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Bits: 1000 Avios with Airbnb, double Avios Kaligo offer, new Stansted Express trains

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News in brief:

Get 1000 Avios with your first Airbnb stay

Back in June British Airways partnered with Airbnb to offer Avios with your Airbnb bookings, with 3 Avios earned per £1/€1/$1 spent.

It also had an introductory offer of 500 Avios with your first booking.

There is now a new promotion that doubles the introductory offer to 1000 Avios for your first booking.

The promotion is not appearing on the official Airbnb page on the British Airways website, although it is showing on the Executive Club offers page when you log in.

To get the offer you MUST book via the link on ba.com. You will not receive any Avios if you go via the standard Airbnb home page.

You can also get £25 off your first Airbnb booking by using Anika’s refer a friend link which is here.  There is a minimum spend of £55.  I don’t know if you can do this and earn Avios at the same time, but the £25 discount is a better deal if you can’t.

Get double Avios with Kaligo

Kaligo.com is running a double Avios promotion on ALL hotel stays booked this month for stays from now until the end of June 2020.

This means that you can collect between 10 and 40 Avios per £1 spent on every hotel booking, depending on the category of hotel. You can see the special promotion page on the Kaligo.com website here.

Obviously you would be waiving your usual hotel benefits if you have status since you are booking via a third party.  You also wouldn’t be earning any hotel loyalty points as these would be non-qualifying stays.  However, for independent hotels or stays at chains where you have no status or do not collect their points, this could be a very lucrative offer and give your Avios balance a big boost.

PS.  Before you book, remember that Rocketmiles – a very similar business to Kaligo.com – is currently offering 5,000 miles in MANY programmes to new customers with their first stay.  Click for our article.  The clever thing to do is to credit the stay to Heathrow Rewards which gives you the possibility to transfer out to a variety of airline partners – including Avios and Virgin Flying Club – and potentially get a conversion bonus at a later date.  Rob is testing out this offer tonight so there will be an update on it next week.

New Stansted Express trains

New Stansted Express trains on the way

Last year, Abellio Greater Anglia signalled it would be removing First Class from Stansted Express with the arrival of its new rolling stock. It is part of a fleet-wide investment that sees it replacing every single train in its network.

(As someone who lived in Norwich for four years I can only say it is high time. The old trains were very, very old fashioned and I once spent the two hour journey between London and Norwich in a train where the heating had entirely broken!)

The new trains are now arriving – test running started on 25th October – and, bar the scrapping of First Class, represent a clear improvement. You can see a reader photo sent in above.  Stansted Express and the London-Norwich routes will receive the same rolling stock, although Norwich will have a first class carriage.

The new Stansted Express trains are longer at 12 walk-through carriages, with low floor boarding, free WiFi, power and USB sockets. It also looks like they have LCD information screens.

Whether or not the trains will be a success will probably depend on two things:  the amount of luggage storage availability as well as the comfort of the seats. Lots of recent train introductions including the new GWR trains have been criticised for seats that are too firm.

If you are a regular Heathrow Express user, remember that new trains are also on the way on that route.  We met with Heathrow Express on Monday and they told us that the new rolling stock will not now be introduced until March.  Whilst the incoming trains are newer and are being refurbished, Heathrow Express admitted that, as they were not built to order, it will be difficult to retain the current high standard of interiors.  First Class is also dropping to 2-1 from 1-1.

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Comments

  1. Spaghetti Town says:

    It seems easy to moan about the Stansted Express. Wait until you try Transport for Wales. You’d have a heart attack if you’re from London/South East.

    • Too true, I used them once several years ago. The inside was dirtier than a tube train (albeit more rundown!), and it was very crowded/uncomfortable.

    • +1!

    • AndyGWP says:

      +1 indeed… I’d be happy if they had enough carriages (and not a barrel-load of excuses as to why they haven’t got enough carriages!)

      • RussellH says:

        TBH, the reasons are normally valid. And the Pacers will be replaced within about 6 months, although they will last longer than 31 Dec, when they were originally all supposed to have been withdrawn.

        • AndyGWP says:

          Happy with the reasons being genuine – I’ve made numerous requests for timescales when the variety of issues will be rectified though and “unknown timescales” are all that can be provided. Very poor from a consumer perspective – excuses being made for bad service, but little optimism being provided of how it will be rectified

    • Having only been to Cardiff and South Wales I thought Welsh trains would have a tanning salon onboard.

  2. Benilyn says:

    OT: VA points to Hilton transfer – how long has it taken? First time doing it so accounts not linked.

  3. OK, emergency advice needed.
    Unfortunately my sister Maz didn’t realise that she needed an ESTA for her 10 month old, she already had her own one sorted. She has 25 minutes until check in closes, she has submitted the application an hour or two ago, but the result is pending authorisation still. They won’t let her check in and won’t take her bags until the ESTA comes through.
    Has anybody got any helpful advice going forward?
    Much appreciated.

    • Is there anything she can do to speed things up at all?

    • Oh no, what a nightmare! I know ESTAs can take days to be authorised and I have no idea what sort of priority they are allocated. Your sister might have to throw herself on the mercy of the airline and ask to be put on another flight. I think the US is pretty unforgiving about these things. It’s very odd that there was no alert in her booking about it though. Let us know how she gets on, fingers x’d for her!

      • I think she’s doing that now. I have x’ed fingers too!

        • AndyGWP says:

          I assume she has logged back in to check status, and isn’t relying on an email appearing? 🙂

          • No, she was refreshing every few seconds.
            ESTA came through 15 minutes after check in closed, annoyingly, but they have her on standby tomorrow morning, and she has booze now, so she’s calmed TF down, thank goodness. She was in a right old state earlier, bless her.

    • Oh no, Cat. Your poor sister, as if travelling alone with an active baby isn’t hard enough. Hope the ESTA has come through in time or the airline can help her with an alternative flight and it comes through quickly.

      It is a little surprising that the ESTA reply didn’t come through almost immediately. From the official FAQ section of the official US cbp.gov web-site —

      It is less than 72 hours before my flight to the United States. I just found out about the ESTA application, what can I do?

      While CBP recommends that you apply at least 72 hours before travel, you may apply anytime prior to boarding. In most cases, a response is received within seconds of submitting an application.

      • It also says that it can take 72 hours (our last ones took a couple of days), and that if you submit any incorrect information you have to wait 10 days before you re-apply – so not worth risking under normal circumstances!

        • Lady London says:

          Might be a bit too late but I think the trick is to log out from the ESTA site and go back in again. Otherwise it doesn’t refresh and you may be looking at old cache thinking it’s not come when it has.

          I got caught on that the first two times I applied. The third time the delay was real… But only a couple of hours.

          • She has the ESTA now, and is on standby for the flight tomorrow, thank goodness!
            Amazingly, the little ‘un stayed jolly and giggly throughout. She is a little bundle of delight!

    • Hope it all goes smoothly tomorrow for them and she gets to try out all our HFP advice!

      • Thanks Anna! TBH, I think a daytime flight is a far better option than the night flight to Chicago, I don’t know what made her think that would be a good idea!
        I won’t mention this until after tomorrow though!

  4. Ot does anyone know if a points transfer from HSBC to British airways exec account restarts the 36 month account period again? I have some dormant points and i think my exec account is coming to the date where BA can take my points.

    Thank you

  5. Once Crossrail is fully open, there is very little point using Heathrow Express. As if you’re travelling to the West End, The City of Canary Wharf it will be just as quick to get a direct Crossrail train.

    They should get rid of the Heathrow Express and use the paths for additional GWR and Crossrail services.

    • Lewis, this is secret until tomorrow 🙂

    • The Original Nick says:

      Just done a dummy booking for 7th – 11th Febraury (off Peak) and it’s still showing as a full price 52000 Avios return LHR-JFK and no sign of the 50% off.

    • Andrew M says:

      Any idea if a Lloyds voucher could be used to upgrade from PE with this offer?

    • I’m guessing as it refers to WT, WT+, CW and F that it’s LH only and no discount on SH routes?

    • “Interesting…”

      Or probably not so much in most cases given the real attraction is WT and WTP. The devil is in the tax and fees as always; just priced up 2xWTP INV-TYO-EDI coming in at just under £980 + 78k avios. With a notional average value of 1ppa for most folks the real cost of those flights is therefore about €1760. Comoparing that against cheaper miles- and status-earning cash flights on the likes if LH, AF (much better PE) or even BA themselves from a more convenient airpirt then it is not looking so good despite the 50 % avios reduction, and this on a route that’s not amongst the cheapest. However, what’s £35 flexibility worth (assuming these are flexible like normal redemptions)?

      • Lady London says:

        Seen loads of Tokyo recently for £500 or less (albeit wasnt looking from Scotland but EDI was there) cash. And BA wants to take your Avios off you as well, for that pretty much same amount of cash, as a cash fare? Curious.

    • Although it is new bookings only, it might be worth cancelling and rebooking some long haul redemptions in F or J, and it certainly would in PE.

      • Yes, if seats are available. Otherwise, it is a risk that the seats don’t go back into the inventory. I would love 10% Avios back for F redemptions that I have booked for Christmas and Easter, but do not want to risk it.

    • Lewis King says:

      Thanks mate, just booked to come home from Asia for a few weeks, get my passport renewed and pick up my post!

  6. OT – e-rewards and Avios.

    “Thank you for your e-mail..

    While we are tweaking a few things to optimize the brand-new website, some reward options may not be available for redemption straight away.

    Don’t worry, this is just temporary. Do keep an eye on your account rewards section, as all your favourite reward partners will gradually be made available again.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

  7. Reward seat flights are loaded! I haven’t looked at all the destinations, but a few of them are.

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