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Bits: Etihad takes back its T4 lounge, Etihad & Flying Blue buy miles bonuses, IAG and LATAM abandon their JV

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News in brief:

Etihad to take back control of its London lounge

According to Executive Traveller, Etihad is taking back control of its lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 4 on 20th December.

Earlier this year, the lounge was renamed ‘The House’ with management handed over to No 1 Lounges.  Etihad continued to use the lounge for its premium passengers but No 1 was also selling access for cash.

The switch is potentially due to Etihad adding a permanent 4th Heathrow service.  Air Serbia has also reportedly handed back its Heathrow slots to Etihad, the original owner, which would allow Etihad to add a 5th flight if it chose.  Etihad may have felt it was losing brand equity by not running its own lounge, or that there was little scope for No 1 to sell space to other passengers with four Etihad flights to handle.

If the report is correct, signage in the lounge will not be changed until next Spring.

The two other ‘The House’ lounges operated by No 1 Lounges, in Sydney and Melbourne, will remain under their control and have not reverted to Etihad.

Two ‘buy miles’ bonuses currently running

Talking of Etihad, the airline is currently offering up to 30% discount when you buy Etihad Guest miles.  This is a chance to top up your account if you are a little short of a redemption.

The discount is staggered:

Buy 6,000 – 20,000 points = 10% discount
Buy 21,000 – 40,000 points = 20% discount
Buy 41,000 – 60,000 points = 30% discount

The offer ends on 23rd December.  The page to buy is here.

Flying Blue, the Air France / KLM loyalty programme, is also running a bonus promotion for anyone who is looking to top up their account.

This offer is the best we have seen for a while for anyone who wants to buy a large number of Flying Blue miles – 75% is very good by their standards.

Again, the discount is staggered:

Buy 4,000 – 8,000 miles = 50% bonus
Buy 10,000 – 28,000 miles = 60% bonus
Buy 30,000 – 75,000 miles = 75% bonus

The annual ‘buy miles’ cap depends on your status level – 75,000 miles for Explorer members or unlimited for elite members. Bonus miles are exempt during promotional periods and the maximum you can buy pre-bonus in this promotion is 75,000 miles.

75,000 miles, the annual cap for a non elite member, + 75% means you are paying €2,062 for 131,250 miles.  That is 1.57 Eurocents per mile.

Is that a good deal? Well, Flying Blue is not exactly well regarded amongst European frequent flyer programmes. However it does have regular ‘50% discount’ sales on some routes.

The Flying Blue ‘buy miles’ page is here.  The offer runs until 14th January.

LATAM and IAG abandon joint venture

LATAM abandons its planned joint venture with IAG

Regular readers will know that LATAM, the Chilean airline, has announced that it is leaving the oneworld alliance next year as we explain here.  This follows a $1.9bn equity investment from SkyTeam member Delta Air Lines and the signing of a major joint venture agreement.

There was some hope that LATAM may retain a full ‘earn and burn’ frequent flyer agreement with Iberia and British Airways.  The three airlines had been planning a joint venture – co-ordinating fares and schedules – between Europe and South America for a couple of years, although nothing had been signed.

This will no longer happen.  LATAM has reportedly stated that IAG and LATAM have jointly decided to terminate the negotiations.

Existing codeshare agreements will continue.  Even when LATAM leaves oneworld, you should be able to continue earning Avios on their flights if they carry a British Airways or Iberia flight number.  There is no certainty that redemptions will be possible, however – British Airways has numerous codeshare partners with whom you cannot spend Avios.

We review the new (2nd) Aspire Lounge at Edinburgh Airport - is it worth a visit?
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  1. Shoestring says:

    Lounge Key gets you into the 2 lounges, No1 is the only one to let you reserve for £5, though so is your best bet – what day & time are you travelling? – as 80-90% of the time you’ll get turned away without a reservation (both)

    Club Aspire being the other lounge – both reviewed on HFP

    • We are flying at 2.45 pm with Virgin to Las Vegas we have not been to Heathrow for over a decade as we use Manchester whenever we go away due to our location.

  2. Shoestring says:

    I felt a touch nervous passing through Great Scotland Yard’s forbidding pine-green doors.

    —> google the above and you can get behind the paywall (Sunday Times/ Times)
    Exclusive review: inside the Great Scotland Yard hotel, London

  3. OT: Anyone feeling festive and want to gift me Hilton Diamond status?I really would like the status for a January trip for Executive Lounge….


    I’m a Curve legacy Black user. Curve just reset the retailer choices and three month trial of Curve Cash as a “Christmas present”. Check your app.

  5. O/T

    Best way to keep Turkish Airlines miles from expiring? Received an email saying a chunk of my miles (only 7k) expire in 20 days. Not quite sure if MR points can be transferred or something to keep them alive…

    Any input appreciated!


  6. Topping up Rev with VA CC is fine right?

  7. OT – BAPP. Undecided whether it’s better to wait 2 years and get a new sign up bonus (plus referral bonus) or apply again next year for an extra companion voucher. We’d definitely get value from the voucher as currently need to travel in school holidays. Has anyone come to a conclusion re this?!

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