News in brief:
American Express launches new cashback deals
A new wave of Amex cashback offers launched this week.
Some, all or none of these will be available for registration under the ‘Offers’ tab of your online statement.
Offers marked ‘Connect’ appear on the Amex Connect site where you can register MBNA, Lloyds or Barclays-issued American Express cards.
The new travel offers available across my cards are:
Transport for London – 10 bonus Avios or Membership Rewards points for every £2 charged to your card before 6th November. In theory this only applies to contactless transactions. We need to see if it works for season tickets.
Mandarin Oriental – £100 back on £550 spend in London, Paris, Barcelona or Geneva, expires 6th December
Eurostar (Connect) – £20 back on £60 spend, expires 16th October (you could book a return ticket as 2 x one-ways if you had two cards which qualify for the offer)
Heathrow Express (Connect) – £10 back on £50 spend, expires 11th December, valid for unlimited number of transactions
These older offers are still running:
Hilton – £50 back on £250 spend at participating hotels only, expires 30th November
Rocco Forte Hotels – £100 back on £400 spend in London or Brussels, expires 30th October
Hyatt – £100 back on £500 spend at participating European hotels, expires 30th September
Emirates – £100 back on £800 spend, expires 6th November
Trailfinders – £200 back on £1,000 spend, expires 30th September
Sofitel / MGallery / Pullman – £30 back on £250 spend at participating hotels, expires 21st October, would double up with the current generous Accor promotion
Holiday Extras (Connect) – 15% cashback, expires 2nd October
Virgin takes action to stop Heathrow Clubhouse overcrowding
We wrote last month about Delta’s decision to move all of its Heathrow Terminal 4 flights into Heathrow Terminal 3 from yesterday.
This is great news for Delta flyers who will now have access to the acclaimed Virgin Clubhouse lounge (and it is pretty good as I reviewed here).
It was bad news for Virgin Atlantic travellers, who risked seeing their beloved lounge overrun with passengers from an additional 11 flights per day.
Delta has now taken action to reduce the impact of this.
This is bad news for Priority Pass passengers who use the No Lounge because the influx of Delta passengers will mean far fewer spaces available for ‘walk up’ Priority Pass guests.
Like it or not, if you want to guarantee No 1 Lounge access in Terminal 3 with your Priority Pass, you may need to stump up £5 to reserve a space in advance.
Diamond and Platinum Medallion Delta cardholders will continue to get access to the Virgin Atlantic arrivals lounge.
50% bonus when you convert IHG Rewards Club points to United MileagePlus
United Airlines is offering a 50% bonus when you convert IHG Rewards Club points into your United MileagePlus account.
The offer runs until 10th October. You need to register before making the transfer on the United website here.
Airline miles are not the best use of IHG points due to the 5:1 conversion rate. I tend to value IHG points at 0.4p each which means that, at the normal conversion rate, you are giving up 2p of free hotel room to receive 1 airline mile. This is not good value.
Under this offer, you are giving up 1.33p of hotel room for every mile you receive. This is closer to fair value but still expensive in my book.
You need to take a broader view, however. If you collect United MileagePlus miles and live in the UK, your options are limited. There is a United credit card – with NO sign-up bonus – but that is about it. The conversion rate from Starwood Preferred Guest is weaker than other airline schemes and they are not an American Express partner. On that basis, if you have a large pile of IHG points you may find this an easy option to top up your United balance.