Jet Airways abandons Heathrow, and Etihad gets the slots

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I flagged the financial crisis at India’s Jet Airways yesterday.  It looks like the airline is into its final hours, with the Heathrow services to India now suspended and – more critically – the landing and take-off slots transferred to Etihad from 28th April.

Why Etihad?  Back in 2013, when it was still pumping money into Jet, Etihad paid $70m for Jet’s three Heathrow landing slots.  They were immediately leased back to the airline.  The transaction was a way of Etihad injecting more money into the company via the back door, in the same way that it invested in the Jet Privilege loyalty programme.

With Jet Airways no longer flying to Heathrow, Etihad has taken back the slots.  This leads to a number of interesting options:

Etihad could launch an extra three daily flights from Heathrow, taking it to seven (it now runs four at peak periods) – but does it really want to do that?  Emirates and Qatar Airways have similar frequencies from London but Etihad is, in theory, retrenching.

Etihad could sell the slots.  The record sale price for a Heathrow slot pair is $75m, paid by Oman Air, and Etihad is not exactly flush with cash itself these days.

Etihad could lease them out.  They may need to do this in the short term anyway, since the ‘use it or lose it’ rule at Heathrow means that they must be taken up by someone soon, irrespective of whether the long-term aim was to sell them or add another three flights.  Perhaps we’ll see Flybe launching some more domestic services?

Jet Airways surrenders Heathrow slots to Etihad

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 – 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).

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Comments

  1. OT – Doing the Diamond Challenge – need 2 more stays. Was hoping to combine with the Amex offer (Spend 250 get 75 credit back) with a couple of stays in Paris next month. Just wondering if better to book via Amex Plat FHR programme (never used it before) to get extra benefits – do I still get points and qualifying stay credit with Hilton Honors or just book directly (prepaid cheaper obv).

    Supplementary q – if you book via AMex FHR – when you pay would it trigger the HIlton offer on the card as usually Flexible Rate with FHR i believe

    • FHR rates are fully qualifying and all ‘pay on departure’.

    • I’m missing something here; you are already diamond so are you certain anything you get via FHR is going to be worth the premium versus what you will likely get anyway booking direct as Diamond? My diamond recognition has been superb throughout last 4y while Rob has reported less satisfactory outcomes so YMMV. However, I think the key to good recognition is selecting the option that is less likely to be busiest for premium rooms and suites such as a little further from centre, Hilton as opposed to Conrad etc.

      • I did get the Conan Doyle Suite at the W-A Edinburgh last weekend, to be fair, although I had booked a mid-range room in the first place, not the cheapest possible.

        FHR would make sense at this hotel for a one night stay because of the $100 food and drink credit and guaranteed 4pm check-out, even if you are already Diamond and get the free breakfast FHR also gives. The stay is also fully qualifying for Hilton Honors. The only reason I booked direct is that I got a very attractive Jan sale rate and – correctly as it turned out – guessed we’d struggle to spend $100 in the hotel given that the restaurant is fairly formal and not so kid friendly.

        • Hope you enjoyed your stay. There have been a lot of very cheap rates at WA this winter so I think lots of folks have had good weekend breaks out of it. Had a £240 rail ticket back from London last Friday and missed out on 50% refund by <2min 🙁

        • Lady London says:

          You’re making a good point Rob. I’ve found with cars and hotels that the one thing not to book us the cheapest possible. Go up at least a rung or two and you seem to have a much greater chance of landing a decent upgrade.

          A bit like the best value wine on a restaurant list is often the 2nd-4th cheapest or so. Avoiding the cheapest seems can have disproportionately positive benefits for an amount that can be very small indeed.

          There is a flight relevance too.
          It would be much better if airline websites would show more fare options than just the cheapest. Conditions such as exchange ability, upgradeability and even sometimes refundability, can be available for just a tiny difference in fare that gets the much better fare class sometimes. But airline websites won’t show the other options on search just the cheapest mostly. If airlines invested in giving an option to see other fares and those different conditions it would be one way to keep more bookings dine direct with them. OTA’s could not do this for all the airlines they cover.

        • Lady London says:

          @BJ Grrrr.

        • Andrew says:

          £240 rail ticket…

          If you’re on the Chieftain or one of the Aberdeen services, it can pay to book to HYM rather than Waverley as the intensive services west of Edinburgh can result in a delayed LNER services losing their slots and you slipping over the refund level. The Caley is pretty much equidistant from both stations.

          I’ve also got into the habit of booking a low-cost gamble into my long distance rail travel. So instead of just booking a return from X-Y, book a ticket from W-Z that requires a change onto a low frequency service each way – even though I’ve no intention of going anywhere near W or Z. With the chaotic nature of Scotrail services at the moment, a £2-5 gamble has very good odds on a 50% refund.

      • I am doing the diamond challenge, need 8 stays, done 6 but was trying to maximise my benefits plus also utilise the HIlton offers on my Amex to save more per stay spend. Your advise is good, I have looked for the La Defense hotel in Paris as hopefully less busy on a weekend

        • Are you familiar with the area? If not, it is not a good option for a weekend break in Paris.? too far out. I imagine it’s also dead there on weekends.

          • Area is quiet (like Canary Wharf) but it is only a couple of metro stops from the tourist area.

        • Lady London says:

          I can totally recommend the new Hampton at Clichy if the low-service Hampton option is your bag. Stayed there a few times on my current project in Paris. Rooms one third the size of US Hamptons but still bigger than the London ones and very very comfortable. On a direct bus route to my client’s location near the Opera.

          About half the price of the one at La Defense.

        • Genghis says:

          I liked the Hilton Opera. Good breakfast.

  2. Chelseafi says:

    O/T just been approved for Gold Bus card (awaiting card), want to apply for green personal amex card next, does the Gold Bus card count on my credit record? If so was thinking of waiting 4/6 weeks between applications.

    • Chelseafi says:

      I also want to upgrade from Green to Plat ASAP again does upgrade count on my credit record, so should I wait 4/6 weeks to apply for upgrade? Thanks

      • Lev441 says:

        Yes will probably show up on credit report. In the past mine has shown up on 2 out of the 3 credit agencies

  3. Graham Walsh says:

    OT Tried to search but no answers. I have booked my free night with IHG but need to change hotel to another one across town as event I was going to has changed. Same date. I can cancel in the app but will the reward night voucher be issued back straight away?

    • What the expiry date on the voucher? If it has passed, you’ll lose it. You should be OK otherwise based on what I have read before, although note no personal experience.

      • Graham Walsh says:

        IHG offline, Creation offline. I think it expires mid May, so techincally still valid. Booking if for a few days after the expiry date.

    • Lady London says:

      IME it has been. In very, very few minutes. More than once, but over 6 months ago. YMMV.

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