On Monday 19 January 2015 just as I was packing up in the office an email with the title East Coast Rewards: message from East Coast, Stagecoach and Virgin landed in my inbox. It was the first official email from East Coast regarding the closure of the franchise. A copy of this email has been archived here.
If you like, or would like to try, the Virgin Trains East Coast Hop on Board ale, it's worthwhile purchasing catering vouchers. The catering vouchers cost £4 each and are worth £5 on board. There's no limit to the amount of vouchers you can use in a single transaction. All vouchers are valid for three months from their start date (which is the date of travel if booked online).
One of the troubles with Nectar is there's no 'exciting' rewards, all points do is to give you money off stuff. Decent loyalty schemes allow you to redeem a number of points for a particular benefit. For example East Coast Rewards let you redeem 255 points for a standard class trip anywhere served by East Coast. This reward would be worth a lot more than approximately £2.50 that a similar spend would get you with Nectar.
In case you weren't aware Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) are continuing the East Coast tradition of holding a January sale and the prices are the same as last year.
This is a quick look at the festive catering on Virgin Trains East Coast. Prior to Christmas Eve there were some festive changes to the menus but the offering would still be of the style expected for the particular train (e.g. the Evening Meal menu on certain departures from Kings Cross).
Today, Monday 4th January 2016, is a bank holiday in Scotland and not England this is because Scotland get two days off for New Year and as the 2nd was on a Saturday it was carried forward to the Monday.
As it's not a holiday in England today will be the first day in the office for many people in 2016. Those travelling to work on Virgin Trains East Coast this morning in first class were probably looking forward to their complimentary breakfast.
Virgin Trains East Coast are offering 30% off advance fares through a promotion callled 'Flirty 30'. If you didn't receive the email about it I've provided all the details needed here.
There's a number of major dates excluded from this promotion. Excluded travel dates are 19 December 2015 to 3 January 2016 inclusive, 12 to 21 February 2016 inclusive and 24 to 28 March 2016 inclusive. If you're not seeing the discount this could be the reason why.
November had a Nectar promotion for double points which we have already covered. Now in December they have this offer where if you book a ticket you will get a 1000 point 'Christmas bonus', 1000 Nectar points are worth £5.
We're not happy that VTEC are continuing to stir the Nectar pot. Those who remember East Coast Rewards don't want constant reminders about Nectar and how poor the scheme is. If Nectar needs to be mentioned why so prominently, all it does is cause resentment.
Along with the introduction of the new First Class menus they have introduced a new style of service. I have been told this is a trial so please give your feedback whether good or bad. Remember that people are more likely to give feedback if they're unhappy, so if you are enjoying the new style then it's critical that you're heard too.
UPDATE: although I still feel it was a big omission excluding first class fares I have found a silver lining. There's some exceedingly good fares for relatively short journeys (for example Newcastle to York, Berwick or Edinburgh or London to Peterborough or Grantham). For example you can do Newcastle to Edinburgh for £10.85, this would make a great day trip or Newcastle to York for £6.30.
I'm certainly no fan of Black Friday but I do enjoy travelling VTEC and can't resist a bargain.
So I was looking forward to this EPIC sale...