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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.

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Comments

  1. SHEIK YOUR MONEY says:

    Etihad Residence & Apartment where once very aspirational but with all the cost cutting I would not even send my camel or camels 🐪 🐫 on them.As for Business Studio I would not even send my mother-in-law on them.

    • I don’t know, but when I flew F Apartment in Spring they had brought back caviar service, had new amenity kits and the service was great. The only thing that was lacking was the lounge. The offer is dire compared to other F lounges.

    • We’ve done Business Studio for our last two runs back from the Middle East (family of 4) and it remains an excellent product. Admittedly I didn’t reprice the wine list on those trips, which had become my biggest gripe.

    • Lady London says:

      Are you comparing your mother-in-law unfavourably to a camel ?

  2. Riccatti says:

    LATAM redemptions all but disappeared for the last two years.

    Flying to, and more so within South America remains expensive. More competition between IB and LATAM is welcome.

    It goes to humongous inefficiency of Iberia, who could do 5th freedom flights within SA and collect on intra-continental fares which are easily £400-£800. More than they collect from most economy passengers on Transatlantic!

  3. OT: If your Amex platinum supplementary doesn’t arrive in time but your main card does, can you still get the password etc for the supplementary by calling Priority Pass to enable it via the app? Also do you need to show just the Priority pass (card/app) or the Amex as well.

    • Just the Priority Pass, unless you are going to a Delta Sky Club, some Plaza Premium lounges or American Express Centurion Lounge where you should only show your Amex card. You can cancel check via the Amex website or app, as to the entry requirements.

      • Thanks. It’s still showing as a Green card online. Would it be fine to order the supplementary hoping that they’d actually send the platinum one given I applied 2 days ago?

    • the_real_a says:

      It may be semantics here but you dont enter Delta, Plaza Premium, Amex lounges or Eurostar lounges on your Priority Pass. Its on the status of your Platinum card alone. No need to bring or show your PP in any of these lounges.

      • “unless you are going to a Delta Sky Club, some Plaza Premium lounges or American Express Centurion Lounge where you should only show your Amex card” is definitely semantics or possibly comprehension. The statement implies not to use the Priority Pass at all. Bearing in mind that some Plaza Premium lounges are accessible using the Priority Pass. I could have been clearer by stating only using the Amex Platinum card.

  4. Where is the AA buy miles? I see Etihad and flying blue…… 🤷🏿‍♂️

  5. Shoestring says:

    Double dipping on Red Letter Days with your Amex offer (25% off) + XMAS23VC (23% off)

    eg Three Courses with Wine for Two at Prezzo £17.32

    lots of other possibilities

    (not worth triple dipping in my experience as they’ll catch you & decline bonus payout)

    • GIFT40 looks decent code too if spending a bit more (40 off 120 spend)

      • I think the RLD 25% Amex offer on some of our cards ends today.

        • Does seem to be some very good offers, not my thing but did notice trips like the Orient Express (London to Venice trip for 2) with the discount code and paying with Amex reduced the cost from £5k down to £2,887.50. It does seem to be a genuine discount, at least compared to booking directly (was £5.1k) and a few other operators. Not interested personally, but does seem like a good deal if you are into that thing…

  6. Shoestring says:

    is your +1 a member of Marriott Bonvoy yet? here’s your chance to get a free night 😜
    https://www.joinmarriottbonvoy.com/freenight16/

    Earn a Free Night Award (worth up to 25,000 points) after just two paid stays* at Marriott Hotels now through 4/29/2020.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      25k points is the issue. Not much worth visiting for that price.

      • Not bad if your two paid stays are cheap ones. My err twin brother freddo may sign up for this if the need arises

  7. OT – BA Plus Fare

    Is BA Plus fare free flight change from 12:01 AM on day of travel applies only to BA operated flight or does it also apply to Iberia operated with BA flight number too?

    • Just to expand more, this is a original BA Short Haul booking between London and Spain.
      Since Iberia has more flights that BA and most (All?) of these also carry BA flight number with much favorable time trying to see if I have a chance to change on the date of travel on IB operated with BA flight number.

      • memesweeper says:

        This *might* work, but it’s not supposed to on codeshares. Try in the mobile app, it has worked for me once.

      • Roger,
        We had a long conversation with BA on this issue. Changing a HEL LHR leg to a Finnair operated BA flight number. Mid afternoon, packed peak flight. Took well over a half hour of back and forth “let me check this” etc etc we managed it, but not without a fight. Had to keep pointing out the t and c of the ticket. I always photo them now when booking.

  8. Any made an Amex Shop Small purchase, not got an email and then still had the credit?

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      I’ve only been credited for two transactions.

      Been to a couple restaurants last few days. Less than 50% generated an email…

      Split the bill with my wife (seperate account) and sometimes one of us gets the email and the other doesn’t.

      I’m sure the credit will come through and it’s just their email system playing about.

    • Yes. No emails from 3 purchases so far. Had one credit from last weekend, and the others were in the last 2 days so nothing yet

      • Thanks, its a little odd that some retailers generate an email and some don’t, hoping to max the card out this week

        • Amex cs told me ot depends on the card machine retailers use, but was assured all purchases would be honoured.

          • Jill ( Kinkell) says:

            Let’s hope so. Did 2 purchases on different days with a retailer ‘on the map ‘ who was adamant they have never engaged with Amex. ( needed to go back and purchase additional bits!) So I will be dealing with CS to get my credits . ( Also will have got my virgin miles on the mc)!

          • Well if they show up then great, if not then i’m sure they will sort it by chat if it was listed.

            The retailer doesn’t need to opt in as i’ve been to some where they don’t even take cards and have a cash only sign in the window, as well as others who don’t take Amex or their card machine is broke. Funniest one was when a woman could see I had cash and tried to get me to pay in cash when the only reason I had gone in was to use the Amex card!

          • @Rooster at 19:50. I’m a situation like that I’d tell them I’m only buying something due to the special offer on my Amex and if they won’t accept it I’d leave.

          • Fortunately they did and it wasn’t even a cheap place!

  9. o/t If i book a holiday through British Airways and say for example book a hilton hotel. Will i still get my hotel status from peoples experience or is it classed as a booking agency?

    • Agency

    • Can try asking front desk to add your HH number, but they are not obliged to do anything

    • I’ve booked Hilton twice and Accor once this year via agency-type channels. Each time I added my membership number to the booking with a note about my likely arrival time. All of the rooms I got were not amazing, but for certain better than I could have got. Did it help? I can’t be certain. But I’ll keep on doing it when I’m forced not to book direct.

      With hotels.com I’ve noticed a pattern of getting bad rooms – but that was in hotels where I would have no status and prob no membership.

    • I took a BA holiday earlier this year staying at the HGI in Rome. After making the booking I asked Hilton to add my HH number to the booking, which they did. We got the gold free breakfast for 3 of us for the 4 day stay, but no points. The Hilton MAN airport also recognises status if booked through BA.

      LL – We booked a Homewood Suites near Washington DC through hotels.com a couple of years ago and our reception verged on belligerent (they were very keen to point out that we were entitled to nothing as we hadn’t booked direct), but in general I find the service in the US much inferior to what we get in the UK and Europe, probably due to so many status customers in America as been pointed out before (except for the Hilton Millennium UN Plaza in New York where we were treated really well, I would thoroughly recommend it).

      • Also I think Homewood Suites is pretty bottom end in the branding hierarchy, seems lots or all of them were bought when another low end chain was bought some years back, many old and unrefurbished. Candlewood Suites seems similar issues for a lot of them but slightly higher level.

        On the other hand I really like Hyatt House where I had a giant semi-suite that would sleep 4 and I’m a fan of Staybridge Suites (even if 2 places so far had selected poor washing machines with a pattern of failures).

        • The one we stayed in (Alexandria) was actually very nice, well maintained one bedroom suites with a pleasant lobby with an attractive fireplace (which wasn’t it use in August lol). The free breakfast and 24/7 coffee were also very good and saved us a fortune. The only thing lacking was the staff attitude!

  10. Morning, does anyone know how long before you receive the bonus Bonvoy points from an Amex transfer?

  11. OT what’s the cheapest way to travel from Paddington area into Heathrow (Term 3)
    Also any lounge recommendations for T3 ?
    We are flying eco delight with Virgin so no free entry.
    We have lounge key with Curve card and also a Hsbc world elite card that we can use for getting inside though
    Thank you

    • 1nfrequent says:

      TfL Rail is probably your best bet – goes from platforms 12 and 13 and stops at Heathrow Central for Terminal 3 but only goes every 30 minutes so you’ll need to check out the timetable. You can tap in and out using a credit card rather than buy a ticket. It’s about £10.

      I suspect you’ve left it to late to get one of the advance tickets that bring down the cost of the Heathrow Express.

      Tube is cheaper still (about £6) but getting to the Piccadilly Line from Paddington is a bit of a pain.

      1F

      • Lady London says:

        Absolute cheapest would be a bus. Anything to Hyde Park Corner then change for another bus to Edgware Road (short walk to lots of Paddington. Other routes on tfl dot gov dot uk.

        Google maps is quite good now for public transport although sometimes does not offer the route you’d take as a local. Citymapper app seems excellent and works in quite a few cities internationally.

    • If there is more than one in the party you may find an Uber/Kapten/Bolt the best option. It won’t necessarily be the cheapest but might work out at a very reasonable per-person cost. It’s certainly worth checking if you’ve never used Kapten or Bolt before and can find a sign-up/referral offer.

      • Lady London says:

        Kapten is churning out quite a few offers after I recently signed up – they seem to have a program of them that they send one after the other for a few weeks.

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