Weekend in the Cotswolds in May 2018

Another fab weekend away with friends in the countryside. This time we are heading to the Cotswolds to a picturesque country village.

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Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Dec 2022: Prep

By Nige on Thu 15 Dec 2022 at 08:36
Story: Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Dec 2022
Type: Post Category: Travel
Tags: American Airlines | British Airways | BUD | Budapest | Hilton | HNL | Honolulu | LAX | LHR | London | Los Angeles | Trips | USA | Waikiki

One benefit of consulting for a UK bank is that at Christmas I typically get about 3 weeks off. From a bank perspective, I think that’s primarily to save money and avoid spending money on consultants during a less than productive period of the year. This year is no different and I look forward to my time off during this festive season. I used to resent being told to take time off, but nowadays it feels a real blessing in disguise.

I’ve been keeping on top of things going on at work even though I am technically not working this week. I just can’t completely let go, especially when there are key milestones in the very near future.

So, although I am looking forward to my short time away from the normality of life, I’ll still be keeping an eye on things when I am sunning myself in Honolulu.

I will be heading into Heathrow T5 Pod Parking early afternoon so that I can avoid the rush hour and allow me some time to enjoy the CCR.

Upgrade City

I booked this trip over 6 months ago and I have taken advantage of some of the perks of being a BA GGL member. Although to be honest, it has taken a good few hours and pain on the phone to secure the upgrades that I have earned.

The new perk of an upgrade voucher (in this case it was a GUF1 – Gold Upgrade For 1) is that not only can you apply them to BA flights, but also to AA flights (obviously subject to the relevant availability of reward seats). The other new advantage is that the booking classes are less restricted. For an upgrade from business into first class you just need to find A class availability (for both BA and AA). As long as seats in those classes are available, I can use a GUF voucher to upgrade.

For AA upgrades, you need to ensure you book the AA prime flight, rather than the BA codeshare. Previously, it was better to book BA codeshares because you earned more Avios per flight than booking with AA prime flight codes. However, nowadays AA prime flight bookings earn the same rate of Avios as BA codeshare bookings, so in future all AA flights need to be booked with the AA prime flight code.

So in November I initially upgraded the BA LHR-JFK flight from business to first class and at the same time managed to bag a first class seat on the AA Transcon flight from JFK-LAX. BA quoted me £75 as a change in the taxes and fees between when I originally booked and the point at which I upgraded. Fair enough – not unhappy to pay that.

At that time, there was no A class availability in either segment on the return journey. However, that changed earlier this week, when A class opened up on the AA LAX-JFK segment (although still not available on the BA JFK-LHR segment). I rang the BA GGL line to ask about the upgrade using the same GUF1 I had used on the outward trip. It had to go to the Fares team for an assessment of the change in taxes and fees. I was promised a call back but surprise, surprise, no one called!

The following day, I noticed at just after 8pm (when the BA GGL UK call centre closes) that one A class seat became available on the BA JFK-LHR segment. I immediately got on the phone (which redirected through to the Indian call centre) and I asked about securing that upgrade as well.

They advised that I needed to pay for the LAX-JFK upgrade first of all. Apparently a quote had been returned from the Fares team (even though no one had let me know) and it was £800! I nearly fell off my chair. Obviously I challenged the agent and he suggested this was due to the need to reprice the itinerary and this was the difference in the taxes and fees. That was clearly nonsense.

After another 30 mins of “debate” on the phone and further checks with the agent’s supervisor, it was confirmed that I could be upgraded on both flights for free. Result – shame it took so much effort to secure that outcome.

Small follow-up: I checked in the morning and the agent had rebooked me back into business class on the AA LAX-JFK segment. So I had to spend another 30 mins on the phone in the morning to correct that issue.

Follow the whole story here: Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Dec 2022

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