Bits: Virgin scraps Combi Fare, Hilton Visa application criteria eased, Avios Dining delayed

News in brief

Virgin Atlantic scraps CombiFare

In a surprise move, Virgin Flying Club scrapped CombiFare this week.   This was odd because CombiFare was the sort of unique product which Virgin likes to use to show it is more flexible than the competition.

As I wrote recently, British Airways has even been exploring the idea of launching exactly the same thing.

CombiFares allowed you to book a flight with one leg booked using Flying Club miles and the other leg booked for cash.  The key, though, is that the cash element was 50% of the equivalent return ticket, not the extortionate cost of a one-way ticket.

Let’s assume a return flight to San Francisco was £800 in Economy and that you can only find a reward seat one way.  Virgin would let you book one leg with miles and the other leg for £400 (in reality they adjust for taxes on each leg).  On BA you would be stuffed in such a scenario, because the cost of a one-way cash ticket is charged at a premium price.

I would be interested to know why Virgin dropped this.  I was told that it is due to a new ticketing system which will make it impossible to make ‘half and half’ bookings going forward.

Thanks to Jay for this.

Virgin Atlantic

Barclaycard relaxes application criteria for the Hilton HHonors credit card

Following up my article on Tuesday on why I think the Hilton HHonors credit card is a fantastic ‘first card’ for anyone starting off collecting miles and points, it now seems that Barclaycard has improved the eligibility criteria for the card.

You are NOT now blocked from getting this card if you hold any other cards from Barclays.

This rule caused a lot of problems when it was introduced, especially as Barclays issued both the Hilton and IHG Rewards Club cards at the time.  This meant that you could not apply for both which probably annoyed both firms.  Whether or not this had anything to do with IHG moving their card to Creation Financial Services is not known.

If you have been put off from applying for the Hilton card because you have a Barclaycard or the old IHG Rewards Club card, you now now apply without any problems.  The website has also been changed to remove references to multiple applications.

Hilton Visa

Avios dining programme delayed

Finally, if you were wondering what happened to the new ‘earn Avios from eating at your local restaurants’ service I covered recently, it has been delayed by a month.

It is now scheduled to launch in November.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. slightly OT. I’m new to Hilton H and just joined them yesterday, downloaded the app and I’m looking to book a room in October. I want do it via the app because the doubleup promo says you get triple miles if done this way. I understand that with Hilton booking you also have the option of adding frequent flier miles to the booking so you earn HH points AND air miles OR you can get extra HH points… however when I go through there is no option to decide which one. I want to make sure I don’t miss out on the air miles!

    Any idea what I’m doing wrong? all help greatly appreciated thanks

    • You probably need to use the full system from a PC if you want to do anything other than book a room (I would use the full system for that except in an emergency).

    • Genghis says:

      On a computer:
      1) Login to HH
      2) On LHS, you’ll see under ‘My Profile’ a button ‘Preferences’. Click on ‘Preferences’
      3) On the main screen you’ll then see ‘MYWAY EARNING STYLE PREFERENCES’
      4) You can then click on ‘Change Earning Style’ and select what you want. I’d select Points + Points as default option unless there’s a bonus on.

      • genghis, even by your own lofty standards you are full of good advice today, keep em coming… soon rob will be redundant .. heehee

        • Genghis says:

          It’s more that I’m struggling get motivated to do any work after 3 weeks of holiday and a bit of jet lag. Flying into LHR and then going straight to work is not recommended though I’m doing it again next year…

        • nice trip? anywhere nice?

        • Genghis says:

          China and HK. I’ve been telling my colleagues this week it was ‘interesting’. The scenery (Great Wall, mountains, rice terraces) was impressive but the food by and large was disappointing and the people – don’t get me started. I won’t be returning, for holiday at least. It was a relief to get to HK.

        • Thanks for the break Harry. Really enjoyed it.

        • come again? not following….

        • Ha ha!

      • Thanks a lot for your help Genghis

        once that’s selected is it ok to book through the app to get triple points?
        Also why is points + points better? you get an extra 5 HH points or an extra 1 air miles per USD. but since HH points are transferred at 10 points to 1 airmile you would be getting 0.5 air miles per USD (unless Iberia or virgin atlantic) when you transfer to your FF account, surely its better to select the air mile options?

        • Genghis says:

          So points and points is 10 base HH + 5 bonus HH points per USD whereas points and miles is 10 base HH + 1 mile per USD. The difference is therefore 5 extra HH points (each valued at 0.3p using Raffles’ valuation x 5 = 1.5p) versus an extra mile at say 1p. Basically you’re getting more value.

        • Genghis says:

          I should have made myself a bit clearer. If you aim is to collect Avios then go for points+miles. However, if your aim is to maximise value through points, best to go for points+points.

          Once set up, book through the app and all will be rosy.

      • I think you’ll find that if the real harry/ harry1 posted that he wouldn’t post again as harry/ harry1 – he wouldn’t

        offski again, see you in another week

  2. Bit OT, but as VS are mentioned in this post, its kind of appropriate ! Has anyone received their points from the Virgin Trains Offer? Aren’t these now 6/7 weeks overdue now ?

    • Genghis says:

      Yes but you’ll have to chase them I think

      • as per Genghis’ post, a chase is required but they normally post quickly thereafter, and without any notification in my case.

  3. Jordan D says:

    Is the UK Marriott card ever going to come back?

  4. Another case of the IT tail wagging the service ‘dog’!!
    Either it’s being used as an easy excuse, but this is about the 4th time I have heard ‘Computer Says No’ excuses for dropping features.

  5. Wally1976 says:

    OT – £20 credit to Moneycorp card finally arrived for me today 🙂

  6. Wally1976 says:

    Another OT sorry! Bought an Amazon git card from Tesco yesterday lunchtime and another first thing this morning (same store). Neither of the codes will work on the Amazon site – I’m hoping it’s just a delay to the funds being available. Any other experiences? I have successful activation slips for both so will query on Monday if still not working.

    • Genghis says:

      I activated quite a few on Tuesday night. As harry / harry1 has previously reported, the font used on the GCs is awful – watch your Bs and 8s in particular. Play a substitution game until Amazon takes it.

    • It took me ages to activate 3 cards yesterday – what looked like Z was a 2 , S looked like 8, play around the letters and numbers – they are really badly printed !

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Worked immediately (10mins) for me.

    • I’ve activated a fair few of the new ones and the letters can be a pain but try to rearrange them and they should go through if activated already, I’m not sure about the waiting times I thought it would be immediate (even though Tesco claim it can take some time)

    • wally1976 says:

      Thanks all – I couldn’t see what I was entering wrong but turned out to be an S that looked like an 8 on the £25 card. The other one just hadn’t been activated earlier I think. All sorted now anyway 🙂

  7. Cuchlainn says:

    OT – Nectar AMEX arrived today – having binned my BAPP in Sept I thought I would have been nobbled for £25 annual fee but clearly states £0.
    Alternatively it only states 20,000 Nectar points as bonus, not 40,000 as I signed up via Nectar.

    It does say bonus is due within 28 days of £2K spend – will Amex tell me now if 40,000 points will be credited, or must I wait till spend is confirmed ?

    • Genghis says:

      Aren’t the additional 20k points added by Nectar themselves, not Amex?

      • Cuchlainn says:

        I believe it’s 20K from both Genghis – according to original screenshot I kept 🙂

    • wally1976 says:

      Drop Amex a secure message (via ‘Contact Us’) and they should be able to advise if you qualify for the 40k points.

      • Cuchlainn says:

        Will do Wally – will update when known – thanks

        • Cuchlainn says:

          Bump – Amex secure msg worked :
          Confirmed 20K from Amex + 20K additional Nectar points from Nectar and no £25 initial fee ( on OH’s BAPP as a supplementary !! )


  8. Simon Schus says:

    The Iberia Groupon deal is back but at slightly higher price points that before, and also with slightly different Avios options (buy 9000 rather than 8000, buy 15000 rather than 12000). There is an option for buying 34,000 too

    2000 Avios for 24 € (56% off), previously 2,000 Avios for €19
    4000 Avios for 59 € (35% off), previously 4,000 Avios for €49
    9000 Avios for 119 € (36% off), previously 8,000 Avios for €99
    15000 for 189 € (37% off), previously 12,000 Avios for €149
    20,000 Avios for 249 € (35% off), previously 20,000 Avios for €259
    34.000 Avios for 429 € (34% off) <— new option, right?

    Here is a link to the deal and the new price points:

    Previous price points are here:

    Right now, given Euro to £ Sterling exchange rates this doesn't seem like too beneficial a deal unless you were going to buy from BA/Avios anyway (though it'll probably take longer to get Iberia to credit these from GroupOn).

    Hope that helps somebody, but not sure it will.


  9. rams1981 says:

    Not a buyer at that price