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Bits: BA resuming Oakland next April, Etihad drops Edinburgh and Perth, Blacklane update

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News in brief:

British Airways to resume Oakland in April 2019

We recently covered the suspension of flights by British Airways to Oakland in California from 20th October.

According to Airlineroute, Oakland is showing again in the GDS booking systems from 1st April 2019.  Because only lets you book 355 days in advance, the first service will not be available until midnight tonight.

Loads have been very weak according to first hand reports and this may be a good option if you want multiple Avios seats to the US for next Easter.

To maximise your miles when paying, your best bet is the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card which earns double Avios (3 per £1) when you book at or via BA Holidays.  You do not get double Avios if you book with the free British Airways American Express card.  Another option is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.

British Airways Oakland resumes 2019

Etihad confirms the suspension of Edinburgh and Perth

Etihad has confirmed the rumour we published last week by suspending its services from Edinburgh from the 30th September.  It currently flies five times per week using an A330.

It has also dropped its Abu Dhabi to Perth route, which was not expected.

Etihad drops Edinburgh and Perth

Blacklane update

We recently wrote about a 10% discount for first time users with airport chauffeur group BlacklaneTheir website is here.

When you book, Blacklane lets you earn miles with:

  • Asia Miles (2 per £/$/€ spent)
  • Flying Blue (2 per £/$/€ spent)
  • Miles & More (2 per £/$/€ spent)
  • Qatar Privilege Club (1 per £/$/€ spent)
  • Enrich (Malaysia Airlines) (2 per £/$/€ spent)
  • Singapore Airlines Krisflyer (2 per £/$/€ spent)

We decided to give Blacklane a try in Johannesburg yesterday.  Anika’s hotel was very slow in replying to our request for a driver and when it did reply it wanted £47.  By then we had already given up and booked Blacklane for (after the 10% first user discount) £38 for a similar black car.  The ride will also earn me 108 Miles & More miles.

Anika’s feedback was excellent.  She was met at arrivals and walked to the car where the driver was waiting.  Water and cold towels were in the vehicle and the driver was keen to chat about the city.

You clearly can’t guarantee the same service globally but we would happily use it again.  The online booking system is very easy – I don’t know how it does it, but virtually every building, street and hotel in every major global city is there and pops up when you start typing.  You don’t need to know the exact address of where you are going.

The 10% first ride discount code is BL10.

Blacklane has a slightly odd way of entering promotional codes.  You will be presented with a page asking for your credit card details.  After you type them in, there is an additional screen which asks if you have a voucher code.  Add BL10 on that page and 10% is deducted from your quote.  Your card is not charged until after the ride and you can cancel until 1 hour before pick-up.

You can book, create an account or find out more about Blacklane on their website here.

(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: does anyone have any thoughts on if checking in to a hotel ahead of time via a mobile app makes getting a status upgrade less likely?

    Have a number of upcoming hilton stays and am gold. Am always torn between checking in via the app and choosing a room that looks well situated in the booked class vs. feeling like I am less likely to get upgraded when I have already chosen myself a room!

    • Genghis says:

      I always wait. Have often checked what room I’m offered on the app and most of the time get something better on physical check in.

      I did do it once, however. Landed late in KUL and whilst in immigration checked the app and saw got a suite at the DT. Not going to better that on a 10k points / night stay so locked it in.

      • Thanks for the advice Genghis. I will try physical check in tonight and see how it works out.

        In my last dozen stays as gold (all UK) never seem to have been offered an upgrade. Perhaps I present badly at checkin!

    • Depends what the hotel is like and what your room requirements are.. If for example there is a quiet side to hotel to avoid street noise then I’d favour choosing a room based off of that through the app. If not then I’d maybe not bother. It will usually offer you better rooms than you have booked due to status so it’s worth looking at least. I locked in a decent larger corner room in BCN through app.

      If you don’t like the room when you get to it you can always go back to reception to switch.

    • JamesB says:

      I never check in online for hotels, front desk is most likely rout to a nice upgrade and and opportunity to double check room is away from lift etc. Rooms with baths are often higher standard in modern hotels and if research confirms this I often request one at the desk. Care is needed though as in older hotels rooms with baths might be those that have not been refurbished.

  2. Cate ⛱️ says:

    Ha Ha! Anyone just received a marketing email from Hilton with their current offer with roughly the same picture as the Marriott current offer? 1000 points from Hilton versus 750 from Marriott.

  3. I’m been charged £2.50 interest every month in my HSBC Premier card, I think they are considering curve withdrawns as cash, may have to give them a call to find out which transaction exactly is triggering this.

    • Flying Misfit says:


      Would be interested in your follow up here. I have linked/used my Elite card to various Fin Tech cards and none to date have been considered as cash advances (last statement as recent as 5th April).

  4. Troubleonline says:

    As an Edinburgh resident am not particularly devastated re Etihad. We fly yearly to South East Asia (usually Thailand). Last year we tried Etihad (EDI-AUH-BKK/HKT) and weren’t fans of the service, food or having to switch flights in the middle of the journey. Or the price of (terrible) food at AUH – couldn’t get into lounge on return leg.

    This year we flew Malaysia and although we had to fly to LHR first and it meant 3 flights rather than 2 it was a much better experience all round. Having tried lots of combos our preference definitely to fly to LHR or a European hub first.

    Also I don’t think there is the need for 2 middle east carriers in Edinburgh and as Tom says Qatar got their first. Would love to see them replaced with a SE Asian carrier though – preferably Thai or Malaysian!!

  5. She works for me, she is a woman travelling on her own and her safety and security is top of my list.

    • Company policy for us when travelling to Non-E.U, U.S. destinations. All staff, male or female, have a car booked by the hotel if they are not being collected by suppliers or hiring a car. For the sake of a couple of hundred pounds extra over the year we deem it prudent.

    • Roger I* says:

      Understood, Rob. Good points from a responsible employer.

      But they do seem to reduce the value of your promotion of Uber, unless tagged with an asterisk saying ‘ recommended for males only’ or similar.

      I almost feel sorry for asking.

  6. I’ve used Blacklane several times and they’ve consistently provided an excellent service in several locations. Yes, Uber will be cheaper if available, but you’re not comparing like for like.
    If it’s your first booking and you have several trips to book, then do them all together and all trips are given the 10% discount. Well it did with me.

  7. OT – LYS Airport, is the tram the only way to/fro the airport? 50eur for 2 people return is daylight robbery

  8. Jeremy says:

    OT but your opinion is greatly appreciated. Would you recommend ANA (All Nippon Airways) or Lufthansa Business class for a flight from Europe to Japan?

    • My vote would be ANA definitely …

      ANA is 121 lufthansa is 2:2:2. ANA is japanese efficient and has similar seats to emirates (not the wood effect but the layout) Also no German airport change and lounge which is often a grim experience.

  9. Delighted to say thanks to the advice on here I now have a BA 241 voucher in my Executive Club account and my wife has one in hers.

    If we want to use both of these to book a family holiday flight do I need to make 2 bookings with one voucher on each?

    • Genghis says:


    • Yes, two bookings. This is an issue if one of you has status and can select seats for free and one of your doesn’t.

      If both vouchers were in your name, eg one from the current year and one from last year, you could use them both at once.

      • Thanks both of you.
        No status involved so should be a straightforward procedure.

  10. OT: I am doing the Hilton Diamond challenge and still have a few stays to do. I also work in the public sector. I know points stays count. If I book a stay with the Hilton Public sector discount, would it still count? Lastly, if I add my husband as an additional guest and he does the stay without me (won’t use the Public sector code for that), would that be fine?

    • Yes, both fine – best if your husband pretends you are arriving later though, just in case they swap the name on the booking to his which would invalidate the points. Happened to me at an IHG once.

  11. Caleb Wong says:

    How many times can you do Hilton Diamond challenge? And can you do a Diamond challenge if you are already one?

    • I am doing this the 2nd time. Not sure how many times you are allowed but when I enquiried they replied to say I could take the challenge if my first challenge was before 19th July 2016.

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