BA Sale

Bits: extra BA Caribbean discounts, last day for IHG’s Europe sale, using Railcards on Heathrow Express

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News in brief:

Extra British Airways Caribbean discounts – Club World at £1399

British Airways has added some additional Caribbean discounts to the current sale, for Autumn travel.

All are priced at £1,399 return.  The destinations included are:

  • Antigua
  • Bridgetown / Barbados
  • Grenada
  • Kingston
  • Port of Spain
  • Providenciales
  • St Kitts
  • St Lucia
  • Tobago

You need to travel out between 18th August and 2nd October, returning by 9th October.

Clearly this is hurricane season in some parts of the Caribbean, but the risk varies sharply by island so do your research.   Barbados, for example, has not been hit by a hurricane since 1955!

You should also price up any booking via BA Holidays as well as looking at ‘flight only’, since this could lead to additional savings.  You could try a ‘flight and car’ booking if you were determined to book your accomodation separately.

Booking via BA Holidays brings other benefits too – you can just pay a deposit now (the balance is due seven weeks before departure) and you earn 1 extra Avios per £1 spent.  Your flights also earn Avios and tier points as usual.  The only downside is that your flights will not earn points in the BA On Business small business loyalty scheme.

Barbados with British Airways

LAST DAY to save 30% in IHG’s European sale

If you need to lock in any IHG hotels for stays before the 10th May, today is the last day to book in the IHG Flash Sale.

The headline discount is up to 30% off the Best Available Rate. This is available exclusively to IHG Rewards Club members, so it’s a good time to sign up to the programme if you are one of the six HFP readers who has not already done so 🙂  Non-members receive a smaller discount of 25%.

These Flash Sale offers are available at hotels across the IHG portfolio, including Kimpton, InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn.

There isn’t much small print to worry about:

  • It is available for stays until 10th May 2020
  • You must book by TONIGHT, 13th January 2020
  • Bookings are non-refundable and require pre-payment at time of booking
  • Only European hotels are included

You should note that the discount is not a full 30%, because it is based on the Best Flexible Rate.  As these sale rates are non-refundable, a fairer comparison is with the usual Advance Purchase rate – but you should still see a good additional saving.

IHG is still running a 4x Bonus Points promotion that we wrote about a few weeks ago, which could earn you up to quadruple IHG Rewards Club points on a stay before 31st January 2020 (you do need to register for this offer here).  However, we don’t know what will replace the last Accelerate promotion which ended on 31st December.

Full details of the IHG European Flash Sale can be found here.  Remember to book TODAY, Monday.

IHG launches European Flash Sale

Using Railcards on Heathrow Express

Back in October we wrote about the new Heathrow Express fare structure – click here.

Heathrow Express had offered £5.50 fares at weekends and Bank Holidays for some time, as long as you booked well in advance.

£5.50 fares have now been rolled out for every day of the year in Express Class.

A new yield management system prices advanced purchase economy tickets in a series of bands:  £5.50, £7.50, £10.00, £12.50, £15.00 or £16.50.  A fixed number of one-way tickets, which will vary depending on how busy the service is expected to be, will be sold at the lowest price point.  When they are sold out, the price moves up a step.

Tickets are made available 24 weeks in advance of travel.  You do not need to book a specific train, just a particular day.

What I didn’t know at the time is that these advanced purchase fares also qualify for selected Railcard discounts.  Here’s an example:

Cheapest Heathrow Expressp pricing

This means that the cheapest one-way ticket between Heathrow and Paddington is actually £3.65, not £5.50, and you can’t argue with that.  You will earn 3 Heathrow Rewards points too!

You can book your tickets here.  Thanks to Olivier for this.

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  1. Need some desperate help if anyone can help.

    Have made a huge whoopsie and am currently booked DAD- HKG on 12th Feb, arriving at 9.20pm. I then have another flight to LHR at 23.45pm on a seperate ticket. Is there any way this connection can be made? WIll need to go through baggage and customs (as have hold luggage).


    • Maybe you won’t need to. Which is airline is DAD-HKG with? In my experience Cathay checks through bags, even for non-oneworld connections.

    • You may be able to check luggage through, it’s worth calling the airline.

      • EvilDoctorK says:

        Even if you can’t through check you’ve got almost 2.5 hours there … It shouldn’t be too much of a problem to make that connection as long as your inbound flight is reasonably on time … HKG is efficient and immigration and baggage is pretty quick

      • You can also check interline agreements on Expertflyer.

  2. Bits OT, is the Tesco 40% bonus Avios conversion now dead?

  3. OT

    someone mentioned this before but I have just opened a letter from Amex advising that the Starwood credit card is being re-branded to Bonvoy. On the second page it mentioned in passing that the earning rate is reduced from 3 points per £ to 2 but the annual charge remains at £75. But you will get 15 nights credit per year which will help some people.
    We shall certainly cancel my card and may cancel my wife’s too.

    • Harry T says:

      That’s awful. The earnings rate was one of the few reasons to have the card.

    • Sigh… yet another devaluation from a credit card…
      That damn interchange fee rule..

    • When is the devaluation effective from?

    • Got the letter today, didn’t mention any other change about free night through spending. Disappointed.

    • What will 15 nights credit mean for someone who has silver status due to holding the card?

      • Sandgrounder says:

        You will get silver going forward (10 nights pa min), and will only need to stay 10 nights pa to get to gold. So this is an improvement.

        • Gold still gets you naff all, though it will help reach platinum also.

        • That is interesting – so I could retain gold by staying 10 nights and put my spend through a better earning card like the BAPP. I may make a few changes to my itineraries for the coming year!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        its a better way than just getting silver. You actually have 15 nights towards getting Gold or Platinum, worth £75 to me.

        I still think I’ll be using this as a reason to cancel nearer 26th Feb though and see what AMEX say 🙂

        • maybe there’s hope they’ll launch a second card here (like the US) with a higher fee and better earnings rate, elite nights earning depending on spend etc… or is that wishful thinking?!

        • Wonder if the 15 night credit will work alongside the gold status for spending £15000 pa on the card or if that has been binned as well or replaced

          • And what about if you are already Gold via Amex Plat? I still think that you’ll need to spend 35 nights rather than 10 for Marriott Platinum in any case.

    • Speaking of Marriott, has anybody had the bonus points from the conversion offer yet? We must be past the 8wk deadline by now. I wasn’t targeted but did it speculatively, so it would be good to know either way if I’m ever likely to get them.

      • Not yet. I asked Amex CS on chat who said it should be within 8 weeks of the transfer date. That has passed in my case so I was advised to speak to Marriott CS. I did so and the agent, whilst trying hard to be helpful, didn’t know about the offer so raised a back office for somone to look at it across our two accounts. I also was not targetted.

        I suspect, as others have said, that it will be within 8 weeks of the end of the offer (which was 31/12/19) so by end of Feb approximately. In my case I need the bonus to post for a redemption stay mid Feb hence why I was keen to chase with Marriott CS.

        • Good to know, thanks. At least you weren’t told that you wouldn’t be getting them due to not being targeted. I shall continue to hope!

    • Steve-B says:

      Arggh, I’m a big user of this card and was naively hoping the comment at the weekend wasn’t true! Really disappointed but not unexpected. Just two legacy co-brand cards left on pre-interchange rate terms…

    • Big shame, put big spend through that card and had some great redemptions on the back of it.

      15 nights is a welcome addition, certainly worth the £75 fee but will have to consider if it’s this or IHG that gets the spend ongoing.

    • Just got home and saw the letter. At least the new card design looks nice. The SPG one has always looked a bit odd to me.

      • Funtime says:

        I’ll take an “odd looking” card over the redesigned one that has just had its earnings rate slashed by 33%.

    • This is absolutely gutting! A devaluation of gigantic proportions. 1/3 of your earring points per £, disappears overnight. Will seriously need to consider whether to keep this card post changes.

  4. Is there an agreed best method to downgrade the BA premium card to the standard blue one?

    Call? chat?
    or just apply for a new blue? – would that automatically switch the cards?

    • Apply for a new Blue and it is automatic. If you call all they do is verbally do the application.

      • Thanks Raffles – big fan since 2013

        And any BA Avios still in progress (ie sitting in amex, not yet transferred) will not be lost. All will continue as is?
        A new blue card will be sent out, and the black one cancelled?

        I am doing this to save the card fee -(already have the 2-4-1). Plan on going back to black when I have spend around 9.5k

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        BA free card upgrade to BAPP – is the 241 voucher still coming through @ 12 montgs expiry or gas the IT glitch fixed now & back to 24 months please anyone?

        • aDifferentSimon says:

          I got 12 months but I switched at 13k, it was suggested in the comments here a few days ago if I had switched before 10k hit then it would have been 24 months. Apparently a call to amex should sort my expiry issue out – but I haven’t tried yet.

    • The Urbanite says:

      I tried to cancel my BAPP last week over the phone – they persuaded me to downgrade and it was done by the next day.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Unless there was a compelling bonus as a reason I would have cancelled and resigned up next time you need a BAPP 2-4-1.

  5. O/T – anyone had luck with the green to plat upgrade link? Received a “application in progress” email over a week ago. Nothing since then…..

    • The Urbanite says:

      If not targetted the spend counter will appear in your account but might not activate. You may then have to prove that you were offered that bonus when you upgraded.

    • The Urbanite says:

      Wrt the link I successfully applied through it a few months ago.

    • Thanks. The green card took 3 days to arrive. 9 days since applying through the link and still heard or received nothing…..

      • I applied mid last week (I have had the green card for a few months now) and just called to check on my application. They asked a lot of security questions and then expected a live response from the computer. Unfortunately that didn’t happen so they will call me back in a couple of days when I get an answer.

    • I applied on 31st December and got the card on the 8th

      I have the spend counter for the 20,000 bonus, its not really a targeted offer since its publicly advertised on the website lol…

  6. OT – I am planning a last minute trip to Perth in April (flying solo) are the Qatar fares ex UK the best options or are there likely to be any further sales?

  7. OT – would it be worth flying at a slightly worse time to try out the new A350 *in economy* as opposed to the 787 economy product?

  8. pommy ray says:

    slightly off topic on IHG:
    anyone got their accelerate target bonus yet?
    normally instant in the past.

  9. OT – can someone remind me if there are any ski hotels (Europe) that I can use points for ? I’m sure I’ve seen one mentioned in the past but can’t find it anywhere. thanks.

    • Ones I know…

      Hyatt Centric La Rosiere France
      Grand Tirolia Kitzbuhel (Hilton)
      Radisson Blu Trysil Norway

      My gut feeling however is that you’ll get rotten value using points.

    • Lady London says:

      Can’t help you on points but weirdly, I do remember seeing some outstanding value packages in Austria and some other places on – they have a holiday selling arm too, holidays at all levels, generally you’d sort out your own transport though. So good for families also if required. At this stage of the season guessing some nice ones might have reductions too? IIRC lots of ski-with-spa offers at recognisable hotels.

    • W Verbier

  10. From Priceless Cities – use a MasterCard and “discount code” Mcard12 at the payment page on the heathrow express website to get 12% discount on some fares ….YMMV

  11. Is it still possible to get 10 night credits with Marriott for booking a meeting room, or has that gone away?

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