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.


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.

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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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  1. OT Has anyone in Scotland used the Amex offer for Magestic Wine £100 get £25 back. T&C say excludes Scotland but the link for participating shops includes Scotland. Do I need to ring Amex to clarify it – not sure that will help tho!

    • Jill (Kinkell) says:

      No Liz. Not tried . Saw the ‘excludes Scotland’ .Didnt investigate further.dDo update if you phone Amex

      • It’s a code to quote, and the Majestic staff (and website) are very clued up on the alcohol pricing and promotion legislation (other retailers have been more flexible) and I’m sure it won’t work!
        I did consider stopping by a Majestic en route to MAN to buy a couple of cases last time the offer it was on!

        • Called Amex and despite the misleading T&Cs Scotland is excluded – stupid drinks laws!

  2. LOT have a bid for upgrade option – anyone had any success with this and know what a good offer is to get to business from Warsaw to Singapore? No idea what loads are like and never flown them before.

    • Pangolin says:

      Their business loads (especially Eastbound) tend to be quite low. TBH you have a good chance of the bid being accepted even if you offer the minimum.

  3. BlueHorizonuk says:

    OT: Rob I got a notification from twitter when you posted something last night about GUF changes. But clicking on it the tweet was deleted.

    What was it!!! LOL

  4. OT: what’s the best travel FX deals at the moment, got an Amex spend target to hit, but only needing £300ish USD.

  5. BlueThroughCrimp says:

    Been to Vilnius a couple of times.
    It’s a nice place, and when the City Fiesta is on at the end of August / beginning of September there’s a really good atmosphere around, with a huge range of stalls of local produce along one of the main streets.

  6. 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.

  7. Benylin says:

    OT: got this from Air France:

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

  8. 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!

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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…

  12. Stoneman says:


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

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

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

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