Bits: Travelex / Avios reminder, 20% bonus on transfers to Etihad, £4 Manchester passport control fee

News in brief:

Off for half term?  Travelex / Avios reminder

If you are heading off for half-term next week – or the week after, depending on your school – remember that Travelex has relaunched as an Avios partner.  You can now earn points but only when you buy in advance via this special link on your foreign currency orders.

Travelex lets you pre-order over 40 currencies and collection is available with as little as four hours notice.

This is what you need to know:

Collect 1 Avios for every £1 when exchanging over £300

Collect 1 Avios for every £2 when exchanging below £300

You must pre-order via the Travelex website here, for airport collection, for Travelex store collection or delivery

You can credit your Avios to BA, Iberia Plus or avios.com

Avios will be added within 14 days of collection or delivery

Compare the Travelex pricing with and without Avios as it can vary.

If you want some advice on the best credit card to use abroad to maximise miles and points whilst minimising fees, take a look at my article here.

Travelex Avios

20% Etihad Guest bonus on points transfers

Etihad Guest has launched a 20% transfer bonus when you move across your points from other loyalty schemes.

American Express Membership Rewards is NOT included.   However, you can convert from:

  • HSBC Premier
  • Heathrow Rewards
  • Le Club AccorHotels
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Hilton Honors
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • World of Hyatt
  • Club Carlson
  • Shangri-La Golden Circle

…. as well as some other local Middle East partners.

Except that ….. Etihad Guest has announced a devaluation on a date yet to be confirmed.  You would need to be a little crazy to transfer over your points to Etihad unless you intend to redeem them immediately.  Don’t do it without any firm plan to spend them – why bother, when you have no idea how many miles or how much in taxes will be required when the time comes?

Full details of the transfer bonus are on the Etihad Guest website here.  You need to convert by 31st October.

Pay £4 to use a fast-track passport lane at Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport has brought in a new money-generating wheeze.

The airport has had security fast track passes for some time, priced from £5.  You can now pay £4 to use a fast track passport control lane on your return.

Details are on the Manchester Airport here.  The reader who contacted me about this had paid her £4 and was hugely positive about it.  She arrived to find around 150 people in the queue ahead of her, but the Fast Track lane was empty and she walked straight through.

You need to pre-book this service, however – you cannot just turn up and decide on the spot to pay £4 if it is busy. I’m not sure if there is a pricier ‘walk up’ rate.

Vueling Club is live - how to earn and spend Avios on Vueling flights
HMRC to stop accepting credit cards on 13th January - no more cheap miles
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Comments

  1. UpInTheAir says:

    As a Londoner, I compared Thomas Exchange with Travelex for a bundle of currencies which I need for an upcoming trip to SE Asia.

    TE want £1086.37 but I would have to spend up to £12.00 on travel costs, so £1098.37
    TX want £1117.49 i.e. an additional £19.12 though of course they are slightly more convenient as it’s collection at my departure airport

    So 1117 Avios for £19.12 ? At that price I am in no way a buyer (and in any case there are other things I can do in London on Friday, so no time/money wasted really !)

  2. Scottydogg says:

    OT .
    I’m looking for ideas how to get lounge access in Gatwick North terminal . I’m currently between Lounge Club / Priority Pass memberships .
    We have a few hours there after flying home from italy whilst we wait for our connection .
    Ideally , we wouldn’t want to use the No1 lounge as have found that too busy the past few times we have been there , and too many kids ! 🙂

  3. The UK government should legislate against fees for ‘fast track’ passport control. I’m a capitalist through and through. But: first, there is NO competition in airports. It’s a myth. The whole lot should be nationalised or run as one non-profit making company. Airlines compete. Airports in the UK don’t compete with each other. They compete for airlines. Second, I can CHOOSE to use fast-track security or not, wither by paying or by using status or ticket. I can’t CHOOSE whether or not to use passport control. It is a shambles. MAN are like a computer virus protection company selling virus protection software – whilst simultaneously releasing computer viruses.

  4. I paid £9.99 at Gatwick for fastrack passport control. Prebooking is necessary, its limited to 50 pax per hour and it was fast!

  5. dirtyneedlebluesky says:

    I’ve used the Fast Track twice since the introduction in August in two different terminals at MAN.

    One was pointless as no standard queue anyway but I had prebooked. So I never used again between August and last week. Then T3 was just plain silly. Lines that would make US immigration look good!!

    So I sat down and booked for Fast Track..although the t&cs state you have to book so many hours ahead I just put in a time for the end of the day. Once I received my email I just showed this and my surname was added to a list of people. I was congratulated on my tenacity!

    For those that don’t know with FT you get to see an agent. No egate messing. On a personal note I dislike the use of egates and the forced push to use them despite no legal requirement to do so.

    • Am I right in saying that if you see an agent, they’re simply manually submitting the same data that the eGate would capture?

  6. the_real_a says:

    OT – who destroyed the AMEX website with a redesign. Its awful!

    • the real harry1 says:

      probably the code-breakers

      • It’s dreadful. Surely they must pilot any changes before it happens? Can’t imagine anyone thinks it’s an improvement.

    • Johnny_c-l says:

      Ghastly, so slow too.

    • +1 Only shows 3 of my cards along the top, and no scroll arrows to view the other cards. Have to go into transactions on one of the cards, then it shows the other cards and scroll arrows (probably as this section looks like it’s the old site!).

  7. dirtyneedlebluesky says:

    Forgot to add to my earlier post…. No verification of this but a taxi who dropped me off at MAN recently said it was going to soon to undergo a major refurbishment which would include US immigration.

    Just done a quick search and it appears true:

    http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/business/business-news/future-manchester-airport-featuring-showcase-12632801

    • Hold your horses. it is ‘HOPED’ to get pre-cearance.

      Neither the US or UK Governments have given their approval.

      • Would be very surprising if MAN was willing to pay for this. I believe that Dublin has to cover all of the expenses of the US border patrol staff including housing etc.

  8. OT – is there an easy way to search for ‘anywhere’ to travel using Avios (specifically, RFS) on set dates??

    • Nope ….

    • johnny_c-l says:

      On the BA Redemption Finder website you can be a little quicker by just amending the destination airport IATA in the web address to save going back and forth…….this saves a bit of time if you have a list of potential destinations to try.

  9. Trickydicky says:

    Fast track security- Does this mean the bags get screened faster too? If so how do they know who’s bags are fast tracked or do they give you a label?

    • You just get a ‘bye’ to the front of the queue, so your bags go in faster, but it’s no faster if they need a ‘rummage’. However, this is entirely within your control if you take responsibility for your own packing and know the rules and what the machines pull it out for. No liquids, however well hidden. All electronics presented separately. Care taken with cables (ideally check them in, but at least have them in different parts of the bag going through x-ray), care taken with metal items as these can flag. It sounds stupid but learning the rules has changed my life, my bag never gets pulled out at any airport in the world. So those whose do have only themselves to blame.

  10. the real harry1 says:

    O/T a few Amex points here & more to the point a free £6 credit when you buy Amazon giftcard for £30
    https://tinyurl.com/y73yzvjx

    Worked 3x on our family a/cs so worth a try – (we’ve bought plenty of Amazon gcs on these a/cs in the last year)

    • the real harry1 says:

      it’s the same as 18,000 free Avios, folks 🙂

      combined with my 30,000 free Avios equivalent earlier (Esso)

      worth a try, surely?

      • Tell us more… where are these numbers coming from?

        • the real harry1 says:

          https://tinyurl.com/y73yzvjx on your Amazon a/cs then … do you even use your car much, Genghis? (Esso x2)

        • I’m a Londoner (kind of now I guess), car not needed. I’ll give the Amazon thing a look tomorrow. Cheers

        • the real harry1 says:

          I learned something today on Amazon as well – remember the £15 off £25 Amex promotion back in December 2016 would not work with new Amazon A/cs? Well they opened it up to a/cs opened as late as June 2017. So you could have guessed that and opened a new Amz a/c for a family member etc

          Expires Oct 30th so no chance now. As it happens I opened up 1 new a/c in that period as we are 5 & only had 4 a/cs, I’m not into the xc* script stuff lol so only 5 – that a/c is valid for the the Amex promo (tells me at checkout) but can’t make it work, I think Chat will sort it out

          I reckon Amz & Amex will get together again with something similar so bear it in mind

        • the real harry1 says:

          yeah guessed that these days Londoners can do better without cars – or Esso

        • the real harry1 says:

          looks like I was out by a factor of 10

        • 🙂 is it the same with your 2m avios stash?

  11. OT- on the amex gold, got the card last week but how does lounge club access work, do you get sent a separate membership card or do you have to request?

  12. OT – noticed this on my VS account – “VAA Credit Card Companion Flight Qualification” not sure why this is showing but not the upgrade certificate? I thought both might not post until end of the card year but don’t quite understand why one has posted but not the other. Any VS Black cardholders have any prior experience of how the vouchers post? (was more interested in the upgrade than companion cert!)

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