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Bits: BA lockdown lounge menu, 15% bonus on KrisFlyer transfers, Star Alliance losing Asiana?

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News in brief:

What is the British Airways lockdown lounge menu?

British Airways reopened its Galleries Club North lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 yesterday, after seemingly acknowledging that there was no legal basis for keeping it closed.

The good news is that status and premium customers do now have somewhere to sit.

The bad news is that it is not a food and drink extravaganza. According to a post on Flyertalk yesterday, the food offering consists of a ‘help yourself’ selection of:

Sandwiches:
Tuna and lemon mayonnaise
Cheese Ploughman
Chicken and bacon

Soup:
Tomato and red pepper (in a takeaway container)

Crisps:
Cheese and onion
Sea salt

Muffins:
Blueberry or chocolate

Oddly, there is a fairly full drinks menu available from the bar. If you want to mix your tuna sandwich with rum, tequila, brandy, whisky or vodka, you can.

For clarity, you can eat the food in the lounge – there is no obligation to sit outside in the terminal as some people had assumed would happen.

Lufthansa also continues to offer a ‘served at your seat’ or assisted buffet in its Terminal 2 lounge.

British Airways lockdown lounge menu

Get a 15% bonus on American Express and HSBC Premier transfers to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Last week we published an article on the best ‘sweet spots’ in the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer programme.

There are some interesting options. KrisFlyer is, I think, the cheapest way of getting business class seats from the UK to the Middle East – flying Lufthansa or SWISS – for example. You can also get a permanent transfer bonus of 30%+ on American Express transfers by routing them through an International Currency Card. More on this in our article last week.

Singapore Airlines has just launched a 15% transfer bonus with its bank partners, which includes Amex and HSBC in the UK. There is no small print, except for the fact that you must send across a minimum of 10,000 points.

You can find out more on the Singapore Airlines website here. The offer closes on 27th December.

Asiana to merge with Korean Air

Korean Air to buy Asiana – Asiana to leave Star Alliance?

In the first major airline merger since covid appeared, Korean Air has announced a deal to buy its South Korean rival Asiana Airlines.

Subject to regulatory approvals, which are expected to take almost a year, the new combined group – to be known as Korean Air – will be one of the 10 largest global airlines.

Korean needs to raise the money to make the deal happen – it doesn’t have enough cash on hand – so a lot could still derail the transaction. Very few countries are big enough to support more than one full service airline, however, so this is arguably a natural act of consolidation.

Korean Air is a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance. Delta Air Lines of the US, the pivotal member of SkyTeam, is also a minority shareholder in Korean.

Given that Korean is leading this transaction and it is their brand which remains, it is hard to see a scenario under which Asiana remains in Star Alliance beyond 2021.

You can find out more on Routes Online here.

Comments (36)

  • Crafty says:

    Has chat been killed off, or are you having a lie in? 🙂

  • MD says:

    Still waiting for the annual August Hsbc premier to Avios transfer bonus. Maybe next year?

  • Andrew says:

    HfP Scrolling is very juddery on Android this morning when the adverts (Amex and “Make $900 a day!”) are on screen.

  • Archie says:

    What is it about the author’s sneery comments about alcohol in lounges? Fair enough that the author has more interest in the flavour of the sandwiches than the quality and range of drinks, but why the need to always write in such a condescending way? Always waiting for it when there’s an article on a lounge. Shame as hfp is such a great site and the first thing I read from my morning mailbox.

    • Rhys says:

      ….I think Rob’s point is that the food menu is out of step with the drinks menu, which is more substantial…

    • TGLoyalty says:

      The point is they reduced the service even though there is absolutely no need to.

  • Aston100 says:

    Other than the USA, which other countries can sustain multiple full service carriers?

    • Rhys says:

      Japan? China?

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      UAE, maybe

      • Aston100 says:

        I think the UAE’s circumstances are a bit different.
        Their airlines seem to use the country as purely a connection point to link 2 other places in the world.
        I don’t think the local population itself alone would create enough demand for more than one airline.

    • mr_jetlag says:

      The UK could, and did, support two (BEA and BOAC).

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Few more to the list

      Russia: Aeroflot and S7
      Taiwan: China Airlines and EVA
      Thailand: Thai and (maybe – too regional perhaps) Bangkok

    • Lady London says:

      Hopefully, Oz.
      Someone’s got to keep QF’s amazing ripoff pricing under control.

      • David D says:

        I think Virgin Australia when it comes back to the fore will be a much more low cost version when compared to its previous offering in-between QF and JQ. Though this will place a heavy price pressure on Qantas to ensure those who like Virgin Australia from the previous incarnation don’t remain with it.

        The main concern with Virgin Australia is will it do any long-haul flights in the future?

    • Andrew says:

      Canada?

      Air Canada
      Westjet

    • Dubious says:

      I suppose it depends how you define ‘full service’, but off the top of my head I’ll add: Brazil, Bhutan, Hong Kong (AHK is full service right?),

  • Dr C says:

    Can’t believe the ridiculousness of what they are having to now do with the lounge offering, I can’t see what was wrong with their app ordering and bringing to the table, its not like there were many customer interactions, its a load of rubbish now!

    • Lady London says:

      Do you remember “the universal answer [to any question] is 42”, as in ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ ?

      Well, the universal answer to any question about British Airways is “cost-cutting”.

  • Mikeact says:

    The problem I have with KrisFlyer is their archaic rule of 3 year expiry. Any points you have earned over 3 years are immediately deleted. I still have enough for a reasonable trip but this year hasn’t helped, but at least they have extended them out by 6 months , so unless they extend again I guess they will start taking miles away at the 3.6 year point.

    • BuildTheWall says:

      You can book up to one year in advance. That gives you effectively 4 years time to plan a trip. You can use those miles to book most star alliance and other partner airlines too. If you are unable to plan something for 4 years across 20 airlines’ routes, not sure you can complain much.

      • Bagoly says:

        But if each year you only earn 20% of what you need for said trip…

        • Froggee says:

          My problem is I transferred a bunch of credit card points for 4x one way J tickets from Singapore to Tokyo for the Olympics. I’ve got my KrisFlyer miles back but they will be due to expire in less than 2 years and I have no real use for them now. I could book a trip for myself just for the sake of it but the Mrs wouldn’t be happy! I thought I got a bargain with the miles but cash would have been better for once.

          • meta says:

            @Forgee I had a similar problem. In Nov 2018, I started transferring from Amex to book 2 F tickets for April 2020. Obviously the flights got cancelled. Unlike you, I went about it differently. I asked SQ to retain the value of miles and taxes which allowed me to rebook until end of March 2021. I rebooked in September for April 2021.

            Another issue is that there is no F availability on Singapore Airlines until October 2021 as they pulled all inventory.

            I am still hoping that I’ll be ok for April and they’ll fly F, but I wouldn’t be transferring to Krisflyer again unless I can fly and redeem immediately. It’s too risky and even 4 years is too short of a window as the world can go into shutdown pretty quickly as we have seen.

    • Harry T says:

      The only time I’ve transferred to KrisFlyer was for immediately redeeming on a LHR to Darwin flight when it was still 95,000 miles one way. I wouldn’t speculatively transfer across. They won’t be flying any F for a long time too.

      • meta says:

        They are retrofitting right now all of the remaining A380 with new Suites, so they are expecting them to remain in the fleet. The fact they haven’t cancelled anyone’s F/Suites ticket for next year might also mean it will come back quicker. We’ll see.