News in brief:
Etihad drops free chauffeur transfers
Times are getting tougher for the Middle Eastern airlines, as the easy pickings in terms of destinations run dry and organic growth starts to slow.
We have already seen both Emirates and Etihad allowing ‘paid for’ access to their Business and First Class lounge networks. Just a couple of days ago Emirates dropped free wi-fi for heavy users. Charges for seat selection have also been creeping in.
In the latest move, Etihad is dropping its free chauffeur service at all airports except for Abu Dhabi. The car that took me to Heathrow for my Etihad First Class flight recently (review here) was, frankly, a bit of a dump and it was clear costs had been cut. The service is now being scrapped altogether except for passengers in the A380 Residence (which means one car per flight maximum needed!).
Etihad had removed car transfers from its cheapest Business Class cash tickets a while ago, and it was a pleasant anomaly that they had been retained for Etihad Guest mileage redemptions. That said, this was a bit of a sop to offset the impact of the chunky fuel surcharges which Etihad started to add on at the time of the Etihad Guest devaluation two years ago. The fuel surcharges were added per leg, which meant the figure for anyone travelling from the UK beyond Abu Dhabi was getting silly.
All Business Class and First Class tickets – excluding Business Saver – booked by 3rd July will still receive free rides at outstations. Etihad has made it clear that any changes to a ticket from 3rd July will result in it being stripped of its free rides irrespective of the original booking date.
IG Index removes credit card fees
A few readers have contacted me with interesting changes to operations at spread betting firm IG Index.
From 20th June, IG Index has removed all charges for using credit cards or PayPal to pay money into your account.
It isn’t clear if these transfers will be treated as cash withdrawals or points-earning purchases by your card company – I’m sure someone will try it out. Even if a direct card payment is treated as a cash withdrawal, I’m not sure if that would also apply to payments processed through PayPal. We will see.
(EDIT: see the comments below for the results so far of reader experiments!)
American Express is not accepted, unfortunately.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – December 2020 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are my December 2020 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
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
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these:
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.