Bits: Malaysia Airlines First no longer bookable on Avios, Wizz becomes biggest airline at Luton, Barcelona gains a Hyatt

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News in brief:

Malaysia Airlines drop First Class and, erm, keeps First Class

Malaysia Airlines – a oneworld partner of British Airways – has made a marketing decision to rename its First Class product as ‘Business Suite’.

The airline has stated that it made the move as a result of many corporates now refusing to pay for First Class.  The Business Suite – which is available from London Heathrow on Malaysia’s A350-900 and A380 fleet – will be offered at a premium over a standard Business Class seat and will be cheaper than it previously cost to book First Class directly.

As you can see in the photo below, it is a very nice product.  The A350-900 version pictured has fully enclose suites with doors.

Nothing else is changing.  Business Suite customers will still, it seems, get the old First Class food, First Class amenity kits etc.

Here’s the bad news.  It seems that Avios customers are going to lose out.

When I looked last week, it seemed that the new ‘Business Suite’ could not be booked using Avios.  I tried to double-check this yesterday and could not find ANY Malaysia Airlines Avios availability from London, in ANY class, for ANY date, so I am guessing there was some sort of IT issue.

Even when it returns, however, I doubt ‘Business Suite’ will be bookable.  The only way of getting into the ‘Business Suite’ would appear to be if Malaysia allows you to pay a supplement.  It looks like I will need to cross this one off my bucket list ….

You can find out more on the Malaysia Airlines website here.

Malaysia Airlines A350-900 First

Wizz Air becomes the biggest airline at Luton

In a sign of the continuing shifting sands in the budget airline sector, Wizz Air is about to overtake easyJet to become the largest airline at Luton Airport.

easyJet was, of course, born at Luton Airport and the Head Office is still there, in what can most politely be called a shed.  It now sees Gatwick Airport as its core hub as it has moved upmarket in search of more corporate travellers.

Wizz Air announced yesterday that it is launching six new routes from Luton from Summer 2019.  These will be to:

  • Bergen – from 1st July
  • Oslo – from 16th September
  • Turku (Finland) – from 2nd July
  • Thessaloniki – from 1st July
  • Porto – from 2nd July
  • Catania – from 17th September

Two new A321 aircraft will take Wizz’s Luton fleet to 11 aircraft, which collectively serve 60 routes across 28 countries.  Wizz will account 42% of Luton’s capacity over the Summer season.

Hyatt Hotel Sofia Barcelona Unbound Collection

Barcelona gains a Hyatt property

The Hotel SOFIA in Barcelona has joined “The Unbound Collection”, Hyatt’s chain of unbranded independent hotels which use the Hyatt reservation system, respect your Hyatt status and let you earn and spend Word of Hyatt points.

The 465 room hotel is located on the Avenida Diagonal.  You can find out more on here.

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  1. Rob, whats your thoughts on 75k Avios + a few quid being good value for Long Haul MH o/w, eg KUL-SYD.

    • Before you do that check cash rates exBKK or HKT via KUL. They can be very inexpensive at times making a positional flight wortwhile. Check for fares at OLTA not their web.

    • No idea what the cash equivalent is, to be honest, but for the distance (in terms of hours in a decent seat) and lack of taxes it looks decent.

  2. I got £200 off £600 on my platinum companion credit card, and £50 off £200 on my nectar.

    I assume these work if you put through multiple Amex Travel transactions that reach the £600/£200 target?

  3. OT – not booked with AMEX travel services before but this spend £600 for £200 rebate looks good. Can anyone confirm if they source any hotels (looking at Stockholm next May) or do they just offer the FHR and Hotel Collection properties?


    • Yes, we used the previous one for 2 nights in NYC at a non-FHR hotel. As i remember, you wont want to book a FHR hotel as they will only charge you when you check out. You want a pre-booked rate that Amex charge you straight away, to trigger the offer.

      • many thanks Simon, I’ll give them a call – just didn’t want to look like an idiot if they only offered what I saw on the web site.

        As an aside, did you compare costs to booking direct? I’m guessing they’d have to be considerably more expensive with AMEX to wipe out the £200 credit?

        • They are more expensive, flights usually like £15 to £20. Hotels can be a bit more if they don’t have a special rate the hotel might have (plus you will not get points and probably not perks etc).

        • I did compare. I picked a hotel in NYC that was on special offer on Amex site, so was already slightly cheaper than going direct, before the £200 saving ! The amex reps are super helpful, they know you want to trigger the offer. Though when I looked online for NYC I got FHR and non-FHR hotels so didnt need to call up

      • FHR and Hotel Collection bookings are not eligible according to T&Cs of the Amex offer

        • Thanks again Simon and Aba – also Steve as that could have been a bad/expensive mistake!

        • Thats not quite how I read it – it says that bookings are not eligible made directly through FHR and THC. It sounds like you can book these provided you book through Amex Travel. Would be good if someone can confirm from the previous offer if this is true

        • Sorry, wrong reply. No, you won’t get if book through FHR as booking through FHR will be charged by hotel instead of AMEX travel

  4. BlueHorizonuk says:

    OT – Does anyone know if I book a Basic Economy fare (No Bag) on Amex Travel (books into V and M) and then call to upgrade to WT+ would I then get luggage thrown in?


    • BlueHorizonuk says:

      If I pick a bag fare it books into Q (which isn’t upgradeable to WT+). Odd

      • As I understand it, the cheapest economy fares, including but not limited to HBO, cannot be upgraded to WT+.

        If you do successfully upgrade you should normally get the baggage allowances of the higher class.

  5. OT need to upgrade my gold Amex to plat before cancelling, was wondering the difference in hilton benefits if I do the upgrade this month versus next month?

  6. O/T I had my BA account used fraudulently a number of weeks ago and a hotel booking was made using 56k avios. I phoned BA as soon as they opened, and let them know, nearly three weeks later my account is still frozen and they haven’t appeared to have done anything about it. I have silver status if that means anything, unlikely.
    There is a second name on the hotel booking which is someone I’ve never heard of, plus the booking was for a Monday night in London. I live in London. I wouldn’t spend nearly all my avios on booking a suite in my name (plus one others) a few miles from my house!
    They surely should have been able to cancel the booking before it anyway?
    Has anyone had a similar experience and am I likely to get my avios back? Its a lot of avios!!

    • I have the same probably with Amex MR points and a hotel booking earlier in the year and they refunded the points straight away.

      Avios should do the same.

    • Shoestring says:

      They pretty much always replace Avios lost to fraud. Not resolved after 3 weeks is not acceptable.

    • Were you able to contact the hotel before the stay took place? (Or even afterwards they might have CCTV of the person who checked in). Any official investigation will move very slowly, even if BA bothers to report it!

      • I didn’t try contacting the hotel as BA said they would be investigating. Perhaps I should have in hindsight. I did ask if they needed me to do anything and they said they would be in touch if they did.
        The only thing I’ve heard from them was to ask if I had changed my password on the same day and I’d said yes.
        Whenever I’d had issues with Amex they’ve been amazing. I’m not expecting much from BA but this is pretty poor.
        I’ve just sent them an email which I doubt I’ll get a response from. I’m not impressed!!!!

        • It would be interesting to know if you could have cancelled the booking and had the avios returned to your account. Hopefully a very annoyed fraudster when they tried to check in!

        • I sent a chaser email yesterday… I think they’d forgotten about me.
          My account is now unlocked and my avios reinstated so that’s good.

  7. O/T (sorry) – Marriott Travel Packages
    I’m need of a bit of board knowledge, as this is the first TP i’ve had and am know finally trying to use,

    I have an old Cat 8 travel package, I’m aware that this mapped across to a new Cat 5 and that I get a 30k rebate of points when I formally transfer it.

    Well today I tried to book a Cat 5 in Miami for 7 days, I called up, upgraded the TP, had an instant 30k points added to my account and the TP updated to show as a new Cat 5. Easy peasy I thought,

    Marriott have now emailed to say they are having problems, as the hotel for 7 nights is showing as 210k points due, but the new TP is only showing as valued at 105k points. So they seem to think I have to pay an additional 105k points.

    This does not seem right to me?? I always thought that the TP entitled you (availability allowing) to 7 nights at up to the relevant Category of your TP. Am I missing something obvious, or am I doing something wrong, or could this be an IT gremlin.


    • No, they are wrong. 105k is the cash-in value of a cat 5 TP…how stupid can they get! Call again and get somebody more competent with a bit of luck. IIRC cat 5 is worth up to 45k/night.

      • Thanks BJ,
        That explains where the 105k number comes from, I’ll try again, although it was specifically the redemption/rewards team that I spoke to last time !?!?

      • Agreed, totally misinformed rep – sadly a lot of them get confused by that cash in value of the partial TPs.

  8. OT: I just cancelled 2x CW reward seats BKK-LHR on Sunday 30 June. If anybody is looking for such flights they may want to check if they have become available again.

  9. Re AMEX 200 off 600: There’s some replies here suggesting the credit can be had for phone bookings, is that so? And if so, could a trip be booked across 3 cards? (I have 3 plat cards with the offer).

    • antoinette calleja says:

      +1 would love to know if you can split the payment on more than one card.

      Also can BA flights booked through Amex travel be upgraded using avios?
      Rob maybe you can do an article on best way to take advantage of these offers, as they seem to come around often

  10. OT: anyone have recent experience of claiming VAT refunds at Heathrow on items bought from the Apple Store?

    Easy process?

    • in laws claimed some uniqlo purchase and it was easy enough, on T3 it is landside, but you need the goods with you. so do it before you send send them off. big queue tho.

  11. OT as bits, just a heads up that Marriott’s new peak pricing launch is getting closer. May be worth locking down a speculative points stay before 31st December as they’re fully refundable. I don’t know anything anyone else doesn’t know – just a nudge. 🙂

    • The introduction of Cat 8 is being delayed till March i think, no word on whether peak pricing will follow suit

  12. OT: Accidentally did a 6th referral from my plat card before end of the year.

    No bonus has posted (to be expected). Anything I can do in this situation, or should I just suck it up as a mistake?

  13. OFF TOPIC, I’ve got 80k+ SPG points, was looking to transfer these to Avios or Virgin had previously read that there was a 5k bonus on each 20k transfered but when i log in and try its giving me a conversion rate of 3:1??

    • Shoestring says:

      You still get a 5K bonus Avios points on 20,000 SPG (old money) —> BAEC, I did it last week.

      That’d be 60K new money SPG/ Marriott points, though, it’s still only 5K bonus

      So do you have 80K old money or new money SPG? Because the difference is getting just 5K bonus or 20K

      • ive only earned the points recently (last month through two cards wifes, and then she referred me, have just moved her points to my account)))

        • Shoestring says:

          New money, then. You might want to just move 60K and wait until you earn the other 40K to get another 5K bonus.

          SPG is quite a valuable currency in many ways, the main reason I’m not interested in keeping them there is that we don’t book that many hotels, don’t go on 1 week hotel stays etc. And worried I might let them die through inactivity.

        • Did you do it via website? (which one?) I’ve logged in and get the following:

          Transfer your points to your frequent-flyer program, and as a bonus, we’ll add 5,000 miles for every 60,000 points you transfer to airline miles.
          Transfer points to miles* at 3 to 1 ratio with most programs (which is what i see when i look up BA or Virgin)

        • Shoestring says:

          I just did it on the new SPG portal, so you’ll get 20K Avios etc + 5K bonus, took a day or 2 no more

  14. Shoestring says:


    Dom Perignon 2009 Vintage Champagne Gift Box £99.99 lightning deal

    £25 off £40 code still working fine for linked Gold & Plat cards that haven’t used the offer. Yours for £74.99!

    Go thru HfP link to pay your 2019 sub 🙂

  15. OT: Think people mentioned the 2-4-1 BAPP voucher is sometimes bad value. I have enough (220k avios in mix of MR and Avios) to book something in Business now for 2 people return somewhere in Asia or Cape Town for January.

    For 2 people, what should I look in terms of better value booking using a One World partner, but obviously won’t be able to use my 2-4-1

    • I’m not sure 220k avios would get you 2 returns to South Africa or Asia in business class unless you use the 2 4 1.

  16. OT: New Hilton promo is 2,000 per stay. Can anyone recall if these trigger for points stays?

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