Bits: 500 free Avios for most BA Amex holders, when your BA flight becomes Air Belgium, ‘Credit Card Reviews’ returns

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News in brief:

500 free Avios for British Airways American Express cardholders

American Express has launched a no-brainer offer for most British Airways American Express cardholders.

Look at the ‘Offers’ tab on your online statement page.  You should see an offer for 500 Avios when you spend £5.  There are no restrictions on where you spend the £5 as long as it is in the UK and before 30th November.

Remember that the app only shows a selection of your offers.  You need to access the Amex site via a desktop or tablet to see the full list.

You need to click ‘Save to Card’ but that is literally all you need to do.  It is limited to the first 56,000 people to activate it but as it only launched yesterday I think you’ll be fine.  I’m not sure what has brought on this act of generosity but it would be rude to say no.

500 free Avios for British Airways American Express cardholders

What it’s like to fly Air Belgium when you’re expecting British Airways Club World

If you are due to fly to Abu Dhabi in the near future, you may be in for a surprise.  Air Belgium has been standing in for British Airways due to its problematic Boeing 787-9 fleet.

Reader Gill recently took this service and dropped me a note with her thoughts.  The key fact is that, despite flying on what is basically a Finnair cast-off Airbus A340, it is better than Club World …..

  • The crew are employed by Air Belgium and the cabin is branded Air Belgium
  • Service is the standard Club World offering
  • White Company bedding and washbags are offered, as per Club World
  • The seats are good, comfortable and with a novel massage feature
  • The crew are “incredibly delightful” – “I got a welcome as a Gold member (can’t remember the last time that happened) and they also came and spoke to me to reassure me that my Gluten Free Meal was on board.  They also spoke to each passenger to wish us well and hope we enjoyed our flight before landing.”
  • Staff numbers seemed a lot higher than on a normal Abu Dhabi run, with six in Business Class

The downsides Gill noted were:

  • The in-flight entertainment is rubbish – a selection of about 10 films and nothing else (take your tablet and load it up)
  • The staff were incredibly nervous and slow with the service
  • For those that like to purchase duty free there is none on board

Gill concluded: “I would fly this service again and want to reassure people who may feel they are getting a budget airline.  It’s not BA or a brand new Dreamliner that’s the real downside, but the staff and their mode of operation really impressed me.  I do think that some BA staff could take a leaf out of the Air Belgium staff who were happy to help and really pleasant.  They made sure each and every passenger was well catered for.  The Air Belgium substitution is not an ideal situation, but its also not to be feared.”

Our ‘Credit Card Reviews’ series returns

Starting tomorrow, we will be running the 2018 edition of our ‘Credit Card Reviews’ series of articles.

Each day we will devote a full article to the pros and cons of a specific travel rewards credit card.  The full series can always be found under the ‘Favourites’ tab in the top menu or clicking ‘Credit Card Reviews’ in the Categories section of the sidebar (desktop and tablet sites only).  Now that MBNA has closed its cards, it will take us a week less than last year to do it!

Play Marriott’s ‘daily win’ game

Finally, don’t forget to click here to play the Marriott Rewards ’29 Ways To Stay’ daily win game today.  You should win at least 50, but hopefully more, Marriott Rewards points.

(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. OT: Ref SPG amex – anyone phoned in to cancel recently? Just wondering if they are still offering “1 extra starpoint per £” as a retention offer.

    • Cancelled both mine and my wife’s this week, no offer to extend the use, either time.

    • ankomonkey says:

      cancelled last week – no offer.

      • thehornets says:

        There wasn’t an offer when I tried to cancel 6 weeks ago, cancelled, until I specifically asked…. and then they said ‘oh yes, there’s an offer’

    • No offer when I canceled mine. I did it online and they insisted they talk to me. Wasted 20 minutes of my life.

  2. kovacsi76 says:

    Thanks for the Marriott game reminder this morning. “Only” got the usual 50 points for myself, but won 20000 points on my wife’s account!

  3. O/T SPG Amex referral is 9000 points but do these multiply by 3 because of the Marriott merger when they get transferred from Amex to your actual SPG account? Or do they remain 9000 points? Thanks.

  4. Unfortunately no 500 Avios offer on my BA Amex 🙁

  5. OT
    Norwegian premium. Flying to Orlando in the next month, there is an option to bid to upgrade. Never flown Norwegian premium … Any thoughts on whether £180 is worth the upgrade.. my theory is that as I am flying solo I may get lucky and get/ask for three seats to myself (poor man’s business class)

    • £180 sounds like a bargain. BA charge about that for an upgrade from Y to PE. I’ve never flown with Norwegian but their premium looks far better than PE. And bear in mind that £78 is due to the extra APD.

      • I am a big fan of the Norwegian Premium product. Like a hybrid premium economy/biz product. Very comfortable indeed and so much better than BA or Virgin PE products.

    • Bonglim says:

      I would say it is worth it, but I am 6’5″ tall!
      My understanding is that Norwegian Premium is better than premium economy on Virgin/ BA. More like an old school business class (without a flat bed).

      • I’m 6’1 so it would be worth it if I know the plane will either be full. Would be annoyed to pay the money and then forego 3 seats. I guess there isn’t an easy way to check the load prior to my flight.

    • We upgraded on a Norwegian flight from LAX, £180 is well worth it, excellent product.

  6. Whizz68 says:

    OT: When referring from Amex platinum card to a new BA premium card, Does the referrer receive 9000 Avios or 18000 Membership reward points?
    Thank you,

  7. OT / Marriott/SPG moment…
    Anybody who is going to NFL Sunday received any information yet?

    I’ve emailed and had zero response….

    • AndyGWP says:

      No. Nothing. Likewise emailed last night. No response.

      Annoying as I’m from up north so we are making a long weekend of it and are heading off Friday morning

      • Tthp213 says:

        I’ve emailed a couple of times over the last 2 week’s and got this update today:

        The tickets for your NFL London game are being shipped today – but since we are shipping so late we’d like to know if you’d prefer an option to pick up the tickets at will call?

    • Scallder says:

      I emailed yesterday and was told they had received the tickets from the NFL but yet to ship and would provide the tracking number. I then proactively said that if be happy to pick them up from the box office/will call but didn’t get a response regarding that and nothing from them today.

      If I haven’t heard back by tomorrow lunchtime will email again and defintely don’t want them sent – if coming by courier there’s a high chance I’ll not be at home to receive them and then they get taken to a depot miles away…

      • That’s my worry too now!
        Haven’t been provided with a contact number for this event yet either….

  8. Peter K says:

    Just thought of BA are going to be “ripping up” their exclusivity contracts for credit cards as Rob’s mentioned in the comments, thenmaybe this very generous BA Amex offer is to show them how valuable keeping with amex can be?

  9. OT Had to fly from LGW this evening to BCN. Used the Fast track, so from the car park to lounge must have be only 10-12 minutes. Really quick. Very impressed with the BA lounge, much nicer and quieter than LHR. Then used Cabify (as recommended here the other day, wouldn’t accept my Curve card, so used Lloyds Amex) and a nice Lexus drove me to the AC Marriott about 10 minutes away. The Cabify are actually waiting on the departures level outside Vueling on level 2 (general taxis are on level 0). Checked in to hotel via app, (Gold status via Amex Plat) and they checked my card etc and he said he upgraded me to a suite. It’s huge, shame I”m here for 1 night. But €18 for breakfast!!

  10. Hi,

    Question for Intercontinental Ambassadors .. my membership ends Dec 30th 2018, if I choose to renew today do I receive my welcome pack (specifically free night certificate) 4-6 weeks from today or 4-8 weeks from Dec 30th?

    Thanks for help 🙂

    • Genghis says:

      From when you renew. The BOGOF cert though may have an earlier expiry date depending when shipped (which seems to be just before a month end). As such, I generally leave as late as possible. But I guess you need the voucher now?

      • Lady London says:

        What a load of old cod. Can we please have an ‘enhanced compensation’ level of payout under EU261 where an airline has aggravated their offence by silly denials or non-prompt payment?

        If they’d sorted their crew member and had run the flight on time then doubtless BHX wouldn’t have had a lack of ground staff. It’s the airline whonis fully responsible. If the airline thinks some other party was partially responsible for the delay then they still are responsible. It’s the airline’s problem if they think they can recover a contribution from BHX.

        Please please persist on this one and let us know when you’ve got your money.

      • Thanks 🙂 Yes I need it for January, so it suits me that they send it sooner, thanks again for replying 🙂

  11. I’ve just earned my Lloyds upgrade voucher for spending £7k. It has posted to my avios account in the last couple of days. I have a booking which I want to cancel. The booking was made during my last year but if it is refunded now would I loose the upgrade voucher as the refund would be this year and my spend would then be less than £7k?

  12. This is the first time I have had an offer and not had the automatic redeem email through when I made the transaction. The offer says points to credit in 5 days, but they haven’t. Anyone actually got the 500 avios for this?

    • Kathy Mallam says:

      Yes- my 500 came through today- think the 6th day after the spend. No automatic e-mail- just found it on the account.

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