News in brief:
Cathay Pacific to launch new service to Madrid
Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific has announced that it will be launching services to Madrid next June. This adds to a growing Cathay network in Europe – Manchester and Dusseldorf were also added recently.
Cathay will fly four times per week from 2nd June using a Boeing 777-300ER. The attractive business class seating is shown below.
The good news is that you can redeem Avios points on Cathay as they are a oneworld alliance member, although this service is not yet loaded up. Cathay is also VERY generous in opening up seats – you can see eight business class seats from Dusseldorf on some days as I wrote here.
The bad news is that this will not be an attractive use of Avios. Madrid to Hong Kong is 6,540 miles. This means that it is likely to be a Band 8 Avios redemption (6,501+ miles) which is a whopping 210,000 Avios return in Business. Dusseldorf, Amsterdam, London, Manchester etc are all under 6,500 miles which makes them Band 7 redemptions at 180,000 Avios return in Business.
SWISS offering sub-£200 REFUNDABLE business class flights
SWISS is running another short-haul Business Class sale from London to Switzerland. This is nowhere near as generous as the £123 return flights on offer earlier in the year although we are now in peak ski and Christmas Market season. You may be able to tie this in with the cheap British Airways deals from Switzerland I discuss in my main article today.
The Swiss home page talks of fares to Geneva at £190 as you can see here. If you click the link on the home page it takes you to a booking page which specifically highlights dates with the sale fares. I could not find a similar link for Zurich but, if you play with main booking engine, you can also find fares at £190.
You do NOT need to to stay over a Saturday night.
The deadline to book is 30th September. You need to travel by 30th May. The ability to refund these tickets is HUGELY impressive.
You would get access to the Lufthansa lounge at Heathow Terminal 2 – or the great United lounge if you are willing to walk to the satellite 2B terminal. City Airport has no lounges so you may want to avoid those departures – you will also get better seating out of Heathrow versus City with a guaranteed empty middle seat.
SWISS is a member of Star Alliance so you can credit your flight to Miles & More – 1,500 miles return – or a similar programme.
SAS to use Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 2 – if you have status
In a slightly odd move, Scandinavian airline SAS has announced that its Gold and Diamond Eurobonus members can now use the Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 2.
I reviewed the lounge here and recommend it (photo above).
This is a bit of an odd move. What is SAS trying to say? That it doesn’t believe that the Lufthansa lounge in T2 is exclusive enough for its premium customers?! For the rest of us who don’t have top tier status with SAS, the Plaza Premium lounge can be accessed with a Priority Pass or an Amex Gold Lounge Club card.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (July 2021)
As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £20. You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.
There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and a 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.
The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer. Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.