No matter where your travel takes you, airlines are always looking at ways to improve the flying experience. Both American and oneworld partner Qatar Airways have some updates in store. Credit card companies like American Express are focused on perks like a new lounge in Philadelphia. Read all about the latest news in this week’s update.
Philly gets a Centurion lounge.
In the rollout of premium airport lounges from American Express, Philadelphia airport is next in line to get one. These lounges are available to cardholders with a Platinum American Express and two guests or their immediate family. It will be located in terminal A-West above the current British Airways lounge and feature a full bar, buffet, shower facilities, and work areas. It is expected to open in August. Other airports with Centurion lounges include Las Vegas, Miami, New York LaGuardia, and Seattle/Tacoma.
Etihad eliminates through-checked bags on separate tickets.
If you are traveling on Etihad and book a separate connecting flight (with a different ticket number), Etihad will no longer check your bags through. This is a common courtesy among airlines that will transfer checked bags for you even if on different tickets, but it adds an extra layer of complication and liability on the airlines. This is why Etihad is no longer offering this courtesy unless you book connecting flights on the same ticket, effective February 1.
American to offer free premium economy upgrades.
American is planning to offer free day-of-departure upgrades for Concierge Key and Executive Platinum members from economy to premium economy on international flights. This is the first airline to offer comped upgrades to this class of service on long-haul flights, which is a significant perk for the airline’s top elites. Although details have yet to be announced, this is certainly great news for frequent fliers when it launches later this year.
Fly unlimited flights for two weeks in Norway for $400.
Wideroe, a Norwegian airline, is bringing back its popular, all-you-can-fly offer this summer. Travelers can book various packages that allow them to take as many domestic flights as they wish on the airline, which is a great way to explore the country. Wideroe does not have any U.S. partners for its loyalty program, but fliers can rack up miles in the SAS Euro Bonus program, which can be redeemed for Star Alliance flights.
Take $25 off Uber Black in NYC.
If you’re traveling in New York City this month, add in promotion code AMEXBLACK to your Uber app. This should take $25 off your next ride using an Uber Black (the app’s premium car service). The promotion ends on January 31, so act fast.
Hilton drops AXON awards.
Hilton HHonors has a valuable award redemption known as AXON, which is available to Hilton-branded credit card holders and offers significant discounts at hotels for staying four nights and redeeming points. But, it is history beginning February 15 so get those reservations in quickly. That’s a big devaluation for those considering signing up for the card.
Buy access to Emirates lounges.
If you want to see part of the holy grail of flying without the onboard experience, it’s possible. Emirates is now selling access to its first and business class lounges in Dubai. Travelers must join the Emirates Skywards program; the cost to access the business class lounge is $100 and $200 for first class lounge. That’s a lot of champagne and canapes to consume to make it worth it, but for those with an exceptionally long layover, this could make more sense than booking a hotel room. Elite members in Emirates’ frequent flier program can now pay to invite guests into the lounge.
American Express Business Platinum 100,000 point bonus ends soon.
If you’re considering the signup of the American Express Business Platinum card, be sure to act quickly. The exciting offer of 100,000 Membership Rewards points ends on Jan. 25. For those eligible, this could represent a huge perk in terms of free travel redemptions.
Air India to offer female-only seating.
If traveling on Star Alliance airline Air India, solo female travelers will soon have the ability to request seating in an area reserved for females. This is intended to make women more comfortable when traveling. Another Star Alliance airline, ANA, offers female-only restrooms, too.
Qatar Airways adds economy class amenity kits.
When seated behind the curtain, perks can be slim to nothing. But, oneworld member Qatar Airways is adding something nice for coach class: amenity kits. Included will be eyeshades, socks, lip balm, and a toothbrush and toothpaste. The airline is also improving upon its premium cabin amenity kits by adding new items from designer beauty companies.
Emirates adds eco-friendly blankets in economy.
Like its neighbor Qatar Airways, Emirates is also making investments in economy class. In an effort to support the environment, Emirates is replacing its existing blankets with new eco-friendly cloth each crafted from 28 recycled plastic bottles. While it may sound industrial, they are said to be both soft and warm. Kudos to Emirates for doing something to support the environment!