News & offers: Maldives from £1575, Cape Town from £1585, Curve update & new Hilton Flash sale

Maldives

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Business class on Qatar – Maldives from £1575 and Cape Town from £1585

Maldives from £1575

Qatar business class review B787 A350

Qatar B787 seat

The Maldives are usually very expensive to fly to from the UK so today’s fare represents good value even including the cost of positioning to Gothenburg in Sweden where the flights start from (you can fly direct from Heathrow with BA to Gothenburg). The fare is on Qatar which is not only a great airline but also a member of oneworld so you can earn BA tier points and Avios too. Qatar use a B787 from Gothenburg to Doha. These don’t yet have the QSuites but the seats are very comfortable and modern. You can read my review here.

From Doha to the Maldives there are two options – the A350 or an A320 but with lie-flat seats. Obviously, the A350 would be the better option with seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.

The rules are:

  • Travel Monday to Thursday
  • Valid for travel commencing on/after 15 Mar and on/before 11 Dec 19.
  • Book by 31 Mar 19
  • Changeable and refundable for a fee
  • Minimum stay 7 days
  • Maximum stay 1 month
  • Stopovers permitted – one free in Doha each way.

You can book direct with Qatar Airways here.

Cape Town from £1585

Cape town cheap business class flights

Cape Town waterfront and Table mountain

Another good fare from Gothenburg is Cape Town also on Qatar. On this route, it would be an A350 to Cape Town from Doha, one of my favourite aircraft to fly on.

The rules are:

  • Travel Monday to Thursday
  • Valid for travel commencing on/after 15 Mar and on/before 11 Dec 19.
  • Book by 31 Mar 19
  • Changeable and refundable for a fee
  • Minimum stay 7 days
  • Maximum stay 1 month
  • Stopovers permitted – one free in Doha each way.

You can book direct with Qatar Airways here.

 

 

Curve update

Curve have been having a rough ride of it recently. Shortly after launching their new premium metal card and finally allowing users to use Amex it went rather wrong. Amex suddenly withdrew from the agreement leaving many people wondering if Curve Metal was worth the money.

This week Curve announced that they will be taking Amex to court over their refusal to allow Curve to allow Amex to be linked with its card. Curve has also said it is filing a complaint with the Payment Systems Regulator.

American Express made an official statement to The Telegraph saying:

“American Express participated in a limited Curve beta test where we enabled a small number of Card Members to load funds onto an e-wallet using their Amex Card in the Curve app.

“We informed Curve that we would not participate in the further roll out of the Curve e-wallet, prior to them launching the product.

“We do not have regulatory obligations to work with a particular partner, and we can confirm that we have terminated our agreement with Curve.”

Unfortunately, these things take time so I wouldn’t expect a return to Curve accepting Amex anytime soon.

LoungeKey benefit

Curve also announced more details of their lounge benefit which sounds underwhelming to me. The Loungekey™ airport experience program will be available to all Curve Metal cardholders. Curve are currently still working with Mastercard to activate the LoungeKey benefits. To make the most of this benefit you will be able to visit a unique Curve LoungeKey website, once it’s built, and also download the LoungeKey app. There you will be able search for information on the facilities and services available in the lounges on the program.

Your LoungeKey benefit will allow you and your travel companions to access these lounges for a fee of only £15-20; per visit per person using your Curve Metal Card. Given that you can often buy lounge access for not much more and that you could simply buy one of the cheap Priority Pass deals and get it for the same rate I don’t see this as delivering anything of value.

So is it worth having a Curve card?

Curve has two benefits – one is that if you have a few cards you don’t need to carry them all around and the extra features such as go back in time, instant notifications and being able to block the card on the app are useful. The main benefit will be for those that want to earn miles whilst they spend abroad without foreign exchange transaction fees. Most credit cards charge 3% although there are exceptions but not that offer miles as well. With the Lloyds Avios card about to lose the benefit of 0% foreign transaction fees, this will be a good way to still save money on non-sterling transactions and earn miles.

You can link it with any Mastercard or Visa so I have mine linked with both my Virgin Atlantic Mastercard and my Lloyds Avios card. There are limits on foreign transactions for the basic card so you may need to do your sums and work out if the £9.99 per month Black card is a better option as it offers unlimited fee-free foreign transactions.

If you apply using the code VIMI4 you can get £5 of credit to spend as you wish on your first transaction with the card. You can find more details and apply on the Curve website here.

Hilton Flash sale – South East Asia and Australasia

Conrad Koh Samui

Hilton have a new flash sale on which not only offers a discount on the room of up to 35%, you also get a 15% discount on food and drinks.  You need to book your stay by 2 April 2019 (09:00 GMT), and complete it between 31 March 2019 and 31 January 2020. There are some great properties included the Conrad Koh Samui which you can read my review of here. I would also recommend the Hilton Auckland, Lake Taupo and Queenstown if you are visiting New Zealand.

Hilton Queenstown

The room discount is actually based on the  Flexible Rate (BAR) or Breakfast Included Rate (B&B). However, the sale rates are non-refundable and require prepayment in full. Hilton Honors members will receive an additional 10% discount as well bringing the total discount to 35%. You can join Hilton Honors for free when you book.

In addition to the room discount, there will be a 15% F&B discount at selected F&B outlets of the participating properties during the stay. There are a few conditions:
• Discount is valid for dine-in only. Not applicable to minibar and room service.
• Discount can be used for alcoholic beverages for all hotels in Australasia.
• Discount is not applicable for alcoholic beverages for all hotels in South East Asia.
• Discount excludes any service charges, applicable taxes and gratuities.
• Discount can be used multiple times during the stay.
• Discount is applicable at all participating F&B outlets for all hotels except Saltbush (DoubleTree Alice Springs) and all outlets at both Waldorf Astoria Bangkok and Waldorf Astoria Maldives.
• Discount will only be applied to the F&B bill in the guest folio upon check out.

You can find the special Hilton sale page here.

 

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