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News: eGate trial for 10-11 year olds, last day to save on passport fees, Corinthia London deal

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News in brief:

eGate trial coming for 10 and 11 year olds

At the Airport Operators Association annual conference yesterday (yes, I get around), the head of Border Force announced that there will be a trial of using eGates for 10 and 11 year old children.

Subject to final Government approval, 10 and 11 year old children will be able to use eGates at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted – and only those airports – at unspecified dates in Summer 2023.

One issue is how well the technology can successfully do a facial match. A child passport runs for five years, so it is possible that a 10 year old could use the eGate using a passport showing a photo from when the child was 5 years old. Will it work? We will see.

Personally, I am looking forward to late April this year when my youngest finally hits 12 years old and we can say goodbye to the manned desks ….

PS. Talking of immigration, don’t forget that there is another Border Force strike today (Wednesday).

Passport fee rising

Last day to save on UK passport fees

The fees for applying for UK passports will increase tomorrow, 2nd February.

The fee for adults will rise from £75.50 to £82.50. The fee for children will increase from £49 to £53.50. This is the first increase in five years.

If you have been putting off making a renewal application, you will save a few pounds by doing it today.

Corinthia London hotel

Corinthia London Amex cashback deal stacking with a ‘3-4-2’ offer

Corinthia has joined the many hotel chains offering cashback via Amex.

If targeted, you will receive £100 back on a £400+ spend. This offer runs until 31st March which gives you plenty of time to use it.

Only the London hotel is taking part. This is, however, the best Corinthia hotel by miles. I had a tour of Corinthia London a few years ago and the London website is here. The restaurant is run by Tom Kerridge which is a good enough reason in itself to stay.

The cashback will double up with a ‘3 nights for the price of 2’ offer that the hotel is running until 30th April. Bookings are cancellable up to 48 hours before departure which is rare for such promotions. You can find out more about that offer here.


best hotel loyalty promotions

Hotel offers update – June 2024:

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Want to buy hotel points?

  • Hilton Honors is offering a 100% bonus when you buy points by 23rd July 2024. Click here.
  • Marriott Bonvoy is offering a 25% to 50% mystery bonus when you buy points by 24th July 2024. Click here.
  • World of Hyatt is offering a 20% bonus when you buy points by 1st July 2024. Click here.

Comments (54)

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  • tony says:

    Ref the Corinthia. The 3-4-2 deal drops the rate from £984 a night to £656. The further £33 per night reduction from the AMEX deal really doesn’t touch the sides. And they add everyone’s favourite of a 5% service fee to the bill. On the basis an Uber home is just over £100, i’ll pass….

    • Ian says:

      Yep. The Corinthia is nice, but overpriced.

    • MT says:

      You use multiple Amex cards to settle the bill, so it knocks 25% off the bill. But as mentioned before while some hotels maybe worth 500 a night Coronthia certainly isn’t unless you love the spa.

      • tony says:

        This is of course dependent on you having 5 amex cards each with the offer loaded, you have the audacity to ask the clerk to split the bill 5 ways – and AMEX’s fraud systems don’t flag it, either at the time or at some subsequent account review. Even then it still comes in at £555 a night.

        • Roy says:

          Wasn’t splitting bills between multiple cards during “shop small” one of the things that resulted in a lot of people having their Amex accounts closed down a few years ago?

  • Andy says:

    Stayed at Corinthia to celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary in 2021, it was terrible on every level. Dirty room, threadbare towels, staff arguing in front of us at Afternoon tea … I could go on. They comp’d parts of the stay as they ruined our celebrations and they MD invited us back when they managed to do it correctly for a night.

    Rhys did a great job sorting our booking and IIRC we paid around £500 or so per night for our 3 nights. Contrast now with £864 per night for a 3 night stay in March and it tells a woeful story of how far lux hotels are pushing their luck. £100 of £400 doesn’t come close to that level of increase for me too and there are, in my opinion at least, much better options on your doorstep in that location. It’s time to rightsize hotel costs or become very niche / attract only the bankers.

  • SammyJ says:

    Since I got my new blue passport the E-gates struggle every time. I often have the 3 attempts before it says ‘seek assistance’ but sometimes try it again another up-to-3 times and it works. So if that’s someone pressing yes/no button, they’re looking at the same thing up to 6 times, and eventually giving in and saying ‘ahh, balls to it, I’ll just let her through’?!

    • lumma says:

      The Egates worked first time every time with my 2007 issued passport, which had a very thick rigid ID page. My 2017 one is hit and miss, I often think I’ve cracked to code of how to insert it so it works then the next time I’m off to the seek assistance line.

      The biggest frustration with them is that it doesn’t tell you what you’ve done wrong, is the passport in the wrong place, have you not matched your photo, can it not read the chip, etc.

      Some European egates display the direction to move the passport if it’s not in the right place. I often used to avoid them and go to the manned desk but they seem to employ staff to stop you doing this at most airports now unless you have to use a manned desk (I think this is now just for people with kids as you can’t enter on a European ID card now)

      • Dubious says:

        Same observation, same issues. I think they made the page thinner as a security mechanism as it makes it harder to split open the page and insert a replacement photo.

        I noticed the page is at the opposite end of the passport than in the past too.

  • Boris says:

    You can stack the Mandarin Oriental spend £500 get £100 back every time with the current 3 for 2 in London too. For Centurion you get the upgrade when you book.

  • Clive says:

    Hi can anyone recommend a cheap insurer for someone with a Pre existing condition.

    • Lady London says:

      Depends what, but Staysure has reports they are more OK on more preexisting than others.

  • Swifty says:

    The moment when you suddenly see “old haggard version of your free-booze-on flight face” at an odd angle is quite scary. I’ve jumped a few times. Womanned or manned desks for me thanks. Keep them in jobs and my stress levels down.

  • NA says:

    There is a very long forum on FlyerTalk of people for whom the e-gates have stopped working. Myself included. Strangely used to work previously. There is some talk about a “watch-list” which I dont get. I recently got Global Entry – which includes a UK background check. This came back very swiftly (all clear) and by definition by getting Global Entry – everything was all clear as well. BUT coming to your own country you can’t use the e-gate.

    Wonder how this 10-11 year trial would work when they keep rejecting others. And I do believe it’s a half manual process at the e-gates.

    https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/2045283-passport-never-works-egates-12.html

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