Bits: Norwegian’s CEO resigns, IHG status match extended, £1285 ex-EU Qatar Airways to Chiang Mai

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News in brief:

Norwegian’s founder and CEO resigns

Bjorn Kjos, the founder and major shareholder in Norwegian, stood down as CEO yesterday after 17 years.  He is being replaced on an interim basis by the CFO, Geir Karlson.

There is an interesting barb directed at Kjos in the final line of the statement issued:

“Bjorn has played an unprecedented role in Norwegian’s success. His vision of offering affordable fares for all, combined with his enthusiasm and innovating spirit, has revolutionized the way people travel for pleasure and for business, not least between the continents. Bjorn is definitely one of the most influential European entrepreneurs of our time.”

“We have to ensure that Norwegian is well prepared and positioned to handle volatile markets and unexpected events. It is crucial that we continue to deliver on our cost reduction initiatives and that we constantly ensure that we have a route portfolio that yields profit. It is also important that the new CEO develops an organization that embraces continued improvement and operational excellence.”

Norwegian was given a financial lifeline back in January when Norwegian shipping tycoon John Fredriksen (who, fact fans, owns the house with the biggest private garden in London after the Queen – it is just off Kings Road) backed a NOK 3 billion rights issue.

Fredriksen did not do this out of charity, however.  We have seen Norwegian taking a more aggressive approach to its network, including cancelling the London Gatwick to Las Vegas service and asking cabin crew to take unpaid leave.  His hand is also likely to be behind the departure of Kjos.  With the low-yield Winter season getting closer, the airline needs to make sure it is well prepared.

Norwegian CEO resigns

IHG Rewards Club status match extended

IHG Rewards Club has been running a major UK status match campaign recently.

If you have status in any other hotel programme, you can match it to Spire Elite, Platinum Elite or Gold Elite in IHG Rewards Club.  You get the new status for 90 days and will retain it if you do a certain number of nights in that time.

The offer was meant to end on 30th June but has now been extended to 26th July.  If you missed out, you have a second chance.

You can find full details of how the match works in our extended article on the offer here.  The link to apply for your status match is here.

IHG rewards club status match

CZK 36600 (£1285) Qatar Airways deal – Prague to Chiang Mai

Qatar Airways is currently an interesting Business Class deal from Prague to Chiang Mai.  

Prague is easy to reach from virtually all of the UK, and this trip would generate 560 British Airways tier points.  That is over 90% of what you need for British Airways Executive Club Silver status (600 tier points, which must include four one-way BA cash flights), which brings you lounge access and free seat selection on every flight.

The price will be around 36,600 CZK, which is £1,285.  Availability seemed very good for the Autumn and into 2020.

You won’t get Qsuite, since Prague to Doha is the Boeing 787 herringbone seat, which is perfectly fine – I reviewed it here.  You have an A330-300 to Bangkok and then an Economy short-hop on Bangkok Airways to get to Chiang Mai itself.  Including the connection from the UK, you are looking at FOUR flights here, so make sure your partner is onside if you are not travelling alone!

(EDIT: whilst I thought it was chopped, there is still a direct Doha to Chiang Mai at certain times of year it seems – although always a risk that Qatar pulls it and switches you back to Bangkok Airways.)

The Qatar Airways booking site is here.  You can find out more about the Boeing 787 seat here.

Hat-tip to German blog YHBU.

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  1. Lady London says:

    So the Norwegian news looks like another ‘Founder forced off Board of company he founded, by financier(s)’ situation

  2. paulm says:

    OT – is there a way to check availability on-line for using Virgin miles on Air New Zealand (US to NZ) ?

    • DaveL says: should show redemption availability for ANZ. If it’s available, you can call Virgin to book.

  3. pauldb says:
    • ankomonkey says:

      I have a BA flight into LHR on 6/8. Looks like I probably won’t be flying and if I am I will have to collect my case from under the plane myself.

      • Shoestring says:

        A Heathrow spokeswoman said:…”we will be implementing contingency plans that will ensure the airport remains open and operating safely throughout any coordinated action.
        “We will be working alongside our airline partners to minimise disruption caused to passengers as they look towards their well-deserved summer holidays.”

  4. BlueHorizonuk says:
    • Radiata says:

      The wonder is that AmEx did not act earlier..

    • RussellH says:

      Reading that article seems to imply that MR points subject to federal taxes – the reference to IRS forms 1099 being sent out.

      • A lot of bank-issued points in the US create a tax charge. The best bit is that the bank decides what they are worth, which is usually more than you think they are worth, which means you need to open a dispute with the IRS over their valuation. Not a problem we have over here.

    • Harry T says:

      The last loopholes are closing fast.

      • Shoestring says:

        doesn’t apply to the UK for now – plenty of stuff got shut off in the US already that doesn’t impact UK operation

        • This one seems very likely to be coming your way though.

          • Shoestring says:

            I moved most of my MR points over to BAEC a couple of hours ago lol

            I don’t save them for hotels etc so no big deal to move them out of the way

          • Doug M says:

            Stopping self referrals fair enough. Clawing back MR after you’ve paid fees and directed spend on the basis of getting those points might make for interesting times.

          • Sussex Bantam says:

            I suspect AMEX might be seeing some large transfers to BAEC over the next few days….

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Quite possible it’ll happen here very soon. I’ve just made a transfer to Marriott. Though does make me think that it will just mean you would be better referring from a BA or SPG card as the points are yours after a month or so.

      • Oh, I don’t know about that 🙂

        • memesweeper says:

          *what* loopholes BJ?

          • There are always some new ones come around so I prefer to be more optimistic. For the moment the Lloyd’s avios magic roundabout is working fine.

  5. Jonny says:

    OT: Just had notification from BA of cancellation of our honeymoon return flight from SEY-LHR in Jan. Guessing due to 787 engine issues. Flights were booked using Avios and CV. Any ideas what options you tend to get if any when speaking to CS? TIA

    • Best guess would be Comair to Jo’burg, if the dates work with the Comair services.

      • pauldb says:

        Mixing it up with MRU perhaps?

        BA’s preference will probably be to push you back to the next flight they are running. Would a couple more days suit? Plenty more islands to visit! They should provide you accommodation though their usual £200 won’t get you anything too fancy.

        If you have the flexibility, you could perhaps shift both flights to keep your holiday the same length.

    • Shoestring says:

      You could do a bit of research on alternative flights which will potentially help your position. You can then hear what CS have to suggest then come in: ‘how about if we were to go for this flight instead?’ Tbh, I’ve only ever heard that BA CS want to be helpful in this situation & I’m sure if you mention the honeymoon return it’ll get even more helpful! Ie you could see if there are any Oneworld alternative flights or combinations that work better than what you can assume might be a worse case scenario if you were to be re-ticketed on BA (eg next day or even worse 1 day early).

    • Qatar Airways via Doha too. And then Doha to London on BA or Qatar.

  6. OT: My BA flight time has changed by 10 minutes. Can I completely change my flight date or is there a minimum time that it needs to change by? I was thinking of changing the flight date anyway but the change fee was bothering me as we are a family of 4. I booked using BA miles (2 for 1) and also Avios upgrade voucher for other two tickets.

    • Shoestring says:

      Probably not but you can still ask. I know for a fact that Iberia *does* let you cancel for a refund or change your date when there’s a 10 mins change.

      But from memory, BA don’t see under 60 mins schedule change as significant enough.

    • Just saw this on Flyertalk a couple of days ago. Think BA wants 2 hours for short hauls and 5 hours for long hauls – horrendous!

    • xcalx says:

      Depends on the agent. I have had success cancelling with a full refund on an 8 min time change and no look with a 1 hour 10 min change. No idea what the official time is.

  7. Harry T says:

    @Rob or other experts
    Am I more likely I be approved for the BAPP if I go via the special BA email link for the 30k sign up bonus offer or via a referral link? My thinking is it won’t make any difference but wondered if anyone knows better. Thanks in anticipation.

  8. Chrisasaurus says:

    OT – Anyone know ho long Marriott – AA transfers take to go through?

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