Bits: new way to spend Emirates miles, BA removes therapeutic oxygen, Abu Dhabi ‘no rain’ promise

News in brief (we’re a bit behind after spending two days at the Business Travel Show last week):

A new way to spend expiring Emirates Skywards miles

I get a lot of emails from HFP readers concerned about some Emirates Skywards miles which are approaching expiry.

Your options are fairly limited.  There is no way of extending their life so you need to spend them before they expire.  For small amounts your options include:

There is now a new option.  Thanks to a new partnership with Rocketmiles, you can now redeem Emirates Skywards miles for hotel rooms across the world.  You can combine miles and cash – as long as you have at least 5,000 miles – so this is a good way of using up your entire expiring balance.

You can also earn Emirates Skywards miles on hotel rooms booked via Rocketmiles.

Full details can be found on the Emirates website here.

Emirates Rocketmiles

BA to remove therapeutic oxygen from short-haul flights

In an interview with Skift last month, British Airways CEO Alex Cruz said “If one particular day we don’t come up with an idea to reduce our costs, then we’re not doing our job.”

And so it came to pass on Friday that BA announced it will no longer provide therapeutic oxygen on short-haul flights departing after 1st February 2018.

Customers requiring therapeutic oxygen on short-haul flights are being told to make their own provisions.  You need to receive medical clearance from BA before you can bring your own therapeutic oxygen onboard, and it must be from a list of acceptable providers.

British Airways will continue to provide therapeutic oxygen on board long-haul flights.

Abu-Dhabi

Etihad offering a free repeat holiday if it rains!

Etihad is pushing its Etihad Holidays packages at the moment with an interesting guarantee.

If you book a break in Abu Dhabi, and there is more than 5mm of rain during your stay, Etihad will provide you with a free replacement holiday up to the same value.

The small print is confused, however.  The website for this offer mentions ‘1st May to 30th September’ but the small print talks about stays between 1st June and 31st August.  This is a major difference as your best chance of a downpour is obviously in the shoulder season, primarily May.  That said, the chance of a payout is slim in any event.

Review of the Upperdeck lounge at Glasgow Airport
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Comments

  1. O/T…. Remember a few weeks back when Heathrow Rewards offered a 50% bonus when transferring HR points to Avios – well that runs out tomorrow.

    They also had a second promo where “new accounts” got 3000 HR opening bonus if punters spent more than £150 in one day. I offered the suggestion that one could perhaps open a new account & pre-order £150 of currency from Travelex to try the double stack these bonuses. Well the good news is both myself and my better half did exactly that and have received 9000 avios between us for buying just over £300 of dollars at 1.22.

    I know others where intending to do it too and this is a gentle reminder that the clock is ticking..

    • the real harry1 says:

      nice but I read a couple of posts here from people later than you who were in dispute with HR, who were refusing to give the points for currency purchase, would be good to know if they resolved the issues

    • Buying a 150 £ gift card worked for me (Waitrose card bought in WHSmith). Buying Boots card in Boots wouldn’t qualify – own branded gift cards are excluded from points collection.

    • Johnny_c-l says:

      S***! Thanks for the reminder, I totally forgot about this. Have transfered to avios which should get me to the line for Superboost too.

      Currency did not work for me this time, but may follow up with an email.

      Thanks Roberto for the reminder to xfr!

  2. OT: What is hilton govt rate in this:

    Quick Look Hilton East Midlands Airport hotel – Double Hilton Suite
    Rate plan Price Per Night (GBP)
    “WORLDWIDE GOVT RATE FOR OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT TRAVEL ONLY OFFICIAL ID-ORDERS REQUIRED … – Price includes tax £73”

    Is it different to the Public sector rate? I am not getting same rates when using PR11PN

    • Hi Boi, I usually see these rates when booking through my corporate travel agent (I work in the NHS) – only used it twice, but have also been asked for ID twice at two different hilton properties.

      Assuming you have that, sure you’ll be fine

      • Thanks both. I work in the NHS too. The PR11PN rate not available for this hotel in April. I will book the govt rate and take my NHS badge?

    • The ‘PR11PN’ rate is cheaper in almost every instance I’ve found, for example in May using your hotel, it’s £73 on government rate but £59 using ‘PR11PN’, if you’re paying for it out of your own pocket select the ‘PR11PN’ one otherwise, let your employer take the hit.

      I know with government rates you need to show ID, not so sure about ‘PR11PN’ as I used it once and wasn’t asked for ID, I did have it at the time, but not tried since as I’m rarely travelling with someone that has the required ID proof.

      Do they usually ask for ID proof when booking through ‘PR11PN’? If not, I may cancel a booking and rebook saving £120 in the process!

      • I have never been asked for ID and used the public sector rate many times. Could have been lucky though.

        I think the government rate is supposed to be for official work related travel rather than leisure fares.

        • I used gvt rate regularly in the last 2 years and primarily in Middle East and continental Europe and have never been asked for an ID (although always had it with me)

  3. the real harry1 says:

    O/T where’s the £ going? I know we mostly all take a lively interest in this, so here’s an interesting take (that I largely subscribe to!)

    The pound is the ‘most undervalued major currency in the world and will rebound to its pre-Brexit levels’ – Analysts at US bank Morgan Stanley say the risk of the UK leaving the EU without a trade deal has already been priced in by markets
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/pound-sterling-is-the-most-undervalued-world-currency-and-will-rebound-to-pre-brexit-levels-a7597666.html

    • the real harry1 says:

      I believe in this message enough that about 10 days ago I crystallised my wife’s ‘big’ pension Brexit currency gains & heavily rebalanced her main pension fund towards GBP, the portfolio of funds needed re-weighting & de-risking in any case.

    • I expect GBP will go back up against the USD in 2-3 years, but it may drop further in the short term especially if the Fed continues rate hikes. However, if Trump’s economic policies end up being stupid then the GBP may recover against the USD more quickly.

      Against the EUR, not too sure. The euro is still struggling to go back up against the USD after its “Brexit-style” fall in 2013

      • oops meant the latter half of 2014, slippery fingers

      • the real harry1 says:

        do you think there is much merit in the idea that all over the world, major producers/ countries would like to see their currency devalued? Not the Switzerlands, but the trading nations.

    • So much uncertainty in GBP, EUR and USD at the moment. Bitcoin may actually prove to be a great choice if your holding currency as cashZ

    • Someone was predicting that another Scottish referendum would cause the pound to fall. I would have thought that Scotland getting independence would have helped the pound.

    • I think the euro will weaken against the pound and USD from todays rate as for the USD I am not sure, trump will no doubt make a big impact on the economy long term.

    • Please do not listen to bank analyst and currency strategists even from places like a big bank.

      Their role is to generate more business/trading.

      Pound devaluation has to do with current account (of international banking operations) deficit, as of known for Q3 2016, the UK’s Balance of Payments Current Account Balance is

      -25, 494 million pounds (25.5 billion)

      There is a reasonable expectation that Brexit will lead to decrease in the services (financial services) that UK provides to the European countries in particular and therefore, less payment and capital inflows.

  4. the real harry1 says:

    OK here’s what’s on my mind. There has been enormous negativity about IAG/ BA [I’ll call them BA] these last few weeks. Yet I think the company is at heart trying to do the best for its stakeholders, as any company should. In BA’s case, the stakeholders include shareholders, pensioners, deferred pensioners, employees incl mgt & those working on planes & behind the scenes, doubtless also those who depend on BA for business, & of course customers who fly.

    We all know BA has to make up colossal deficits in the pension funds.

    At any one time, BA has to balance the rewards/ benefits for its stakeholders. Ie a big dividend for shareholders or re-investment in the business might mean no extra money for the pension fund deficit. Cutting back on costs means reduced service, F&B for flying customers.

    Whilst I am still very sore about getting my contractual F&B (for flights bought before the changes, so contractually agreed & paid under existing conditions at the time) getting stolen away – & I’ll fight them for it & win, I’ve got the screenshots etc – I don’t have a particular problem with BA making F&B a paid item. I don’t have a problem with BA making Oxygen a paid item either, same as Ryanair. People get annoyed when a previous benefit is taken away – but they need to understand they are paying for a clear current deal & the deal can change over time. You sign up willingly to the deal in force & can’t expect to get a previous deal or benefit.

    So the BA deal is getting worse in some respects. It’s also getting cheaper – tickets ARE cheaper & more competitive vs the opposition. I can’t understand why so many people are simply moaning about change.

    • The problem is that though tickets are getting cheaper, they are not as cheap as the other companies they are getting closer to in service values. I personally prefer the buy on board idea but I can understand the upset of other people.

    • I rarely find BA tickets that are as cheap as other legacy carriers, nevermind low cost carriers. They may be getting cheaper but not fast enough.

    • I completely agree with you. Flying has never been so cheap – and I guess it´s getting cheaper. However they won´t get as cheap as low-cost airliens (BA is still able to fill planes at higher prices due to frequency, main airports, global network, which low cost do not have). If you don´t like BA anymore don´t fly with them, no one really foreces you to fly with tem. There´s plenty of competition, specially out of London. Change or adapt.

    • Not sure how it all comes together, do customers have to buy tickets to make (institutional) shareholders happy?

      The culture is and always has been about disproportional bonuses for top management.

  5. Roberto – and others
    Well done – but, sadly, I had a different outcome. The 3000 HR points for my currency purchase were not posted so I eventually rang Heathrow Rewards (on its 0500 number which connects to someone – with good English – in Ukraine) who told me that currency purchases were excluded from this promotion!
    Seems to be a bit of a shambles.

  6. OT

    Anyone know if the current £50 off £200 Amex Travel offer definitely works for cumulative spend?

  7. You can also spend Emirates miles on Qantas! I just used up 20,000 that were about to expire, by booking a one way flight from Sydney to Perth (a 5 hour flight that usually costs around $400-$500AUD one way on Qantas). Great for anyone visiting Australia who needs to book internal flights! Not sure if you can also use Emirates miles for long-haul Qantas flights (UK to Aus for example).

  8. Had something similar for my Amex Nectar card (only got this for the enhanced 40,000 account opening offer)

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