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Iberia returns to Guayaquil in Ecuador – an intriguing Avios redemption

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If you’re looking for somewhere different to redeem your Avios, Iberia is to return to Guayaquil in Ecuador, two years after dropping the route.

Flights are scheduled to resume on 13th December, operating three times per week.

Iberia returns to Guayaquil

If you’ve never heard of it, Guayaquil “is a port city in Ecuador, known as a gateway to Pacific beaches and the Galapagos Islands.”  A photo is below.

Our detailed guide on how to redeem Avios on Iberia is here – it is well worth a look as there are many ‘sweet spots’ and taxes are low.

(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. Marcw says:

    Iberia is returning to Guayaquil… But LATAM is dropping their service MAD-Guayaquil.

  2. Mikeact says:

    What other banks offer Priority Pass as part of an account ?

    • Lady London says:

      There are others which offer a few Lounge Club passes – or just the membership of Lounge Club. Not as good as PP. I’ve not come across any other bank offering this – perhaps other posters have?

      Bearing in mind that the PP provided by Amex, uniquely covers entry for 2 to the lounge.
      Even in several other countries I don’t think they get 2 entries even where they do get PP with Amex (I am thinking of Germany in particular.)

      However I think Amex had better tread carefully if they plan on following up with a similar announcement in the UK – given the massacre to benefits combined with a massive increase that they’ve done in the UK just in the past couple of months. I am personally more needy of using the PP dining credit in places like Australia where the lounge provision is very poor even at some major airports. But the Aussies got the dining credit blocked on their Amex PP’s as well.

      Perhaps I could still use a UK Amex PP in an Australian airport for this? that would upset my Australian friends…!!

      • Assume UK platinum holders can still use the card in Australia until we hear otherwise. I’ll be very disappointed if not as I’ll be spending quite a bit of time there this year and I factored it into the cost of the card.

        I won’t renew if they reduce benefits even further over the next 12 months.

        • Yes, it’s Aussie issued Amex PP cards which are having the benefit removed, along with others, so any issued from a country where the benefit still applies is fine.

  3. The Original Nick says:

    l have an Iberia redemption booked for next February Madrid – Havana. Can anyone recommend any hotels in Cuba?

    • Roberto says:

      We doing the same in March 2020. Booked 3 nights at the Iberostar Parque Central in Havana and five at the Royalton Hicacos in Varadero.

      I have not been to each and only really done rudimentary planning thus far. Both cancelable bookings as it still 9 months away. Avios booking on Iberia in Business from Malaga via Madrid.

      • Iberostar Parque Central is good, and well located. We were there last November, and found Havana better than expected in many ways (but it is hard to avoid the ‘beggars’).

    • Bagoly says:

      I only know Old Havana:
      Kempinski is new and luxurious, but detached from the surroundings, and expensive.
      It’s about the only one which has international standards of service.
      Grand Packard is a cheaper version of that detachment.

      Florida was disappointing, and the Conde de Villaneuva is unfortunately (literally) falling apart.
      I would go for the Santa Isabel.
      Hotel El Comendador more modest, but more recently renovated.

      Remember to take a non-US linked credit card – and draw cash from ATMs on it – cheaper than taking USD banknotes.

      • Lady London says:

        Is it still true that you are required to produce evidence that you have health insurance for your trip on entry to Cuba?

      • What do you mean by “non US-linked”? Union Pay, JCB, MIR or similar? No AMEX, VISA or MasterCard?

        • No, any issued by a US bank won’t be usable there. MBNA used to specifically state they couldn’t be used in Cuba and some others, as MBNA used to be owned by Bank of America, not sure if this has changed now they’re part of LBG.

          So Amex and Citibank will be a no, probably others too.

    • Stuart says:

      I was in Havana last week and stayed in Melia Cohiba and the Nacional. Both had good points – melia (good breakfasts, good service from staff, free mini bus to the old town) nacional (good history and vibe, good gardens with views to malecón) both had downsides.
      All depends on what you are looking for and as another poster comments – many things are old / unrenovated so in my opinion I would not spend lots of cash and would not expect luxury.
      I didn’t go to verdadero as I wanted to visit Cuba – so instead I would recommend Trinidad and vinales.

  4. OT- LLOYDS- I received a new card to replace the Lloyds Avios .
    I never received the letter with the 60 day notice and when I called today they said that it was issued to all their customers and it is not their fault it got lost in the post. I also asked when it was sent out but they couldn’t tell me.When asked if they could resend a copy so I know how long i have to hit the spend target for the upgrade voucher they said they can’t reissue it.
    What should I do, if anything? I was hoping for a few more months of FX free and earning some avios.

    • It is absolutely their responsibility, not yours, to ensure you receive notice. If nothing arrived that is on Lloyds, even if it was the postal service who lost it.
      Raise a formal complaint, if it’s rejected take the final response letter to the Financial Ombudsman.

      • Waste of time taking a complaint to FOS for non-delivery of a letter. It’s a common complaint and the FOS has a well-established position that firms are not responsible for the failure of the postal service to deliver a letter. So Lloyds would only have to convince FOS (on the balance of probabilities) that they sent one.

        Search ombudsman decisions, it will bring up a website where you can check previous FOS decisions.

        This issue would be best resolved via a firm but polite complaint to Lloyds, who will probably offer a ‘goodwill’ gesture. Threatening FOS is unlikely to add any value, because their complaints team will be very familiar with the FOS view on delivery of notices.

        • Lady London says:

          Doesn’t a complaint to the FOS automatically cost the complained-about firm about £600 though? or does it vary by ombudsman…..?

          • Yup, £550

          • the_real_a says:

            Not any more. The larger firms pay a fixed fee to the FOS.

          • Lady London says:

            A fixed fee to the FOS paid by larger firms? Sort of like a “season ticket” for those large firms that consistently behave badly?

            A pity as “I’ am quite possibly taking this to the ombudsman if we can’t agree”… could be a useful thing to say to some of htese firms otherwise. Many problems are worth a lot less then £550 for the firm to settle.

      • callum says:

        They were heavily pushing the fact that they’d sent several letters in the last 15 months about it closing, so the 60 day notice wasn’t actually legally required anyway (not an argument I fully accept).

        Likewise, no-one could read that letter to me over the phone. The first insisted that I had to have spent £7k by May (when my card was replaced) and that I’d have to talk to Avios about it – denying it was anything to do with Lloyds and claiming Lloyds didn’t have an Avios department. The second insisted it was March and again, kept trying to transfer me to Avios while denying there is an Avios department within Lloyds. I then made a phone complaint and the agent spoke to the apparently non-existent Avios department who insisted the right date was May, and then kept telling me not to make a complaint because they were sure “nothing would come of it”.

        The next day I was called back by a man who apologised for the non-stop rubbish I was told before, confirmed that the voucher can be earnt until my account anniversary date and instantly transferred £50 in compensation and £10 in call costs. I must have received almost £300 in compensation from Lloyds solely from these Avios cards – surprised they still want me as a customer!

        • I think that must be the man I spoke to recently and that he must be the only Lloyds employee who actually knows what he’s talking about!

    • I spoke to them about this a few weeks ago and they insisted they had sent me a letter. I asked for them to check my account and they had to concede that there was no record of them sending the letter. So if there is no note on your account, they haven’t sent it.

      I’ve found that there’s generally a dismal lack of information on the part of CSA’s re their own products. If I were you I would call back, ask to speak to a supervisor, log this as a formal complaint and insist on getting your 60 days’ notice. You will probably also get a few quid compo for your trouble.

      I still haven’t had the letter and my old cards seem to be still working on the old Ts & Cs!

      • So you’re still getting 1.25 Avios per £?

        I got the letter and new cards but I have left them on my desk without touching them again so far, my Amex is still working, although I am expecting it to stop working on Monday as it’s now been a month, we’ll see.

        • The minimum notice requirement is 60 days, according to Lloyds. Yes, still getting 1.25 avios on the Amex and free FX. I have a 3 week Caribbean holiday in August so hoping to cling on to the old terms until the end of the trip!

      • Lady London says:

        I rather suspect there are lots of Lloyds Card Holders here on hfp who would confirm they received no such notice.

        Allied to the dismal reports of mess-ups and poor service that has been amply reported here for at least 2 years pretty constantly so far as I can recall, perhaps a spirited fight could be put up to convince the FOS that “on balance” Lloyds does not know what they are doing, and does not provide accurate information, keeps poor records, and has a history of compensating customers repeatedly for their own inefficiency? Perhaps I am being harsh. But it would be good to see whatever is (not) going on at Lloyds, exposed.

        • Mark2 says:

          Sadly they have not done anything wrong 9and very generously compensated) us recently.

    • You should not tell them that you know things you shouldn’t have known if you really didn’t receive the letter.

      If the card got lost in the post would you accept that it was “not their fault”? Why is a normal letter any different?

    • the_real_a says:

      I think many people make the mistake when complaining of not articulating your “loss”. You need to spell out how this bank error effected you and calculate a financial “loss” that you want to be compensated for. The FOS have on a number of occasions told me they will not take an opinion on the commercial decision of a bank when raised by an individual unless it resulted in a direct loss to the individual.

  5. Macca says:

    What is the ‘quantity’ of the food like at the concerts? My wife was planning to rely on the concert for dinner but Hilton responded saying “The food offerings will be on the lighter side”.

    • Canapés, not a buffet, based on the last two.

    • Quite clearly states canapes, and please don’t let your wife hoover them all up !
      🙂

      • Macca says:

        Thanks Rob. I misunderstood your comment that Hilton do not “skimp” on the food in one of your reviews. You must have been referring to quality rather than quantity.

        Dale, my wife is vegan so I’m sure there will be plenty of dead canapés for the rest of you 😉

        I’ll tell her to eat before going.

        • Yes, it is not a buffet. I meant the general quantity and size of canapés served historically.

          But who knows what is on this year?

      • Lady London says:

        So that’s 2 canapes per drink as the standard social rate of polite consumption then?

  6. If you do go to Guayaquil, I would strongly recommend Hotel Del Parque. Normally when a city only has 1 luxury option, it barely passes as 5 star as it has no need to compete, yet Del Parque was a superb hotel. We stayed in December ’18 before heading to the Galapagos, which was far less exciting than the free access to the wildlife sanctuary that is 5 minutes from your door in Del Parque. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hotel perk where you can access a mini-zoo after hours.

    • Mrs_Fussy says:

      Hi Tom
      Were you disappointed with the Galapagos ? Would love to hear more as we are planning a trip and its hugely expensive

      • Callum says:

        While I’ve never been to the wildlife park they refer to, they can’t possibly have any particular interest in (aquatic) wildlife if they preferred it to the Galapagos Islands (only going because it’s a famous tourist spot?).

        Which doesn’t necessarily need to be as expensive as you’re finding. I spent something like US$80 a day staying in the towns and taking daily speedboat trips. There were very few places I couldn’t get to on day trips that the hugely expensive cruises get to see.

      • Yes, we thought it was one of the most boring places we’ve ever been. I wrote about our stay on the only 5 star luxury hotel in the Galapagos here: https://thegoodthebadandtheluxurious.com/2018/12/26/review-pikaia-lodge-galapagos/

        • Callum says:

          Funnily enough I found the review incredibly boring (my fault – I misread your post and was expecting a Galapagos review, not continual whining about how these isolated Islands didn’t pamper you enough!).

          I guess that experience is what you get when you show up to a vast rugged landscape and opt to spend your time (3 days!?) hanging out in a luxury hotel! Your experience doesn’t remotely come close to mine, nor anyone I’ve ever spoken to about it (a not insignificant number given I’m a marine biologist who has spent a significant amount of time in South America).

          As I said before, you can’t have had much interest in actually experiencing the Galapagos if you thought that was the appropriate way to do it.

    • Andrew MS says:

      You might be interested in the “ Tren Crucero”, a four day luxury train to Quito and v.v.
      http://trenecuador.com/en/cruise-train/

  7. Christian says:

    Rob, presumably UK issued Amex Priority Passes will still work for the dining benefit in the US restaurants?

  8. Quick Q for Bits.

    I’ve got a CX redemption booked via BA for the summer flying from SIN to HKG and didn’t include my middle name. Why would you, I’ve never included it before and according to BA website it’s not relevant.

    However, I’ve never flown CX before (or in Asia) and when trying to complete the passenger info on the booking on their website it states “your name on the boarding pass MUST match with your travel document”.

    This seems to be something only CX do? Should I include my middle name on the passenger info or just leave it out? Is it going to cause issues?

    Thanks.

    • Shoestring says:

      missing middle name is never a problem

      but you shouldn’t use short forms of first names, eg Alex instead of Alexander

    • Your middle name is irrelevant – in fact so is the boarding pass as very long names don’t even fit on it! First and last names are the ones which matter.

      A few years ago I let my OH book some flights (it’s never happened again lol) and he spelled my middle name wrong 🤦‍♀️. Delta airlines wanted £65 to change it but a lot of googling convinced me it wouldn’t matter so we just left it, and had no issues getting into the US and Caribbean nor on the return journey.

    • Actually Cathay are starting to be quite difficult about middle names. I couldn’t check in online for any of my flights at Easter because of it, and when I spoke to You First (having booked with my Avios), they confirmed that Cathay were really trying to push for names exactly as they appear on the passport, and that they might try to deny me boarding, as they have done this on occasion. They also said to phone back immediately if that happened, and they would resolve the issue, which reassured me somewhat, as I was starting to panic.
      Thankfully, I didn’t have any problems when checking in at the airport.
      If there’s any way of adding your middle name to the booking, I’d do it, just to play it safe.

      • I don’t see how they can insist on this as there are people with really long names which don’t fit on a boarding pass.

        • Plus a lot of booking systems (including BA I think) only give fields to put in first and last names.

        • Anna – I’m guessing it’s the name on the booking, rather than the boarding pass.
          It really surprised (and worried) me too, but apparently it is a bit of a problem at the moment.
          TGLoyalty – I would enter the name exactly as it appears on my passport, but it was an Avios redemption, and my BA Exec club account doesn’t have my middle name on it!

          • This is obviously something travel agents and airlines need to sort out between them -if BA don’t put your middle name on a booking, it’s unreasonable of Cathay to demand it. It’s bizarre there appears to be no international agreement on this, especially as different countries have different customs regarding naming (like Spain with its double surnames). I realise this doesn’t help at the point you are denied boarding!

      • Shoestring says:

        @Cat – But if you were checking in online, how did they know that your passport has a middle name but your booked ticket didn’t? They already know about the name on the ticket. But you must have told them/ typed in the middle name on your passport.

        Simply never give your middle name and they won’t see a discrepancy. There’s no central database held by airlines of full passport names.

        • Maybe that was my mistake! I know my passport number (and its predecessor) by heart, but live in fear of mis-typing the details, should it come back to haunt me with a jobsworth vindictive border official!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Is it just me that puts the name on the ticket exactly as it appears on your passport then?

      • What if your name was Tarquin Gregory Loyalty Farquarson Barrington Carruthers de Montfort? That would not be going on your ticket or your boarding card!

        • 😂

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Would all that fit on my passport? If it did I’d still probably drop a few from both.

          • Nick_C says:

            My partner’s full name runs to 35 characters. He used to use just his first and last name, but then he started getting an X on the immigration slip in the US, because the name on his passport/Esta did not match the name on the airline ticket. He changed his name with BA, but now they strip out the four spaces in his family name and concatenate it, so the cabin crew have no idea what to call him.

            Credit card applications are fun as well, as they don’t usually accept 24 character surnames, or they truncate the name printed on the card. Amex sort it out behind the scenes, and can print a long surname on the card if you want it.

            It must be quite a common problem in the UK for people from Spain and Portugal

        • Lady London says:

          I think he was denied boarding recently.

          the flight was overbooked, so miraculously the airline because quite picky about accurate passport names being required on the ticket and made it the passenger’s fault if they did not match. so your Tarquin was denied boarding without compensation.

          • Yes, there was a story about WOW airline doing the same thing last year. Good way for airlines to wriggle out of offering compo. I wonder if they could produce a written policy about the middle name requirement though?

        • Tarquin Gregory Loyalty Farquarson Barrington Carruthers de Montfort says:

          I have no troubles with my name fitting on BP.

    • flyforfun says:

      The “middle name” issue is one that comes up frequently on the Cathay pages of Flyertalk.

      You need to put your middle name down if you are using Chinese or similar characters in your name. Western names are fine to miss out the middle name. Done it loads of time.

    • As flyforfun says, the problem with Cathay and middle names only arises for people from Hong Kong (or of Hong Kong heritage) who do not have western names. Obviously these make up a large proportion of Cathay’s flyers. (The problem may also arise with Koreans and Vietnamese.)

      The majority of Hong Kong Chinese names have the format CHAN Tai Ming, where the given name is Tai Ming. It is incorrect to say that Tai is the “first name” and Ming is the “middle name”, however when such people move to the USA their name inexplicably becomes Tai M. CHAN.

      As there are a limited number of syllables in Chinese languages, and several syllables map to a single Romanised spelling, many more people would have the name “Tai CHAN”. In fact, it is common for siblings to share the same first character of a two-character given name, thus two brothers might both be called “Tai CHAN” in the USA. You can see how siblings might easily be able to share airline tickets if they don’t include their “middle name”.

      This also happens in the UK to an extent, but British Hong Kong Chinese seem smarter and tend to insert a hyphen, i.e. Tai-Ming CHAN, or they give a western name as well, which reduces problems for their children.

      The issue does not arise for people from mainland China as this name would be CHEN Daming, or CHEN Ta-Ming in Taiwan/Singapore/Malaysia.

  9. Craig says:

    OT: Is swapping the supplementary cardholder fairly straightforward on Amex Plat?

  10. Rob an article covering all options for getting free PP or equivalent from banks, cc etc will be very useful indeed!

    • Wollhouse says:

      NatWst Black includes a raft of benefits (travel insurance, breakdown, mobile phone cover, concierge and Dragons Pass. The latter includes lounge access and discounts up to 25% in restaurants). I’ve been w them for a long time and (not wanting to jinx myself,,,) have always found my act manager and their support staff v helpful. And they’ve been very quick to block fraud on two separate occasions. Plus, The credit card fee can be refunded if you have their current account- can’t recall criteria just know I get similar benefits to Amex plat for free.

      • Wollhouse says:

        But, no Avios! just cash back

        • David says:

          I believe cash back received through the account can be converted to Avios via the Natwest Rewards portal. Not sure on the rates but think they’re reasonable.

  11. I put in a complaint about a dreadful incident on my Iberia flight 3 weeks ago – any idea how long they usually take to respond?
    I did try emailing the address that someone helpfully posted, but they redirected me to the online complaints department. I tried Twitter, but they haven’t responded to that either.
    This is a pretty bad one, the least they can do is reply with an offer of Avios.

    • Lady London says:

      Dreadful incident? do tell us more, Cat!

      When I complained on the URL they gave me I got an automatic acknowledgement from the sytsem quite quickly, certainly with a week, but it was then quite a numer of weeks when they came back to me. their response indicated they hadn’t read what I had sent.

      I will be pleased if you get a better result from Iberia Cat. their customer service still seems to be marginally better than Accor’s, though.

      • Well Lady London, I was using the facilities. The FA decided that she had forgotten to unlock the toilet after take off. She hadn’t. She rapped on the door sharply then IMMEDIATELY unlocked the door (without so much as a word of warning in Spanish or English) and let it swing wide open while she went to deal with someone’s drinks order, without so much as a glance to check whether there was anyone in the toilet. This allowed the man who was waiting to use the facilities a full view of my (ahem) holiday grooming, while I shrieked and frantically tried to cover up. When I had managed to get my clothes back in their proper place (and flushed the toilet), the man stood there looking rather distressed and alternating between the speak no evil and see no evil postures, while the FA’s apology was of the indignant “Well, I’m sorry, but…” (…you didn’t respond, …I thought I had left it locked etc). She tried to cover up her name badge and didn’t even offer me so much as a glass of water in lieu of a proper apology, and I was left shaking with anger and shock for the rest of the flight.
        I can joke about it now, but I was quite upset at the time.
        I mean, if someone knocks on a toilet, I take that to mean “Hurry up, I’m desperate”, not “I’m opening the door”.
        I was aware that turning right can be a bit of a shock after turning left (especially if into Cathay Pacific first class), but this was more of a shock to the system than I’d bargained for.
        I’m astonished that they haven’t fast-tracked this complaint – if I was them, I’d want to avoid this being spread (pardon the pun) all over social media. I will resort to this if I haven’t had an adequate response in the next couple of weeks.

        • Shoestring says:

          I guess you wouldn’t be a fan of those unisex loos in France where the ladies have to walk past the gents pissoir bit to get to the cubicles 🙂

          • That wouldnt be a problem, as long as the cubicle door stayed closed while I was inside!

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