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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. OT, Morrison’s gift cards – can they be used to buy petrol?

    • Yes, but some staff don’t know how to process them in the till. If they have problems there is a button on the till screen marked gift card ans they need to push that before scanning AFAIK.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Seems a bit of talk on Morries GC at the moment, what’s the offer?

      • If you bank with Lloyds, BoS, Halifax, HSBC or First Direct there have been a number of funds return offers.

        If you have a loyalty relationship with Virgin Atlantic, Airtime, NextJump and others there have been further funds return offers that stack with the banking offers and sometimes multi-stack.

        If everything stacks you could earn up to £35 funds return and 800 Virgin miles for every £100 you spend. Reality is usually just one loyalty and one banking reward per transaction.

    • The paper ones can. However, I’vd been told within the last hour by Morrisons cafe staff that vouchers cannot or will soon no longer be accepted in cafe or petrol station. She said she did not kniw exactly yet but it might only apply to the new plastic ones as she went off to the store manager who appparentlyn gave the ok on my paper one. Gave me a free breakfast for my (nonexistent) trouble 🙂

      • The tills in the petrol stations were recently updated to process plastic gift card payments though so it would be strange if they were to backtrack.

        • Is there anything else you can think of that is the problem, another giftcard Morrisons took? The lady in the cafe was certain their is one that they are not supposed to accept anymore but she didn’t know which one which is why she asked the manager. The word that came back was that my paper ones were still fine hence the conclusion on new ones. It would have been odd if they didn’t take the paper ones as I just bought them during the same visit to the store this morning. I’m a bit surprised they are still around to be honest.

          • Shoestring says:

            I’ve got the T&Cs in front of me (in my wallet) and no mention is made of ‘invalid in cafe’ or PFS

            haven’t had to fill up the car yet but should be fine, same as lottery tickets etc

            not usable online

          • Shoestring says:

            you can’t believe what the staff tell you, some of the time

            I was in Tesco the other week and the cashier said only one (Amazon) giftcard allowed, I said hope not as I’ve got a £12 off £70 coupon, can you pls just give it a try?, but she called over the duty mgr (with me thinking I’d really messed up) and he just said fine, we gave that instruction before Xmas to speed up the tills but no problem now and he proceeded to stand there making sure the cashier processed my 2 Amazon giftcards & MOC correctly 🙂

          • Must have been sonething like love2shop or on4all then as I doubt there is anything else at Morrisons other than the old paper or new plastic cards. I haven’t seen the new ones yet. Possibly it could be the More vouchers although I’d be surprised if they would not take those in the cafe.

          • @BJ likewise I got told the same re not taking plastic GCs for fuel when I filled up last Friday. I’m down to my last few paper vouchers and feel confident enough with the info above to let PFS staff check if system allows it / is feasible despite what they have been (mis) informed by management! 😉
            Also @BJ did you see I had success at Scotmids x2!

          • Most Morrisons PS staff haven’t been trained in how to process a plastic morrisons gift card but the till can do it. They don’t see many of them at all.

          • @Ewan – how long did you need to wait for a response from Accor Shareholder Club after filling in the form, etc?

          • @Grant I think it was on the 2nd working day after filling in the form that my status changed, it was very prompt! I then received an app notification and an email a few days later (but not both on the same day). I can double check if you want exact dates!

          • @EwanG, thanks, one of these Scotmids was at the shops over at Drumbrae? If you want more paper vouchers from Morrisons, I got mine at Ferry Road Store this morning. Never had any problem using them to date at their PFS.

  2. rams1981 says:

    So not just me who got no offer at all?

  3. Thanks Rob, I’ve got the offer saved – a respectable target to hit of 2k in March for the 1500 point bonus. Should do doable if I move all my spending across.

  4. Anttelli says:

    I’ve had 3000 Points for £1600 spend on my Amex Rewards card!

  5. SultanOfCroydon says:

    I am offered a 1500 MR bonus for a £5900 spend.
    Funny thing is I would have done it If the Monese PO route still worked. However, the blabbermouths on this forum had to openly talk about it and the route that worked for many years is now dead…….

  6. OT: AFVALDAYUK gers £50 off a long-haul Air France booking. Valid until 28 February.

  7. maccymac says:

    OT-ish… Do Amex offers stack? Have the £80 off when spending £800 or more with QR and 1500 MR points for £1800 spend on PRG and was thinking could possibly kill two birds with one stone.

  8. OT: HPPYVDAYEC gets £40 off your next economy class ticket with KLM.

  9. Quick poll: FlyBe goes belly up before the 1st May bank holiday? Yes or no? 🙂 Considering booking a flight with them the first weekend of May.

  10. Amex is interesting. Currently under offers I have cashback with amex travel spend, 6000 points if I refer a friend and now this offer. Are amex feeling the pinch after the changes to Platinum and churning I wonder?

  11. memesweeper says:

    O/T does anyone know is there a bonus clubcard pay out for new pet insurance still?

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