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Bits: 40% or £100 Amex cashback with FREE NOW (mytaxi), Club Suite to New York launched, downtime

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News in brief:

Generous 40% or £100 cashback deal launched by Amex and FREE NOW / mytaxi

Of all the pointless rebrands I’ve seen recently, the clear winner is FREE NOW.  For some reason, the mytaxi black cab app – owned by BMW and Daimler – decided that being called mytaxi was clearly too obvious and easy to remember, so switched to FREE NOW …..

I know this is now a pan-European brand, but I’m not sure that FREE NOW necessarily works better in multiple European languages than mytaxi.  I didn’t even have a problem with Hailo, the original UK name.

It looks like the bodged rebrand has an upside, however.  In an attempt to win your business from taxi apps with more sensible names, FREE NOW is offering many Amex customers either 40% cashback on all rides OR £100 for taking 10 rides until 14th December.

You need to see if either of these offers is showing on the ‘Offers’ tab of your online statement page, and save it to your card.

I have both versions.  My Platinum card has ‘40% cashback on an unlimited number of rides’ and my British Airways Premium Plus card has ‘£100 back when you take 10 rides’.  The latter is better for us as we do a lot of £10 – the minimum fare – rides to school and back.

With two months to take advantage, this could work out very nicely indeed.  It could even swing regular Uber X users over to black cabs.

If you don’t already have a FREE NOW account, using Rhys’ promo code of ‘rhys.jon’ after downloading the app will earn you £5 credit.

FREE NOW 40% american express discount

British Airways launches Club Suite to New York

Although Club Suite has now been flying long haul for over a month, today marks the first day that it appears on a Boeing 777.

As a reminder, British Airways has committed to refurbishing two Boeing 777-200ERs by the end of 2019 with more to follow next year. There are 43 of this aircraft type in the BA fleet. These will complement the four A350s delivered this year for a total of six aircraft flying British Airways’ new business class seat by Christmas.

These aircraft will have a First cabin, which the A350s do not.  It will be interesting to see if BA has made any changes in that cabin or whether it is the same seat as before. The First cabin size will be reduced from 14 to 8 seats.

Although the A350s are flying to Dubai, Toronto, Bangalore and Tel Aviv, the refurbished Boeing 777 fleet will be focussing on the London – New York route, where BA is facing competition from Virgin Atlantic’s own A350s and brand new Upper Class Suite.

The first flights to see the Club Suite-fitted Boeing 777-200ER are:

BA173, departing Heathrow at 11:20 and arriving in New York JFK at 14:05

BA112, departing New York JFK at 18:30 and arriving in Heathrow at 06:30

These flights are scheduled through the remainder of the winter season, which ends on 29th March 2020. Barring any disruption these flights will be your best bet to try the new seat if you are flying to New York.

British Airways A350 Club Suite / Vueling Club / AerClub downtime

Avios dropped me a note to say that there will be a 24-hour outage of the platform between 9pm tonight and 9pm on Thursday.

During this 24 hour period, AerClub and Vueling Club members will not be able to access their accounts and will not be able to make any sort of redemption.  The call centre will not be able to make redemptions either.

‘Combine My Avios’ will also be suspended during this time, even for transactions via British Airways Executive Club or Iberia Plus.

All should be OK by Thursday evening, but if you need to do anything inside Vueling Club, AerClub or today then you should do it by 9pm.

I am promised that nothing untoward is going on apart from some general IT upgrading!

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  1. No changes to First on the 777-200ERs.
    Been confirmed on BA Yammer and a video of the new interiors confirms it

  2. OT – I have BAEC and Iberia accounts – remind me how I transfer avios from Iberia to BAEC these days?!

    • Genghis says: (AerClub).

      • So do I have to open an AerClub account – is there then a function to transfer from Iberia then out to BAEC?

        • Yes, open AerClub then just use the combine my avios function within it . Pull into avios from IB and the push out of avios to BA for best results.

    •, or just call BA CS.

    • For me it just works directly between Iberia and BA. Try that first, different browsers as well.

      • Thanks all!

      • RussellH says:

        For me, IB to/from BA has always worked. BA to/from Avios is the one that does not work. It used to, when I had an avios a/c, but now that it is just AerClub, it stopped working.
        Nothing changed with log-ins or passwords. Different LHS of the e-mail addresses, same domain for the RHS.

        • I have aerclub/ba and IB and have never experienced any issues combining avios between any of my accounts. Then again all of my account details between the 3 programmes match, which is where a lot of people seem to fall over.

  3. I have used the FREE NOW app before, but paid in cash. I entered my Amex CC number this morning as another payment method in order to get the 40% discount and I received automatically a £10 promo credit for “First in-app payment” valid until 1st January 2099.

    • PS This £10 promo MAY have been related to an earlier use of the app. TBH I don’t remenber, as it was several months ago, so please don’t take it as read.

    • “valid until 1st January 2099” – should give me enough time to get round to using it

  4. Holger Sell says:

    With all the competition with Uber, Kapten, Bolt etc FreeNow will have a hard time to compete. Will still see how the price compares with the 40% but usual BlackCabs are just too expensive for me.

    • …and have to be some of the most uncomfortable taxi’s in the world! They’re real boneshakers, with no lumbar suppport in the awful seats, and with the growing number of speed humps in London they’re just a pain! Frankly, whether 40% discount is even worth substituting for a comfortable front seat in the likes of a Prius I don’t know?

    • FreeNow doesn’t give you an estimated cost when you book. So you are at the mercy of the driver. Though at least now he will have to pay tax on his earnings….

      • Depends where you are… was fixed price last week when I was in Poland, and averaged 30-50% cheaper than Uber. However, driver availability was less.

  5. OT – Concorde Room at JFK.

    Said I’d post to let people know if I got in last night. They accepted my LHR-DME boarding pass and didn’t even look at my pass for departing JFK. They said they could only scan a pass departing from JFK so to just walk in.

  6. Shoestring says:

    Anybody tempted to go with one of the MSE ‘specially negotiated’ energy deals – don’t. Avro Simple & Supersave 12 month fixed tariff (no exit fees) is cheaper but you need to go direct. Best comparison tool

    Seriously, though – do a comparison & switch in 5 mins if there’s a saving. No point considering yourself a serious points collector if you don’t realise you can save the equivalent of (say) 20,000 Avios/ Virgin miles on your energy bill with 5 mins’ work.

  7. Any idea how much a normal FREE NOW ride from LHR–> LGW would be?

    • Gatwick is outside the metered zone so the driver can charge what the heck he/she likes, can’t they?

      • Seemed a very London centric answer, ie assuming too much.

        My question was to seek useful information from regular users, never had experience of the service before or where the metered zone is

        • EvilDoctorK says:

          According to you’re looking at ( if they used the meter ) about £150 … I guess that sounds about right- though as noted Gatwick is outside the taxi area so they can charge whatever they like .. no way I’d consider that option for getting between the airports, even with 40% rebate … if you want a car go with Uber or some prebooked minicab service will cost half or less .. otherwise take the bus

          • Thanks! This is really useful. Having used mytaxi before, from Woking to LHR – it came out at around £40, so circa £10 more expensive than an uber (and to the earlier point – outside the M25).

            I messaged free now via twitter to get some approximate pricing last night – no response as yet!

          • Free Taxi came back on Twitter
            £150 from Woking to Gatwick. It’s £60 via Uber / local taxis

            Glad I checked!

    • Fyi , for airport to airport , i find kabbee very competitive.

    • Appreciate the useful constructive answers. Cheers.

  8. Does anyone free if the booking in advance for the FREE NOW will give you an estimate. I went as far as putting in my details of the journey but didn’t press the final button to book it in case it charges me to cancel.

    • Yes you can. You can also select to pay cash. We used it to book taxis for customers at a restaurant I worked at. It’s £10 minimum fare. Sometimes the cab drivers would cancel the job for cash fares

  9. Any idea what a central London to LHR freenow taxi would be, pre-discount?

  10. I have the Wheely £25 offer, get 15% and Free Now 40%.
    Anyone has an idea how much a black cab or Wheely costs from Bank to City airport?


  11. Perhaps the name change to FREE NOW is to align it with other Daimler-BMW transport services such as Drive Now (which, as it happens, recently rebranded to SHARE NOW). Whatever next? Could we see a Daimler-BMW acquisition of HfP and subsequent rebrand to POINTS NOW?

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