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Bits: Lock in your holiday € exchange rate now, Etihad First Class lounge in Abu Dhabi open

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News in brief:

Lock in your exchange rate now if travelling to Europe this Summer

There is general agreement that the £ will drop if the UK votes to leave the European Union on 23rd June.  Many are predicting a fall to parity – 1:1 – which would mean a 20% drop in the value of the Pound against the Euro.

(The £ has fallen by 5c in the last five days after a couple of opinion polls showed the ‘leave’ camp ahead’ so this is not an unrealistic scenario.)

If you are planning a holiday in the Eurozone which is not fully prepaid, you are looking at a potential 25% increase in the cost of your holiday.  A similar is expected against the US$ and other major currencies so you are not immune from the risk if you travelling further abroad.

A reader pointed out to me that Moneycorp allows you to reserve foreign currency via its website for collection up to a month in advance.  You do NOT pay in advance and there is no penalty if you fail to collect.  You are buying a free one-way option on the exchange rate.

Moneycorp is not at Heathrow but there are Central London branches where you could also pick up your money.  Alternatively, you could buy your currency now from someone else who offers a free buy-back guarantee which is valid beyond 23rd June.

Etihad First Class lounge

Etihad First Class Lounge now – finally – open

Etihad has, after a series of delays which began to rival those of the Qatar Airways First Class lounge at the new Doha airport, opened the doors on its First Class lounge in Abu Dhabi.

There is a special page on the Etihad website describing it.

The access rules are a bit odd in that you cannot get access if you arrived in Abu Dhabi in Etihad First Class but are transferring onto a two class route which does not have First.  On the other hand, top tier Etihad members can always get in, unlike the Concorde Room at Heathrow which is blocked to a BA Gold.

Another oddity is that, like Qatar, it is charging for the majority of spa and shave treatments.

The facilities do sound impressive though.  A bar with 75 premium spirits, a kids room with a Norland-trained nanny on duty at all times so you can leave your little ‘uns in safety, a full gym (but no gym kit provided oddly), a cigar lounge, a clothes pressing service and a fine dining restaurant is just the start of it.

I have 80,000 Etihad miles to use, and I am tempted to use them towards a one-way First Class trip out of Abu Dhabi next time I am in the Middle East.  I have never covered Emirates A380 First for HFP so I may try to tie both together in the same trip.  I’ll need to earn a few more brownie points from my wife before I’m allowed to disappear for a few days and do that though ……!

American Airlines

Massive changes to the American Airlines programme

American Airlines finally confirmed the details of its move to a revenue based loyalty programme yesterday.  Showing an astonishing lack of originality, it has simply copied the structure being used by United which was a direct copy of the one pioneered by Delta.  Who made it up at random, as far as I can tell.

The highlights are:

A new tier below Executive Platinum called Platinum Pro, mainly introduced to devalue the benefits of the huge number of Lifetime Platinum members that AA has

Revenue based earning from travel after 1st August (only applies to AA flights and not partner airlines)

Minimum spend requirements for elite status.  These apply to members globally – flights on partner airlines such as BA, which may make up the bulk of flights credited by a UK member to an AA account, will be given a nominal $ value unrelated to the real ticket cost.

I don’t claim to be an expert on AA so if you want to know more I suggest you turn to the US frequent flyer sites.  This article is a good place to start.

Comments (125)

  • John says:

    Bookmakers still predicting small but comfortable margin for IN. If OUT, euro would drop too, so don’t think 1:1 is likely apart from a brief spike (like EURCHF 0.78) but maybe GBPUSD could drop to 1.25 or less, which would make me quite happy (just have to stop buying imported products for a while 🙂 )

    Wonder if Moneycorp would really be comfortable with losing 20% per deal instead of their normal earning of 20%

    • mr bridge says:

      It is also likely WHEN WE VOTE LEAVE, that the value of the euro would fall on parr with th £.
      £ to euro should not be affected, but £ ti $ is where you may lose out

      • Yuff says:

        Here’s hoping 😉
        I see all the same people who are predicting doom and gloom, if we leave, are all the same people who wanted to stay in the ERM and predicted the same, as they are now, if we left that.
        We had some of the best returns on shares and property in the following 5 years and had control of our economy back.

        • Andy says:

          Goodness, I seem to have stumbled onto the Daily Mail’s comment pagesl. I was looking for Head for Points….

          • harry says:

            Raw political opinions are not really welcome here IMV – but discussion of possible impacts on currency are relevant. Are we as posters capable of separating the 2? Looking up, not everybody 🙂

            Bookmakers:
            Some observers argue that betting odds provide a better clue to the outcome of elections and referendums than opinion polls.

            At last year’s general election, for example, the bookmakers’ odds suggested that the Conservatives would do better than the polls indicated. And they did.

            If that’s true then Remain looks the most likely result.

            The referendum is expected to be the biggest ever political betting event in the UK. Millions of pounds have already been gambled on the outcome.

            Last week several bookmakers cut their odds for a vote to remain to 1/6. That means people would have to risk £6 for a potential profit of £1.

            Ladbrokes reported that there were lots of people prepared to back Remain despite the short odds.

            Most bookmakers have the odds for leave at 7/2. A £2 stake would return a profit of £7.

            Perhaps an easier way to track the bookmakers’ odds over time is to look at what they imply about the chances are of each side winning. If both sides were at evens they’d both have an implied probability of 50%.

            On the Betfair betting exchange, the probability they suggest of a remain vote has risen from about 65% a month ago to nearly 80% now.

          • Sideysid says:

            Key thing in this vote that it will be a good indication of the real view of the country. There will be no antiquated ‘first past the post’ to muddy the water.
            I’m not sure even the bookmakers can predict the outcome.

          • James says:

            mmmm…… Harry. One thing I would take a small punt on is whether you post more copy on HFP than Raffles. The odds must be fairly even, but worth a small flutter.

          • Tim says:

            Harry,

            You forgot your source for the above:

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36271589

            I’m sure it was an oversight.

          • Billy Buzzjet says:

            I wonder what Danny Dyer thinks about all of this ?

      • Ian says:

        If you think the pound will not be massively affected by voting leave then you are wrong.

        Sadly many in the leave camp have believed all the crap propaganda (not saying there has not been rubbish from the in side either!)

        The pound WILL tank against all currencies making that summer holiday far more expensive. Unless you have already paid in full, you should expect to find a lot more money.

        • Chris says:

          Given that leaving the EU would be a process of managed withdrawal over the next five years (and probably more), even if the pound “tanked” as you put it, then the currency would swiftly bounce back, just as happened with ERM. That said, even if the devaluation were more long lasting, it would be worth it. You can’t put a price on freedom and liberty.

          • Kathy says:

            Of course you can put a price on freedom and liberty, we put a price on it all the time.
            What a ridiculous bit of rhetoric.

    • Paul says:

      Definitely find it hard to believe moneycorp would honour a huge swing

  • chan says:

    Will current lifetime PLT’s still have OW Sapphire status? Or will that only be for PLT Pro’s now?

    I’ll need to do some further reading on this.

    • David says:

      Yes, platinums remain OW Sapphires. The main impact is on domestic upgrade priority which is pushed back to prioritise platinum pro’s and these with a higher spend.

  • KC says:

    Can you earn points if you pay for the currency on a credit card? Or is it treated as a cash advance?

    • Genghis says:

      In general treated as cash advance. Tesco I believe have a deal using their credit card on Tesco currency I believe. Or unless you have /stuck with Curve?

      • KC says:

        Yes I have stuck with curve. Checking with thrm to see if they treat it as a purchase or cash withdrawal

  • lee says:

    Etihad First lounge does not say access for EAP top level members, when in economy, only when in First class, unles an EAP Invitation Only member:-

    Measuring just under 1,700 m², and boasting expansive views of the airport, the new facility is open round-the-clock for the exclusive use of guests of The Residence, Etihad First Class, Etihad Guest Exclusive, Etihad Guest Platinum members (plus one guest), Etihad Airways Partner (EAP) airline First Class guests, EAP ‘Invitation only’ members (plus two guests) and EAP equivalent Platinum members (plus one guest).

    • Rob says:

      Good spot, will amend. I misread that somehow.

    • Marwan says:

      I am confused – isn’t “EAP equivamlent Platinum mebers” essentially EAP top level members (such as Alitalia Freccia Alata Plus?). If so, that would imply access anytime in the same way as Etihad Guest Platinum, regardless of class of travel?

      • Rob says:

        Even I’m getting confused now. Perhaps you’re right – it is anyone travelling in F on an EAP service (eg Jet Airways First) plus top tier EAP members in any class on Etihad. So I was right?

  • M says:

    Visited the lounge on Saturday. One word. Amazing. Shame about the overall ground experience.

  • ee says:

    Opinion polls seem quite mixed at the moment and we are off to Canada in a few weeks. Decided to buy currency yesterday @ 1.84 so I can forget about it. Some of the Brexit downside is already priced in but if we do come out I imagine the days and weeks which follow will be volatile both on the currency and stock markets.

  • tony says:

    Just a word of warning on the currency deal. Back in 2001, Travelex had a similar approach and we were flying off to the US the day the General Election result came in. A Labour win spiked fears that we would join the Euro and the Pound took a pasting. Travelex simply refused to honour the deal as cable had fallen by so much.

    Not saying Moneycorp will do the same, but this is clearly a lop-sided deal that they are setting themselves up for a fall with….

    • zsalya says:

      From the Moneycorp website: “Moneycorp reserves the right to withdraw this offer without prior notice.”

      So they are will to write you a free option in return for you writing them a bigger one!
      I definitely would not trust them to honour it.

  • harry says:

    Nothing wrong with a free option – especially if there’s no cost to you if you don’t pick up the currency. But name of the game these few last & next days has been/ will be volatility, unless there is a decisive demonstration of future referendum result shown by the polls – unlikely.

    Volatility as in up & down.

    The don’t-knows are still nearly 20% in some polls.

    Newsflow (as generated daily by both sides) is not to be trusted – the news channels are obliged to give fair airtime to Remain & Leave, even if the arguments advanced by one side on any particular day can seem far-fetched & unsubstantiated.

    Today’s snippet – voter registrations in the last 10 days are approaching 1 million, largely voters with a younger profile.

    • John says:

      I think you have a different definition of ‘tight’ from most traders. OK it isn’t swinging between 1 and 2, but it is going up and down by hundreds of pips every week.

      In terms of MS, I could have lost hundreds of pounds from my Supercard withdrawals, but I paid attention and made hundreds of pounds instead – at least twice the value of the points they earned me 🙂