Bits: Norwegian to launch Heathrow flights, get 100% bonus when you buy IHG points, use Avios for Colombo to Sydney

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News in brief:

Norwegian to launch Heathrow services from March, it seems

Well, here’s an interesting one.  Norwegian has been awarded six weekly slots at Heathrow Airport for the Summer 2020 season.

Starting from late March and running to late October, Norwegian will be in a position to launch three flights per week (given that a take-off and landing requires two slots).

At the moment there are no clues as to what route Norwegian will launch, although as it is a Summer slot it may be targeting Florida.  There is no guarantee that Norwegian will gain Winter 2020 slots, and without the potential for operating year-round it would be trickier to target business routes.

This came to light in the Summer 2020 Heathrow slot report, published by Airport Coordination, the company which handles slot trades on behalf of airlines.

This is a very interesting document if you have 10 minutes spare and have avgeek tendencies!   It seems that there were 9,658 allocated weekly slots last Summer.  Ten were surrendered – eight by Tunisair and two by Turkmenistan Airlines.  This left 9,648 slots already allocated.  The airport seems to have squeezed out an extra three flights (not daily, three in total over the week!), because the total allocation for Summer 2020 is 9,664 slots.

This means 16 additional weekly slots (ie 8 flights).  Six went to Norwegian, two to Virgin Atlantic, two to Tunisair (partly offsetting the eight they gave up), two to Shenzhen Airlines and four to China Southern.

JetBlue asked for 70 slots – enough for five daily flights to the US – and got nothing.  Virgin Atlantic asked for an extra 114 slots which must have caused a few giggles at Heathrow, given that it ended up with a grand total of two, allowing it to add just a single additional departure per week.

Norwegian gains slots at Heathrow

(Yet another) 100% bonus for buying IHG Rewards Club points

I wouldn’t blame you if you were getting jaded about the sheer number and frequency of hotel ‘buy points’ offers recently.

IHG Rewards Club has jumped back into the game with a 100% bonus, which is as generous as you ever see.  This deal runs to 30th December.

IHG has also increased the annual ‘buy points’ cap to 300,000 points (ie 150,000 plus the 150,000 bonus).

The page to buy points is here.   You need to buy 30,000+ to get the full 100% bonus.  It is staggered below that, starting at a 40% bonus for buying 7,000 points.

The standard prices, before the bonus, are:

  • 1,000 – 10,000 points for $13.50 per 1,000 points
  • 11,000 – 25,000 points for $11.50 per 1,000 points
  • 26,000 – 100,000 points for $10 per 1,000 points

With a 100% bonus, you would be able to buy 300,000 IHG points for (at current exchange rates for $1,500) £1,168

You should look at this if you have a ‘buy points’ target for the latest Accelerate promotion – although it makes more sense to buy 7,000 and get the bonus than buy 1,000 for no bonus.  If you are topping off your account, it is also a good deal irrespective of the exact cents per point cost.

You might also be interested if any hotels on the current ‘PointBreaks’ list – see this HFP article – caught your eye£58-worth of points would get you any hotel on the 15,000 points list for a night.

You can buy via this link.

SriLankan Airlines business class

A new Avios route to Sydney with SriLankan Airlines

We don’t cover SriLankan Airlines much on Head for Points.  We should do more, because SriLankan is a member of the oneworld alliance, allowing you to earn and redeem Avios on its flights as well as earn British Airways tier points.  It also appears to have a decent business class product as you can see above, using the same seat as Cathay Pacific.

SriLankan flies daily from Heathrow to Colombo.  One of the most common reasons to fly it is as an alternative Avios route to the Maldives, as Colombo is only 85 minutes flying time from Male.

SriLankan recently announced that it intends to add flights between Colombo and Sydney in 2020.

The airline already flies to Melbourne, and has flown to Sydney in the past, dropping the route in 2001.

It is also talking about starting flights from Frankfurt or Paris, which would give a second European starting point (London is currently the only European destination) and additional potential Avios seats.

If you were intereted in redeeming on SriLankan Airlines, you should become familiar with the little-known Avios multi-partner reward chart, which offers some of the best value redemptions you can get.

Get a Virgin Atlantic Economy Delight flight for £1 + taxes with its Cyber Monday Golden Ticket game
IHG Cyber Sale offering bigger discounts until Friday

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Comments

  1. If slots are so valuable, why were these just put back in the pool – and then some re-applied for in Tunisair’s case?

    • Partly timings, perhaps. Perhaps political reasons too for not selling? I admit I was surprised too. Were they using the slots?

      Perhaps they were late night ones they were hoping to trade for better ones but couldn’t find any? Remember you can’t sell a slot but you can trade a bad one with a cash incentive.

  2. OT: Some clarity on Hilton x2 or x3 bonuses on power up (unless it is actually random). I have Hilton credit card on my profile. Booked two separate stays for Friday and Saturday nights. Paid both with amex due to the offer. At check in Friday I handed over my Hilton card to authorise for bar etc. Receptionist tapped some details into keyboard. This stay got x3 points. Saturday I repeated process, receptionist declined Hilton card saying she would use card on file. I did not push the issue. This time I only got x2 bonus. Thus it would appear as reported that there is no need to pay with Hilton or other visa card. However, if my experience is the norm then a Hilton (or possibly other visa) needs to be associated with the specific reservation to trigger x3 points, having visa in the profile alone seems to be insufficient. If others have a different experience then it seems it is just the luck of the draw.

    • Well, almost certainly not random but more difficult to figure.

    • Why did she decline your card? The receptionist is supposed to ask you which card you want to use not tell you which card they’ve decided to use?

      • Poor choice of word on my part as she was just being helpful. She didn’t refuse, she just assumed I was offering her the same card as I used to pay and explained she could use it off the file so didn’t need my card again.

  3. OT. Looking for recent data points.
    How long will it take to transfer MR to Avios for the first time?

    • However long it is found in the past it was quicker to call CS to activate a new partner and have them do the transfer at the same time.

  4. Has anyone flown Business class with Sri Lankan airlines and what’s it like? I have to visit Sri Lanka sometimes and now that they may be going to Sydney this is an interesting route for me.
    I’ve only flown economy with the once and I stupidly forgot to take my credit card that I used for the booking with me. They made my husband drive all the way back to our house to collect the card and bring it back to Heathrow for me before they would allow me to board the plane. Thankfully we only lived 40 minutes from Heathrow and had left plenty of time. It put me off them and I haven’t flown with them since.

    • I did a few short hops including some on the A330. It was excellent. Nice spicy food, friendly service, and the seats on the A330 are excellent.

    • Their business class is solid, will be even better now with these seats in 1-2-1 configuration. Service is very pleasant and attentive. If you like South Asian food then their main meal can be excellent. I found their second meal options less satisfactory as they went for silly stuff like pizza or mini burgers. That may have been scrapped though as it is over 4 years since I flew with them. I used to call to book over the phone as they offered much more flexible fares for a little more. When doing so there was always a drama about the card, they wanted it copied and faxed over which I was never happy about but having said that I never had any problem as a result. Will definitely fly them again if the £ recovers making their one way fares back to the UK from Asia hood deals.

  5. Bits.

    New CyberMonday Travel Promos if your employer offers Corporate Perks:-

    IHG – 15%
    Walt Disney Travel – 10%

    Non Travel:-

    Philips – 20%
    Lenovo – 15%
    HP – 15%
    Bose – 15%
    Debenhams – 5% (Will stack with Amex offer)
    Harrods – 7% (Will stack with Amex offer)

  6. Any thoughts on JetBlue not getting any slots? An airline that would provide genuine choice on North American routes.

    • There simply were not enough slots to go around. JetBlue isn’t interested in running three flights per week. You need AT LEAST 3 per day to New York to provide effective competition and to attract the business traveller.

  7. aDifferentSimon says:

    A did hope this site would never use the term “avgeek”…

  8. Rob.
    Could you please give someone at BA a nudge to press the Tesco 40% bonus button. I need the Avios

  9. OT just wondering is the upgrade to plat link still working?
    Thanks a lot

  10. I wait with bated breath to see if the Norwegian flights out of Heathrow will actually be with Norwegian or a wet lease airline like Wamos. This extensive, ongoing transatlantic wet leasing arrangement is doing untold damage to Norwegian Air Shutlle. I certainly won’t fly Norwegian until it is a thing of the past.

  11. OT Looking at car hire for Canada in February. I have a Platinum Business Amex – can I use the code 211762 or is this for personal cards only. The platinum code gives a better discount than the current Black Friday.

    • I have a regular platinum card and have used that code a few times in Canada and the US. Never been asked to show it so would assume You would be fine.

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