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British Airways launches flights from London Heathrow to Preveza and Bastia

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British Airways has announced two new Summer routes to Preveza (Greece) and Bastia (Corsica) starting from May 2019.

Flights to Preveza will be operating on Wednesdays and Sundays starting on 26th May, departing London Heathrow at 08:20 on Wednesdays (arriving 13:45) and 11:25 on Sundays (arriving 16:50) and returning from Preveza at 14:45 on Wednesdays (arriving 16:10). This seasonal flight will be operated until 29th September.

British Airways launches Heathrow to Preveza and Bastia

Starting on 25th May there will also be a once weekly flight from Heathrow to Bastia. This flight will be operating on Saturdays leaving Heathrow at 07:40 (arriving 11:00) and returning from Bastia at 11:50 (landing at 13:10). The last flight of the season will be on 28th September.

As new routes, London Heathrow to Preveza and Bastia are wide open for Avios availability and bookable as of now.

To maximise your miles when paying, your best bet is the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card which earns double Avios (3 per £1) when you book at or via BA Holidays.  You do not get double Avios if you book with the free British Airways American Express card.  Another option is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.

On the downside, British Airways has announced that flights to Murcia will not resume next Summer.  There has also been an unannounced cut in the weekend services from Manchester to Ibiza, which drop from four weekly flights to just one.

(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. Shoestring says:

    Heathrow tests face scanners to cut check-in time by a third
    PRESENTING a passport at the airport could become a thing of the past, as Heathrow is testing facial recognition technology that means documents no longer need to be scanned at check-in.
    The technology is being fully introduced next year and is expected to reduce the time it takes to go from check-in to take-off by up to a third.
    At present passengers need to present different forms of ID such as boarding cards as well as their passports to show that they are authorised to travel. The option of using facial recognition technology means that a passenger will go through a scanner at the airport which will enable the details of their flight to be checked on a system. When a passenger has travelled from the airport once, their details will be stored so they are recognised on future trips.
    Heathrow said that by using facial recognition at check-in, bag drops, security lanes and boarding gates, the need to present a passport would eventually be unnecessary. Passengers will still need to carry their passports to present on arrival at their destination.
    The airport has invested £50million in the project, which is part of a wider programme of investment to reduce the amount of time passengers spend in airports.
    Jonathan Coen, Heathrow customer relations and service director, said: “As our passenger numbers continue to grow, we must look for innovative ways to make it easier and quicker for them to travel through Heathrow with choice, whilst keeping our airport secure.
    “Biometrics are key to helping us do that, and we are really excited about the biggest roll-out of this equipment at any UK airport.”

    • Haven’t they been doing something like this on domestics? I remember getting my photo taken at security when flying on a domestic to Newcastle in August.

      Also what happens when you haven’t shown anyone your passport, you get to immigration at the destination and you’ve realise you never had it on you?

      • Shoestring says:

        I think some countries would let you in if they could get sighting of your passport, ie you scanned it & saved it online, leaving you to head for the Embassy pronto to get replacement!

        Everybody should do this (scan & save online) as a matter of course in any event.

      • I always carry it in case the policy changes, but I’ve never shown a Passport to travel on a domestic BA flight from Heathrow or Edinburgh.

      • Biometrics on domestics is a different matter to what is being discussed. In UK airports, domestic and international flights leave from the same airside gate areas. However, at LHR, LGW and MAN, passengers are able to transit internationally without entering the UK.

        Therefore, someone flying e.g. CAI-LHR-JFK will pass through security when transiting at LHR, but they don’t go through immigration (passport control). Someone flying LHR-EDI could be departing from the adjacent gate. Passengers could swap/steal boarding passes and then someone who did not enter the UK properly could fly the domestic flight and walk out of the airport without going through immigration.

        Thus, a facial photo of domestic (and DUB) passengers is captured before they enter airside, which confirms that they were already in the UK before going airside. At airports other than LHR, LGW and MAN, everyone going airside is already inside the UK so this problem doesn’t arise.

        The article Harry posted is about showing your passport once, after which your biometrics will be recorded, and then this photo would be used to pass through check-in, security and boarding on future flights both domestic and international.

    • Bootlace says:

      Most biometric security systems struggle in the real world. With facial recognition, even in lab conditions, the rate of false positives is way too high to trust as real security.
      In practice most pilot projects end up using biometrics as a quick and dirty filter, with humans reviewing a percentage of the results.

      • Flying into Oakland – the US immigration use BOTH – ie you had to use the biometrics first to print a voucher, you then had to queue for an official to look again at the documents! Fortunately were at front of queue. IS this common now?

        • Yes, JFK was like this the other week. Makes sense when you think about it.

        • You only have to see a person if you get an “X” on your coupon.

        • Been around for a few years now. It has replaced the I94 and customs declaration and greatly speeds up clearing border control (although BA were still needlessly handing these out when I flew on BA001 in May this year.)

          Although it is on the US Citizens/Resident part of the CBP website, it has been available from day one for EU citizens travelling on the VWP who have previously visited the US on the same machine readable/biometric passport. The first time I used it in Miami, you had to go through the US line instead of staying with the Aliens.

          AFAIK everyone has to present the paper slip to an Immigration Officer for expedited entry, even US Citizens and permanent residents. The only exception may be people enrolled in Global Entry?

          My partner was regularly getting an X on the slip he was getting from the APC kiosks because the name on his passport did not exactly match the name he used for booking tickets. Never caused a problem though.

        • RussellH says:

          I had this experience at ORD in 2016, but July 2017 there were no immigration machines at OAK. Just human beings – and by the usual standard of US Immigration Staff, remarkably pleasant, open and friendly.

    • I have passports of 3 countries and the one I use depends on which country I’m flying to, so that the airline knows I’m allowed to enter.

      I have problems 50% of the time when using the e-gates to enter the UK, although (using my British passport) the e-gates in other EU/EEA countries work 100% of the time.

      I don’t have high hopes that this is going to go smoothly, someone is going to get confused when I enter my Australian passport on API and Heathrow biometrics matches me to my British one…. I suppose it won’t matter when flying to the EU/EEA after March, since all my passports will become just as good as each other 🙂

  2. I wonder is Amex Amazon connect code ‘AMEX16SWP’ is reported to be working for accounts that has used this offer last year.

    I don’t see code works any more for with on a my Amazon account (I used this offer last year).

    • Shoestring says:

      No they stopped people double dipping – I got 5x family a/cs to work twice but they cancelled the 6th a/c’s order (on purpose, as items were in stock) – I tried again on the 6th & no joy getting the code accepted again.

      Still good for first-timers, though – £15 off £25 @ Amazon

  3. Optimus Prime says:

    OT – I have 9k Hilton Honors points expiring by end of this month. My wife has 2.5k.

    We don’t have the Hilton Barclaycard. Is there any way to keep them alive? I have Amex MR points so I guess I could transfer the minimum.

    My wife doesn’t have any Amex MR points. I guess she could by some points or just let them expire since it’s a small amount?


    • Pool them and transfer 10k into 1k airline miles.

    • The Original Nick says:

      You can now pool your points together for free to save losing your Wife’s points.

      • Optimus Prime says:

        I have just submitted a request to combiner our accounts. It says it can take up to 10 business days. That would be past our points expiry date.

        Do they really take that long to merge them?

        • Genghis says:

          Takea a day or two from experience. Note I was able to transfer my MR points to my HH and my wife’s HH (same surname) accounts earlier this year.

        • Optimus Prime says:

          Thanks @Genghis. We don’t have the same surname so I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best 😀

        • I think you chose the wrong option – you don’t want to combine or merge anything. You can only combine two of your own accounts (which would have been opened by mistake, since multiple accounts are not allowed).

          As Rob and Nick said, you need to “pool” your points.

          This involves the recipient account submitting any email address (which you have access to) in the Pool Points form. Then log out of Hilton, wait 5 minutes, and click the link in the email; log into the donor account and this brings you to a page where you enter the number of points you want to transfer (9000 or 2000).

          This usually takes around 24 hours, after which one of your accounts will have at least 11000 points, you can then as Rob suggests transfer them to airline miles, or use it to make a booking at a 10000 points hotel or points&money at any hotel.

          Which direction you want to pool the points depends on whose airline account you want the miles to go to, or whose name you want the hotel stay to be in. Pooling points doesn’t count as activity.

        • Also any accounts which have been open for 90 days can be used for pooling, the names don’t matter.

    • Lady London says:

      I used the Hilton shopping portal for a tiny purchase (allowing a few weeks before expiry to allow t he points to credit). This seems to have kept my points alive another year.

      Not sure why I’m bothering though. Award costs for a lot of hotels seem to have snuck upwards in the past year or so. Hilton seems ok for recognition, less for free nights so far as I can tell.

  4. O/T five nights for the price of four with SPG/Marriott. I am staying at the Essex House in New York in April. I have made use of the free fifth night even though I won’t be staying a fifth night as my flight back from JFK is the evening of the fifth night and I will be leaving the hotel mid afternoon. I read of early departure charges but there don’t appear to be any details. As I have Gold status with Marriott/SPG I have 2pm checkout anyway “ subject to availability” plus I will be paying a resort fee of $25 for the fifth night which I won’t be staying in. Am I safe to check out of the hotel mid afternoon after my fourth night without incurring early departure fees. ?

  5. O/T

    Does anyone know if an automated ‘rewards night availability’ search engine exists for Marriott/SPG properties? I’m thinking something like BAredemption which pulls availability periodically and notifies?

    Trying to redeem points at a specific property but only cash rate available at the moment…manually checking is a drawn out process…anyone come across something like this?



  6. Michael Jennings says:

    OT: Something slightly amusing happened to me last week.

    I stayed Friday night (12-13th October) at the Holiday Inn Prague Airport, which cost 15,000 IHG points. My flight was late, which meant I didn’t check in until about 2am. Everything was perfectly fine with the hotel. However, when I look at my IHG account now, I have been refunded the 15,000 points. In my stays history, the stay is shown as 0 nights – 13th October to 13th October, and costing 0 points. I haven’t been treated as a no show or charged a no-show fee, but I have seemingly had a reward stay of 0 nights.

    Anyone else had anything like this happen? People must check into hotels after midnight all the time, particularly at airport hotels, so I can’t imagine this happens every time anyone does.

    • BEWARE. This is what IHG rules say: if you ‘no show’ on a points night, you get your points back BUT your credit card is charged the fully flexible room rate for that night.

      It happened to me once – I wrote about it but, as I didn’t name the hotel, I can’t find the article. I forgot to cancel a redemption for my brother and, at 9am, I got a Amex notification on my iPhone showing a £200 room charge going through. I quickly realised what had happened, called the hotel and had a row over what constituted ‘check-in’. They agreed that as long as I turned up before 11am (check-out time) I could officially check-in and I’d get my £200 back.

      So I threw the kids in a taxi (wife was out), dashed to Camden, checked in, nicked the room toiletries and then we hit the market for a bit!

      • Genghis says:
      • A points Warrior!

      • Michael Jennings says:

        Yes, I understand that this is what is supposed to happen, but in my case only half of it has. The points have been refunded, but nothing has been charged to my credit card. I haven’t received any e-mail or notification telling me that I am going to be charged, either, and the night is shown in my past stays on the IHG website (but with the same day for check-in and check-out). Perhaps they were half way through the process of marking me as a no show when I walked in the door.
        I’ll keep watching my credit card, obviously.

        • IHG sometimes correct their own points mistakes later, even months later. Presumably the hotel will realise at some stage that they haven’t been paid by IHG for the stay, so IHG may stilll deduct the points from your account.

    • Rob, after an overnight flight I need to check in to IC Bangkok around 7am. I have booked paid nights before and after. Do you think this will be ok and should I still get 2 nights credit?

      • Yes, will be fine BUT let them know in advance as they decide you will be a no-show and give your room away if full or if someone turns up at 2am without anywhere to stay.

    • Lady London says:

      I wouldn;t call 2am a no show.
      One hotel I use regularly told me they consider it a no show if you haven’t turned up by 8am unless you’ve called them.

      If you did this on the first night of your reservation I guess all the nights of your reservation could get flushed?

  7. OT: Just checking again if anyone has the link to upgrade the BA free card to the BA Premium for 10000 avios, either from the amex account page, app or from an email. I can’t see it on my account and no luck with google or asking amex on chat. Thanks

    • Benylin says:

      No such thing afaik

      • It was mentioned in a number of posts yesterday, but nobody posted the link.

        • Shoestring says:

          Whereas people ringing Amex CS get no joy these days if they ask for cardmember offers to be added, there are reports of people seeing success when they ask for a card upgrade offer.

  8. Optimus Prime says:

    Another OT…

    When using Priority Pass at Gatwick Granary Store – do you get £15 credit for a guest too or only PP cardholders do?

  9. Hope to use Preveza flights next year. Parga, nearby, is stunning.

  10. OT Have seen the answer in the comments before but can remember which article. Had Amex Gold upgraded to Plat after 4 months, no fee charged. Coming up to original Gold anniversary which I believe will trigger Plat fee to be charged. Is this retrospective ie for the 8 months I’ve had Plat + a further 4 rather than for a further 12 months? Thanks in advance.

  11. Withdrawing cash in the EU:

    Best to use starling, curve or Revolut. I have all 3.

    And for Norma card purchases?

    • Genghis says:

      For me:

      Cash withdrawals = starling. No monthly limits, no charge but no rewards, fully flat (Curve is 1% + £2 if underlying card non-EUR IIRC) and Revolut is 2% charge after £200 pcm)

      Purchases = Revolut (no charge during the week and benefit of underlying card top up points). Weekend is 0.5% charge in EUR but you can earn that back on underlying card points. Curve has now charged charges but I’ve no limit. Starling not for purchases in EUR. I used in South Korea and HK recently though when Revolut’s weekend surcharging is prohibitive.

      • rams1981 says:

        How is starling topped up?

      • You can topup via a straight old-fashioned bank transfer (unlimited) from your existing account, or top up in the app using a ‘Debit Card’ (up to £250/day)

      • RakishDriver says:

        Isn’t curve zero FX charge now up to a certain £ amount ?
        Provided you withdraw during the week, hit that withdrawal limit before charges hit, then switch to starling as suggested (only recently became their customer) – at least you bank some points.

      • Sorry Genghis maybe I’m missing something here. If you’re happy to use Starling for cash withdrawals, why wouldn’t you also use it for purchases? OK it’s a debit card so no credit card protection, but you obv don’t mind that if you’re using Revolut instead.

        • Genghis says:

          Starling = no limit or charge on cash withdrawals but no reward. No reward on purchases
          Revolut = limits and charges on cash withdrawals. Rewards on purchases from underlying card.

        • Oh I see, rewards from topping up using a credit card. Knew I was forgetting something. Cheers G.

    • Delbert says:

      “And for Norma card purchases?”

      That for me would be my Halifax Clarity card. Starling is okay for cash withdrawals but the topping up and withdrawal limits are strange and quite low.

      • Starling for cash withdrawals, I took a small overdraft that they offered when I set up the account which allows me to withdraw cash and then I send the money from the notification straight across to avoid any interest charges

    • Dimitri says:

      Fair enough. However, why they keep it for old customers and not offer it for new ones?

      I remember reading that it was cancelled for most customers and I am surprised I am one of the lucky ones!

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