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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)

  • vol says:

    OT – VUELING: – remember the £10 tickets a few months ago?

    I’ve just had some direct flights Luton to Zurich changed to an 8 hour journey via Barcelona.

    Nonsensical! I would like to get my money back but something tells me this is going to be a problem.

    Anyone else got the same issue today?



    • Bluejosh says:

      Exactly the same issue – what a farce. Going to try and get refund.

      • JamesLHR says:

        Note EU 261

        If a flight is cancelled, passengers are automatically entitled to their choice of (a.) re-routing to the same destination at the earliest opportunity (under comparable conditions); (b.) later rerouting, at the passenger’s convenience, to the same destination under comparable conditions (subject to seat availability); or (c.) a refund of the ticket as well as a return flight to the point of first departure, when relevant. Any ticket refund is the price paid for the flight(s) not used, plus the cost of flights already flown in cases where the cancellation has made those flights of no purpose. Where applicable, passengers are also entitled to refreshments, communication and accommodation as described below. Where re-routing is to another airport serving the same destination, the airline must pay for onward transport to the original airport or to a close-by destination agreed with the passenger. These choices, and the entitlement to refreshments, etc., apply to all cancellations, regardless of whether the circumstances are extraordinary or not.

        It is unclear whether “the earliest opportunity” requires airlines to endorse a ticket onto another carrier.

        The airline is also required to pay cash compensation as described below, unless one of the following conditions applies:

        the airline notifies the passengers at least two weeks prior to departure
        the airline notifies the passengers between one and two weeks prior to departure, and re-routes passengers so that they can:
        depart no more than two hours earlier than scheduled, and
        arrive no more than four hours later than scheduled
        the airline notifies the passengers less than one week prior to departure, and re-routes passengers so that they can:
        depart no more than one hour earlier than scheduled, and
        arrive no more than two hours later than scheduled
        the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances that could not have been avoided by any reasonable measure.
        The airline must also provide an explanation to passengers of alternative transport.

  • Scottydogg says:

    We flew to Florida with Norwegian a few years ago , couldn’t fault them . Great price and new dreamliners

  • paul says:

    Can you put the Etihad code onto the app anywhere?
    Trying to find it but no joy.

    • Amit says:

      Is the Etihad ex uk only and is there a maximum stay?

      • Rob says:

        I think all travel must be completed by the last date mentioned in the article, but you can check.

        The code was given to me by the UK marketing team but no idea if it works starting elsewhere.

  • Bob says:

    Usually yes, one transaction for Amex cash back offers.

    • Genghis says:

      I thought there were reports the other day about cumulative spend counting for this offer?

      • Brian W says:

        I remember someone reporting this as well, cumulative spend with BA was triggering the offer on BAPP.

        BA splits your payments often also, I booked 5 reward flights the other day on Air Berlin and although I made one payment on my BAPP for the taxes on it showed on my statement as 5 x £67.70.

        It also does this on normal revenue flights as well if you pay for seat selection, it splits the fare and the seat into two transactions. No idea why.

        I reckon this is why they are accepting a cummulative total to trigger the bonus, if it doesn’t I’d call Amex.

        Wish I had the offer!

        • Ant says:

          Brian email them and ask for the offer to be added to your account. That’s what I did

  • Rhys says:

    Cumulative seems to be the consensus.

  • Scott says:


    A friend is looking to use avios to buy a pair of BOSE headphones? I have looked and can’t think of anyways of doing it. Any ideas? Gift cards etc? I know it wouldn’t be the best use but he has 95K and just wants to save cash. Many thanks

    • Alan says:

      You can use MR points (at a poor rate) to by products but I haven’t heard of using Avios to do so. Perhaps use for discounts on flights or pay for hotels instead?

      • the real harry says:

        He could sell his Avios a/c complete with the points, not my bag but I’ve seen it done

        The buyer changes password, email & address, joins up the a/cs & uses the points

        • Alan says:

          Could do but I wouldn’t do it either!

          • the real harry says:

            heh heh

            We use this card for monthly shopping and pay it each month. We have gained over 1800000 airmiles in the last year

  • Marek says:

    It amazes me how Alex Cruz destroys BA – clearly a wrong person for the position! His mindset is to compete with Norwegian, easyJet and Ryanair, while he should be looking at what more traditional airlines are still offering. BA is no longer a premium airline.

    • the real harry says:

      I think you are perhaps looking at the situation very narrowly as a ‘bum on a seat’

      Cruz’s focus will be driven by shareholders and the requirements of the pension fund trustees

      so he is all about increasing contribution & of course that includes increasing turnover & reducing costs

      whether you like his methods of getting those business results & how he is structuring short term vs longer term tactics/ strategy is a matter of opinion 🙂

      • Marek says:

        BA wants to be a premium airline, people used to choose BA because everything was included, I did recommend BA to my friends bribing them with “and you’ll get g&t completely free”… if BA wants to stay premium, they should keep offering a premium service. If BA wants to go the LCC route then they’re on the loosing as Norwegian has better offering in Y already – newer planes, lower rates, and soon same narrow seat as BA.

        • the real harry says:

          Norwegian don’t fly from Heathrow – as a first objection

          ask me if I want BA HBO from Heathrow – no F&B – for the same price as LCC from Luton/ Gatwick etc – then often I would say BA – as it happens my Avios make Plus ticket the same price as LCC, so I still just about prefer BA, booze or no booze

          especially as I can get exit seats for free instead of £18 🙂

        • Will says:

          BA has something norweigen will never have.

          All the slots at LHR. Without them it is nothing, with them it’s a license to print money.

          • mark2 says:

            so all those aircraft from other airlines that we see flying in and out of Heathrow; do they not need slots?

          • Rob says:

            Exactly. And Heathrow landing fees are so high, BA could not compete with a Gatwick flight by Norwegian. So what happens …. will BA move long hauls to LGW?!

          • Will says:

            They’ll do what we’d all do. Push up prices from LHR and move the most price elastic routes to LGW if they think they have more profitable inelelastic routes from LHR.

            AA, JAL and now Qatar flights from LHR are revenue share with BA so yes I’m saying it’s absolutely shocking how many effective revenue slots IAG has.

            Any BA, IB, Aer lingus, AA, JAL or Qatar flight out of LHR is IAG group revenue.

            Someone must be able to do the maths there, what % the above airlines account for with respect to LHR slots.

  • Brian W says:

    I’ve arrived home this evening to a letter re my BAPP – Changes to Terms and Conditions coming into effect 26th Jan 17. All boring stuff that means little except one term that worries me:

    “If you use third party services (such as Paypal), we are not able to identify where you have made the purchase, which means we are unable to provide any merchant or industry specific rewards which are linked to the underlying purchase”

    I seriously hope that doesn’t mean you won’t collect Avios on payments charged to the card via PayPal. Hopefully it just means the shopping protection etc won’t cover you if the purchase goes wrong!

    • mark2 says:

      I would take that to mean that you will not get a statement credit where offered if the card is used directly e.g. on £500 spent at BA at present.
      You get Avios wherever you spend so Paypal should be alright.

    • Nadir says:

      I think that refers to category specific bonus points, although these are more common in the US.

      E.g. if you were to pay for a BA flight using Paypal (funded with your BAPP), Amex wouldn’t know that the spend was with BA as it would appear as a payment to Paypal. So you would only get the standard 1.5 Avios per £, rather than the 3 Avios per £ that you would normally get for spend with BA.

      But your point about shopping protection is also true.

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