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Bits: Plaza Premium loses Cathay T3 management, LOT launches City to Vilnius, BA launching Islamabad?

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News in brief:

Plaza Premium loses management of Cathay Pacific lounge

Plaza Premium confirmed to us this week that it is no longer managing the Cathay Pacific lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3.

We had heard rumours of this from readers in the last couple of weeks, along with more worrying reports about a deterioration in food quality and service.  I don’t know who has replaced Plaza Premium – Accor manages the nearby Qantas lounge so it could be them – or who initiated the move.

The Cathay Pacific First Class lounge was, by far, the best option for a British Airways Executive Gold member flying out of Heathrow Terminal 3I reviewed it here.  You’d be a mug to use BA’s Galleries First lounge, which I reviewed here.  Let’s hope that the recent feedback reports are only a transitional blip.

(Before anyone asks, if you have a British Airways Executive Club Silver card then I tend to recommend the Qantas lounge in Terminal 3, purely on grounds of scale.  The Cathay Pacific Business lounge is smaller but quieter.  Unless you are looking for a specific drink, item of food or magazine there is no logical reason to go near the American Airlines or British Airways lounges.)

LOT launches London City to Vilnius

Polish airline LOT is launching a direct London City to Vilnius service.  There will be 12 flights per week – two on weekdays and one per day over the weekend.

Flights will launch in May 2019 and are not yet on sale.  The route is underwritten by the Lithuanian Government and will be the only service to Vilnius, pictured above, from either Heathrow, Gatwick or City.

LOT is a member of Star Alliance if you looking for earning or redeeming options.

Islamabad

British Airways to launch Islamabad?

There have been rumours circulating all year that British Airways is to relaunch flights to Pakistan with an Islamabad service.  It was reported in the local press back in February and nothing appeared, but posts from BA insiders on Flyertalk in recent days imply that an announcement will be made soon.

Amex to open its first Centurion Lounge in Europe - at Heathrow Terminal 3
New Avios partner coming: Royal Air Maroc is joining the oneworld alliance
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Comments

  1. Benylin says:

    OT: Wilko £10 back for £40 spend posted for 4 purchases, bought Amazon vouchers.

    • Mine posted within 3 days, £10 back for GAP and Domino’s spend also appeared pretty quickly.

      • Anna, got your split spend on GAP credited successfully?
        I still need to wait for few more days before I can chase Amex

        • Yes it’s appeared now but took a few days longer than the credit to one of my other cards even though the orders were placed a few minutes apart.

  2. Benylin says:

    OT: got this from Air France:
    GIVE THE GIFT OF TRAVEL THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

    For a limited time only, purchase an Air France gift card and receive a free additional £20 when you spend £100 or more!*

  3. Does anyone know what the lead times are for launching new routes? Flying ISB-LHR at the end of Feb and I’d love to fly direct rather than faffing around in the Gulf as I have done for the last eight years…

    • In general it happens at the end of the season, most likely nearest Sunday to 31st March when the world airline timetables all switch overnight.

      • Rob, slight correction… it’s always the last Sun in March, not the closest to the 31st… so it would be 25 Mar rather than 1 Apr, for example. Same day the clocks change, if that helps.

        As for BA’s new routes, note that PIT begins with next year’s summer schedule, so I would be amazed if ISB were sooner. Although stranger things have happened!

  4. OT: Amex Platinum car rental insurance, does this have to be paid for on the Platinum or is any Amex OK?

  5. sedgie252 says:

    OT: BA Amex account website.
    When I click on “View earned Avios”, “Avios to be transferred” or, on the resulting page, “Transactions” I always get the message in red “We are unable to complete this request at the present time”.
    Does anyone else experience this? Is there perhaps a setting I need to change?

    • It’s buggy. It comes and goes, but it works some of the time! Have you got the app?

      • I find Amex app even worse unfortunately – can never see points earned on spend, only bonuses!

      • sedgie252 says:

        Thanks Rich. I have got the Android app but that doesn’t show it either. I’ve had my card for 2-3 years now, never seen my Avios details!

      • sedgie252 says:

        I’ve tried various Windows machines (different versions of Chrome), Chrome on Android phones and the Android app. Or was your comment intended as a joke mark2?

        • Not a joke; sarcasm perhaps. It seemed to me that you were using a phone. I use Edge and rarely have a problem.

  6. OT Anyone with Barclays Premier Rewards.

    Free bottle of Prosecco at Majestic. Today/ tomorrow only.

    • Thanks!

    • Week, that went splendidly well.

      Apparently the voucher must be redeemed instantly once you activate it. If you lock the screen, it shows as used. Genius!

      Way to make someone go from feeling relatively neutral about Barclays to negative -installing!

    • Worth noting that Vodafone has launched their new rewards scheme this week. Log in via the usual app. Free Costa coffee for everyone at the moment.

      • I’m thinking of moving to Vodaphone, apparently they have just launched a SIM only deal for £13 per month giving 20G of data!

      • I redeemed a tesco reward on a bag of Cadbury candy. Best part was the reward itself was in the form of a giftcard… candy was 1 GBP, giftcard was 1.5. Something tells me it would have worked without the candy having been added to my shopping cart too…

  7. Stoneman says:

    OT:

    Anyone got any news on whether Qatar will be holding one of their stupendously cheap sales again in Janaury?

  8. OT: Just called Avios to use my last upgrade voucher and they told me the entire system is offline….That doesn’t fill me with hope!

  9. Anton L. says:

    OT: Hilton Mallorca appears to be leaving the chain. “Please note that as of December 31, 2018, Hilton Sa Torre Mallorca Resort will cease to operate as a Hilton hotel. As a result, stays booked past this date will not accrue Honors points. Please contact the hotel direct in case of any questions.”

    • Peter K says:

      Boo. Couldn’t make it this year, looks like it won’t be next either!

      • Good spot, thanks. It was always a bizarre Hilton property though. Not many Hilton’s have an 18th century windmill in the grounds ….

        • Big Ernie McCracken says:

          and the Hilton Coylumbridge in Aviemore ceases being a Hilton on 19 December. Got a points booking in January so not sure if I will get a free breakfast as Gold.

  10. ALERT JUICY REDEMPTION: Flying Blue Promo award to Mexico City – travel in February/March: 26.500 Flying Blue miles one way in BUSINESS.

  11. OT: How do people usually book Miles & More business class redemptions? I looked at US west coast redemptions online and there are barely any J seats out there on LH or other *A carriers. When I looked at comparable dates on the UA website, I can see plenty of availability in all classes. Is there a trick to this (e.g. searching on UA and then calling M&M if operators see more availability than is available online?)

    Thanks in advance for the advice.

    • Have you looked out of Munich and Dusseldorf too? Often easier than FRA.

      • Have so far looked directly out of LHR / LON, hoping to score a redemption on UA / ANZ / etc. Honestly, can’t be bothered with doing positioning for a redemption…

        • You may be lucky booking, like a few days in advance. But don’t expect anything interesting so far ahead.

        • It’s more of a question on the M&M booking site. Does it show accurate inventory or are phone agents able to access additional seats? Honestly, the M&M site makes BA’s look like a total gem…

    • Lady London says:

      Berlin has often had a lot of choice on the Meilenschnaeppchen sales. So I would guess you might find availability out of there, if anywhere.

      I’ve always found slightly higher prices and worse availability on MUC than FRA for Transatlantic when I’ve looked. Had always thought it was because MUC was always a much nicer airport than FRA to transit through.

  12. Had to change my flight home from Abu to Dubai. Unfortunately plane is a 777 200 with 17 f seats. Full choice of seating except row 1.

    Can anyone advise best First seats on this plane? Also does anyone know what is in the large space behind row 2?

    Thanks

  13. BSI1978 says:

    Think I know the answer to this (but trying my luck anyhow) but can anyone confirm whether I’d be able to claim a full refund if BA change my flight time by 90 minutes? I don’t think that counts as ‘significant’ but I had actually been thinking we’d need to cancel in any event and would prefer to get as much back as possible (it was a reward booking). Cheers

    • According to MSE its 2h for BA (https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/flight-changes/) but no harm in calling and trying to cancel IMO, its still a fairly big shift and have certainly heard of people successfully changing flights for smaller changes than that.

      • Lady London says:

        Iberia has done a 3 and a half hour shift that I’m currently dealing with them on.

        I’ll be very interested to see how it turns out for me. Basically they forced me to cancel because it made such a mess of the booking. And it was the 90,000, so this is going to be fun… Let’s just say I’ve marked the date in 8 weeks time in my calendar for external followup.

  14. A bit of effort but you can currenty book Plaza Premium Lounge in either LHR t3 t4 or t5 for dates this month for USD10
    You have to go via the expedia.com US site. Tickets are $40USD but coupon THANKYOU get $30 of a $40 spend. Need separate accounts/ emails / credit cards for multiple tickets.
    Spotted on hotukdeals.

  15. Rather O/T but managed to stack a Majestic Wines premium concierge offer, with a free bottle of Presecco and a £25 Amex credit, totalling 18 bottles of wine for just over £100.

    Probably not the best wine in the world, but good enough for the in laws over Christmas!

  16. OT: Do Iberia reward flights flown on BA and booked with a BAEC number earn tier points and avios with BA?

    • Shoestring says:

      Not reward flights.

      Let’s see if I pass the test lol

    • Lady London says:

      No. but in rare instances people have managed to get credit when the airline had an irrop on their original flight and they got put on another one instead.

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