Bits: Bigger BA Holidays discounts in the BA sale, Etihad Guest devalues

News in brief:

Extra BA sale discounts on holidays

Last week British Airways launched its latest World Sale with discounts on long-haul and short-haul flights in all classes as well as special deals on BA Holidays packages.

Until 12th September BA is running a further promotion with BA Holidays packages with savings of up to £100.

The savings are as follows:

Flight and Hotel:

extra £50 off with a minimum spend of £1250

extra £100 off with a minimum spend of £2500

Flight and Car:

extra £25 off with a minimum spend of £600

extra £50 off with a minimum spend of £1250

extra £100 off with a minimum spend of £2500

Unlike ‘flight only’, you can secure a BA Holidays package with a deposit as low as £150 per booking, not per person, with the balance only due five weeks before departure.

The BA Sale runs until 26th September but the special promotion ends at midnight 12th September.

Full details of the BA Sale are in this Head for Points article. The link to book is here.

BA Sale

Etihad Guest devalues, but details sketchy

If you are a member of Etihad Guest, you will have received an email this week about changes (ie primarily a devaluation) to the scheme benefits.

There appear to be no other details in the public domain at the moment beyond what was in that email.  Looking at the key points:

BAD NEWS – when you are promoted to a new tier, your membership will now last just one calendar year.  In the past, you would get all of the current membership year plus the next one or two years, depending on which level you reached.

GOOD NEWS – Gold members can now use the Business Class Lounges in Abu Dhabi when flying Etihad.  Gold members previously had to use a third party lounge.

GOOD NEWS – you will now earn more miles on fully flexible business and First Class tickets on Etihad

BAD NEWS – the cost of upgrading with Etihad Guest  miles will increase

GOOD AND BAD NEWS – the cost of redemptions will change, with some routes increasing and others decreasing

BAD NEWS – there will be a $50 increase in the carrier surcharge on some business and First Class redemptions.  This is per leg, so a flight from London to Bangkok via Abu Dhabi could potentially see a $200 rise in ‘taxes and charges’ – and these are already pretty chunky.

Etihad Guest stopped being great value at the time of the last devaluation a couple of years ago.  Because I rate their A380 business and First Class products so highly, it will probably still remain acceptable value as an occasional splurge (via an Amex Membership Rewards transfer) for myself.

That said, I can imagine that the cost of flying my whole family somewhere with a connection in Abu Dhabi is going to look pretty scary both in terms of miles and charges.

(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.)

Get a free night after two stays with the new Marriott promo
Bits: Exclusive HFP competition, two Lufthansa hotel deals, free Etihad First Class upgrade
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. Hingeless says:

    I find the best use of Etihad miles for me is on domestic Virgin Australia flights, eg Sydney to cairns for 13,900 in business each way. Its better value than using BA, QF, or VA miles.

  2. Have just burnt through a few million miles over the past couple years on EY and American and booked a couple more before the last devaluation.

    With these changes, happy I have only enough for 1 more trip. Many other airlines have more acceptable use of miles and taxes/cash with decent hard and soft products.

    With all the cuts, Etihad is gouging its customers for the mistakes of its previous management.

  3. O/T but BA related. Mrs H off to JFK from Edi via LHR in CW. This was booked last October prior to the introduction of CE on the connection. Tried on the phone to BA to get the connection changed from ET to CE but they said as it was booked through Avios using a Lloyds upgrade voucher we would have to take it up with them. They said no seats left. Mrs H now on the delayed 8am flight in ET and at least 3 empty seats in CE. Also she was refused entry to BA lounge as “your Business Class ticket doesn’t count until you get to Heathrow ” they weren’t interested that it was on a through ticket. Not the best customer service

    • the real harry1 says:

      agent got it wrong (unless the lounge was full):

      ‘Connecting between oneworld marketed and operated flights:
      First and Business Class customers connecting on the same day of travel, or before 6am the following day, can access the lounge when travelling between an international long haul (a oneworld international long haul flight is defined as an international flight marketed and operated by any oneworld carrier with a scheduled flight time longer than 5 hours) and an international short haul or domestic flight (and vice-versa).
      Lounge access will be determined on the international long haul ticketed flight (either First of Business Class) regardless of the ticketed class of travel on the international short haul or domestic flight.
      You must be prepared to show your boarding pass or itinerary showing travel in First or Business class on the international long haul flight, in order to access the lounge before your international short haul or domestic flight. ‘

      BA’s rules are similar, ie connection Economy 1st leg to Business/ First second leg (on the same day) means you get 2x lounge access

      • Does the booking have to be on the same Reference or could you have two separate, but connecting bookings, i.e. return economy flights to Heathrow then another return trip in business and first abroad (but on a different ref)?

        • the real harry1 says:

          does not need to be same PNR

        • Interesting

        • I’m no expert as London based but to ‘connect’ implies to change planes on the same ticket.

        • the real harry1 says:

          but ‘You must be prepared to show your boarding pass or itinerary showing travel in First or Business class on the international long haul flight’ indicates there can be separate documentation/ PNRs

        • Harry is right about the entry rules but it DOES need to be on the same PNR. Genghis is right about the ‘connect’ wording, it has to be a verifiable through booking.

        • Whether the agent notices if you have BPs is another question entirely…

        • I’ve never seen a same PNR requirement – you’re still connecting between two OW flights – if you just show both BPs I’ve never had an issue (this was prior to having status for me although know others without status that have done it more recently)

      • Good visual summary of rules here too:

    • Three empty seats?

      Do BA still keep some free on certain morning flights from EDI for Business Carnet holders for key business contracts, Scottish Government officials and the Royals when at Holyrood?

    • She should have got CE check in, fast track and lounge. Had the same circumstances with booking as your wife exINV on Wednesday. All staff were clued up on the rules though and had no issues, even at the lounge which was Aspire. I recommend your wife save the rules page referred to by Harry for next time if she fails to get CE on any shorthaul or domestic sectors. Might even be worth trying aspire or No1 lounge but I’m not sure if they can allow access under these rules when the airline
      has it’s own lounge. I’ve experienced numerous problems with fast track access at EDU before but so far not in the lounge.

      • Can’t see #1 or Aspire being able to help for BA booking but perhaps even just having the OW lounge access rules bookmarked and showing them it on your phone would help. Generally EDI have been excellent and it’s LHR (on the return leg) where the problems crop up!

    • Erico1975 says:

      Since the new CE Domestic, the cash cost of an Avios Long Haul redemption from EDI has spiralled although the Avios remain the same.
      eg LHR to BOM for 2 one way, off peak 125K Avios, + £691 where as EDI – LHR- BOM 125K Avios+ £884
      A difference of nearly £190!

    • Very disappointing to hear that – EDI lounge never been an issue previously in that situation as access rules are clear re same-day connection to CW flight. Worth lodging a complaint for (hopefully) some Avios…

  4. Thanks Rob for Etihad update, would you say that it’s a best time to book a redemption flight before changes been implemented?

    • Yes – if only because you can cancel and rebook should the cost on your route drop, so you’ve lost nothing except the cancellation fee.

      • 10% Etihad Miles deduction is the penalty for any award seat cancellation + 100AED change fee. The same clause apply for partner airlines. So think twice before cancelling Biz / First class award ticket. I lost a huge junk recently for cancelling Biz class on ANA route to SYD for family of 3 !!!!

        • I booked internal Australian flights using Etihad miles which would have expired otherwise. Plans have changed – does anyone know if can I change the flights (still within Australia and costing the same miles but between different airports) or do they simply redeposit the miles (in which case I think I will lose them as they will instantly expire)?.

  5. I’ve got about 50k miles expiring in December. there is now way of extending the life of the miles is there? Is Malaysia airlines the only one looking when trying to redeem in South East Asia?

    • Etihad miles can be turned into cash via PointsPay, don’t forget. Rate is decent due to collapse of £.

      • That’s a great idea, thanks Rob. And I looked into some items on their shop, which I can then sell via ebay as well. Etihad redemptions are really poor!

  6. the real harry1 says:

    O/T Bristol Airport SEP17 gives you 10% off car parking

    (Bristol Airport official parking often tough to find any discount)

    • +1 and each month it changes i.e. AUG17, JUL17, etc etc.

      When you book over the phone tell them you have a code BEFORE they start looking for availability or it will slip off the radar when it gets to the quote stage.

      The Hampton at Bristol is very nice too.

  7. +1 Just what I need…will book now.
    Helpful as always Harry

    • the real harry1 says:

      should have mentioned I booked parking with DriveFly – I have used them many times now, excellent service though it pays to announce your arrival back in LHR as soon as you land as they take 15-20 mins to get your car from their secure parking compound into the short term multi-storey carpark

  8. Janeyferr says:

    Social chitchat.

    Who will be doing Mail Rail this weekend? I’ll be there Saturday afternoon.

  9. Surprise surprise….10% of Etihad new Amex offer.

  10. Emirates status matched my Etihad Silver to Skywards Silver for those looking at alternative airlines.

  11. Ot – I booked a Malaysian airlines flight from bki to sdk. Operated by maswings. At time of booking it stated 30kg in economy on Malaysian airlines baggage wise. Now on the booking they are stating as its 20kg as its maswings operating it despite mh flight code. Anything I can do. I am ba bronze.

    • the real harry1 says:

      maybe go through the booking process again for the same routing and take a screenshot showing the 30kg allowance – I know the dates are different but if you are careful with your snipping you should be able to omit any screenshot reference to dates

      then with your proof of 30kg, contact Malaysian and explain your case, asking for the extra 10kg

  12. I recently found out that Etihad offer a free Visa/Mastercard (digital or they can send out a physical version) which they will top up with money by converting your miles and you can then use this card with any merchant who would accept Visa/Mastercard. This was news to me so apologies if it’s common knowledge.

    I had 125,000 miles and I was about to buy some Apple airpods from the Etihad online store. Using my miles this would reduce the price from £160 to £90 – i.e. the 125,000 miles were valued at £70ish if I used them in the online store for that purchase. However, luckily, I found out about this card and instead I ordered a digital version (took 3 days for it to clear authorisation) and the 125,000 miles converted to £140! I then used the card to top up my Amazon account and bought the airpods from Amazon.

    Thought i’d share because I’m sure many people on this forum have a load of Etihad miles and it’s such an easy way to spend them as visa/mastercard is accepted almost everywhere and the conversion seemed good to me (but i’m a bit ignorant about these things so perhaps it’s not).

    Incidentally I earned those 125,000 miles by taking a Business class return flight from Heathrow to Melbourne for £1,000. That was a black friday deal which was mentioned on this very website. It was already a ridiculously good fare and now that I’ve also essentially got another £140 of value from it due to the miles earned it’s even better. I found out about the original deal on this website so THANK YOU SO MUCH for highlighting it. HFP has really helped me save money and enjoy luxuries I would normally not be able to afford (i’d never travelled business before). Thanks again! Hopefully this post helps to provide a little bit back and maybe help someone else out.

  13. the real harry1 says:

    O/T just phoned customer services at Rolling Luggage as my luggage tag is on its way! – they said they have no way of knowing if the 1000 Avios bonus has been given or not as it is ‘hidden information’ in their systems and just said to wait 28-30 days

    so don’t waste your time making the same call 🙂

  14. OT. How long does it take for BA to respond to complaints? I submitted it this time last week and have heard nothing? The four of us had no IFE for pretty much the whole flight, SFO-LHR! Perhaps they are not bothered as it was an Avios redemption in economy?

    • the real harry1 says:

      normally just a few days

      no IFE in CW LH is standard 10-12,000 Avios service recovery
      of course you’re entitled to something if you’re in economy, I’m guessing 5,000 Avios
      Avios redemption makes no difference

      • It would be nice for it to be acknowledged and some sort of goodwill gesture. In flight they promised they would do something!

        • the real harry1 says:

          don’t be fobbed off with a couple of thousand each – it’s service recovery for something you paid for

          there are lots of examples on FT where BA initially offers 5000 Avios (in LH business) for broken IFE, passenger digs in heels and says offer is laughable, BA comes back with 12000 Avios

      • I’d say more like a couple of weeks than a couple of days when I last contacted them (that was about a year ago, can’t imagine they’ve improved much?) – pretty dreadful CS overall IME!

    • Took two weeks for them to reply to me regarding a 3.5 hr flight delay out – since confirmed we will both get the compensation so happy with that.

  15. OT but I have a big spend coming up and trying to decide between the BA American Plus vs Gold Amex. Think that BA American Plus would make sense for the companion voucher int he long run although not sure I plan on doing a long haul next year. Gold amex because it’s free seems would seem like a safer option.

    • Was there a question?

      • Just speaking out my mind. Debating on whether the companion voucher is worthwhile if you don’t fly premium economy/business. Any thoughts on that?

        • What is right for you depends on multiple factors but based on the limited information available, I wouldn’t bother with the BAPP if you don’t plan on flying long haul anytime soon. Assuming you just fly short haul, the voucher will save you say 15k avios but assuming it takes you 6 months to hit the spend, have cost you c.£100 in card fees and the £10k spend. Perhaps look at the Amex Gold instead for the sign up bonus along with say an SPG card and do his and hers referrals (if that’s an option) to build up your balances?

        • I don’t know anymore Genghis, I don’t think the companion voucher is as good as it’s cracked up to be. Sure it gets you an extra seat in the same cabin for the same amount of points, but the product, the lack of availability and the fees just make other airline’s i.e Cathay/JAL a better option.

          We were going to do LHR-TOK in first and we just couldn’t justify the point spend with the high fees when we could do Cathay/JAL biz as one way redemptions; better product, loads of availability, small tax additions, closer to home thus saving parking/transport costs, and all for a few points more. We have two sitting here and the best use we see is as connecting flights to/from Europe. Each to their own though.

        • Thanks for the breakdown Genghis. My wife has just triggered her companion voucher and already trying to figure out what to do with that.

        • Different strokes for different folks. People need to do the calcs and work out if it’s for them. Looking at some numbers to TYO (I presume you’re after Tokyo):

          – LHR-TYO in F on BA would be 204k avios, the 241 and £1,080 (off peak – only available on BA) but with some awful flight times IMO
          – LHR-TYO in J on JL would be 180k x 2 = 360k avios, no 241 needed and £540.

          So just using these, it’s 1 156k avios delta for £540 and a 241.
          Obviously these are ex-UK London numbers and the cost could be brought down a bit more if doing some general tricks but I wouldn’t necessarily dismiss the 241. The main “competitor” is cheap Qatar fares but will they continue?

        • Thanks Genghis, all good points as usual and yes, sorry, I meant TKO.

          Regarding Qatar, I’ve recently gone through the BA website looking for Cathay and Jal availability for next year – there is PLENTY of Qatar out of Europe. Eight seats per flight in Biz started to become the norm. I would like to think Qatar would be releasing another flash sale soon to offload these.

        • Also your comparing BA F with JAL J, which I’d personally say is not quite like for like. BA F is a pretty decent product imho

  16. me too, sitting on 37K Etihad (via the MBNA card) expiring in November..will call soon and try to find out how to book AA flights soon. Otherwise, will need to convert to the card and cash in.

    Anyone remembers how long in advance can I book a flight so to spend the miles now and travel next year with AA or partners? I don’t remember where to find these rules. I could topup with easily AMEX.

  17. Barry cutters says:

    Some good deals on the ba holidays this sale too . Off topic- flying home from Barbados on Sunday . In club , not first , ba gold and ba silver, Iv just been told at the bar last night I can use the Iam terminal for check in. Iv used it when traveling first class used it and it’s a great experience, but thought It was only first , regardless of status. Anyone got any experience of using in club?

  18. the real harry1 says:

    BAEUROPE10 – code to get £10 off £100 For Flight Bookings From London

    but I’m doing a dummy purchase and can’t see anywhere to input a coupon!


    • Beggars belief but the revamp that BA have done on the site appears to have gone live without the ability to enter a discount code.

      Even worse when you try to pay by Amex, it errors as it says “security code must contain 3 digits”

      Even in a small company, when changing the checkout you’d have a test procedure to include trying a coupon code and trying one of each supported payment format before taking it out of test mode. Very very poor IT management there.

  19. Hi, Off Topic, but hoping someone can answer: is it advisable to keep a BA Amex Plat until I use the 2-4-1 voucher or would i be safe to close it and claw back some of the annual fee, given the voucher is registered within my BA Exec Club account? Thanks in advance

    • No problem with cancelling. Just make sure you have access to another Amex (any Amex, not necessarily in your name) to pay the taxes

    • Cuchlainn says:

      ND – as Genghis says any Amex will do – just booked LHR – LHR and LGW to MCO for July next year on my oldest BAPP 2-4-1 voucher and used my Lloyds Rewards Amex – BA agent didn’t bat an eyelid…

  20. Thank you for the information guys. Much appreciated.