News in brief:
The future of the Boeing 747-8i
Today I will be flying a Boeing 747-8i via Lufthansa for the first and possibly last time, on my way to New York.
The 747-8i – a stretched version of the 747-4 with a longer upper deck – has been a huge commercial failure with only three airlines ordering the passenger version. Given that the other two are Air China and Korean Air, Lufthansa seemed the best chance of giving it a go.
At almost six metres longer than the Airbus A340-600, it is the longest passenger airline in operation. The failure of the programme is part of the general trend away from larger aircraft which has also hit the A380, but the latter has sold better due to having a modern design rather than being based on a 40-year old lineage.
There have only been 47 orders for the 747-8 passenger version. Lufthansa has taken 19 (all delivered), Korean Air has 10 (nine delivered) and Air China 7 (all delivered). The rest are destined for the business jet / VIP market.
If you are very lucky, you may get to spot a Boeing 747-8 at Heathrow. From 26th March, one of the two daily Heathrow services operated by Korean Air has switched to a 747-8i. This is the first time that the aircraft has been used at Heathrow.
I found this article from Routes News interesting and worth a read if you have five minutes. It looks at the future – or not – of both the A380 and B747-8 programmes. This Wikipedia article gives you a decent rundown on the whole Boeing 747-8 programme.
Special Lufthansa deals from UK to Japan
Speaking of Lufthansa ….. if our recent Japan coverage has encouraged you to visit this summer, Lufthansa has launched a good business class sale for UK departures. Click here for details.
These prices are not as low as, say a Qatar Airways sale but you are do get to fly from the UK without positioning in Europe. Lufthansa has connections from many regional airports to Frankfurt so you may also get to avoid Heathrow.
The headline prices is £1799 return to Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo or Nagoya.
There are also similar deals around £1799 to Dubai, Seoul and various cities in India. Other Asian destinations are a touch over £2000 return.
You must book by 23rd June for travel between 23rd July and 31st August. Full terms are on the Lufthansa website here.
Miles & More partners with Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Car rental groups have generally been strong partners with frequent flyer schemes, but for some reason Enterprise Rent-A-Car has never fully embraced this.
The Enterprise Rent-A-Car UK website only shows Flying Blue (KLM, Air France) and – oddly – airberlin – as mileage earning partners.
Enterprise has recently launched a deal with Lufthansa Miles & More, however. You will usually earn 500 miles per rental but, until the end of July, this is tripled to 1,500 Miles & More miles per rental.
How to get FREE car rental status and other benefits via UK credit cards (September 2023)
If you hire a car in the UK, you can get special benefits (discounts, upgrades, free additional drivers etc) if you have elite status with a car rental programme. You can get elite status for free via certain American Express cards.
The Platinum Card and American Express Business Platinum
The Platinum Card from American Express and American Express Business Platinum come with two free car hire status cards. Your supplementary Platinum cardholder can also receive status in their own right.
From Avis, you receive President’s Club status in Avis Preferred. This gets you up to 25% off standard rates, a free additional driver and a guaranteed one class upgrade. For weekend rentals you will receive a two class upgrade, subject to availability.
From Hertz, you receive ‘Five Star’ status in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards. This gets you up to 15% off standard rates, a free additional driver and a one class upgrade, subject to availability.
Hertz also offers Platinum cardholders a 4 hour grace period on rentals. Your final day is treated as 28 hours, so a 1pm pick up with a 5pm return the following day is only charged as one day, not two days. We wrote about the Hertz / Platinum 4 hour grace period here.
The Platinum Card also comes with full car hire insurance with no obligation to pay for the rental via American Express. You can refuse any attempts to sell you additional insurance at pick up. This benefit has substantial value if you rent on a regular basis.
You can find more details on the two Platinum cards, and apply, in our full reviews:
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is an excellent card in its own right. You receive 20,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up (convert to 20,000 Avios amongst other things), four airport lounge passes and £120 of Deliveroo credit. Even better, your first year is free.
There are two car rental benefits:
- you receive Preferred Plus status in Avis Preferred
- you receive a special package with Hertz – 10% off best available rates at participating locations, a one class upgrade for rentals of 5 days or more, subject to availability, and no additional driver fees
Find out more about the benefits of American Express Preferred Rewards Gold, and apply, in our review: