Bits: BA schedule changes for Winter, free Etihad Gold with a £500,000 deposit!

News in brief:

British Airways announces more Winter schedule changes

British Airways has announced a new batch of schedule changes for the Winter season.  These kick in from 30th October and are, in terms of the cancellations, pretty short notice.

These are the changes, all from Heathrow:

Stockholm – increase from 34 to 41 flights per week

Nice – increase from 35 to 41 flights per week

Berlin Tegel – increase from 47 to 52 flights per week

Bergen –  decrease from 13 to 7 flights per week

Stavanger – decrease from from 13 to 7 flights per week

The Bergen change, photo below, does not surprise me.  It is a lovely city but Norway is very, very expensive for tourists.  There is a pleasant Radisson by the harbour which would make a good Club Carlson redemption.

The route was incredibly cheap in the last British Airways sale – although anyone who booked it may now find their flight cancelled.  BA is unlikely to have emailed you yet if you have booked Bergen or Stavanger so I would double check any booking.

On the upside, if you had been looking for Avios seats on a particular date to Stockholm, Nice or Berlin then you should check again. The new services will have the usual four Euro Traveller and two Club Europe seats available.

(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.)


Get free Etihad Gold status with £500,000 deposit!

I have covered the new HSBC Premier World Elite credit card on Head for Points recently.  At 1 Avios or other airline mile per £1 spent, it is the most generous Visa or MasterCard currently available.  It also comes with access to a few hundred airport lounges via LoungeKey.

All in all, it is not a bad deal for the £195 fee – especially as you will receive 40,000 Avios points for signing up and spending £12,000 in your first year.  You do need to be a HSBC Premier customer which has strict income or savings criteria.

Reader Jonathan got in touch to point out that there is a way of getting the £195 fee waived.  You will also receive free Etihad Gold status as well.  All you need to do is sign up for HSBC Jade.

What’s the catch?  Well …. you must “maintain a relationship balance of £500,000 in cash savings and / or investments; and pay your annual income into your HSBC Premier Bank Account.”

Oddly enough, with interest rates so low, this is not a terrible deal if you have £500,000 sitting around (as you do ….).  HSBC’s interest rates are not the best but they are not appalling either.  You save £195 on the credit card fee.  You get Etihad Gold status which leaves you well placed for any status matches to other airlines.  You also get a number of other benefits on top.

What is the best credit card for foreign spend when someone else is paying?
BOOKABLE NOW: New IHG PointBreaks list of 135 x 5,000 point hotels, including Paris
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  1. Genghis says:

    OT. 30% off Virgin ECML on Virgin Red until month end.

  2. I just asked HSBC to waive the fee and they agreed for the first year

    • Probably unrelated to UK HSBC, but in Hong Kong it’s basically a given that the HSBC Premier credit card is “free” as long as you remember to get the fee waived yearly.

    • Hi Shelley who did you call? Premier services? I have received this card a couple of weeks ago and would be keen to get the fee removed, any tips would be appreciated!

      • *Shelly

        • I called the number on the credit card and asked. They did say no to begin with but I pointed out that they’re offering £200 to a new customer taking out the premier account which I didn’t benefit from. They then agreed for the first year only which gives me time to see if it’s the best card for me

    • I asked and got told under no circumstances would it be refunded,

    • Called them, but no luck… even when complaining about some stuff.

  3. Mate please stick to points and miles. Nobody should use Windows 10 if they have Windows 7 and can help it.

    • keep ’em coming harry!

    • Billy Buzzjet says:

      What’s windows ? 0/T but does anyone know what the price of fish is today ?

      • Fresh, frozen or tinned. Cheaper and better at Aldi than other horriblemarkets!

    • bob bob Ricard says:

      Sorry, you’re wrong about Windows 10 – much better than its predecessors and if you’ve been using a tablet (Android or the fascist church of Appleology) then the new interface is what you’ve been waiting for. Much slicker to use and better all round.

      • guesswho2000 says:

        Obviously completely OT, but I’ll get involved anyway – my work laptop has just been upgraded to Windows 10. At home I use Mac/iPad. I hate it, but then I hated Windows 7 when we got shunted from XP!


      • Nick Haley says:

        Are you actually bob bob ricard?

    • Sorry John but an OT for Harry (or anyone else), any tips on getting some good value Disney passes with or without using points (MR, Avios, SPG’s ethiad, VFC, TCC etc have them all)?

  4. Andrew Stock says:

    Berlin now 52 flights a week plus the new route from LCY with has 3 flights a day.

  5. Not surprised about SVG, my last few flights there have been very quiet.

    • Unlike the returns which are always full.

    • what to do in SVG a part starting an ExEU? I would like to go for a weekend

      • easy hiking trip to Preikestolen, very doable as a day trip
        or drive down to visit the beaches along national tourist route Jæren

  6. There are two Raddison hotels in Bergen. The Raddison BLu Royal being the better of the two. Therefore two hotels to use Club Carlson points at.

    • Raffles says:

      Thanks. Only ever been in the one on the harbour.

    • BGO and SVG are still twice a day for the summer, when most of us would try to visit. Had a good trip there last summer and actually didn’t find the costs too bad though hotels and food were nothing special. Car hire very expensive; actually think we might have managed without, even round the fjords, were it not for travelling with an infant.

  7. Shame that you can’t do more than 50. My year has not run out yet.

  8. David2910 says:

    Re the 500k. If you have that lying around in cash with no current investment plan, then yes rates wise not much foregone by putting in HSBC. But I’d note FSCS limit, so risk/reward take a bit more thought-that’s a big exposure.

  9. rams1981 says:

    HSBC Elite customer service appears to be woeful compared to AMEX… beware.

  10. Wally1976 says:

    Totally OT sorry. 4 of us (2 adults, 2 children) flying from Gatwick North to Paphos end of August. Going to pay for 1 month travel plus pack with Barclays to get the 6 Dragon passes (thanks Harry for the tip). I see there are 3 lounges we could use – Aspire, No 1 and My lounge. Any tips on which would be the best for us? Flight leaves at 12:20pm.

    Also, Harry, if I cancel the pack straight away, presume I’d need to wait a year before I could do it again and get 6 more passes?? Also presume we lose the remaining 2 passes when I cancel?

    Many thanks.

    • No 1 and MyLounge likely to be turning away passholders as they will be 100% full with BA passengers (BA lounge is closed for renovation and BA passengers have priority at No 1). Aspire it will be which is meant to be OK although I’ve never been in. It is windowless though IIRC.

      • Wally1976 says:

        Thanks Rob, been in the Aspire lounge in Manchester and that was fine. Shame about the lack of windows but never mind!

    • Yes you’d have to wait 12 months as it’s 6 passes pa

      But Barclays are imposing a 6 month minimum x £15.50 per month

      Lots of insurance etc benefits on top

      But for lounge passes alone – remember the offer for No1 Traveller @ £20 with 750 Avios returned to you (=£12.50 each) is good value alternative

      • sorry new Barclays limits from September so you’re OK for now

        • get your remaining 2 passes valid for 12 months (instead of losing them) by PROMPTLY getting DP to email you email passes with unique codes

          • Wally1976 says:

            Great stuff thanks Harry. Had me worried for a minute there with the 6 month minimum!

  11. O/T but not as OT as IT stuff. Tesco mailshot offering a 2,500 point sign up bonus with the premium card received today.

    • interesting. did it have a user specific code or link?

      • Sorry, binned before checking. Also received email with 2500 point offer. No code, says it’s not transferable. I’m sure Raffles will have more info soon.

    • got similar email with no sign up bonus

  12. The hsbc site says 2 of their reward points equals 1 air mile so isn’t it just 20k avios sign up bonus?