Bits: new 50% ‘buy Avios’ bonus launches today, Virgin launching Tel Aviv, St Regis Venice coming

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News in brief:

50% bonus when you buy Avios

British Airways is launching another ‘buy Avios’ bonus promotion today.

Until 24th February you will receive 50% bonus Avios when you buy or gift points.

This is as high a bonus as we see these days and there is no minimum purchase.  The bonus kicks in with the smallest 1,000 Avios transaction.  You need to visit via this page in order to buy.

British Airways has increased the number of Avios you can buy under this deal – the cap is now 200,000 points per year!  This means that, with the bonus, you will receive 300,000 Avios for a whopping £3,215.

This is not necessarily a great idea as the best value is generally obtained by buying a small number of Avios to top off your account.  If you saw me on BBC1’s Rip Off Britain last year (you can watch the segment here, it is only 3 minutes long) you will know that one of the members of the public I tried to help had bought 100,000 Avios for £1,600 without fully understand the restrictions behind them.

What does it cost?

In general, you will pay around 1.1p per Avios under this offer.  Based on my spreadsheet of the last 7 million Avios I redeemed, I got 1.15p of value.  This is using very conservative valuations for the flights booked, eg I value a Business Class flight to Dubai at £1,500 because even if BA isn’t charging that there is usually a deal with a secondary airline.

I am clearly not a buyer at 1.1p.  However, as my core article on ‘What is an Avios worth?’ shows, it is easy to get a lot more than 1.1p.  My valuation is low because I do a lot of Gold Priority Rewards (using double Avios to force open a seat, mainly due to school holiday restrictions) and don’t always have a BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher to use.  I also tend to use Avios irrespective of the value, because I am sitting on a lot of them.  If you are strategic you should do better than me.

The link to buy is here.

PS.  The current Groupon offer via Iberia Plus is still running too – see here, in Spanish but Chrome can translate.  Compare the prices for the amount you want.

50% buy Avios bonus

Virgin Atlantic confirms Tel Aviv route

Virgin Atlantic has now confirmed the rumour we published a few weeks ago.

Flights to Tel Aviv will launch on 25th September.  It will use an A330-300, so Virgin’s fully flat Upper Class seat will be going head to head with the Boeing 777 version of the Club World seat.

For the first month, the flight will leave Heathrow at 13.30, landing at 20.35, with the return leaving Tel Aviv at 07.15, landing at 11.10.

This changes from 27th October, when the departure from Heathrow moves back to 16.00, landing at 23.05.  The return will depart at 06.05, arriving at Heathrow at 09.55.

St Regis Venice

St Regis Venice opening soon

Somehow this had slipped past me.  When I was in Venice last August I noticed that Marriot’s Westin Europa & Regina was closed for refurbishment.

It appears that the hotel is about to reopen under the luxury St Regis brand.  This will make another excellent Marriott option in Venice to add to the JW Marriott (on an island outside Venice, JW Marriott Venice review here), the Gritti Palace and the Danieli.

Booking is not yet available.  The website says March 2019 but that is not probably happening if you can’t book yet!

You may remember that St Regis used to have a hotel in the lagoon, next to the JW Marriott, but it closed after a year and was rebranded as a Kempinski.

The hotel website, not that there is much on it yet, is here.

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  1. Is the Intercontinental Venice simply not happening?

    Something to be keeping an eye on I think.

    • Lufthansa uses passenger for not taking booked flight

      • A freudian slip perhaps?
        They sued someone – will be interesting to see if they can make it stick.

        I am sure a good chunk of people book ex-EU with the last leg on a separate day?

        • The problem with Lufthansa is that German Court ruled that no-show policy is unfair and they should remove it from their T&C’s. Now Lufthansa is happy if you do not fly any of the segments, but they specifically state that they will reprice the fare. That’s what happens with this customer… he didn’t fly the last leg, and his ticket got repriced. Lufthansa lost the first case, but it has decided to appeal. Interesting times ahead.

        • I was happy to play the game and fly my last leg to OSL after getting BA F for £2k with GUV2! Even managed to get Qantas to check back BNE-SYD-SIN-LHR-OSL! 🙂

  3. OT, just arrived from AirEuropa, 20% off Tourist (economy???) fares using the code ‘LOVE20’ on the payment page. AirEuropa are interesting because they fly a wide bodied aircraft on some of their routes out of the UK.


    20% web discount code applied on fare on all our Tourist class.
    Not applicable on Business class.
    For sales from 11/02/19 to 14/02/19.
    Travel period: 11/02/19 – 14/06/19, except for 12/04/19 – 22/04/19.
    Check conditions at
    Not applicable on Spanish interisland routes.
    Only applicable to Air Europa operated flights.
    Fare subject to availability.

  4. Shoestring says:

    £100 off £400 @defined Melia – incl the White House
    Melia Vienna Donau-City-Straße 7 Vienna
    Melia Paris La Defense 3, Boulevard de Neuilly 92400 Courbevoie Paris
    Melia Berlin Friedrichstraße, 103 10117 Berlin
    Tryp Munich Paul-Heyse-Strasse 24 80336 München
    Innside Hamburg Högerdamm 30 20097 Hamburg
    Melia Jardines del Teide Urbanización Mirador del Duque Tenerife – Costa
    Adeje, Sta Cruz de Tenerife
    Gran Melia Palacio de
    Avenida Los Océanos, s/n, Alcalá Tenerife – Guia de
    Isora, Sta Cruz de Tenerife
    Hotel Calvia Beach the
    plaza managed by Melia
    Av. S’Olivera, 4 Calviá Beach 07181 Calvià, Majorca,
    Gran Meliá Victoria Avenida Joan Miró, 21 Majorca – Palma
    Sol Lanzarote Calle Grama, 2 Lanzarote – Puerto del Carmen,
    Gran Melia Fenix Calle de Hermosilla 2 Madrid
    ME Madrid Plaza de Santa Ana, 14 Madrid
    Meliá Sarria Avinguda de Sarrià, 50 Barcelona
    Meliá Barcelona Sky Pere IV, 272 – 286 Barcelona
    Melia Madrid Princesa Calle de la Princesa, 27 Madrid
    Melia Sierra Nevada Plaza de Pradollano Granada – Sierra Nevada
    United Kingdom
    ME London 336-337 The Strand WC2R 1HA London
    Melia White House Albany Street, Regent´s Park NW1 3UP London

  5. O/T Just been hit with a 12 euro Irish Independent bill..Those who signed up for the Avios remember to cancel!

  6. O/T got a “late payment forfeit” of 10 amex points on my amex statement. What’s that all about?
    Had paid off the amex charge card and no monetary penalty on statement.

  7. OT: I know Amex to Delta transfers are instant once accounts are linked. How fast are they if accounts are not linked and it’s a first transfer from MR to Delta?

  8. Does anyone know how to contact the British Airways E-store to disputing pending transactions. It will not let me email them via their online contact form and I have searched the internet high and low to find an email address and I can’t find anything?

    • Try a different browser. The submit button didn’t work for me either in safari.

    • Try putting date in as “dd mmm yyyy” format eg 04 JAN 2019.

      Has just taken me 2 weeks to get an unsatisfactory response to only tracking 1 of 2 transactions.

    • I had an issue with the form last week. The problem seemed to be that I put a £ sign in front of the amount I spent with the retailer. Although it’s counter-intuitive, when I left it just as numbers, it allowed me to submit the form. Not had a response yet though…

  9. O/T – when does the Amex Plat Dee get charged? At account approval or when the card is activated? Also same question, when does the 3 month window to spend the £2k start? Have my card but not activated yet. Wondering if I can delay for couple of weeks. Thanks

    • Charge from point account approved then annually on anniversary statement.

      • Sorry, that was so concise as to be unhelpful.

        Say you apply on 4 Feb 2019 and are auto-approved:
        – card issued maybe 5 or 6 Feb and window to hit target spend begins at that point. This can actually be before you physically have the card, they take about 5 days to arrive IME.
        – your first statement date is c.30-35 days after the date your card is approved so probably 6 March or so
        – Annual fee applied to account on first statement date, covering period starting from card approval
        – subsequent annual fees would be on anniversary statement dated 6 March 2020 etc etc..

        If you take a while to activate the card, it doesn’t change any of this, so you might as well get onto it.

    • The charge is on the first statement. The 3 month time period to put the spend through fur the bonus starts from day of approval, whether you activate or not.

      • thanks Stu N and Peter K, both helpful replies. i was just being lazy as the card is at the post office awaiting collection and was wondering if i should bother making the effort to rush back from work in the week or just collect on Saturday…i need to renew my yearly travel card which will cost most of the spend target anyway 🙂

  10. OT: Seen some conflicting/confusing advice about Amex Plat travel insurance. If I book on a BAPP, will I still be covered by the full Platinum insurance, including travel inconvenience, etc.? What about if my wife is a Plat supplementary holder and books travel on her BAPP? Many thanks!

    • You are definitely OK and I would think your wife is too. Get out the policy doc and look at the definition of “the Card”.

    • Yep it’s fine – see the Definitions section of the T&Cs in the policy document.

      • Not fine if booked on Lloyds Amex which Ts&Cs specifically exclude – but which one is obliged (or at least explicitly asked) to use when making a booking with Lloyds upgrade voucher

        • Correct. But having to use the Lloyds card is not a term of use of the voucher.

        • But the Lloyds Amex isn’t issued by Amex themselves, so why would it be included? As I say the T&Cs are quite explicit.

          With regards Lloyds upgrade voucher, nothing in the T&Cs that I can see that says you need to pay using that card, unlike with the BA 241. I’ve certainly used other cards before without a problem.

        • the_real_a says:

          The not correct. I have paid taxes using the platinum AMEX using a llyods voucher… i have then made a claim on medical grounds and all has been paid out. There is no requirement to use the Llyods card when using the Llyods upgrade voucher. There is a clause in the AMEX insurance to the end that any trip booked using miles is ok provided you pay the taxes portion of it on the card.

  11. Graham Walsh says:

    Just popped into the Admiral’s Lounge in JFK T8, what a disappointment. If you have PP, a steak might be better choice.

  12. Libertysurf says:

    Avios points are even less value here:
    Because there is limited avios availability I recently had to book the outward and inward flights separately. But it is in effect a return ticket. The charges paid are higher than they would be if it had been possible to book a return ticket.
    BA says they will not refund the excess charges.

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