BA Sale

Bits: Flybe saved in Government deal, you can fly Qsuite from Manchester, Qatar Airways sale extended

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News in brief:

Virgin Atlantic credit card bonus update

Yesterday we wrote about the impressive new sign-up bonus of 25,000 miles on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card.

The article contained two end dates, which was confusing!  The correct closing date for the 25,000 miles offer is 28th February.  Ignore the reference to 30th October which was an error.

Flybe saved

Flybe announced last night that it had agreed a deal with the Government to keep flying.  All flights are operating as scheduled and the company should hopefully have enough liquidity now to get through the Winter.

The exact deal has not been revealed.  The only public announcement is that the Government will launch a review of the impact of Air Passenger Duty on domestic flights, which adds £26 to every domestic Flybe return ticket.

It is also believed, but not confirmed, that the Government has agreed to defer its demand for over £100m of outstanding APD due from Flybe.  There is also talk of the Government potentially making a loan to the airline.

In return, Virgin Atlantic and other shareholders in Connect Airways have agreed to inject a reported £20m of additional funding.

So far so good …. but the airline is clearly going to need to make drastic changes if it is to return to break-even soon.

Flybe saved

Qatar to fly Qsuite from Manchester

Qatar Airways is giving Manchester and the north a Valentine’s present in the form of its excellent Qsuite business class seat.  From 14th February, Qsuite is scheduled to fly on at least one daily service between Manchester and Doha starting with QR27/QR28.

From 1st March this is set expand with QR21/QR22, which means that two of the three daily flights will have HFP’s favourite business class seat and service as voted on by you in the HFP Travel & Loyalty Awards 2019!

Qsuite was the first business class seat to have a door and, arguably, is still the best.  You can read Rob’s recent review of Qsuite here.

The only catch is that Qatar Airways has a reputation for last minute aircraft changes which means that you can never quite be certain what you’ll get.  Nevertheless this is a win for anyone who prefers flying from Manchester, as you’ll be able to experience a genuinely excellent product.

If you want to find out more about Qsuite, there is a special section on the Qatar Airways website here.

Qatar Airways sale extended by 48 hours

The Qatar Airways sale was due to end on Monday, but it has been extended by two days.  You now have until tonight (Wednesday) to book

Qatar Airways has some excellent deals if you are willing to start outside the UKcheck the list in this article to see if you can save even more money by flying from Stockholm, Oslo or the many other European starting points.

There are a lot of other special offers linked to the sale, including:

  • Double Qmiles if you choose to credit to Qatar Privilege Club instead of British Airways Executive Club
  • Very low-cost Doha stopovers for up to four nights
  • Upgrades at the Oryx Airport Hotel
  • 25% off lounge access in Doha if it is not included in your ticket
  • 20% off excess baggage

Full details are on the sale website here.  If you are booking for flights from a European city, remember that the sale will end at midnight local time.

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Comments

  1. We don’t all see qsuite as a present. Even if it were guaranteed from EDI we would still not be flying Qatar or via ME. We ignore them even if they are the only airline with award seats available on the dates we require.

    • Thank you!

      More award seats available for the rest of us.

      • Welcome to them 🙂 I have flew all of ME3 and am not saying I wouldn’t again but it would probably be last choice for me. I have no problems at all with others choosing them.

    • I don’t give a toss about Qsuite or not. If QR has a sale where I want to go then that’s the airline I’m flying, if it’s BA with the sale then I’m flying BA. Even the worst QR long-haul plane is acceptable when I’m paying less than £60 per flight hour.

    • It’s AY for you all the way tho, as you like your directs….

      • AY is very frustrating for our winter flights as they never release EDI schedules in good time so it is BA all the way at Xmas. For other times, cash/schedule wins which usually means AF/KLM bug thst could be changing to LH by looks of things lately. Extra 241s going forward if BAPP survives and I continue to earn sufficient avios may mean more BA.

        • Well, at least you get your directs over to Asia that way. As you say, the 241s are really useful on those routes. Shame AY is not working the best for you, as it’s so handy for you to connect. We are heading out that way sat week, can’t wait, but on qr from Arn tho.

  2. O/T – I wonder if Barclays HH Card still treat HMRC/NSI transaction through Curve as payments.

  3. One issue that the Government needs to answer is why didn’t they miss £100million in income and why wasn’t the APD put into an escrow account by Flybe so thy couldn’t use it to pay their day to day bills and if it’s not a requirement of the APD HMRC regulations then perhaps it should be.

    • Should sole traders have to put their estimated income tax and NI into escrow accounts? Should VAT be withheld and remitted to the government whenever someone buys something?

      • Don’t you think that £100 million was a sum they rather noticed?

      • Steve-B says:

        Clearly if they can’t be trusted to set aside their tax debts properly then yes!

      • Yes. Definitely. Goes without saying.

        • Every self employed person wishes they did, when the bill comes in. Or you end up like me, facing a self assessment, VAT, 2 x school fees, 2 x kids braces and 1 x post Christmas holiday bill all hitting at the same time!

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Actually, VAT is due when you invoice, not when you receive the payment.

        So if you don’t get the cash then the VAT part of the bad debt will give you a credit against the next VAT bill.

        • Actually that depends on whether you use standard or cash accounting…

        • Lady London says:

          A business of which I am a client told me this week that the VAT man instructed them that they are not allowed to issue a VAT receipt until after the goods or service I purchased from them has been consumed. They are.saying that even though prepayment was required with the order, they will only issue a “confirmation of order” for the accommodation.
          Even though its all prepaid. They insist they will not issue any firm of receipt, VAT or otherwise, until after the stay has actually taken place. In all circumstances they would keep at least 10% up to 100% of the money. There would never be a complete refund and quite possibly none at all.

          Intuitively their refusal to issue a receipt until after the stay has taken place is b*11*cks. But could it be correct?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I believe I have read that they do this because they don’t pay VAT if you didn’t make your stay as no value add service was rendered.

      • To an extent it’s already in the pipeline, non EU sellers operating in the EU on amazon and eBay will have VAT collected by eBay and Amazon from January next year.

        Massive fraud, it’s nearly put my company out of business, if we had not diversified into zero rated products we would have closed last year….

        http://www.vatfraud.org/

        • Lady London says:

          I think the issues are bigger. Amazon themselves has some highly interesting apportionment of revenues across countries. And let’s not get started on Google. Microsoft etc.

          Since governments don’t seem to wean easily off any tax then taxing at the point of consumption, and taxes on transactions generally seems to have become the resort of governments where capital and profits cannot be gotten hands on.

    • Exactly, it was never their money to spend. Taxpayer support for Virgin’s feeder airline to be. I do hope Delta appreciate the help they’re getting.

    • Peter K says:

      I’m no expert, but maybe they did have the money available to pay HMRC but not for day to so expenses. Not having to use the £100M on tax now then frees it up for other things. That is not a great PR line to give the news media though so the APD story comes out, plus that then gives leeway with State Aid rules.

      • Oh! Matron! says:

        Not an expert, but you accurately explain what issue FlyBE are having. A lack of liquidity during the quiet months, with the tax bill pushing them over the edge

        I wish Walsh would stop his whining though. If FlyBE were to collapse, BA would cherry pick the routes, creating an almost monopoly in the UK, and the result on smaller communities would be devastating… I don’t know the loads, but Anglesey to Cardiff (yes, an actual route), isn’t a journey I’d want to do either via train or car. And Having lived in Norwich, the relatively short 156 miles by air to Manchester is a ball achingly 4 hours by car, and 4h45 and £102 by train (diesel, by the way, not electric)

        So the rescue needs to be taken into context. Yes, FlyBE needs to get it’s house in order, and with some hopeful leadership from VS that will happen, but it shouldn’t be allowed to collapse

        • In the short term, all variable costs are really fixed costs.

          In the long term, all fixed costs are really variable costs.

          That’s all you need to know to understand the business world.

          • Fact, and a lot more useful than the entire coursework of an MBA.

          • Mikeact says:

            But the investors only putting in another £20 million seems like a drop in the ocean in the overall scheme of things.

          • I agree, it won’t get them far.

          • Shoestring says:

            it could be enough for the credit card cos to release more of Flybe’s advance sales money, probably another £50m there? (they started withholding it a few months ago as a precaution)

        • RussellH says:

          I needed to travel to Norwich from the Lake District at short notice (for a funeral) a few years ago. Through fare was nothing like £120, and splitting the ticketing into Lake District to Manchester and Manchester to Norwich was much cheaper.
          I found the Manchester – Norwich train perfectly comfortable – certainly more so than a turboprop plane! Plus I would have had to use Manchester Airport. Then get back to Thorpe Station for the nearby Holiday Inn and to meet up with the rest of the family.
          And it is quite a scenic journey in parts – perticulalrly Manchester-Sheffield and around Ely.
          At the time I had no idea that I could have flown part of the way, but TBH would not have considered it anyway.

    • Travel agents do, so I don’t see why airlines seem not to.

  4. O/T – what is my best Amex strategy?

    i’ve not had a Gold Rewards or BAPP card for at least 2 years and am targeting a top up of Avious and earning a 241

  5. New Card says:

    I thought VS miles spending on AF/KLM was due to be announced today?… Or is that a special 10am post to come….?

  6. BA boss Willie Walsh is calling the Government’s rescue of Flybe a ‘blatant misuse of public funds’.

    • Of course he is, how else would he be expected to frame it. I think he’s right in this occasion too.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Willie should probably keep his mouth shut potentially £10 more profit from domestic flights to come his employers way.

        I’m assuming that it will start with the £26 APD being removed and then Prices will creep up.

        Also easy for his to say with BA’s limited regional services. Flybe offers a service that’s as important in keeping the country connected as buses and trains.

        • Shoestring says:

          They’re saying that the APD issue will possibly get resolved as follows:
          – currently 2x £13 (domestic return)
          – Band A (0 – 2,000 miles) = £13
          – proposal: all domestic tickets, single and return, APD will be £13 only

          • “– proposal: all domestic tickets, single and return, APD will be £13 only”

            “All” is a terrible proposal. There’s no APD on flights from a HIE airport at the moment – which is what complicated matters in Scotland with the devolvement of APD to ADT

            Won’t FlyBe is probably one of the lowest collectors of APD. With nothing to collect for departures from HIE, and probably nothing from IoM, Jersey and Guernsey either.

          • Shoestring says:

            ‘all’ except for the exemptions, we need to look after Newquay/ Cornwall first & foremost

          • IOM APD payment is same rates as UK

        • Lady London says:

          And do not worry there will be a lot of noise by Government about halving or largely removing domestic APD.

          And not much noise by Government about a contemporaneous or soonly subsequent doubling of international APD. Which of course will yield a lot more tax revenue.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      There is no confirmation that public funds have been used.

      The insinuation is that the APD bill has been deferred in some way. It is not uncommon for HMRC to agree repayment plans if they are reasonable. It is better that the government receive all of it over the next year than some of it now as the airline collapses. Heck, if the government is charging interest above inflation than the tax payer may be better off. It’s all speculation and unless WW knows something that isn’t in the public domain he can do one.

      • William Avery says:

        Isn’t that missing the wider point? APD is part of the deal? What’s the rest of it?

        I thought we are supposed to be outraged about a govt running the railways but it’s alright to subsidise a failing airline?

        Maybe I’m missing something.

      • I doubt it. Flybe is a zombie airline… Apparently their loses are getting bigger and bigger after the takeover. It’s likely that in a couple of months, Flybe will be in a similar position.

        All of this is (really) bad press for Flybe. That’s the reality.

  7. My tax bills are due at the end of the month , can I be excused for a while as well ?

  8. Qatar Airways fare Question – If you find a much lower fare via skyscanner on expedia / ebookers ect are you still able to get BA Tier points and avios ?
    Thanks

    • Mostly yes but it depends on the booking g class. Check wheretocredit to see what you.might earn for.a given fare type

    • Yes, we booked our last one through and agent, was 100 pp cheaper, and got,our TPS and avios.

    • Lady London says:

      Rob has said as a rule of thumb it does not matter where you booked your air ticket, generally you are eligible for frequent flyer miles / tier points. Always check the fare class carefully because some classes don’t credit anywhere much or at all. Such as P class on LX. A while back there was a problem when QR R class did not credit as many people found out too.

      Wheretocredit dot com is a good place for a first check but if there’s any doubt then you should check with the program if the airline you want to credit to. Flyertalk sometimes has good discussions on this type of query.

      Unlike hotels where Rob has previously said direct booking is needed – or booking via corporate-type non-OTA travel agents ,- to get most benefits and credits.

      2 known gotchas – Amex Travel – which operates and accepted as normal corporate type travel agent -seems to be booking some airfares into fare classes that don’t qualify for credit and may have extra restrictions on them. This is apparently not being mentioned to the client who finds out the hard way. It sounds similar to a travel agent I worked for long ago who were selling the much reduced price ” ITX” fares at less than full price, but not that much less price, to clients without the required hotel (for the ITX ticket) attached which was technically incorrect.

      2nd gotcha is that some posters are reporting their company has signed uo with a travel provider that uses someone like Egencia to book corporate hotels. Unfortunately it appears rates given to Egencia or similar don’t qualify for hotel benefits or credits. We can expect this trend in corporate procurement to expand (I work in procurement systems and seems to be a trend).

  9. OT. (and very subjective) but I am currently BA Gold and will be 285 TPs short of hitting it again in April.
    2 Questions – Do you think its worth it (I normally fly WT+ with work to South Africa and would hope to use Avios to fly for my summer and chrismas holidays in Club)
    and Second question is are there any good TP runs to get the 285? Im gutted I missed out on the London – Helsinki for £200 but any other that people know on here? ( I looked on FT but find it hard to nagivate)
    Cheers

  10. O/t New York City Hilton
    Any recommendations – there seem to be lots of middle of the road Hilton/hgi/Hampton – all of which seem to get varied reviews.

    Any personal recommendations please?
    Looking to spend 50k ish points per night. Cash values are around 150usd/night.

    Hilton gold – paying points to escape resort fees.

    • With cash prices ard 150 USD it’s pointless to spend points. Choose a hotel that doesn’t have resort fees.

    • Avoid the Hilton Fashion District – room was small and too noisy and breakfast in the hotel was terrible (although you could choose between that and a voucher for a deli nearby – voucher was definitely the way to go!). That was 4 or 5 years ago, though, when it was still an HGI…

      Hilton Times Sq was actually alright – room we had was big, albeit dated, and surprisingly quiet for where it was. Breakfast was OK and location was convenient for transport.

    • We stayed at the Hilton Millennium UN Plaza last year and were very impressed, got a 2 cat room upgrade and lounge access as gold. The rooms were a great size by NY standards and immaculate. Close to 5th Ave and a pleasant walk to Central Park etc. The lounge is on a high floor so had great views of the Hudson on one side and the Chrysler building on the other. We paid about $250 per night, well worth it.

      • Thanks Anna, I had seen it and discounted it because it seemed a little far out compared to the others nearer TS/CP. Will give it another look.

  11. OT: London to Glasgow or Edinburgh via train. What is better (namely, reliability)? A quick look at a random date in the near future seems to indicate that to Edinburgh it takes slightly more time, but the price is more constant.

    • David D says:

      Depending on where you are going to as your final destination, Avanti run a quicker train to Glasgow Central which stops first at Warrington Bank Quay and then only 4 more into Glasgow and takes 4 hours 29 minutes. The West Coast Mainline tends to have fewer disruptions until you reach Scotland as there are more tracks for the train to run on and the timetable is more padded.

      • David D says:

        LNER wise you can do it in 4 hours 19 minutes to Edinburgh Waverley. Any disruption North of Newcastle will add significant time though and have been pretty bad recently.

      • The section between Carlise and Lockerbie is particularly susceptible to delays during extended periods of bad weather

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