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Bits: will Oman Air still join oneworld?, FA Cup tickets from Emirates, Sofitel and MGallery bonus

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News in brief:

Oman Air cutting back on routes, aircraft and Chelsea FC – oneworld membership off?

It was announced in 2022 that Oman Air was seeking membership of the oneworld airline alliance. This was a welcome move, given that British Airways was no longer flying to Muscat and that I’d been impressed by the three flights I’d done with them.

The airline has been in financial difficulties for some time and is now taking drastic action. The A330 fleet of long haul aircraft was permanently retired over the weekend.

This means that Oman Air has lost just over 50% of its 19-strong long-haul fleet, with only nine Boeing 787 aircraft left (I think a tenth is on order). There are also 25 short haul Boeing 737 planes.

With fewer long haul aircraft, it is cutting all flights to Chittagong, Colombo, Islamabad and Lahore. Male, Trabzon and Zurich will become seasonal services. Some long haul routes will also switch from flat bed A330 aircraft to a Boeing 737, which has a US-style single aisle Business Class seat which does not become a bed.

The Oman Air partnership with Chelsea FC has also been abruptly terminated. The deal – which has been running for less than a year – was reportedly worth $2.5m per season and saw the airline logo appear on team shirts.

With all this going on, and the airline moving more towards being a point to point operator rather than a hub carrier, it remains to be seen whether it will continue with its application to join oneworld. It will no longer see much benefit from connecting alliance traffic and the move is likely to increase central costs.

That said, it is only fair to point out that Oman Air retains a larger fleet, both long haul and short haul, than fellow Middle Eastern oneworld member Royal Jordanian.

How Oman intends to fill its stunning but huge $1.8 billion new terminal at Muscat International Airport, which opened in 2018, is another issue.

Oman Air cutting back on routes and aircraft

Get FA Cup semi final tickets with Emirates Skywards miles

Emirates has released FA Cup semi final tickets for Emirates Skywards members who have miles to redeem.  You can also use American Express Membership Rewards points via a transfer.

As of 4pm on Monday you could get:

Manchester City vs Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday 20th April

  • 30,000 miles for standard seats (both ends available)

Coventry City vs Manchester United at Wembley on Sunday 21st April

  • 30,000 miles for standard seats (both ends available)

This pricing represents substantial inflation on last year. In 2022, standard seats were just 13,500 miles each whilst Club Wembley hospitality packages – of which there are no sign this year – were available for 45,000 miles. Last year tickets were 25,000 miles each.

Full details and booking is available on this page of the Emirates website. You need to log in to see the deal, but you do NOT require status in Emirates Skywards in order to redeem. (Many of these sporting redemptions are now restricted to elite members of Skywards.)

Transfers from American Express Membership Rewards to Emirates Skywards are usually instantaneous if the accounts are already linked and should be pretty quick even if they are not.

If you want to redeem for this next season, we published a complete guide to earning Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards which you can find here.

Get FA Cup semi final tickets with Emirates Skywards miles

Get 2x-3x bonus Accor points on Sofitel and MGallery stays

If you are planning a hotel stay at Heathrow Terminal 5 or Gatwick soon, Accor Live Limitless is running a decent promotion.

You will receive 2x or 3x base points on all stays at Sofitel and MGallery hotels. This includes the Sofitel properties at Heathrow and Gatwick. Full details are here.

Here’s the small print:

  • offer is valid at any Sofitel Legend, Sofitel or MGallery hotel in Europe
  • you must book by 12th April (the website says 4th April but the T&C say 12th April and the countdown clock expires on 12th April)
  • you must stay between 1st April and 5th May
  • you receive DOUBLE base points as a Classic or Silver member of Accor Live Limitless
  • you receive TRIPLE base points as a Gold, Platinum or Diamond member of Accor Live Limitess
  • you can earn the bonus on up to three stays

How many points would you earn?

1 Accor point is worth 2 Eurocents off your next booking, although you need to redeem in chunks of 2,000 points.

The standard earn rate at Sofitel and MGallery is 2.5 points per €1. Double base points means 5 points per €1, triple means 7.5. This means 10 or 15 Eurocents of free stays for every €1 you spend, pre-tax, which is a decent return.

Anyone with elite status will earn even more. Platinum and Diamond members get a 75% base points bonus, so you’d receive (2.5 base points x 3.75) 9.375 Accor points per €1. This is a whopping 18.75% return on your pre-tax spending.

Our review of Sofitel Heathrow Terminal 5 is here and the website is here. We’ve never reviewed the Sofitel at Gatwick (website here) – it is reportedly more dated than the Heathrow hotel.

We also reviewed the new Municipal Hotel Liverpool (MGallery) here and the website is here.

If you’re looking for a central London hotel, you also have Sofitel St James in Mayfair.

You can find out more, and register, on the Accor website here.

The Accor reference for this offer, in case your bonus does not post and you need to retroclaim, is 020183.

Comments (32)

  • Jenny says:

    Are the Emirates- General admission seats any good?

    • Ken says:

      Good.

      However neither semi final will sell out particularly the City v Chelsea game where plenty of tickets will be available for £100 or less. You’d pick up a club Wembley silver for about £300.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Cov vs Man Utd will sell out that’s for sure

        • Ken says:

          There will be at least 5000 empty seats that’s for sure. There is for every semi, even when United appear.
          Whether you can get your hands on them is sometimes a different matter. If you know someone who has a club wembley seat you would easily get a ticket.

          • Rob says:

            Brighton v Man U last year was 81,000 capacity, so a little short of the technical cap but you don’t know how many seats were unsold to create segregation etc. The Man City semi-final was not a sell out although that doesn’t mean you could buy a walk-up ticket (can you?).

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Club Wembley aren’t going for less than £100 .. 34k went to either side. Man Utd have technically sold all their allocation, secondary market aren’t selling for less than £100 either and non season ticket holders but previous purchasers with more than 50 points can buy Coventry tickets from April 4th. There won’t be 5k tickets left there.

          • Alex B says:

            I was quoted £720 for base level Club Wembley, so this comparatively is a bargain.

        • Fazzy Bear says:

          These tickets have been on the Emirates website for over a week, Coventry got a allocation of 24 and have only sold 3 so far.

          Feel Emirates have priced themselves out of the market if the end goal is to sell out. They may still shift nearer the time but circa £300 worth of points seems excessive.

          • Rob says:

            By making people log in to see them, I think most assume they are for elite members only. Why put the log in requirement there? Everything else that requires a log in is for Gold and above only.

            Hilton is struggling with its ‘evening with Joe Elliott of Def Leppard’ event, priced at a very toppy 100,000 points for what is a Q&A and not a music event. Only 10 out of 25 spots sold. People are getting too aggressive, I agree.

          • Fazzy Bear says:

            In response to Rob – Skywards has VIP tickets for England test matches appear available when logged out and when you log in they tell you that you are ineligible to buy them (as non gold). So exact opposite of what they are doing with the FA Cup tickets.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I agree with you on the points prices are Excessive but will say the sale of tickets to supporters literally just started

            Expect Coventry fans might be looking for them after April 11th

  • Xmenlongshot says:

    I last week booked Oman Air via a Lufthansa code share for October half term FYI

    The single aisle non lie-flat plane nearly caught me out and made me transit via Frankfurt (lie-flat) vs Munich

  • Thywillbedone says:

    Shame that Oman are shrinking …had a very memorable flight with them in J a few years back, really superb product all round. But prices have been lofty while their profile remained very low; strangely I could never see them listed as an option on Google Flights (e.g. to BKK) which can’t have helped.

    • tony says:

      Their lack of visibility is strange indeed. I picked up a very good fare with them BKK-MCT-FRA-BHX in 2022 – then it disappeared. Needed the same for later this year and spotted the same option but only via their own website. Google flights was however showing BKK-MCT-FRA-DUB.

      Agree that the flights – and the lounge plus general transit experience in Muscat – were memorable for all the right reasons.

  • jj says:

    Maybe worth noting that I have always earned ALL points on parking at the T5 Sofitel when booked as a package. Add the usual 10% TopCashback kicker, and that’s a 25% discount on parking that was already cheaper than the official long stay car park but which is as close to the terminal as the official short stay car park.

  • Luna says:

    What is the source of the information re the A330 fleet? Has it been substantiated.
    I have a flight to Colombo with Qatar Airways in June. The DOH-CMB is operated by Oman Air A330-200.

  • Erico1875 says:

    Oman Air stiffed me during COVID. Cancelled my flight, no refund. I did a charge back via Amex. They disputed it and said to Amex they had given me a credit, so Amex reversed the charge back. I never received any credit.
    Kind of Karma to see them struggling now 😁

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Did one you ask Amex for proof of the credit from Oman air as you’d never seen any?

      • apbj says:

        Amex will always take the side of the merchant, regardless of evidence, as I discovered when BA stiffed me during Covid. I eventually got my money back from BA but Amex could not have been less helpful. Had a similar issue with Hertz, in which Amex told me I had to keep pursuing the issue with Hertz even though it was in black and white from Hertz themselves that they owed me money; again, I got it back in the end thanks to my own efforts. Why people keep suggesting disputed charges as a means of magically solving things I’ll never understand. FSO is useless, too, although there is pleasure in knowning that every complaint costs the provider a fee even if not upheld.

        • Will says:

          If you pay by credit card then legally the card company is the entity that needs to ensure you get the product or service you paid for so you can take them to small claims in these cases where they refuse a chargeback without evidence.

    • Tom says:

      They are not a good airline to deal with in the case of IRROPS. I had a brief flirtation would them pre-COVID but they are completely unreliable and their back office is even worse than Qatar. Bloggers saying how great they are is normally based on a single flight in their (admittedly very good) business class, but trying flying 10 flights on Oman Air – I guarantee at least one will be cancelled, you’ll be downgraded, etc.

  • m says:

    These Emirates redemptions are out of control now.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      You might be right if they don’t sell … if they do then Emirates will say it’s at the market price

  • lee says:

    Single seats so if you buy 2 does that mean you won’t be seated together ?

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