BA sale

Bits: good Amex cashback deals with Accor and Post Office, VitalityHealth drops BA flight discounts

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News in brief:

Amex launches new cashback deals with Accor and the Post Office

American Express has launched two good new cashback deals.  You may see these offers on some, none or all of our cards – you need to look at the online statement page and look under the ‘Offers’ tab for EVERY card you own.

You will receive £50 cashback with a £350 Accor spend with the first deal.  This is only applicable to selected luxury hotels in Europe.  Unfortunately, the link to the list of participating hotels is not working at the moment. (EDIT: list is now working)

It runs until 28th February and there is no mention of whether cumulative spend counts – it usually does but you can never be certain.  Until the link to the hotel list is fixed, however, I wouldn’t make any bookings purely to generate the cashback.

There is also, apparently, a Post Office offer available but there is no sign of it in our house.  You will receive 250 bonus Membership Rewards points for making ANY purchase by 4th December.  Worth stocking up early on Christmas stamps …..

The following additional but niche hotel offers have also appeared:

Save £75 on a £300 spend at Red Carnation Hotels (some good London properties) until 10th February

Save £50 on a £200 spend at The Stratford Hotel (the funky new hotel in the Olympic Park) until 31st January

Save £60 on a £300 spend at Leading Hotels of the World until 31st January

Vitality Health drops British Airways flight discounts

VitalityHealth, previously PruHealth, is a life insurance, health insurance and investment business.

The reason it has been of interest to Head for Points readers is that it offers discounts on British Airways short haul fares to members.  Full details are available on the VitalityHealth website.

The devil is in the detail when it comes to the flight discounts.  It is only included for free if you have a Personal Healthcare plan – other plans require a supplementary monthly payment which will negate much of the benefit.

You will receive a BA discount of 5%-40% based on your level in the plan (the more healthy activity you log, the higher your level)

You can claim the discount 1-2 times per year based on your level

For flights leaving between Sunday and Thursday, there must be at least two nights between the outbound and return flights. For flights leaving on a Friday or Saturday, there must be at least one night between the outbound and return flights

Only the plan holder receives the discount, not your fellow passengers

Short-haul only

Economy only

Your initial impression might be a bit ‘meh’.

However, for once, the small print actually makes the deal more attractive.

The discount applies to the FULL cost of the flight, including the taxes and charges. A Platinum level member receives 40% off the headline price which is not bad.

The discount applies to ALL ticket types, including fully flexible tickets. This can represent a substantial saving – at the most extreme, a fully flexible Euro Traveller ticket to Moscow is £1300.

This offer probably works best for someone who is self-employed and has to book the occasional fully flexible ticket. This could have meant an annual saving of £250+.

The ‘average’ leisure traveller who gets up to the Platinum level could save over £100 per year – assuming 40% off two economy / Euro Traveller BA flights with an average cost of at least £125.

However ….. don’t go rushing to sign up.  VitalityHealth has announced that it is scrapping its British Airways flight discounts from 13th December.

You can still book until 13th December for travel at a future date, so if you haven’t used your one or two discounts for the current year you should think about getting a booking made in the next few weeks.

Review: I return to Renaissance Paris Republique - not as good, but still the best value Bonvoy option?
Review: we try the new Aerotel hotel, inside Heathrow Terminal 3
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Comments

  1. Guesswho2000 says:

    Accor list:
    Queens Hotel Cheltenham
    MGallery Castle Hotel Windsor
    MGallery Pullman Liverpool
    Sofitel St James
    Sofitel Gatwick
    Fairmont St Andrews
    Francis Hotel Bath
    MGallery Queens Hotel Cheltenham
    MGallery INK Amsterdam
    Swissotel Amsterdam
    Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre
    MGallery Francis Hotel Bath
    MGallery Hotel am Konzerthaus Vienna
    Pullman Cologne
    Pullman Stuttgart Fontana
    Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof
    Pullman Basel Europe
    Swissotel Le Plaza Basel
    Swissotel Zurich
    Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port
    Sofitel Lyon Bellecour
    Sofitel Quiberon Thalassa
    Sofitel Quiberon Dietetique
    Sofitel Golfe Ajaccio Thalassa
    Sofitel Le Scribe Paris Opera
    Sofitel Paris La Defense
    Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg
    Sofitel Paris Arc De Triomphe
    Sofitel Biarritz Thalassa
    Sofitel Paris Baltimore Eiffel
    Pullman Marseille Provence
    Pullman Toulouse Centre
    Pullman Paris Centre – Bercy
    Pullman Paris La Defense
    Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel
    Pullman Roissy Cdg Airport Gh Roi Rene Mgallery Gh Cabourg
    Mgallery Hotel Croisette Beach Cannes
    Le Louis Versailles Chateau
    Hotel Carlton Lyon
    MGallery Molitor Paris By Mgallery MGallery Cures Marines Trouville

  2. Stefan Bard says:

    Yep just got the post office 250 points offer – available to 1at 30,000 to save offer to card 😁

  3. Sandgrounder says:

    OT- Anyone used the Diamond lounge at Abu Dhabi VIP terminal? It’s on Priority Pass but includes dedicated check-in (Etihad only), passport control and security, with a car transfer to the gate. Cash price is 525 AED! Reviews seem a little mixed, can anyone share their experience?

  4. O/T

    I was due to fly BA SJC to LHR today (5th Nov) but flight has just been cancelled (gone tech)

    I was offered a similar timed reroute from a different departure airport SFO – LHR (1.5 hrs later) but could not make that departure out of SFO.

    I have instead rebooked on the original SJC-LHR route, just 24 hours later.

    Am I still able to claim the extra night expense (eg duty of care, hotels, meals etc) and EU261 €600 compensation?

    • It seems to fit the criteria – what was the exact reason for the cancellation?

      • Outbound flight apparently gone tech

        • I think you’ll need more than that if BA start trying to refuse compo! There’s a website (Expert Flyer?) which lists reasons for delays within a shortish period of time from the cancellation and it’ a good idea to make some sort of record of this.

        • Shoestring says:

          You should be fine for both as the alternative isn’t acceptable/ reasonable. I’m not familiar with getting to SJC from a starting point of SFO but I assume you’re playing it straight. BA treat the London airports as all in London and can be a bit funny about switching people between them incoming/ outgoing & saying no compo – but people who challenge this eg for taxis to go pick up the car at the original airport always win their point.

    • Jeff, sounds a slum dunk for compo.

      I suggest you ask here, folks often check the exact reason code for posters

      CWS is especially helpful
      https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/1948451-2019-ba-compensation-thread-your-guide-regulation-ec261-2004-a.html

    • We had a switch last year from arriving SFO into SJC (it was on Alaska, but booked via BA). I planned simply to take an Uber into downtown San Fran, and did so from SJC instead of SFO – it made very little difference in reality as it was only an extra 45 mins in the uber, even in traffic. The operator said I should save taxi receipts and claim, which I did. BA refused to pay for the taxi ($75), but I got 10,000 avios compo (5,000 per passenger) so I was more than happy in the end, given it was probably only £40 more than a taxi from SFO.

      I think you’ll be lucky to get the compo, given SJC really isn’t that far from SFO. It’s closer than, say, Heathrow to Gatwick in both time and distance…

      • Shoestring says:

        OK that changes my answer a bit – if (say) the airport switch were from LHR to Gatwick flying long haul to USA destination, and BA gave you appropriate notice (24hrs?) – then if you refused to take the Gatwick flight but preferred to take the LHR flight the next day – then no, I don’t think compo is payable. You had plenty of time to arrange to get to Gatwick instead & that’s the key point.

        It’s the reasonableness of the switch that matters & the fact that BA treat same city airports as the same airport for compo purposes (though they are ultimately fine about paying for you to get from one airport to another, eg on landing to pick up a parked car).

        [FYI, with a short notice cancelled flight but reasonable alternative offered,the compo rules LH are as follows:
        If you received less than seven days’ notice of the cancellation, you can claim compensation based on the timings of the alternative flight:
        If your new flight arrives more than four hours after your original flight, you can claim €600 – no matter what time it departs.
        If your new flight departs more than one hour before your original flight, and arrives less than four hours after it, you can claim €300.]

        • Other than on BA’s website, I don’t think SJC is recognised as a San Fransisco airport. Where do you draw the line: Cambridge airport is only half an hour from STN: can BA send you there? Did BA offer any transportation (either arranged or just willingly paid for) to SFO?

          Timings: AFAIK the SJC flight was at 18:20; the SFO flight 20:20. The arrival of the SFO flight is actually 2:15 after the SJC flight. IF the rerouting was reasonable, you are still able to claim €300 for >2hrs; IF you can argue it’s not reasonable (and therefore irrlevant) then your 24hr delay makes it >4hrs = €600.

      • RussellH says:

        Not really relevant to getting between the airports, as SFO is on BART and SJC is on Caltrain at Santa Clara (free shuttle between terminal and station), but you do not have to use road transport…

        • Lady London says:

          Pretty sure arrival time at originally booked place is what counts for EU261. So presumably you could claim if your total delay back to booked landing airport, uncluding ground transport after landing at another airport, exceeded the minimum delay for late arrival compensation on that route?

      • Lady London says:

        How could they refuse the taxi? Public transport is not to be counted on to be available in the US. I think they got off quite lightly giving you a not very liquid currency that’s subject to devaluation. Landing someone at the wrong airport is actually very serious in terms of on-costs for a lot of people most if which they’re stuck with (eg extra parking charges at original airport). So the least the airline is supposed to do is pay for your reasonable transport cost to your original airport.

    • I had a flight to NYC cancelled and I was bumped to an indirect flight in Jan 2018. The change of arrive time meant that I had to miss an already scheduled meeting in NYC, I instead stayed at home and teleconfered the meeting. I wasn’t aware that I could be compensated for the flight being cancelled (IIRC due to snow at Manchester airport). Can I claim any refund or compensation for this? I was flying with Virgin.

      • You can only get compensation for cancellations that are within the airline’s control. Weather is obviously not one of them!

      • Not sure what you are asking exactly, but if you didn’t fly at all because the flight was cancelled you are obviously entitled to a complete refund of everything you paid for the ticket. No additional compensation, but if you incurred expenses at the airport while waiting for the flight to be cancelled these should be reimbursed.

    • It is an hours drive from SJC to SFO. If you could make the SJC flight, how can you not make the SFO flight 90 minutes later?

      • Lady London says:

        You haven’t been in traffic in the Bay Area on major routes in rush hour, have you?

        Airline should have taken care of this even flying from sjc to wherever a flight could be had.

    • Lady London says:

      Yes. Give the airline a chance to provide these if they can do it reasonably quickly. Otherwise book your own and claim. If they give you meal or drinks vouchers, you are still able to spend other money for all required meals up to what is reasonable in that location ad a total. No alcohol. Keep screenshots of menus and hotel price selection to prove you paid market rate.

      Claim your compensation and expenses don’t forget comms expenses to let others know you are late such as phone or internet plus transport to and from your accommodation. Going tech is regarded as eligible for compensation and cases have proved it. You get the above duty of care even if compo not payable (seems you qualify for compo though).

      If the airline provides you with a voucher or a code for a distressed passenger hotel rate then be aware these rates often don’t qualify for points in programs.

  5. OT from me – it’s a few years since I transited from LHR T5 to T3 but will be doing so twice in the next 5 months. I was really looking forward to trying the Qantas and Cathay lounges but have just recalled that we may have to clear security again in T3 😩. Is T3 security generally good/bad in people’s experiences and how far is it from the lounges? We have 3 and 4 hours between flights so hopefully still a decent amount of lounge time.

    • Qwertyknowsbest says:

      T5 to T3, Yeap, yuck. You do have to clear security again. Have done this several times in the last 6 months. Never been a long Q but transfer takes 45 minutes to an hour.

      LHR could easily make this less painful, but they don’t.

    • Thanks – the gin bar is looking more and more welcoming!

      • Shoestring says:

        depends on your flight time – gin bar is closed something like 10am-4.30pm & people go upstairs instead (where there is a very good Aussie fizz)

        • Thanks for pointing that out, yes we’ll be there late morning both times!

          • Fast track at T3 transfers is very quick based on our experience over the summer. (As you mention lounges, I’m assuming you have fast track).

            Biggest issue can be the bus transfers from T5 to T3. The buses run every 10 mins or so but you can easily have to queue for second or third bus. 45 mins from doors open (assuming T5A) to T3 lounge is entirely doable though, an hour would be very much the upper end.

            For return, we find taking the airside transfer to T5, immigrating in T5 and coming back airside via North fast track security or First Wing is quickest. The UK border is very quick at T5 and it avoids the chaos of “fast” track transfer security.

            Only caveat is that you should not do this is you’ve very tight for time as there is conformance at T5 which requires you to be at certain points at T-35 mins – much easier to hit those if you’re airside.

          • “Fast track at T3 transfers is very quick based on our experience over the summer. (As you mention lounges, I’m assuming you have fast track).”

            I am there on Friday and paid the £5 lounge guarantee fee does this qualify for fast track.

            Thanks

          • xcalx – not sure, we have BAEC status so rely on that. If it’s a No1 lounge pre-booking that usually includes Fast Track – it’s certainly worth asking.

          • Stu- Thanks.. PP at No1 lounge . Status is now a distant memory.

          • Catalan says:

            Anna you’ll have plenty of time to use the lounges at T3. I use the Cathay lounge mostly. The Qantas lounge is actually not that special during off-peak times.

          • Anna,
            In my experience, the Cathay Pacific lounge is way better. Forget about the gin bar in Qantas!

          • Thanks Stu, yes we are CE in December, F in April. Happily neither of the return journeys involves a terminal change as we’re using Easyjet to get home in December and flying back to T5 from GCM in April. I don’t think I could cope with the trauma of a terminal change travelling back from holiday, which is depressing enough in itself!

          • Anna, the actual times depend on the time of year because they are driven by Qantas departure times – see my comment to Meta.

            Enjoy the lounges, whichever you choose!

        • I have a flight in F in December from T3, wanted to check out Qantas lounge as have been in Cathay one a few times. Can anyone confirm that Qantas lounge’s gin bar closes at 10am? I was planning to go to Cathay first for breakfast and then pop in for a pre-flight gin&tonic.

          • Anna – T3 – T5 really isn’t too bad, more hassle than a T5 International – T5 domestic but entirely survivable.

            meta – the lounges are all right next to each other so you could pop over to Qantas and if you don’t like it, just go back to Cathay.

          • Meta, the downstairs dining area in the Qantas lounge closed at 11:30 am on Friday. It opens again at 6pm at this time of year. The gin bar was empty, no idea if it was closed, but guessing it may have the same hours.

            Note that the times are adjusted for the departure times of the morning Qantas flight to Perth and the evening Qantas flight to Singapore. So they vary with summer / winter time in the UK and Australia,

  6. lgflyer says:

    What is the cheapest item on sale in a post office? Will a 2nd class stamp do the trick?

    • Shoestring says:

      1p stamp

      • I thought you needed to earn at least one base point to trigger the bonus, i.e. spend £1 on Gold or 51p on BA.

        • Shoestring says:

          OK I should have bought a 2p stamp then this morning, Still plenty of time, I’ll go back and get another stamp.

          • Shoestring says:

            Just reviewed the T&Cs and nothing said there about earning minimum 1 MR point

          • Lady London says:

            I think I would do a minimum of £1.01 to make sure.

            You don’t want any system rounding down the amount spent to the nearest £ if you spent less than £1, do you 🙂

      • Does the Post Office have a minimum transaction value for card payments, though?

  7. OT does anyone a way to pay direct debits with an underlying credit card, revolut doesn’t allow it in pounds, I thought monzo did but cant see it.

    • In order to put as much spend as possible through points earning cards I’ve largely abandoned direct debits and pay everything up front or in big chunks (council tax, car insurance, utilities etc). It’s the same amount of money going out over 12 months so it doesn’t cause us any issues (or actually less money if you pay car and house insurance up front). Anything which actively requires a direct debit, like utilities, I just reduce to a very small amount.

      • Thanks Anna, we have to pay our rent through direct debit and car payment and I feel like I’m losing out a big chunk of points per month.
        Tried revolut before but they only do it in €, I thought monzo was ok but I think it may have stopped.

        • Credit Card -> top up -> Revolut -> bank transfer -> Monzo DD

        • Santander made us set up a direct debit for the payments on one of our cars and the sales rep was adamant that it couldn’t be changed to a cc payment. However, after asking some questions on this forum I approached Santander’s payment dept directly and they said it was possible to cancel the DD and pay by MC or Visa, so that’s what I do now (I had to get to manager level before they would concede it could be done, so be prepared to stand your ground). So 21,600 IHG points from the 3 year payment plan and I’m very much hoping to be able to pay the £12k final payment by cc also!

          Apparently some financiers (BMW?) even take Amex!

    • Revolut do allow regular payments in pounds. As long as the amount doesn’t vary it’s fine.

      • Thanks all for your replies! So helpful! I’m going to try the revolut to monzo and will let you know.
        Car finance is also with Santander so may try direct with cc

  8. Publius says:

    There’s a new Amex offer for Hilton too. £50 back on £250 spend at EU+UK Hiltons.
    Expires 31/12/19

  9. Benylin says:

    OT: how is everyone’s Barclays 25k move going?

    • aDifferentSimon says:

      Currently on hold trying to book an in branch id check for the switch. The online bit getting the account open was straight forward but the wait times on the phone are painful – I gave up on Friday after 15 minutes.

      • The last time I opened an account in a branch, Halifax grilled me about money laundering etc for 45 minutes – I was only opening a junior savings account for my son!

        • Shoestring says:

          Online process with Halifax takes 2 mins then you just show your passport in branch, all done in 5 mins, no grilling

    • Steve-B says:

      OK so far. ID check booked for this Thursday (branch have since phoned and said that the 15 mins allocated by call centre wasn’t long enough… hoping not to have an experience like Anna). Service team confirmed Avios voucher will be made available as long as switching “had been initiated on or before 19th). So far so good…

  10. Charlie Stead says:

    I have an Gold Amex small business card that I use for my own limited company and a BAPP card. The annoying thing is Amex puts nearly all the offers on the business card (currently there are 45) and practically none on the BAPP (currently just 1). As most of the offers don’t apply to my company, it messes up my accounts. On calling Amex, they said there was nothing they could do as it was down to their marketing department. Just wondered if anyone else has this same problem – and if anyone has managed to solve it?

  11. Chelseafi says:

    O/T Free Now 40% cashback offer on amex, any advice on using Free Now for arrival at Heathrow T3? Is it just a case of requesting trip once cleared baggage and how do you know where to meet driver? Landing 3pm on a Saturday just don’t want to mess up after a 10 hour flight and never used before. Thank you

    • There’s an option specifically for this in the app called “Pay with FREE NOW” (tap on the profile / settings). Never used it, but supposedly it allows you to grab a cab off the rank. Caveat is that they need to have the app as well.

    • I found this on the Free Now web site (seems to be aimed at drivers rather than customers – but clearly means they do have a system in place for Heathrow pickups):

      https://free-now.com/uk/heathrow-airport-pickup/

      • Lady London says:

        Bit of a con though, wouldn’t you say? Forcing drivers into the short term car park (which has the highest rates) and then saying FreeNow covers the first 30min of parking – how generous!

        How many flights have you taken where you could be sure of being able to walk off the flight (which may have arrived at a remote stand, or have a bus unload)_ then through immi, pick up bags and make it over into the right place in the short term car park, arriving within a specific max 20min period you’ve booked the taxi to pick you up in?

        20min because once you’ve found your taxi you still have to load your luggage in, get in and then queue to get out of the car park……Really? Someone (is it BAA?) is taking passengers for a ride here….

        • I don’t think the model is prebooking. I think the model is to request the cab on the app once you’re through customs. Hence the instruction to drivers to make sure their passenger really is less than 30 minutes away before accepting the booking. Not clear to me who foots the bill if this isn’t the case…

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