Bits: sneak peak of BA’s 747 in BOAC colours, Hilton launches ‘Points Explorer’, £100 off Virgin Upper Class to NYC

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News in brief:

A sneak peak of BA’s repainted Boeing 747

As we covered recently, British Airways is repainting a series of aircraft in historic liveries as part of its 100th birthday celebrations.

The first, a Boeing 747 in BOAC livery, will be unveiled on Monday.  Unfortunately I am in Austria and can’t go, but here is sneak peak from the paintshop (click to enlarge):

Repainted BA plane in BOAC livery

Hilton Honors launches ‘Points Explorer’

Hilton Honors is the hotel reward scheme which doesn’t have a reward chart.

That’s not entirely true.  Whilst the charts are no longer published, hotels are still working to the old category caps which set a limit on how much each hotel can charge per night.  What is new now is that, on cheaper nights, Hilton reduces the cost of a reward night so that you are never getting worse value than roughly 0.3p.

The problem with not having a reward chart is that members who don’t fully understand the scheme seem to be struggling to know what it will cost to get away.  Hilton has now launched a new tool called ‘Points Explorer’ to help which you can find here.

‘Points Explorer’ can be customised by city, country or continent and can be filtered by the number of points you want to spend.  It shows you two bits of information:

the maximum number of points that the hotel is allowed to charge

the lowest number of points that the hotel has actually charged on any night

Whilst it doesn’t show you the points needed on any particular night, it helps members with smaller balances identify properties which they can definitely afford as long as they have more than the capped amount.

For longer stays, you will need to adjust for the fact that status members (Silver and above) get five nights for the points of four when booking standard redemption rooms.

You can try out ‘Points Explorer’ here.

PS.  Remember that Hilton is the only major chain to waive resort fees on points stays, something that will be important if you are heading to Las Vegas, New York or other markets where resort fees are now rampant

Hilton Points Explorer

Save £100 on Virgin Upper Class to New York

Talking of New York, Virgin Atlantic is running a short offer for this weekend only, offering £100 off Upper Class flights to New York.

It is available for both Heathrow to Newark / JFK and Manchester to Newark / JFK.

You need to book by Monday night.  Full details can be found here.

(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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Review of Air France business class on a Boeing 777-300ER - redeemable soon with Virgin miles (Part 1)
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  1. O/t changing existing Lloyds upgrade voucher reservation.

    Will avios let me change a LHR-KUL/HKG-LHR open jaw, in to a HKG-LHR return later in the year? (Looks like taxes on HKG return is about £200 less than the original rotation)

    If I do that and fly the first leg in March, will I be able to change the return leg after flying the first HKG-LHR ?

    • Interesting. I didn’t think you could do an open jaw redemption with the Lloyds card (with BA Amex yes, but not with Lloyds). Is this a new feature since we have to book straight with BA? If memory serves, the terms about cancellations and changes were quite strict and onerous.

      • Not sure – see my post below, may have been lucky. It was booked through Avios though, not BA.

      • the_real_a says:

        No not new, i have done open jaw for the last 4-5 years. You need to call up

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Once you have flown the outbound you can’t change the return flight.

      • Ok thanks.
        I guess booking two singles would be an option but negates the benefit of flying from HKG. Also not sure if Lloyds work with two singles

      • I had a LHR-BKK-LHR bnooking using my 2-4-1 a couple of years back.

        While in Phuket, there were the bombs that has exploded nearby, we actually rung up and got a return from HGK-LHR and spent a few day there instead of staying in Thailand.

        Phoned up, and the reservation was changed even though we had flown the outbound flight.

    • It does depend a bit on the call agent but we just swapped our open jaw lim to scl to scl lim one week earlier and that was pretty easy to do. I’m not sure about changing the return leg after flying.

    • No, you cannot because HKG is zone 7 and KUL is zone 8. It needs to be same zone, same class and within ticket validity. It is still worth a call though since it was open jaw but do,t get your hopes built up.

      • Interesting – I might have been lucky in the first place.
        I booked the outbound LHR-KUL (as CW), then added the return HKG-LHR about a week later and applied the voucher – there was some ‘good will’ from avios because I was waiting for BA to refund avios from another booking before I had enough points to book the return. It was all done through the Warrington office.

        • That’s why I suggest it is still worth a call and Lottie states it is CSA-dependent. They have done some very nice things for some people in last few years going by reports here. However, what I stated above is what the CSA stated clearly to be the rules regarding changes when I made my last booking with the Lloyds voucher.

  2. BA is no more 100 years old than I am. This is a new low in hyperbole marketing.

  3. wow, Points Explorer is quite useful, managed to find some good deals, however, I chose not to book with points yet and went via the cash route.

    • actually, I retract from that statement. Having compared the low redemption rate with cash rate, it was actually better off paying in cash indeed, even with a 100% promo offer (presuming you are paying for the points, you would be approx £47 worse off)

      • Thats the case with Hilton now. Points are OK only if cash fare is very high.

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          Depends how much you value cash and how easy you find it to accumulate points. Sit on a load of points and you are just storing up devaluation problems

    • Does the filter work for you?

      Whatever points limit I choose it seems to give the same list of hotels regardless.

      • If you set it to show by number of points low to high you can then see the “cheaper” ones first.


    Implications for using VA MasterCard linked to curve to pay AMEX balance?

    Looks like it has gone through, but had some calls from virgin asking what I was doing and they said it was fine?


    • Thomas Howard says:

      Its against the Curve terms and conditions and might stop them increasing your limits or potentially closing your account. Specific to Virgin will be whether they treat the transaction as a cash advance and charge you interest.

      • Thanks!

        How do I know how it has been treated?

        It says purchase on the pending virgin transaction.


        • Shoestring says:

          When you get charged

        • Thanks Shoestring.

          Went through as the amount charged so looks like no fee was added.

          I assume it would say cash advance or something if it wasn’t classed as a “purchase”.


        • You will not know definitely until you have seen the statement.
          But in my experience the answer is no charge.

  5. OT: At a Hilton hotel where it’s enabled, is digital check in sufficient for a mattress run (i.e. not turning up at all)?

    • Oh Matron! says:

      Good question. I still turn up to let my key, and then leave immediately, just in case. Don’t have the balls to just not turn up!

    • The hotel needs to give you the digital key, not just online check-in.

      Theoretically they could audit use of the digital key to see if you really turned up.

    • The enabled hotels all have a dedicated Digital Checkin desk. I believe there is a legal requirement in the UK for you to at least sign the checkin form. If there was any suspicion that you hadn’t arrived and entered the room they would easily be able to check door logs to determine at what times during your stay you have opened your door. If you’ve not opened your door they could possibly claim you’ve not stayed and therefore not award you any Honors points or stay credits.

      • I haven’t needed to sign any forms at UK Hiltons where you can get a digital key through the app. If using public transport, or parking is free to everyone, I have stayed without interacting with a single staff member. (If driving, and parking is only free to guests, then I go to the front desk to supply my reg plate, but have never been asked for anything else.)

        Where digital key is not available but online check-in is, you have to go to the desk anyway.

      • But are unable to check to see who has entered your room if something is stolen from your room? I think you’re making a few assumptions here.

      • That was a reply to the JetSet Boyz. However many of them and however unjet set they clearly are.

  6. “hotels are still working to the old category caps”…

    Except the 120,000 cap quietly introduced this week for the new Maldives property…..!

  7. OT – anyone else had a delay with the Creation IHG credit card crediting points this month? Usually get them on the 10th if every month, but nothing so far

    • Not this month but every so often there is a delay, last one was a couple of months ago.

    • And I thought everyone got them 22/23/24/25 or so of the month.

    • I’ve always received the points in my ihg account on my credit card statement date (around the 10th of each month) but I’ve not had them this month….

  8. OT Arriving into LHR on BA CE flight onwards domestic in econ will I get lounge access.


    • Yes

    • Yes, BA allows this.

    • Thanks Rob and BJ

      • Were BA correct to refuse access after arriving into MAN on Finnair J, but connecting onto a BA Y flight to LHR on a separate ticket.

        I thought I’d give it a go but wasn’t sure of the policy so didn’t challenge the refused entry.

        Would be good to know for future thanks.

        • I’m afraid so because if you are connecting fom a One World partner flight it needs to be same day (or overnight) longhaul so HEL-MAN didn’t count. I am not sure what the rule is had that been a BA codeshare and your boading pass had a BA flight number; in such circumstances I would like to think that access would be allowed.

        • Hi BJ interesting thanks. I was arriving off a same day BKK to MAN Helsinki J flight therefore should I have been allowed access?

  9. Michelle says:

    OT, I’m off to Dubai early May ( during Ramadan), with my sister. My Hilton gold should expire in March although I never find it clear on the app, but if it does I’m planning to get it again through Amex Platinum and hopefully it’ll come through in time. Am I right in thinking I can book 4 nights for 1 person as a perk of at least retaining silver through the HH credit card? The first two nights I’ll be paying cash, does anyone have experience whether we are pretty likely to get executive lounge access at Hilton the walk if I book these nights in a normal room or should I pay for an executive room or really push the boat out and book into a king deluxe studio as it is ridiculously cheap for those two nights? I’m trying to balance out a nice room with lounge access against any potential concerns of two young (ish) females travelling. Sister has no status, thanis for any help.

    • 1) what do you mean by “I’m trying to balance out a nice room with lounge access against any potential concerns of two young (ish) females travelling.”
      2) Hotels are very empty during Ramadan. Email the hotel and ask what they can do? e.g. pay standard room rate for upgraded room etc, would be surprised if you don’t get much luck.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Is number 1 they are after a hotel with nice rooms, lounge access where they won’t run into idiots?

        Having stayed in the Hilton the walk a few years ago I wasn’t that impressed. Though happy hour saved a pretty penny on drinks. Not sure it’s the same at Ramadan?

    • lounge certainly isn’t guaranteed to get you to the lounge for free unless your upgraded to an exec room so if the next room category comes with exec access and there is availability then you have a better chance, good idea would be to email them and see if they can do anything

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Which Hilton in Dubai? I was at the Jumeirah one on the beach and even if you get upgraded to an exec room, doesn’t mean lounge access. You need to either be Diamond or book a room with lounge access.

      I started my Diamond challenge for this holiday and they took the booking date status (gold) and the even though I was Diamond when I arrived, I had to fight for my diamond access.

  10. OT: Rob, what’s the new Marriott resort that’s opening this year near London? You’ve mentioned it a few times over the past year…

  11. OT – BAEC transfer bonus from hotel schemes..

    Am I right in thinking the last time they ran this was March 2018 or did I miss one?

    • Even with a bonus you’d lose a lot of value transferring to BAEC. Ok I guess if you have no use for hotel points.

      • I have a specific use for a marriott category 5 travel package certificate. With a 35% bonus Avios it will be very good value

        • New cat 5 TP is 390k MRs for 100k airline points.
          New cat 5 hotel only is 150k (6 x 25k) using 5 for 4
          Therefore if there was a 35% bonus on you’d be paying 240k MRs (=£1200) for 135k avios (=£1,350). So yes, a gain but I wouldn’t describe it as “very good value” given avios are of a lower order and easier to collect elsewhere.

        • @Genghis, Category 5 is 35k so 6x35k=210k. Many Cat 5 hotels in excess of £250/night so value can still be exceptionally good in the right circumstances.

        • Of course. Dunno what I was thinking (old no’s).

    • Correct

  12. The Virgin Manchester flight only goes to JFK. Unless I am missing something! There is a MAN to Newark daily flight but that is with United. The Virgin JFK flight uses the old bucket and spade 747 planes.

  13. OT:
    I rang up BA today to ask how much it would be to upgrade a YVR-LHR trip I booked in November from WTP to CW with cash. The rep on the phone said because it was a BA Holiday and I made the booking in November but didn’t clear the balance until January he was able to check what the cost to upgrade would have been in November or in January and was able to apply the cheapest rate out of the two. I didn’t know this as I thought I would be paying the spot rate today. It seems to be another useful “feature” of making a BA Holiday booking vs a flight-only booking if looking to upgrade in the future.

    I didn’t end up upgrading with cash but I thought this was a bit of info I’d pass on as I certainly didn’t know this.

    I upgraded with Avios + £100pp (family of 4) and got around 2.56p per point against the cheaper rate (January) which I thought was decent enough value.

  14. OT – Bonvoy out to airmiles.

    Am I right in thinking that the 25% bonus only applies to complete units of 60000?

    ie 60000 Bonvoy gets you 25000 Avios, 90000 gets you 35000 (not 37500), 120000 (in one transfer) gets you 50000?

  15. flyforfun says:

    Interesting to see BA bring back the old liveries for the 100 promotion. Will they bring back the world tail fins though? 🙂

    I’m sure I have a photo in my collection somewhere which showed and the world tail fins and the new one that replaced it together at Heathrow and circa 2001 when I was flying a lot for work.

    • Somebody mentioned recently they are bringing back the tartan ones on a319s. These are used to INV, and I guess sometimes GLA and ABZ, have not seen one at EDI of late but I might just have been on wrong flights.

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