BA sale

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.

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Comments

  1. O/T: Just topped up Monese via card at the Post Office for the first time 30 minutes ago. So far the top up is not reflected in my Monese balance or transactions. Does it take some time to come through or is this indicative of a problem?

    • usually at 0636 next day. Paypoint is immediate!

    • PO wont appear until next day….usually 6.36 or 7.36. My latest arrived at 11.36.

      • Cheers, you folks are all very precise with your time; I’d probably have missed the detail 🙂

        • rams1981 says:

          How much are people topping up Monese by in a week/month? £1500 a month “breaks even” as you are paying 1p per point. I got asked a lot of questions for topping up £10k in one month. I was away month after so binned the premium membership and have re-activated it again just now.

          Any other experiences from heavy users?

          • Does the PO have similar restrictions to PayPoint (ie £150?)

            And are all cards accepted?

            I have had an account since they first launched but haven’t used it since they started charging…

          • Max for Paypoint is £250 per load (maybe £500 per day). PO is £500 per day in one load.

    • Harry T says:

      If you look at the Monese FAQs, it does take up to 24 hours for PO top ups to appear.

      What’s your plan with Monese, BJ?

      I’m not sure it’s worth the hassle of topping up at PO as I have been rejected before at multiple POs – they would only take cash. Seems hit and miss depending on which staff are working.

      • No serious plan, just another collection opportunity, will not go mad. I only use avios for 1 x 1 person return trip per year, and 1 x 2 person return trip at Xmas/NY with a 241 each year. With that as my goal I then try to maintain a two year buffer on my avios balance to finance it. Despite the increasing difficulty of collecting avios I am still managing to do that. However, for the first fine I am contemplating paying over 0.5ppa to sustain my balance going forward, the flexibility and opportunity to redeem over the Christmas peak are hugely valuable to me.

        • Harry T says:

          Thought you were favoured by the Amex God’s and could continue to get bonuses though?

          I topped up at PO when I had three months free but I didn’t push the boat out as I am wary of being caught. Probably won’t bother paying the 14.99 a month Cos I’m not sure I’d be able to visit the PO more than three times without attracting attention.

          • Yes, so far so good; that, referrals and tesco mobile have maintained my balance this year. I do not expect amex bonuses to last, whatever the issue I am sure it will be fixed.

          • Harry T says:

            Wish I’d gone as hard on the Tesco mobile offer as you did! I’ve got a fair few referrals from Amex this year but I’m not optimistic about next year. There’s only so many times you can refer your friends, especially with no regular sign up bonuses for most.

        • Is the monesse thing only worthwhile to hit sign up bonuses or just for ongoing points too?
          I’m also running lower than last year on avios and MR and thinking if ways to increase them.
          Thanks to OP who mentioned direct debit from revolut to monzo, that should hopefully be another 1000 hilton points a month
          Thanks

  2. No LNER offer on my standard Amex rewards card or my wifes Gold, so it’s not universal. Could be that a spend a fair bit with LNER on my Amex already??

  3. My Waitrose offer is spend £20 get 5% back – seldom shop there unless I’m passing as too far away. No LNER offer despite me regularly paying with my BAPP card (4 advance tickets alone last week). I also have about 20 useless offers as they are all London centric (another Northener here) which are for places that I would probably not use even when I do go to London. Surely with the spend logging algorithms Amex can use these days they ought to be better able to target offers?!

    • aDifferentSimon says:

      Sounds like it is working. I have a Waitrose opposite my home rail station on my commute so I use it often. No offer. Never used lner and do have it. You would expect it that way around to encourage new spend.

      • Harry T says:

        If I spend heavily at Morrison’s on one card, then the next time I get a Morrison’s offer, it will be a worse one on that card, and a better one on the Amex I haven’t used at Morrison’s. They definitely target the offers to try and influence spend towards retailers you don’t normally use. You can be tactical about offer utilisation if you have more than one Amex.

        I agree a lot of offers are London centric. However I do have one for the Hawksmoor in edinburgh, which is handy as I visit Edinburgh semi regularly (Scottish partner from there).

    • Simonbr says:

      Worth pointing out the small print contains numerous exclusions including wine, flowers…

      • Wine (and beer, spirits etc) instore will be fine, but purchases from the *Waitrose Cellar* business are excluded.

  4. OTT: I have an odd case where, online, my Amex Gold Card has been changed to a BA Amex (Blue card) without any approvals or notification. I still hold my physical Gold card and it is still active. Amex has not sent me a Blue BA replacement card. The change happened overnight and without any warning. The welcome screen now shows earned Avios points rather than MR points and they have remained on the account for months rather than transfer to my BA account as would be normal for a BA Amex card. Obviously, I no longer have the option to convert them to the airline/hotel of my choice. I’ve also had the card for longer than 12 months so I’m due the 10k bonus points. I’ve called Amex multiple times, and recently escalated it to a manager but unfortunately this issue really confuses them and nothing has happened over the course of 3-4 months!
    Has anyone ever encountered anything similar and can please share their experience? I’ve sat on hold waiting for Amex try to resolve this for way too long now and it’s doing my head in!!
    Thanks

  5. Just a reminder that you can book tickets for all rail operators from each others websites so if you’re eligible for the LNER Amex discount you can use it to book train tickets anywhere within GB.

    I tend to book with GWR for the main reason that they allow booking of bike spaces (also if you collect Nectar points they give them on all operators, unlike LNER) but if I had been targeted for this offer (I’m not) I would have switched to LNER for bookings during this promotional period.

    • I normally take an indirect route to Transpennine Express for 2 Nectar Points and 1%, but I’ll be using LNER while this offer is on.

  6. ankomonkey says:

    OT: Has anyone used WorldRemit to send foreign currency to a Revolut account in the same currency using the Revolut Swift/BIC account number? I have Revolut accounts/balances in several currencies, but they all have the same Swift/BIC account number (even my GBP account/balance).

  7. During sales, what are typical prices return business class to Tokyo, ex-eu? Trying to decide if its better to wait for a sale or pay about 1200 to buy the avios?

    • During a recent short term sale, Qatar had flights from Budapest to Tokyo via Doha, for £1150 round trip in Business. It was short-lived because when I went to book it a couple of days after I saw the prices, they were £1885. Then I found Stockholm to Tokyo on Qatar for £1450 and booked it. Travelling later this month.

    • I’ve booked Germany to Tokyo with BA / JAL for around €1600 a couple of times the last few years. Not sure if available right now. Sometimes it works out significantly cheaper to book CW on the outbound and WT+ on the return.

  8. Bits, anyone have recent experience of Groupon Avios voucher posting to Iberia plus account ? It’s been 10 days and nothing yet so I’m getting a bad feeling I have done something wrong or they have !

  9. OT Virgin Seat query
    Airbus A330-300.
    I’ve booked Upper Class 1K. Does anyone know if this seat is uncomfortable due to close proximity to bathrooms, kitchen etc. Is there a better choice?

    • If I recall correctly, A330 Upper Class toilets are in between Upper Class and Premium. I’ve experienced 1A and 1K, they were fine, but the overhead luggage space is small.

      • PS To add, I believe 3K, 7K and 8K (also 3A, 7A and 8A) are best in terms of alignment with the windows, if that helps.

        • Was in 3K a few weeks ago. Definitely more space in lockers above.
          While window alignment may be the best they can do, it’s still shockingly abysmal.

          • Thanks.
            Upper class compared to Premium will cost me £15 + 12000 points extra. 5 hour flight
            Worth it?

          • Assuming this is to Tel Aviv? Depends if you will sleep. The return flight is always quite early, so unless you are staying near the airport you are getting up quite early.

      • There is one at the front too, after the galley, right by the cockpit. Personally I’d choose further back to avoid galley noise & deplane a few seconds quicker, but it’s much of a muchness

  10. Amex Travel Insurance
    travelling pregnant at 6 and 7 months. Am I covered? Do I need to inform amex?
    Thank you very much

    • Peter K says:

      That sounds like something you need to ring them and find out about rather than reply on an answer on here. It’s too important to leave to chance.

    • Someone asked about this recently and it turned out that yes they were covered for “emergency” pregnancy-related issues but not routine care, as is pretty typical with insurance policies. Of course you should still read your policy and clarify anything which isn’t 100% clear with Amex. Also, I assume the level of cover is good but in some countries treatment can run into 6 figures so check you have the level you would need if, say, you went into premature labour and needed hospital treatment plus neonatal care for the baby.

      Also the airline might need a doctor’s letter saying you are fit to travel, but this seems to vary a lot from one to the other.

  11. I just managed to book 3 seats to Bahamas using buddy voucher and airmiles so very happy. Thanks Rob!

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