Bits: 2500 Avios off wine redemptions, Qatar’s Malta route confirmed – a good BA tier point run, Cathay lounge

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News in brief:

2,500 Avios back when you redeem for wine

Every year British Airways runs a Christmas promotion to encourage you to redeem Avios for cases of wine.

The 2018 version has not been widely advertised and appears to end today.  It is also a bit messy so you may need to keep a screenshot.

If you look at the Executive Club offers page, you see this:

“Now’s your last chance to stock up on any case of wine, champagne or prosecco for the Christmas holidays – order now and we’ll gift you up to 2,500 Avios back.

Why not try our surprise selection – a limited stock of 12 mixed wines carefully selected to offer variety and flavour for only 14,000 Avios.

Terms and conditions:
  1. Maximum award of 5,000 Avios per household.
  2. Award will be credited within 30 days of the end of the booking window.
  3. Offer applies to all 6 and 12 bottle cases of wine, Prosecco or Champagne.
  4. Surprise Selection is a limited stock case (500) and will be removed from sale when the stock has been sold.”

The problem is that, when you click through to the wine redemption site (I can’t do a direct link because you need to log in) there is no mention of the offer at all.  You need to trust BA that you will get your 2,500 Avios rebated.

I am also slightly concerned by the phrase “up to 2,500 Avios back”.  Does that mean some orders will get you fewer than 2,500 Avios returned?  Does a 6-bottle case earn a smaller rebate?

With so many question marks over the offer I wouldn’t redeem just because of this carrot.  However, if you were thinking of trading some of your Avios for a case of wine this Christmas, I would do it today – the offer ends today, 12th December – rather tomorrow as you may get a few points back.

Redeem Avios for wine

Why Qatar’s new Malta route is great for BA tier points

Qatar Airways confirmed on Monday that it will start flights between Malta and Doha on 4th July 2019.

The service will use a short-haul A320 aircraft but with fully flat beds in business class, using the seat shown in the photo below.  There will be one flight per day in Summer and four per week in Winter.

This page of the Qatar Airways website looks at the A320 layout in detail.

This is a very interesting option if you are looking for British Airways tier points.   London to Malta, on British Airways, is one of the few routes that earns 160 tier points return in Club Europe because of the distance.   A full list of Club Europe routes which give you 160 tier points is here.

Malta is also a cheap route.  Look at the BA Low Fare Finder website here.  Apart from August, you can get return flights for as low as £310.

From Malta, the route to Doha is over 2,000 miles so you will receive 140 tier points in Qatar Airways business class.  Any onward flight to Asia will also be over 2,000 miles, earning you another 140 tier points.

Let’s imagine you bought a Qatar Airways sale deal from Malta to Hong Kong, and positioned using a return British Airways Club Europe flight.  You would earn 80 (BA) + 140 (Qatar) + 140 (Qatar) + 140 (Qatar) + 140 (Qatar) + 80 (BA) = 720 tier points return.  You could – just about – get to British Airways Executive Club Gold with two runs like this over the course of your membership year.

It looks Malta is a route to watch when the next Qatar Airways sale comes around.  Thanks to Traveling For Miles for this.

Qatar Airways A320 business class

Sodexo takes over Cathay Pacific lounge catering

A few days ago we wrote about Plaza Premium being removed as the manager of the Cathay Pacific lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3.

It turns out that Sodexo has been appointed to replace Plaza Premium, which seems to be part of a global rationalisation of suppliers by Cathay.  Recent reports have been a lot more positive than the ones I heard immediately after the switch, so it seems that the new team is finally settling down.

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  1. OT: Triggered the BAPP 2-4-1 which has posted. Now there is a chance I might get a hefty refund on something I purchased, will the 2-4-1 cancel? I still want to earn it so do I rush and put alternative sound on the card or can I take my time, let the 2-4-1 cancel and try accumulate spend and earn it back in a few weeks / months.

    • Jonathan says:

      It will stay in your account. To remove it would require manual intervention which I guess would only occur if you closed account after refund & therefore failed to reach the threshold by a wide margin.

    • Previous posts suggest that in these circumstances you’ll need to spend the equivalent of the refund on top of the £10k spend to trigger your next voucher, but you won’t lose the current one.

      • I think that only applies if the refund falls in your next card year – i.e. a £2000 refund would wipe out your first £2000 of fresh spend.
        I might speculate that the OP might only have a problem if the actual transaction that crossed £10k is refund, if in someway the voucher is tied to a transaction like a MR threshold bonus is. Otherwise I don’t expect a problem but try and finish the year >£10k to avoid any risk of a black flag.

    • The advantage is if and when you cancel, after referring an OH, or not, the large credit balance is then sent back to your direct debit account, or ask for a cheque. So it can be useful having this refund. If you need to wait your 6 months plus 1 day, downgrade to free bacc, the credit remains in place, ready for refund when you cancel. Card in the drawer.
      So keep spending on an alternative card. Always spending towards a bonus. Gold or SPG?

  2. OT: I have applied for the Virgin Atlantic card on the 9th of November. I received my first statement and whilst the 15000 points has arrived, the extra 10000 bonus points haven’t.

  3. Shoestring says:

    O/T transferred 20K+ SPG to BAEC, I was slightly concerned as I could see no mention of the 5000 bonus points – but points arrived with bonus so all good.

    • Talking of which, it looks like SPG buy points promotions have died with the takeover. However, no great loss with tbe devaluation of TP and weak Sterling.

    • Hi Shoestring
      How long did the transfer take?(accounts already linked),did you transfer 60K SPG to get the bonus?

      • Shoestring says:

        Oh yeah it was SPG but from my new SPG/ Marriottt a/c – so it was 60K+ (new currency) to trigger the 5000 extra Avios.

        So exactly the same as the old currency 20K SPG + 5000 bonus Avios. Not sure why I couldn’t see mention of it on the transfer page, maybe they are going to phase it out?

    • Hi Harry, could I have your email to ask you a question about Tesco Xmas saver please? Seem to remember a HUD one but can’t find the details. Thanks

      • Shoestring says:

        Just ask here. Not really working as easily as hoped – well, it can work that way but only if they play ball on CS – but many have found it an uphill struggle. (Others have succeeded.) Was so much easier with T Direct!

        tbh I’d be tempted to just cut losses (to your time/ patience/ trying to persuade CS to stick to Tesco T&Cs) & buy some giftcards, groceries or petrol/ diesel. I certainly won’t be repeating next year.

      • The problem is the receipt just says coupon, like any money off coupon.

        Not sure what previous years receipts have said?

      • Cheers. Should plan be: purchase high value item, use Xmas vouchers. Later return via CS and have refund in ‘normal’ vouchers?

        • Yes but as receipt shows coupon I think most people have been offered refund on a Tesco gift card

  4. OT: I’m unable to log into Creation web site this morning to check my IHG card balance. I’m sure I’m entering details correctly. Is anyone else having issues ?

    • EvilDoctorK says:

      Works for me as normal

    • 5000 points from recent Instagram/Twitter promo posted this morning!

      • Yesterday actually 😛 (see OT comments from Tues)

      • Dave Barron says:

        +1 (dated yesterday but only appeared on account overnight). Crucially they’ve added another year before point expiration too 😀

      • I got them today while my partner hasn’t yet (it’s the opposite for us re Marriott 29 days point – he received, I don’t). This is the virtue of being a family and spreading the risk!

        A great way to top up your IHG account through surveys btw – much better accept rate than other rewards websites!

    • I can log in (using Chrome in case that is relevant).

      • well this is odd. It was telling me I’m entering wrong details. So I went through the “forgot password” link and managed to change it. I copied/pasted so I know I am now getting it right but it still says “entering wrong details”. Tried Chrome and Firefox. I’ll have to ring them and see what’s up!

        • Well I called and they agreed it was odd so deleted my online account and said I should give it a while and then re-register.

          So I have no re-registered and have exactly the same problem !!

          The only thing I can think might be upsetting it is that my username has a number in it!

          I will ask them to delete my account again and then try a new one without!

        • Still having problems but eventually tracked down to something in latest firefox / my security settings blocking the capaticha – I tried in MSIE and that did make me click some images after which I could log in, and I can now log in on firefox again!

  5. Theresa May says:

    Could I pose an OT question to the CC Guru’s out there. I currently have a Amex GC and Wife is a supplementary. If i apply for her own card, through an invite from myself, will she be entitled to the 20K points?

  6. OT Want to use up my Lloyds Upgrade voucher, Avios account has 0 points, any way to transfer online or do I have to call up? The Avios site is working again for availability.

    • Ignore me, did a web chat with Avios and they pointed me in the right direction

      To transfer your Avios, select ‘Your account’ and choose ‘Transfer Avios to/from British Airways or Iberia’. Just so you know you can only transfer if all details including your surname, address, date of birth and e-mail address match on both accounts.

      • You don’t have to transfer the avios, they will take them from your BAEC account when you call to redeem your Lloyd’s voucher.

    • Did you have to call up to use your voucher or can you still use it on I’ve got one to use shortly and my account still seems to be open

      • He said if my account was still open I could do it all online. I had to use Chrome to book it. I used Firefox to login and move my points from BA > Avios. Had to log out and log back in and they were there instantly. However back in Chrome where I had the booking in my basket, it wouldn’t recognise it. Had to log out and back in and find the flights again. Luckily they were still there.

        Out in CW and back in PE to Barbados. Cash price £3,435.32 on BA now for 2 adults. 130k Avios using 1 voucher meant £985 in taxes. Just no availability coming back in CW. At least get to enjoy CW during the day flight.

        It’s on a 777 with 2-4-2 layout, trying to decide to sit at the side or sit in the middle E&F seats. What are people’s thoughts? Exciting using my first BA voucher 🙂 Thanks again to Rob for this hobby.

        • Graham, did they say you could still book online if it was to upgrade a one way flight for two persons? I have been told I need to call for this.

        • It’s never been possible to do that online.

        • It actually was though you would still need to call. The way it worked, you would book online and then receive an error message with a reference number. The seats would be removed from inventory immediately. You only needed to call Avios to confirm (quick 2 minute call) and they would ticket in a day or two. I did it this way in April on LHR-SEZ route at midnight. Particularly useful for hard to get routes.

        • Thanks for that meta – very useful indeed as I am trying for the first day of Xmas holidays next year and thus waiting until 8am might rule me out.

        • @meta it wasn’t working hence the error, you should only book over the phone for the upgrade voucher since they started messing around with the transfer to BA.

          Years ago you could use the voucher online no problem but now don’t expect good news trying to book it online (if your account isn’t closed) got charged 3 times Avios plus fees and had to phone up more than once to get the tickets. First time they didn’t issue the tickets correctly so when I went to checking the night before had to phone up as flight was at 6am when Avios isn’t open so would have missed the flight! So book over the phone for the voucher!

        • Online always been pretty useless unless doing straight return from London – always had to call for connecting flights from the regions.

        • @ Mr Dee well it was for me in April this year. I don’t know how it is now, but Avios CS gave me PNR number straight away when I called in the morning as they could see it on the screen. The only thing that was different was that it wasn’t ticketed until day or two. Also immediately after I booking I could see the seats gone from both BA and Avios inventories and correct number of Avios taken as well as a notification that the taxes have been taken. Your experience might be different, but for me it was like that and I’ve read about similar experiences on FT and here.

        • Erico1875 says:

          I like the middle pair if traveling as a couple

  7. A big shout out to the lukers I met last night (Vijay & Alex). I couldn’t believe we ended up drinking until midnight with Duncan, Lisa & Rhys. Struggling this morning but definitely work it! Cheers Rob

    • You’re not the only one struggling…

      • Shoestring says:

        So was a good time had by one & all? 🙂

        • Yes, def you need to find a reason next year or even the summer party, to be in london!
          We thought we, Lev and co, were late leaving around 10…Irish goodbye, took an hour to get out the door, us lot. Nice meeting you Rhys and Lisa…great evening.

        • Shoestring says:

          I’ll do my best. Yesterday was typical – my wife had to overnight at short notice in Northampton so I was left holding the fort. I wouldn’t be bothered that much about the younger two as they are old enough & can be sorted with taxis – but my eldest son needs supervision so didn’t fancy coming back to the house burned down or something worse. Constant parental presence needed, can’t really delegate it.

  8. Optimus Prime says:

    OT – Have an Amex card cancelled on 11th June. Is it okay to apply today to be eligible for the sign-up bonus or should hold off a little longer?

  9. Would anyone really want to do London-Malta-Doha-Asia return with their annual leave just to get to silver? And twice in a year to get to gold? I can’t imagine 720TPs are worth 6 stopovers in one return trip to anyone.

    • Depends how little holiday you get. Would I do with 2 kids? No. Would I have done it before I got married and had 30 days leave to play with? Probably, yes, especially as it would also have been cheaper. And I’ve never been to Malta …

      • For an easy 720TP’s absolutely! Different strokes for different folks as they say but of course the price is the ultimate factor. Any sign of an upcoming sale?

        • Shoestring says:

          There are people for whom Silver or Gold status really means a lot, presumably because it represents real airline/ airport freebies/ advantages & they fly a lot. If you can get a real holiday out of it somewhere good & status just by using a slightly convoluted routing with several stopovers, then I guess it’s justifiable.

          Or even shorter ‘pointless’ TP runs where you won’t even get to see the destination properly before heading back – if it gives you just enough to secure status for another couple of years (eg getting over the deadline into Gold). Again, if you fly a lot, quite justifiable.

        • Sussex Bantam says:

          I’m in exactly this category. Company policy means I fly shorthaul for European flights once a week and Club for longhaul once a quarter.

          It is a huge benefit to have status for the regular shorthaul flights – I almost always get an exit row seat, blocked middle seat, expedited security, board first (so overhead space) and lounge access all make the SH flight much more pleasurable.

          Yesterday, for complex reasons, I ended up on a Lufty flight where I have no status and seated in 23B. I survived of course but it wasn’t much fun at all and I wouldn’t want to do it every week.

          I would definitely go out of my way to maintain my gold status

    • Optimus Prime says:

      Those famous BA Gold TP runs involve even more stopovers: Bucarest-London-Helsinki-London-New York-Phoenix and then return.

      • And what are the most popular ways to use your status for?

        It all sounds to me like doing long hours to earn more money but then not having time/energy to spend it…

        • Shoestring says:

          Eg Silver travelling on Hand Baggage Only BA flight – can still use lounge & invite a guest, plus you get 50% more Avios. Quite a lot of frequent flyers will be in this category due to company policy on flights under (say) 4hrs.

        • I’ve not fought to retain Gold because of that – was nice when travelling to/from London a lot (for the First Wing), but otherwise have PP for lounge access, cheaper & quicker flights in Europe via LCC rather than RFS, and tend to travel long-haul in CW/F anyway. Silver still has decent benefits though so plan to keep it whilst I can!

        • Well, the highest I could get was Bronze for a couple of years… With BA becoming more and more an LCC, the status loses its appeal… Also BA status doesn’t work with some OW airlines (I was not allowed to use fast-track security with my colleague in Madrid: “Iberia – yes, Britis Airways – NO”). The benefits which I kind of appreciated were business desk baggage drop and priority boarding (but the latter has now gone – they have introduced some weird groups 1-2-3) and 7 days for seat selection. But these are so minor in order to go out of your way for these… However I appreciate that with Silver and Gold you get more obviously but still it’s a vicious circle.

    • Duck Ling says:

      I’d do it in a heartbeat. Providing it combines on of QR’s sales ex MLA of course! 🙂

      And i’ve never been to Malta so would take advantage of a couple nights there on the way.

  10. “…route to watch when the next Qatar Airways sale comes around”

    I long for the day…

    • Stoneman says:

      Is Rob hinting that a sale is around the corner with this post?

    • We are all waiting and watching for the great sale…but l think QR are sulking on account of how they are being treated by QF and AA, threats to leave OW etc, so, making us all suffer and wait a while for a sale…just a thought…

  11. milesandmorons says:

    OT: (Probably already mentioned somewhere and I missed it) The Miles&More Diners Club card gets you a voucher for one time use of a Lufthansa Business class lounge. Got my card about a month ago and the voucher just arrived in my “inbox” at M&M. Requires a boarding pass for a flight operated by Lufthansa Group, valid in Germany, Athens, Milan, Paris, LHR, Dubai, Delhi and 5 US. Small print says valid for 12 months but mine is only valid until end October 2019. Small print also says valid for the primary card holder OR a travel companion, so it’s not exactly generous.

    • Mine arrived as a PDF so I was able to print more than one copy.

      They bear the same long reference number. The worst that can happen is they’ll refuse access for one of us, but I’m expecting both will be admitted.

  12. Hi all,

    Sorry for the OT but quick help required (possibly Rob). I have a friend who for personal reasons wanted to take advantage of the Avios 50% offer, but having only opened his BAEC account today and not having earned Avios, is not yet able to purchase Avios (including the offer). I do not have said problem, would I be able to buy the Avios and gift them to him or would there be restrictions?

    Many Thanks


    • Shoestring says:

      Have a read of this

      If you had Gold status, you could transfer them 162,000 Avios each year free of charge.

      Otherwise, depends how good a friend they are! Adding them to your Household a/c would work, no need to transfer points in that case.

    • From the BA website:
      “You can pay to transfer up to 162,000 Avios, with a maximum of 27,000 Avios to any Executive Club Member, in one calendar year.
      Once you reach Gold membership, you can transfer 162,000 Avios per year for free to eligible individuals who have been added to the Sender’s Family and Friends List, with the option to pay for a further 162,000.”

      So unless you hold BAEC Club you’d end up paying twice for your Avios, once to purchase and once to transfer, so it really makes no financial sense.

      • Thanks both Rhys and Shoestring. I know there are restrictions on sharing, what I am actually proposing is “Gifting” the Avios (the 50% offer page 2nd button), but maybe this is affected by the same rules

        Just had a look at the small print in fact but it says I cannot gift to an account until it has received 1 avios (by which point the offer will be gone) so still at square one!

        • Shoestring says:

          Gotcha. See the T&Cs – 5 – The Recipient will be able to spend Avios points when they appear as credited in the Recipient’s Executive Club account.

          So should be OK regardless of your friend not having earning a point yet

        • Shoestring says:

          Didn’t see that bit. Right – add them to your Friends & Family list, transfer over 1 Avios then see if you can gift the other Avios using the 50% offer.

        • How soon does your friend need the avios? This offer tends to come up every few months.

        • Lady London says:

          Would a Tesco transfer still work?

        • Shoestring says:

          Sure, Tesco £2.50 transfer would do the job in a couple of days

  13. O/T I will be staying in Intercontinental Park Lane for one night on Saturday. I will be paying for lounge access. Question is, if I have ambassador late check out until 4pm, can I use lounge until 4pm on the Sunday too? Thanks

  14. Shoestring says:

    Woohoo wife just spent £15 @WHS, so we’ve got £5 back – not that she knew about the offer lol – now what’s she doing spending £15 @WHS at 19.45 🙂

    I have also secretly tracked her 3 times spending money in Morrisons on the 10%.

    • The Original Nick says:

      Like it Harry!
      5000 IHG points have hit my account for the recent twitter promo. I know it’s been mentioned in comments but just a reminder to people who maybe don’t use AW.

    • TBH Morrisons offer has been the best one in my book! Brilliant it’s right through to the end of the year too – just a shame dropped from 15 to 5 More points!

  15. Despite both my wife and I having our own Amex Platinum cards, we’ve received no information at all about the pop-up lounge in Covent Garden. Is this the same for others?

    • Raving Shoes says:

      Your name’s not down. You’re not coming in.

    • Shoestring says:

      Platinum Card and Centurion members can visit a pop-up Centurion Lounge in London’s Covent Garden, Dec. 13–16. The pop-up lounge is located at Unit 6, Langley Street and is open 11 a.m.–6 p.m. every day. Visitors will enjoy complimentary beverages and appetizers, gift wrapping services, charging stations and family amenities. Members can bring up to two guests to the pop-up.

      • I accidentally popped in today – I got the day wrong. Walked in to wonderful chaos as they were putting the place together. Looked quite fun but not a huge venue. It’s a discrete door opposite the roadworks(!) on Langley Street. Inside, a reception desk directly opposite the entrance then the space opens up to the left. Maybe they’ll add some curtains around the entrance.

      • Wow, sounds great. Think I’ll bring all my gifts along for them to wrap for me !!

  16. How long will Qatar flights remain TP earning though (OneWorld exit rumours).

  17. Hmmm… Not very convinced Sodexo, the company that is responsible for the terrible reheated crap in our public hospitals can be good for the CP lounge or that they could do it better than Plaza Premium – I expect the food will be going downhill…

  18. OT: My Curve card linked to my IHG premium MC was rejected twice at yesterday, where I was trying to buy some top-up AA miles. The system required me to reinsert my card details ‘for security reasons’. I did so, but no go. So I used my gold Aqua MC which worked perfectly.

    Checking my Curve account online, I was surprised to see the ‘rejected’ AA transaction there! Curve CS assure me it was only pending and I won’t be charged.

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