Bits: 10,000 Miles & More miles with The Economist, Expedia not clear on BA ‘hand baggage only’ fares

News in brief:

10,000 Miles & More miles with an Economist subscription

Lufthansa has launched its own new Economist promotion, following on from the Avios /Économist version.

This one is interesting because Miles & More miles are hard to earn.  You cannot buy them any more and they are not an Amex transfer partner unless you go via Starwood Preferred Guest.

£155 (the UK subscription price) gets you 10,000 Miles & More miles and 52 issues of The Economist – not bad at all.  The offer ends on 24th March although the website shows 31st January!  Order here.

Economist Miles More

Expedia and BA ticketing

A reader dropped me a line to complain about the way that Expedia is selling British Airways ‘hand baggage only’ tickets.  A little digging found that this does create a high level of complaints to the airline.

If you book a British Airways short haul flight on Expedia, it appears to select the cheapest ‘hand baggage only’ ticket.  This is not made clear to the customer.

When I say ‘not made clear’, I mean that it is not made clear up front, as it is on ba.com.  If you click ‘estimated fees for baggage’ then you are told that a bag will cost £25.  On the BA website, it is made VERY clear what you are buying – it is even called a ‘hand baggage only’ ticket.

I don’t know if Expedia plays similar games with other airlines who sell ‘reduced feature’ tickets, but it is a reminder to keep an eye on what you are buying.  Given that Expedia adds an additional fee to short-haul tickets compared to the price of buying them on ba.com (£3 in an example I did), it isn’t clear why you should bother with them anyway.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Comments

  1. I think the issue here is possibly peoples assumptions.
    You see very few complaints about baggage fees on easyjet or Ryanair tickets bought through Expedia, when they are sold in the same way?
    Yes it could be much more obvious, but it would have to apply to all no baggage tickets on Expedia, not just BA.

    • As we are on the subject of Hand Baggage Fare I wonder if anyone has ever booked one and then upgraded to club Europe on BA email offer.
      What happens to the Baggage allowance does it change to allow 2 bags.
      Those offers are not clear they just say “greater baggage allowance means you can take 2 bags at 23kg each, as well as 2 pieces of hand baggage”
      Is this a general statement relating to an ordinary booking even though it gets sent to Hand Baggage Fare booking or one has the baggage allowance in the new class ?

      • You would get the baggage allowance appropriate to your new fare class.

        • Thank you but is this an assumption or it has been tried ?
          I asked the question to the BA Exec Gold line. After consultation with their manager they said that this isn’t an ordinary upgrade to Club but a special offer to upgrade which is not the same and you would remain a baggage only passenger even though you would be travelling in Club.
          I am a little suspicious about the answer after having read somewhere that someone who wasn’t able to complete the upgrade online came the airport check in and the staff showed him a message on screen stating ” Do not offer the upgrade to HBF customers.”
          This might indicate that if you do go ahead and complete it online they would need to honour it.

          • That’s my assumption – would be good to see the T&Cs. But BA upgrades normally follow that pattern, ie it is if you bought the ticket @ the upgrade price, even when you are upgraded for free. ISTR that if you are upgraded from economy to business, you get awarded the Avios quantity for business & all the other business benefits.

          • oh and on your other point, ie the computer screen message at the airport – that doesn’t surprise me. I think the check in staff have a fair bit of discretion, though, ie say you’re a HBO passenger and you ask at check in how much it would be to upgrade to business. They may say there’s no availability, they may say that you can’t upgrade because you’re HBO – but OTOH they may see there’s plenty of empty space in business & give you a price (particularly if they like the look of you or you have status).

          • Leaving it up to the discretion of the check in staff seems like an incredibly bizarre way to operate airport upgrades (barring special circumstances, like service recovery or economy is overbooked – though that’s almost impossible on a CE flight!).

            Surely it’s either beneficial to BA to offer upgrades to HBO/status passengers – in which case it should be offered as standard practise, or it’s not – in which case they shouldn’t be offered at all.

          • http://www.businesstraveller.com/discussion/topic/BA-..-upgrading-at-check-in-or-the-gate

          • What? I’ve skimread some of that but see nothing that says checkin staff are permitted to override the system and give an upgrade because they like the look of you?

  2. Erico1875 says:

    Despite,( or maybe because of ) all the techno advances, I think people are getting thicker. No common sense. BAs cheapest ticket is HBO. When you search Expedia for the cheapest ticket, thats what you get- HBO.. If people put as much effort into researching a purchase before hitting BUY as they do complaining, they would LEARN.

    • I think that’s a bit harsh. Times have changed. Companies should be up front about what they’re flogging and about all conditions attached to a purchase (working in the banking sector, I would you).

      If Expedia are selling a HBO fare, it should be stated as such and not hidden somewhere towards the bottom that there is a baggage charge.

      There is an expectation gap too with BA as Paul mentioned above as Joe Bloggs expects full service on BA (as opposed to Easyjet and Ryanair). Any education you refer to should not be through mistakes made and learnt from but through clear messaging up front.

  3. 1-2 months ago Expedia wasn’t showing any estimates at all for BA baggage fees, so it was impossible to know that you were buying a hand-baggage ticket without re-pricing it on BA’s website.

    And last time I looked the baggage fee now quoted was £65, not £25 – which I suppose is the price for buying it last minute at the airport. Shocking!

  4. Pat Butcher says:

    Shame the economist is for new subscribers only. Anyone had the bonus miles and more or avios twice?

    • If it helps, I signed up to the recent Iberia avios Economist offer and received confirmation from them (after I asked) that I’d get my 12k avios despite subscribing previously (though not via any avios / M&M offer).

  5. I think you would “bother” with Expedia if you want a hotel as well and the offering on BA.com is poor. I used Expedia for a CE flight and hotel combo because BA could only offer three hotels in BGO and all were a lot more expensive and of worse quality than what Expedia could offer.

    • But I didn’t think Expedia give any discount on a hotel when buying a flight so why not just buy the flight direct from BA and then the hotel from Expedia?

      • I guess the lesson is, as long as you have the time, you should search in more than one place to see which site gives the best deal.

      • FWIW… This has not been my experience previously, and some flight + hotel combos work out cheaper on Expedia than booking separately :)

        • Is it not sometimes that rather than the discount being on the hotel, the discount is on the airfare? (and BA just presents it as a hotel discount). Some of the fares are only available when combined as part of a package (either hotel/car) – I’d imagine Expedia have access to the same deals and therefore should be able to offer these combinations too but from a wider range of hotels than BA?

          • I suspect you’re right.

            I stopped using Expedia a few years ago tbh, after they advertised a hotel with free parking and it subsequently cost me £25 for parking (raised with Expedia before I went after confirming with hotel this was the case) and they said “just pay and send us the receipt – we will refund you”. Took 6 months and a lot of chasing and hassle (more than the £25 was worth) to get sorted and involved Amex and all sorts

            Back to point. My wife has booked four nights in NY thru Expedia with flights and hotel for a cost that BA could only match on flights alone, but as you suggest, BA offered limited options for hotels and their hotels were more expensive making Expedia cheaper :)

            (Also from several comparisons it is harder to get good deals via. BA from Manchester, which also makes Expedia better :) )

          • Correct. Expedia can use an IT fare bucket for the flight (the cheap ones only sold to tour operators) if you add a car or hotel. The discount comes entirely from the airline.

          • Isn’t that getting risky regarding points/tier points?

  6. In the USA it’s $160 for a sub with 10,000 M&M miles, which is a bit more interesting.

  7. I have experienced hand baggage only by Expedia a few times previously. For example on United on US internal flights (but I guess all operators in the US do this) and between LCA and TLV. There is some very small Expedia print that states please check your baggage allowance with the airline, but as I recall that was after I purchased the tickets. I urge Expedia to put this up front, before purchase.

  8. My company uses Egencia (Expedia’s business travel agency offer) supposedly for booking all travel. It’s a problem for me because the policy states we’re supposed to book the cheapest option – not doing so on Egencia flags to our finance team resulting in questions! Yes, HBO is going to be the cheapest but it’s not always the most appropriate option.

    Totally agree with other commenters that this should be stated up front!

    • Will your company not reimburse the baggage fees? There is only so much you can do to save your employer money, after all if it’s a small company where you know the owner/boss then they should be amenable to discussion

      • Pays to be friendly with your boss. When I was younger, good old Martin was all too happy to approve me swapping business return to USA into RTW in economy + 2 weeks vacation so I got to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef with ‘free’ flights.

      • I find these corporate rules bizarre sometimes. I asked a friend at Imperial College who have to use Egencia to book 10 rooms for 10 visiting professors for 1 night. I suggested Premier Inn for convenience and cost . Turns out Premier Inn cannot be booked through Egencia. So they ended up booking 10 single(!) rooms at a more expensive Hilton further away. Plus wi-fi was extra! Quite a counter productive policy.

        • Exclusivity contracts with suppliers usually means you get good deals sometimes (location-wise), and not so good deals at other locations / times

          • (By suppliers, I mean booking agencies in this instance, but same could be said of your office stationary supplier etc depending on size of organisation)

  9. Will Denby says:

    Expedia also aren’t clear on which carrier you’ll be on. My patents sold a VA branded fare and only told its jet after payment. They’ve had no joy with a complaint. Awful. I think they’re the only agent to do this. Skyscanner and Kayak are much clearer.

    • Because they’re technically correct. While the operating carrier is Jet, the flight number is Virgin.

      Certainly something that should be fixed, but is an hour or two on Jet instead of Virgin really worth getting angry about? (On the assumption they don’t code share to London)

  10. I dropped Rob a line to make people aware of Expedia , I was on the understanding this was with baggage it was only when I went to book my seats it asked me to pay . In addition they took £421.08 twice in error leaving short of funds . This has been going on a month with Expedia , my bank has given me the two authorisation codes for each transaction . I work for a bank , and I could locate in 30 minutes the error , so I have no reason why they are taking so long . I have found the Director of Customer expectations personal e mail and cc him into the e mails to Expedia and he has not replied to several of my emails .

  11. Being a once or twice a year traveller, my neighbour assumed that he was getting the best/lowest ‘deal’ with Expedia, and herein lies the issue. ….some folks just have no idea of how the industry works and assume that by going direct to a mainstream carrier ie BA or others, they are going to be ripped off….the thinking being that Expedia will always offer a better price.

    • Opodo are really sneaky on pricing, you look to be getting a flight much cheaper than BA right up to the payment page when their fees alter the picture.

    • But they have special prices especially for ex-EU travel which cannot be booked direct with the airline. Take for example the recent Qatar deals ex-Oslo using GotoGate and Expedia.no

  12. Thank you Harry , I contacted Stuart Newman Director of Customer expectations he has ignored me ! Lol

  13. flyforfun says:
  14. ankomonkey says:

    Shangri-La Golden Circle have an Economist offer, but may be Asia-Pacific only. 1700 Golden Circle points for the cheapest. Fellow non-staying game players who used free points at restaurants should see the offer in the latest Golden Circle e-mails…