British Airways adds new flights for Avios redemption whilst Virgin Atlantic expands at Manchester

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British Airways has added two new services for the Summer 2020 timetable, which starts at the end of March.

These services are now available for Avios redemption, so if you previously struggled to find seats to these destinations you may want to take another look.

New Orleans – a new Tuesday flight has been added, taking the service to six per week

Nassau and Grand Cayman (the same flight serves both destinations) – a new Tuesday flight has been added, taking the service to five per week

British Airways adds additional New Orleans flight

Virgin Atlantic adds more flights from Manchester and Gatwick

Virgin Atlantic has added more services from Manchester and London Gatwick for Summer 2020.  This is in response to the failure of Thomas Cook which served many of the same routes.

Here are the changes:

An additional flight from Manchester to Barbados will run for the entire Summer season (late March to late October), taking the service from two per week to three per week

An additional two flights per week will be added between Manchester and Las Vegas over the peak Summer period

An additional one to two flights per week will be added between Manchester and Orlando over the peak Summer period (Virgin will be running 14 weekly flights between Manchester and Orlando at times!)

An additional two flights per week will be added between London Gatwick and Orlando over the peak Summer period, meaning that Virgin will be running 18 weekly flights at times

These flights do not go on sale until tomorrow, Saturday 9th.  Virgin Atlantic does not have a policy over releasing guaranteed reward seats at the same time as booking opens, although it is certainly worth checking tomorrow to see if anything is available.

You can book via the Virgin Atlantic site here.

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  1. pointsarb says:

    O/T Changes may be afoot with Curve. Just completed a survey in which they asked if I would be willing to pay a charge for the privilege of using Curve to pay HMRC!

    • Spaghetti Town says:

      Same here! I think a 1% charge was mentioned. I pay Brighton and not HMRC, but the same thing will likely happen…

    • Brighton Belle says:

      They seem to be fishing to make payments to Government Services as an exclusive feature of Metal which you pay a monthly subscription for and get useless benefits.

    • The Curve £50k annual spending limit barely touches the average HFP readers tax bill, I’m reliably informed

      • So who’s spying on our finances?

      • Jonathan says:

        They recently upped my limit to £50k a month £500k per annum. Taken two years to get there but also still limited to £7k per day.

    • Peter K says:

      I was just about to post on this. It looks like curve are going to try to monitise their card use – but then probably end up culling their own user base in the process.

      I put I would use Amex via Billhop instead of paying a fee for curve use to HMRC.

      • Lady London says:

        Erm…how do those numbers stack up, comparatively?

        Also I am wondering, if Curve are sending out surveys, why would they expect turkeys to vote for Christmas? As in “Oh yes of course I’d stay with an option that increases my costs by 1%”. Really?

        • No charge now.

          • You’re not actually supposed to use Curve for those kind of transactions though – are they considering changing the Ts & Cs (for a charge) then? If they did that I’d just move everything to Revolut.

        • Peter K says:

          Amex via Billhop is more expensive of course, but it was an option that did not involve saying I would willingly pay curve an extra fee for the same service. It was my way of saying that if you charge a fee I will move my business elsewhere.

      • HfP readers are not typical Curve users, I strongly suspect.

        This is much like criticising Amex for not wanting the business of churners – of course companies don’t generally want customers who lose then money!

        Curve is a bit a weird one, since they’re clearly in the mode of running a loss leader to build up a customer base – but it’s still unsurprising that they may be uninterested in maintaining the business of the small portion of customers who cause then the greatest loss

        • Ha I think curve’s problem is that HfP readers ARE the typical curve user…I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of curve cardholders hardly use their curve card apart from abroad and that the ‘large’ users are are using them in the way discussed so much on here

          • That’s no doubt the truth. its been abused from day one. it wont allow this much longer. monese is still nice for amex abuse

    • It only asks that question if you say your #1/#2 reason for the card is to use credit card where only debit is accepted. If you pick a different reason you get asked how much you’d pay for that instead. So unless they’re planning on bringing in 5 new charges, it’s *possible* they’re not imminently on a HMRC cull. Maybe. Possibly. Clearly on their radar though. We always knew it couldn’t last forever.

    • Thomas Howard says:

      I was told a few months ago when asking for a limit increase that they’d soon be putting caps on business transactions (like HMRC). It looks like I should put off closing my Tesco current account.

  2. OT: anyone have any opinions or reviews on the intercontinental in Edinburgh that opened recently (previously a Principal hotel). Many thanks

    • Somebody will be along soon to post that it’s full of EU prostitutes.

      • Oh dear have I missed something? Or am I very gullible?
        Recent tripadvisor reviews are quite negative.

        • Peter K says:

          People keep mentioning about “EE” prostitutes when any airport hotel is mentioned, especially in the London area.

        • No, sirry Zara. Somebody states that nonsense nearly every time somebody asks about a hotel on here. Thought I’d beat them to it tonight. Don’t know about that hotel. If you tell us whether you have any preference for a particular chain, and if you prefer to pay cash or points then hopefully me or others can more helpfully advise you.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Strange as you would assume it’s the same staff as pre IC. I’m not always sure I can trust tripadvisor reviews with so many trolls and fakes around.

          I’ve been looking at Edinburgh myself so keeping an eye on this and other options.

          From what I’ve heard it’s going through a mild refresh and about half way through. The staff aren’t really up to A good IC standard quite yet but many say it was never great for service when it was an IC years ago.

          The glasshouse gets quite good reviews but that’s Marriott.

          • The Glasshouse is one of the better choices. However, it is a bit of a ness over there with work on the new shopping mall and roads taking place. Not as bad as it was a few months ago so probably worth considering. Last winter there were some great rates at the WA and I guess it is on the list for the current amex Hilton offer. Hilton Grosvenor should be avoided but I think I heard it left the chain already.

        • No Zara, don’t worry, you have nothing to worry about, I’m sure, in any Intercontinental!

          There is potentially a problem of prostitutes using budget-to-midrange airport hotels as a base of operations and causing disturbance to other guests – and although most of us use such hotels without any issue, I’m sure it does happen. It became a bit of a running joke in the comments here that one commenter would raise the issue every time a budget or midrange airport hotel was reviewed.

          Seriously, you should have absolutely no problems in any high end hotel such as an Intercontinental.

          If you want a serious answer, then yes, prostitution does happen even in probably all hotels – even five star hotels – at least from time to time. But in a five star hotel you will never see it.

          • Thanks everyone for the replies. A sigh of relief from me!
            Well we are going this weekend funnily and the rates for IC look good compared to the 55k points rate (tomorrow nights £150ish and Sunday £100ish) and given we both have an IC accelerate target we thoight it could be worth a try. Every IC I e been to before has been lovely but having read the reviews of this one plus it is sooo much cheaper than other ICs we have stayed at previously, it sort of worried me as to whether we should change the hotel. By the sounds of everyone’s comments, it should be fine!
            Thanks all so much

          • Lady London says:

            Hum. Well that does depend on which IC and which 5 star hotel. I would say it’s always there, but done in different ways at different levels. (At least that’s what a few people have told me over the years who would know.)

    • Do you mean the George?

      Great location as Spire on redemption didn’t get upgrade, didn’t get breakfast.

      Got bottle of plonk in room also got some good drinks vouchers. Watched Fawlty Towers in main restaurant.

      • Yes the George. Will let you all know how my stay goes as Spire this weekend (not redemption). Thanks

        • So….. check in was diabolical. Us and other spire members (and many others) were waiting well past 3pm for our room as rooms weren’t ready. Normally a hotel would go out of their way to try and make you feel better about the situation. We had two children under 3 and so they were exhausted having left our house at 7am in the morning (and flights were delayed by 2 hours from London city airport).
          On the flip side the staff are generally hospitable. Ate at the printing press for dinner. Actually reasonable sized portions, especially the kids menus.

          Let’s hope breakfast lives us to the IC reputation!

  3. Scottydogg says:

    OT .
    Im looking to get flights from the UK to Vancouver next year and paying cash for 4 people in economy .
    I had found some flights for a good price and when i got the money together ,the prices seemed to have jumped right up (sods law)
    Im keeping an eye out for sales etc but the prices have remained high. Im wondering , do many airlines have black friday sales ? as i know thats at the end of the month ?
    Airlines that seem to fly to vancouver are BA, Airlingus , Air Canada , Airtransat

    • Have you tried Seattle instead? Regular coach services and rail services too. Check timings, they may require an overnight stay.

      • Or out Seattle, back Vancouver or vice versa. Obviously you’d need an ESTA as well as the Canadian equivalent if you travel via USA.

        Don’t forget to try pricing with hotels (even if for just one night).

        • Not true. You don’t need a Canadian visa if you enter the country on a train or via road. Did this recently through the Windsor tunnel. You only need a Canadian visa if entering the country via plane.

    • Lady London says:

      Got a feeling LH may do the odd sale to Canada. You pay book LH but longhauls operated by AC. I found AC very OK in Y on a day flight longhaul. I think the usual OTA’s have these especially at this time of year.

      Just a reminder to others that Canada now has it’s own equivalent of the USA ESTA that you’ll have to get even if you will just transit in Canada.

      • Yuo, Canada has the ETA. And it applies to everyone traveling to or via Canada, even when you’re flying to the US via Pearson and never actually go through Canadian immigration.

        Caught a lot of people out (including me) when they first introduced it. The good news is that it’s cheap and easy and quick to apply for online.

      • Also, IMO if you fly to the USA or Canada it is not a silly idea to get both an ESTA for the US and an ETA due Canada just as a matter of course.

        Connecting flights via the other country are not unusual, and even though you can apply online and _usually_ get the approval near instantly, it’s one less thing to worry about in the event of disruption.

    • Tried Westjet?

  4. Jonathan says:

    Quick question on infant redemption booking as part of an adult 2 for 1 voucher where I’m hoping to book ~355 days out.

    At the point of booking has anyone got round the fact that said infant under 2 may not have been born yet so isn’t an avios household member, doesn’t have a name 100% fixed, etc? Can you add a fictitious infant as a placeholder for example and update name and add passport nearer the time?

    Struggling to book 355 days out if this is an issue!


    • Shoestring says:
    • Nate1309 says:

      How popular are we talking for this flight? Could it wait for a phone call in the morning? We have booked for an infant that didn’t exist yet but we rang up on the morning T-355.
      The other option would be to just book yourself and your partner on the 241 booking and then ring up to add an infant at a later date? that must be possible as you could book a flight and in the 355 days get pregnant and have a baby that wasn’t even a glint of the eye at T-355 days.

    • We’ve done this for two holidays – just book for the two adults and you can add the baby once it arrives, it doesn’t need additional award availability (because it doesn’t get a seat!)
      Once you have the name and DOB for the baby call up saying you want to add an infant. They will charge 10% of the avios and taxes for one adult to add the child.
      Plus side, you get free seat selection so can grab the bassinet seat.
      Minus side, make sure you double check the bookings as they put the name incorrectly into one of the flights and I had to call again to correct.

      • Jonathan says:

        Thanks all very helpful.

        Destination is Mauritius which looks very popular.

      • Jonathan says:

        Thank you. Have you faced an issue where a gold card holder has nipped in and reserved the bassinet seat?

        We’re due Mid-february so likelihood is that it might have been taken pre birth. Or is the bassinet seat unavailable to golds?

        Thanks again.

        • Lady London says:

          I am certain I got booted out of those seats as a Gold more than once for people who used the bassinet. It’s something to learn – never choose those seats unless with infant. Because of high chance of being booted if an infant appears.

          But when it’s done there will only he highly undesirable seats they will move you to. So if you’re not in need of a bassinet stay away from reserving bulkhead seats at least on BA. Obviously higher risk on some routes than others.

    • Jonathan says:

      Book just the couple, once baby is born call and add them to the booking via the call centre.

  5. Assuming you can find the John Lewis gift cards in Morrison’s of course…I’ve just got back from Wimbledon where they have all been cleared out. As well as the amazon ones… 🙁

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