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Bits: Virgin pilots strike cancelled, new Hilton Curio opens at Canary Wharf, Virgin / Flybe talks continue

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News in brief:

Virgin Atlantic pilot strike cancelled

The proposed Virgin Atlantic pilot strike, which we covered last week, has been blocked in the courts.

The strike was due to run from today to Christmas Day and then on additional dates in the New Year.  It would only have impacted flights flown by the Professional Pilots Union.  As the court judgement was given on the grounds of an improper strike ballot, there is no risk of any action until a fresh ballot has taken place.

Lincoln Plaza London hotel

Lincoln Plaza London hotel at Canary Wharf finally opens

After what was, even by luxury hotel standards, an impressively long delay, the Lincoln Plaza London hotel has finally opened at Canary Wharf.

It is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, which means that you can earn and spend Hilton Honors points here as well as getting your status benefits.  Curio is a group of high-quality independent hotels which use the Hilton ‘system’ to drive bookings but which operate at arms-length and are given more freedom to run as they see fit.  Looking at the pricing, it looks substantially more expensive than Hilton Canary Wharf.

To quote:

“The hotel echoes the sleek architectural cues of Canary Wharf, drawing inspiration from the area’s rich industrial heritage. In the lobby, guests are welcomed by polished concrete floors, a steel feature wall and steel-framed windows, allowing daylight to flood into the space. “

The dining options seem impressive.  These include:

Mr. Todiwala’s Kitchen, a pan-Indian restaurant from celebrated chef Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL

Food Store, a contemporary restaurant, bar and grocer where guests and locals can relax, dine and stock up on provisions

Jack Speak, a destination cocktail bar and terrace where “guests can choose from an extensive rum and gin selection in a setting that is a playful twist on a 19th century British Navy Officers’ Wardroom”.  This comes with an all-year heated outdoor terrace. 

There will be a pool, sauna and steam room but these will not open until April.

In terms of location, Lincoln Plaza is to the south of the main estate and just south of Marsh Wall and the existing Hilton Canary Wharf.  South Quay is the nearest DLR station.

Redemption rooms are 80,000 Hilton Honors points per night.  They still had availability for the London Marathon weekend when I checked yesterday.  You can find out more on this page of the Hilton website.

Virgin Atlantic and Flybe ‘still in talks’

Virgin Atlantic issued a fresh statement, under Stock Exchange rules, on Wednesday regarding Flybe

It said:

“Following our statement on 23 November 2018, Virgin Atlantic confirms that we continue to review our options in respect of Flybe, including potentially making an offer for Flybe. Discussions with Flybe and its management are continuing. Virgin Atlantic emphasises there can be no certainty that any offer will be made nor as to the terms upon which any offer may be made.”

So …. something may still happen between the two companies.  There was some speculation that Virgin Atlantic was not serious and was simply taking the opportunity to have a good look at Flybe’s books, but this does not seem to be the case.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

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Comments

  1. Oh nice!! Do you get points for dining at Hilton hotels if you are not a guest there?

    • The Original Nick says:

      Nope.

    • If you have the (currently unavailable to new applicants) Hilton credit card, hotel restaurant spend does earn the enhanced 3hh/£ for Hilton chain charges just by using the card (I expect the same could be true for the IHG cards in IHG hotel restaurants?) since it is still billed by the hotel. Might not always be the case but it certainly did at the Marco restaurant at the Hampton near my office..

  2. OT – Amex referrer bonus. What happens if the referee does not activate his card, or cancels it short after receiving it? Looking to maximise the 5 referrer’s bonus on an Amex Plat, but I don’t really need more credit cards at the moment.

    • Shoestring says:

      referrer gets the bonus regardless

      • Yep. One of my referees ordered the wrong card, cancelled on receipt and ordered the right one. I got 36k points. This was a genuine mistake – wouldn’t want to make a habit of it for referrer or referee though.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      FYI 90k limit resets in a week or so.

      Managed to get my last referral in a couple weeks ago so not on hiatus until the new year.

  3. Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    Cash rates at the Lincoln are only just north of £100 for much of January. Would have been perfect for me for NYE as I’m celebrating just round the corner but unfortunately the rates are significantly higher for that night (and I’m not paying 80k for a room I’ll barely see!).

  4. Nigel the pensioner says:

    Flybe’s appalling reputation for timing and cancellations detracts from its value for route network. Im pretty sure the bearded one will heavily emphasise this in discussions. Without a hefty discount from Flybe’s self proposed worth, he will walk away. As a public company, all the books are available to view any time.
    What some people seem to forget, in an effort to boost their pensions, is that air travel is a necessity and not a luxury (apologies to the world savers who will be wringing their wrists at the thought) and as such the route network must continue. It will not be cherry picked for the benefit of investors im afraid, so only serious offers from seasoned travel providers will be considered. This is why i see a long distance coach operator seeing this as a golden opportunity.
    Cruz and Walsh have shown that you can be as indifferent as you like and still make a profit from an airline. Imagine what a company could do if they understood travellers needs and aimed to provide that!!
    T5 lounge is quiet this morning!

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      No one would seriously buy a company based on their public filings. Well, maybe Sir Fred Goodwin, but no one esle.

      I’m a fan of Flybe and think there is real value to their model. They would benefit from a marketing push that someone like Virgin would give but I agree they would be better run by Stagecoach or alike.

      HfP readers probably arent typical. We are off to a wedding in Norwich in the Summer and we are flying from Man. You would be surprised, or maybe your wouldn’t, how few other guests even considered this as an option.

      • Shoestring says:

        @Nige – as long as they don’t tinker with Newquay – Heathrow! 🙂

      • RussellH says:

        Last time I went to Norwich (for a funeral) I took one train south to Manchester, and then the through train from Oxford Road to Norwich. Travelling through the Hope Valley is very pleasant, as are the Fens around Ely and the stretch across Breckland.
        I avoided the ghastlyness of Manchester Airport, and the cost of getting from Norwich Airport to the city centre.
        I also avoided the cramped aircraft and the noise – it would presumably have been a turbo-prop which I have flown and found Fly-BE’s unpleasant too.
        I have no idea how the price compares, but flying would have to be a lot cheaper to make me do that.

        • The Manchester to Norwich flight is operated by Loganair, on a Dornier turboprop. From March next year changing to an ERJ.

        • RussellH says:

          signol says:
          22 December 2018 at 12:54

          > The Manchester to Norwich flight is operated by Loganair, on a Dornier turboprop.
          > From March next year changing to an ERJ.

          OK. But unless you need to go from Manchester Airport to Norwich Airport, rather than from city centre to city centre AND you are in a hurry, I would always take the train. Even more so in my case with 120 miles to MAN.

      • Fred’s was stripped of his knighthood after the RBS fiasco

    • I had 12 flights with Flybe this year, all of them were on time, and Avios posted in all cases.

    • “All the books are available to view any time”

      I dread to think what you did before taking your pension.

    • Flying is a priviledge, not a necessity.

      Like so many things, its been a gift of a once in a species opportunity from the discovery and exploitation of fossil fuels.

  5. Shoestring says:

    O.T BPme – all 4 uses now credited.

    However, I got the offer on *6* cards. I was at a PFS this week with card #5 pre-loaded & approved to the app, standing ready to fill tank £30, when the card got repeatedly rejected. Card #6 had failed to load at home so I drove away.

    At home, I set up a new BPme a/c in my wife’s name & both cards #5 & #6 failed to load. I think they might have worked out we got 6 offers at the same address and be cute enough to stop us using more than 4, seems slightly fanciful but I can’t think of any other explanation except crap app over 2 days.

    Will just have to be happy with my £40 saving 🙂

    • my BP app updated this week – “to fix a problem with scanning Amex cards”. So maybe check you have the latest version.

    • The Original Nick says:

      Thanks for that Harry. I’m currently loading other cards so I need to be careful. Luckily the PFS is a stones through from me. I have noticed I have a pending charge on my Platinum card though which I used last week which is a 2nd transaction on the same day so I need to contact Amex chat about that one. Going to set my OH’s app up this now and add her cards.
      On another note, as I know you’ve recently had the Amex SPG and hit your bonus how long did it take for the bonus points to hit your SPG account after you’d spent the 1k?

      • Shoestring says:

        It was quick, can’t remember how many days. But getting the SPG points into your SPG a/c may take considerably longer… 🙂

        • The Original Nick says:

          Thanks Harry.

        • Shoestring says:

          Yep there’s a random monthly date when the Amex SPG points get swept into your Starwood a/c. Probably not random but related to a/c opening date or somesuch.

        • RussellH says:

          First batch of points swept from my new SPG Amex late yesterday. In my Marriott a/c now. Must have taken 12 to 18 hours. Cannot complain.

      • Took out the SPG card less than 2 weeks ago, hit target straight away, points showing after a handful of days (3?). Not swept across to Marriott yet though.

      • @Original Nick – The 2nd payment will drop off after a few days as it’s the preauthorisation amount – we put £35 in the app and buy £31 of fuel – the £31 goes through and the £35 disappears a few days later.

    • I got really determined with this, had the offer on my BAPP and a sup card in that account. With both cards loaded on the app in my Android phone, I tried two separate BPs over the space of a few days, always failing, clearly the app didn’t work. Despite all logic saying give up I removed the app from ‘droid phone and installed it on iPhone. Repeat. This time the failure was further on in the process, and clearly the app was working, one BP actually said ‘the network’ was down. My Amex account has about 8 pending £35 from BP, so the failure was some way into the process. Undeterred, I yesterday went to a 3rd BP, large one in Wandsworth, shocked to find it worked, £30 something on each of the cards. If the £20 materialises, I’d guess that having overpaid 10p litre for fuel, and driven quite a number of miles pointlessly, so long as I don’t factor in the waste of time, I may have broke even. If BP funded this, then I can assure them this is one customer they didn’t win over. If Amex funded it, nice little obstacle course you had BP construct to minimise take up of the offer. All in this damaged my perception of BP, and further soured my view of Amex in regard to the underlying reality of these offers that are not quite as straight forward as they seem when you activate them.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I’ve used the offer 6 times at numerous stations without any trouble at all.

        However I couldbt register my final card will give it another go or register it on somebody else’s app

    • the_real_a says:

      Visa offers now showing the same offer for HSBC and Nationwide cards… if you are registered it might be worth taking a look.

  6. OT anyone have any luck claiming from amex plat for alternative travel (train) due to cancelled domestic Gatwick flight?

    • Not from Gatwick but I had a BA flight from EDI-LCY cancelled a couple of years ago. It was an Avios redemption and BA couldn’t put me on another flight until the next day.

      So I bought a first class ticket to King’s Cross. Amex paid for this and also a taxi home. I got my Avios refunded and Amex paid for the additional travel minus the cash component of the BA refund.

  7. OT – I remember reading one other post mentioning successful receipt of the Shangri-la points for using their app – has anyone else received them? Still nothing for me.

  8. OT: Any recommendation for tour operator / tour group for India to do Golden Triangle (Delhi/Jaipur/Agra)? Thanks

    • Barry cutters says:

      I did it about 4 years ago With intrepid travel- but only used them as they take club card vouchers at 3x value . Those were the days of racking up £300 vouchers a quarter from printer cartridges and crazy in store offers . So I had plenty to go around . You can still get 3x value up to maximum of about £800 now . So a big chunk of the trip is free. Although it’s not a genuine 3x as the trip is a bit more expensive to start with.
      Honestly you don’t need a tour guide the whole thing is easy with many busses and train options .
      Personally though I wouldn’t do it – Taj Mahal is busier than you can even imagine . You can’t even really see it properly there are so many people . The other bits are nice Jaipur etc, but the whole thing is a bit of a let down if I’m truly honest. Also Delhi is the dirtiest city I have ever been to.

      • All part of the experience!

      • Yes the Taj is busy and Delhi is definitely not my favourite city in India. By booking the way we did we had a private driver and private guides at most places we visited. A private guide at the Taj made a big difference. I think you have to go once but that’s more than enough, Jaipur on the other hand I really enjoyed, the observatory is fascinating.

    • I’ve had two good experiences with Magic Tours.

    • Just back last week doing Golden Triangle plus Jailsalmer(Thar desert). Trinetra did a great job with transport and guides. A little more expensive but very professional. Taj was busy but still an unforgettable visit. Great value with points staying with ITC Mughal in Agra and Sheraton four points near Delhi airport.

  9. Shoestring says:

    Well I never! 🙂

    JULIANBRAY
    @aviationcomment
    #gatwick #drones arrested person wearing hi- viz vest and cycle helmet. Motorist says two drones one 4 ft wide, had flashing lights. Using a pushbike perp. constantly moved, used back streets footway paths and was ‘in plain sight’ of security forces most of the time says source.

    JULIANBRAY
    @aviationcomment
    #Gatwick Police arrested two people overnight connection with criminal activity relating to drones over the troubled airport. A motorist tipped off a newspaper when he saw two large #drones being broken down for packing into transit containers on the back of a bicycle!

  10. O/T looks like I’ve been hit by the BA data breach. Someone range my mobile provider and blocked my sim and then rang my CC company band transferred over 2 grand to a bank account.

    • How did they know your CC security details that they used when calling? That would not have been on the BA data.

      Also if money was transferred to a bank account, tell the police so they can trace who opened the bank account.

      What you wrote sounds suspiciously like you wanted to slam the BA data breach. Using an obvious CC password over the phone is on you I’m afriad.

      • How have I slammed BA?
        Whoever did this have a lot of my information including date of birth etc Mobile phone provider, cc company are both investigating and I have filed reports with action fraud.

        • Date of birth is easy. You wouldn’t believe how many people do stupid stuff like publicly share birthday celebration pics.

          It may be the BA breach, chances are you’ve been targetted via a completely different route. There is a vast amount of personal data swimming out there.

          Have you been given a copy of the audio? You might recognise the voice…

      • Agreed, your credit card company would have asked extra security questions before making any transactions, these wouldn’t have been in BA’s database. Also, what would they have to gain by blocking your SIM?

        • Probably so I didn’t receive any messages regarding the transaction or the bank couldn’t call on the day they were doing it. The phone company advised this has happened a lot this year.

        • Were your CC security details perhaps a partner’s name or date of birth that may have been on a booking? If so, that’s on you for having chose something easy to guess, and I suggest you change all passwords that use those details or you may find further issues.

          If not, how did they get through your CC security?

    • the_real_a says:

      “Sim swap fraud” – very common right now

      • In reply to Chris T. I use last pass for all my passwords online, in regards to the security questions with the credit card company I don’t know as I don’t know what questions they asked over the phone but they appear to have detailed info on me. My phone provider have been the most helpfull.

  11. OT: I need to follow up on my Lloyds Avios Voucher but I usually get told by Lloyds that they are closed over the weekend. Does anyone have a number that’s open on the weekend? They never asked for my Avios when applying for a credit card and hence had to ask for a manual transfer but even now my Avios are not being transferred and I don’t know how to access my voucher.

    • Do you mean Lloyds are closed at the weekend? I guess is that particular department is closed you’ll just have to wait till Monday. Your voucher is accessible by calling avios.com, however it’s not clear whether you mean Lloyds hasn’t issued it yet.

  12. I got a mail from Hilton the other day asking if i was interested in joining an online community. Did anyone else get this?

    Dear Stuart,

    The Hilton portfolio of hotel brands would like to offer you the opportunity to join an exclusive, online community limited in membership to 750 guests.

    I filled out the required survey and it mentioned that through regular contribution you would get some rewards, is anyone already a member of this group?

    • Not had this one, but I’ve been a member of various of these type of groups in the past. There are some that give excellent rewards and others that require participation for not a lot in return. Best ones were for The Times and Baileys, where I ended up with several hundred quids worth of Amazon vouchers.

      It’s generally worth signing up and then seeing what kind of contributions they are looking for.

  13. O/T, Miami Car rental.

    Looking to get a premium car from Miami Airport and I’m considering Sixt as they heavily advertise Merc’s etc rather than Hyundia/Ford, but they are getting slammed on review sites, this may be a bait and switch tactic? Any first hand experience?

    I’d usually use Avis as I’m normally not too bothered what I get and I don’t rate any rental company higher than another.

    • I have used Sixt many times in the US (FL/AZ) and had superb service. I matched my loyalty card to the Sixt programme, which gave me Platinum, and was often given a one or two car upgrade. Had Volvo XC90 upgraded from a GLA and also Cadillac SUVs which were brand new.

    • I used Sixt for the past couple of years at LAX. Both times for a Range Rover Evoke or Last year was the BMW 4 series when I only reserved a Ford Mustang.
      I think as they are newer they are trying to win the business from Alamo etc.

  14. Re. Amex Platinum Travel Insurance: I thought Rob has mentioned many times that you are covered as long as you pay with any Amex card? My flight is delayed and just called to ask about information, and was told since I didn’t pay with the Platinum card (I used the SPG card), I’m not entitled to any benefits.

  15. OT – What success have people had getting hotel loyalty numbers added to reservations made third-party (specifically Amex Travel)? I’m not really after points, more the status benefits.

    I just tried to add my Marriott number to a reservation, Marriott said their system wouldn’t do it and to contact the hotel directly. The hotel said it was added successfully.

    Has anyone tried to do this with Marriott/Hilton/Radisson? Would be interested to know of success/failure stories

    • I’ve had status recognised at the Hilton at Manchester airport, and the HGI we’re using in Rome next year has added my HH number and guaranteed 2 x free breakfast (4 nights so a decent saving). Both were booked via BA. It’s best to contact the hotel directly as HH will be quite aggressive about denying you benefits if you haven’t booked direct.

  16. Does paying amex with curve linked to virgin MasterCard attract any fees? I can not recall if someone said it did or not. I know ing card does not.

  17. Jumble Tales says:

    O/T again. Have some SPG/Marriott cash+points redemption options disappeared following the merger? I’m trying to book Turnberry, Scotland with c+p at the same (peak) time I did last year.

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