Bits: Luxury Travel Diary auctions, Emirates / Arsenal tickets, Premier Inn Scarborough reviewed!

News in brief:

Luxury Travel Diary auctions

The Luxury Travel Diary site dropped me a line about another wave of its auctions closing soon.

Here is three nights for six at a beach house in New Zealand which ends next week, or perhaps five nights for 12 people in Koh Samui?  The UK hotel offers are here.  Not everything will work for you, either in terms of location, length or dates, but you’ll probably find something of interest if you poke around.

Arsenal Emirates

More Arsenal football tickets released for Skywards members

Emirates Skywards has released a further batch of Arsenal football tickets for the current season.  All of the ‘lesser tier’ games seem to have been made available although there is no sign (yet?) of tickets for the big names.

Pricing varies between 12,500 and 17,500 miles for standard seats and 20,000 to 25,000 miles for the Emirates Superbox.  They now call this Box 75 but it is still the Superbox.

This is a great use of Emirates Skywards miles or indeed transfers from American Express Membership Rewards.  There appear to at least 4 Superbox seats per game available although you can only book 2 per Skywards account.

Here is a review of a visit with my father-in-law.  Details of the games available can be found here.

You need to remember that the dates shown are tentative.  The TV companies only decide a few weeks in advance whether they want a game moved to Friday, Sunday or Monday.  Emirates will not refund you if the game is moved and you can no longer attend.


Premier Inn Scarborough reviewed!

Once a year I join a group of friends for a golfing weekend on the Yorkshire coast.  Due to the dire quality of accommodation in the area, we always end up at the Premier Inn in Scarborough.

It is always a good reality check.  Whilst certainly ‘no frills’, the hotel is a new build and the quality of the bed, bedding, towels and furnishings is good.  There is a good desk with lots of sockets and a decent chair.  Most rooms have a sofa bed so you can sleep a family of four.

That said, this hotel is not exactly budget.  We paid £90 per night.

There is a picture of my room above, which was certainly fine.  I was a little annoyed this year by the total lack of frills though:

I had forgotten my toothbrush but reception could not supply a free one – I was directed to a vending machine which wanted £2.50

There were no tissues in the room, so when a cold that had been developing for a couple of days finally erupted I was forced to stuff my pockets with toilet paper

You do get a kettle, teabags and UHT milk.  I would happily stay here again and I can’t imagine why Holiday Inn Express and others have not opened up.  The competition in Scarborough is not exactly tough.

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  1. Johnnycl says:

    Great timing with the Premier Inn piece, just seen a new Amex offer of 10% statement credit at Premier Inn stays until November.

  2. I don’t think I have ever paid more than £50 for PI, and often the figure is closer to £30. i think is is simply a Saturday night effect. Other days are much more reasonable with many half what you paid. At least with PI you know what you are going to get.

    • Just try booking a Premier Inn at one of their more popular sites. The Oxford one is rarely less than £100 a night and often has a waiting list.

      Some of the major employers nearby have an arrangement whereby they block-buy rooms whether they need them or not – the “loss” is better than the inconvenience of trying to book rooms elsewhere in the city.

      • Oxford saver rates for November are not currently exceeding £100 for any night. Most nights between £50-70, with some nights as low as £30. It all comes down to when you book and how flexible you want to be. Wanting a room tonight or next week or so then yes you would be looking at £100.

  3. Why not look at renting a home on airbnb will probably work out much cheaper than the rip off prices of premier Inn

    • Rip off? Who are you trying to kid? PI offers good value, even when £90 for a Saturday night.

      • 6 blokes are generally not welcomed with open arms by Airbnb hosts ……! I also needed to work on Fri night and Sat morning.

  4. Unless your mantra is “I must attend an Arsenal match no matter what the cost”, there is no way this can be described as a great use of Emirates miles. If the miles are worth 1p each then you are paying £125 to see a match which costs as little as £26 for a Cat C game, if you know where to look.

    • The comment was directed at the Superbox tickets which are excellent value on any basis – you can’t buy a spot in the best- positioned box in the ground with unlimited food and drink for £200.

      Not sure how easy it is to get Arsenal tickets unless you are a registered supporter and can take part in the season ticket buy back.

      • If you value some free food and drink, a better view and no atmosphere at £174, fair enough…

        • I do!

        • I do too! – Along with lots of others I imagine (or they wouldn’t have these options available!)

          I paid £80 to watch a League 1 Football game on Saturday (hospitality option, 2 courses in a suite with private pay bar) well worth it in my opinion.

          Not to mention my redemption in the SPG suite at the o2 – All making a regular trip that little bit more special.

          Horses for courses and all that!

  5. If we are comprehensively discussing Premier Inn, could also add that Whitbread shareholders still receive the perk of a voucher for a free Sunday night stay (when they stay a Saturday night).

    However you need to own 64 shares, which at nearly £40 each is over £2.5k! A concentration that probably only makes sense in a very large portfolio.

    But I mention it for completeness, and it is certainly NOT investment advice!

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Based on your investment advice I have done this for myself, spouse, seven children, and the dog. I don’t suppose you would be kind enough to supply further contact details should my investment fail? Thanks.

    • Is it a coincidence that the cost of a share is about the same as what you’d expect to spend to stay at a Premier Inn on a Sunday night? Yes, obviously,.

  6. I can vouch for the quality of the PI bed. When looking around for a new mattress for our bed at home recently we couldn’t find a better quality / comfort / price point. Their mattresses are made by Hypnos.

  7. Will Squires says:

    In terms of the actual bed, Travelodge’s one which went in every room about 2 years ago is brilliant. I’m not sure I can recommend them to this crowd in sincerity, but if literally all you want is somewhere to get your head down and have a shower, Travelodge are great.

  8. Sideysid says:

    I’ve been keeping an eye every other day when the new Arsenal games were released. Saw the new list come up this weekend and moved the Amex points, which transferred instantly (I have transferred to my Emirates account before though).

    Boxing day WBA game for a present for a friend. Glad to hear its the Superbox, was looking at the map and was surprised at the amount of boxes they had.

  9. OT is there a minimum number of SPG pts you can transfer to your partner – I’ve miscalculated my pts and now have an odd 41 pts left in my hubbys account and I want to cancel it. Duh! Had the wrong card set as default when doing the Payqwiq transactions at Tesco at the weekend!

    • 1,000, I believe.

    • But there is no need to cancel the actual SPG account, if you think you might earn more in future. Cancelling the credit card will not affect the account.

      • Ah that is true – I am thinking I would lose them like MR pts – I can go ahead and cancel the credit card and leave the pts in the SPG account! Thanks!

  10. Barry cutters says:

    I remember 10 years ago as a frequent visitor to the Newcastle, Manchester, liverpool and leeds for nights out.
    As group of guys would book in advance and get a cheap B&B or a discount deal on a hotel.
    However we would all share a room. Maybe 4 or 5 of us would all be sharing the floor of the travellodge.
    Every once in a while this posed a problem when one manged to get lucky and ‘pull’. Generally the girl would not be too happy to walk 4 miles to the out of town £25 travelodge and play hide the sausage all night in a room with 4 other guys. (i say generally, due to a couple of exceptions, mainly in Liverpool).
    Therefore as semi skint young guys what did we do?? we took full advantage of the Premier inns good night sleep guarantee. -Basically wake up, tell the classy bird next you it was time to go, make your way to reception and kick up a bit of a fuss about how you didn’t get a wink of sleep.
    With a minute or so you would have a full refund, and normally a bonus breakfast as an apology.
    Finally make your way to the train station to tell all the lads of your ‘conquest’ all the the way home.
    those were the days…….

    A common trick between friends was

  11. I paid £120 per night at the Worthing Premier Inn this summer – two week nights. I was horrified but had no choice due to work and the various Southern strikes. This rate did not include breakfast – “Everything is premier but the price”….I imagine the pricing was opportunism.

  12. OT: Has anyone received their bonus for Registering for Heinemann & Me through Etihad?

  13. When we went to Durham earlier this year my wife insisted in staying in a Premier Inn rather than the Hilton group where we could have stayed with points. It was pretty dire – three floors but no lift. I had paid in advance for the weekday nights so we stayed there. I cancelled the Saturday which I had not paid since it was £100 and booked us into the few weeks old Hilton Garden Inn in Sunderland which was superb and much cheaper.

  14. Anywhere I would stay with the lads on a night out is an instant no-no for a stay with the Mrs!!’

  15. OT Tesco payquik: how are folks getting their points posted please? I’ve done 6 or 7 transactions already but got one chunk of 200 cc points, not 500. I would like to uninstall the app and start again with my partners clubcard but think I may need to put some furthef transactions through mine first.

    • Hi James, we did 2 x5 transactions at the weekend when we were in Edinburgh – just waiting for the pts to post now – hopefully successfully !

      • I was expecting one 500 point credit but doesn’t seem to be working like that but hopefully I’ll get another 300. Good luck on yours.

  16. I don’t mind Premier Inn at all.
    You know what your getting, and they are mostly all within the same sort of standard quality.
    A step above Travelodge, and I would also say (in the ones I’ve been in) better than Holiday Inn express, and in some cases Holiday Inn (where the standard can be dire! or special depending on the property).

  17. OT: I don’t think this has already been posted today: New promotion showing at; 1000 points for collecting with a new partner between 3/10/16 and 21/11/16. See website for full terms (especially note that it excludes survey partners and Shell driver’s club for some reason). It appears that BAEC is running a similar promotion as well.

  18. O/T – Just been in Tesco’s and the offer signage for the current GC offer states only that the 75 point bonus not valid on Tesco, Xbox or F&F cards. Does that mean that it is definetely valid on the branded Visa GC’s?

    If so, can you purchase these to get the bonus points and effectively then go back in or to another store and purchase other GC’s like Amazon etc paying with the original Visa GC’s? I’m assuming the Visa cards are like a pre-paid Visa?

    Also, where has Harry gone?!?

    • you can, but you will pay £3.95 extra for a £50 card, which I only do when I have got a money off coupon.

      • Thanks Mark, I didnt realise that these ones were slightly more than the value loaded on them. Will factor that in. Have the weekly voucher booklet thingy so guess you’re right this would be a good use for them.

    • I think some of his old favourite aliases have turned up – not seen Squills (yet) though :)

      • I get the picture. Don’t know any of his aliases but I’ll be sure to look out for his familiar ways :)

  19. Do you know if the Arsenal tickets are transferable? I would like to give them as a gift to my dad and brother. I can be there on the day to collect them.

  20. OT: I signed up for Melia Gold via Amex Platinum. Does anyone know where to find the 20% off vouchers? All I see is a greyed-out Birthday 20% off offer under ‘My Promotions’

    • Gin and Tonic Please says:

      My discounts are exactly on that page. Think you might need to contact CS

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I applied about 6 weeks ago and never got them

      I’ve asked if others have had them recently but never seen a yes or no. If anyone can shed some light on if they have signed up in the past 6-8 weeks and got the 20% off vouchers that was be good

      • It has been posted on here before by others that they appear somewhere on your online account. I haven’t triggered my match yet so have no personal experience.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I have the usual birthday promotion showing but not these 20% vouchers, I would have used 1/2 last month but ended up booking elsewhere (cheaper than Melia less 20%)

          I tried an email a couple weeks ago as I don’t fancy waiting on a call when I have no immediate use for them but no reply. My only thought was they decided not to offer them to AMEX status upgrades unless someone knows otherwise?

    • Nick Burch says:

      A few days after your Melia account upgrades to gold, the code (1 code, valid for up to 3 uses) should appear on the “My Promotions” page at above the birthday offer

      (It isn’t showing for me any more, but I think I have used my code 3 times now)

  21. OT Bits – interesting, just had an AwardWallet update email this morning and my TCB balance has jumped up. When I look at it I see that my 4 pending Hilton transactions have all changed with a lower purchase amount (not quite minus VAT, more like 15% less for some reason!) however the cashback amounts have now jumped up to 14.7% of these values as it was meant to do. They have all also changed status from ‘pending’ to ‘confirmed’. They’re not yet payable but it makes me more hopeful that this may yet work out – which is great news given it’s £80 I’m waiting for :)

    • +1

      I have two that have done exactly as yours have. No guarantees but certainly looks more promising TCB may have got their act together a bit on this issue.

    • +1 To say I was stunned would be an understatement. However, let’s not count chickens.

    • Sadly I am not that lucky. Mine was the secret cashabck offer, instead of the 19.95% that I should be getting, they have been confirmed at 8%! I currently also have many claims waiting to be resolved for the same reason since January…

    • Mine haven’t, despite me reminding them last week that I’m really not very happy about it.

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