Bits: Gatwick train ticket prices cut, Shangri-La airline transfer deal, PartnerPlusBenefit promo

News in brief:

Got any Shangri-La points left to use?

If you have any Shangri-La Golden Circle points left from their 2013 promotion, they are likely to be expiring at the end of the year.  At the moment, the minimum transfer to airline miles, which includes Avios, has been reduced to 1,000 points which means that you are able to redeem.

This is a far poorer deal than getting $100 of free food and drink at a Shangri-La hotel but if you haven’t managed to get to one then you do have an alternative.

Golden Circle

Gatwick Airport joining Oyster leading to price falls

From January, you will be able to use Oyster pay-as-you-go or any contactless payment card to travel on Thameslink or Southern train services from London to Gatwick, excluding Gatwick Express.

As part of this move, the cost of train to travel to Gatwick will fall as it aligns with standard Oyster pricing zones.  East Croydon to Gatwick Airport will drop to £3 each way off-peak, for example.  A single trip from London will fall to £14 at peak times and £8 off peak.

You can find full details on the Thameslink website.


Triple PartnerPlusBenefit points to Geneva

Finally, if you are travelling to Geneva from London or Dublin on SWISS before the end of January 2016, you will earn triple points in the Star Alliance PartnerPlusBenefit small business programme.

You need to register via the ‘Special Promotions’ page of your PartnerPlusBenefit account.  If you are not already a member, you can register your company here.

500 free Hilton HHonors points for 30 seconds work (potentially)
40,000 points (= 40,000 Avios) sign-up bonus for Amex Platinum via a special link
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  1. For those going to Victoria this is definitely a good thing as it means there’s no reason not to get the Gatwick Express that has more luggage space. However for me Thameslink is the better option and I look forward to not having to worry about purchasing tickets on this route. Just like I do in London I use contactless payments (Apple Pay) via my phone.

  2. Gatwick express will still carry a premium so this may be a reason not to do it!

    Their platforms at Victoria will be codes differently and charge a higher PAYG fare.

    The biggest benefit will come to tourists being able to use oyster (or contactless debit and credit card) for their whole journey to the UK and hopefully reducing the ticket window / machine scrums at both Gatwick and Victoria stations.

  3. Hi Rob,
    Can I redeem shangri-la points for food and drink at ting in the shard? If so, how do I do it?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Yes you can. Search for Shangri La on the right hand side of this website and you will see all of the past articles explaining how to do it.

  4. Does this mean Gatwick has been absorbed into Fare Zone 6? How would this price up if you were travelling from, say a Zone 5 station avoiding Zone 1?
    Or does that mean you can just pay a premium with Oyster a la Emirates Airline?

    In a convoluted way, assuming that you had already used your Oyster to get to a start London station (ie. Victoria/London Bridge), it is cheaper for you to continue your journey to East Croydon and use an advance purchase (£3.95 return) non-Oyster ticket rather than use an Oyster PAYG fare from Victoria.

    Obviously this means getting off the train and touching out but the difference in fares can be remarkable.

    • No, Gatwick will be in Zone Gatwick, and special fares will apply just like for Watford Junction, Shenfield and Grays. There will also be special daily caps, just like for Euston-Watford Junction, Liverpool St to Cheshunt/Broxbourne/Hertford East and Fenchurch St to Grays.

      There will be many circumstances where it is cheaper to buy a paper ticket for part or all of your journey, or split ticket at East Croydon or elsewhere.

      If one of the tickets you want to use is a season ticket, which includes a 7-day or longer travelcard, you do not need to alight the train, nor does the train actually need to stop at the station where you switch tickets (unless you are switching from a season ticket to another season ticket).

  5. Cheshire Pete says:

    Isn’t the daily cap to zone 6 £9.20? So in conjunction with related travel to get to Victoria the saving will be even more evident. For instance if you had a connection from Heathrow then an onward from Gatwick then Zone 1 travel it should all cap at £9.20.

    • Hehe, it is more complicated than that. The daily cap to Zone 6 is £11.70, but if you travel off-peak (which means between 0926 to 0433 and all day Sat/Sun/PH) two or more days from Monday-Sunday, four or more days from Monday to Sunday 13 days later, or eight more days from Monday to Sunday 27 days later, then you will be refunded £2.90 per day, automatically to your bank card, or you need to touch into a station for Oyster. If on contactless, the refund may be different depending on whether you travelled off-peak Z1-4 on any of the days, as well as whether Mon-Sun capping applies.

      But Gatwick is not going to be in Zone 6, because Gatwick isn’t going to pay Govia Thameslink Railway the tens of millions of pounds it would lose in revenue from the current fares.

  6. IslandDweller says:

    There are many details about oyster still to be announced. Gatwick will very likely be in a new ‘special’ zone, not one of the existing zones. Whether capping applies or not (some oyster routes, such as the Emirates dangleway do not get included in capping) has not been announced yet.
    As for the comment about using trains branded express for luggage space…. From the timetable change next month, 50% of trains branded express will continue to/from Brighton – not really a dedicate airport service….

  7. OT: confirmed. Marriott bought Starwood.

    • Oh. Dear.

    • ankomonkey says:

      I was looking for a way to get Marriott Gold without making the stays. I wonder if Amex Plat to get SPG Gold might now be a way to do it…???

    • ankomonkey says:

      I also wonder what this will mean for the 2 UK credit cards (Marriott and SPG)…

      • Or more importantly what it means for the reward programmes…. fortunately I’ve been focusing on IHG and Hilton only for the past few years, so for me it just means I’ll continue to avoid Starwood completely unless it’s significantly cheaper until we see what happens. Probably plenty of speculation on FT

      • Marriott and Amex do not get one. Expect to see:

        SPG Gold to go as a Plat benefit (you won’t get Marriott Gold instead)
        the end of Membership Rewards transfers to SPG (you won’t be able to transfer to marriott instead)
        the end of the SPG Amex (Visa is Marriott’s global partner)

        The Amex Plat team will not be happy today.

  8. Quick question:
    Where else can I use my 2,000 PartnerPlusBenefit points other than flights?

    • Hotel voucher – I redeemed 1,900 pts for a £50 GlobalHotelCard.

      Be careful when using the voucher though – a bit like Kaligo, some of the rates seemed falsely inflated, so make sure you check the rates on the GHC website with a normal travel website to know that you’re getting a true £50 discount!

    • There are a lot of option – Heathrow Express tickets, hotel gift cards etc. All on the website I assume?

    • Lady London says:

      It’s on the website plus Partnership Plus Benefits is quite good about updating new offers, they send you emails.

      They are also extremely pleasant and helpful on the phone if you need to check anything with them after you’ve checked the website.

    • Thank you for the responses

  9. SPG & Mariott sent out an announcement of the merger.

    But the business underpinnin/economic sense of the deal is shaky. 200 million in synergies are less then premium Marriott is paying for Starwood. Going to be struggle among stakeholders to complete the deal.

    The email today is re-assuring about Starwood points.

    However, it takes one person on executive level to decide to squeeze cash out of the program and the value is gone/reduced. We already have the differential in miles between Category 6 properties and decent Category 3 as 25K vs 5K per night. If the corporate does not rein hotels in, brand deterioration is also a risk.

  10. Hi, sorry off topic ..but really hoping someone might have experience of this and be able to clarify?: …. I’ve triggered and redeemed 2 x 2-4-1 for 4 LHR to SEA return in 1st for next October. With all tickets safely showing as booked now in my BA account, I’ve called AMEX to cancel mine and my wife’s BA Amex cards (both downgraded from BA AMEX PLAT after triggering the initial bonus) only to be told that I should keep the cards and can only safely cancel (without affecting 2-4-1 booking) after I have taken the redemption flights end of next October …. is this true? or is this a call center person not fully aware of Ts&Cs around 2-4-1s?

  11. O/T nearest bits Free Amex insurance & a couple of quid back for your trouble

    HT Chanchi HUKD: Buy any American Express travel insurance policy via the Giftcloud deal link and you will receive a £10 e-voucher e.g. Amazon, Argos, M&S etc

    It applies to any travel insurance policy e.g. a 4 day single trip to Europe is £7.33 for a 30-39 year old and removing the optional extras. So effectively free travel insurance taking into account the £10 voucher

  12. Another O/T

    We all know about 100 free Tesco points for an insurance date

    NEW Add onto that 250 points for a home insurance quote, added at end of process.

    350 points = 840 Avios for a couple of minutes’ work

  13. Shangri la website now excludes shard from eligible hotels to spend dining points. Is this new?

    • As far as I can see, the Shard is excluded from “Instand Dining Awards” (though this has always been the case.

      I don’t see it on the excluded list for regular F&B non-room redemptions though. The only ones excluded from regular F&B redemption are:

      -Seventh Son at China World Summit Wing, Beijing,
      -Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai
      -Futian Shangri-La, Shenzhen
      -Collage Bar at Hotel Jen, Upper East Beijing
      -The Rocks Teppanyaki and Harts Pub at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney
      -The Act Dubai and Junoon at Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai
      -Momofuku Noodle Bar at Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto

  14. Pls advice, how I can spend 800 Shangri La points before they expire, at the end of this year?