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Travel News Round-up – Latest points & miles promos, tips, deals

Tuesday 11th February 2020

See these pages on TSTW for all the hotel promos, and lounges cars & parking promos or buy points deals



Hyatt Double Points promo starts 15th February - Register now

Register by 31st March and get double points starting with your second stay (not night), for stays from 15th February to 15th May. Existing bookings count as long as you register before staying. Award nights count.

Full details on the hotel promos page.

Virgin Flying Club buy miles bonus - Up to 50%

Until 16th February, buy Virgin Flying Club miles with a bonus. The bonuses are staggered. Here’s what you have to spend to get to each bonus tier:

  • 15% – Buy 5000 + 750 bonus for £75
  • 20% – Buy 10000 + 2000 bonus for £150
  • 30% – Buy 30000 + 9000 bonus for £450
  • 40% – Buy 70000 + 28000 bonus for £1050
  • 50% – Buy 101000 + 50500 bonus for £1515

Here’s what you’ll be paying in pence per mile at each tier:

  • 15% = 1.3p
  • 20% = 1.25p
  • 30% = 1.15p
  • 40% = 1.07p
  • 50% = 1p

The usual annual purchase limit of 100000 has been raised. The most you can buy here is 150000 miles with 75000 bonus miles for £2250.

What’s a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club mile worth?

Hard to say, as usual, but you can easily get at least 1p of value per mile when redeeming for Virgin Atlantic Premium. With Upper Class, it is easy to get more than that. Even at the 40% bonus you shouldn’t lose out.

For example, Upper Class from LHR to JFK off-peak is 95000 miles + £560 tax (varies) return.

On a quick sample search I see the same flight for £6122. If you bought miles and paid the taxes you’d be spending £1610 instead of £6122. However, you’re still paying £1610 for a return flight.

Don’t kid yourself that £1610 is a bargain, because it isn’t. At least, not unless you really were going to hand over £6122 for that flight.

The same London – New York route is about £1000 in Premium. At 35000 miles plus £459 of tax, if you bought miles under this promo you’d be paying £909. Not such an attractive proposition. Especially if you factor in the miles you would earn on the cash ticket.

It’s definitely possible to get a lot of value out of this offer, but you should only buy if you have a definite plan for a specific redemption where you know you will gain more than the cost of the miles. Buying speculatively is never a good idea.

You have until the 16th to price up any redemptions you’ve been thinking of and make sure you are going to win before buying any miles. It’s certainly not the first time Virgin Atlantic have offered buy miles bonuses.

And remember – From Thursday you’ll be able to redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles with Air France KLM, which opens up a whole new world of potentially very valuable redemptions.

NH Hotels 35% off and triple points

Book by 17th February for stays until the end of August. Book at least 7 days in advance. Discount off best available rate. Non-refundable. No bonus on your first stay as a member. Participating hotels only. Subject to availability.

The list of terms and conditions goes on and on, and includes this: Points will be valid until 07/07/2020. After that they will expire and you may no longer use them.

This sort of thing is a great example of exactly how not to do a promotion.

Excluding the first stay as a member is OK – That means it benefits existing members more, so that’s all about loyalty. Discounting best available rate is normal too.

But making the bonus points expire after 5 months is just unnecessary and will catch people out. When someone realises all their bonus points have just expired, and NH says “Oh dear, didn’t you read the small print?”…. Well, they won’t be feeling very loyal then, will they.

Marriott Bonvoy: Category changes coming 4th March

Bonvoy announced a list of category changes and also changes to restricting award inventory during peak periods. Full article and list of category changes.

Frankfurt Airport gets a new Marriott

The Sheraton Frankfurt Airport has been renovated and split into two. The other half is now a Marriott. Each side has its own style, executive lounges, and lobby. Dining and fitness facilities are shared.

Much of the internet said “why?”.

As part of the update they’ve somehow added 4 rooms to the total capacity. The Sheraton side is getting a new club lounge, which is probably the most useful part of the news.

The press release actually used the phrase “leverage the synergies”, which proves even they don’t really know what is the point of having a Sheraton and a Marriott right next to each other.

Picking one or the other is like when you ask for a coke and they say they’ve only got pepsi.

Strengthening Sterling makes cheaper travel for Brits

Sterling is up against 80% of the top 40 travel currencies, according to the Post Office Travel Money Holiday Money Report for 2020.

The biggest bargains are the Chilean Peso and Turkish Lira. Other destinations fo a much better deal include South Africa, Mauritius, Budapest, Croatia, and Bulgaria.

Going the other direction are Egypt, where you’ll get 10% less for your pound, and Costa Rica, where you’ll get 7% less.

The uncertainty over trade negotiations with the EU and the rest of the world means that there exchange rate variations are likely, and it may be a good to time to pick up at least some of the funds for this year’s travel plans.

Manchester Airport adds more ePassport gates

MAN T3 is getting 80% more ePassport gates to address queueing times.

A350 pilots no longer allowed drinks in the cockpit

After a few incidents of spilled drinks causing unintended engine shutdowns, A350 crew will no longer be allowed to take drinks into the cockpit. Or rather, no drinks within a “liquid prohibited zone”.

737 Max imminent return to service will not be stopped by a new software error

Flight tests of the updated 737 Max flight control software revealed another bug. The 737 Max has been grounded since 2 fatal crashes, caused by a software fault. The new fault affects the behaviour of a warning light.

FAA regulators said that this would not mean a significant delay in returning the 737 Max to service, and a certification flight is set to go ahead in the next few weeks.

It remains to be seen whether passengers will be satisfied with a bug fix instead of a change to the software development, testing, certification, and regulatory process that allowed un-noticed software bugs to be approved for flight and kill 346 people.

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