Bits: win tickets to Le Mans with Avios & Shell, how a reader used his free GHA Platinum status

News in brief:

Win tickets to the Le Mans 24 hours race with Avios and Shell

Shell petrol stations and Avios have teamed up to give you a chance to win a fully inclusive trip to the Le Mans 24 hour race from 17th to 20th June.

There are four first prizes of Standard Premier Eurostar tickets, a hotel, car hire and hospitality tickets for the race itself.

You may even be happy not to win, as ten runners-up will each receive 10,000 Avios points.

To win, you need to purchase Shell V-Power Nitro+ fuel before 30th April 2016 and swipe your Shell Drivers Club card.  You will receive multiple entries for multiple purchases although you are limited to one per day.  You MUST also pre-register by visiting this page at and clicking the ‘Register’ button.

Shell Drivers Club 350

Putting GHA Platinum status in action

I wrote last year about an offer being run (still being run, actually) by Business Traveller magazine.  If you signed up for a subscription, you would receive Platinum status in the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) loyalty scheme.  This covers 33 major chains including Kempinski.

Reader Colin dropped me a note to say how well this worked out for his family:

“I thought it worth a quick note to illustrate the value of the GHA Platinum status which comes with the Business Traveller subscription. Knowing that I was going to be making a booking at the Avani Sepang Goldcoast in Malaysia (Avani are part of the GHA scheme) I had purchased a Business Traveller subscription and had my fingers crossed that it would pay off with an upgrade.

As there were to be 4 of us staying (and the possibility of some others also showing up) I booked a 2 bed villa with living room (measured as a very comfortable 122 sq m) which is listed as accommodating up to 5 adults. The cost including breakfast was approx £240 per night, a good deal for what was to be provided.

A week before the stay I emailed the hotel to point out my GHA Platinum status and request an upgrade and late check out. A few hours later I received an email back confirming my upgrade to a 3 bed villa (232 sq m!) and confirming the late check out. The cost of the 3 bed villa is typically £450 per night. As I was able to make use of all the rooms/beds it was perhaps the best £24 ever spent!

The villa was huge, located at the end of the branch/frond at the most quiet and private location with views out over the Melacca straits, including seats and mattresses on a large deck area. The main bathroom featured twin washbasins, a separate shower room, a seating area in the middle, and a separate sunken bath area (with wide open views to the sea, the pavement and the villa next door!).

At breakfast I glanced a look at the guest list and noticed that my reservation was tagged as VIP, and throughout the stay the staff did seem eager to please and I experienced none of the problems listed in some Tripadvisor reviews.”

Even some of the more obscure deals I cover on HFP can work out well if they happen to match your travel plans.

What are the best Star Alliance credit cards for UK residents?
SUNDAY ONLY: 2,400 Avios when you spend £100 at Tesco Wine
About Head for Points

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  1. Don’t forget upto 2000 Avios bonus for taking out Business Traveler Subscription

    • Genghis says:

      But that’s much more expensive and not worth paying for the extra avios isn’t it?

  2. the super cheap BAA BT offer was still running a few months ago. I’ve had some great upgrades with GHA including standard room to a suite – but they wouldn’t honour the “local experience for staying at a new brand” because mine wasn’t an earned membership. Booking direct with the hotel is often cheaper than using GHA’s website.

  3. I stayed at Omni Ranchos las palmas in Palm Springs in February with GHA I got upgraded from the basic room to the best they had. Also we had complimentary laundry (one item per day) and shoe shine, complimentary alters and a huge fruit bowl when we first arrived.

    • Just be aware that with fast track upgrades like BT you won’t get the local experience until you’ve stayed the required number of stays had you not been upgraded!

      • Seems a bit silly really as the underlying idea is to generate more business and nothing annoys people more than having something given to them for free and then them finding out that it was a bit of a sham and certain benefits would be withheld.

  4. YMMV – Corinthia don’t seem to recognise it.

    No mention of status/perks on checkin in Budapest, no upgrade or anything like that.

    Similarly in Prague, but there was a 10-15% discount from the total bill from an in-hotel restaurant on the final bill that I assume is from having GHA Plat.

    • YMMV indeed – my best upgrade was Corinthia Malta.

    • I’m doing the Corinthia St. Petersburg in May (unless I need to chase IHG promo’s and then we’ll be in the Indigo). I can feel an email coming on to request an upgrade/ confirm status!


  5. Tilly71 says:

    Anyone know if Hilton would accept this GHA platinum status as match to their Status?

    • Just remember that Hilton match requires proof of stay evidence, if you have this worth a go. But not just a case of signing up for £24 for a shot at Hilton status

  6. OT – Easter hols 2017

    Most state schools have Easter 2017 hols as follows:
    Saturday 1/4/17 – Monday 17/4/17

    Therefore T-355 days is tomorrow (ie fly out Saturday 1/4/17) if you want to book outward now. Avios flights for Saturday will pop up @ midnight tonight.

    If you are going to pinch the Friday, flights are already published/ available – RFS/ avios redemptions/ cheap cash + avios etc.

    • OK bit of a shock – instead of RFS fees 4 x £17.50 = £70 plus the avios, wants £171.24.

      Anybody know why?

      Has RFS fee changed?

      • I can buy HBO flights for £64, valuing my 26,000 avios at a paltry £90… (excl luggage from the comparison)

        • Phew, BAEC still has RFS fee £17.50. Avios tickets redeemed/ bought @ the perfect time on the perfect day… :)

          Anybody care to explain why BAEC & have different policies on the carrier fees & taxes?

          X4 the difference is £70 (BAEC) vs £171.24 (

          • Tilly71 says:

            Yes, like why BAEC avios uk flights do not include baggage allowance but exactly the same ticket booked using avios does?

            • had me slightly worried there for a minute – might have had to travel light! but…

              Checked baggage [BAEC]
              Adults, young adults and children: 1 bag at 23kg (51lbs)

            • The_Real_A says:

              Tilly71 – are you sure about that? I think all BAEC even on UK flights have 1 x baggage.

            • This happens to me when you book flybe via baec, it clearly states when booking that no baggage allowance included but if you switch to avios for exactly the same booking it states baggage included?
              I contacted avios and they just stated they run as different companies and as such have different policies?

            • this came up before, you get luggage

              Due to the different systems used between ourselves and Flybe, we’re currently not able to display your baggage allowance when you make/view your booking on (or via our call centres).

              We’re pleased to confirm that our members will have one 20kg bag included in their reward flight cost.

      • I get the same result as you on avios but on BA I get the reward saver price. I checked my activity on the Avios site and have had no activity in the last 12 month.

        • Always worth dropping a few tesco CC points in once a year.

          • it’s not that, my a/c is active

            I can double check on my wife’s a/c, I guess

            • Correction – it IS that, my wife on has £17.50 RFS fee.

              However, my own avios a/c is very active! Either have screwed up or, the thought occurred to me, on a T-355 day booking, maybe they are looking for a/c activity in the 365 days BEFORE the booking, ie in my case, in the last 10 days?

              Bit strange, that never happened before – so I think it’s simply that have got it wrong.

            • OK I discovered a quirk that explains it – I recently divided our household a/c into ‘singles’ so that I could transfer from IB. As HOH I kept the same a/c number. But is not recognising any a/c activity prior to the division of the household a/c, though there is some as recently as February this year. You effectively start with a new statement, even though the a/c number in my case is the same as the HH a/c.

  7. I received a guaranteed, pre-arrival upgrade to a suite at Anantara Golden Triangle during Christmas due to this benefit. I think it saved over £1000 in the end.

  8. OT – “Save to Card to get 2000 MR Points when you spend a minimum £500 online per transaction at Apple at or in-store at a UK Apple Retail store by 22 May 2016.”

    Got this on my PRG this morning.

    + £20 off £30 sub to the FT
    + 10% off at Etihad

  9. OT – the happy Mondays link hasn’t been updated for this week – is it working for anyone else or have you had any contact from le accor?

  10. Tilly71 says:

    In regards to baec and flybe baggage allowance, this is terrible they cannot change the wording on their booking system. I purposely used avios over baec as we needed baggage x 2.

  11. I previously had a free BT account, but subscribed after the last article. When I try to log in, I keep getting strange error messages. I tried again over the weekend and it said I had to verify my account via the email they would send, but no email arrived. I need to contact them to get it sorted, as I may well be going to Norway in the summer and want to stay in some Thon hotels. I just seem to have too many other things going on to manage it.

  12. Recent stay at Shaza al-Madinah (useful for Muslim pilgrimage travellers in Saudi Arabia); booked basic room but upgraded to junior suite. Also offered a local experience which was Arabic afternoon tea for 4 people! The price difference between basic room and suite was approx £50 per night.