News & offers: 50% off Avios redemptions, more BA leases, Curve Amex update

Iberia A350Iberia's new A350 business class seats

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50% off Avios redemptions

Iberia can often offer a great value redemption with Avios as I demonstrated when I flew to New York in business class one way for just 34,000. You can read more about Iberia redemptions in this article.

There is now a great offer on for Avios redemptions on Iberia. Until 10 February 2019, all awards for Iberia, Iberia Express, and Air Nostrum will be half the standard Avios. The discount applies only to flights between 1 February 1 and 15 April 2019, but you can redeem in Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class with Iberia, Iberia Express and flights with Air Nostrum to/from Madrid. All other flights are excluded from the offer even if they are marketed under Iberia flight number. 

There are reports of you needing a Spanish postal address in the account to get it to price up correctly. However, if you set the web page country to Spain, this should have the same effect. There is nothing in the terms and conditions that states that you must be based in Spain.

You will need an Iberia Plus account as you will need to transfer Avios over from BA etc. if you don’t already have enough in an Iberia Plus account. The redemptions can only be booked through Iberia Plus. You can find Iberia Plus here. 

The offer page is here.


BA operate to New York with Air Belgium

Air Belgium business class

Due to the ongoing issues with the B787 Trent 1000 engines, BA have been left with a shortage of aircraft. This has led to various cancellations and wet leases. BA have announced that they are operating to New York (Newark) on certain flights with Air Belgium wet-leased aircraft. 

So should you be concerned if you are flying this route? Let’s look at what Air Belgium offer.  The business class seats are laid out in alternate 1-2-1, and 2-2-1 layout with some of the sought after ‘throne’ seats (above) that give you plenty of personal space.

  • flatbed –  length 2m (79”)
  • seat width of 53cm (21,5”)
  • large entertainment screen of 26cm x 15,5cm (10,2” x 6,1”)
  • power points
  • quality bedding
  • provision for PC power, multi-port, iPod socket

Although there will be Air Belgium crew offering the service, it will still be a standard Club World service with the same food and drinks. 

As previously reported Air Belgium is also currently operating on the Dubai route. The changes are as follows:

  • BA105 LHR-DXB, from 1 November 2018 – 30 March 2019
  • BA104 DXB-LHR, from 2 November 2018 – 31 March 2019
  • BA185 LHR-EWR, from 1 April 2019 – 08 June 2019
  • BA184 EWR-LHR, from 1 April 2019 – 08 June 2019

If you do not want to fly on Air Belgium or were in First these are your options:

All passengers can rebook on to BA’s alternative flights to Newark on the BA189/188 as close to the original date of travel as possible. Full refunds are not available except for First Class passengers unless allowed by the original fare rules. If you were in First and wanted to fly, it’s quite a good deal. You will fly in business class and get a partial refund of the difference. You will still get the original tier points, Avios, baggage allowance and access to the Concorde room at Heathrow. 

You can find the official BA information here.


Curve Amex update

If you have signed up for Curve Metal, you will have received an email allowing you to get a 28 day cooling off period instead of 14 for you to cancel your subscription. This is to allow you to try out the card to see if you want to keep it. I am still in two minds about keeping mine as most of the benefits I have elsewhere although the unlimited foreign currency 0% fees is tempting.

 Curve have now also released a statement on their blog about what happened with Amex (well, their version of it anyway). In essence, Curve are asking for your support to fight against Amex and what Curve view as an illegal move giving no notice. I for one will be lending my support as I want to use my Curve card with Amex and fail to see the difference between Curve and other services such as Paypal which are allowed to use Amex. The blog article is quite long so here is a quick summary:

  • Amex was not happy with the original rollout with Curve in 2016 but when Amex asked Curve to remove them from Curve’s funding options there was little Curve could do about it legally
  • In January 2018, the EU’s PSD2 came into law in the UK under PSR 2017. This meant that companies could access all payment networks (including Amex) on a level playing field along with other fee-paying and legitimate payment service providers.
  • Curve entered into a Merchant Services Agreement on the 23 March 2018 and developed the top up model in cooperation with Amex
  • There was never any formal partnership with Amex, just the Merchant Service Agreement 
  • Amex expressed concerns on 21 November at a meeting with Curve about the full rollout after the Beta testing results but were not specific on their issues other than user experience
  • Curve had already delayed the launch to work with Amex jointly on the PR but decided to go ahead despite the concerns
  • Amex decided to pull the plug with immediate effect the day after the launch  (28 January) which Curve believe is breaking their contract which required 180 days notice and are now fighting. 

You can read the full article and how to support them on the Curve Blog here.

What do you think? Will you be helping Curve to fight Amex? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.


6 Comments on "News & offers: 50% off Avios redemptions, more BA leases, Curve Amex update"

  1. Michelle, endless respect for you and TLFL, though I would be very careful about summarising the Curve Blog post here. It is on shaky ground at best.

    Mr Bialick’s statement seems to have successfully focused end-user attention on the conduct of American Express, rather than the position / sustainability as Curve.

    It occurs to me that Curve might be fighting for survival. They are paying £10 in referrals for most new users (even though this is suspended, they still need to pay it eventually), might have to absorb the cost of tooling lots of Metal cards the end users don’t want (say £50 apiece), and according to Linked In / Company Statements have a workforce and customer base approximately 20% of Revolut’s in 2017, when Revolut had annual costs of £27.6m and net assets of £43.9m. As far as the street is aware, Curve have nothing like 20% of Revolut’s 2017 net assets (a few million at best), though I could well see them having costs attune to 20%. Curve’s ability to survive this depends very much on their last funding around (if any), ability to draw credit, and ongoing brand perception.

    Whilst I do not want to speculate on a relationship I know nothing about (Curve and AMEX), what I will say is:

    Their Drop-mic comparisons to PayPal are unwise; PayPal is an EU Registered Bank, governed in the UK by the PRA, with all the regulatory control trimmings of a regular bank, they also have several regional strategic partnerships with American Express, yet still doesn’t use the AMEX brand to promote products.
    In comparison Curve avoids regulations and licences where possible (stated corporate strategy), they are neither FCA, nor PRA regulated, and on their website expressly point to WDCS (the card provider) as FCA regulated. They fail to mention Wirecard Solutions Limited in this statement even though I suspect they would need to be involved in any case relating to PSR 2017 (whether they want to is a whole other matter)
    Curve is not a standard Merchant, and whilst I haven’t seen their agreement, every standard AMEX Merchant Agreement I have seen gives AMEX the express permission to terminate the agreement immediately for any violation of the T&Cs, not least unauthorised use of Brand. Given in this statement Curve goes as far to say they are shocked AMEX considered their development a partnership, I struggle to see how they haven’t fallen foul of at least one of the T&Cs

    It’s Curve’s fight, if they win they could make a lot of money out of this, if they lose they will dissolve the LLC and renege on their debtors. Whilst the product is okay, the utility value certainly isn’t worth the cost of joining the fight through an editorial.

    Just my two cents, I am not supporting Curve, though will continue being a loyal subscriber of TLFL.

  2. How ironic!! Curve wanting customer support, yet they can’t even give their customers support. During 2016 I asked to terminate my card due to dire customer service, which the did immediately and then refused to honor my referral balance. Curve need to understand any business runs on good customer service. Good ridicence and you have achieved what you deserved.

  3. Hi Michele another great post as usual, I remember a time when BA used to offer 50% off Avios redemption rewards in all classes! Do we know why they not longer run a promotion such as Iberia’s?

    • They do run discounted economy redemptions from time to time but never premium classes recently. I’m guessing that they feel they already offer discounts via the BA Amex 2-4-1 which is effectively 50% off.

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