Destination of the week: Norway's coast
April and September are the ideal months to enjoy the full 12-day Norwegian coastal voyage aboard the ships of the Hurtigruten fleet (0845 225 6640; hurtigruten.co.uk).
Partly, that is because the journey from Bergen (left) around to Kirkenes, near the Russian border, is at its most beautiful in spring or early autumn. And partly because prices are very keen: £1,213 buys flights from London (and some other UK airports), an overnight stay in Bergen and the voyage itself with all meals on board – for an average of only £100 a day.
Warning of the week: airmiles
For more than 20 years, collectors of Airmiles have been safe in the knowledge that their loyalty points have no expiry date. Now, though, the British Airways-owned scheme has invoked its right to impose a deadline, and is writing to some participants saying that, unless they collect more Airmiles within the next six months, their accounts will be closed and all the value will be lost.
"It's like losing money in a deposit account if you stop adding to it," says Steve Bradley, an Independent reader who has saved more than 3,000 Airmiles – enough to get to Athens (right) and back, including taxes.
The company is contacting 1.7 million customers who have 500 or more Airmiles but who have not collected any in the past two years. Airmiles says it wants to remind collectors of their entitlement, and urges them to add to their accounts – for example by converting Tesco Clubcard points or buying Shell petrol. It says "Should you still feel that the scheme is no longer for you, the opportunity still remains for you to use your miles during the following six months before your account expires." For more details, call 0844 49 333 32 or visit airmiles.co.uk.
Bargain of the week: cheap(er) peak-time rail travel
How to get a discount on full-fare, "Anytime" rail tickets? The answer is a carnet of 10 tickets for the price of nine, sold by several operators. Virgin Trains introduced them, marketing them as "Take 10" tickets, principally for journeys to and from London on the West Coast Main Line, with Coventry, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool key destinations. National Express East Coast, First Great Western and East Midlands now offer the same deal on their services linking the capital with, respectively, North-East England/Scotland, the West of England/South Wales, and the East Midlands/South Yorkshire. Gatwick Express offers the same deal, but Heathrow Express gives 12 tickets for the price of 11.
All of these deals are available on first- and standard-class tickets, and are transferable to other people. But because these deals potentially dilute operators' earnings from their most lucrative fares, they tend to be hedged with conditions. Carnets are generally valid for between three months and a year – unused tickets are, of course, worthless after the expiry date. They can usually be bought only direct from the operator, or from a main railway station. And if you are able to buy by 6pm the day before departure, and travel on a specified train, you will almost always save, even on the carnet price, by booking an Advance ticket.Reuse content