Bits: Newquay flights moving to Heathrow, that Abu Dhabi F1 hotel deal, new Luton Airport hotel opens

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News in brief:

Flybe services from Newquay switching to London Heathrow

I mentioned this briefly in my ‘breaking news’ article on the Virgin Atlantic takeover of Flybe on Thursday.  I wanted to repeat it as that article was not emailed and you may have missed the line anyway.

The Government announced on Thursday that it will provide additional funding to allow the daily Newquay to London Gatwick service to switch to London Heathrow from 31st March 2019.

The service will also increase from three to four flights per day.

It is not yet clear if this service will continue to benefit from no Air Passenger Duty, and whether long-haul flights connecting to the Newquay service will also be APD exempt.

Flybe will continue to operate the service using a turboprop aircraft.  Whilst these are rarely seen at Heathrow, Flybe already runs its Heathrow services to Aberdeen and Edinburgh this way, requiring a bus transfer to and from the aircraft.

The existing Flybe services use Heathrow Terminal 2 – there is no word yet on whether Newquay will also do so.

That Abu Dhabi Formula 1 redemption …..

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article pointing out that Marriott Rewards was still offering rooms on points (25,000 points per night) at the Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi for the weekend of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Given that cash rates were £1750 per night, with a 3-night minimum, it wasn’t a bad deal to put it mildly!

A reader who booked this sent me a photo from his hotel room window – see above.  You really can’t beat that.  With the radio on he will be set for the race.  If you value Marriott Rewards at 0.5p, which is our standard valuation, he paid £125 per night instead of the £1750 asking price!

The best bit is that, for 200 Dirham (£40) the hotel gave him an ‘access all areas pass’ and concert tickets for the full three days ….

Courtyard by Marriott Luton Airport

Courtyard by Marriott Luton Airport opens tomorrow

A new hotel opens at Luton Airport tomorrow – Courtyard by Marriott.  The images I’ve seen make it look like a Hampton by Hilton, ie a low cost hotel which looks more expensive than it is due to good modern design.

I am a little confused by access.  It is described as ‘500m from the passenger terminal’ but the directions imply that it isn’t walkable and that you need to take a £7 (!) taxi or £1.30 bus to travel the 500m.  There is no shuttle bus.  This doesn’t sound hugely sensible to me but let’s see what the early reports are like.  (EDIT: see some thoughts in the comments about how easy it is to walk)

The Courtyard by Marriott Luton Airport website is here.  Room rates for early December start at £87 midweek and £62 at weekends.  Redemptions are 17,500 points per night which is about right given my 0.5p valuation for Marriott Rewards points.

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  1. OT Morning all! I’m looking to book two seats from Manchester to Singapore early in July. Last time I flew Lufthansa A380-800 via Frankfurt and found it quiet and comfortable upper deck economy. Any advice for alternatives? Want comfy enough seats in economy. I think my virgin air miles won’t really help here.

  2. OT: Any recent experience of moving Marriott points between accounts? We have an SPG sign-up bonus (so about 36k points) in my partners account and an unfunded booking in my account. Do I need to call to move points, and is it only 1k increments or can I move any number?

    • I have always rung Cork I think on 020 7012 7312. She needs to ring.
      1,000 point increments as usual and the booking only matters if it takes you over the annual limit.

  3. rams1981 says:

    OT Amex and missing Marriott 20k bonus points.

    Made many complaints. The last of which I have a letter saying they agree my wife is missing the 20k points and they will post wigin 15 days. Don’t be fobbed off

    • In exactly same position. 2x formal complaints, multiple calls, online chat etc. Complaints team phoned in Sept to agree that 20k are owed and promised to post as soon as system issues sorted. Now almost 3 months ago. Second formal complaint closed without any action. Been told points are coming in Dec but no longer believe it. How did you get a letter? Did you complain by post? Do keep us updated.

      • Lady London says:

        Wonder if Resolver website has a template letter already available for complaint to Marriott? some of their template stuff is excellent.

        • Lady London says:

          Just remembered as apparently their template for Amazon is auto-directed at Amazon to someone who can actually put things right if formal complaints, multiple calls and online chats have not worked for Amazon. Who knows perhaps Resolver could perform the same for Marriott?

        • Not for this issue but TPs, I’ve had contact back from Marriott CEO’s PA but still not resolved yet – they’re pretty slow to reply to emails!

  4. EXCELLENT news RE Heathrow/Newquay – thanks for the info Rob. This is exactly what I hoped for, but thought highly unlikely.

    Flights not appearing on Flybe site as yet – any idea when bookings open?

  5. OT bit… has anyone had their bonus Avios from the recent Tesco conversion? If not, can you remember how long they said it would be?

  6. Dominic Barrington says:

    Of course, NQY/LHR news is just putting it back to how it used to be. I used to have a summer job in mid Cornwall for a number of years, and often flew Brymon (anyone else remember them) in and out of LHR. Eastbound was a non-stop flight, but heading west it stopped in Exeter for ten minutes. It was a real blow when (under FlyBE I think) the flight got moved to Gatwick.

    • Shoestring says:

      When I used Bristol Airport in the 80s it was basically a shed for boarding pass stuff. You could park 5 mins away.

    • Actually Brymon used to land at now-closed PLH. The last time I tried to fly LHR-PLH-LHR for the day, low cloud diverted us to NQY outbound and the same low cloud meant a bus transfer from PLH to EXT on the way home. BC was very proud of its Cornish roots (and routes!).

  7. Anyone have experience of being proactively contacted by Curve if they do block your card?

    • No, but would surely depend on why they had blocked it?

      Had you been putting through large volumes of cash / business services through the curve card? Or just spending as normal and it suddenly stopped working?

      If the latter, suspect it’s just a glitch, but if the former perhaps something more proactive on Curve’s part, that you wouldn’t be notified about immediately

      • The answer would depend of your definition of large volumes of business services. As I see it Curve were expecting some of this, without this what real use is a Mastercard that can act as if it’s another Mastercard, it’s seemingly useless. Now it’s true they recently added the ability to avoid foreign transaction fees, but for months previously there was no feature that really made Curve worthwhile beyond ‘business services’. The idea you could carry this one card was a non-starter, it’s always been unreliable, sure it works a lot of the time, but it fails far more frequently than a regular Mastercard/Visa, and you could never have relied on it.
        They’re not a company I’d rely on, sure I’ll extract benefit where possible, but they’d never be a goto financial organisation, poor record on delivering product to meet the marketing.

    • I have odd days here and there when my card just won’t work. Never been contacted by Curve and the one time I contacted them they couldn’t explain it. It’s usually back to normal the next day.

      • Yeah I saw you said that before. The thing is it’s now failed 5 or 6 times for amounts as small as £4.95 in places like Pret, Sainsburys and Costa, and that across 5 days without working. Sure it’s blocked.

  8. OT Bits – have others noticed the Amex app (on Android at least) only shows the bonus points – e.g., for referrals, using Amex travel, etc. and not the base points? I’ve found that for both my Plat and BAPP accounts. Lookings like a coding bug where they’re only pulling through one of two fields. Twitter team unable to help, told me to call, got a non-Brighton call centre who weren’t much use but have now submitted screenshots via Document Centre! Bit of a hassle but it would be nice to get it all in-app!

  9. Flybe use the EMB at Gatwick so switching to the Dash 8-400 qt is a real downgrade IMHO.

  10. Shoestring says:

    O/T so I’ve burned (1) my 90K IB points on flights, humming my way thru (2) my wife’s 90K IB points, some way to go but the end is in sight with her hotel in Sevilla.

    How about you? Anybody trusting to hiding them in BAEC?

    • Shoestring says:

      Deadline 30th November. Use them or lose them.

    • Shoestrings cat says:

      Spent. Iberia have thrown enough hints in the pot that they have to be used as stated. People’s choice though.

      • I don’t have any – but if I did and I wanted to hide them i’ve have moved from Iberia to a 3rd party and then again to a second 3rd party – makes it harder to track them!

        • They simply dint need to track anything.

          If you have spent fewer avios than you gained from the promo then the difference will be debited on or around Dec 1st.

          It makes no odds where they went after IB, it isn’t relevant. They were either spent according to the promo rules or they weren’t

    • FlyingChris says:

      Used them on hotels through the Iberia portal. Not the best value but saved about £225 on an upcoming InterCon stay so still very much up on the deal. Zero balance in the IB account – but interestingly before spending them I moved them out of IB to BAEC (as needed a larger balance to book a 241 online at midnight and then get a refund the next morning), and then back to IB to book the hotels. Fingers crossed it doesn’t go negative as a result – but at least can prove spent 90k through their scheme.

      • Shoestring says:

        Same here. Transfer out—> in

        • Could be interesting. Presumably Iberia will run an audit trail showing what happened to the points. One thing’s for sure it’s going to get very interesting for some come 1st December.

        • Shoestring says:

          I think it’ll be a simple computer test: did this account redeem 90K points after x date?

          If not —> goto -90K

          (ask Raffles about goto and computer programs – he made a buck or two lol)

        • I think at worse it’ll be deduct 90K less what you did use. They can’t take 90K if you didn’t use them all, only what wasn’t used of the the 90K.

  11. 20,000 points turned up in my SPG account this weekend so hopefully when they transfer over thats the Marriott conversion sorted, fingers crossed.

  12. As far as I’m aware the current NQYLGW service is not exempt from APD, the exemption only applies to departing flights from Scottish Highland and Island airports. The LHR slots allowing flybe to do the switch of the NQY route from LGW are becoming available from the remedy imposed by the EU allowing BA’s takeover of bmi in 2012. As flybe will have operated their LHREDI/ABZ routes for 2 years (with slots from BA under the EU remedy) they can now utilise any remaining unused slots originally provided for under the EU remedy to launch other routes.

    The switch of the 4 times daily Plymouth/Newquay-London service from LHR to LGW happened whilst the airline operating the route was under BA ownership. Subsequently both Plymouth Airport and the Plymouth based airline were sold to Sutton Harbour Holdings and the airline operated under the brand Air Southwest until the airline and Plymouth City airport were closed down.

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