Bits: Primera Air goes bust, £750 off Etihad to Australia, new IHG Heathrow hotels open this week

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News in brief:

Primera Air files for bankruptcy

Anyone who has followed our articles on Primera Air this year will not be totally surprised to learn that the Icelandic / Latvian / Danish airline filed for insolvency yesterday.

Primera, despite only appearing on the UK scene this year, was actually 15 years old.  Its attempt to morph from a small charter airline into a low-cost transatlantic carrier, flying from the UK and Paris, failed badly.

This was partly due to reasons outside its control – the late delivery of the Airbus A321neo aircraft it needed and a massive bill for unexpected corrosion found on one of its aircraft.  The long-haul model was to be the same as Aer Lingus is adopting from next year, using small single aisle aircraft with improved engines to fly transatlantic. Whether it would ever have worked from the UK, given APD and the fact that unit costs were presumably higher than using long-haul aircraft, we will never know.

In the short term, passengers were stranded at London Stansted and in the US last night as flights were cancelled.  Stansted Airport reportedly impounded one aircraft, presumably due to unpaid bills.

Passengers who bought tickets on a credit card will be protected, although there are reportedly many people out of pocket after Primera cancelled flights during the Summer.  Compensation had yet to be paid and reportedly many had been told to rebook themselves and send Primera the bill – a bill which will not now be paid.

Primera Air fails for bankruptcy

Save £750 on Business and First Class Etihad fares to Australia (and £50 off Economy)

If you can book by 10th October, Etihad Airways is offering a special £750 discount on flights from the UK to Australia.

If travelling in Business or First Class, it is even valid on some flights over the Christmas period, as long as you head home before New Year.

You need to use the following promo codes on here:

£50 discount in Economy Class – Promotion code AUECONOMY18

£750 discount in Business & First Class – Promotion code AUSPREMIUM18

Our review of Etihad’s excellent A380 Business Class Studio is here – I am due to fly it again later this month.  There is a special section on the Etihad website on the seat here.  Here is my latest review of the frankly enormous A380 First Class Apartment.  You are guaranteed an A380 from Heathrow, check the aircraft used on other legs.

The codes are valid on any of the three daily departures from London Heathrow or twice daily services from Manchester, connecting to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.

Blackout dates are:

Economy Class outbound: 1 – 31 December 2018, 1 – 10 April, 5 July – 10 August 2019. Inbound: 26 December 2018 – 15 January 2019, 15 – 23 April, 22 August – 3 September 2019

Business & First Class outbound: 20 – 23 December 2018, inbound: 30 December 2018 – 9 January 2019

In addition, if you are not already an Etihad Guest member, you can sign up here and receive 500 bonus miles.

How to earn Etihad Guest miles via UK credit cards

As a reminder, Etihad no longer has its own UK credit card.  However, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.  These are:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – 10,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

The Platinum Card from American Express – 30,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

American Express Rewards credit card – up to 5,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Etihad Guest miles.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Etihad Guest mile.

Etihad Guest is also a partner with the HSBC Premier Mastercard (0.5 miles per £1 spent, reviewed here) and HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard (1 mile per £1 spent, reviewed here).

Etihad Australia business class discount code

New Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 delayed – but opening this week?

The opening date for the new Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express (one building, two huge hotels) at Heathrow Terminal 4 has slipped but they may open tomorrow.

A HFP reader who was due to stay last weekend was switched to the Renaissance with a free taxi provided to and from Terminal 4.  As of last night, the hotel websites were allowing bookings from tomorrow so it may all be sorted out now.  The hotels are directly connected to the terminal via a walkway.

The website for the Crowne Plaza Terminal 4 is here.  The website for the Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 is 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.)

Exclusive: Etihad Heathrow Terminal 4 lounge takeover by No 1 Lounges confirmed
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  1. OT Curve – Any rough timeline of these new changes that are forthcoming? Are we talking weeks, months, or 6 months+? Got a big bill to settle soon and I feel like the changes will be v beneficial to me.

    Rob? Can you give a pointer?

  2. Curveball says:

    RE: Curve.

    Had a chat with them about increasing limits. After two months hit the initial and incredibly low annual limit of £10k. They said they’d be happy to if I put my normal spend on it, not just pay off credit cards. I told them to close it down as it’s useless to me now.

  3. VIrgin and Easyjet

    We are pleased to announce our partnership with easyJet and their ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ program. Customers across the UK and Europe will now be able to enjoy more choice when connecting onto our flights through Gatwick and we look forward to welcoming them on board very soon!

    • If you look at how that works, you’ll see it is pretty useless. There is simply a desk in the baggage hall where you take your bag after collecting it from the belt (from flight 1) and they send it back into the system for flight 2.

  4. OT: Emirates arrived in Edinburgh yesterday…promptly cut the schedule, claims temporary, blames shortage of cockpit crew and aircraft.

  5. Nick Burch says:

    OT Accor have just announced a tie-up with Eurostar.

    500 Club Eurostar points converts to 1,500 Le Club AccorHotels Rewards points. Or, convert 4,000 Le Club AccorHotels Rewards points into 350 Club Eurostar points.

    Conversion rate looks a bit one-sided!

  6. OT: I’m trying to set up a AerClub account to transfer Avios out of my BAEC account using the instructions in Raffles’ post here – but I get the helpful message “Unfortunately we are unable to complete your registration”. Any ideas?

    • There is something that triggers this and I’ve helpfully forgotten what 🙂 Another reader will hopefully remember.

  7. I may have missed this in the comments, but what’s the cutoff date for using the Etihad discount code? Is “within the next week” up to and including next Monday, or does it need to be booked before the end of the week?

  8. Primera (R.I.P.) apparently did a great job for competition on TA routes.
    A colleague who is from DC and regularly travels home to see her family told me that the prices from London to DC dropped SIGNIFICANTLY since Primera came to the market. She booked her flights for thanksgiving with BA 30% or 40% cheaper than usual.
    Similar happened to BA on Moscow routes when easyJet entered the market but as soon as they withdrew BA started charging exorbitant prices again, especially midweek

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