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Bits: bizarre new easyJet service, hidden IHG Accelerate goals, airberlin cancellations

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News in brief:

easyJet launches new ‘check in your hand baggage’ service

No, 1st April has not come early.  easyJet really did launch a new service yesterday called ‘Hands Free’.

Apparently, many people who travel with just hand baggage – in order to avoid queuing to check in a bag, waiting for its return on arrival and risking that it never arrives at all – arrive at the airport and decide that they made a mistake.

Luckily for you, easyJet can now help you.  For just £4 per bag, you can now queue up and check in your hand baggage.

This will give you “a stress free experience” because “[you] do not need to …. carry it around the airport”.

(You need to offset from this, of course, the stress of wondering whether you will see your bag again or wondering what state it will be in after 50 suitcases have been sat on top of it for two hours.)

The upside is that your bag will have a “Priority” tag on it which means that it will come our first at your arrival airport.  Because we all know how effective those “Priority” tags are …..

You can also board in the first group after the “Speedy Boarding” people have boarded ….. but, as you won’t have any hand baggage to put in an overhead locker, why bother boarding first?!  Why not board last and give your knees a break?

However, what do I know?  Andrew Middleton, Ancillary Revenue Director at easyJet said:  “We’ve seen a fantastic response from customers upgrading to the ‘Hands Free’ experience and we’re confident once you go ‘Hands Free’ you’ll never want to drag cabin baggage through the airport again.”

You can find out more on the easyJet website here.

Priority bag tag

See your hidden extra IHG Accelerate challenges

IHG’s Accelerate promotion, which starts on 1st September, is likely to be the most generous hotel promotion this Autumn.  

You can learn more about IHG Accelerate in this article.  It may be worth diverting some stays towards Holiday Inn, HI Express, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental, Hotel Indigo etc if your personal target is attractive.

There appear to be some ‘hidden’ extra targets too.

Go to the page of the Accelerate website which shows your personal targets and click ‘print’.  You don’t need to actually print anything.  Go into ‘Print Preview’ and scroll down.

You should see four additional targets which may well be publicly revealed to you as the weeks go on.  I have:

October Bonus – earn 5,000 points for one stay during October

November Bonus – earn 5,000 points for one stay during November

December Bonus – earn 5,000 points for one stay during December

Final Week Bonus – earn 2,000 points for a stay between 24th and 31st December

It isn’t 100% certain that these ‘hidden’ targets will eventually become part of my official Accelerate goals, but it seems likely.  You may want to reassess whether Accelerate makes sense for you, and when you will make your qualifying stays, in light of these extra bonuses.

My main article on Accelerate is here.  Thanks to the readers who sent this across.


airberlin cancels long-haul flights

Unfortunately the airberlin bankruptcy saga is getting worse.  A report in German newspaper Bild yesterday said that long-haul flights from Berlin to Abu Dhabi, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco will end on 1st October.  Flights from Dusseldorf to Boston are also scrapped.

All other long-haul routes are, for now, still timetabled to operate.

If you have an Avios booking on any of these routes, you should contact British Airways to see what is available.  The article suggests that passengers will be rerouted on Lufthansa but that may not apply to redemption tickets.  Some routes can also be rerouted via airberlin services from Dusseldorf.

If you have an airberlin long-haul booking on another route, I recommend checking daily to ensure it is still operating.  The MyFlights app can do this for you, if you have an iPhone, but as it only checks once every 48 hours you should manually refresh your booking daily.

Unfortunately, my thought that Lufthansa would seemlessly takeover the long-haul routes with no loss of service does not seem realistic now.

British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (104)

  • John says:

    The easyJet service can be quite handy. I used it in Crete after buying quite a few liquids over 100ml (knowing this service existed). It was cheaper to pay the £4 than dump them all and buy them again in London.

  • Andrew says:

    If I print the current quarter’s accelerate I can see a hidden 3000 July bonus which I would have met the requirement for, but didn’t get credited for. So I wouldn’t hold my breath for this quarter’s hidden bonuses posting either.

  • Simon says:

    I’ve used the easyJet Hands-Free service a few times now and I think it’s great. For £4, I can take full-sized liquids. I also get to take on a handbag sized bag, so effectively I get another piece of hand luggage, which I find handier than putting my iPad etc into the roll-on suitcase.

  • Luke says:

    I noticed easyJet Hands-Free through the app – was offered it for a flight a few days before this article. However (having not taken it up) we were then invited to check in our hand baggage for free at Bag Drop anyway, presumably that might have stopped now that the service has properly gone live?

    • Rob says:

      They can’t stop that – the overhead bins are not big enough for all the bags on peak flights!

      • Luke says:

        Yes, good point! But they offered to take ours off us at check-in rather than the (to me, not significant!) ‘hardship’ of having to carry it through the airport?

        Will they mark boarding passes to stop people sneaking two full-sized bits of hand luggage through!? (i.e. one under Hands-Free and another ‘normal’ one)

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