Bits: BA Amsterdam lounge joins Priority Pass, 20% off Radisson redemptions, Flybe launches seven new routes

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

News in brief:

British Airways lounge in Amsterdam joins Priority Pass

We wrote back in July that BA had handed over control of the (fairly recently) refurbished British Airways at Amsterdam Schiphol to Prima Vista Group.

As per Ground Handling International:

British Airways customers travelling from Amsterdam can look forward to a new premium lounge experience. Prima Vista will refresh the food and beverage menu with an innovative, high-end offering, and a different menu will be exclusively designed by a professional chef each season.

From July 1, every passenger that visits the British Airways Schiphol lounge will be able to enjoy special monthly events with the latest technology and food and beverage experiences, such as to bartender and barista events, offering new drinks.

“We are very proud to develop this partnership with British Airways and IAG Group as their customer care vision perfectly matches Prima Vista Group’s philosophy,” said General Manager of Prima Vista Group, Italo Russo Silva. “We are convinced that the Amsterdam lounge is going to be really successful and that it will be the beginning of future global agreements.”

This seemed to be a positive move.  Whilst the BA lounge looks OK, the offerings were – to put it mildy – very poor indeed.  As I found out in September, Prima Vista had genuinely improved the food on offer.

Prima Vista’s next move may not prove so popular though.

The British Airways lounge at Schiphol is now accessible with a Priority Pass.  Take a look at the Priority Pass website here.  It is also available via Amex Gold‘s two free Lounge Club passes.

With a pretty much non-stop roster of British Airways flights throughout the day, this has always been a fairly busy lounge.  I’m not sure how much extra capacity there is to take Priority Pass guests.

The good news is that, literally next door to the British Airways lounge, is the Aspire lounge.  This is subtantially bigger than the British Airways lounge and is also accessible via Priority Pass.  I would be tempted to go there first rather than risk being squeezed in the BA lounge.

PS.  Don’t forget that Priority Pass has a new promotion offering up to 40% off membership until 1st DecemberDetails are here.

British Airways Amsterdam lounge

Save 20% on Radisson Rewards redemptions this week

Radisson Rewards, the Radisson / Park Inn / Park Plaza loyalty scheme, has been running a series of ‘member exclusives’ offers.

Last week it was offering a 20% discount on transfers to airline miles.

More interestingly, this week it is offering a 20% discount on free night redemptions.

There is a bit of small print to note.  Importantly, it isn’t actually a 20% discount – it is a 20% rebate.

This is not just semantics.  It means that you need to have the ‘full’ price of the room in your Radisson Rewards accounts.  Whilst a 70,000 points room will only cost you 56,000 points with this offer, you need to book it for 70,000 points and then wait for 14,000 points to be returned to you within 30 days of checking out.

Secondly, there is a limit on when you can stay.  Bookings under this offer must be completed by 31st March 2020.

I usually value a Radisson Rewards point at 0.33p, so you should be able to get around 0.4p via this offer.

Radisson Rewards is an EXCELLENT American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner.  You receive three Radisson Rewards points for every Amex point you send over, which means you can usually get over 1p per Amex point of value via free Radisson rooms.

Unfortunately, Amex transfers to Radisson Rewards are slow according to our last crowdsourced list of Membership Rewards transfer times.  Four days seemed to be average but we had one case of it taking seven days.  This is not ideal because you need to book your Radisson redemption by 20th November in order to receive your 20% points rebate.

Full details of the Radisson Rewards 20% points rebate can be found on the Radisson site here.

Flybe announces its first Summer schedule under Virgin ownership

Flybe has launched its Summer schedule for 2020, which will be the first to reflect its new focus under Virgin Atlantic ownership.  Seven new routes have been announced.

Having attended the Virgin Connect (as Flybe will be rebranded) launch event last month, I can confirm that the new management team is very focused on returning the airline to profitability.  Part of this was to be a razor-sharp focus on routes where it believes it can make money over the long term.

The biggest changes will be at London Southend Airport.  Perhaps not coincidentally, Southend is owned by Stobart Group which is also a shareholder in Flybe.

Six new routes will be launched from Southend to Belfast City, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Isle of Man and Jersey.  Existing services from Southend to Caen, Groningen, Newquay and Rennes will continue.  Loganair immediately responded by announcing plans to drop its own Southend to Glasgow service.

The only other brand new route is Manchester to Stuttgart.  Growth elsewhere is focused on increasing frequency on core business routes from Manchester and Southampton as well as retiming flights to better fit around the working day.

The BBC is reporting, however, that Southampton Airport is due to see substantial cuts overall.  Routes to Faro, Palma, Alicante, Malaga, Biarritz, Nantes, Bordeaux, Dusseldorf and Bastia will be dropped.  Flybe is the dominant carrier at the airport and this will cause it substantial difficulties unless new carriers come in.

With the exception of Dusseldorf, the Southampton changes seem to be in line with Flybe’s new approach.  It will be reducing its focus on holiday routes in order to concentrate on business and ‘visiting friends and family’ services.

Flybe has said that there will be more announcements to come so we can expect additional services to be announced over the coming months.

Tickets are now on sale at flybe.com for the Summer season, which runs until late October.

Credit & Charge Card Reviews (9): IHG Rewards Club Mastercard
Credit & Charge Card Reviews (8): HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

Click here to join the 14,500 people on our email list and receive the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

Amazon ad
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. OT: Can you use reward flight savers on connections to long-haul? I am aiming to do LHR – JNB, and then JNB – LUN.

    When I do the flights separately the JNB – LUN flights price up successfully, but when I do it as one through booking, the full (ludicrous) taxes/charges are used for the JNB-LUN flight. I could get round this by doing two bookings, but then I couldn’t check bags through… The difference is about £150.

    If I should be able to do this there any evidence RFS can be used as a connection to long-haul on the BA website anywhere to show the CS agent?
    Thanks

  2. OT – Qantas non stop to Sydney – reporter Luke Jones said on the BBC News Channel earlier that Qantas are looking to charge a 30% premium for non stop services!

    His report (not including that comment) at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-australia-50432814/ultra-long-haul-flight-non-stop-from-london-to-sydney

    • All non-stop routes are charged higher than one-stop.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Not exactly worth an exclamation mark? The London->Perth service runs at a premium to comparable tickets 1-stop tickets of 25-50% depending on how you work it, which is fair enough.
      More choice – having the choice of whether to pay more to get there faster or not – has to be a good thing?

  3. Stephen Blower says:

    The last few times I have visited the BA AMS lounge, the Aspire lounge was turning Priority Pass holders away due to overcrowding. I think this change will make the BA lounge even more busy and unappealing.

  4. OT as bits:
    I’m encountering a strange situation – I’m looking to book a trip to japan with a 241. Outbound LHR-NRT in economy, return KIX-LHR in business.

    Looking at the two flights individually, the taxes and fees should be £659.34 (446.74 on the outbound, 212.60 on the inbound).

    When I called to book, they quoted £834.34 for the trip and when I pressed that I priced it up at £659.34, the agent when to consult a superior and came back saying that indeed there’s seemingly no reason for the fees to be £834.34 but that she cannot do anything about it.

    I’m wondering, is it true that they can’t do anything about it and whether there is a workaround?

    • Charlieface says:

      Book one way then call back to add the return, saying it wasn’t available when you booked. Usually they won’t reprice

      • And call to add the second within 24h so that if you are not happy with the outcome, you can then cancel outward flights free of charge.

    • Have you priced up 2 x one-ways? If so, that’s why.

      Japan has rules capping airline surcharges. A one-way FROM Japan has articifically low surcharges because it is ticketed in Japan and must follow the rules. When you book a return, however, it is ticketed in the UK and the surcharges cap on the return leg does not apply.

      • same happened to me, I was booking into Osaka and leaving from Tokyo so couldn’t book online and was using 2-4-1, so had to book at the higher rate.

        • Yorkieflyer says:

          Work around is to book 2 singles online outward with 241 back without online then call in to apply voucher to refund Avios, you need the Avios to do this though

  5. Aston100 says:

    Crikey, just looked at BHX to CDG return in summer next year and it’s £160ish per person (with a suitcase in the hold).
    Seems a bit high for the schedule release day for a budget airline?

    • Flybe is no longer prepared to sell super-cheap tickets. They see EU261 as too much of a risk.

      Let’s assume it is a 78 seat aircraft and Flybe believes it can sell 50 seats for £150+. You might logically think that it is worth selling 28 seats for marginal cost, and hoping to make a few quid on food sales and baggage charges.

      EU261 changes the game. Whenever Flybe sells a ticket for peanuts, it is gambling on not having a delay which triggers €200 compensation. Flybe is not the most reliable airline (ahem) and this is a big risk. It would rather not sell the seats than sell them for virtually nothing (after airport charges etc) and be on the hook for EU261.

  6. Aston100 says:

    o/t i think a couple of people commented recently that it’s worth having a go at applying for an SPG Amex to see if we can get the signup/spend bonus despite currently holding a live & active preferred rewards gold, and having cancelled a BAPP only 2 months ago.

    Can you simply cancel the card for a prorata refund as soon as you’ve spent the £1000 within the 3 months without jeopardising the signup/spend bonus (assuming it comes along)? or do you need to wait for it to appear? how long does it normally take to appear?
    Thanks.

    • Charlieface says:

      You must wait at least for the points to show on Amex website. In practice best to wait til they transfer over, sometimes the link is broken and you can waste time trying to get them.

    • You’d be mad to cancel any Amex whilst a bonus is still sitting in Amex waiting to go across.

    • Don’t talk about flight club but the bonus usually hits as soon as you’ve met the spend target (plus a day or so for payments to be authorised). However, the points won’t go across until just before your statement is generated, but this still only means one or two months of membership.

    • Didn’t work for me
      But I’m happy to keep the card as my main earner now as I’m after Marriot points for a specific conversion

  7. Aston100 says:

    o/t – I’m about to make a purchase in Thai Bhat equivalent to £1500.
    I currently have a BAPP Amex with the companion voucher already triggered.
    I also have a preferred rewards gold Amex, but I am not going to hit the £15k spend for the 10k bonus MR.
    I also have a Halifax Clarity with 0% fx

    I feel frustrated because the logical thing to do here is use the fx fee free Clarity card on which I won’t be generating any points or anything.
    The BAPP is pointless at this stage since I hit my target spend and I wouldn’t want to pay approx £45 in fx fees for 2250 avios (if my maths is correct).
    The gold Amex will give me I think about 3k MR (convert to 3k Avios?) for the same fx fee of around £45 so this would be better than the BAPP I suppose, but I have no target I would want to hit with this.

    Is there some card I can apply for quickly with a target spend of between £1k and £3k within 3 months and which isn’t Amex (since I’m unlikely to qualify for a bonus due to holding my current Amex cards) and ideally with a low annual fee, or a fee that can be prorate refunded?

    Or should I just go ahead and purchase with the Clarity card and think of it as having gained whatever the difference is between £45 and the value of the avios I would have earnt with the BAPP or Gold card?

    Thanks.

    • Aston100 says:

      Ah yes Tandem. Forgot about these new fangled cards.
      0.5% is what, £7.50 on a £1500 spend? Still, it’s more than what the Clarity gives me.

      Are there any risks at all with Tandem though?
      And yes, I do bank with Halifax. Whole family does. Still worth dropping Clarity? I mean, my main money saver with that card is when I withdraw cash from foreign ATMs and then I go online and xfer the funds from my Halifax current account to the Clarity to pay the withdrawal off and prevent interest charges.

      • No need to close clarity. Risk with tandem is if you lose or damage your phone then you can’t access your account.

  8. KBuffett says:

    OT – Can my wife refer me for a Amex Business Charge Card from her Gold Charge Card and we both retrieve bonus referral points?
    What is the best way to get max referral points on both sides and for which business card (I assume Platinum Charge Card)

    • KBuffett says:

      I forgot to state that I already have a personal Amex Plat Charge

      • You get no sign-up bonus on the business cards of you have had any (personal or business) MR card in the last 6 months.

  9. OT – I had a OneWorld flight on the day my BA tier points expired and they credited it to my old year, does the 2 week grace period only work for crediting flights flown after the expiry to the old year or if I ask BA can they credit the flight to the new year?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yes only extends to allow the two weeks to count in your prior year if you hit a higher tier.

      Can’t roll back two weeks for the next year

  10. Lady London says:

    I’m assuming Virgin Connect is dropping Nantes and DUS from SOU due to there being too many other airlines to compete with on those routes. Nantes, like the West Country, seems to be having huge business expansion currently. So I can only assume competition is why those 2 are being dropped.

  11. OT:
    Anyone reckon we might get a bonus on transferring Clubcard points to Avios anytime soon? Haven’t seen one in a long time.

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.