Bits: BA pilots strike moves nearer, BA Amex ‘buy Avios’ bonus, Marriott & BA’s GDPR fines, Stansted Express family deal

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News in brief:

Strike by BA pilots looking more likely

As we have covered before, the British Airline Pilots Association is currently balloting its members who work for British Airways on industrial action.

It turns out that BALPA and BA spent Monday and Tuesday at ACAS to discuss possible resolutions.  Whilst it seems that the cabin crew unions may be prepared to recommend a revised British Airways pay offer, which includes improved annual bonuses, the pilots want more.

In a statement published last night on Twitter, BALPA said:

It is bitterly disappointing that despite two full days at ACAS we are still no further forward. BALPA tabled options for resolution but BA was not prepared to negotiate so there was no progress at all and no point continuing. Until BA changes its attitude there is little prospect of talks resuming.

It is certain that the strike ballot, which closes on 22nd July, will be in favour of strike action.  Given the legal notice period required, this is anticipated to begin at some point around 6th / 7th August.

British Airways pilots strike

American Express pushing a ‘buy Avios’ bonus – worth it?

A lot of HFP readers emailed me yesterday about an British Airways American Express cardholder offer that was emailed to them.  We covered this last month, but the feedback yesterday means that I want to run over it again.

It is a little weird in how it is set up.

When you buy at least 20,000 Avios for £335 via the standard ‘buy Avios’ page here, you will get a bonus of 10,000 Avios.

This assumes that:

you register for the offer on your BA Amex online statement page, and

you pay with your BA Amex

You must buy at least 20,000 Avios.  Because the bonus is fixed at 10,000 Avios, the best option is to buy exactly 20,000 for £335 and no more.  In total you will receive 30,000 Avios, although the bonus Avios will come via Amex and won’t arrive until your next BA Amex statement is generated.

You are paying 1.1p per Avios via this offer.  This is OK but certainly not one to jump on unless you have a specific need for them.

Every so often BA runs a ‘50% bonus when you buy Avios’ offer.  These offers are better than this BA Amex one because:

the occasional 50% BA bonuses let you buy as few or as many Avios as you want, whilst this BA Amex offer only gives a 50% bonus if you buy 20,000 points

the occasional 50% BA bonuses give you the bonus Avios immediately, whilst with this one the bonus will be added to the next monthly sweep from your BA Amex card

the occasional 50% BA bonuses let you pay however you want, whilst this offer forces you to use a BA Amex

the occasional 50% BA bonuses do not require pre-registration, whilst this BA Amex does – and if you forget, you don’t get the bonus

However, if you can get your head around these restrictions then you are getting a decent 50% bonus if you buy exactly 20,000 Avios.

To take advantage of the Amex offer, you need to buy via this link.  The offer runs until 15th July (EDIT: has been extended to 22nd July it seems).

Marriott follows BA with a huge GDPR fine

The proposed £183m fine to be paid – subject to appeal – by British Airways for the massive data breach last year has been well reported by the national media, so I don’t want to spend more time on it here.

What may have passed you by, however, is that Marriott revealed yesterday that it is facing a proposed £99m fine for historic data breaches at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which continued for a period after Marriott acquired the company in 2016.  The breach began in 2014.

Marriott’s fine, whilst issued by the UK Information Commissioners Office, covers damages for the entire EU.  30 million sets of EU customer data were leaked, of which 7 million sets related to UK residents.  The majority of HFP readers will be included.  Data stolen includes credit card numbers, passport details and date of birth.

Marriott intends to appeal against the fine, even though it is substantially lower than the maximum allowed which is 4% of global turnover.

These fines are, of course, huge numbers.  It is not a revenue raising exercise, however.  It is making a point to the business community that the cost of spending what is needed to properly protect the data of your customers is not wasted money, as many corporates seem to view it, but a bargain compared to the cost of not doing so.  If you are thinking of retraining for a new career, there will be a lot of cyber security consultancy roles being advertised in the next few months …..

Stansted Express family tickets

Stansted Express family ticket offer

Stansted Express has launched a new family ticket deal for trips this Summer.

Until 30th September, children under 15 travel free when a special family ticket is purchased, which is priced at the same cost as a standard adult return.  Up to three children are included.

This ticket can only be bought in advance via this page of the Stansted Express website.  It is only valid for return trips starting in Central London – so it can’t be used by tourists flying into Stansted and then home again at a later date – and only for economy tickets.

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  1. TGLoyalty says:

    No one looking forward to flying in Qatar planes around Europe this summer then?

  2. Does anyone know how to tell which BA 777 I’m scheduled on tomorrow?

    I want to know if I have a power socket in my economy seat and apparently this is only on the 777-300 not the 777-200.


    • Hi Sam google search seat guru

      You can enter airline and flight no and date. It will give you a seat plan of the plane you’re flying and give you that info. Helpful also if you have status and can choose seats.

  3. We’re due to fly business class to Las Vegas with BA on 10th August. Points and companion voucher redemption.

    If a strike was to hit this date and we were offered a replacement flight, would we be given a like for like seat in business or just anything which is available and face a potential downgrade?

    • Shoestring says:

      Often both possible – ie you can be offered the first available flight, which could be in Economy. You don’t need to accept it and can hold out for a Business seat but that might mean waiting 5 days instead of 1.

    • SilverInSix says:

      Also remember that if you’re downgraded then you are entitled to 75% of the commercial rate for the flight and class you originally booked. Whether it was booked using a 2-4-1 and/or a reward booking doesn’t mean you don’t get the refund if you’re involuntarily downgraded.

      • Well that would pay for the holiday 3 times over!

        I presume, in Shoestring’s example, being offered Economy tomorrow or Business in 4 days does not class as an involuntarily downgrade if we *chose* to take the tomorrow option though?

        • Shoestring says:

          Correct – there is a difference between the airline ‘placing’ you in Economy and you choosing Economy when the alternative is to wait for a few days for your Business seat. ‘Placing’ is involuntary downgrade, ‘choosing’ is not.

          You would still be entitled to the difference in fare between the 2 classes of ticket, the problem is BA uses Y class (Economy Flexible) when determining the cost of the Economy fare, which is an expensive ticket – so there might not even be a fare difference.

          • Just checked and Economy Flexible is coming out at £1808 whereas business is £8854. If we chose to take a downgraded Economy seat, would we be entitled to the difference between £8854 and £1808, or a percentage of? I understand the exact figures may be different by the time we get to August.

            Just preempting a strike and what would be the best option for us to take!

          • Shoestring says:

            they can’t have it both ways – I think the correct calculation would be Business fare you paid (or equivalent if you used points) minus Y fare, not a % of this. Not sure how they would work out Business £££ cost if you paid in points, probably cheapest.

            Even using the involuntary downgrade methodology (not correct here!), it would be 75% of the Business fare.

            Don’t expect an easy ride if it all comes to be, what with the strike etc – but be prepared to MCOL it and they would settle. Companion ticket must be valued at same as yours, ie probably = cheapest Business fare.

          • Shoestring says:

            the other point to note in this theoretical situation is that BA use an internal methodology to work out what you are owed which is often *more* generous that the statutory compo/ refund would dictate, so definitely worth playing it all pleasant to start with.

          • Many thanks. I appreciated your comments.

            It would be interesting to see how they work out compensation based on a points / voucher redemption but I do have my fingers crossed for us all that it doesn’t get to that stage!

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