Bits: What’s BA up to on 1st February?!, last chance for the BA sale, last chance for the Hilton sale

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News in brief:

What is BA up to …..?

This cryptic post, which contains an expensively made video, has appeared on Instagram.

What is coming on 1st February that is linked to BA’s 100th birthday …..?  Thanks to Tim for flagging.

View this post on Instagram

It's coming… #BA100

A post shared by British Airways (@british_airways) on


(EDIT: I have now been told by a BA staffer that this is just a new BA 100th birthday ad, so nothing that will interest us. And could anything – ever – come close to the Virgin Atlantic 25th birthday ad? Click to see on YouTube.  There is also the lesser known Best Western spoof.)

Last call for the British Airways sale

31st January is your last chance to book in the British Airways Winter sale. You can take a look at what is available via this special page of ba.com.

(It may or may not be a coincidence that the BA promotion above starts one day later on 1st February.)

Nashville, pictured below, is the star deal, with Club World return seats available for £1,376 in March.  New Orleans is also looking attractive with Club World fares as low as £1,541.

The Caribbean looks interesting – Kingston £1,214, Punta Cana £1,493, San Jose £1,494 and so on.

Don’t forget BA Holidays

As usual, don’t book a Club World flight before pricing it up via BA Holidays – see here.  Adding a hotel or car can often cost little more, and sometimes less, than the flight itself.  BA Holidays also lets you lock in your trip now by only paying a small deposit, with the balance only due five weeks before travel.

And don’t forget ‘part pay with Avios’

Sale flights are still valid for ‘part pay with Avios’.  How much you save now varies by route and by class, and the value per point tends to get worse the more you try to discount, but it is always worth taking a look at what is on offer for your particular ticket.

A Nashville Club World booking offered me:

  • £50 off for 6,250 Avios (0.80p per Avios)
  • £110 off for 16,000 Avios (0.69p)
  • £150 off for 24,750 Avios (0.61p)
  • £190 off for 34,000 Avios (0.56p)
  • £280 off for 55,000 Avios (0.51p)

There are also deals in Economy and short-haul Club Europe, including short break deals via BA Holidays.

As usual, travel dates are all over the place depending on whether you are travelling short haul or long haul, whether you are flying from Gatwick, City or Heathrow, and what travel class you are flying in.  In general you’ll find you can book up to either May / June 2019 or mid December 2019.

British Airways Winter sale

And the Hilton sales are ending too

The two current Hilton sales are also ending this week.

The first sale, which ends on Thursday 31st, has decent weekend deals across Europe, Africa and Middle East.

Full details are on the Hilton website here.

The sale offers up to 25% off the standard Best Available Rate if you are a Hilton Honors member.

That said ….. basing the ‘25% saving’ on the Best Available Bed & Breakfast rate is not exactly fair. Sale rates are non refundable so it is cheeky to compare them to a refundable rate but these deals do usually offer a saving on the usual ‘advanced purchase’ price. Full pre-payment needs to be made at time of booking.

This rate is only available for weekend stays until 29th May 2019.

And an Asia-Pacific sale too

There is a separate Hilton sale covering its properties in Asia and Australasia.  See here for details.

It includes hotels such as the Millennium Hilton Bangkok.  If you are heading to Thailand you might also want to take a look at the brand new Waldorf Astoria Bangkok which looks impressive.

The deals are valid for stays up to 30th September.  These deals can be booked until Saturday 2nd February. The headline saving is ‘up to 25% off’ the standard flexible rate – albeit these bookings are non-refundable.

Full details of the APAC sale can be found on this special page of hilton.com.

Hilton Points Unlimited

Finally …. don’t forget to register for the NEW bonus points offer

If you are booking a Hilton sale room, don’t forget the new Spring promotion, Points Unlimitedwhich is open for registration here.

You will earn 2,000 bonus Hilton Honors points for every stay until 5th May.  Even better, you will earn an additional 10,000 bonus Hilton Honors points for every FIVE stays OR TEN nights you complete, whichever comes first.

2,000 bonus points per stay is a decent offer, especially for someone who tends to do short stays.  The additional 10,000 points carrot for every five stays or 10 nights is a worthwhile extra bonus.  If your hotel stays are generally just for one night then you should seriously consider moving them (in chunks of five) to Hilton this Spring.

Make sure you register here if you have any Hilton stays coming up over the next four months.  Even if you don’t have any stays planned, it is still worth registering just in case – a lot can happen between now and 5th May.

(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.)

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Comments

  1. Norwegian in more bother

    • Any details? Have a flight with them in a week or so…

      • Shoestring says:

        google Norwegian Air launches rights issue after annual loss deepens

        • Shoestring says:

          Shares plummeted close to 30 per cent after the open in Oslo, reaching the lowest level since June 2012

          Told you they were a basket case 🙂

        • Looks like thankfully not as bad as it seemed a couple of hours ago…

          https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-29/norwegian-air-to-raise-353-million-after-iag-drops-offer

        • Interesting. My wife knows Fredriksen and you occasionally see him wandering down Kings Road. He live around the corner from us – his house, fact fans, apparently has the biggest private garden in central London after Buckingham Palace.

        • Shoestring says:

          Sure in itself a positive move but just puts off the inevitable IMV

          horrendous cashflow & a basket case by any other name, if it weren’t for a couple of very deep pockets, they’d be long gone

          Brent crude is at $60, I saw this morning – fine while that lasts but $80+ & aviation fuel will also go up 33%, I suppose the good news might be OPEC decided not to fight shale oil on price

  2. If Qatar’s gimmick over a new advert is anything to go by, BA will be doing nothing of interest either.

    • Shoestring says:

      Saw the new Qatar ad on CNN last night – pretty good, I thought.

      Seems the brief was to avoid anything remotely redolent of Qatar (the country, the people) & Arabia & instead sort of Amercanify the airline like Singing In The Rain, I’ll see if I can YT it…

  3. David C says:

    OT. Just attempting to transfer Avios from Iberia Plus to BAEC in usual way and find Avios account is now closed.
    Cant transfer Avios from Iberia to BA via Iberia website or BA website. However Avios transfer from BAEC to Iberia Plus is fine. Is there a way to transfer Iberia Plus to BAEC?

    • Aer Lingus Aer Club works well

    • Stuart_f says:

      Use Aer Lingus as an intermediary.

      Iberia > AerClub > Executive Club

      • Cheers. Just succeeded via Aer Lingus but had to alter my postcode on aer lingus website to get access to Avios.com otherwise it came up with an error at login. Must have picked up the fact that the old avios.com/BA account had same postcode….

        • David – or anyone who can help! = Did you manage to use your old Avios.com account number? Mine has now merged with BA and when I try and log onto Avios.com it’s closed. I tried opening with FlyBe and linking the Avios.com account using my account number but it says my account is closed. Any ideas how I can get access to the old Avios.com account again? Thank you

  4. OT – I’ve been collecting avios for a while and churning amex Gold / BAPP for a while… but I’m completely clueless on hotels. I want to start collecting hotel points. Which scheme is best to focus on? My mind is telling me SPG because of the amex card (nice 9k referral to get too). I simply just want to redeem points on rooms for either just myself or a group of friends (3-4). Any advice would be appreciated. (trolled the site for an article but had no luck)

    • I should add I’m looking at redemptions in the US.

      • Peter K says:

        It depends on what you are looking for.

        Personally I like Hilton but they are harder to get points for in the UK (only via amex MR currently until new Hilton card arrives). You can get gold status via Amex platinum as well which gives a free continental breakfast.
        IHG hotels are often a but boring at the lower end but do the job. Usually the easiest to get points (IHG Mastercard plus they often have good bonus points deals).
        My experience of Marriott is more limited but they are okay to get points with via SPG card and MR points… But they are about to start peak pricing for reward stays which may make them unappealing.
        All the three will have lots of hotels in the US.

    • Pangolin says:

      I hope you mean you trawled the site instead of trolled it 😉

      TBH, everyone will have different opinions on this, as it depends on your travel patterns and what your priorities are in terms of getting benefits from the scheme.

      Here’s some simple and basic guidelines to get you started.

      1) For racking up points quickly – IHG & Hilton > Marriott
      2) For top-tier benefits – Marriott > Hilton > IHG
      3) For mid-tier benefits – Hilton > Marriott > IHG

      There’s also Accor but I don’t think they offer anything compelling now that Happy Mondays have bitten the dust. I’ve left out Hyatt as I think their footprint is too small to be of interest to UK-based travellers.

      Bear in mind also that for point (1) the value of points will differ between the schemes, with Hilton points being worth less than Marriott points, for instance.

      You’ll still need to do your own research though. What I did was to join all three and “road test” them to see how they stacked up. SPG used to be my #1 and Hilton my backup but now that Marriott have swallowed up SPG and made an almighty mess of things I’ve switched to Hilton as my main scheme (couldn’t stomach IHG because their status recognition is so pathetic).

      • Bonglim says:

        I think it depends how active you can be?
        The spg card is a big bonus for Marriott but who knows what the future holds for that card.
        THe best thing about Marriott scheme is the ability to book now and earn points later. Remember a lot of top Marriott hotels are going up in reward price soon so you might want to book the reward stay now. They are cancellable until quite close to the trip.

        • Thanks for all the advice. Have they published the off-peak/peak chart yet? From what I could gather the lower/mid range hotels would drop in with the new structure on off-peak days. But without the calendar it’s difficult to know if it was be similar to say BA’s calendar of if all weekends day class as peak etc.

        • I can’t reapply for the Amex Gold until July 1st and I’ve almost hit my 10k for BAPP before I cancel for a pro-rate refund. I was intending on spending on the SPG amex until July 1st. I could probably throw 8-10k on there between then. Seemed the easiest way to rack up a decent 75000 points with 2 referrals. I need to do research on how easily I could obtain IHG points without amex.

      • Agree with the rankings above.

        • Disagree with the order of Marriott and Hilton top tier benefit although it is definitely closer now than preSPG takeover. To rank Marriott above Hilton requires Bonvoy retains the best of SPG once the honeymoon is over and the dust settles. I just don’t see it being as good as SPG so at best I think it will likely be comparable to Hilton. My own personal experience of Marriott preserver was that it fell a long way short of my experience with Hilton.

      • Genghis says:

        Nice analysis.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Would add that IHG premium card is probably a great one to rack up points, a free night and some good benefits.

        I know everyone talks about breakfast but I’m actually more of a fan of the free platinum drinks. I’ve rarely used my breakfast benefit and found a better meal for cheaper locally but those two free drinks save me £10 and are always used.

        Lounge access is nice but the reality is if I’m with someone else we are out visiting the city we are in around happy afternoon tea or happy hour time.

        • Just took a look at the IHG Premium and I think that would be ideal for me. Putting the above all together I will probably still refer myself for the SPG and take the 20k avios for an easy 1k spend. Cancel that then open up the IHG Premium, this year I’ll identity be able to hit the 10k spend and the benefits are ideal for me. Not fussed with breakfast or lounge access for similar reasons to @TGLoyalty. Won’t be able to hit many of the Rewards.Faster. offer but if similar offers are available throughout the year I can easily see why IHG wins for accumulating points quickly. Availability seems better too compared to SPG (at least where and when I’ve been looking). Thanks everyone!

      • On the subject of hotels, what value to people generally put on Marriott points ? Looking at a possible redemption and value is approx £0.5p/point. Good, bad or ok value ?

        • Shoestring says:

          headforpoints dot com/2018/04/07/marriott-rewards-review-3/

        • Genghis says:

          I go for 0.5p

        • I had been 0.5p for SPG but dropped it to 0.4p (same as Hilton) given now merged with Marriott and properties/benefits not generally that great IMO.

        • Steve-B says:

          Yes, that’s my basis. I would say OK value. I’ve been getting 0.8p – 0.9p on Marriott redemptions more recently, although one of those properties is on a 5 for 4 deal.

        • 0.5p is my target base line, although you can do better at the moment as long as the super-luxe places are capped at 60k (soon to be 100k).

    • Jon Martin says:

      Not mentioned above, but if you mainly accrue Amex points and, like me, the chain serves your desired locations then Radisson have IMO the best earnings rate (and Rob’s analysis of Amex MR transfer options agrees with me).

      On the other hand their status benefits for mid tiers are basically pretty crappy (nothing like Hilton Gold’s breakfast). Like all these things what’s best for you will depend on how your own circumstances – there is no right answer.

  5. OT but interesting. Rip Off Britain featured airlines which split families up if they don’t pay for seats together. Simon the expert in residence said that this is a safety risk which breaches CAS rules and planes are not allowed to take off if parents are separated from children under 12 by more than one row. It doesn’t apply to us now but it’s good to know!

    • CAA rules!

      • Shoestring says:

        except it’s not – & not that black & white [‘every effort’ is pretty meaningless]

        Families, children and infants
        The seating of children close by their parents or guardians should be the aim of airline seat allocation procedures for family groups and large parties of children.
        Young children and infants who are accompanied by adults should ideally be seated in the same seat row as the adult. Where this is not possible, children should be separated by no more than one seat row from accompanying adults. This is because the speed of an emergency evacuation may be affected by adults trying to reach their children.
        Whenever a number of infants and children are travelling together the airline should make every effort to ensure that they can be readily supervised by the responsible accompanying adults.

        • Hi Harry,

          This doesn’t say what the airline should do if their efforts fail – it was suggested that planes really shouldn’t be taking off under those circumstances as it breaches safety regulations (obviously in the event of an evacuation parents would be getting to their children first rather than getting off the plane as quickly as possible). It doesn’t bear thinking about that this might have to be tested before anyone acts on it.

        • Shoestring says:

          @Anna the papers have been full of stories of parents separated from their under 12YOs by a lot more than 1 row – so it’s clearly not enforced.

          Whether the CAA has privately rapped a few airlines over the knuckles & told them to try harder, I don’t know 🙂

          We don’t care any more, either – 4 of us were initially seated together somewhere near the toilets coming back @ Xmas (Avios) plus 1x HBO – it ended up the HBO got upgraded free to Club (which my wife selfishly kept for herself!), 6A, 7A, 7B, 16A – obviously we ended up choosing the 4 Avios seats @T-24, preferring windows to sitting completely together – it was a 100% full flight with limited options but my daughter was adamant she wanted 16A otherwise I’d have been the fall guy as usual

        • Hence my comment about the possibility of a serious safety situation having to occur before anyone enforces it!

          Didn’t you offered your wife that seat IIRC?

        • Shoestring says:

          She got upgraded HBO—> Club twice recently, I grabbed the first one (1A) & my 1C neighbour & I drained the plane of Champagne 🙂 – that was a fun flight…

          For some reason she insisted on keeping the CE seat this time 🙂

          Her theory is that ‘single middle-aged woman’ figures high on the upgrade algorithm

  6. OT – has anyone got any real-world experience of using your Curve Card to top up the current account of various challenger (app only) banks such as Monzo, Starling, Revolut etc? Looking for guidance as to which one works most reliably and which one allows the highest value of transfers from Curve to the bank account.

    • New Card says:

      Seriously? Just try it and see.

      • New Card – of course I could set up one of each account to test them all out, but I am interested in other people’s feedback if they already have experience of some of them not working as well as others, so as to save myself from wasted time and effort.

        • I just tried to top up Revolut £10 using curve and got charged £0.13 fee.

        • New Card says:

          Sorry Chas, was a bit snappy there!
          As a general rule I’d say it’s worth opening all the accounts anyway, you never know when they might become useful in the future…

      • starling and revoult don’t work

    • Yea, let us know ..

    • Starling need a sort code so no chance there as curve don’t have one. Monzo works I heard

      • It appears that Monzo stopped allowing debit card top-ups in Aug 18. So if Revolute and Starling don’t work, I don’t think that what I was wanting to do is possible, as you need an account which you can set up DDs with, and which you can top up via Debit Card. Instead I’ll have to see what bills I can pay on my debit card each month ahead of the DD being collected – a bit of an administrative nightmare tbh.

  7. Priced up BA flights only and then as a holiday and the package was way more expensive than separate bookings for flights and hotel. BA Holidays weren’t offering anything to justify the price difference (no room upgrade or free breakfast etc) other than a few bonus avios.

    Also BA website didn’t offer me the flights I wanted (all on BA or AA with BA codeshare) yet Expedia were able to put them together and all on the same 125 ticket number.

    So be advised to check all your options not just assume BA are the best price even in a ‘sale’

    • Peter K says:

      Atol protection on BA holidays as a package deal. If bought separately then no ATOL protection.

      • Lost+confused says:

        ATOL protection will also apply to an Expedia booking if the flight and hotel are booked same or following day

  8. Didn’t realise that you can start in other countries for the BA holidays offer as my business partner has to come over every year. Managed to get a CW return including car for a week in October for £1370 from Johannesburg to Heathrow for her. Pleased with that particularly as we only needed to pay a deposit now.

  9. roberto says:

    Also our on BA001 and back on a 747 (in First) in May, the 9th to the 13th – however I wish our hotel netted down to £108 per night……

    • We’re also flying to NYC in May, out in F, back in J, but at the end of the month when cash prices are insane! Our flights are currently pricing up at £12k, and our hotel (Embassy Suites so not that special) is hovering around $500 per night, though happily we got 3 nights for 210000 HH points.

      • AndyGWP says:

        Anna – at the other end of the scale for NYC IN May holidays, we got economy cash flights for sub £300 each and an Airbnb to ourselves in Brooklyn for £300 for 6 nights

        Think of us paupers down the back when you’re drinking your champagne 😂

    • Hey Roberto, I am on the same flight out. There were only 20 people on that flight last time I took it, so if we bump into each other we can swap Geese stories (see above).

      I’m taking the morning flight back on the 14th. I’ll spend my last night in a cheap hotel at Jamaica. Thought it would ease the jet lag and let me enjoy the flight instead of just sleeping through it.

      Anna, have you done BA1? It’s a great flight but no lounge or pampering at LCY. OTOH, you can in theory just turn up 20 minutes before the flight.

  10. OT: Has anyone else received their letter regarding the changes to the Lloyds Avios cards yet? I’ve heard nothing – apparently about to be charged another annual fee and my Amex card is still working.

    • my understanding that no one has heard anything. With 60 days noticed needed and their target of April that means we should all get the “staggered” letters in the next month or so.
      You’d better smash that 7k through.

      • Thanks. Unlikely I’ll put £7K through it in 2 months, but probably too late to cancel now before the annual charge hits.

        Hopefully there will be some flexibility for people party way towards the voucher spend.

      • Let’s hope that they keep that target as well as kept the target to fix the problem where some accounts were not getting Avios at the correct time (but generous compensation). Unfortunately it was fixed eventually.

      • AndyGWP says:

        I had to contact Lloyd’s the other day as my card was suspected of fraud (Mastercard only, so that limits the opportunities where this was done – ie. not BA website)

        Anyways, he seemed convinced that the Amex cancellations had started… (for some reason he seemed to think I would be issued a new mastercard when the Amex deal comes to an end and was worried my replacement card would overlap with the card he was sending me)

        … I haven’t heard anything from anywhere else tho, so I doubt it has started yet

    • I’ve just paid my annual fee, and I’m ready to trigger my final upgrade voucher when I get the letter. Spent a bit on curvaceous poultry with the MC.

  11. RussellH says:

    OT: Re Missing Marriott point from Creation M/Card
    We had some discussion about this yesterday.
    Shock / horror, but my missing points posted today.

    • ankomonkey says:

      My balance has increased today, but by more points than I was owed from card spend. There was no entry in the itemised transactions list, so was waiting to see what that says. Thanks for reporting back, though!

  12. OT: Hilton
    Looking at the sale we are staying at KL Doubletree for 3 nights and the options are 10,000 points or £48pn.
    Trying to work out which is the best option when you consider the 2,000 bonus per stay and the points we would get if we paid cash. Will be doing a Diamond match.
    Thoughts?

    • ankomonkey says:

      You’d get the 2000 stay bonus when paying points or cash. I’d pay points as 10k HH points are worth less than £48 to me.

    • General rule of thumb for us anything under three figs left of the decimal point then pay cash. Anything over 3 decimal points to the left then pay points. Midpoint depends what looks the better deal at the time.

    • Have you looked at the new Hiltons in KL? two properties side by side, one (I think South) has a pool. Reviews look good, and cash rates are £20 when I looked (or I think 8k HH).
      I don’t know whether the location is less desirable though.
      Also, if you are chasing diamond, you could always switch properties one night if you really needed the extra stay.

  13. Shoestring says:

    O/T the good news for flyers – if you *want* GBP to be strong, of course – is that the alternatives, esp EUR & USD, are looking IMV to have a far weaker outlook than sterling. Fed is going to stop its interest rate increase cycle & may even reverse it. Eurozone still a basket case with even N Europe going into recession this Q, on the cards at least.

    GBP not exactly primus inter pares but more like best of a bad bunch with a lot already in the price. Bad Brexit would change all that.

  14. OT: My passport surname & current surname are different, as I’ve not updated my passport following marriage yet. I’m considering getting a new BAPP AMEX & wonder if anyone knows if I’ll be ok to just apply using my old surname (it’s part of my current double barrelled surname) to then make the transfer of Avios to EC straightforward?
    AMEX did once, as an exception, do something which circumvented the problem when the card was in current format, but by goodness that was a ridiculous palaver so want to avoid any of that faffing around again.

    • Shoestring says:

      You can perfectly legally carry on using your old surname as long as you like – my wife does after nearly 20 years 🙂

      • Yup, me too. It’s perfectly fine to carry on using both, e.g. your maiden name professionally and your married name in private life.

    • I went to a lot of trouble with BA and Amex on my partner’s behalf, getting his names to match up on his Passport, Esta, BAEC, and Amex. Then when I referred him for Amex Gold, he applied using his short surname instead of the full surname (his full surname doesn’t fit in the surname field on an Amex application, or on the Amex change of name form, so he used the shortened version.) I only found out when I asked him to transfer some MRs to BAEC and they bounced back. I’ve created a new BAEC member with the short version of the surname, added them to the household account, and the points have now gone across.

      Oh, and although his 24 character surname has three spaces in it, the spaces are stripped out when his boarding pass is printed, making the whole thing unreadable. The cabin crew never know what to call him.

      Keep it simple. And consistent!

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