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Bits: BA launches Antalya but drops Limoges, congratulations to BA’s IT team, 20% bonus on Etihad transfers

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News in brief:

British Airways launches new route to Antalya

British Airways has announced a new holiday route for Summer 2020 – Antalya in Turkey.

The route will operate from London Gatwick.  There will be up to six flights per week – frequency increases as we get into the Summer – with the first flight departing on 30th April.  It is scheduled to run until 29th October although there is always the possibility that it will become a year-round route if successful.

British Airways already runs a Summer-only service to Dalaman from Gatwick and, of course, there are daily flights to Istanbul from Heathrow.

Tickets are bookable now, for both cash and Avios.  A standard redemption is 17,000 Avios off-peak / 20,000 peak + £35 in Euro Traveller and 34,000 Avios off-peak / 40,000 peak + £50 in Club Europe.  Under the current variable pricing trial, you can choose to pay as little as £1 in tax by using more Avios, although this option is not available if using a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.

I don’t know anything about Antalya, although British Airways says:

“Antalya is often described as the gateway to the Turquoise Coast with some of the most stunning landscapes in Turkey.  The beaches and crystal-clear Mediterranean Sea are perfect for sunbathing, swimming and water sports.  As well as the rolling landscapes and beaches, the region has two-thousand years of history with a range of spectacular temples and Greco-Roman ruins close by, as well as a bustling food and cultural scene.”

The hotel scene looks a bit desperate, to be honest.  The best option appears to be the four star Crowne Plaza – website here and photo below – which is handy for anyone with IHG Rewards Club status or with IHG points to redeem.

PS.  BA giveth and BA taketh away.  This announcement came in parallel with the dropping of Summer services from Gatwick to Gibraltar and Limoges.  The Heathrow service to Gibraltar will continue.

Crowne Plaza Antalya

Congratulations to BA’s IT department

The British Airways IT department generally has very little to celebrate, but it has managed to hit a remarkable milestone this week.

The new British Airways iPad app has just received its 1,000th one-star review.  Since virtually no-one has given it two, three, four or five stars, the overall average from ALL reviewers is just 1.1 out of 5.

It is very difficult to achieve a result like this – even with careful planning you could never be certain that everyone would hate your app so much they would give it just a single star – so the team should be proud of themselves.

Take a look (click to enlarge):

British Airways iPad app

20% bonus on transfers to Etihad Guest

Etihad Guest has launched another of its occasional transfer bonuses.

Details of the transfer bonus are here.  For UK residents, the key transfer partners which will trigger a 20% bonus are:

Le Club AccorHotels

IHG Rewards Club

World of Hyatt

Radisson Rewards (still called Club Carlson by Etihad!)

Marriott Bonvoy

Hilton Honors

Shangri-La Golden Circle

It is important to note who is NOT on the list – American Express Membership Rewards.  You will not get a bonus if you transfer from here.  Note that Etihad Guest is no longer a Heathrow Rewards partner.

It is not clear if HSBC is included.  It has been included in the past and it is not on the list of exclusions.  Etihad says that “Mastercard partners” ARE included …. does this include HSBC Premier Mastercard points?

Transfers must be made by 31st October.  The bonus will be added in a separate transaction within 15 days of the end of the promotion.

You can find out more here.

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  1. In the BA app, there are frequently the upgrade offers that pop-up for Europe flights to upgrade from Euro Traveller to Club Europe. I have made use of that quite a few times already, but since at least the beginning of the year, the app ALWAYS crashes when I want to pay for the upgrade (“something went wrong”). I must then go to my desktop computer to complete the upgrade. Amazing that it has never been fixed so far…1.1 seems well deserved.

    • When checking in yesterday for our flights today, the app only crashed once while generating the boarding passes. Amazingly, I did not have to start over with the whole process when I restarted the app.

  2. There are several Rixos (Accor) hotels around Antalya which don’t look too desperate.

  3. Looks like yet another example of clueless BA corporate’s working in ivory towers, with no comprehension or knowledge of how their customers interact with their products and services.

  4. OT- Capital on Tap

    I signed up in March for the card and the premium rewards membership. 20500 Avios (inc HFP referral) plus 1 Avios per £ for £199 from memory.

    Following the announcement that they would be moving to a credit card and hence HMRC payments would be chargeable I cancelled on the basis that the product sold was different to the one being offered and I used the card exclusively for HMRC. We had a bit of a fall out as follows:

    Points accrued (4000) for the month but not yet transferred were cancelled. No warning of this was given during the cancellation process.

    Refund of the initial fee was denied on the basis that I had made use of the rewards club features.

    Following escalation to a manager and threatening a formal complaint to the FCA the following compromise agreement was reached:

    Pro rata refund of the £199 fee.

    An additional 1 month fee refund in lieu of the lost Avios.

    All in, a pretty disappointing performance from COT but not unexpected. I’d strongly recommend clearing your account before cancellation and being prepared for a fight. I’m quite point rich (0.5M Avios, 1M Marriott, 1M Virgin), so while the loss of 4K is annoying, it’s not going to affect any travel plans.

    As an aside the agent mentioned that the card was moving to credit due to non acceptance of the prepaid debit card by a couple of key accounts, Google Adwords being one of them. I’m surprised that more payments are made to Google Adwords than HMRC but that shows what I know.

    If they reintroduce the prepaid debit card I’ll be back.

    • Paul Stevens says:

      Thanks for the info. I’ve just used the card for the last time so am going to transfer the points across and try for a pro rata refund. Good to know it is possible.

  5. Much of the blame for bad experiences with apps rests with Apple and iOS. In two weeks of using an iPad I came across more poor apps than I have in the last decade on android.

    There are currently at least three major airlines doing hotel point transfer bonuses. I wonder if BA will feel bounced into one or if we will have to wait until March as usual.

  6. Doodledoo says:

    I’m booked LGW-GIB in the summer. This route is cancelled? I haven’t heard from BA…

  7. O/T: BBC article on EHIC cards in event of a no-deal Brexit.

  8. The Original David says:

    Anyone who thinks the option of a Crowne Plaza makes for a “desperate” hotel scene can’t have done much proper travelling! I’d have checked into a CP in a heartbeat if anything of that standard existed in some of the areas I’ve visited…

  9. Shoestring says:

    Eating or drinking on trains and buses should be banned to bring an end to the country’s “mindless” snack culture, England’s Chief Medical Officer has said. In her final report, Dame Sally Davies called for more taxes on unhealthy foods and said chocolate bars and crisps should be in plain wrapping, similar to cigarette packaging. Dame Sally said children were “drowning in a flood of unhealthy food and drink options” that had fuelled a doubling in obesity in 30 years.

    • What are the odds against BA jumping on the bandwagon first?

    • For heaven’s sake, no-one is going to lose weight by not eating on the bus!
      As for BA, it’s a scientific fact that F & B consumed en route to one’s holiday destination has no calories or other harmful effects, otherwise I obviously wouldn’t have champagne and bacon rolls for breakfast 🤣

  10. should we infer from the retrograde iPad app “upgrade” which stripped out 90% of the functionality that the app was previously as insecure as their web page which led to a £183 million fine? I think we should be told

  11. Actually thought that the BA android phone app is okay. Certainly better than the VS equivalent

    • Oh! Matron! says:

      I don’t know what the VS app experience is like on Android, but it’s Sllllllloooooooowwwwwwww on iOS. I work in Mobility, and struggle to understand what the hell it is Virgin are doing in the background.

      Years ago I attended a session that Virgin ran in London and had a facilitator, customers, people from Virgin and other peeps from the industry. We spent the day coming up with ideas (our team came up with an idea of matching passengers with a common destination after landing, so that they could share a taxi… Yes, I was more naive back then). Anyway, even though this must have been ten years ago, I stressed that they needed to invest in APIs

      If the banking industry can get together and develop the OpenAPI initiative for banks (I can “add” all my accounts to my Tandem app, for example), why, in the love of everything that is holy, can’t the travel industry. “Fraud” you mention? Again, if the BANKING industry can do it…..

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