Bits: 100 bonus Heathrow Rewards points, immigration kiosks for BA at JFK, last day for 30% off SPG points

More news in brief:

100 Heathrow Rewards points when you spend £70

Heathrow Rewards has launched a new promotion which will give you 100 bonus points when you spend £70 in one transaction before 5th September.

As well as spending at the airport, spending on Official Heathrow Parking and Heathrow Express will also count.

You don’t need to register for this offer.

It may or may not combine with the current ‘500% bonus points on Official Heathrow Parking’ offer – see here for my article on that.

If you are not a Heathrow Rewards member, read this article on how to get a VERY generous 2,500 bonus points for joining and spending £150 in one day.  This would transfer into 2,500 Avios, Virgin or other airline miles.

Heathrow Rewards

New York JFK launching immigration kiosks in BA’s Terminal 7

Immigration queues at New York JFK may be about to get shorter with the launch of 14 Automated Passport Control machines in BA’s Terminal 7 next month.

The kiosks can be used by anyone travelling on a US or Canadian passport, the ESTA visa waiver programme, or a B1/B2 tourist visa.

You will no longer need to fill out a paper customs form.  The kiosk will scan your passport, take a photograph and ask you various customs related questions similar to those found on the old paper document.  A receipt is issued which must be presented, along with your passport, to an official to finalise your entry.  More details on the kiosks can be found here.

I have never used one of these kiosks – there were not active in Newark when I landed last week – but anything which improves the situation at JFK is welcome.  Having used Newark for my last three New York trips, I recommend that as a better way of avoiding long immigration lines – it is also a far quicker trip into Manhattan.

Buy starwood preferred guest points

Last day to buy SPG Starpoints at 30% discount

Finally, a reminder that today is the last day to buy Starpoints for a 30% discount.  As well topping up your Starwood Preferred Guest account for a hotel redemption, this can also be used as a way of buying cheap(ish) airline miles.

In particular, it is a way for Lufthansa Miles & More collectors to buy miles, given that Lufthansa does not sell miles directly.  20,000 SPG points would convert, with the 5,000 mile bonus for converting 20,000 points, into 25,000 miles.

You can combine this offer with the current British Airways ‘35% bonus on transferring your hotel points to Avios’ promotion.  This lets you buy Avios points at 1.0p.  If you can’t buy Iberia Plus Avios in the current sale for 1.0p due to your Iberia account being inactive, this is an alternative.

You can see the maths on buying SPG points in this article.  The website to buy SPG points is here.

(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.)

7,200 Avios with Tesco home insurance - now running until 31st August
Bits: Qatar selling Heathrow - Dubai for £1001 in Business, £5 JustPark credit via Amex
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Comments

  1. Physci says:

    I used the machines at DEN in Feb – it actually took longer to clear immigration there than it would with just CBP agents. Everyone (US citizens and visitors (other than GE card etc holders) is in a single queue which moves slowly. The only potential benefit is that there may be more machines than desks that the CBP used to have open so in theory a greater capacity, but would not hold my breath as all still need a final check by a CBP agent.

  2. The whole Heathrow rewards thing is all over the place. I flew out from T5 on Saturday and only had the initial 100 points (sign up bonus) I then spent a total of £168 and now have a balance of 3104 points. Break down as follows.

    Caviar house = £10 = 1500 bonus points + 10 standard points
    Caviar house £14 = 14 standard points
    Wh smith = £8 standard points = 8 points
    World duty free 2 bottles of perfume= £136 = bonus points = 1200 points, double points 136, standard points 136

    Didn’t use any signup codes, just paid with my BA Amex card. I did have a spend £75 get £5 coupon off which I used.

    • What’s the 1500 bonus points deal @ Caviar House?

      • No idea just found them on the statement.

      • Genghis says:

        That piqued my interest too (0.66ppa) but cannot find any info on it. Can anyone else?

      • Or more importantly what did you spend £10 in there?! LOL

        I assume a drink as everything else is much dearer.

        • They have these small tins that sell black caviar which go for £10. Good way to taste if you’ve never tried before. Was quite nice, they even threw in a free cook book. I guess your money goes quite far there.

  3. They’ve been in use at LAX for nearly a year at least. I really don’t think its made things any better, I think its made it worse.

    I queued for an hour to use the kiosk. I get a big cross on mines every time I use it (I have a common name). Then I queued for an hour and a half to get through the stamp. I knew I was going to get the cross, so I might as well have lied and got put in the stamp queue immediately. But I’m not sure if I can do that…

    I had 3.5 hours to catch my next flight. It was a rush through to AA, and 10 minutes in the lounge.

    • Sussex Bantam says:

      Same thing happens to me every time at BOS. Fortunately there they have a shorter queue for “machine rejects” so no need to go to the back of the line.

      The CBP officer told me it was because my passport was “old”….whatever that means..

  4. Used the booths in BOS last summer with no problem. Less than 5 minutes through immigration. Used them quite happily in and out of various EU countries last week, then coming in to LHR on Friday morning, it wouldn’t accept my passport. Perhaps this was a post-referendum thing? Although there were several rejects before me, so I suspect the scanner might have needed cleaning.

  5. Bits

    Did HFP run this? https://stories.heathrow.com/story/submit

    It’s our 70th birthday and we’re celebrating the meaningful and significant journeys and stories that have started at Heathrow. We’re inviting you to Add your story to receive one of our Birthday Gifts.

    It couldn’t be easier:

    1. Add your story with a few simple questions.

    (the richer your story, the better birthday present you’ll receive)

    2. Then over the next two weeks, we’ll read all the stories and select a great present for you.

    3. Then ta-dah, after two or three weeks after sharing your story, you’ll find out which gift you’ll be unwrapping!

    Information about all our birthday presents can be found on the Terms and Conditions page
    ***

    We’re now in P3 and the prizes look good at the top
    Promotion Period 3
    • There are: 4 Top gifts
    • There are: 5 Tier 1 gifts
    • There are: 165 Tier 2 gifts
    • There are: 937 Tier 3 gifts

    Top Gift

    Trip to Sydney – Qantas – 4

    • This competition is worth entering simply because there are thousands of travel related prizes making the probability of winning high. The top prize is an Australian adventure with Quantas for you and one lucky other – Fly in comfort and style from Heathrow to Sydney with Qantas, and enjoy five nights in a city centre hotel (35 pairs of tickets available).

      Other prizes include a meal for 2 at Michelin star The Hinds Head, a £70 Ted Baker Gift Card, 70 AirPortr single luggage deliveries to or from London Heathrow and London addresses, five return Heathrow Express business class tickets, tea for two at Taj Buckingham Gate, a Heathrow Airport Celebration Package with a luxury Chauffeur ride to take you and a friend to or from the airport courtesy of Chauffeurit, a picnic each from Caviar House, plus £100 worth of Heathrow rewards (10,000 points). There are also numerous sunglasses and travel bag type prizes up for grabs.

      Perhaps one of my favourite prizes is the rewards points to redeem into miles with Heathrow Rewards mileage partners, British Airways Executive Club, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Emirates Skywards and Etihad Guest and Miles and More. Possible prizes up for grabs include a pair of British Airways short haul flights, a pair of British Airways long haul flights, a pair of Virgin Atlantic long haul flights, a pair of Emirates long haul flights, a pair of Etihad long haul flights, a pair of Lufthansa short haul flights (basically 30,000 – 126,000 rewards points to be given away to the lucky winners).

      To win one of 1000s of gifts, add a story about an airport experience you have had at Heathrow. The better your story, the more spectacular the gift you’ll get to unwrap. You will be automatically entered into a free prize draw when you add a story on heathrow.com/stories before 23rd August 2016.
      https://www.luxurytraveldiary.com/2016/06/win-one-thousands-gifts-heathrow-airport-competition/

    • Saw it, did not – in all honestly – see there were that many prizes. Will run it over the weekend, cheers.

  6. Kinkell says:

    Much as I would love to win something , and you’ve got to be in it to win it, my experiences of Heathrow are pretty boring. Outward bound, Flight connections always goes smoothly, inbound, minor delays at security ,and the staff are getting so much more pleasant, so nothing to really complain about. Staff falling overthemselves to get me to spend at World Duty Free. Copious amounts of varieties of perfume to spray on as the mood takes me….but not all a once! Always a pleasant ‘welcome back Mrs K’ on entering the lounge..CCR.! Just a bog standard welcome at Galleries. . So no particular experience with which to bag an adventure to Australia.
    Good luck to the rest of you, I look forward to the stories.

    • You might have to engage the old imagination if you fancy a decent prize. ISTR I met my wife-to-be by chance when I was upgraded to First at check-in, met this stunning witty amazing girl dressed in roses in the Flounge – and by chance since I’m Irish I was dressed as a daffodil. True love ensued.

      Australia here we come.

      • Actually I might have been Welsh

        • I did actually meet my wife when I sat next to her on a plane, but it was a private charter (of a A319, not a Cessna!) which departed from Luton unfortunately …..

        • Kinkell says:

          Can’t compete with your tales of fancy, Harry.! Enjoy the trip, you’re bound to win, and we’re all expecting a cracking yarn!

  7. zsalya says:

    At ORD (from TXL) and IAD (from MEX) the kiosks work very well, so long as one has used one’s ESTA before.

  8. Matthew says:

    I took part in the Shangri-La loyaltyIs contest at the beginning of the year which was similar in that you had to write something about loyalty or an experience at a hotel etc. I entered a few times and ended up winning one of 250 lots of 20,000 Golden Circle points they handed out. Off to the Shard again for yummy meal in July :-).

    • wow that’s $2000 of free food!

      • Matthew says:

        Yep! Which has increased in value since the £ plummeted. It’s completely not worth redeeming for one night in the Shard for example worth about £350 when I can get £1500 worth of food/drink instead! 🙂

        • bit of a result! 🙂

        • Mr Dee says:

          A HFP party would be a good way to spend it 🙂

        • Matthew says:

          I think my wife has earmarked it for a foreign trip…to essentially upgrade a B&B shangri la hotel holiday to all inclusive for the week!

          If not…then party it is 😉