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. I feel like I want to tell her to fasten her seathbelt…

  2. OT
    Can anyone please advise on the best strategy for topping up Revolut from Virgin+ credit card without upsetting either party?
    Thanks!

    • Don’t?

    • Curve?

    • CaptainAnonymous says:

      First and foremost more data points on needed on whether the majority of Virgin credit card top ups are now coding as a cash advance. If they are, then this is dead. The last reports I saw say some are and some aren’t.

      That aside, just be sensible that you can justify the amount you are funding and where you are spending it. I was audited and had to provide bank statements and payslips to them. The process got stuck for 4 weeks until I contacted them. Not great, but I was keeping my spending well within my salary, so it was ultimately resolved.

      • interesting – can i be so bold as to ask how much you were putting through a month?

        • I thought i read a comment from someone a few days ago around doing it in £200 increments with a [can’t remember number] of transactions a week from each card?

      • Neil Donoghue says:

        I can confirm cash advance fees on the Virgin + card

        • Interesting.
          I topped up an initial £10 from Virgin+ when I first opened my account last Sunday and it has hit my account as a purchase with no fees.

          • Neil Donoghue says:

            Very interesting! Mine hit the account as soon as the transaction went through.

        • Did those hit your account together with the transaction or at the end of the month in your statement?

          • stevenhp1987 says:

            With Virgin cash fees are immediately applied after a cash transaction.

            If you look online it will say if it’s a “purchase” or “cash” transaction.

      • I have so far managed to avoid cash advance fees on mine and my wife’s + cards.

      • I have the free virgin card and have not had a charge as yet Just below £1K every couple of days since mid December. Transfered to bank account same day Virgin paid following day.

        Maybe time to slow down a bit

      • i wonder what would have happened had you just refused to hand over your bank statements to Virgin, surely they would only be able to cancel your card and can’t retrospectively charge you the cash fees?

        Not that i am worried or anything…

    • what about topping up Monese? is that treated as cash or purchase please?

    • The Urbanite says:

      I can’t do it at the moment, Virgin Money is security blocking it for me.

  3. Flying Vet says:

    Hi
    How do you book in to the q suite quad centre seats as a booked family of 4 on the now q suite flights from MAN?
    They all show as unavailable when accessed through the Qatar website or via the ba app? – reward seats booked man to Mle return. The only options available are the outer rows,

    Thanks for any help!
    Regards The Flying Vet

    • You need to cal Qatar customer service and tell them which seats you would like. Once you’ve done this you’ll have the flexibility to move to any other of the centre seats as well

    • You need to call them. Until x days before departure they block out those seats in case a family or group does book.

      • I use twitter for this. Always been fast off the mark to help with the added advantage you have something in writing to refer to if you hit a wobble.

  4. My recent flights from MAN with Qatar were switched to Q Suites, and then back again to the old 2x2x2 seating. Have to say I wasn’t completely blown away by the Q Suites on the other legs, it felt a bit cramped and the screen very in your face and I actually thought the old seat was more comfortable, during the day time at least, as it had a lot more flexibility in terms of seat position. Whilst the old seating definitely lacked privacy, I would say that service on these legs was far better than on the Q Suites, where the crews just seemed frazzled the whole time.

    • Totally agree. Q suites have had their day

      • +1 for the old 2-2-2 seats. Pretty much limitless space, only downside is having to step over or be stepped over if you have a seatmate in the window pairs.

    • I also was underwhelmed with Qsuites. I’ve flown quite a few times with QR, and was looking forward to my first Qsuite experience last October. I was doing ARN-DOH-SIN/BKK-DOH-ARN, and it was only on DOH-SIN. I was in 7K, which I think was the same seat as Rob had for his recent review. I didn’t need the duvet, which was in a large roll. I asked the FA if they could store it, but all the overhead bins were full, as they have removed the centre ones, making storage limited. I had to keep the ‘bedding roll’ in my ‘suite’, which I already felt was a bit cramped. Each time I got up to go to the loo, I had to move it out of the way and put it on my seat, re-storing it when I got back.

      Much prefer the 1-2-1 reverse herringbone, probably about even with the 2-2-2 for me.

      I was keen to try it, but now I have I won’t look out for it again.

  5. Neil Donoghue says:

    OT: Rob – I am looking at accommodation for my annual visit to Mykonos this year (Can’t beat the direct flights from LCY) and I noticed two very nice Mr & Mrs Smith hotels have popped up on IHG. Do you have a rough time frame when I might be able to redeem points for these stays? I know the merge was announced back in September so I was hoping it would be live this month / February. Any help would be much appreciated.

    • No-one seems to know, unfortunately, although its hard to believe it will be more than a couple of months. Having them sitting on ihg.com as ‘coming soon’ for 6 months would be silly.

  6. If BoJo was really canny he’d just cut APD to/from the remote regions that are heavily dependent on FlyBE connectivity.

    So FlyBE benefits but other carriers don’t.

    eg LHR-ABZ/EDI doesn’t need a APD cut as BA operates on that route.

    • This sounds sensible to me. I mean one of the benefits of APD is that it at least in part covers the environmental impact of air travel. If Flybe can’t afford to pay for flights on “profitable” routes then they frankly don’t deserve to be in business. I shall be writing to my MP about this one (not that she’s likely to listen).

      • Exempt Devon, Cornwall and NI then cut duty for other domestic flights that don’t start and end in London.

        That would do the job wouldn’t it?

      • It’s good PR for BoJos much famed one nation outlook.

        It also should stop Willie whining as BA are not directly competing with FlyBE on these vital routes for marginalised communities.

        It’s a compromise that XR & co won’t like, but the general tax payer will stomach.

    • I believe that would constitute state aid so they have to do something more complicated.

    • The problem is they aren’t that remote: land transportation is crap. That’s why the region connectivity is relies on land transportations. Except for NI and other small islands, they need good air links… but I believe there’s no APD so… essentially FlyBe business model doesn’t work.

    • the_real_a says:

      And also a cut to places that currently DONT have a connection to London. From HUY i would need to change in AMS to get to LHR which is ridiculous.

  7. I had about £50 worth that went to payable last week but then reversed to pending or approved a day later before I could pay out. The stuff that went back to pending I wasn’t expecting to get as I had returned the items etc or it was from hotel bookings I hadn’t actually stayed at yet. Looks like they had a system issue which made a load of transactions incorrectly marked as payable. I still have >£150 at payable I was going to wait for next 25% bonus but might just cash in now.

  8. Hi All

    OT – How does AMEX platinum travel insurance work? Do I need to manually enroll?

    I have a trip to the US but booked with BAPP card, would this be an issue?

    TIA

    • Charlieface says:

      No it’s automatic.
      Some coverage requires payment with ANY Amex, most coverage you can pay with any card. SO you’re OK. But check the documentation yourself

  9. I don’t understand how cutting APD is supposed to help – if the amount charged is the same, regardless of the airline flying the route, it doesn’t affect competitiveness. Plus the amount collected goes straight to the government anyway, so is effectively excluded from the P&L, isn’t it?

    • Charlieface says:

      Helps them compete with train, which for domestic is their main competitor.

    • I’m far from an expert, but is the competition aspect here not between various airlines, but the choice between flying and taking the train, or just driving yourself to the destination?

      • Virgin Connect said they would look into dropping routes that can be achieved by rail or road in a competitive amount of time. If it can be done in under 5 hours, and the flight isn’t profitable, then it shouldn’t operate. Interregional flight connectivity in England doesn’t need to be as high unless you’re going to Cornwall; Newquay to the north England is understandable, Exeter to Manchester less so and it’s the ticket price that probably deters potential users.

    • Genghis says:

      Won’t impact P&L. APD is paid after the flight is taken. As such, accounting is Dr cash, Cr APD payable acct (balance sheet) when customer pays and this gets reversed out once paid to HMRC. However, not paying HMRC helps with cash flow. Most business fail not due to lack of profitability but lack of cash.

      • Wouldn’t a lack of cash be a lack of profitability to generate the cash? Unless of course directors are extracting too much of the cash, which makes the deferred tax ‘bailout’ even more palatable.
        I get new businesses can struggle initially, but Flybe are established and consequentially are victims of their own business model. If a mature company lacks cash surely they’ve just been spending more than their income, hence unprofitable?

        • Shoestring says:

          as I mentioned elsewhere on thread, Flybe got hit hard by the credit card cos, who are hanging on to more of Flybe’s cash from advance sales than they used to

          no idea how much is involved – Flybe’s annual revenue 2018 was £752.8m – so it is not fanciful to see the credit card cos hanging onto an extra £50m of Flybe’s cash

    • They can raise the fare element by the amount of the APD thus keeping more money while passengers pay the same, or the total cost to passengers becomes cheaper which entices demand.

  10. OT @Rob: Any idea if we are getting news on Virgin AF/KLM today?

    • Your guess is as good as ours! I expect we’ll get a press release of some sort at least…

      • Thanks, I guess we’ll have to be patient a bit longer 🙂 Looking for an alternative to JAL for FB miles but I don’t hold out much hope that Virgin will bd it.

    • I was with the head of Flying Club on Monday and even he didn’t know …

      • Odd!

      • That doesn’t surprise me.

        I had another tiresome experience with FC this morning, misinformed yet again. Tired to charge me 2x change fees for booking the rtn legs onto an existing outbound, despite being promised 2 weeks ago it wouldn’t be charged.

        Eventually, patience, politeness and perseverance paid off.

  11. OT – Question about Curve charges on NSANDI transactions. I know it’s going to be 1.5% on HMRC payments after the 24th January (so paid my tax bill already).They said that would be a trial before introducing the charge on payments to NSANDI etc. So…I’m assuming that means that on the 28th January I’m still ok to use my curve card to put a bit of my monthly salary into premium bonds without being hit by a charge?
    If so, any word how long the “trial” will be before they charge for NSANDI

    • There’s no official date. The trial period could be now til 24th for all we know.

      Just make sure you have a bank debit card loaded in to your Curve app, and then go wild: if you do get hit with the 1.5% you can “Go back in time” and switch the payment to the debit card. They’ve confirmed that this will revert the 1.5% fee.

      • memesweeper says:

        Go back in time is limited to transactions under £1,000 IIRC, so start small!

        • Not if you get charged the 1.5%, it isn’t. In that case they will still honour a GBIT – just have to request by email within 14 days. This is all explained in their FAQ.

      • Did they not say they would inform us before adding any more merchants besides HMRC

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