Bits: new BA CEO starts today, 10% off Etihad economy, Jamie Cullum and I

News in brief:

New British Airways CEO starts today

Today is the first day in the job for Alex Cruz, the new Chief Executive of British Airways, who replaces Keith Williams.  He is obviously easing himself in gently, starting on a Friday!

Cruz was previously CEO of Vueling, the budget Barcelona-based airline also owned by IAG.  He has done a good job of growing that and we can only hope that his easyJet-style experience with Vueling does not colour his approach to BA.

Alex Cruz Vueling

10% off Etihad economy flights

Etihad has launched its first ever discount code today, offering 10% off economy flights departing from the UK and Ireland.

You need to book on the Etihad website here and use code ETIHAD10.

Flights must be booked by 7th April for travel by 30th June.  As I am writing this before the code is live, it is not clear if it discounts the entire fare or just the non-taxes element.

Jamie 2

Jamie Cullum and I ….

Last night my wife and I were at the new St Regis hotel in Dubai to meet the annoyingly talented Jamie Cullum and see a small, invite-only concert.

This was a stroke of good luck on our part since the event fell during our holiday.  I got the tickets through Starwood Preferred Guest and its SPG Moments ‘redeem for exclusive events’ offers.

I paid just 9,000 SPG points for the tickets.  To put that it context, the sign-up bonus on the UK Starwood credit card is 10,000 points.  It turned out that the tickets also included as much Bollinger champagne as you could physically consume and a wide range of canapes.


A raft of new SPG Moments offers are available for Europe at the moment.  These include:

  • ELO at the O2 in London in the SPG Suite
  • The Harlem Globetrotters at the O2 in London in the SPG Suite
  • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the O2 in London in the SPG Suite
  • Visits to Illy in Trieste, plus accommodation
  • Il Divo at the O2 in London in the SPG Suite
  • ‘Dinner in the Sky’ in Athens, plus accommodation
  • Barry Manilow at the O2 in London in the SPG Suite

These can all be booked at the SPG Moments website.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Why NO-ONE should spend £20,000 on the free British Airways American Express card - the Avios partner you have never heard of!
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  1. Barry cutters says:

    2 years ago The Missus and I were in row one in club on the Ba gat-male flight and Jamie , Sophie, kids and nanny were in row two. Jamie and I stood at the club kitchen and drank nearly a full bottle of fizz together, was a great start to my holiday

    • I didn’t know the guy (until I googled him) – he wouldn’t look out of place if he was wearing a school uniform. I couldn’t believe he was 36. And married to Sophie Dahl. I trust he has cash.

      • Barry cutters says:

        He’s a pretty famous jazz singer , obviously he had some money but I wouldnt say he was super rich, they seamed genuine when I met them. She was pretty cheerful and down to earth. He was a really nice fella, they are not massive stars in the spotlight and didn’t come across as obnoxious or arrogant , they were nice people in my opinion.

  2. Sandgrounder says:

    I notice a of £100 when you spend £600 with Qantas has appeared in my Amex offers this morning.

    • buuuuu, I need that too!!! i do not have that on no one of my 3 Cards!!


    • Johnnycl says:

      Got that on two cards as well. Also a couple of new offers for Enclothed and Fragrence Shop.

  3. We had the pleasure of being invited to the London Olympics by BA, and who should turn up in the hospitality suite but Mr Cullum, who proceeded to play for a while as we sipped plenty of BA’s champagne and watched Andy Murray win a gold! Good times :)

    • Wow, what an amazing experience, Owen! BA owe you big time though for writing an Avios and TP calculator that actually works!

      • Barry cutters says:

        I’m not putting you down, but I do think the Ba one works fine.

        • Depends what you’re trying to do. For more complex routes (eg an upcoming LUX-LHR-JFK-LAX-SFO-JFK-LHR-BRU) on a mix of BA/AA and different fare classes it takes only a minute or so to enter into Owen’s tool. For BA you’d have to do each sector manually, then add them all together (not to mention they don’t refer to actual fare code on their site).

    • The_Real_A says:

      As it was difficult to find the link is here:

  4. Ever-so-slightly OT…. Saint Helena is getting an airport! Comair will be running the service, so does that mean there might be redemption seats available???

    (posted in comments late yesterday)

  5. S. david says:

    Speaking of SPG, we may now say goodbye for good. Chinese consortium pulled out last night, giving Marriott a free ride

    • Still a week for someone else to turn up!

      Only upside of this is that I would be able to move Amex to SPG to convert to Marriott which would get me a travel package redemption.

      • haha,

        always a silver lining…what an optimist raffles!

      • I would really miss the SPG option for converting my MR to AA when a bonus is running.

        However I agree with you on the Marriott travel packages I used them a couple of times back in the days when I was Marriott rich, a good option and choice of Airlines too.

  6. Just wondering what message (images above) Mr Cruz may be trying to express ? :

    “I’m so hacked off with Vueling and can’t wait to leave” ?

    “Look out BA-here I come” ?

    Or, is he just hacked off seeing Rob and Jamie having fun?

    :) .

  7. Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    ‘Up to’ 10% off Etihad in all cabins for Amex cardholders. Any route, discount to fare component only. Travel by 31/07. Some fares excluded.

    • And they have hiked fares by around 100% from last week across a whole range of dates out from May 2016 to early 2017 in both economy and business class.

      Last week I could have bought a business class ticket for £1540, now over £3000 !!!

      Last week I economy to Bangkok was £340 or so, now £7/800 or so.

      Bait and switch ? perhaps not but an absolute con for sure. I suggest ignoring this “offer” and waiting until this sucks up demand and they drop back to “normal” and cheaper prices !

      • true, since yesterday! almost double the price!!

        • bit like Alaska Airlines overnight devaluation yesterday….did anyone else pick up on this on other blogs? makes an interesting lesson to us all…

          • Yes, the US blogs had been pushing purchasing AS miles for Emirates F flights big-time (I think for commission on miles sales too) – unsurprisingly this has got a bit unsustainable for Alaska! They’ve at least offered refunds for purchases from 1st March.

  8. Also off topic.

    Just looking through my awardwallet account I noticed they are awarding points to your account if anyone you referred upgrades to the paid option.

    I’ve had 650 points awarded, I used 500 to get 1000 Hilton points.

    Maybe worth checking your account.

  9. Andrew* says:

    Try to make a transfer and the website will sometimes tell you what your date is…

  10. Andrew H says:

    Off topic – does anyone know if there are Regus lounges open in London this weekend? The ones I look at say they’re closed, including the Heathrow T5 lounge.

  11. OT
    I see that we have received 1000 Virgin miles each for registering for auto convert from Tesco, for the third consecutive quarter!

    • Yay finally received mine too! (first time getting them)

      Off to switch autoconvert off again…

  12. Sorry if this is a bit off topic but had nowhere else relevant to post. Maybe he could pull the charges on changing your allocated seat on BA with the 24 hours before departure??? When did they start charging for that? I can understand charging before the check in period but within it also?

    I’ve just booked the family to Nice in July which presumably wil be a full flight and now been told that I’ll have to book seats both ways to ‘guarantee we sit together’ with my 4 and 3 year olds. That’s an extra £60 each way

    • Not true. CAA rules force BA to put one parent with the kids.

    • Seconded. We’ve still got an 11YO (= ‘child’) so BA still allocate seating for all of us to sit together – 5 of us incl 4 BA adults (= 12 or over).

      This also works with HBO seats if you link them to your ‘child’.

      • Adds: check-in girl (we had luggage to check in) told us to carry on checking in online 24 hrs in advance as it offers several advantages incl not getting bumped off your flight. I think it could also prove useful ie families sitting together.

  13. Cay you use your SPG points for booking events for someone else ? Or do you have to be there yourself?