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Bits: BA launches more Cape Town flights (and St Lucia, Cancun), new Amex spend bonus, £70 off Virgin Premium

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News in brief:

British Airways launches extra flights to Cape Town, St Lucia and Cancun

By an amazing coincidence, one day after Virgin Atlantic announced its new route to Cape Town, British Airways has announced an extra Cape Town service.

There will be an additional two flights per week from London Gatwick to Cape Town, starting on 10th January.

This takes the number of weekly British Airways flights from London to Cape Town to 19, on top of the 14 BA flights to Johannesburg and the three weekly services to Durban.

This is not necessarily overkill, because Cape Town was a route also served by Thomas Cook before its demise.  It is possible that both BA and Virgin can make a success of their flights, although the lack of full fare Business Class traffic – as opposed to leisure travellers in flat beds on £1,750 sale deals – may prove to be an issue.

British Airways also announced two other frequency increases yesterday:

St Lucia gains an additional flight on Wednesday and Saturday.  No dates were given, but the implication is that the service will simply continue to operate nine times per week when the Summer timetable ends in October, rather than dropping down to seven as it does usually.

Cancun gains an additional weekly service, on Sundays, from 6th December.  This will take the number of weekly flights up to six.

Both of these routes operate from London Gatwick.

It isn’t clear where the aircraft are coming from to operate these new services.  BA has some flexibility due to the arrival of additional A350 and Boeing 777 aircraft and the ability to flex the retirement of the Boeing 747 and older Boeing 777 fleet.

British Airways launches additional Cape Town flight from Gatwick

American Express launches a new spend bonus

American Express has launched another of its occasional spend bonuses.  This is not tied to any particular retailer but is based on your total spend during the promotional period.

The new offer runs from 1st March to 31st March.  It is NOT valid immediately!

It only appears to be available on personal Gold and Platinum cards.  To see if you are targeted, look under the ‘Offers’ tab on your online statement page.  You MUST ‘save’ the offer in order to activate it.

To be honest, the targets we received in our house were laughable.  My wife, who wouldn’t have hit her £15,000 Amex Gold annual spend bonus if I hadn’t used her card to pay our office rent for a few months, needs to spend £5,900 in March to receive a whopping 1,500 bonus Membership Rewards points.  It won’t be happening.

My personal Platinum card, which sees even less action than my wife’s Gold, has a target of £4,400 during March.  Rhys was offered £4,900 on his card which seems a little toppy for someone who graduated less than a year ago!  Again, we were both offered an underwhelming 1,500 Membership Rewards points.

I can’t help but think that Amex missed a trick by not starting the offer immediately.  With half term starting tomorrow, many families will be going away and running up more spending than usual next week.

Save up to £70 on Virgin Atlantic Premium flights

Virgin Atlantic is running a short additional bonus when you book a Premium (Virgin’s name for Premium Economy) flight.

Until 16th February, flight prices have been automatically discounted by up to £70.  No promo code is required.

You can find out more about the cabin on the ‘Premium’ page of the Virgin Atlantic website here.

This HFP article looks at the differences between British Airways World Traveller Plus and Virgin Atlantic Premium (hint: Virgin comes out better in general) although you should double-check what you will get on your specific aircraft type.

To maximise your miles when paying, your best bet is one of the two Virgin Atlantic Reward credit cards.  These earn double miles (3 per £1 on the paid card or 1.5 per £1 on the free card) when you book at or via Virgin Holidays.  Another option is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.

Remember that you get a higher bonus of 25,000 miles on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card until 28th FebruaryYou can apply here.

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  1. When will BA load the LGW flights to Cape Town into the system?

  2. Paul Sowden says:

    I got 800 for £500

    I was pleasantly surprised as that barely covers my every day spending, but will encourage me to use my gold card instead of my BA Amex

  3. Cape Town will be running the 777 from the Gatwick fleet.

  4. I have the basic free Amex points card (the clear plastic one) and was offered 1500 points if I spend £1700. I do have a chunk of holiday stuff to pay for so I might as well do it in March?

  5. Trevor Gardiner says:

    3000 points for £3600 spend in March.

  6. Secret Squirrel says:

    Anyone had luck getting 2x points from Amex Gold when calling up to cancel?

  7. Delboy65 says:

    1,500MR for 3K spend 🙁

  8. Not so surprising that BA added capacity to both CUN and UVF – 2 more destrinations VS has left.

  9. 1500MR for £1500…well within my normal spend

  10. Pangolin says:

    I’ve got the offer on both of my MR cards.

    PRG: 1,500 MR for £1,900 spend.
    ARCC: 3,000 MR for £1,900 spend.

    I did a lot of travel bookings in January so I’m all tapped out. In any case, even though the ARCC offer is better, if I was able to generate that much spend in March it would make more sense to put it on the PRG as then I’d have some chance of hitting the annual spend target (10K MR).

  11. We got 400MR for £400.
    Not used the card much after the signup bonus, might use it for a handful of extra points. Makes it 2 for £1 spending.

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