Bits: £1000 PremEco to Sydney, Luxury Travel Diary auctions, Nectar profit falls, Expedia / hotels.com sale

Some news in brief:

£1,000 Premium Economy fares to Sydney ex-Dublin

Reader Paul dropped me a line to say that he had just booked a very competitive £1,015 Premium Economy fare to Sydney.  This was on British Airways, starting the journey in Dublin.

I was able to find this fare on ba.com for, for example, 6th – 20th January.  If you want to pay in £ to avoid the foreign exchange fee on your credit card, use expedia.co.uk instead.

For some reason I was unable to replicate this fare on ITA Matrix so I could not pull up the fare rules, but it definitely exists!  If you are looking for British Airways Club World fares to Sydney, Oslo or Bergen remain the cheapest European starting points at around £2,100 return.

Sydney Opera House

Luxury Travel Diary auction bargains

The Luxury Travel Diary site has another wave of its luxury auctions closing this week.  These are often worth a look as there are often deals to be had.

The current auction includes a large number of Hyatt and Park Hyatt packages in cities as diverse as Palm Springs, Goa, Shanghi, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Kuala Lumpur, Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Singapore and Jakarta.

This package at Finca Cortesin in Spain, which has an exceptionally good reputation, is also worth a look – the bid was £68 at 10pm last night.

Nectar thumbnail

Nectar falls into loss

I don’t cover Nectar much on HFP because it is not hugely relevant – although you should always remember that the Nectar e-store is the only place to get cashback when booking easyJet.

Reader Thomas sent me a link to this Telegraph article which states that the company saw profits drop to £14m.  The reason?  People redeemed their points!

This presumably explains the ‘Hive’ product which Nectar trialled – and cancelled – earlier this year.  It paid you 10% interest if you agreed to leave your points untouched!

This page on our sister site Shopper Points shows the best value Nectar redemptions – ie everything which gets you more than the standard 0.5p per point!

hotels.com new thumbnail

Expedia and hotels.com 72 hour sales

Finally, both Expedia and hotels.com are running 72-hour sales this week (again ….).  I can’t promise you that you’ll find a genuine bargain but, if you’re booking a hotel, you might as well take a look.

The deals close at midnight on Thursday – the links are here (Expedia) and here (hotels.com).

15% bonus on Tesco Clubcard transfers into Virgin Flying Club miles
Credit & Charge Card Reviews (2): American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. On the face of it, Nectar seems to offer some good bargains for the Orient Express. You can redeem your points and if you book I think three months out, you get 25% off the headline price.

    Not sure how this compares to other discounters in the space, though.

  2. Nectar ran a big advertising campaign recently encouraging people to spend their points? Odd.

  3. I’ve not had a look at Aimia’s accounts, but I suspect that given that Nectar is a now owned by a offshore Canadian company, that a good chunk of £270m expenses goes towards paying interest on a loan (probably based in a tax haven), for the debt initially taken to acquire Nectar.

  4. Hotels.com has been a great program for me as I’m not loyal to any particular chain and earning rewards through Hotels.com has helped. I’ve not booked anything through their “sales” yet but I’m a big fan of their lowest price guarantee and have used it on a few occasions.

  5. It’s very dodgy accounting if redemptions result in Nectar profitability falling. As soon as a point is issued, they have a liability for its eventual redemption and they should be recording that liability. Nectar make their money from the issue of points. Presumably they charge Sainsburys. eBay and other issuers more than the 0.5p/point ‘face’ redemption value.

    The point about encouraging people to redeem is to remind them that the points are worth collecting. If people never redeem, they stop bothering to collect and the owners of Nectar make less money from selling points to retailers.

    • I am guessing that they take a certain percentage as ‘never going to be spent’ and immediately booked that as profit. If the percentage of redeemed points went up then they would need to claw back some of that money, from an accounting perspective.

      • Sussex Bantam says:

        Indeed – that’s exactly what they will do.

        In fact, as was discussed on the pay.com thread, the fact that significantly less than 100% of issued points will be redeemed is largely what drives this and other gift card business models.

  6. The thing about Nectar points is that you generally earn them so slowly, and their value is so small, that you just ignore them until you have a decent enough amount to bother redeeming. Their accounts should allow for the fact that they’ll be ‘saved up’ for a long time before being spent. they have had some half-decent redemption offers in the last 6 months, too, so that will have made some people redeem who had been ignoring them.

  7. David Ottley says:

    Nectar are not the only ones losing money – their customers are too. 21,000 points worth £105 disappeared from my Nectar account a few weeks back, allegedly spent at Argos in Balham. I was in Dover all the day this occurred and my card was with me. Nectar report that there is a scam cloning Nectar cards in Argos and that Argos and the Police are investigating. Meantime I have to wait 28 days while Argos decide if the loss from my account fits the scam profile before deciding if to reinstate my points. Meantime I am the loser. It appears that Nectar needs to improve card security to reduce such losses adding to it’s deficit, and to reduce Customer anger.

    • I had something similar and Nectar would do nothing about it other than re-issue a new card/account number to stop the cloned card. Mine were redeemed at a Homebase in Northern Ireland when I live in the North East of England. Hope you get yours back as they wouldn’t budge with me. I lost £40 worth.

      • That’s why I use them as soon as I get £2.50 worth.

        • Quite. What is the advantage of keeping Nectar points? It’s not as though a conversion bonus might be around the corner, as with Clubcard. Since you rarely if ever get more than 0.5p per point, you might as well just use them as you earn them at Sainsbury’s, maybe keeping a few in reserve for Pizza Express/Caffe Nero etc – but certainly not 40 or 105 pounds worth.

          • Sussex Bantam says:

            Useful for the EBay promotions – IIRC I’ve made about £100 from those recently.

          • In response to queries as to why I let them build up, I use them to pay for Easyjet flights for weekends away with the wife. I will obviously rethink my strategy in the future.

  8. The_Real_A says:

    And i beleive all Premium Economy Fares can be upgraded with Avios…

  9. OT: Raffles have you seen this from a famous US blogger… BA Eliminates 4,500-Avios Awards in the US!

    • when what i need to book asap then!

    • Another HFP mentioned it in the comments earlier – changed to minimum 7,500 points for intra-US redemptions, no doubt a reaction to the massive glut of Avios given out as sign-up bonuses over there!

      • Well, that was applicable to some flights only i reckon according to distance. when i checked what i needed, though, i saw that availability was very low on direct flights pushing you to book a two segments redemption with crazy 30k! i ll try now again and check

    • Was on the HFP Twitter feed hours ago :-)

    • Yes, saw this. This is not as good a result as a third party (eg one of the rumoured Chinese bidders) buying it because that would ensure SPG remained as it was. This deal is likely to see the Starwood brands wiped out and integrated into Hyatt.

      The upside is that Hyatt points are unbelievably hard to earn in the UK. If Hyatt bought Starwood, I would move a chunk of Amex points to SPG on the basis that they would convert to Gold Passport points and give me free reign to book Park Hyatt hotels for years to come.

      • well, if you have many MR! and what about the jolly conversion to airlines…20->25k that would go!? would we have some time to make a reasonable choice?

        • That would be the big loss if the SPG airline partners went. Amex to SPG to Lufthansa is the only easy way to accumulate Miles & More quickly for eg.

  10. For the BA flights from Ireland, I have looked and can get a flight from Cork to Sydney for £1k. This is a good deal from me. Can I have a stop-over in London on the way back for a few months and then use the remaining leg to Cork for a weekend away?

    • Depends on the fare rules, which I failed to find yesterday. It won’t be totally free anyway as the stopover means that short haul APD would be added.

  11. Back to Nectar, we use ours for a couple of bottles of extra spirits come Christmas….every year. Just need Sainsburys to start their offers.
    Re. Avios and all the other FFP schemes out there……assuming the whole lot were cashed in I guess all the airlines would go bust ?!

    • Nectar are running a double up promotion soon where you can redeem your points for double the value to be spent on among other things Sainsbury wine/bubbly etc

    • That’s likely a reason they limit availability!

    • You can’t buy spirits with nectar points any more. I used to use them to get a discount on some nice whisky that I wouldn’t usually pay full whack for. Now sainsburys use the excuse that you may be buying alcohol at less than the minimum price per unit. You don’t earn nectar points on spirits and you can’t use them to reach the purchase limits for online delivery. eg. Save £20 when spending £65.

      • Wine and champagne are fine though. Sitting on 800£ so I think time to cash out as Christmas deals come up.

  12. timewarps says:

    Any idea whether you can have a stopover in Singapore using the DUB – Sydney route?

  13. Thanks for the PE tip, Raffles. Needed to go to SYD in ten days for a wedding, so I paid £1155 ex DUB (thank god for cheap Avios redemptions) to fly in PE all the way from Heathrow to Sydney, via Singapore. On the way back, I fly in Cathay PE via Hong Kong to Malaysia, and depart from Kuala Lumpur back to LHR with a one night stopover. Thanks to Jennifer at Trailfinders DUB for helping me arrange everything. :)