Bits: Opodo codes, new Wizz Air baggage policy, fly a Boeing 737, IC Paris

News in brief:

Two new Opodo discount codes released

Opodo has released two new promotional codes which are good for bookings made by 25th July.

These seem like decent offers:

Save £25 on a flight booking of £450 or more with code SALES25

Save £90 on a ‘flight and hotel’ booking of £900 or more with code SALES90

Full details of these Summer sale offers can be found on the Opodo site here.

Opodo discount code

Wizz Air scraps hand luggage fee

If you fly low cost carrier Wizz Air you will know that you have to pay a fee for most carry on bags.  Only a small item under 42 x 32 x 25 is allowed for free.

Presumably due to competition from easyJet and Ryanair the airline is changing its policy.  From 29th October passengers can bring a cabin bag of 55 x 40 x 23 on board at no extra cost.

The irony is that if you are a member of the €199 Privilege Pass scheme you are now worse off.  Those people are currently allowed a free and larger bag (56 x 45 x 25) and some frequent passengers might need to buy a new one.  You also get a free additional small item (laptop bag, purse, up to 40 x 30 x 18).

The only luggage benefit of the new Privilege Pass and Wizz Priority services from 29th October is that you are guaranteed space in the overhead lockers.  All other passengers face a chance of having to check their bag in at the gate.  You continue to receive priority boarding (including being first off the bus when bussed to the plane!) and free seat selection.

Boeing 737 flight simulator

Fly a Boeing 737 in London this Summer

A new flight simulator experience has landed in Putney, of all places.

At Flight Experience London anyone can have a go at flying a Boeing 737.  The interesting bit is that the simulator’s cockpit was built from an actual aircraft and all the levers and buttons are operational.

Flight experiences start from £109 for a 30 minute flight and can be booked on the Flight Experience London Website here.

InterContinental Paris Le Grand Ambassador Suite

What I got at InterContinental Paris Le Grand last week …

I went to Paris for three nights last week whilst my wife and kids were away.  This gave me a chance to put our hotel booking partner Bon Vivant to the test as it was a rare cash booking!

Emyr booked my one night in a junior suite at InterContinental Paris Le Grand.  Booking through a Virtuoso-accredited agent such as Emyr gets you free club access (usually €140 per day per room), and this is one of the best lounges you’ll visit.  There is free flowing champagne almost all day, gold-leaf covered pastries in the afternoon and a good evening buffet spread.

I booked two further nights directly, not involving Emyr, using an InterContinental Ambassador ‘free weekend night’ voucher.

One thing about getting an agent involved whose high-end clients are valued by the hotel is that it bends over to please.  The hotel contacted Emyr the day before travel to ask what upgrade I wanted.  Two different full suites were suggested and I was allowed to pick the one I preferred.

As you can see from these pictures, it was a very modest affair and substantially better than any previous upgrade when directly booking a junior suite as an Ambassador.  It also had a wrap-around balcony with Eiffel Tower views.  This is called an Ambassador Suite and can’t actually be booked on the hotel website.

InterContinental Paris Le Grand Ambassador Suite 2

(Whether you like that look is, of course, personal taste.  It is very impressive in the flesh and I’ve stayed here at least once a year for about a decade now.)

I was allowed to keep the suite for all three nights, not just the one booked via Emyr.  This was all pre-arranged in advance.  There is no guarantee you’d get the same result but it does no harm to have a high-end agency behind you in cases like this.  Details of our Bon Vivant booking service are here.

(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.)

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Comments

  1. Alex W says:

    Did you manage to keep lounge access for all 3 nights?

    • No-one stopped me going in, let’s put it that way. Strictly speaking I should not.

  2. Stayed here on a reward stay recently and had a dreadful stay which resulted in the hotel refunding the entire 60,000 points to my account. As an Ambassador I was upgraded from the standard room to what seemed like a very nice spacious room on the Opera side of the hotel. Avoid this at all costs, every time a subway train went past the room vibrated and the noise was horrendous. Luckily we were there for just one night but the experience was awful. Also had to contend with noise above the room of staff moving heavy furniture and god knows what else until nearly 2am in the morning. Was a real shame as everything else about the stay was wonderful. A bottle of champagne and fruit/chocolate was left in the room as welcome amenity.

    • Genghis says:

      Hmm. I’ve got a stay in Nov. Hopefully will go alright.

      • JamesB says:

        On my recent trip I cancelled Le Grand for the HI Gare de Lyon to be near station for our train to Zurich, and save 75000 points over the three nights. Struck gold with first use of a large, very nice, newly refurbished room. Best bed on whole trip. You could email and ask them if they can guarantee you a new room to switch your reservation, but unless occupant is high for your dates they might not even welcome a points stay.

        • Genghis says:

          Cheers. Will look into it

        • JamesB says:

          Just do it if they can guarantee you a newly refurbished room, they are only doing them a floor at a time they told me when I was there.

  3. roberto says:

    Groupon also has some offers on Flight sims with prices starting from £45.

    https://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/flight-experience-london-1

    There are some discount codes for new accounts floating about too. Google is your freind.

    • Cool. Will run that at some point.

      • Don’t forget http://www.virtual-aerospace.com for 737 experiences at Brighton City Airport, Sywell Aerodrome in Northants, Gloucester Airport and in Manchester. They also have a Vulcan bomber simulator in Manchester…

        • Genghis says:

          Where can I get an actual moving simulation? I’ve done the Westfield one and was a bit disappointed. I know there’s the BA training sims but they’re pricy…

        • There are some at Coventry – a 737 and an A320 – that have motion. However they’re not fully “rated” which has the advantage of them being quite affordable compared to the BA simulators.

        • Genghis says:

          Thanks tony

        • the one in Putney doesn’t move, and the graphics are a bit ropey.

          i tried one of their free 10 minute tasters that they sometimes run. and was a bit disappointed.

        • JamesB says:

          We’re done with simulators although they are fun. My partner and I decided next stop is a trip to Perth to try a light aircraft combined with flyover of the Highlands. Might need to wait until next spring though unless we have an Indian summer.

      • JamesB says:

        Perhaps one day Anika can get to review a MiG pleasure flight for us.

  4. OT (bits)- does anyone have advice for getting a US car hire quote without insurance add ons (I have Amex platinum)? I am hertz gold through the plat card but their cheaper pay in advance price includes cdw and lis which it doesn’t seem possible to uncheck. Similarly going through holiday autos the price includes “free” cdw/ theft protection/ 3rd party liability. Any top tips? Thanks.

    • Stewie says:

      You need to go into your hertz gold account and chose to decline all the insurances for n America in your preferences – think maybe it’s in the ‘your profile’ section, below personal
      Details and payment details. Then all quotes you get when logged in will be w/out insurance

      • Thanks for the reply Stewie. As I thought everything in my a/c is set to decline so it’s a bit of a mystery to me. I’m going to check out autoslash as recommended by bk3day…

    • zsalya says:

      Give your country of residence as Australia.

  5. Hi Rob,

    Looking to do something similar with a free night Hilton voucher from my Barclaycard. If I booked a room with Emyr for one night and then applied the voucher for a 2nd night, do you think I could get a similar experience in a Paris based Hilton?

    • Nb: I am Hilton Gold atm

    • There is one Hilton in central Paris, the Opera one Anika covered last year. I’m not sure if Emyr can do a deal on that, but if you drop him a note he can confirm either way very quickly. In any event, booking a high end room for cash and using a voucher for the following night would give you a 90% chance of keeping the same room.

      • Does Bon Vivant work with most ICs? I thought I read somewhere that Virtuoso agents do. I’ve got an Ambassador voucher I probably won’t use this year but padding it out to 3 days might help. Also what room did you actually book for cash – a suite upgrade from a standard room (60K points) is a big jump!

        • Junior suite (standard, not view) as per the article.

          Yes, they work with most of the gateway city IC’s, although not secondary ones. Don’t think London 02 is there although Park Lane is. Same with Marceau in Paris.

  6. bk3day says:

    @Matt: Booking on the US Hertz site should give you nothing but no insurance rates. If that is an issue for any reason,I’d imagine booking through a US based service would work.

    My suggestion would be to use autoslash.com for your rental car. Not only will your quote not include insurance,they track your rental price & alert you when/if the rate drops, as is often the case.

    • Thanks for the suggestions bk3day. Autoslash looks a useful resource. It didn’t turn up a cheaper hertz car in same category but did find something else a bit cheaper so thanks again.

  7. Jean Paul says:

    OT: Me and my girlfriend will be using airport lounges for the first time on our holiday in a few weeks (thanks Rob for the plat referral)

    In general, what are the dress standards for airport lounges? I’ve checked a few lounge websites and some say things like “no shorts” while others say “business casual”.

    We tend to travel in pretty casual clothes – jeans, tshirts, trainers, jumpers etc. Should we dress up a bit in order to not feel out of place in lounges?

    Thanks!

  8. OT – just logged into my Amex account, I have an offer of 5,000 MRs to add a supplementary card holder to my Platinum account. I’ve used my free Supp already so no good to me. Don’t remember seeing this mentioned on HFP.

  9. O/T, we have about 12k miles in each of our kids virgin Atlantic accounts. Unlikely to ever use them for flights, any other options?

    • You can move 10,000 from each to Hilton or IHG (50% bonus). You can then move the Hilton points free to anywhere.

      • Genghis says:

        50% bonus? What do you mean by that?

      • I’d like to know too, 50% bonus?
        Can I phone up on kids behalf and move to Hilton, after I open Hilton a/c’s in kids names?

        • JamesB says:

          I think you can still use them on virgin gift cards too. However, Hilton much more valuable as 15000 worth as much as £75 On points and money bookings. There are also quite a few decent 10000 point per night hotels in UK.

      • Alex W says:

        Assume you mean 50% bonus on virgin to Hilton because it’s 1:1.5 whereas virgin to IHG IS 1:1?

  10. WizzAir may have changed their policy since you posted – but Wizz Priority people will be allowed a small handbag/laptop bag/personal item (that normal people aren’t allowed).

    It’s good that Wizz won’t be charging for normal size hand luggage from 29th October – but not allowing a personal item still makes them less attractive than Ryanair / EasyJet !