I bought an iPhone and this is what I learned ….

A couple of weeks ago, I finally dragged myself into the 21st century by purchasing an iPhone.  This replaced the Nokia 8800 that I have been carrying around for the last six years or so.

(Don’t knock my Nokia!  Asda Mobile Recycling is paying me £209 for it!)

Clubcard Passbook

Despite having had an iPad since Day 1, setting up an iPhone has still been a bit of a faff at times.  This is what I have discovered so far which related to HfP – feel free to comment below if there are any travel apps you recommend I try. (EDIT: there are now some great tips in the Comments, so you should definitely read them!)

The BA / Passbook collaboration is great.  You can check in online and save your boarding pass directly into Passbook.  This will show even if the phone is locked.  You no longer need a paper boarding pass for BA flights.

Amex has just launched a new Passbook feature which shows your balance and last transaction without a log-in.  The main Amex iPhone app is more useful, though, especially as it lets you easily activate new offers to your card.

IHG and SPG, amongst others, can also be added to Passbook.  I haven’t had a stay yet to try them out though.

You can add your Tesco Clubcard to Passbook (see image above).  This requires a ‘hack’ via this website.  If you don’t want to do that for some reason, the official Tesco Grocery app also displays your Clubcard.  I think it only works on manned tills, however.

AwardWallet works just as well as the iPad version.  As long as you upgrade to the £2.99 ‘Plus’ version, or have donated via the desktop version, the app will check all of your miles and points balances – 46 in my case – in around 30 seconds!

WordPress for iPhone is not as terrible as I had expected.  I’ll never be writing new posts on it, but it allows me to reply to your comments on the move.

Hailo is FANTASTIC.  It is one of the things I was most keen to try.  Whilst we only live 60 seconds walk from a taxi-filled main road, dragging the kids up there makes it feel a lot longer.  Two clicks on the Hailo app and we have a taxi outside our door within a couple of minutes, with the bill charged to my credit card.  I even get a childish bit of fun watching the taxi move towards the house on the map!

The avios.com app is a good way of checking BA reward flight availability, in the absence of a BAEC app.

The ability to tether is cool.  This may end up being the main benefit of my iPhone.  My iPad is a ‘wi-fi only’ model.  With one swipe I can turn my iPhone into a portable wi-fi hotspot so I can use my iPad anywhere.  (Vodafone is happy to support tethering, check with other operators.)  It will also allow us to keep online at home during Sky’s occasional broadband outages and at my wi-fi-less parents.

I haven’t had time to road test the Uber app, Google Maps, CityMaps2Go, AllSubway or Tripadvisor yet, but I will try to get round to it.

Please do let me know of any good travel or miles and points apps that you’ve come across.

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  1. OnTheFly is the app version of ITA – doesn’t support multi leg flights, but much more history than the desktop version and very easy to use

    Plus 9292 if you are ever in Amsterdam!

  2. Re tethering.

    I have an unlocked sim free iphone and use local sims wherever I am.

    When in the UK I use a Tesco Pay Monthly sim. My home country sim and all others so far allow tethering except one, my UK sim. This is a Tesco mobile pay monthly sim and when i use this sim the hotspot option is not shown in the iphone menu.

    First time that I realised that a sim provider can alter the software configuration without user intervention. When a different sim is inserted the hotspot option reappears. If i place the same tesco sim into my spare phone (HTC – android) using a sim adapter the hotspot option appears again.

    • Indeed, thankfully this is an iOS-only ‘feature’, no such carrier restrictions with Android 🙂

  3. Or you could just get one of the new Blackberry handsets, Z10/Z30. Far better handset and OS…and phone! They even run android as well. Blackberry Travel app is pretty good.

  4. redshift27 says:

    My Flights is a must, as it continually monitors all your Amadeus bookings and notifies you of any changes (seats, times, cancellations, ticketing) within 24 hours.

  5. I love AwardWallet, but aren’t you concerned that your details are all stored in one place and can be hacked or the like?

    • No. I feel safer, actually, because I see all my balances a couple of times a day and I would notice if they moved.

      What is risk if someone accesses my BA account? Unless you book a redemption flight, one way, leaving in the next 3-4 hours, I will spot it. The criminal fraternity is also not keen on paying fuel surcharges in my experience.

      Tesco seems happy to reimburse people who have issues.

      The biggest issue is schemes which let you redeem for Amazon gift certificates online. It is then a 60 second job (on a hacked account) to order vouchers, get the codes, make an Amazon order for overnight delivery to an Amazon locker and be away with the goods. JAL shut down its Amazon certificate redemptions recently for this very reason, IHG Rewards Club has similar problems last year.

      • But couldn’t someone get your password and you won’t be able to access the account because someone had changed it? One can’t be too cautious..

        • You would get an email on any attempt to change your email or password.

          As with all things in life, you need to decide where you stand on the line between flexibility / freedom and security. If I was paranoid about security, I wouldn’t be walking around London every day with a £550 phone, a £630 tablet and a Montblanc pen in a Prada bag ….

  6. Most of what I use have already been covered, but a couple more apps, (but I’m on Android, )
    Ebay, PayPal, FilmonLiveTV, MX Player, CleanMaster, Speed Boost Lite, SecureAnywhere, Amazon, HotukDeals, Four Square, Dropbox, , Avios, OysterMate, CamerAlert, CoPilot and Sygic… (both covering all parts of the World we visit…be lost without. )

  7. Jonathan Shapiro says:

    I’d add Genius Scan to the essential travel list.

    No more carting around expense receipts for me. I scan them when I get them. Genius Scan crops them automatically and I then send them via Dropbox to the expenses folder on my Mac.

    It’s a simple app but incredibly useful for me.

  8. Pszczolka says:

    Raffles, could you do a post for each mobile phone operating system about this? I think it’d be incredibly helpful (especially as I have a Nokia, which I love, but I’m not great at searching for useful apps and there isn’t a ton online about what’s good…)

    • As I am only familiar with iOS, I’m not sure what I could do in the way of an Android, Blackberry etc post except to say ‘please post here if you have any good apps’. A lot of iOS apps are also OK for other operating systems anyway.

  9. Key Ring is awesome & a better alternative to passbook


    I have added all my reward/point collect cards – any that is not listed (quite a few for the UK) you can manually type in the barcode/member number & then take a photo of your card.
    Much better support for americans with discounts, rewards, etc.

  10. City mapper is very useful to give you the quickest route when using the public transport in London or NYC

  11. Has anyone tried to add the Tesco Clubcard account to AwardWallet? It shows me as having more than £1000 value in Clubcard vouchers when I have less than £50..Do you notice any discrepancies?

    • Has always worked OK for me, shows correct numbers for both points and unspent vouchers.

      • I’ve switch on the automatic transfer from Tesco to Virgin Miles at the moment and it seems that AwardWallet is counting the miles as cash!

      • Hhhmmm – I signed up to Award Wallet on your advice and it generally seems great. However, it only shows the Tesco Clubcard Points earned this quarter, not the unspent balance that is (hopefully!) still sitting in my account.

        • Someone odd happened in the last couple of days and it has stopped showing the unspent balance. Tesco has changed the way it does account security, so I don’t know if this is a permanent change or if AW just needs to recode.

  12. Cristian says:

    It looks like AwardWallet no longer supports United Miles

    “Unfortunately United Airlines forced us to stop supporting their loyalty programs.”

    • It’s been like that for a good few months now, although you can set it up to scrape the details from the monthly email they send you – not quite as good but better than not having them listed at all.

    • Yes, they have fallen out with the US airlines. Albeit that they paid American a few thousand dollars and suddenly AA’s concerns disappeared and it was accessible again.

  13. Beware of Heathrow Rewards on passbook! I have had no end of problems with shops at T5 accepting it! The systems don’t accept it – yet no issue with the card!

  14. Amex have a £15 credit offer for HAILO on at the mo, limited to 500 sign ups though.


  15. All this mention of flying apps or hotel apps or taxi apps, but not one mention of Angry Birds!