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Bits: new BA flights for Avios redemption, Virgin expands at Manchester, new Waitrose and LNER Amex deals

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News in brief:

British Airways adds extra flights to New Orleans and Grand Cayman

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.

New Virgin Atlantic routes from Manchester

New American Express cashback deals at Waitrose and LNER

American Express and Waitrose have extended their cashback deal, which appears on quite a lot of cards.

(You need to check the ‘Offers’ tab on the online statement page for each registered card you own.  If you previously registered for the earlier Waitrose offer, you will need to re-register for this one.)

There are different variants of this offer.  Here are two from our house:

On my Platinum card, for example, I have ‘Get 5% back when you spend £20+’

On my wife’s Gold card and my BA Premium Plus card, we have the weaker ‘Get 4% back when you spend £65’

All offers end on 4th December.

The LNER deal is constant across all cards.  Once registered, you will receive 5% cashback on all LNER bookings made via their website until 29th January.

Review: The Amelia Earhart lounge at City of Derry Airport
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Comments

  1. Shoestring says:

    Cheap Indian dining at Red Letter Days & Amex – from £10.50 for 2 after discounts
    https://www.redletterdays.co.uk/experience/ref/rld10781661/indian-dining-for-two

    DEAL15 gets you £15 off – paying with Amex gets you another 25% off if you have got the offer (see your online Amex account).

  2. C F Frost says:

    A question about Amex offers:
    “Only one credit per UK Card.”
    Does this criterion apply retrospectively for recurring but identical offers from the same shop? If you’ve already used the offer and then the same deal repeats, will you receive the credit again. I’m guessing so..?

  3. Ian McDowall says:

    The extra flight is probably using the aircraft taken from the cancelled Buenos Aires flight that I was booked on. Fortunately BA were able to move my business class reward flight using a companion voucher to the day before. An extra day in Buenos Aires. Perfect.

    • Heathrow Flyer says:

      The aircraft has come from:

      · LHR-BOM reducing frequency from 21 to 19 per week.
      · LHR-JFK reducing frequency from 56 to 55 per week

  4. OT: Flying to Barcelona tomorrow morning from Gatwick South. We have the two free passes with Lounge Club, recommendation on which lounge to try to get into first?

    • As refusal often offends, according to the sign in my newsagent, I would head to Aspire.

    • Personally prefer the No1 Lounge. It’s just newer and brighter. If you have Iberia tickets when you get to No1 Lounge they will direct you there anyway. It’s just upstairs from the No1 Lounge and there’s a lovely security guard there who loves his job….Breakfast isn’t very extensive, mostly bacon rolls and beans, pastries, fruit salad etc. Gordons gin.

  5. OT – does anyone know what is going on with Curve and IHG credit cards? I tried using Curve with IHG and it failed, IHG called me and said there had been a data breach, cancelled my card and sent me a new one. Tried using husband’s IHG card with Curve and same thing happened. We tried linking new cards with Curve but they rejected the verify transaction with Curve so there is no code to verify. Does anyone know if IHG have banned Curve from using their cards??

    • I think someone else had the data breach issue the other day. I don’t know what’s causing this but be aware that IHG has strict limits for “cash-like” transactions which includes anything done via Curve & Revolut (£200 per day/£700 per week). I find IHG with Curve very unreliable (it declined a £5 sandwich purchase recently!) so tend to stick with Revolut.

      • I’ve also not been able to get a confirmation code on my new card as my IHG account only shows the authorisation but not the code which is pretty useless!

      • I had Curve payments totalling £75 in the 7 days before the attempted transaction that got the card cancelled and the pending Curve verify transactions have disappeared from both mine and my husband’s accounts, which infers they don’t want me to link Curve to IHG any more??

    • “Does anyone know if IHG have banned Curve from using their cards??”
      Not based on my experience – paid HMRC in two transactions on Tuesday and Wednesday, all went through fine.
      My card has been linked for some time, if that makes any difference.

      • How did you get round the £200 per day limit or does this not apply to everyone?!

        • Genghis says:

          No limits but for Curve limits.

        • Some things seem to be capped at £200 but I have Curved £500 to HMRC and it was accepted (£600 was rejected) so it must depend on what it is??

          • IHG won’t let me pay my £300 monthly car payment either directly or via Curve as it’s counted as “cash-like” (they have confirmed this). I don’t know the extent of what they count as cash-like so have pretty much given up and just load up my daily allowance on Revolut each morning!

      • It depends who you are paying and whether or not creation class it as a cash like transaction. Things like top up to Revolut, paying off Brighton, car lease payments are limited to max £700 a week or £300 a day. Payments in my experience to HMRC are not classed as cash like and I have been able to pay off a £20k vat bill this quarter.

    • I’ve had exactly the same issue. Got my new IHG card and can’t get it verified in Curve. Never had any issues before, and I’ve spent loads on Curve linked to IHG.

      • Just spoken to IHG customer services and they said they have discontinued Curve usage on ALL of their cards!!

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Unless it is very recent ie since yesterday that’s rubbish.

          • What does IHG know about how their cards work?!

          • luckyjim says:

            That would be Creation, not IHG. But nothing has changed.

            My card was declined when paying for lunch on Wednesday but a £3k payment went through yesterday. I’m assuming it was just a glitch.

          • My IHG linked to my Curve has worked fine at B&Q this afternoon.

        • We took £200 out on my OH’s IHG card via Curve 2 days ago.

          • Sorry I meant Creation customer services, i’m just used to calling it IHG card. The lady I spoke to contacted the security team and called me back to say you can still use Curve however some cards have been blocked. She said they did approve Curve’s 61p transaction however it does not show on my statement online so I dont know the code. She gave me the code but it didnt work. I asked her why she originally told me that they no longer allow Curve and she said that is what she had been told but there is mixed information there, so who knows what is going on. Rob can you clear this up please??

        • I used it yesterday!

        • Absolute rubbish. I just reverified a new creation ihg card this week. It took a few days for the verification code to come up but now it has and it’s all active and I was able to use it yesterday.

          • Where can you see your code? Mine is partly showing in “transaction” but the actual number is cut off! The card is new so I haven’t had a statement yet.

        • ankomonkey says:

          Used IHG card and Curve this morning – no problems… yet…

      • I’ve just used my IHG card with Curve and all was fine.

        • Nick Burch says:

          Ditto, 200 quid to Brighton (taking me back up to my £700 in rolling 7 days limit) just went through fine

    • Thomas Howard says:

      I used my IHG via Curve on 5/11 no problem. If it stops working my year is up on 28/11 so I’ll probably wait for the voucher and cancel.

  6. Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Why does the lower number of MAN-MCO flights get an exclamation mark but not the higher number of LGW-MCO flights? There is life outside of London as I hope you experienced on your recent MAN visit.

    • It’s regionism. And if regionism isn’t a thing it should be. As LGW is inaccessible for 80% of the country it’s a wonder anyone flies from there at all.

      • Shoestring says:

        Funny definition of accessible – I drive 4hrs to Heathrow and that’s perfectly accessible, with public transport admittedly more of a faff. But using c.4hrs driving as the barometer, Gatwick is accessible to everybody in the UK from Manchester downwards

        • Shoestring says:

          anyway, doesn’t the exclamation mark [(Virgin will be running 14 weekly flights between Manchester and Orlando at times!)] mean: ‘at last! somebody is looking after Manchester & environs’?

      • Sussex Bantam says:

        46 million passengers flew from LGW in 2018. Presumably not that inaccessible…

      • Mikeact says:

        @kip. SOwhat do you make Heathrow, 50/60/70% inaccessible?

      • Charlieface says:

        Er guys, I think you actually need to drive out of London to understand the distance. Gatwick is definitely more than 4hrs from Manchester, even Heathrow is in the daytime, and both of those as inaccessible to most of the country. Meanwhile 4hrs from Manchester gets you past Glasgow and nearly the whole of Wales, because traffic isn’t as bad as in the south.

        • Shoestring says:

          Which is why I build in 2hrs contingency 🙂

          A bit of a pain but it means better certainty of catching flight & more time in the lounge

        • Many people from central and southern Scotland choose to make that drive to Manchester as there is more choice of flights and often cheaper too. My perspective is different…how accessible is my destination not my departure airport. In reality many one-stop destinations are more accessible to Edinburgh residents than are direct destinations from the London airports for many people living in the south east. I can get to EDI in 15-20 minutes and feel comfortable walking into the airport 1h before departure, I can then comfortably connect in the major European hubs in under 90 minutes. But I will go to INV to save about £300 on APD, that’s 3.5h.

          • Harry T says:

            Do you stay in Inverness when flying out of there for a 241? Or just drive up?

            I’m considering flying out of there for my 241 but wondering whether to train, drive, stay overnight.

            Also, do you return to Inverness as well? Or call BA and book a return to Edinburgh?

          • @HarryT: We return to EDI so we take the train. Used to have friends there but they moved to Shetland so now stay hotels. Flights schedule varies by day as they now have twice daily some days meaning your flight can be early morning, lunch time or evening. Not really any option but to stay if you need the morning departure. Hotels can be extremely expensive in Inverness outside the winter season. Best options are Travelodge Inverness Centre or one of the two central Premier Inns for train and bus station. In my view it is worth doing as a couple can save about £200. The train or bus journey is very scenic so if you value that then the decision is easier. If you book far in advance I believe you might still be able to get a seat on the bus from Edinburgh for £1 which is worth considering. There is a faster service and a slower one which detours through some of the towns along the way such as Pitlochry and Aviemore. From Inverness train or bus station you need to take bus or taxi to the airport. Unless it has changed again, the airport bus no longer stops in the retail park adjacent to the HIX so that hotel is now best avoided. You may have seen recent comments from Jill who lives locally; these indicate the risks of travelling the same day or in winter.

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks, BJ, that’s really helpful. Looks like it knocks if about 350-400£ of taxes and charges if I use a 241 from Inverness instead of Newcastle.

          • @HarryT, Shsss it’s just the difference in APD!

          • Jill (Kinkell) says:

            There is a Marriott Coutyard under construction just a few minutes walk from the Inverness Airport terminal. Should be open in the new year. Ive just saved rather a lot of APD on my 241 CW flights for next year , but then Inverness is my local airport. Gotta have some perk for living in the regions!

          • Thanks Jill, I heard about that hotel but did not realise it was at the airport and would soon be finished. Already booked PI for next sumner, and I think I still prefer to stay in town anyway. New hotel good for the 7am flight though. Hope things got sorted out for you in the end when the weather played havoc a week or two ago.

        • Peter K says:

          AA route planner says 4hrs 11mins from ‘Manchester’ to LGW when just checked. It depends on the time of day of course.
          It takes me about 3.5hrs to get to LGW from where I live (North) but only took 2.5hrs when I drove home at 11pm.
          The flights are more plentiful and cheaper from LGW than MAN a lot of the time, though I’d rather go from MAN if had the option at only a slightly higher cost.

    • No life at all in PremiAir – I was the only guest. Had my own private terminal for the morning 🙂

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        I saw the instagram posts. If it wasn’t for HfP I wouldn’t know it existed. I wonder how they are promoting it?

    • Strange thing to be bothered about.

      An exclamation mark!

  7. OT – Amex preferred rewards gold, hit 1 year this week and spent over £15k, how soon do we typically see the 10,000 points credit?

  8. Diydegsy says:

    When do you receive the 25k points for reaching spire elite please or do you have to request them?

    • mark peterborough says:

      You have to request them as there is a choice between gifting Plat status to a friend or taking the 25k points for yourself.

      Oddly I just achieved enough points earnt to make Spire Elite three days ago when my credit card points posted but I have heard nothing from IHG to say that I will maintain Spire until December 2020 , nor have I seen the chance to choose between gifting status / taking points

      • I have had Spire Elite carried forward for several years now with virtually no stays.
        Shame it is worthless!

        • Well if you did stay you’d get twice as many points and slightly less rubbish welcome points but that is about as good as Spire gets.

      • How do you request them?

        Do you still get these if you reached Spire due to credit card spend?

        • Steve-B says:

          Yes. Log in and go to Your Account, there’s a link on the left hand side “Explore Elite Benefits”. Takes you to a page where you can select option (points or Plat). Points post straightaway.

  9. Very OT:

    Virgin Atlantic redemptions on singapore airlines are limited to A380, 777-300ER & A350. If I’m seeing first class availability between PVG-SIN on the 777-300 can I book this in F, as I’m guessing this is the only aircraft you could actually book F on?

    Thanks

    • Neil Donoghue says:

      Good luck finding availability with Virgin! Despite finding various seats on United, I have only ever been offered economy when trying to book SQ….Give them a call and let us know how you get on.

      • Shoestring says:

        seatspy.com until Tim gets his data feed

        • Neil Donoghue says:

          Doesn’t show SQ availability!?

          • Singapore Airlines generally blocks reward seat availability for partner airlines on their new aircraft (B787-10 and A350-900) as well as premium (for want of another word) such as the A380 and B77W. Having said that, I gather from other travellers that availability on flights within Asia has been opened up to Virgin Atlantic and Star Alliance members. I’ve never succeeded in booking SQ flights within Asia using Virgin FC miles, but you never know, you might get lucky!

  10. OT – question regarding AAA discounts on US hotels. We have booked our flights for next summer and Ive been looking at hotel prices….not pretty they seem way higher than our trip last year…..more than just the change in x-rates. Anyway I noticed a few offered AAA discount which was quite a nice saving in one hotel in particular, is it still the case that having a UK AA account would enable me to get these rates? I googled it and one of the first results was of course from HFP from last year!

    https://www.headforpoints.com/2018/09/29/join-automobile-association-save-s-hotels/

    • I think so. The UK AA is one of the US AAA’s international affiliates – so you’d get reciprocal benefits. You could search for “AAA international relations” or try this link and scroll down to hotels

      https://www.aaa.com/international/internationalaffiliates.html

      • Just noticed that it even says you can download and print a temporary AAA card to be used along with your normal AA card while you are in the US.

      • It might be useful for local maps and advice and even roadside assistance if you were unlucky enough to need it. Or reduced rates for rental cars.

    • Lady London says:

      In practice I have found it accepted at IHG and Marriott hotels in the US. Was asked a couple of times to produce the card on checking and was told accepted as same. Unsure if would be the same everywhere.

      One thing I always do is check the local rates on offer first without using any special discounts. Often seasonal local discounts mean the standard price is lower for a particular night, than using any special code or membership. This works quite well in the UK IME at some times of year.

      Of course some special rate codes may also get you free breakfast or early checkin or late checkout or better cancellation terms so I check both. Standard rate first whilst logged in, then trying the special rates I have. This sequence is just in case using the special rate might stop me seeing a better standard rate on a later search even if ibdont insert the special rate. But that’s probably me being overcautious.

      • Lady London says:

        PS Have also had RAC card accepted in US a couple of times on same basis.

        BTW my US work colleagues used to tell me the AAA codes also work well to get better car hire prices there. AA card defo accepted as equivalent apparently.

        • RussellH says:

          Does the AA card have to be valid?
          🙂
          I have a yellow one and a silver one; neither has an expiry date, both just turned up in the post some years back when I had home insurance through the AA.
          I got some useful discounts at some motorway services, usually they just looked at the card, but once they did swipe it – still got the discount though…

  11. Harry T says:

    My Waitrose offers on my Platinum is spend £35£, get 5% back. On my BAPP, it’s spend £65 get 4%.

    Once again, my partner’s Gold wins – spend 20£, get 5% back.

    • Check whether you get 10% off Morrisons on any of your cards (currently on most of my SPG/Gold).
      They sell John Lewis/Waitrose gift cards and many others including Amazon.
      C

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks! Looks like the best Morrison’s offer is on my partner’s gold card (10% off). Might buy a load of John Lewis gift cards for the Black Friday sales!

        • The paper vouchers at Morrison’s (for Morrison’s themselves) also trigger the 10% on Amex – others on here flagged that to me last time out and I’ve been working through about £1500’s worth since…

          Good for spending in the petrol station for a 10% discount on fuel. 😉

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