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Bits: Etihad 30% discount codes, BA stalks Norwegian, T5 Aspire lounge & Lounge Club

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News in brief:

Save 30% on Etihad business and economy fares

Etihad is currently running a new ‘friends and family’ promotion for bookings until 12th November.  Code STFECO save 30% on the base fare of an economy ticket whilst STFBUS saves 30% on the base fare of a business class ticket.

You must travel between 15 January and 30 June 2017 and book via the Etihad website here.

Because the taxes make up a high percentage of economy ticket prices, this deal is most effective for business class seats.

Etihad A380

The BA obsession with Norwegian continues …..

The British Airways obsession with low cost long-haul carrier Norwegian continues.  In recent weeks British Airways has launched services from Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale and Oakland – fairly random destinations which just happen to be also flown by Norwegian.

BA CEO Alex Cruz has constantly referenced Norwegian in messages to staff.  The move to 10-abreast economy seating on the Boeing 777 fleet was described in the investor presentation last Friday as “Gatwick’s new B777 configuration will give a lower cost/e-seat than Norwegian B787”.

Yesterday, members of the BA Future Lab programme received a questionnaire asking for any feedback on recent long-haul flights with Norwegian.  Participants are asked to write a TripAdvisor-style review of their Norwegian flight before answering questions about whether it was value for money.  Participants are also being asked what difference they spotted from flying BA and how they felt about the ‘bundles’ of on-board services available for purchase.  One lucky questionnaire filler will receive £100!

It isn’t clear where all this will end but it is unlikely to be positive …..

Aspire Lounge Heathrow Terminal 5

Odd things happening with the Terminal 5 Aspire Lounge

When the Aspire Lounge opened in Terminal 5 at Heathrow, there was some annoyance that, whilst it was open to Priority Pass cardholders, it was NOT available to members of sister scheme Lounge Club.

This HfP article compares the UK lounge networks of Priority Pass and Lounge Club.

This was especially frustrating for American Express Preferred Rewards Gold cardholders, since they get two free entries to a Lounge Club airport lounge each year.

However, the Terminal 5 Aspire Lounge does now appear on the Lounge Club websitesee here.

And yet the lounge is NOT accepting Lounge Club cards.  A couple of HfP readers have contacted me to say that they tried to enter using Lounge Club but were turned away.  The door agent knew that the lounge was on the Lounge Club website but said that it is a mistake.

My hope is that Lounge Club has jumped the gun and that there will soon be an arrangement in place.  Some additional seating is currently being added to the lounge which may have encouraged the owners (who also own Lounge Club) to relax the access rules.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit 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:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list 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

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

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.

Comments (76)

  • BigDave says:

    Took Norwegian from Spain to Edinburgh this summer and the prices were excellent and the best I could find – The planes weren’t airbus and the legroom and cabin bag room on the redesigned 737-xxx was far superior. Food options ala easyjet.

    • Natalia S says:

      I love Norwegian; free wifi on-board – that’s the best free extra a budget airline can offer.

  • Graeme says:

    Reposting from Monday (apologies):

    Completely OT – I need to buy around £1000 worth of Chinese Yuan ahead of a trip to North Korea. I noticed on an old ‘Holiday Tips’ post that someone had had success reserving currency online at Tesco and paying in-store using their Curve. This was a few months ago – has anyone managed this since?

    And to answer Johnnycl and Genghis – I can’t wait. Haven’t been this excited about a trip in a long time. I collected my visa at the embassy/house in Acton (on the A406) yesterday – forms, money and passports were handed through the railings and given back 20 minutes later. Sadly I’m not in China long enough to withdraw that much, so I need to buy here.

    • Genghis says:

      OK – if you need to buy here, you need to be looking at where will give the best rates.
      For example, current spot on is 8.41RMB/£.
      Best foreign exchange (London based) are currently selling at 8.13, 3.4% below XE rate while Tesco travel money are at 7.88, 6.4% below xe. No amount of rewards through Curve can make up for this!
      Have a look at and select when you’re going and whether you can collect (better rates – just pop in your post code) or want delivery and go for the best rate.
      A friend of mine went to North Korea and said it was fascinating. I don’t think I’d be able to persuade my wife to go! Have a good one!

      • Gavin says:

        (A different Gavin). I won’t be going as my wife is from South Korea!

      • Graeme says:

        Thanks all. I’m actually going with another Gavin!

        Genghis – thanks. That’s basically the point I’ve arrived at now. I never normally buy ahead and just use ATMs – it seems such a shame not to earn something on that though.

        Others – I know that we can take EUR or USD, but the tour company says we’re better off with CNY so I’m leaning that way. Better for change, and we’ve got a night in Beijing and a night on the train as well.

    • Gavin says:

      I went to NK in ’08 and ’12. Unless the situation has changed, it’s fine to use Euros there. In fact, pretty much everything we could buy was priced in Euros (with USD and CNY also accepted). You might be better off taking Euros as you’ll probably get a better deal on the exchange rate, both here and in NK.

    • Yan says:

      Not really needed to get CNY unless you are also spending a few days in Beijing, Shenyang or Dandong before/after your trip to NK. As Gavin said, they (or at least the places you have access to) generally accept EUR and USD.

    • John says:

      £1000 seems a lot of money to spend in NK.

      If you bring euros you won’t need so many notes and you can also keep them for use later.

  • Deb says:

    Is the aspire lounge t5 worth paying the money for? Thought I might treat son to it but not wasting my money if it’s dire ?

  • Talay says:

    I have my curve linked to my Marriott Mastercard but Sainsburys would not do it online as their API was telling Marriott that the request was for a cash advance.

    Anyway, what happens when you cannot order online is that Sainsburys offers you the opportunity to pay in store but at the online Nectar rate. The curve card did work there.

  • Smid says:

    Norwegian do appear to do a better WT+ than BA, though they claim it to be business class. But tends to be priced like WT+ (at the moment, that is) but can be booked one way.

  • Phil says:

    Tried to book flights with Etihad this morning and the code doesnt work. Anyone else have same issue?

    • Rob says:

      Are you inside the date range for travel? Was fine last night and EY emailed me this morning to remind me about the codes.

  • Stuart McIntyre says:

    I always really enjoy the Aspire lounge in T5, particularly appreciating the cream tea option they have most afternoons. Which is fortunate as it looks as though Ill be giving up my BA status this year, but I digress… One thing I do wish though, that they’d get rid of that useless unused staircase that takes up so much space in the lounge – thus allowing more seating, which is much needed.

  • Mike says:

    I have a flight booked with Etihad already – I can save £400 with a rebook with this sale. Etihad require me to ring to cancel my existing booking though (fully flex) – will they cause me trouble if I have two identical bookings and just want the more expensive one cancelled?

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