btw).

      • The way the article was originally written did not make clear it was Business Class, hence the comment.

  2. OT // Spend £500 or more, get £100 back on Hilton (Amex Plat) – Offer ends 30/09
    Save to Card to get a £100 statement credit on eligible spend of £500+ in participating hotel(s) at Hilton properties in the US by 30/9/2018.

    Anybody know if this will work on advanced rates? i.e pay now?

    • OFFER TERMS
      Statement credit will only be rewarded if the spend threshold is met. Should the amount charged not meet the spend threshold due to a fluctuation in the exchange rate the statement credit will not be rewarded.

      Offer valid on checkout spend only.

      Book and pay by the offer end date.

      • Is it the same with the £150 Europe offer? Has anyone booked a prepaid rate and got the MR points?

        • Generally I have found that in the UK prepaid rates are fine and in the US they are not. I can’t speak for mainland Europe.

        • In the US they are charged centrally and everywhere else the hotel charges.

      • Yup – It didn’t work…. oh well! – Wanted to stay there anyway! 🙂

    • Travel Strong says:

      If you can get the front desk to take a card prepayment over the phone, it’s very likely to work. I got the credit when getting the front desk to charge via a credit card authorisation form emailed over… but my circumstances were different, I wasn’t just trying to pay in advance to get the credit.

      • What was your excuse, out of interest? I’m trying this tomorrow, telling them I want to pay early because my employer has a long expenses cycle.

  3. OT
    just received an email from Amex about ShopSmall but only encouraging me to patronise small shops. Let’s hope that the encouragement becomes more practical in December as in previous years.

    • Shoestring says:

      Given it’s Oct 1st on Monday, I guess Amex will communicate Shop Small very soon (if it’s on)

      • Had a quick look on Wednesday for my local area and there a couple of new places on there (also highlighted as new) on the map, so hopefully they’ll be doing it again!

  4. Shoestring says:

    Having gone from a Nectar point spurner to a Nectar collector, I will soon have something like 45000 Nectar points (+ obvs 36000 MR points & the free PP lounge entry).

    I was thinking of using my N points to buy one of the Halfords trail bikes (mountain/ hybrid) on Ebay.

    I think 45000 N points gets me (500 N points = £2.50) = £225.

    One of the Carreras? Any thoughts? Just trail use, not commuting or roads.

    • I bought a Carrera Vulcan earlier this year for the same purpose – light trails only!
      I knew absolutely nothing, so maybe you know this already, but common Advice i got after visiting lots of bike shops…
      – Look for hydraulic brakes “best invention on a bike for 20 years”
      – 29″ wheels (29ers) – bigger wheels better for going over potholes etc they span the gap more easily but not absolutely necessary.
      – suspension – actually makes it more difficult to ride on flat roads as your energy gets sapped by the suspension. So better to get one with ‘lock out’ which is basically an on/off switch

      Halfords RRP for their bikes are well over inflated. So would suggest you wait for a sale.

      Can also find 10% off voucher for Halfords that you can combine with your vouchers and the sale offers. Let me know if you need to know where to look.

      Staff at Halfords were very mixed. Weekend staff were generally rubbish – but if you can spot the bike ‘techs’ they were very helpful and not very commercially minded – telling exactly what was and wasn’t worth it.

      • Shoestring says:

        There’s a trick you can use to get about 30% off @ Halfords proper – but my point is to use up my N points and I think Ebay is one of the best places. Not sure how easy it is to actually use them for something decent otherwise. Thx for endorsement of Carrera. So far this week I have done 3x 12 miles on the same trail, today as well, all on my wife’s bike since I bust my own about 18 months ago. Aluminium (good), small for me (bad) and purple (tasty).

        • If you’re using them up at 0.5p why not just spend them on grocery shops?

        • That was my thought. Get the bike cheaper online and use the points elsewhere. I’ve found I’m using mine for train tickets these days, because I can order a voucher code in 30 seconds via the Nectar website, it pops up immediately and I can immediately cut and paste it into the East Coast website.

        • Might not live close to Sainsburys

        • Shoestring says:

          Ignorance. I haven’t really checked out N points as they were so useless in the past. Now I find 45,000 have fallen into my/ our hands and it feels like free money; I need a bike.

          Yep – I should treat them like any loyalty currency, you’re right.

  5. OT but Marriott/SPG related, I have a 2 night SPG reward stay booked and have decided that I need to stay another night (which I am happy to pay cash for)

    Does anyone have experience on whether you keep a nicer room for the reward nights if you pay cash for a higher grade of room the first night? I suspect it depends on the hotel, but interested in other people’s experiences. I am guessing choosing a room grade just 1 or 2 higher than the standard room would be more likely to succeed than picking the best room in the hotel.

    • It can work… but they can also be in their right to ask you to swap rooms!
      Add the booking ref in your new booking

  6. Leighton Sharpe says:

    Hey there Rob,

    Have you by any chance flown Garuda Business class?

    It definitely sounds like a great deal!

    Thanks,

  7. This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me.

    Kudos!

  8. Imagine Rob my surprise when we arrive in Johannesburg with my one 4 year old last year. Get to the immigration to be told in no uncertain terms that we will need a birth certificate to leave the country. Our mistake of course but we have travelled around the world with him so this took us aback. We had to have our landlord (lovely chap) go into our property, search our docs, scan it and send it to us to leave 3 weeks later. Loved the place but not enough to stay forever, luckily it came through but now we carry with our passports a birth certificate. Dodged a bullet.

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