Got a travel question?
You may have noticed an absence of Paul’s weekend Travel Surgery in the last two weeks. This was because he was too busy out having fun…. Well, that and the fact that there have not been enough questions that are general enough to benefit most readers. So if you would like to have your travel question answered please send it to [email protected] Please also let us know if you would like to remain anonymous.
How to never forget about cashback & Avios on shopping
If you read my article recently about how the team collect our Avios and miles, you will have seen that I collect a lot of mine through everyday purchases online. I do this in two ways – TopCashback and British Airways E-Store. In fact, I have earned over 550,000 Avios just with TopCashback alone! You can join TopCashback here.
It is quite easy to forget to check which sites are included on the TCB and BA E-Store, plus pretty annoying too! Did you know there is a way to remind yourself which sites have TCB or Avios available?
If you use Chrome as a browser (part of Google) then you can use tools called extensions. This allows certain websites to interact with the Chrome browser. TopCashback has had a Chrome extension for a while (which you can also use on Mozilla Firefox). Now the BA E-Store has one too.
British Airways Avios E-Store
There is a new Chrome browser plugin that will remind BA customers which retailers they can collect Avios points with. The only drawback is that not all brands are included but it does have over 200 of their most popular brands included.
Add the reminder to your browser to:
- See where you can collect Avios online when you search for products or brands.
Find out the current Avios collection rate for a brand.
Shop without having to go to eStore every time.
You can find the British Airways E-Store here.
The TopCashback Notifier is currently available to download for Firefox and Google Chrome. The Cashback Notifier is not compatible with some mobile devices, such as tablets.
To download the Cashback Notifier in Google Chrome you first need to click the link here. This will take you to the Google app store where you then simply click the ‘+ Free’ button on the top right of your screen. This will bring up a page which will ask if you wish to add the extension.
To download the Cashback Notifier on Mozilla Firefox, you first need to click the link here. Pressing the Firefox option will take you to their add ons page. Press add to firefox and you’ll see this download. You may be asked to authorise the installation, then will have to restart Firefox.
It is less comprehensive than the BA one as it does not tell you how much cashback you can earn and you do need to be signed into your TCB account for it to work.
Is Etihad phasing out First Class?
A post from an Etihad insider has appeared on Airliners.net reporting that Etihad will be phasing out First class on all its aircraft except the A380s by 2022. Currently, they have two First products the First Suite on their B777, B787 and A330 aircraft and the far superior First Apartment which is only on their A380s.
Etihad have been struggling financially for a number of years after a disastrous set of investments in other airlines such as Air Berlin and Alitalia. First class is gradually being phased out on many airlines whereas others have gone the other way and made them super luxurious such as Emirates and Singapore. With corporate travel policies barely allowing premium economy for many travellers, it is inevitable that there will be some decline in First. With more and more business class seats being at the same standard as the Etihad First Suite, it would make sense to start phasing that out. After all, why would you pay for First class if you can get a similar Suite on Qatar in business class?
The First Apartment is in a different league altogether. For me, it is the best hard product for First class in the market other than the Singapore Suites. You can read my review of the Etihad First apartment here.
The post also goes on to suggest that all future B777 deliveries will arrive fitted with the current business class seat – the Business Studio. Whilst these are nowhere near the level of the QSuite, they are still a very good product for business class.
Buy your way into the Qantas lounge at T3 Heathrow
If you are travelling from Heathrow’s T3 on oneworld with lounge access, you have a plethora of lounges to choose from including the Qantas lounge. If you are not sure which to choose, why not have a read of my article about the best lounges at T3?
If you have ever been into the Qantas lounge, you will notice that for a lot of the day it is pretty deserted. The lounge is open from 8am to 9pm but Qantas only has two departure a day – one to Perth at lunchtime and one to Sydney in the late evening. This must be costing Qantas a lot of money as having such a large gap between flights means they have to stay open for the whole day and pay for the staff.
No doubt to help fill the lounge and make it more cost-effective, Australia’s Executive Traveller has reported that Qantas are trialling paid access for anyone flying from T3. You don’t even need to be on a oneworld flight. However, the price is a rather eye-watering £55 per person! Personally I think they have way overpriced this. Whilst there is a nice gin bar and some decent food, these are only available in the evening. During the day there is a small buffet and the upstairs bar which to me is not worth £55. There is also the No 1 Lounge in T3 which you can get much cheaper for around £30 depending on offers available. I would have thought that adding the lounge to Priority Pass for access outside the peak time would have been a more sensible option.