Bits: Hilton sale reminder, £1240 Garuda to Singapore, £25 Airbnb sign-up bonus

News in brief:

Hilton Summer Sale enters its final stretch

The Hilton sale has been running for so long you may have forgotten it was still on!  It is now entering its final stretch so you may want to take a look if you have plans for September or early October.

The Big World Sale has decent weekend discounts available across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  You can book for any weekend until 9th October.

The sale offers a discount of up to 30% off the standard Best Available Rate if you are a Hilton HHonors member, albeit that sale rates require prepayment and are non-refundable.  You receive a smaller discount (25%) if you are not logged in.  You also receive a smaller discount (15%) at Hampton by Hilton properties.

More limited sale deals are also running in the Americas (weekends only) and parts of Asia.  In the past, many hotels have also loaded sale rates for weekdays so do check.

You need to book by 4th September.  Ignore the closing date shown on the sale website home page – when you go into the small print, it specifically states 9th October as the last day to stay for Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Hilton has a special website for the sale which can be found 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.)

hilton hotel tallinn park exterior press picture

£1,240 Garuda to Singapore

A reader dropped me a line to highlight some very good Garuda Indonesia business class fares from London to Singapore currently on offer.

Pricing varies depending on where you book.  Based on 14th-21st September,  Opodo is pricing it at £1,240 which appears to be the lowest.  Booking on the Garuda website will cost you £1,340.  The outbound flight has a stop in Jakarta whilst the return is direct.

Garuda is a SkyTeam member so you will earn miles in KLM / Air France Flying Blue, Delta Skymiles or any other SkyTeam programme.

£1,240 isn’t as low as some of the ex-Europe Qatar Airways fares we’ve seen recently but for a flight starting from Heathrow this is a very good deal.

I reviewed the Garuda Indonesia 777-300ER business class seat last year and was impressed.  The 1-2-1 layout is superior to BA Club World.  However, the Garuda website shows a vague ‘777-200/300’ for ‘aircraft type’ at the moment so it is not clear if you would get this or not.

Garuda 777

Airbnb sign-up bonus increased to £25

Finally, if you were thinking of giving Airbnb a try over the next month or so, the refer-a-friend sign-up bonus has gone up to £25 for a limited period.  Anika’s link is here if you need a referrer and here is her article on how she found Airbnb in Los Angeles.

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  1. Garuda only have 777-300ER (no -200s) so no worry on that front!

  2. Graham Walsh says:

    So tried out AirBnB a few months ago for a couple of nights in Canary Wharf. Was ok. Basically someone’s flat.

    I recently did a stay in Toronto for 8 days for £600 and it was basically a buy to let property. It was a fantastic location to everything. It beat hotel prices (plus there were no hotels due to large conference I was at).

    I then needed another 8 days in Atlanta next month so looked at AirBnB. As soon as you mention you are there for work or a conference they decline your booking and put the price up dramatically. So the tip is just say your travelling etc (but even that failed at times). I ended up booking 8 miles out of town and Uber will get more money.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I have used airbnb on about 3 or 4 separate occasions now, and I have decided it’s just not for me. In each case we were either a group of girls on a city break, or it was a trip with my partner where we wanted to even out staying in a high end resort for part of the trip, with a more cost effective city break stint. Despite spending many many hours deliberating over reviews and pictures and picking those with the best scores, I’ve had some shockers.

    An apartment in Paris was advertised as sleeping 4 – the actual ‘bed’ was a shelf up a ladder above the lounge, with about 2 feet head height and just a matress and a sheet sat on the shelf. An apartment we rented in Amsterdam was reviewed as being clean, yet there was a bag of dirty linen dumped in the lounge and the first thing I had to do was vacuum the sofa bed. In Croatia I had a better experience, but still, I have decided there is nothing quite like fluffy soft clean hotel towels and a decent level of cleanliness. (Oh yeh, the Paris apartment said he provided towels – they weren’t big enough to even wrap our hair in, so for 3 girls that left us in a bit of a bind!) So it really is hit and miss – perhaps I am fussy but other people’s clean is my dirty apparently, and it takes many hours to read through lots and lots of reviews.

    If you’re not fussy and on a budget though, it’s a good alternative. I did however come against some pretty rude people on the TripAdvisor forums a little while back, for suggesting that I might use airbnb for a portion of a trip in LA. It was met with some people who were fairly adamant they didn’t want strangers wondering around their neighborhoods.

    • Last 2x I’ve been in NYC I’ve stayed in hotels when friends have stayed in airbnb properties. I wish I could be more positive but both times the apartments were just horrible – once it was similar to the pic on the website (and those mates were just cheap) the second time the “loft” apartment bore no resemblance to the photos. Possibly useful if you have a group wanting to stay together or a family but I’d rather stay at home if I couldn’t afford decent accommodation! Both sets of friends ended up spending time in my hotel just to avoid going “back hone”!

  4. Whilst the product may be very good, Garuda Indonesia’s website is abysmal. Not only does it lack key information, but it’s full of bugs and the booking process is not user-friendly.
    I’ve booked a couple of Garuda flights previously but their booking systems just aren’t up to scratch – either for purchasing or managing your booking. Their Frequent Flyer site(s) are also full of bugs and their technical support is terrible. I’ve ended up booking through an OTA instead of booking direct and that in itself creates issues as you cannot fully manage your booking online.
    Summary: Great product, terrible online booking and flight management.

  5. To offer up a few more AirBnB experiences, most recently (i.e. last week), used it for a family trip to San Francisco. Stayed in Noe Valley, in a huge 4-bed (2 en suite) townhouse – clean, tidy, incredible views all over the city. Cost £500 less for the week than 2 twin rooms in the Sheraton on Fisherman’s Wharf.

    I’ve also used it in upstate New York, Budapest, Madrid and Valencia with no complaints and while these were lower-end and much cheaper than hotels, I know AirBnB can also do high-end if you’re looking for it

  6. Any idea how long it might take the BA/ seat booking system to re-set?

    My PC was playing up – eventually I traced it to faulty headphones of all things – but to cut a long story short I got through to payment stage on 4 flights next summer school hols and failed to pay, went back to try again a couple of time – & same story, failed to pay. Each time got messages to contact them to complete purchase.

    Now the booking system seems to think I have potentially bought about 12-16 seats @ the same time & the price has gone right up with no Avios availability. (I haven’t actually bought any flights, rest assured!)

    I’m hoping it will all re-set itself at midnight/ during the night, as I’d rather fly at this particular time. There are Avios flights available earlier & later that same day, but determined to be at least a little bit patient to get my preferred slot.

    • If you have accidentally bought duplicate flights, you should be able to cancel over the phone with no fee . In any case there is a 24h cool off period.

      • In the end I booked the earlier flight, just means getting up about 5am.

        The other RFS flights I didn’t succeed in buying have still not been released overnight. & it seems I succeeded in currently messing up BA’s pricing for that day, so it makes it look as if I got 3.63p/ Avios – not bad @ T-350 or so :)

  7. I was looking at the Hilton sale for the Edinburgh festival, but was disappointed to see they were £350/night for the Caledonian even in sale prices. Then I remembered I had access to a few barclaycard night vouchers and unbelievably they accepted them. Great value returns.
    I also looked at BA flights and got a bargain there as well using a well known discount route.
    Feel pretty chuffed – flight and hotel in festival season for <£90pp.

    • Excellent, hope you enjoy! Ben Hanlin (magician) was excellent and Best of the Fest (both daytime and evening) are good choices, albeit not so much for the heckler that decided to try and challenge Marcus Brigstocke on Saturday night! (it all went a bit Brexity and the Leave-voting heckler didn’t like it, Brigstocke handled it superbly and had the crowd behind him!)

    • Great deal, even an Ibis can cost 200 quid a night during the festival.

    • Mercure Edinburgh Prince Street was available for £40 through Happy Monday

  8. GARUDA – Go Another Route Unless Delays Appreciated

  9. Isn’t Garuda still banned for having a high chance of crashing due to very poor maintenance issues ?

    A mate in the airline business wouldn’t touch them with your bargepole !

  10. Yeah, the servicing was being done in the backwaters and not up to scratch.

    I wouldn’t put anyone I cared for on them.