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

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.

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


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  1. OT: Has anybody received any promotion or account credit when attampting to cancel their Hilton credit card recently? In the past I always found their retention team quite generous but the only thing they would offer today was 6 months interest free credit which is useless to me. I guess this is another downsude to the fee cap.

    • Nothing offered at all.

      • Did you go ahead and cancel Crafty? My thinking is to cancel now and reapply in January (if theres no restriction) in hope of another free night and 4 x 2500 points.

  2. RE the Irish Independent offer, the email code for the 18k avios arrived this morning.

  3. I’m a regular on the BA Domestic between EDI & LHR. Near enough every time I travel they are begging passengers to come forward with “large carry on bags” to be stowed in the hold.

    What do they offer for the inconvenience? Absolute nowt.

    A complimentary BA branded bag that would fit under the seat in front to put a few bits from my hand luggage in would be very handy… Maybe a few Avios?

    (2000 IHG points for October, November, December and pre Christmas).

  4. I can see this being very useful if you need to travel with liquids or other banned items. I often travel with climbing or camping equipment which is *sometimes* acceptable to airport security, but not reliably so. I would use this service in a flash. I would imagine it will decimate people paying full price for checked luggage though?

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Maybe, but the size restrictions will presumably still apply, restricting it in that way (though not weight, since Easyjet have no weight limit for hand luggage, provided you can comfortably lift it into the overhead).

  5. Maurice says:


    Do the IHG ‘hidden bonuses’ add to the accelerate target? i.e. if one had to meet 4 targets and one hit 4 hidden bonuses by staying once in each of those months – would that mean the target is reached?


  6. OT: Local authority card charges.

    I am playing a Planning Application fee – £385.

    Charges to be levied by paying with Curve: £5.71.
    Charges to be levied by paying with Virgin Black Visa: £5.71.
    Eventually paid with a Nationwide Debit Card for no charges, but it came up to them as a “Delta”.

    Can anyone elucidate how this system works?


  7. RussellH says:

    Suspect that at least some of the “hidden” targets in the upcoming Accelerate will not appea for realr.

    I found exactly the same happens when I look at my current Accelerate offer through Print Preview. As well as the June Early Bird offer and the later August offer that only appeared on screen towards the end of July there is also a July offer that never appeared. If I had had a July stay other than on points, I wonder if it would have miraculously appeared???

    And now that the current Accelerate has ended, I hope that IHG are not too tardy with the bonuses posting. Nothing yet from last weekend…

  8. Has anyone had any Amex offers added to their accounts recently?

    I just asked via chat if it was possible to add the Trailfinders offer to my account but I got this message on chat “previously we were able to add offers but that was misused by some of the users and hence it has been stopped completely now.”

    • Benedict says:

      Yes, got the Qatar offer added to Platinum card within the last week.

    • I got told a similar thing when trying to add the 500 Avios for spending at shell etc offer. The agent said they can no longer add offers unless they have been targeted and you’ve received an email about it

      But then others still have success so think it depends on who you speak to at amex

    • PalCsaky says:

      Trailfinders offer ID as follows: offerId=073828752233686C63F4C353994CF59A

  9. OT regarding Amex 3000 and 500 points offer: 500 Amex immediately credited for filling up at Shell but, 3000 MR points for spending over £250 at Hilton have not been credited for prepaid Hilton nights over bank holiday weekend.

    • I spent £25 at Post Office yesterday, but no email or points.
      But charge has not shown as pending yet.

    • I just got my 3000 MR points yesterday from the Hilton offer. Was for a stay from 21st to 23rd August. No email notification before they credited and the offer didn’t show as redeemed on my Amex account until the bonus actually got credited.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

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

      • 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)