Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The weekly Head for Points travel trade newsletter

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Welcome to your weekly round-up of UK business travel and travel loyalty news from the last seven days, as well as our latest reviews and features.

As a reminder, you are receiving this as a previous subscriber to Malcolm Ginsberg’s Business Travel News newsletter.  Following Malcolm’s (semi) retirement on his 80th birthday last week, Head for Points has taken over responsibility for your weekly Monday morning dose of news and views.

If you aren’t familiar with us, Head for Points is the UK’s largest business travel and frequent flyer website. Our website gets 25 million page views per year, 80% from the UK. The majority of these are London-based professionals who travel substantially for business and leisure. We have won five Business Travel Journalism Awards, including ‘Editor of the Year’.

Malcolm will continue to contribute occasionally and the BTN archive continues to be availlable at btnews.co.uk. He is launching a new monthly forward-looking newsletter, Travel News Update, in November.

If you are already a subscriber to our existing Head for Points Saturday newsletter, we won’t be offended if you choose to tidy up your inbox and unsubscribe from one. For IT reasons it has not been possible to automatically remove duplicate email addresses.

Plaza Premium CEO Mr Song

Interview of the week:

In our interview this week we chat to the CEO of Plaza Premium Group, Mr Song. In a candid interview he explains why he banned Priority Pass cardholders from his lounges and the group’s big growth plans.

The latest business travel news:

Virgin Atlantic will permanently axe flights to Hong Kong, precluding a restart of the service next year. Virgin Atlantic initially launched flights to Hong Kong in 1994, but the closure of Russian airspace means that it is no longer financially viable. Shanghai is now Virgin’s only route to East Asia.

Could Virgin Atlantic be launching flights to South Korea instead? This Korean newspaper believes so (external link).

Aer Lingus has announced the resumption of flights to Hartford, Connecticut. It will be the only airline to fly to Europe from the city.

BA CityFlyer, which operates from London City Airport, has suspended flights to Milan and Menorca. Some Southampton BA CityFlyer have also been cut – we will have more on this next week.

Etihad has now launched its A350 on the London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi route. Delivered in 2019, the aircraft sat in storage during the pandemic but are coming into use. The aircraft have a new business class seat which may look familiar – it is identical to the British Airways Club Suite, albeit to a higher specification. See image below, and click to read our report from our tour of the aircraft:

Etihad A350 business studio

We’ve launched an exclusive offer in partnership with citizenM hotels where you can get a FREE 3-month free trial of mycitizenM+. This gets you 10% off your room, free late check out and more.

Hyatt is opening its first hotel in Scotland later this year, pre-empting the opening of the Hyatt Centric Edinburgh Haymarket in 2025. The existing SCHLOSS Roxburghe Hotel will join Hyatt’s luxury collection brand ‘Destination by Hyatt’ later this year following renovation.

Marriott has launched its annual ‘Week of Wonders’ promotion. Our first article looks at Marriott Bonvoy Moments – the events and experiences auction site, where packages include exclusive behind-the-scenes Abu Dhabi Grand Prix packages.

Hyatt will add 30 hotels in Germany via a deal with Lindner Hotels. This will see the chain join the ‘JdV by Hyatt’ brand.

Moxy Hotels – what are they, and are they worth booking? Our complete guide to Marriott’s budget-but-cool brand is here.

India has removed the ability of UK residents to apply for a visa by post. This means, in effect, that most people with a holiday in India coming up will have to cancel if they have not already secured a visa. Personal appointments are not available until December in many of the UK’s nine visa centres. For political reasons, the UK is only of only a handful of countries in the world – alongside Algeria, Burkina Faso, Lebanon and Pakistan – to be banned from India’s e-visa system.

The latest travel reviews:

We travelled to Edinburgh, where we visited the impressive new Plaza Premium airport lounge. It is a genuinely impressive space.

As we were there anyway …. here is our review of the British Airways lounge at Edinburgh Airport. What can you expect?

The latest UK travel loyalty news:

Barclays and Barclaycard have launched a fantastic new promotion with 100,000 bonus Avios up for grabs (150,000 Avios in total, if you include individual product sign-up bonuses!). You need to take out the Barclaycard Avios Plus credit card and Premier Banking with Barclays Avios Rewards. If you already have one of these products, you need to add the other. Our introductory article is here or you can check your eligibility directly on the Barclays website here.

After two and a half years, it’s finally possible to cancel your British Airways Avios bookings online again. Click to learn how.

You can get a 25% bonus when you transfer HSBC Premier credit card points to Avios – this is a secret deal, not publicised by HSBC at all!

British Airways has launched ‘The Wine Flyer’. After severing its partnership with Laithwaite’s, it has launched its own in-house wine retail business, allowing customers to earn and (eventually) spend Avios. We have some 10% discount codes available if you want to try it.

American Express has launched a 30% Hilton Honors transfer bonus for Membership Rewards points. But does it move the needle enough?

A quirk in BA’s Avios earning chart means that you currently can’t earn Avios or tier points on Cathay Pacific’s ‘P’ class business class fares. It is definitely an error as cheaper fare classes do earn.

We took a detailed look at American Express Membership Rewards points – what can they be used for?

Get 500 bonus points, worth €10, on your next Accor stay. You need to register here (in French).

Join us for dinner at The London EDITION hotel

If you run an SME with over £500,000 of turnover, join us for an exclusive private dinner at the luxurious The London EDITION hotel in November, pictured above.

We have a great evening of drink, food and networking lined up, all paid for by a major credit card company which wants to chat to you over the meal to get your views on what you want from a small business credit card. The full HfP team will be there too.

Join Rob on ‘The Loyalty Podcast’

Head for Points editor Rob Burgess was on ‘The Loyalty Podcast’ last week, discussing ‘hypercollectors’.

How you can use miles and points to attract people to try your product or service. Once you’ve done that, however, how do you retain them? Does this approach work better in some sectors than others? (Answer: yes)

You can listen here. Ignore the email sign-up box at the top of the landing page and scroll down

Thank you for reading

Thank you for reading this first newsletter under Head for Points ownership. We will be back next Monday.

Please drop me a note at rob@headforpoints.com with any feedback. If you want to discuss commercial opportunities for this newsletter or the Head for Points website – which is a unique opportunity to reach a high-end London-based audience of business travellers – please email sinead@headforpoints.com.

Rob, Rhys and Sinead @ Head for Points

PS. If you were forwarded this email by a colleague, you can sign up for a free subscription by filling in the form here

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