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Bits: Etihad grabs three Heathrow slots from Jet, Virgin sale update, new No 1 Lounges / Virgin miles deal

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News in brief:

Jet Airways abandons Heathrow, and Etihad gets the slots

I flagged the financial crisis at India’s Jet Airways yesterday.  It looks like the airline is into its final hours, with the Heathrow services to India now suspended and – more critically – the landing and take-off slots transferred to Etihad from 28th April.

Why Etihad?  Back in 2013, when it was still pumping money into Jet, Etihad paid $70m for Jet’s three Heathrow landing slots.  They were immediately leased back to the airline.  The transaction was a way of Etihad injecting more money into the company via the back door, in the same way that it invested in the Jet Privilege loyalty programme.

With Jet Airways no longer flying to Heathrow, Etihad has taken back the slots.  This leads to a number of interesting options:

Etihad could launch an extra three daily flights from Heathrow, taking it to seven (it now runs four at peak periods) – but does it really want to do that?  Emirates and Qatar Airways have similar frequencies from London but Etihad is, in theory, retrenching.

Etihad could sell the slots.  The record sale price for a Heathrow slot pair is $75m, paid by Oman Air, and Etihad is not exactly flush with cash itself these days.

Etihad could lease them out.  They may need to do this in the short term anyway, since the ‘use it or lose it’ rule at Heathrow means that they must be taken up by someone soon, irrespective of whether the long-term aim was to sell them or add another three flights.  Perhaps we’ll see Flybe launching some more domestic services?

Jet Airways surrenders Heathrow slots to Etihad

Virgin Atlantic sale update

If you read HFP via our daily emails, the email you received yesterday on the new Virgin Atlantic sale – details here – contained incorrect travel dates.  This is because what we received in advance from the airline did not match what was on the sale website when it went up.  Sorry for any inconvenience.  Our article is now corrected.

Virgin has also launched a ‘flight and hotel’ sale with savings of up to £250 see here.

Until Friday 19th April you can:

Save £100 when you spend £1,000-£2,250 and use code 100SAVING

Save £150 when you spend £2,251-£3,750 and use code 150SAVING

Save £250 when you spend £3,751+ and use code 250SAVING

You must book via the Virgin Atlantic ‘flight and hotel packages’ site here.

No 1 Lounges Virgin Atlantic deal

New No 1 Lounges / Virgin Atlantic offer looks generous

No 1 Lounges has launched a new ‘double miles’ deal with Virgin Atlantic see here.  This leads to an exceptionally good deal for the new My Lounge at Gatwick’s South Terminal.

My Lounge, the ‘hipster’ offshoot of No 1 Lounges, opened at London Gatwick’s South Terminal last year as we reviewed here.  It is refusing Priority Pass and Lounge Club guests.

If you are heading to BA’s home at Gatwick South soon, this new Virgin Atlantic deal is a good value way of getting in.

For bookings made by 31st May, for visits by 31st August, you will earn double Virgin Flying Club miles and get a discount on the list price.

The Virgin Flying Club member prices are:

  • £35 – The House (Heathrow T4)
  • £35 – Clubrooms
  • £25 – No1 Lounges
  • £15 – My Lounge

…. and the miles you currently earn are:

  • 800 miles at The House (usually 400)
  • 800 miles at Clubrooms (usually 400)
  • 700 miles at No1 Lounges (usually 350)
  • 400 miles at My Lounge (usually 200)

This is very good value for the new My Lounge.  As the website shows, My Lounge Gatwick South costs £30 on the door and £24 if you book in advance, which includes Fast Track Security.  Via this link, you would only pay £15 per person and you would get 400 Virgin Flying Club miles.  I reviewed the new My Lounge Gatwick South Terminal here.

You can book the Virgin offer via this link.  As the miles are earned per booking, you should make separate bookings for each adult in your group.

Mistake or madness? Virgin adds £200+ to USA Upper Class surcharges
Review of the Upperdeck (Priority Pass) lounge at Glasgow Airport
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  1. Chabuddy geezy says:

    I tried to get into the No1 lounge at Gatwick using a Lounge Club card which they said was fully booked. Interestingly they let me use My Lounge but I had to sign in at No 1. My Lounge is still not listed on the Lounge Club website so maybe this is their way of bypassing the Collinson rules.

  2. KBuffett says:

    OT – I’m experiencing very poor service from John Lewis. I purchased a washing machine and dryer online, paid partly using AMEX and partly using gift cards. The washing machine doesn’t have a feature listed on the website, the dryer doesn’t dry. Repeated calls to JL and not being returned, neither are emails to the complaints department.
    Will AMEX help with a chargeback or similar for the full amount I’ve paid including the amount paid on gift card?
    I’m tired of chasing JL. I called for a 6th time yesterday and was promised a call back with resolution, alas no call.

    • Shoestring says:

      let us know how you get on 🙂

    • If is over £100 in total price then the credit card is jointly responsible (if only £1 is on the card). That covers not receiving the item or the company going broke etc, so can’t return it. Whether the covers it missing a feature I am not so sure. I have had the washer/dryer’s before and the dryer’s never seem to be any good.

      Have you tried just going into a branch to sort it out?

      Also try

      I would say Amex should be the last resort, and probably will not help unless you have exhausted every angle with JL.

      • Bonglim says:

        I am pretty sure they are responsible in exactly the same way as John Lewis, as long as it was a CREDIT card. I am not sure about charge cards? I would however keep pursuing JL.

        I had a similar, in fact much more flimsy, problem with my purchase and they were fine (eventually).
        I bought a dryer with the door that opens the wrong way, because it has a small space to fit in to, it had to open from the right side, and I accidently bought one which opened on the left! So TOTALLY my fault. I bought it at the same time as a washer and the dryer had to be put in first because of the small space.

        They said they would collect/ replace it and turned up with a new dryer. When they turned up they would not touch/ move the washer to get the dryer, so left it behind and we sent the replacement dryer back with them. They also said we needed the packaging for the dryer, that was the packaging they took with them when they installed the dryer. Queue my partner complaining (a fair bit – she likes complaining). She suggested we would have to return both and then re-buy the washer and new dryer – but they agreed that was stupid and said they would re-deliver the dryer with their ‘A-team’ delivery team with instructions that they would move the washer etc.

        They did that.

        They called up a couple weeks later to make sure it went well….. and gave up some compensations…. of 300 pounds. Which we thought was pretty good – although it was annoying at the time.

        My advice is keep complaining to JL and they will eventually sort it and compensate you. We also separately had compensation from them because they drove on our lawn on a different delivery (150).

        • Lady London says:

          Most people that now sell white goods are drop shipping them. I’ve noticed this can lead to more problems than a direct ship. TBH with this kind of problem you are probably in much better hands with John Lewis group than with others.

          A small tip I’ve often found a Tuesday morning can be a good time to complain or follow up a complaint.

    • This follws on from my question earlier this week as to whether i am safer using a credit card or Amex Platinum charge card for goods that potentially might have problems, such as white goods, TVs etc. I would love to hear how people have got on with Amec intervening in a dispute on a charge card which is not covered by S75. One of the reasons I used to but things on the Amex was the reputation of it sorting things out for their customers but is this all just urban myth?

    • the_real_a says:

      One of little known benefits of AMEX cards is “refund protection” insurance (AXA benefits) offered certainly on the Plat card but might be on the others. It offers a total refund within 90 days if the retailer will not accept a return of the item without any fancy clauses. I have used this ironically with a JL purchase that i didnt want and JL refused to accept the return as the 30 return period had ended. AXA paid immediately and whilst they initially wanted the item posted to them, we agreed i would drop it off at a charity shop as its was impractical to post – and i would send them a receipt.

      Unfortunately using gift cards would of course invalidate this…

      • Only up to £x00 and there are some limitations. Read the small print on this for the BAPP recently with something we bought from Mothercare but luckily they took it back without quibble. Note it excludes ‘healthcare items’ which is a rather vague description. Would electric toothbrush come under that for example?

        There is also purchase protection upto £2.5K for stolen / damaged items although that has £50 excess.

    • Andrew says:

      What is the “feature” of the washing machine? Is it reasonably covered by the usual clause that “equipment is subject to continous improvements”?

      What about the drier? You’re not doing anything stupid like putting a heat-pump drier outdoors or in a unheated room? Sometimes, with the more expensive ones, you can reprogram the sensors to stop drying at a more refined moisture level.

  3. Andreas says:

    My goodness, Etihad sure did make some dodgy investments in airlines… it seems that not a single one has turned out well.

  4. Chelseafi says:

    Flying out of Gatwick South Fri in June flight 7.15am, 4 adults with 2 PP cards, Can we use No1 lounge (assume we should get in ok around 5am) and then get take out for plane from Grain Store too?

  5. OT re BA. I flew BA First transatlantic back into Heathrow a couple of days ago on a 747 with the new service. . It was my first BA First flight of any kind so I can’t compare to the old service, but can comment on a few things.

    I got the impression BA seem to have rushed into this a bit. The printed menus bore no relationship to the food and wine that was actually loaded, so the cabin crew were scrambling to write down what was available before taking orders, and also to apologise for only having the tops of the new sleep suits on offer, after searching in vain for the bottoms. The champagne was lovely, but the wines were a bit hit and miss in that they thought the white wine list was correct, and took orders accordingly, but the wines turned out to be completely different, even from different countries (e.g. a sauvignon blanc from New Zealand instead of one from Chile). The canapes were good (especially the scallop) and also the cheese plate, but nothing in between was very impressive.

    I felt sorry for the helpful cabin crew. Apparently they were initially surprised by all the changes. They expected only minor tweaks since they didn’t receive their normal training (only given things to read) and it turned out to be a lot more than that, with a total change in the way they are expected to serve meals.. In some ways it seemed rather inefficient, e.g. having to pour olive oil into little bowls alongside the butter, which was a waste if one didn’t choose bread. It was probably a good thing there were a few empty seats. I was given a bottle of the Rose champagne by way of apology for the the mismatch in menus and sleep suits, which I thought was a nice gesture.

    I was disappointed by the Temperley amenity bag itself, but that is because I had been looking forward to the Liberty one. It has the one advantage of being squashy, so easily packed. The women’s bag looks like the photos, for better or worse, but the men’s bag is a rather cheap looking black velvet. The actual contents seem well thought out, and the Elemis products nice (especially the rose mist). Several of the other passengers were apparently unimpressed and just left theirs, unused, on board.

    • Got my first F next month – I’m going to hold out for a bottle of LPGS if they mess up, especially as i’m flying on my birthday 😂

    • ChrisC says:

      A different menu to what was actually loaded actually happens quite frequently.

      It’s not a sign of poor staff training or a botched rollout of the new service but just something that happened to occur on your flight

      Some of your other comments are down to your personal taste and nothing else.

  6. OT: Still can’t decide on whether its worth it getting another card, we have approx £1k-2k spend coming in the coming weeks.
    OH has spg (spend hit) gold (spend hit) hilton (already gold)
    I have Plat (spend hit) and recently cancelled spg

    After a lot of research on hfp I see our options are
    1) Virgin- we won’t generate enough for the 2-for-1 or upgrade,and have enough hilton points
    2) IHG- the points sign up bonus is not that attractive when it comes to accelerate promos OH gets-works out the same-ish, the 10k spend …ever so slightly…might be able to be met, for the free night (this would have been my go to if we had collected the free nights from Leeds free night promo, but sadly we didn’t)
    3) BA Amex, under new rules we are both eligible for the BA Amex, now I’ve never done this one before because of the high taxes, ideally we would use to it for SIN, or KUL, I just checked on redemption finder that taxes are approx 500pp, again the 10k might be a squeeze but it would be a little comforting knowing I can be on the free one and upgrade later if we meet the 10k, currently we have 60k avios between us and would need at least 200k…so that would need to be factored in.
    4) OH gets green, cancels gold? upgrades to plat?

    We also have 33k in spg each, which I would love to keep in spg and keep for a nice hotel in Malaysia or in the South east, made a sort of list of what redemptions I like and most are around 30k -50k per night

    Would appreciate any help in narrowing down, also would need the card by next week!

    • Peter 64K says:

      Julian would say don’t get another card.

    • Mikeact says:

      A card for next week ? That sounds pretty impossible to me, what with the run up to Easter.

    • Louise says:

      Self refer to BA PP – get the 18k from Plat and spend the 3k on it and get 30k Avios approx if you also add a supplementary at a later date than applying (3k bonus)

      That would be near 50k for Avios if you decide to pursue a 2 for 1 and keep card

      • He won’t get the 30,000 Avios as he has already got an Amex card, but will get the 18,000 MR.

        • Bonglim says:

          The new rules put BA PP card in a separate category. So if you have not had any BA card in the last 2 years, you can still get the BA PP card signup bonus; even if you have had other Amex cards.

          So, from what he has said, I think he can get the BA PP card signup bonus.
          (The same applies to Platinum card if you have not had any MR account for 2 years).

        • I stand corrected!

        • Thanks all, used up all my plat referrals on family but will look at ba pp from OH gold perhaps

      • Louise says:

        I must add I have had very quick turnarounds on Amex, even recently it’s been under 5 days for Cashback Plat to turn up for me

  7. KBuffett says:

    I’m being rather lazy here:
    I’ve got a BA 241 expiring Feb 2020
    As expected availability of flights convenient for me is limited
    Can I use the voucher for two separate pairs of one way flights?

  8. The Original Nick says:

    I have the Amex Platinum card and want to refer my OH for a card to get the referral points. She recently cancelled her SPG Amex (just before the 24 month rule came in). Can I refer her for a card and still get the referral points? Thinking of the Amex everyday cashback card? Unless anyone knows of a better card?

    • Yes you will get the referral points.
      I have just referred my wife for a Green and then upgraded it to Platinum for 20,000 MR with £1,000 spend.

    • I would bre keen to know the official answer to that as well as I’m in the same boat. My gut feeling I’d they will just look at the date of the cancellation of her last card, under 24 months, which it is, therefore no bonus.

  9. rams1981 says:

    OT are curve to pay off Amex no longer working? Can never keep track.

  10. MrsHack says:

    OT. I have a number of flights in south-east Asia booked for early 2020. Business with Singapore /silk airlines to Vietnam and back and several internal flights in Vietnam with Vietnam airlines. Which is the best way to credit points? Have reasonable balances in BAEC, VS, Lufthansa Miles & More, AXMR, HH AND IHG. Reluctant to open more accounts.

  11. OT – Doing the Diamond Challenge – need 2 more stays. Was hoping to combine with the Amex offer (Spend 250 get 75 credit back) with a couple of stays in Paris next month. Just wondering if better to book via Amex Plat FHR programme (never used it before) to get extra benefits – do I still get points and qualifying stay credit with Hilton Honors or just book directly (prepaid cheaper obv).

    Supplementary q – if you book via AMex FHR – when you pay would it trigger the HIlton offer on the card as usually Flexible Rate with FHR i believe

    • FHR rates are fully qualifying and all ‘pay on departure’.

    • I’m missing something here; you are already diamond so are you certain anything you get via FHR is going to be worth the premium versus what you will likely get anyway booking direct as Diamond? My diamond recognition has been superb throughout last 4y while Rob has reported less satisfactory outcomes so YMMV. However, I think the key to good recognition is selecting the option that is less likely to be busiest for premium rooms and suites such as a little further from centre, Hilton as opposed to Conrad etc.

      • I did get the Conan Doyle Suite at the W-A Edinburgh last weekend, to be fair, although I had booked a mid-range room in the first place, not the cheapest possible.

        FHR would make sense at this hotel for a one night stay because of the $100 food and drink credit and guaranteed 4pm check-out, even if you are already Diamond and get the free breakfast FHR also gives. The stay is also fully qualifying for Hilton Honors. The only reason I booked direct is that I got a very attractive Jan sale rate and – correctly as it turned out – guessed we’d struggle to spend $100 in the hotel given that the restaurant is fairly formal and not so kid friendly.

        • Hope you enjoyed your stay. There have been a lot of very cheap rates at WA this winter so I think lots of folks have had good weekend breaks out of it. Had a £240 rail ticket back from London last Friday and missed out on 50% refund by <2min 🙁

        • Lady London says:

          You’re making a good point Rob. I’ve found with cars and hotels that the one thing not to book us the cheapest possible. Go up at least a rung or two and you seem to have a much greater chance of landing a decent upgrade.

          A bit like the best value wine on a restaurant list is often the 2nd-4th cheapest or so. Avoiding the cheapest seems can have disproportionately positive benefits for an amount that can be very small indeed.

          There is a flight relevance too.
          It would be much better if airline websites would show more fare options than just the cheapest. Conditions such as exchange ability, upgradeability and even sometimes refundability, can be available for just a tiny difference in fare that gets the much better fare class sometimes. But airline websites won’t show the other options on search just the cheapest mostly. If airlines invested in giving an option to see other fares and those different conditions it would be one way to keep more bookings dine direct with them. OTA’s could not do this for all the airlines they cover.

        • Lady London says:

          @BJ Grrrr.

        • Andrew says:

          £240 rail ticket…

          If you’re on the Chieftain or one of the Aberdeen services, it can pay to book to HYM rather than Waverley as the intensive services west of Edinburgh can result in a delayed LNER services losing their slots and you slipping over the refund level. The Caley is pretty much equidistant from both stations.

          I’ve also got into the habit of booking a low-cost gamble into my long distance rail travel. So instead of just booking a return from X-Y, book a ticket from W-Z that requires a change onto a low frequency service each way – even though I’ve no intention of going anywhere near W or Z. With the chaotic nature of Scotrail services at the moment, a £2-5 gamble has very good odds on a 50% refund.

      • I am doing the diamond challenge, need 8 stays, done 6 but was trying to maximise my benefits plus also utilise the HIlton offers on my Amex to save more per stay spend. Your advise is good, I have looked for the La Defense hotel in Paris as hopefully less busy on a weekend

        • Are you familiar with the area? If not, it is not a good option for a weekend break in Paris.? too far out. I imagine it’s also dead there on weekends.

        • Area is quiet (like Canary Wharf) but it is only a couple of metro stops from the tourist area.

        • Lady London says:

          I can totally recommend the new Hampton at Clichy if the low-service Hampton option is your bag. Stayed there a few times on my current project in Paris. Rooms one third the size of US Hamptons but still bigger than the London ones and very very comfortable. On a direct bus route to my client’s location near the Opera.

          About half the price of the one at La Defense.

        • Genghis says:

          I liked the Hilton Opera. Good breakfast.

  12. Chelseafi says:

    O/T just been approved for Gold Bus card (awaiting card), want to apply for green personal amex card next, does the Gold Bus card count on my credit record? If so was thinking of waiting 4/6 weeks between applications.

    • Chelseafi says:

      I also want to upgrade from Green to Plat ASAP again does upgrade count on my credit record, so should I wait 4/6 weeks to apply for upgrade? Thanks

      • Lev441 says:

        Yes will probably show up on credit report. In the past mine has shown up on 2 out of the 3 credit agencies

  13. Graham Walsh says:

    OT Tried to search but no answers. I have booked my free night with IHG but need to change hotel to another one across town as event I was going to has changed. Same date. I can cancel in the app but will the reward night voucher be issued back straight away?

    • What the expiry date on the voucher? If it has passed, you’ll lose it. You should be OK otherwise based on what I have read before, although note no personal experience.

      • Graham Walsh says:

        IHG offline, Creation offline. I think it expires mid May, so techincally still valid. Booking if for a few days after the expiry date.

    • Lady London says:

      IME it has been. In very, very few minutes. More than once, but over 6 months ago. YMMV.

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