NEWS AND OFFERS: Virgin won’t return to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to offer free flights, cash on BA, Marriott & Hyatt and Heathrow strike

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Virgin will not return to Hong Kong

Unsurprisingly, Virgin Atlantic has confirmed that it has no plans to return to Hong Kong. They had originally planned to return in 2023, but despite the territory lifting quarantine restrictions for tourists and crew, Virgin confirmed it had scrapped the route.

Hong Kong was one of my favorite places to visit. However, even ignoring Covid, the political situation has changed in that I’m not sure it would be the same if I visited. Unfortunately, in the short term, I think Hong Kong as a tourist destination will not regain its popularity. Most people I talk to have no desire to return right now, even if they have enjoyed visiting in the past. But I still live with the hope that he will eventually settle into some form of normalcy.

The additional 1-2 hour flight time to avoid Russian airspace will also be a factor making it uneconomical to continue the route while the war continues.

A Virgin spokesperson told Australian Executive Traveller,

“After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to suspend our London Heathrow – Hong Kong services and close our Hong Kong office, after nearly 30 years of proudly serving this Asian hub city,

The airline added that “the ongoing closure of Russian airspace” contributed to the decision, and said that “anyone booked to travel from March 2023 will be offered a refund, voucher or the option to rebook on another Virgin Atlantic route”.

Interestingly, during a talk by Shai Weiss, he said that they were actively researching new routes for Virgin Atlantic, but were unable to announce any new routes. They recently announced Tampa and Austin. I’ll be flying to Tampa with Virgin in a few weeks on their new A330-900, so you’ll get the full rundown!

Hong Kong will offer free flights when restrictions are lifted

Hong kong

In order to entice tourists to return, the Hong Kong government plans to launch a campaign offering free flights. I’m not convinced this will entice high value travelers as I assume it’s economy class.

The campaign is set to launch next year when Hong Kong removes all inbound restrictions. There will be up to 500,000 free flights at a cost of US$254 million to the tourism board.

£50 off BA, £150 off Marriott Homes and Villas, Marriott £100 off Hyatt

There’s a new set of offers if you hold a BA Amex, Marriott Amex, or Platinum (and optionally Gold) card. I highlighted the map on which I saw the offers. If you have the offer on another card, let us know in the comments below. This is an overview of all the major travel offers valid for a certain time on Amex cards.

£50 off when you spend £500 (BA Platinum Amex) until 11/08/22 – there are some pretty significant restrictions on this offer. You have to buy a long-haul flight, and it can only be economy class or premium economy class, which is a shame. You must also depart from Heathrow or Gatwick, but expenses may be cumulative.

Marriott Scottsdale Villa

£150 off £500 spent at Marriott Homes and Villas – (Marriott Amex and BA Amex Platinum Plus) until 11/30/22. You will need to be quick to use this offer because not only do you have to book before the offer ends, but you also have to stay before.

Hilton spends £200 and gets £50 back until 11/16/22 (Platinum Amex) I just used this offer on the Hilton Amsterdam which I really liked with its canal-side gardens and terrace. You can use the offer at a list of Hiltons in Europe and the UK. The list mainly includes Hiltons and Hampton Inns, but there are a few Curio properties and the Waldorf Astoria in Edinburgh is also included.

Marriott Luxury Hotels £100 off minimum spend of £400 until 12/31/22 (BA Amex) – Participating hotels are again European and include Ritz Carltons, JW Marriott, St Regis, Luxury Collection and W. There are a few iconic hotels on the list such as the Danieli and the Gritti Palace in Venice, Hotel Arts Barcelona and Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville. In the UK, the Langley country hotel offers just like the London edition.

The Langley

Marriott Spend £200 and get £50 back – (BA Amex) until 12/31/22 This offer has a good list of participating hotels which mainly includes mid-range hotels in Europe, including the UK. In London, the St Pancras Renaissance and the Sheraton Grand Park Lane are both included, which I rate.

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London review

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London

Hyatt Spend £250, get £100 off until 12/31/22 (BA Amex). The offering seems to encompass most of Hyatt’s brands, but which ones are included vary by location. The offer is valid in the UK, Sweden, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, France and Germany. In the UK, there are good hotels in London and Manchester. These include the Great Scotland Yard, Andaz London Liverpool Street, Hyatt Regency The Churchill London and Hyatt Place London City East.

Remember that with all these offers you can combine them with booking through our GTC partners provided they do not require online spending. Booking with GTC gives you extras as well as your usual points and hotel benefits.

Heathrow airline workers vote to strike

Two US airlines have voted on whether to take industrial action in the form of a strike at Heathrow. The results of the United ballot are still unknown, but it was announced today that American Airlines engineers who are members of Unite voted to strike with a 98% majority. This is not surprising, given that the airline is offering a real pay cut for engineers over 3 years old.

In the first year, technicians would receive 5.3% and team leaders 3.8%. In year two, all workers would receive a lump sum cash payment, while in year three a wage freeze would be put in place.

Workers must give a minimum of 14 days notice, so this could well affect the half-term period. However, traditionally they tend to settle disputes before they come to that. I also assume they will still be able to operate a number of flights despite the strike, even though Unite warns of major disruption.

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