28-07-2014 12-03-42

A reader emailed me this morning and asked this question:

In the US, it is best to avoid renting cars at airport locations, because of the extra airport taxes and fees.
Is this true in England also.
Is it cheaper to rent cars in London rather than at Heathrow?
Where would one rent a car in London, and be able to avoid the congestion charge?

As some of you may know I cannot drive, having never passed my test (stop laughing). I wanted to have a look though and so did a quick sample on Hertz rentals for a short period next month.

Interestingly the rental from Heathrow was substantially cheaper than the rental from Hertz’s Central London location.


28-07-2014 11-57-13


28-07-2014 11-59-17

I’ll have a look at other companies later in the week

Posted by MilesFromBlighty | 4 Comments

Hyatt Logo

I wrote earlier in the week about Hyatt launching ‘Double Points’ rates. You can read that post here.

There are also some property specific bonuses you might find useful, depending on travel plans:

5000 points
Hyatt Place, Waikiki until 31 Oct.
Vienna, until 31 Aug.

3000 points
Churchill, London until 31 Dec.

2000 points
Greenwich until 31 Aug.

1000 points
Place, Washington Capitol until 31 Dec
Place, Orlando Convention Centre and Universal until 31 Dec
Hangzhou until 31 Aug

500 points
Place, Miami Airport West

The Hyatt Regency Birmingham (USA) – The Wynfrey Hotel is offering Regency Club for $10 if you stay 2 nights – Sat, Sun, Mon or Tue.

Of the double points rate properties there is a fair list – all seem to end on 1 September 14, so I imagine Hyatt will be seeing if these rates delivered any revenue, although with so little push on them I doubt anyone noticed!

Posted by MilesFromBlighty | 2 Comments

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It appears that American Airlines has run out of letters to describe its aircraft.

For some months, in fact since they arrived in the fleet, American has been using the 32B designator to indicate their Airbus 321 aircraft that ply between New York JFK and San Francisco or LA. Case in point is a future flight I’ll be taking around my birthday:


However, recently AA has started making schedule changes to bring in to service their two class, no flat seating, Airbus 321 planes on other routes. Confusingly they are using the same 32B designator for these. As this example for another trip shows:


Just to add to the uncertainty, the AA web site makes no mention of the two-class A321. Showing only the three class version:


An easy check is to look at the First Class cabin. This is the new A321, 2 class service (note Row 1 is back):


This is the 3 class version’s First Class cabin:


This is the Coach cabin of the 3 class version:


and the Coach cabin of the 2 class version:


It’s not really too problematic as long as you don’t expect a nice flat bed on the non-transcon route!

Posted by MilesFromBlighty | One Comment

Hyatt Logo

Hyatt has quietly launched Double Points promo rates at some properties for the summer.

A random example – Hyatt Place Birmingham USA gives three rates.

$119 – Standard Rate
$129 – Movie Rate (movie, popcorn & 2 sodas included)
$131 – Double Points rate

The Double Points rate is applied to all spend during your stay. For this stay (assuming no additional spend):

$131 * 5 points = 655 points

So for $12 you can earn an extra 655 points at least. Pretty good value in my view.

For a Diamond the stay can be quite lucrative:

655 * 1.3 (incl 30% bonus) + 500 amenity bonus + 655 for double points = 2006 points.

Full rate details:
Double Hyatt Gold Passport points on all eligible purchases during your stay: – Book between 10APR14-01SEP14 for travel between 10APR14-01SEP14 – Must be a Hyatt Gold Passport member and request points for the stay – Not valid on charges associated with group or catering events

Special Offer Code is 2XPTS
Corporate Rate is 66935

Posted by MilesFromBlighty | 2 Comments

The first of the coffins belonging to victims of MH17 returned to the Netherlands yesterday so that they can be identified and returned to loved ones.

In the antithesis of the way the bodies were handled in the disputed area of the Ukraine, the Dutch and Australian governments brought the bodies back with a high level of ceremony, almost as if the person in the coffin was a beloved relative of everyone there.

More extraordinary in my view were the scenes of ordinary people lining the motorway from the airfield, lining the sides of the roads and on over passes, several people deep in places as the coffins passed. The cars and trucks on the other side of the road just coming to halt, unprompted and unasked, and displaying their respect.

The Dutch taught us what respect looked like yesterday. (0:36)


Posted by MilesFromBlighty | 3 Comments

Just had a new flash that the BBC is reporting a plane crash in Taiwan.


UPDATESky News is reporting a TransAsia plane has crashed killing 51 people in the Penghu Islands off the western coast of Taiwan.

They say it was flying a domestic service.

BBC report indicates a lower number of dead:

A plane has crashed after a failed emergency landing in Taiwan, killing more than 40 people, local officials say.

Aviation officials said flight GE222 aborted its initial landing and then crashed, local media reported.

Posted by MilesFromBlighty | No Comments

Hyatt Logo

A number of Hyatt’s Diamond members report on Flyertalk they have received an offer from Hyatt to give them a Hyatt Concierge. This produced a lot of consternation as many of the most established Diamond’s already have a Personal/Private Line agent who handles their requests.

However, the Head of Gold Passport has stepped in and explained that the programme is in test and that members will have the chance to shape how it moves forward. You can read his post here.

So, whilst I have not been offered this new service (frankly I am happy with my Private Line Agent), if you have I would strongly suggest you initiate the service and see what it can do for you in different circumstances – rewards, flight cancellations, dinner reservations and local activities spring to mind.

Let me know how you get on if you are in the test group.

Posted by MilesFromBlighty | One Comment

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Heathrow Airport have put up a web site explaining more about their plans to build a third runway. You can visit the web site here.

There is an interesting image of where they propose to put the new runway and how it connects with current airport. It appears to straddle the M25 which will be interesting. There is a feedback form for comments.

LHR Thirsd Runway


Posted by MilesFromBlighty | One Comment


Hyatt has just announced that it is to convert the Dreams Cancun in to an all inclusive Hyatt Ziva Cancun by late 2015. The property contains a ‘swim with the dolphins’ attraction which we are told respects these mammals. The views do look like they could be great from this location.

I should have been staying at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun in September, until American changed their flight times making my stay impossible.

I have to confess I have never done the ‘all inclusive’ experience before and am looking forward to my stay at the Ziva Los Cabos in August. The reviews have been excellent.

Hyatt also has recently announced that the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall and Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Montego Bay are scheduled to open in late 2014. The two new resorts will be co-located on Jamaica’s most romantic beach, formerly home to The Ritz-Carlton. Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall will offer an adults-only all inclusive experience that will be separate, but connected to, Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, which will cater to guests of all ages. 

Adults-only all inclusive – it does seem tempting for the winter!

Posted by MilesFromBlighty | 2 Comments

I use the TopCashBack site fairly often. (This is my affiliate link – here).

They have offered an option to transfer a set amount each year to Tesco Clubcard points. I’ve noticed today that they allow you to also do a direct exchange to Avios or BA Executive Club Avios. But this new option needs to be treated with caution.

17-07-2014 14-28-08

As you can see, for my £10 credit I can have 1050 Avios/BA Avios or 1050 Tesco Clubcard Points.

Tesco Clubcard points convert from 250 points to a £2.50 voucher. This in turn can be exchanged to 600 Avios. (Some long standing members, like me, get 800 Avios).

17-07-2014 14-29-18

So the 1050 Tesco Clubcard points, turn in to 4 * 600 Avios or 2400. If I had taken the direct conversion it would only have been 1050 Avios. Well worth laundering them through Tesco if you ask me.

Posted by MilesFromBlighty | 2 Comments

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Virgin announced yesterday that they were to add more regional flights from the UK for next summer.

  • Belfast and Orlando
    Glasgow and Las Vegas

Clearly using larger planes than the one pictured, the flight from Belfast will be Virgin’s first from Northern Island. Sure to be popular with locals, it avoids the ruinous UK departure tax.

A Boeing 747-400 aircraft will operate these seasonal services on a weekly basis, flying on Thursdays. The aircraft flying to both US destinations will be configured with 14 Upper Class seats, 66 Premium Economy seats and 375 seats in Economy.

Belfast to Orlando service

The Belfast to Orlando service will operate in June and July, with the first flight on 25 June 2015. Seats will be on sale on the Virgin Atlantic website from 25 July 2014.

Glasgow to Las Vegas service

The Glasgow to Las Vegas service will operate in September and October 2015, with the first flight on 10 September 2015. Seats will be on sale on the Virgin Atlantic website from mid-October 2014

So in a little over a week you’ll be able to book out of Belfast.
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Posted by MilesFromBlighty | No Comments

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