Bits: Business Traveller charity auction, big Qatar Airways UK schedule increases, Best Western £40-£60 sale

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News in brief:

Business Traveller charity auction now on

As usual at this time of year, Business Traveller is running a charity auction. This year the proceeds go to The Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability, an independent charity providing care for people living with neuro-disability.

There are many lots available, covering flights, hotels, dining and technology.

In general, with a week to go, the bids are high.  This is great news for the charity but less good if you are expecting a deal.  Your best chance of a bargain is for lots outside the UK, where there is less interest.

You can take a look at the lots available here.

As of yesterday afternoon, the cheapest of the three Air China A350 Pilot Pandas on offer, see below, was going for just £5!

Air China Pilot Panda

Qatar Airways sharply increases UK and Ireland frequencies

Qatar Airways has filed a substantial number of new UK and Ireland services for Summer 2019.  This should in theory lead to improved Avios availability and potentially even improved fare sales as they try to fill the seats.

According to Airlineroute, the following service increases are planned:

Cardiff to Doha – increases to seven flights per week (currently five) from 26th May

Dublin to Doha – increases to 11 flights per week (currently seven) during July, August and September

London Gatwick to Doha – increases to 21 flights per week (currently 16) from 30th June, dropping to 18 flights per week from 30th September

Manchester to Doha – increases to 21 flights per week (currently 18) from 14th June

Best Western Twixmas sale

Best Western launching a Twixmas sale on Boxing Day

Finally, as we don’t publish on Boxing Day, advance notice that Best Western is running a special promotion across 165 UK hotels.

For bookings made between 26th December and 2nd January, for stays from 26th December to 31st March, participating hotels will offer rooms at a fixed rate of only £40, £50 or £60.

The landing page is already live if you click here, but you can’t book until Boxing Day.

Remember that you can now earn Avios with Best Western stays (details here) as well as Virgin Flying Club miles.  You can also get a status match from Virgin Atlantic or any other hotel chain to Best Western Rewards – details in this article.

The special Twixmas sale rates need to be booked here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Norwegian Air secures a cash injection to carry on flying into 2019
Why Taj Inner Circle is your semi-secret sixth Amex Platinum hotel status
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  1. Very small bit, but Cardiff to Doha was always 7 days a week in the summer, it just drops to 5 per week during the winter months. For 2019 the 7 flights a week has started a few weeks earlier.

  2. But where is the big Qatar sub £1k biz sale to most places ?


  3. Norwegian 24% off today only with code MERRYXMAS18
    Terms: Book by 23:59 CET tonight. Discount is applied to net ticket fare (excl. taxes and charges) and is valid for the travel period between 1 January 2019 and 31 March 2019. Valid for destinations from the UK.

    • Bit of a risk using this as they may breach covenants at midnight on 31 December and be gone.

      • Simon Barlow says:

        Hi Rob, bit of a concern as I have a return to Stockholm booked with Norwegian in May. Bought with my BAPP Amex. What would happen if they go bust?

        • Amex will refund you, you’re on the hook for the cost of replacing the flights though.

        • But if they collapse in the next couple of weeks, your replacement flights should be ok. It’s the passengers who end up needing last-minute replacements that get a bit stuffed. If it gets to April and they’re still operating, I’d look at having a plan B for a May booking…

        • Simon Barlow says:

          thanks all for the confirmation.
          Waiting game now – should have booked BA!

      • Can’t simply believe that they can collapse. It’s such a big and growing airline

        • Really hope they don’t, have my positioning flights to Oslo with them in 3 weeks and would be a pain to get to if couldn’t fly direct!

    • Probably goes without saying, but make sure these are booked on a credit card. Plenty of rumours that Norwegian is running out of cash this week, running that expensive HiFly A380, and with a 737 stranded in Iran…

    • Not worth the risk

  4. Just flew back from Bangkok with BA on an old 777 in Club and it was not great, checked in exactly 24 hours before flight and no seats to choose (are BA now auto selecting seats for everyone)?

    But anyway, check in agent told us to go to the Cathay lounge, which was busy, serving Chandon sparkling wine, a few pastries, fruit and a noodle bar for breakfast!

    We we looked on the lounge map and saw Qatar have now opened one, went there and WOW.

    Firstly we were the boys people there, it had Bollinger champagne, amazing service, great food, buffet or sit down service menu, it was AMAZING!

    • Came back last month from ORD on a 777. No status so had to wait until OLCI opened. I was into the system seconds after check in opened and all seats were greyed out, even the bassinet seat next to me as well as he other bassinet seats (no babies were on the flight). BA had obviously pre-allocated all the seats.

    • Maybe a lot of status members and/or people paid to choose seats.

      QR lounge opened in Feb this year, but until recently it wasn’t accessible for BA pax because it closed at 8am once the early morning QR flight departed. Now that QR has increased BKK to 7 daily the lounge is open at a suitable time for BA10.

      Status pax in Y are not allowed in the lounge and sometimes they don’t allow shorts/sandals.

    • Good to know, thanks

  5. OT

    I have read that a benefit of Hilton status is that you can book a room with single occupancy and pay a lower rate (where this applies) and the second person stays free.

    I need a room at Narita airport in Tokyo and the rate is considerably cheaper for 1 occupant. Would I be right in thinking it’s okay to book that single occupancy rate and then bring my partner anyway?

    Many thanks

    • TGLoyalty says:

      It is a benefit of your status that a second guest stays free and when I have come across this and it’s a material difference I’ve always put 1 person and turned up with two and it’s been fine.

      However, I haven’t done this in Tokyo so I don’t know if there are any local laws for tax etc driving up the price.

    • Second guest free usually applies to countries where they charge for the extra guest at checkin, don’t know if its done at the booking stage.

      • Just checked the prices and it does look around £30 cheaper so I would say its worth trying and let us know how it went

    • Having stayed at the Narita Hilton I wouldn’t stay again. Room smelt of damp, and had a noisy dehumidifier showing there was clearly a problem. Free shuttle bus failed to come (had to get taxi) and breakfast was chaotic.

    • Yes you are definitely fine to book for 1 guest.

    • I have done it many times at Hilton NRT- I just booked 1 and added a note in comments that there will be 2 in the room using the benefit.

  6. George K says:

    hey folks – do you know whether the £200 off for a £600 Amex Travel spend needs to be in one transaction? Was hoping to do 3-4 flights, but there seems to be no way of bunching them up in one itinerary, and T&Cs not clear…

    Called Amex, who said that it should be OK with multiple transactions, but called them again today and another guy said that it won’t.

    Any real life experiences on this?

  7. OT
    If you fly from Dublin or Spain using points and need to make separate arrangements to get to Dublin or Spain, do you need to collect luggage and check in again on “stopover”?

    • Nigel the pensioner says:

      Yes. You then check your luggage in at your EU location straight through to your final destination.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Depends on the airline. Some will through check and some won’t.

      BA will not through check on separate tickets. Qatar for example will.

  8. Nigel the pensioner says:

    Wouldn’t really call the temporary increase in Qatar flights a thrilling potential – unless of course you live in the selected UK hubs where it may make a small improvent in a availability. Notaby BHX is omitted!! 😐

    • What, you mean for the 20 million people or whatever it is who live in the catchment areas of Gatwick or Manchester? Those select few…

      • But probably few of them are Centurion card holders.

        • Nigel the pensioner says:

          Love it Mark2 🤣🤣. HL and S. A very Happy Christmas from…..well, a long way away!! 😁

      • Nigel the pensioner says:

        You imply that an extra couple of flights a week is ground breaking…… I simply beg to disagree….

        • An extra 14 flights a week in total. It increases capacity by nearly the equivalent of the current Gatwick operation.

          Not groundbreaking, and I don’t think such a claim was made, but significant and noteworthy, surely?

  9. pommy ray says:

    hi, best western link not working at the moment.

  10. OT data points…transferred from friends and relations Marriott accounts today in my account…Transferred upto 100k per account no booking required. Limit resets 1st Jan

  11. OT – Plaza Premium T4 Access
    Hoping to get in with 2 guests next week, ideally without paying an entry fee
    Can I get the 3 entries through a combination of amex platinum and priority pass?

    • In theory no, as both the Amex and PP are in your name, but in practice they might let you if the alternative was you walking off and depriving them of the PP money.

  12. Optimus Prime says:

    OT – when booking a BA Holidays package it says “The payment card used to make this booking MUST be brought to the airport in order to check-in”.

    Is this true? I plan to pay the deposit with a card I will cancel shortly and pay the rest with a different one.

    • Theoretically they could ask for it at check-in, although almost never enforced. Though there’s a story of someone being denied boarding at OTP because they didn’t have the payment card on them. You could just bring the expired card and actual card along in case you need them…someone who’d lost their card asked BA this on Twitter and they said that a recent statement for the payment card would suffice.

  13. I recently booked and paid for a hotel in Alicante with a gold Amex that I subsequently closed before going on holiday. On arrival at hotel they required the card to be shown to verify booking. As this wasn’t possible they eventually accepted that my account was closed when I showed them my Amex app Never come across this anywhere else on my travels. So a good tip is don’t destroy old cards if you have made a travel booking with them, just pop them in the back of you wallet.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I had this once. Never occurred to me that they needed to see the actual card. Most of the time a passport with my name and mug on it matching the booking and another card is enough.

      Find places in Spain are a bit over cautious

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