BA sale

Bits: 2-4-1 vouchers now working on Avios sale, Thomas Cook slots sold, Virgin Trains drops Nectar

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News in brief:

American Express 2-4-1 vouchers now working on the Avios sale

Avios is currently running a redemption sale, which we covered here.

World Traveller and World Traveller Plus seats are reduced by 50%, whilst Club World and First Class require 10% fewer Avios.  Normal taxes and charges still apply, unfortunately.

There were some technical issues on Thursday with the application of British Airways American Express 2-4-1 vouchers on sale fares.  This confused some readers because we had specifically said in our article that 2-4-1 vouchers were accepted.

The situation has now been fixed, and BA Amex 2-4-1 vouchers can be redeemed without problems against Avios sale fares.

Don’t forget that there is also a 50% bonus when you buy Avios, if you are a little short of what you need.  Full details are here and you can buy here.

50% bonus when you buy Avios

easyJet and Jet2 snap up Thomas Cook slots

A batch of Thomas Cook slot sales were announced yesterday by the liquidator of the airline.

easyJet has paid £36m for a package of slots at London Gatwick and Bristol.  It acquired 12 Summer and eight Winter slots at Gatwick as well as six Summer and one Winter slot at Bristol.

Jet2 has also announced the acquisition of some Thomas Cook slots at Manchester, Stansted, and Birmingham Airports.  The price was not disclosed.

It is not clear if this represents all of the Gatwick and Manchester slots, which were the most valuable assets, or just the short-haul ones.

The official statement is not totally clear and Cook was originally reported to have 15 or 16 pairs of Gatwick Summer slots.  British Airways was known to be interested in a handful of well-timed slots at Gatwick whilst Virgin Atlantic was keen on some of the Manchester ones.

Here is a photo that I took at Manchester on Monday (whilst been driven to my plane, full story on Monday!) showing part of the Thomas Cook fleet parked up awaiting collection by the leasing company:

Thomas Cook airport slots sold

Virgin Trains drops Nectar

A slightly odd email arrived from Virgin Trains West Coast announcing that it will no longer offer Nectar points on bookings from 5th December.

The reason this announcement is a little weird is that the Virgin Trains franchise ends on 7th December.  The email doesn’t mention that explicitly, except to say that “Claims for missing Nectar points can be made by contacting the train company operating the West Coast franchise”.

I had assumed that the partnership between Nectar and West Coast would continue.  After all, First Group – which is a partner in the new franchise – offers Nectar points via its other rail companies.  This news implies that it will not, although it is also possible that it is just a stopgap measure to avoid any confusion over whether Virgin Trains or First Group has to pay for points issued over the transition period.

Avios news, Club Suite roll out timetable and other IAG Capital Markets Day revelations
Review: The Amelia Earhart lounge at City of Derry Airport
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  1. From what I read the TC slots at Gatwick were a hopscotch of timings so only really made sense for BA or Easyjet to allow them to be optimised within their existing portfolio. I can’t imagine IAG were super aggressive on the bid as they really don’t have the aircraft or crew to spare in the near future – Titan and Envelop being used currently

    I imagine Easyjet and Jet2 will add quite a bit of Turkey and Greece to fill the gap left by TC. So if you are looking at these for Summer 20 might be worth holding off/checking back frequently. I know from relatives looking at places like Zante that prices are crazy high and tour operators like Olympic are struggling to replace TC flights with reasonably priced alternatives

    • BA is obviously not interested in Manchester, they even cut their domestic connections. Any apparent interest is just part of the games they play.

      • Shoestring says:

        BA just being strategic, exactly as you’d expect from a commercially-run hub & spoke airline. Perfectly obvious that a Manchester—>London airport/s connection wasn’t worth it in terms of [[spoke—>hub feed) + isolated route] profitability.

        Little Red came to the same conclusion?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        BA is interested in whatever makes them money.

        They don’t have an abundance of aircraft so aren’t going to make moves for slots they can’t fill with aircraft.

  2. roberto says:

    I see the Capital on Tap advert on this site is now a Visa card. Do we have any details of what the changes will mean to us moving forward? There was speculation that HMRC would no be accepting the cards which was the number one reason to sign up.

  3. And what about the Lloyds upgrade voucher?

  4. O/T planning ahead for my spire 2020.

    My IHG statement comes out 22nd December, does that mean any spend I make from 22nd December that arrives with my January statements counts towards my 2020 status which resets on the 1st of Jan?

    • Yes! I am already holding some spend back till the Dec statement triggers. It’s all about the timing!

    • Peter K says:

      The last couple of years the December statement has been later than other months and been later than the 22nd Dec, maybe the 26th?

  5. John Dodd says:

    Appreciate not everyone is not over 60 but I have just converted £10 of Tesco Club points to a senior rail card at a 300% rate so giving me a 1 year card for free rather than £30 which then gives 30% off train fares.

    • Shoestring says:

      Not exactly for free, the £10 Clubcard points had a value, eg £10 of groceries.

      Most of us here would see minimum value you used as an alternative to buying Avios or Virgin miles (worth 1p each).

      So you used £10 of Clubcard points = 2400 Avios/ Virgin miles = £24.

      Currently ex-Shell loyalty scheme users are getting 40% bonus on Avios, so for their £10 of Clubcard points they’d get 3360 Avios = £33.60.

    • The 3 year card is better value at £70.

      • Well, you never know what could happen to you in 3 years when you are over 60, so could be a bit risky, I guess

        • A lot more travel is what you do when you are over 60 – not that I am there yet but my hubby is – hopefully a lot more life in us yet!!!

    • Mikeact says:

      West Sussex CC offer it free as an alternative to the Bus pass. My annual replacement has just arrived for another year.

    • Genghis says:

      I was meant to get 2,500 cc points as part of Tesco home insurance in April but they messed up multiple times so this week settled for £125 cash, £75 for the cc points and £50 compo. Their initial offer of cash was 2,500 = £25. I’m not a numpty. Lol.

    • Lady London says:

      It’s a pity that there’s no way of combining thé frequently available 10% discount (making it £27) with clubcard. You can be sure Tesco is hoovering up at least that 10% as I’m sure they also do with hotels.

  6. Mikeact says:

    Interesting bit for Bits this morning,

    Ryanair has been named the filthiest flight operator in the UK by passengers, according to a Which? Travel survey.

    • Lady London says:

      OK I’ll bite. Really? As in filthy planes with decrepit bits and breaages that they fly the planes with flight after flight without mending?

      How in earth did British Airways not get named for that?

      • Can’t comment on Ryanair, hardly ever flown them, not them, it’s Stansted. But the BA I read about here frequently and the BA I fly myself just don’t seem like the same airline. So I wouldn’t expect BA to labelled like this. Mostly I fly from LHR and it does seem that LGW has the old dogs.

  7. The Savage Squirrel says:

    OT: Amex points to Radisson Rewards transfers

    I remember there was a trick to entering your membership number so that the Amex site would recognise it but can’t remember what it was. Leaving some digits out or something? Anybody know?? TIA!

  8. OT got a survey from Curve yesterday. Main questions for me were about what value there was in being able to pay HMRC . Various options like 1% surcharge with current limits or 2% surcharge for unlimited where offered.

    • Peter K says:

      This was on bits last night as well. Curve is looking for ways to make money it seems.

      • RussellH says:

        Well, they are a business. And most people seem to think that being in business is meant to make money.
        Even if curve do negotiate special rates with CC companies they are going to have to pay interchange plus, surely, on cash withdrawals, which seems like an excellent way to lose money!

    • Yes I’ve just filled in that survey too, rather ominous! Sounds like they’re going to be limiting or charging for HMRC payments soon. Enjoy it while it lasts. I told them, in all honestly, that if I lose that benefit I’ll stop using Curve altogether. Plenty of other ways to avoid foreign transaction fees these days.

  9. Jamescg says:

    OT: Curve related
    Received an email from Curve this am asking me to participate in a survey. It was specifically about Curve and HMRC transcriptions and which of a number of not terribly attractive options I would prefer if I wished to keep paying HMRC with Curve. I did the maths and worked out that free HMRC as a metal card benefit would be the cheapest unattractive option for me.
    A worrying sign of changes to Curve to come?
    Other than Billhop (2.95%fee) is Curve still the only convenient way to pay HMRC with a credit card?

  10. Andrew M says:

    Has anyone been able to use the Lloyds Avios voucher to upgrade from WTP to CW at the sale prices?

  11. OT: Heads up on a convincing scam on amex cards: My husband received 2 SMS messages yesterday morning. First text came from ‘amex’ and said they needed to verify some activity and would send a message from another mobile number with details. A further SMS from an 07 number claimed a £1000 transaction at ‘coinbase’ and to reply Y or N to confirm.
    The very concerning part is it correctly stated the last four digits of his amex. Could definitely fall for this. Luckily he called AMEX directly who confirmed it was fake, and mentioned they had had several similar reports already at that point.
    So somewhere there has been another data leak…
    Not sure what the follow up would be and how they would profit from it though.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I’ve had lots of Amex cards over the last few years and lots have had the same last 4 digits. I’m not clued up on Amex card numbers but suspect it’s the previous number that are more important

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        This. The 12th digit is the number of cards issued on that credit line (most often 1). The 13th and 14th digit are what number additional card member you are (so most commonly 00 if you are the primary cardholder). The 15th digit is a check digit.

        So the vast majority of Amex cards in circulation will end 100x. Guess the last digit and you’re right 10% of the time; plenty if you ding out enough spam messages. Of course there may be a data leak somewhere but having the last 4 amex digits doesn’t prove one.

        • RussellH says:

          I would guess that most spammers would reckon on a 0.5% success rate (in terms of the data matching) as being pretty good. 10% sounds like a potential goldmine.
          But this also suggests that there may not have been a data leak, as there is no actual account number data being quoted. I would guess that the scammers would be hoping to harvest that further down the line.

    • Fivebobbill says:

      The EXACT some thing happened to me 3 weeks ago, and I too called Amex to query it. They confirmed it wasn’t them. My biggest concern was, and still is, that the initial text came from an “Official” Amex contact number! I have been out of the country for the last 2 weeks, but before i left they told me they were still investigating. I will be looking for a further update from them when i return home on Monday.

      • RussellH says:

        It is pretty easy to spoof phone numbers these days.
        Slightly more effort involved that in faking an e-mail address, but still easy if you know what you are doing.

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