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Bits: BA pilot strike update, IHG losing its two new Manchester hotels to Hyatt, Reward Flight Finder trouble

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News in brief:

An update on the British Airways pilot strike

I don’t want to spend too much time on the British Airways pilot strike, because it is being covered enough by the mainstream media.

Interestingly, British Airways did not make an effort yesterday to run even a skeleton service with non-BALPA pilots.  The only flights from Terminal 5 yesterday were:

Tokyo (due to Rugby World Cup commitments – this was the sole BA departure)

Cairo (which Air Belgium is currently flying on behalf of BA due to a shortage of operational Boeing 787 aircraft)

Madrid (the Iberia flights, not the BA ones)

I’m not sure what, if anything, departed from Gatwick or Terminal 3.  I doubt that Tuesday will be any different.

If your flight was cancelled and you accepted a refund or were moved to a non-oneworld carrier, remember to request the Avios and tier points you would have earned from British Airways.

Nothing stops you also earning miles from the carrier to whom you were moved – as long as you didn’t credit the flight to British Airways Executive Club – so you could double dip with a handful of Star Alliance, SkyTeam, Emirates, Etihad etc miles on top.

British Airways must announce cancellations for the 2nd wave of strikes on 27th September by Friday 13th September.  If not, British Airways will have to pay EC261 compensation on top of the costs of moving you to another carrier.  Once those cancellation emails have been sent, it is highly likely that the strike on the 27th September will happen regardless of whether discussions restart, as passengers will already have been moved.

You can find the latest official strike updates on this page of ba.com.

British Airways 2019 strike update

Hyatt to take over IHG’s new Manchester hotels

In a surprise announcement yesterday, Hyatt announced that it is opening two hotels in Manchester next year.

What it DIDN’T say is that these are NOT new hotels.  They are the brand new Crowne Plaza Manchester Oxford Road and the brand new Staybridge Suites.

The Crowne Plaza Manchester Oxford Road, which we reviewed here, will become a 212-room Hyatt Regency hotel.  Staybridge Suites Manchester Oxford Road, which we reviewed here, will become a 116-room Hyatt House extended stay property.

The hotels are located in the University Quarter, a 10-minute walk from the city center and close to Manchester Oxford Road station.

It is not uncommon for hotels to rebrand.  It IS uncommon for hotels to rebrand so soon after opening – the hotels have only been open for a year.  Something odd is going on – especially as the Hyatt brand is a lot weaker than Crowne Plaza in the UK.  It is possible that Manchester has reached IHG overload and the owners felt that the brand was not delivering, with IHG loyalists having many other options open to them.

Hyatt’s presence outside London is currently woeful, if you exclude the ‘Small Luxury Hotels’ affiliates, with their only hotel being the Hyatt Regency in Birmingham.   This is a welcome expansion.

Shorter term, I am looking forward to the opening of Great Scotland Yard.  Due to open in mid October, this hotel will be part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection of unbranded independent hotels.  It it based in the original Victorian Scotland Yard complex, very close to Embankment tube and the super-luxury Corinthia hotel.  (The replacement Scotland Yard, next to Conrad London St James, has been demolished and is currently being redeveloped at luxury apartments.)

Crowne Plaza Manchester to become a Hyatt Regency

Reward Flight Finder loses Virgin Flying Club access

Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of the rewardflightfinder.com tool.  It is, by far, the best way of searching for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic reward flight availability.

Even better, the site will email you when seats open up on flights you are targeting.  Even better, the service is free – although there is an option to pay £3 per month for more frequent checking.  Frankly, you should pay the £3 and do Tim Rogers, who runs the service, a favour.

Unfortunately, Reward Flight Finder has lost access to Virgin Atlantic flight data.  This has been done deliberately by the airline.

I have been trying to help Tim to get this fixed but, whilst there are many people in Virgin Atlantic who love the tool (and indeed use it themselves) it seems some of the IT people were determined to close off external access to their API data feed.  Reward Flight Finder will now revert to being a purely British Airways product, at least for the time being.

Bits: SWISS, Lufthansa and Etihad launch UK sales, register for new Hyatt promo, 25% off suites at Radisson Hotels
Bits: Virgin confirms Sao Paulo dates, get FREE Luxury Travel Fair tickets, £100 off Virgin 'flight and hotel' deals
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Comments

  1. OT; Has anyone had any luck recently recommending themselves for a BAPP Card from gold?

  2. OT: We must be some of the last to be changed over from Lloyds Avios Rewards. No new cards yet but got a FX fee from 2 weeks ago on the old amex card. Got it refunded after much protestation but they maintain it is a ‘goodwill gesture’ which I refuted.

    If you are still waiting for new cards, keep a close eye on your statement.

    • And keep looking when you get your new card too, especially if you still have 0% interest.

    • Stewie Griffin says:

      Double check this carefully. If the switchover and annual fee refund took place before those transactions (which incurred FX fees) then it’s breach of contract on their part.

      Lloyds got this wrong month after month during switchovers. Ask for it to be escalated as a formal complaint.

  3. Sad to see the removal of Virgin Atlantic reward flight availability from RFF. It truly was a great help in finding reward space. Flying Club should actually be thanking Tim for helping their customers rather than them having to make the tedious trawl through their own site. Poor decision!

  4. Memesweeper says:

    Who do I email at Virgin to complain to? their reward finding functionality isn’t a patch on RFF.

  5. OT. What would happen if I book a BA business class ticket on its current sale but find I have to change the date later? Would it be a just a change fee or would I have to pay the difference in fare? Last thing I want is to pay the different between the sale price and the non-sale price.

    • It tells you the fare conditions when booking so look and see. You will certainly have to pay the difference in price and any fee that applies. The sale fares may even be nonrefundable and nonchageable.

  6. Is this part of the above article fully correct?
    “If your flight was cancelled and you accepted a refund or were moved to a non-oneworld carrier, remember to request the Avios and tier points you would have earned from British Airways.”

    All I can see in the T&Cs is this:
    14.6. Where a Member is involuntarily re-routed by British Airways onto another carrier, and the original flight on which the Member was booked would have qualified for Avios points, the Member may still claim such Avios points online at Ba.com.

    and this:

    14.21. Avios points for British Airways flights are credited to the Executive Club Member’s account 48 hours after the departure date of the booking. If your booking is cancelled no Avios points will be awarded.

    So no mention of tier points entitlement, and entitled to the Avios only if rerouted?
    In my situation my flight was cancelled, and I took a refund but chose not to travel at all.
    I might try a claim anyway, but not sure I have a leg to stand on?

  7. Tim from Reward Flight Finder here 👋

    Just an update on this: we’re working closely with Virgin Atlantic to get back up and running. They’re being really helpful, and clearly do care about helping people to find availability! Watch this space! We’ll tweet from @rewardflightfdr as soon as we have more news.

  8. Robin Green says:

    Off-topic but looking for some advice, wasn’t sure where to post.
    I have a booking in Club World in a couple of weeks’ time that is eligible for BA’s current offer to upgrade one leg to First Class for free. (https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/business-travel/offers/upgrade-to-first)
    It was booked through my company’s travel agent and they want £300 to switch the booking to First Class, even though the ticket price is exactly the same in their system.
    I’m trying to get them to waive this charge, but does anyone know if I might have more luck contacting BA directly to redeem the offer?
    I don’t have status (not with BA, anyway – with Virgin, but they don’t fly this route!), but it is a very expensive ticket, so I figure it might be worth chancing my arm.
    Any advice on numbers to call or tactics here?
    Thanks!

  9. Slight reward for having to re-route due to the BA strike, I find some tier points and Avios have landed from what was a reward flight.

  10. Trevor Butelr says:

    Help, please, on trying to get Avios and Tier Points from my BA cancelled flights. The ticket number isn’t even accepted as valid on the Claim Avios page – without that being accepted, I can’t go any further.
    Also – do you think it worth trying to claim On Business points as well?
    Thanks,

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