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Marriott Rewards just announced their latest airline partner Iberia. You can now earn Iberia Avios for your Marriott stays, although this makes very little sense.

marriott-iberia-logos

Iberia is part of IAG (International Airlines Group), as is British Airways. You have been able to earn BA Avios for your Marriott stays for a long time. You can freely transfer Avios between Avios, BA Avios and Iberia Avios, so there has been a way to earn Iberia Avios for your stays for a long time. [click to continue…]

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American Airlines and British Airways (and likely Iberia as well) have new bonus offers for transatlantic travel between March 18 and May 31, 2013. You can access AA’s offer here and BA’s offer here.

american-airlines-euraa

You will get 20K bonus miles per round trip that is ticketed in first/business/high economy on American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia or OpenSkies between United States or Canada and Europe. The American’s offer is also valid for Mexico. Note that you AAdvantage account needs to be in United States, Canada or Mexico to be eligible for this offer. BA’s offer is only valid for Executive Club members whose address is in the United States or Canada. [click to continue…]

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British Airways has introduced fares out from London Gatwick to Amsterdam, Jersey, Dubrovnik, Turin and Tunis on a “trial” bases starting on travel from February 26, 2013. Previously, the airline has advertised being a full service airline with no add ons required for checked bags and on board refreshments even on short haul routes.

british-airways-bags-trial

Thing to note that this only affects the above five routes from London Gatwick on a trial base. If this trial is successful, I wouldn’t be surprised this to spread to all shorthaul destinations server from Gatwick and eventually from London Heathrow as well. There is very little information that you can find about this trial on BA.com. Here’s link to a PDF that is aimed for travel agents that tries to explain the rationale behind this decision. [click to continue…]

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Most of the Oneworld alliance airlines are offering double award miles on Malaysia Airlines flights between February 15 to April 15, 2013. Some of the programs require you to register for this promotion in advance while others have enrolled all their members.

malaysia-airlines-double-miles

Malaysia Airlines joined the Oneworld Alliance on February 1, 2013. You can take advantage of alliance wide status benefits that you may have with one of the members when flying on Malaysia. [click to continue…]

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British Airways has just sent out an offer email for Executive Club members and offering up to 25% bonus on purchased Avios through March 28, 2013. You can access this offer here.

executive-club-25-bonus-purchased-avios-february-march-2013

You need to purchase the maximum allowed per calendar year (24K) to be eligible for the 25% bonus.

executive-club-25-bonus-price

The price of an Avios under this offer is 2.28 US cents each. The transaction is handled by Points.com. [click to continue…]

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Oneworld alliance top tier frequent fliers have been in disadvantage compared to their Star Alliance equivalent ones when it came to extra luggage allowance based on the frequent flier status.

oneworld-extended-benefits

Now, Oneworld alliance has announced that both extra luggage allowance (one piece or extra 20 kilos) will apply across all Oneworld alliance carriers and passengers will also have an access to fast track security lanes where available. [click to continue…]

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Iberia is one of the better airline partners of the Le Club Accorhotels. The ability to choose Iberia Avios as your partner was recently put on hold, but is back up again.

le-club-accorhotels-iberia-avios

With most of the other airline programs (there are exceptions), you will earn ONE airline mile per TWO Le Club Accorhotels points. With Iberia this exchange rate is different, however. Every TWO Le Club Accorhotels points converts to FIVE Iberia Avios. [click to continue…]

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British Airways is offering 25% bonus for converting hotel points to Avios. This offer is valid until January 13. There is no need to register for this offer and you can read more about it here.

ba-avios-convertion-bonus

 

You can convert points from Starwood, Club Carlson, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Priority Club, and Shangri-La’s programs into Avios.

ba-avios-hotel-partners-1

ba-avios-hotel-partners-2

ba-avios-hotel-partners-3

Conclusion

Airlines tend to intermittently run promotions for hotel point conversion to their miles. These offers tend to vary. Would I convert any of my hotel points to Avios due to getting 25% conversion bonus? I absolutely would not, but it doesn’t mean that this promotion could not work for you.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

  • This promotion is only open to Eligible Participants. An eligible participant is a person aged 18 or over and is a British Airways Executive Club Member (“BAEC”) (membership terms and conditions apply) and is enrolled and registered with one of the hotel partner loyalty programmes. By taking part in this promotion, Eligible Participants confirm that they accept the Terms and Conditions below.

  • Eligible Participants can earn up to 25% Bonus Avios between 13 December 2012 and 13 January 2013 for any qualifying hotel loyalty points converted into Avios. BAEC members must enrol via the hotel property links provided on http://www.britishairways.com/travel/points-to-avios/public/

  • To convert your points, please contact the hotel whose points you wish to convert to Avios.

  • Taxes, fees and charges remain payable by the BAEC member.

  • Bonus Avios can take 4-6 weeks to show on your account from the date of conversion. Once they have been credited, you can start redeeming them for flights, hotels and Avis car hire.· Bonus Avios is non-redeemable for cash and non-reversible.

  • Bonus Avios is issued subject to the BAEC Terms and Conditions http://www.britishairways.com/travel/termcn/public/en_gb and all passengers and baggage are subject to the general terms and conditions of carriage.

  • Reward flights are subject to availability and capacity control and availability may be limited at peak times.

  • Hotel loyalty scheme membership, and earning and redemption of points are subject to the Terms and Conditions of each specific hotel’s loyalty scheme in addition to British Airways Terms and Conditions, as applicable.

  • This promotion cannot be used in conjunction with any other British Airways offers or promotion.

  • Promoter reserves the right to withdraw the promotion or amend these terms and conditions without prior notice at any time, for whatever reason, and without any liability to customers for doing so.

  • This promotion shall be governed by the laws of England & Wales and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.

  • This promotion is provided by British Airways Plc Waterside, PO Box 365, Harmondsworth, UB7 0GB. Registered No. 1777777 England

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British Airways has updated the award booking engine on britishairways.com to use the same engine that has been use on IAG’s Avios website. You no longer have to choose the engine to show partner airlines. They are now shown by default.

ba-avios-new-interface

You just have to bear in mind that BA charges awards by every single segment separately (some exceptions apply within Europe) and just combines the segment prices to come up with a total.

Here’s an example of the new booking engine for HEL-BKK one-way in Y

ba-avios-hel-bkk

Helsinki to Bangkok on a direct Finnair flight

ba-avios-hel-bkk-ay-price

The price is rather reasonable 25K miles but around $160 of the $180 “taxes” are fuel surcharges

Helsinki to Bangkok on a British Airways flight via London

ba-avios-hel-lhr-bkk-price

The one-way is priced at 37500 miles and the “taxes” are $269.16.

Helsinki to Bangkok via London on Finnair/British Airways

ba-avios-hel-lhr-bkk-ay-ba-price

The miles required is the same as on the BA only flights but the “taxes” are $289.

Helsinki to Bangkok via Narita on Finnair/JAL

ba-avios-hel-nrt-bkk-ay-jl-price

BA wants 60K Avios and $347.35 for this combo.

Conclusion

The new award booking engine is better because it shows the partner airline inventory by default. You just have to make sure and check number of different options to find out the lowest price in Avios. As BA charges per segment, it is better to book a direct flight as a result.  People who are not living in Oneworld hub cities are basically screwed.

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British Airways and Iberia launched the Avios a year ago. British Airways Executive Club program went from being relatively good in long haul redemptions to being one for ok’ish awards in short-haul. The price of the long haul awards with multiple segments went through the roof.

ba-avios-1st-anniversary-sale

Now, British Airways is giving a 25% discount on the number of Avios needed for award trips in all cabins for trips originating in London until May 31, 2013. You need to make the award booking by 20th of November. Note that zones 1 to 3 are not included in this offer.

This discount also applies for points + money options & 2 for 1 vouchers that certain credit card holders get.

Searching for awards

I tried to do few searches for places like Cape Town, but couldn’t find any availability for first class seats. Then, I decided to check Mauritius, where BA flies from London Gatwick (leisure route obviously). I was able to find some availability in BA’s Club World business class cabin.

ba-avios-sale-price-quote

The system was able to price out the Avios discount, that obviously doesn’t apply to the cash component of the ward that is fuel surcharge that goes directly to BA’s bottom line. You can read more about fuel surcharges and why airlines love them here. (One of the reasons is that they get to collect and keep them on “award” trips.)

ba-avios-sale-promotional-discount

You can see the message that the award has been discounted. You just click the link and you will see a pop up with the price breakdown in Avios and the discount.

ba-avios-sale-free-breakdown

You can click other link to get the cash price breakdown. As these awards are all originating from London, you are required to pay the APD (Air Passenger Duty) that is high on premium cabins. More than 60% of the taxes/fees is the BA’s fuel surcharge.

Conclusion

Personally, I have given up of trying to use Avios for long haul trips in premium cabins due to very high price in Avios combined with the (often) ridiculous fuel surcharge component. Avios can be quite valuable for short haul non-stop flights between expensive city pairs.

If you have access to those 2-4-1 vouchers, these Avios redemptions in premium cabins make more sense and even more now during the extra 25% discount.

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British Airways just sent out an email about the new partnership with Fairmont, Raffles & Swissotel that had already started on October 1. This offer is valid for stays until December 31, 2012. There is no need to register for this offer, but you can find more information about this offer here.

ba-fairmont-2000-avios

To celebrate the launch of the new partnership, these hotels are offering 500 bonus Avios  for each of the first three nights in top of the usual 500 Avios per stay.  You can earn maximum of 2000 Avios per stay. Fairmont President Club Premier members will receive an additional 250 Avios and Platinum members an additional 500 Avios per stay.

Note that not all the rates are eligible for airline miles accrual:

To receive airline miles, reservations must be booked on qualifying rates: Corporate, Package and Sell Rate of the Day rates and excludes some discounted packages.

Conclusion

It is always nice to see Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissotel to have more airline partners. Just be prepared to follow up in a case that the miles don’t automatically show up on your British Airways Executive Club Account.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

  • Maximum of 2500 Avios per stay can be earned
  • The name of the reservation has to be identical with the name on the British Airways Executive Club membership number
  • Membership card has to be presented upon check-in
  • The offer cannot be combined with any other offer
  • Reservations must be made through this website
  • Validity: October 1 to December 31, 2012
  • The offer is valid in all Fairmont Hotels & Resorts worldwide

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Le Club Accorhotels has a bonus offer for British Airways Executive Club members.  For a stay of 2 days or longer, you can earn 2000 bonus Avios. You can access this offer here.

le-club-accorhotels-2000-bonus-avios

This offer is valid for stays between October 1 and January 31, 2013, for stays that are booked between October 1 and December 31, 2012.  You need to activate the automatic point deposits to Avios to be eligible for this offer. Note that all the existing points sitting in your account are likely to be converted and moved to Avios as well.

Ensure your automatic conversion is set up prior to making your booking, otherwise your bonus Avios will not be credited.

Never set up an automatic conversion before? No problem, here’s what you need to do:

1. Login to your account via www.accorhotels.com/leclub
2. Open up the drop down menu ‘Manage my Le Club Accorhotels points’
3. Click ‘Activate/Deactivate automatic conversion of my points into airline miles’
4. Then simply select ‘Executive club’ on the drop down and complete the necessary fields.

Conclusion

This is a good offer if you have an Accor hotel stay of two nights or longer coming up before January 31, 2013. Note that you need to do the actual booking by December 31, 2012.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

1.This offer is valid for bookings made between 1st October – 31st December 2012 and 1st October and 31st January 2013.
2. This offer entitles British Airways Executive Club Members enrolled in the Le Club Accorhotels program (regardless of their status), to benefit from earning 2,000 bonus Avios when the Member has selected British Airways as their preferred automatic conversion option.
3. 2,000 bonus Avios will be earned if the Member stays 2 or more nights between the dates stated above.
4. Bonus points are only awarded on the first stay. Multiple stays will be counted as one. The 2 nights need to be consecutive.
4. Members will still be eligible for their base Avios earned during their stay
5. A minimum of two nights must be booked.
6. You must book your stay online at accorhotels.com, participating brand websites, or via the Call Center to benefit from this offer.
7. General Le Club Accorhotels conditions apply.

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It has been a busy week with IAG, the parent of British Airways and Iberia, that made an offer to buy the rest of the Vueling, a Barcelona based discount carrier, that it doesn’t already own and an announcement of layoffs of around 4500 at its Iberia unit.

bbc-iag-iberia

IAG made a bid to buy rest of the Vueling that it doesn’t already own on November 8. Currently IAG owns about 46 of the airline. Unlike IAG’s Iberia, Vueling is a profitable airline and has considerable amount of cash on its balance sheet (407 million euros).

iag-vueling

Then on Friday, the IAG announced that it would need to fire 4500 employees of the Iberia unit that is currently not profitable. The airline has tried to move more of Iberia’s flying to its low cost Iberia Express unit. That has resulted the mainline to have too many employees working for it. The overall economic problems of Spain has resulted in fewer flights than previously required.

iag-iberia

Many of the European airlines are trying to outsource their unprofitable European flying that is required to support the network. Lufthansa recently announced to move all of the flying that doesn’t touch its Munich and Frankfurt hubs to Germanwings.

Finnair has already moved all of its Embraer fleet to be flown by UK based Flybe under their Flybe Finland subsidiary, although under Finnair flight numbers and service concept.

Conclusion

It is interesting to see if IAG’s bid for Vueling is successful and whether they would incorporate the airline under the Iberia Express brand.

The problems with Iberia that requires fewer headcount has been widely known due to fewer flights having been flown under the mainline Iberia-brand. Reducing headcount is not easy in Spain and especially now that the country is going through rather tough times.