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Bits: good Priority Pass Black Friday deal, a new cheaper way to fly Qatar Airways First Class with Avios

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News in brief:

Priority Pass launches Black Friday discount deal

As most Black Friday travel deals seem to be running for a week or more this year, we’re going to cover them as they launch rather than waiting for Friday itself.

First up is Priority Pass.  If you’ve been thinking of getting a Priority Pass airport lounge card then the Black Friday offer is, experience shows, the best deal they run all year.

As you can see here, there are some sharp discounts:

40% off Standard membership (reduced to £41 from £69) – no free visits, you and your guests pay £20 each time

25% off Standard Plus membership (reduced to £141 from £189) – 10 free visits then £20 for every additional visit or for every guest visit

25% off Prestige membership (reduced to £254 from £339) – all your visits are free, your guests pay £20 each time

It is worth remembering that none of these plans offer free guest visits.  The only way to get a Priority Pass which offers free guest visits is to take out an American Express Platinum charge card.  This comes with two Priority Pass cards (one for you, one for your supplementary cardholder), each of which allows a free guest.  This allows a family of four to use a lounge for free.

The best deal, to my mind, is Standard Plus.  You are paying £14.10 per lounge visit which is pretty decent.

You can find out more, and purchase, on this special page of the Priority Pass website.  The offer runs to 25th November.

Qatar Airways First Class from Frankfurt

Fly Qatar Airways First Class cheaply as the A380 launches from Frankfurt

Qatar Airways has announced that it will switch one of its two daily Frankfurt flights to an A380 from 31st March 2019.

This may, in itself, not sound very exciting.  Don’t be fooled.  It opens up some very interesting possibilities for anyone wanting to tick Qatar Airways First Class off their bucket list, especially for anyone who wants to try out the amazing First Class Lounge in Doha.  This is why:

Qatar Airways only offers First Class on its 10 A380 aircraft

Flights from London are blocked for First Class redemptions and even if bookable are expensive, at 160,000 Avios return plus charges

Flights from Paris now seem to be blocked for First Class redemptions (they didn’t used to be) and even if bookable are expensive, at 160,000 Avios return plus charges

The new flights from Frankfurt are NOT blocked for First Class redemptions and are NOT expensive, because Frankfurt is nearer to Doha than Paris or London.  You will only pay 100,000 Avios return, plus charges.

As usual in the wacky world of BA, the taxes and charges don’t make any sense:

One-way Frankfurt to Doha in Qatar First is 50,000 Avios + £227

One-way Doha to Frankfurt in Qatar First is 50,000 Avios + £99

Return Frankfurt to Doha in Qatar First is 100,000 Avios + £412 (so save yourself £86 by booking as 2 x one-ways!)

Here is my review of Qatar Airways First Class (I flew it from Paris when you could still get First Class redemptions from there) and here is my review of the Al Safwa First Class lounge in Doha.

At present, there are 2 First Class seats and 4 Business Class seats showing for Avios on virtually every Frankfurt to Doha A380 flight from 31st March.

Business Class is also a good deal from Frankfurt, of course, as you are paying 75,000 Avios return compared with 120,000 Avios return from the UK.  If you wanted to try Qatar’s Business Class then you will save a lot by flying from Frankfurt and booking a separate connecting flight from London – although you’ll miss out on the excellent Qatar Airways lounge at Heathrow.

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Comments

  1. As it’s bits – Rob just thought I’d let you know in the back and forth of the SPG “triple up bonus” issue, one response I got from Marriott was a link to this site on the SPG card review. Of course I was glad to point them out to comment X, Y and Z who were also having the same issues! Hopefully will resolve soon. Need that extra 20k Marriott points…

    • dgsupersonic says:

      I’m having the same issue. Amex told me they would magically be converted by Marriott which I did not believe at all as none of their systems are clever enough to distinguish between different points coming from Amex > Marriott.

      Shouldn’t you be chasing Amex instead?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I agree with the the 3x conversion was a one time thing for Marriott on points already in your account

        After that the sender needs to fix it as they told Marriott 10000 points you got 10000 points.

      • I spoke to AMEX again yesterday and the agent said “2 – 3 weeks”… I’ll believe it when I see it.

        • The 500 bonus avios saga rolls on as well. Chased Amex again yesterday as the offer is now showing as expiring soon on my account. The chat rep said it must not have registered that I’ve used it because I’ve got a new card (I haven’t, and the offer is clearly saved on the card I am using). They have now sent it to their IT department to look at. I am starting to think they have a lot of stock phrases to fob people off!

      • Same issue. We chased Amex and got nothing. We’re now trying to chase Marriott.

    • The proof that it’s absolute BS from amex is the fact they’ve tripled base card spend before it gets sent to SPG/Marriott now.

      It’s even better, if you call to cancel the SPG card they’ll offer you an additional “starpoint” per £ spent. The agent will explain that you currently earn 1 starpoint per £ and if you choose not to cancel you’ll earn 2 star points per £.

      What will actually happen is that you’ll get 3 combined scheme points as base spend (ie the correct interpretation of 1 starpoint) and then (in their terms not mine as it appears on the points statement) 1 additional bonus starpoint which does not get tripled meaning 4 combined scheme points.

      It’s all absolutely bizarre and the only way to resolve appears to be to make a formal complaint.

      • Agreed, I made a formal complaint.

        had £100 credit added to my account

        1 additional starpoint received instead of the ‘double’ offer for leaving. all points earnt were then tripled as per the double point offer applied manually by one of the managers at amex last week.(complaint was made 3 months ago)

        • dgsupersonic says:

          What would be classed as a formal complaint? email? physical letter?

          I’m tired of being told the same story over the chats.

          @Rob, wouldn’t it be sensible for you to liaise with Amex on behalf of your readers to solve this issue?

        • @dgsupersonic A formal complaint can be made using whatever method you prefer – if you wanted to do so via chat they cannot stop you from doing so, but perhaps better to use email, phone or letter. Search for FCA DISP 1.3 which is the complaint handling rules if you want more.

        • been waiting ages (july) for the points to drop into OH’s SPG. Amex chat keep saying it will be done, then said they had the wrong number despite me giving it to them on chat and application form and now asked me to wait until dec, can we complain?

      • I’ve reached a similar point Will.

        I was asked to give them a week before calling back (today was the day) in order to learn what has taken place. Nothing firm was forthcoming, so will be posting a letter to the ominously named “Department 333” tomorrow to see if this speeds things up.

  2. I wonder how much time one would want to spend in Al Safwa lounge with the flight departing at 08:05? Does QR allow for early check in, say 11pm the night before and then take advantage of the private bedrooms in Al Safwa? And are you allowed to use the lounge on an inbound flight completing its journey in Doha?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      You can access the lounge the night before no problem.

      On the inbound after landing only if connecting to another first class flight.

      Another Cheap way to access the lounge is a first class Middle Eastern flight. It’s a nice lounge

      • Not many of those due to the blockade ….

      • Has the “only if connecting to another first class flight” rule changed since you went there last Rob? The review you linked to above says that you get lounge access if you’re flying in on a first class flight of more than 5 hours (and presumably are connecting on).

        • Not been keeping up with this – the Qatar forum on Flyertalk has a dedicated thread on the lounge and the changing rules.

  3. It’s only showing up to 25th October 2019, from what I can see, then it seems to revert to a 777.

    • What’s your source for checking aircraft type? I was looking last week for around 21st October 2019 and it was showing an A350-1000 on Expedia seat map

      • I just did a few quick searches on the BA website for Frankfurt to Zanzibar or the Seychelles next October half term, booking with Avios.

  4. OT is anyone with a Lloyds Avios earning credit card receiving their Avios into their BAEC account following the closure of their Avios.com account please?

    • Yep posting fine for me. Comes up: Finance Card Lloyds Banking Avios award

    • Yes; my Avios.com account is now closed

    • Ken Middleton says:

      Yes, I received the first transfer to BAEC a few days ago. It had been arriving at Avios on a certain day regularly. When the points didn’t arrive at Avios or BAEC on that due day I phoned Lloyds. As always, no-one could tell me where they were. They did, however tell me that they only sent the financial info to Avios and had nothing to do with the calculation of Avios points. Anyway the points turned up in my Executive Club account the following day. I had been worried because I had never told Lloyds what my EC account number was. Having just bought a car with that card, I definitely didn’t want the points to go astray.

      I would say that if you have transferred points from Avios to BA in in the past, the point will get to your BA account.

    • Yes, all fine for me. My Avios account still works, pushed Avios to it to use a Lloyds voucher last week, and also threw it to Iberia for a hotel.

    • Fine for me too. Wouldn’t hurt to ensure your email addresses match – the most cautious option if possible to match BAEC to the email used at avios.com.

    • Adam Brown says:

      Yes mine arrived but about 4 days after they used to arrive in Travel Rewards.

    • i’ve just had my first Lloyds avios post to BAEC – and my Avios.com account hasn’t been closed (presumably because i have a handful of EI tier points)

    • Thanks for the replies everyone, will give it a few more days just to make sure before contacting them.

  5. Do we think they will block these first redemptions soon like London & Paris, probably best two jump on redeeming now.

  6. Has anyone used the Amex United offer yet (£100 off £500)? Can anyone tell me whether they charge tickets individually (like BA) or in one transaction? Looking at two tickets at about £350 each but obviously the offer will only work if they are billed together! Thanks

  7. Heinztein says:

    OT – Lloyds upgrade voucher – Not sure if this is on everyone’s radar but I just called Lloyds to ask how close I was to earning my next upgrade voucher. The agent said they are no longer being issued as avios.com has now closed. He also said he didn’t know if a deal would be done with BA, ‘who knows’. I’d wrongly been thinking that until Lloyds pulled your card it was still possible to earn towards a voucher.

    • Not sure if they have this correct. I called yesterday and was sure I had spent the 7k since paying the fee in May and was told my voucher was issued on 22nd October. I didn’t get an email to tell me it was there.

    • I think they’re wrong, You are still entitled to the Ts and Cs of the Lloyds card until the account closes. Avios.com has not closed, you can still book travel and use upgrade vouchers with them, it’s just that your avios will now rest in your BAEC account. I would try speaking to someone else – if Lloyds are still issuing your avios, why wouldn’t they issue your upgrade voucher?

      You can also easily check your own progress by viewing your Lloyds statements.

      • Sussex Bantam says:

        Yeah – that’s not true. Earned one last week…

        • Out of interest – how do you know: is the new voucher showing somewhere online or did you get an email?

        • Sussex Bantam says:

          My avios.com is still open – linked to aerclub – and I can see them there.

        • OK that’s interesting and a bit bizarre. I’ve also held open my avios.com account because I hoped that would mean new Lloyds vouchers appear there, but my Lloyds avios are now posting to BAEC so I assumed the Lloyds/avios.com link was broken for the vouchers too.

        • Sussex Bantam says:

          My Lloyds avios are also still posting to avios.com

    • I redeemed my voucher last week, had to phone Avios.com and they took the Avios out of my BAEC account (they can’t take out of a house hold account, they can only use your personal Avios balance)

      I managed to get two business class LHR – SIN 😀

      • Adam Brown says:

        I booked mine out of my Aer Lingus account. It booked but then gave me an error that was apparently to do with them needing you to call so they could remove the voucher. After waiting a day one of the two flights came through but the other still hasn’t come through. It will almost be a relief when I stop earning upgrade vouchers as they have become a pain to use.

      • That’s not true – I booked 2 x CW in August with avios taken from my BAEC household account.

        • I booked in October and they transferred the points from my BAEC to Avios whilst I was on the phone. They came out of my personal BA any and didn’t come out of the other household accounts. It appears on my BA statement as combine my avios.

    • the_real_a says:

      LLyods call center agents are only slightly above creation’s in terms of competency… Having “dealt” with them a few occasions that resulted in FOS complaints i wouldn’t trust a single word they say.

    • Good evening

      I wonder if anyone can kindly offer me some advice on this matter.

      I wanted to ask if anyone has had problems redeeming the Lloyds voucher for people other than the named person,(Main card holder), who initially took out the card?

      Lloyds keep on insisting that the upgrade voucher can only be redeemed by the main card holder for their own flights and no one else.

      Am I better off calling BA?

      My Voucher is currently only visible in my Avios account.

      Thanks

      Ronster

      • I’ve always found them excellent but I’m starting to agree with Ghengis! Of course you can use the voucher for someone else, avios’ own website says you can book 2 one-way flights for 2 people for a start!

        • BA can’t book it for you though.

        • Hi Anna

          Thanks for your reply.

          Thats what they told me as well but they also said that one of these people had to be the Main card holder.

          I wanted to book a return upgrade for someone else.

          Ronster

  8. Finding the SPG amex a bit confusing – I signed up during the last week of this August, while the merger was apparently going on. I’ve had loads of trouble getting Amex to send the points (for their part Amex say they sent them but SPG/Marriott didn’t accept them). Finally a transfer went through in November – I was just wondering if slightly over 50k Marriott points is about right for c.£6.5k in spending?

    I’m fairly sure it is, at 33000 for the welcome bonus and £6.5k x 3 in spending, but thought I’d check as a lot of people appear to be in dispute with Amex at the moment regarding this.

    Additionally, would appreciate any suggestions for a good 50k redemption in December without leaving the UK.

    • £6.5k spend x 3 points per £1 = 19500 points. Plus 33k welcome bonus points with referral. Just over 50k points sounds about right.

      Not sure about hotel redemptions. Have used my points for SPG/Marriott moments which was well worth it.

    • University Arms Hotel, Cambridge?

      • Janet Thomas says:

        I agree with Genghis. I’m currently staying at University Arms on a two-night redemption. Great value at 25000 points a night. Got an upgrade to a large executive room overlooking the park.

    • Hanbury Manor is great. A lovely spa, pool and gym, the breakfast is lovely, the beds are wonderfully comfy, the grounds are beautiful, and there’s golf (if that’s your thing).

  9. OT – Has anyone thought about phoning BAEC and simply asking if Iberia can take out avios points from the 90k promotion?

    • As if the call centre would have a clue …!

    • From the Combine My Avios T&C: “Once Avios have been transferred to a Programme they are subject to the Terms and Conditions of that Programme as applicable at the date of transfer. In the event of any dispute as to the entitlement to the Points originally issued to a Member the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme under which Points were issued shall apply.”

  10. Christopher Chan says:

    OT – My Swiss flight LHR – GVA was cancelled (fault on the plane I believe) and the alternative offered (landing 9 hours later than originally scheduled) was of no use and so I didn’t end up flying to Geneva. My return was booked on BA GVA – LCY. I have been refunded by Swiss for the outbound, however was just wondering if a) am I entitled to a refund on the return leg and b) if I can also claim compensation under EU261.

    • Unless they were booked as one ticket, which I don’t think they are: no

      • I guess, this is the flipside of booking two separate flights as a security in case if you cancel/change outbound, your inbound is not affected

    • No refund for GVA-LCY. That’s a downfall of separate tickets. You could try your insurance.

      No compensation for the outbound either, just the refund you’ve already had. (If you’d taken the flight 9 hours later you could have had the compensation, as long as not extraordinary circumstances, but no the refund.)

      • I had a problem with BA over two separate tickets both on BA….so no chance here! Their outbound was cancelled due to ATC computer failure and they wouldn’t refund my separate inbound, even though they hadn’t managed to get me there to fly it….

        Everyone I spoke to thought it was madness….even Ryanair aren’t that unreasonable. In the end CR gave me a healthy chunk of Avios to make up for it

  11. Adam Brown says:

    Whenever I think about cancelling my Amex Platinum card I see how much it would cost to get the same with Priority Pass directly and suddenly 450 for 4 doesn’t seem so bad!

  12. Ping Pong says:

    OT I still have the Amex Gold charge card. If I upgrade to Plat using the upgrade link, would the balance on the Gold card count against the £1000 spend to trigger the upgrade points?
    And how long does it take to upgrade, instantly or a few days as when applied to a new card?
    Also are the offers saved on the Gold card lost or retained?

    Many thanks

    • 1) no. £1k new spend.
      2) instantly for the account (it will turn Platinum coloured). You can continue to use existing cards for spend
      3) retained.

  13. flyforfun says:

    Priority Pass – Groupon offer a £6 voucher that gives you 50% off the Standard Plus offering. No sure if you can combine it with the deal above.

  14. OT – Dubai BA CW flights have been switched to Air Belgium – anyone got any experience of these? Worse, the same or better than BA? We’re travelling with an infant so have the middle pair of seats at the back on the BA seat map which would be ideal if Air Belgium have the same layout

    • We did a reader review recently. They are ex-Finnair planes so better seats than Club World. Unfortunately they are ‘proper’ business class seats and not CW which is actually less ideal with an infant.

      • Thanks Rob. The BA seat map has been updated now and we’ve been moved to row 1 (only bassinet). So might stick with air Belgium for the outbound (as overnight) and try and get the in bound changed to BA (as it’s a day flight and it’ll be easier to have the little one enclosed!)

  15. Can we have a minutes silence please for the passing over of the DOH-BKK A380 run to Frankfurt. I need a moment…..

    • Nooooo. That is a huge disappointment to me. I was wondering what route was going to lose the 380 party bus. The bar was superb. We were lucky when we were upgraded at the gate to First Class – I never got to the main course as the starters were so nice.

  16. memesweeper says:

    OT: Trying to make an HMRC payment today with my trusty Curve MC Debit Card, and the payment is failing — the error message saying it’s not the right card type (as though the BIN range is not recognised as a Debit Card). I’ve used the card before, as recently as last week — is anyone else getting this problem today?

    • I had an issue making a “Business Services” transaction yesterday. Declined 3 times but seems fine today, so may be wait 24 hours? I would always counsel waiting and trying again rather than contacting Curve with what might not even be an issue…

      • memesweeper says:

        This wasn’t (I don’t think) a decline by Curve. I get a different message when that happens.

    • Rob Walker says:

      I get a similar message when trying to use Curve with the government tax free childcare scheme. I assumed they were using a different payment provider to HMRC, but I’m not really sure as I haven’t had to make a HMRC payment for a while.

  17. New Amex offer for me, spend £200 or more, get 3000 MR points on Mulberry.

  18. New amex offer £10 off aldi on plat and Ba card

    • I thought I was the only HfP reader who got excited about Aldi offers. Prosecco magnums and Roquefort treats all round.

    • The Aldi offer is for online orders, however that’s alcohol and other items so still plenty to get excited about! And they do free delivery.

  19. OT: Just as a datapoint, my partner finally received a full 75% refund from AF/KLM for an involuntary downgrade I reported back in January. Took 10 months but shows persistence can pay off so chase your claims to the end.

  20. OT – Rob I know you put an update on the original article but I can confirm that attempting to match Wyndham Rewards Diamond to Hilton Diamond does not work 🙁

    Got an email today saying that Wyndham Rewards is “ineligible to compare against Hilton Honors program or not an eligible hotel brand”

    Wish I’d known that before doing a paid stay at the Days Hotel Waterloo :'(

    Has there been any reports of anyone getting a successful match?

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