Bits: Uber scraps fixed London airport fares (our £15 code still applies!), 80% ‘buy Hilton points’ bonus

News in brief:

Uber drops fixed London airport fares

London taxi / minicab / ride-sharing / call it what you want group Uber has announced that it has dropped its fixed fares to London airports.

All airport trips will now be priced using the standard Uber formula, which is a black cab-style mix of time and distance.

No reason was given for the change.  It is certainly a fairer deal for drivers, who were often getting a low fare for what could be a 2 hour trip at peak times – and a lot of money for what, for me, can be as quick as 35 minutes on a Sunday night.  Until I have given it a go, I won’t be able to compare it properly.

Remember that if you have not tried Uber yet, sign up code HEADFORPOINTS gets you £15 off your first ride.  This is valid in ANY UK city where Uber operates.

If you are still after a fixed price ride to the airport, try the Kabbee app which will give you quotes from a number of local firms and let you book online.  There are no sign up codes for Kabbee at the moment, unfortunately.

Uber 350

80% bonus when you buy Hilton HHonors points

Hilton is running an eight day ‘flash sale’ when you buy Hilton HHonors points.

The Hilton ‘buy points’ page is here.

This offer was originally launched two weeks ago as targetted promotion.  Everyone can now take part.

As I wrote two weeks ago, regular readers of Head for Points will know that I tend to value Hilton points at 0.3p each.  You are paying 0.39p ($800 for 144,000) here so the maths does not look good.

Five star Hilton, Conrad and Waldorf-Astoria hotels typically run to 80,000 points per night.  In this sale you would be paying $444 for 80,000 points which is often more than you would be paying for a five star in a major city.  This is not a bargain.

However, Hilton HHonors IS a decent deal at cheaper point levels.   The Hampton by Hilton in Sheffield, for example, is 10,000 points per night.  At 0.39p per point you would be paying roughly £39 per night if you bought the points.  That is a 61% discount on the typical nightly rate of £100.  Hampton properties include free breakfast as well.

On the other hand, the Hilton Sheffield is 30,000 points per night.  You would be paying around £117 for those points which, whilst a bit less than the typical £125 cash cost, is not a fantastic deal – especially as you would earn points and miles back on the cash rate.

If you just buying a handful of points to top off your account, the price per point doesn’t matter anyway.  If you a few thousand short of a redemption then this is a decent opportunity to buy them.

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

British Airways now using the No 1 Traveller lounge at Gatwick North - feedback?
Crediting your Hertz rentals to IHG Rewards Club is looking attractive
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  1. Decided I was a buyer of HHonors with 80%.

    80000 + 640000 = 144000 pts for £561.

    Topping off a/c for another Maldives trip.

    Its just shy of 2 nights at the Conrad Rangali with awesome free breakfast and evening happy hour, no 23.2% taxes either, so avoids the new so called “green” tax at $6pp/day

    • Even in South East Asia Sale the Best cash rate is approx £650/night + 23% taxes!

    • Is it worth holding out for a 100% later in the year ? I know they did 100% once last year but I was not collecting HH then so didn’t buy. What have they normally done in the past?

      • I bought 160k with 100% bonus, last year, to use at Rangali this April. Rest of the booking is 2 cc vouchers( 1 still to do) and tesco cc conversion. Booked 11 nights so far and have just received my Hilton CC this morning and just spent £750 on it!
        If I had have been declined I would have bought 60k to top off the account to pay for 1 night.
        I will hopefully have enough Tesco vouchers for another 10 nights available but need to work out if the Hilton bonus is cheaper( and easier) than buying nospendits without discount or coupons.
        There were 2 promotions last year, 100% bonus and 50% reduction in purchasing, amounting to the same cost per point.

      • You might want to factor in the value of the US$ which surely must imrpove in current rates against £.

  2. Mr Cinnamon says:

    Buying the minimum points is a convenient way to keep your current HHonours points “alive” for another year, Ideal if you have a decent points stash but do not wish to redeem them yet.

    Just topped up mine for $10, taking me over the £750 spend on my new HHonours Visa card, so a free Hilton night to boot.

    And with new Diamond status to boot I am warming more to the idea of future Hilton stays.

    What would be the best Hilton brand NYC hotel to book for my free weekend night? The Conrad?

    • Used mine at the Waldorf Astoria, v nice if not a little tired, faded grandeur, etc. Good to have ticked it off the list.

      Millennium is good, Raffles likes the Conrad NYC, not stayed there myself.

    • The Conrad is a fantastic hotel albeit a little out the way. The subway and WTC is only a 5 minute walk away.

  3. OT I have been trying to refer my husband for the BAPP card before the 10/2 deadline. I get the email confirming the referral but he doesn’t get the email with the link. Tried it several times and also phoned Amex who tried it and it still doesn’t come through. Anyone else having problems? Alternately it says save the link to my Facebook timeline – do you just click through from there?

    • Just use the link on your email for your husband to apply, did this the other day and included the referral bonus details etc. Maybe your husband is opted out of Amex marketing.

      • He had the blue card before and has the Gold card at the moment – I checked his marketing options yesterday and they were all ticked.

        • On the the email you get confirming referral click ‘share this link’ – this takes you straight to a page where your husband can apply with referral bonuses. When I applied for my BAPP card about a year ago with referral from friend couldn’t get system to work and Amex added points at both ends manually, good customer service.

    • i have had loads of problems with this and called amex about it – try sending an email to your own address and if you receive it send it onto your husband. The guy at amex said as long as you click thru the link it doesent need to go to the receipiants email address it can go to any email address.

    • Or just make a new email address for him and change it later…

  4. Speaking of the Hiltons in Sheffield, has anyone stayed at the Double Tree? Booked a night there yday for 10k points and have the option to potentially upgrade to a 1 bed suite for £24… it’s just a short stopover but with an 18month old it could be useful! Alternatively, will ask for a spacious room with a cheeky smile when we check in!

    • Do you have gold/diamond status?

      • Just silver at the moment… should get Gold from CC spend but won’t be until after the stay

        • Ive stayed there a few times (and got my car broken into in the car park….) – its a pretty bog standard hotel in a skanky part of toen. Room upgrades arent really worth it in my opinion (and I get them free as diamond). Just give them a smile and a cheeky ask at check in…

          • Thanks, yes that was my impression of the hotel… just looking for an inexpensive stopover not too far off the motorway between Kent and Durham. Thought 10k points would probably be a decent deal, as nothing was standing out as a bargain further north

    • Stayed there for one night last year and thought it was a bit tired. Staff weren’t particlarly on the ball either….had to prompt for a glass to go with a drink at the bar. It didnt seem busy when I was there, I imagine they are rarely fully occupied.

  5. We don’t have uber in Southampton yet and when I’m in London its normally paid for by the business who like a nice receipt!

    However the wife and I both set up an account and used on a recent trip to Edinburgh, pretty much paid for our airport return journey. Cheers Rob!

  6. Why would you pay £100 to stay in the Sheffield Hampton?

  7. £10 Kabbee code for new customers – using my code MVJ767.

  8. I’m all up for getting the maximum value from travel/hotels etc, but after reading that Uber take 20% of taxi revenue and it then does what any multi-national does – works this to some offshore account paying little if no tax. I don’t think I could use the service. Am I being a little zealous here, do airlines/hotel chains do the same but have not been put under the same spotlight as the internet multi-nationals?

    (I assume that most typical taxi revenue feeds back into the system, but taking 20% out ultimately hurts the economy)

    • Gett, Hailo will have a similar structure though I am sure.

      You miss a point though. Uber lost $1.7bn last year. There is no tax to pay.

      • “lost” internationally or actually lost?

        Are they doing an amazon and shifting profit overseas or doing an amazon and forcing everyone else out of business by running at a loss?

        • Running huge losses – $1.7bn loss on revenue of $1.2bn IIRC

          • Not picking a fight Raffles, but that is worldwide results. UK pre-tax was approx £900k with £22k corporation tax paid


            …but that’s not the point, I’m sure group profits will be in the $BNs as the operating model matures. The point is 20% of revenue is being sucked out of the UK economy. If it’s fair to assume that most taxi firms are SMEs then they are paying their fair share of corporation tax. Is the Uber model sustainable?

            Or do I not realise that most hotels/airlines have been playing the same game for years? Problem is, the more revenue multi-nationals generate, the higher the tax burden on individuals/SMEs.

    • Having been ripped off by a black cab on Saturday night, I used Uber for the 1st time Sunday morning, with HFP Code of course, could not have been more impressed. In fact I wished I’d used it for every journey over the weekend including tube journeys.

      • Jason, personally I don’t use taxis in London but they do have a well-deserved reputation for reliability and honesty. Without trying to teach you to suck eggs, have you raised a formal complaint? London taxis are quite rigorously regulated and the authorities don’t like rogue drivers who rip off their passengers.

      • London Steve says:

        Every time I’ve taken a black cab from the centre of London to the suburb where I live, the drivers have only had a vague notion of where it is and which way to go. I’ve found in each case I know the route better than them and end up giving them instructions. On the occasions I’ve left it up to the driver, we’ve taken inefficient and traffic clogged routes by following road signs and main roads, thus making an expensive ride even more expensive. My record was £60, instead of the £22 routinely charged by minicab firms. The least they could do is (like Uber) standardise by using Google Maps as the base routing software outside of the city centre. Fact is, Google Maps (and others, like Waze) know the traffic ahead, that no amount of Knowledge is going to bestow upon them. I’ve also found Ubers to be quick, efficient and affordable in a way that black cabs never are. The Hackney licence restricts black cabs to certain vehicles, which are not just expensive for drivers to buy, invariably they are never as comfortable as a modern passenger car of the type used by Uber drivers. Without serious reform, I cannot see black cabs remaining a relevance for anything other than hailing them on the street for short hops around the town centre. At times like that, the waiting time for an Uber can be disproportionate compared to the journey time.

        • Black cabs deserve to die – too expensive & surly crew.

          Sooner they die, the better – I certainly won’t miss their rudeness & exaggerated fares.

          • I have given our nanny control of the Uber account recently for the kids and gone back to black cabs for myself, as I have some Gett referral credit to burn. It has been a pleasant change, to be honest, in terms of journey speed – due to use of bus lanes – and of course ‘banter’. It was a less pleasant change in terms of passenger comfort, however, compared to an E-Class Merc.

            • Black cab drivers do indeed prove that most kids should go to grammar schools – ie there’s intelligence in them thar kids.

              Whereas the comps just allow them to dumb down.

    • They take 25% from drivers that sign up after January

  9. Rob – I got caught up on the Uber change from LHR yesterday morning.

    For a pickup from LHR T3 to SW10, a fixed price trip in 2015 cost £36 (including the driver’s parking fees, for a trip of approx 30 mins in duration leaving at 7:40am) and for yesterday’s trip (same pickup and destination), this came in at £34.50 (again including the driver’s parking fees, but was for a trip of approx 1 hr in duration due to traffic from LHR and leaving at 8:00am).

    • I should add that I was really quite surprised at the bill… especially given I was stuck in traffic for an hour coming in from Heathrow!

  10. I used Uber last Tuesday (Raffles £15 code) for a trip home from LBA Cost £25 including the £3 drop off fee, so £10 . Can’t beat the £1 sims and having plenty of CCs. Last time I used the airport based taxi service over 5 years ago the cost was £32 ish.

    • Uber have definitely starting picking up related accounts. Opened a new one last weekend and about an hour later got an email stating “this account is not eligible for referrals/ credits ” etc

      • We found that. I signed my wife up again using her former surname (which is part of her double barreled married name) and they picked it up.

      • Yes I have had a similar message from uber a while ago. I don’t refer now just use other referral codes and have had no problem. I also sign up from a mobile not connected to wifi.

  11. Rob, if you have signed up Kabee yourself, you should be able to find the ‘share code’ on your account to share. That would give the new signning £10 off their first account booking and a bit of return to yoursef.
    If I remember correctly, the Kabee credit has a much longer expiring date.

  12. Jules Lyndon says:

    We used Uber to get home from Heathrow last week on Monday at around 9:30pm to E14, the southern end of the Isle of dogs at a cost of only 36 pounds for over an hour’s journey. The cheapest fixed price minicab charges 55 from Heathrow and 42 going to Heathrow. That was quite a substantial saving and the driver picked us up outside arrivals within a couple of mimutes of requesting.

  13. Mr Cinnamon says:

    Have used Uber LHR to Fitzrovia and back and always found it excellent. Prompt, efficient, polite helpful drivers and decent price.

    Only used once in USA- again no problems and will use it by default whenever possible.

  14. Chelseafi says:

    So Ive not used uber but will have a journey from Heathrow T5 to Uxbridge this summer, should I create an account with code, can you pre book the pickup giving flight info?

  15. We are getting pretty pissed with Uber in Nottingham They are almost always surge charging (anywhere between 1.5-3 percent) which makes them double the cost of getting a local cab.