Bits: Free travel in London with Android Pay, potential Hilton auction bargain, HFP reader wins trip to New York and a car!

News in brief:

Free travel in London tomorrow

Tomorrow (17th October) and next Monday (24th October) you can travel for free on buses, tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line, Thames Clippers River Bus, Gatwick Express and most National Rail services in London – if you have an Android device with Android Pay and a linked MasterCard.

All you need to do is use your MasterCard for contactless payment on your Android device and within 28 days you will get a refund of up to £30.50.

What else do you need on a Monday? Yes, coffee! Head to your nearest Caffe Nero, present your Android phone with your MasterCard on Android Pay and you will get a hot drink for free (without extras like syrup).  You can get more details via the link above.

If you’ve never been on the Emirates Air Line cable car, this could be your chance to give it a try!  Rob’s review is here.


Bid on a luxury opera experience with Hilton in Barcelona

If you fancy a great night out at the opera and have a few Hilton HHonor points to spend, this auction could be of interest.  You need to be free on the weekends of either 12th or 19th November.

On the HHonors auction website, Hilton @Play, you can currently bid on this package in Barcelona:

  • Tickets to “The Marriage of Figaro” and a private dinner at Liceu Theater
  • Luxury shuttle to/from Liceu Barcelona from hotel and to/from airport
  • Three-course meal for two (including wine)
  • One night stay in Presidential Suite at Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona
  • Executive lounge access and breakfast

Last time I checked (11pm Saturday) the price was 120,000 Hilton HHonors points. Considering that you’d normally get one standard night at the Hilton Park Lane for 90,000 points, this looks like an amazing deal even if the points you need to pay go a bit further up.

To make a bid, go to this page of the HHonors website. The auction closes tomorrow (Monday 17th) at 5am so there is still time to bid on this experience.  The odd closing time means that there probably won’t be a last minute flurry of bids.


Head for Points reader wins a big competition!

You might remember the IHG competition Rob recommended in August.

BMW in association with IHG was giving away:

  • A three night stay at the InterContinental New York Barclay Hotel
  • An experience in the BMW i8
  • A chauffeur driven BMW i3 at your disposal whilst in New York
  • A BMW i3 to drive for six months
  • IHG Rewards Club Platinum Ambassador Membership and 250,000 IHG Rewards Club points (which we’d value at £1,000+)

We are pleased to hear that the winner is one of our readers – and I am not jealous at all ….

'50% off Qatar Airways flights' voucher for £19 on Groupon - worth it?
Important dates for your diary - offers about to close which you shouldn't miss
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  1. O/T – Dragonpass/Barclays lounge access. Are the vouchers in the account holders name or can anyone use them even if account holder is not travelling?

    • Not sure what you mean by vouchers. I have the membership card downloaded on my phone and just hand it over at lounge entrance (from memory you can ask them to send you a physical card as well).

      Usually then then ask for a flight number, and write it down alongside card number, and then ask for a signature (some places do it all on the computer, no sig required).

      Never been asked for a boarding card (which will also be downloaded to phone) but presumably some lounges will ask.

      But because generally you’re post-security airside, most lounges seem to see boarding passes as superfluous and are only interested in your Dragonpass number and flight details.

      Incidentally despite the price increase, I think Dragonpass a huge improvement on Airport Angel and the enhanced insurance (including cover for terrorism) makes Barclays’ monthly fee worthwhile.

      Everyone’s calculations are different though.

  2. O/T – having signed up to the 8% back at Caffe Nero on my BAPP yesterday, today sees me offered 5% statement at Caffe Nero on the same card. I’ve saved that one too and both offers are showing in my account. Any bets on whether I’ll get 13%?

    • I’d have a latte bet (the usual currency for bets at work) and reckon you’d get 13%

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Spend £5, get 5% back. Plus 8% on all spend. £5 gift card top ups could work out very nicely especially if you combine with the virgin red app 2-4-1 deal

  3. Android pay is dreadful. The only card I have that is compatible with it is one halifax debit card. No Mastercard I have work. Neither does there seem to be any plans to accept amex .

    • That’s why I use Vodafone Wallet.
      It would work only of you have contract with Vodafone, but it works much faster and it’s possible to link PayPal (the app generates virtual visa debit card). So it’s potentially possible to pay on the terminals which don’t accept Amex (haven’t tried though)

    • None of my cards work with Android Pay and I don’t want to get my phone out all the time anyway.

      • Don’t get me wrong, I have no interest in using it going forward as I don’t see any benefit over just getting a card out of the wallet, but I would have liked to have gotten a couple of days free travel in London

  4. Wow, congratulations to whoever won that prize!!

  5. Free Monday etc includes the Gatwick Express which may be useful to some.

  6. Congratulations to the winner.

  7. O/T my husband is likely to be picking up his first IT contract job shortly. Working for a UK based company but with significant time spent in their St Louis office. Obviously I’m looking to maximise the miles and points benefits.
    He would be charging (premium economy) flights and hotels back to the client as part of his normal invoicing.
    So far I have got him to register for the triple avios promotion and once he has a VAT no. will do On Business. What else should we be thinking of? It is likely he will have 6 months plus with maybe 3 weeks a month in St Louis. Thanks in advance

    • TGLoyalty says:

      If the plan is to use BA would get a AMEX BAPP as it’s double points on BA spend so 3/£1

      Don’t know if he has status with any hotels or what hotel he plans to us but AMEX Platinum would be worth a look.

      As straight to mid tier in SPG/Hilton and travel insurance as long as you pay with an AMEX BAPP and priority pass for lounge access which you won’t get with PE until he hits Silver ofcourse. Sure hotel spend will have him hit the spend target quickly.

      Possibly could do the Gold then platinum upgrade route if there’s enough time or he’s not bothered about the things above

      • I think for hotels it varies per week almost as to what’s a decent deal and what hotels are available. E.g. Last week I was in Paris and booked Holiday Inn using Rob’s link (usable withthe IHG best available rate), got IHG points, spire elite bonus and hit some of Accelerate. Next week however the Holiday Inn had gone from €170 to €320/night so did a bit of research and got the Marriott via (10% cash back on Santander Debit + 10% via rewards+6 Virgin miles per £ – I’ve given up on TCB where I can). Emailed hotel and hopefully get Marriott Gold benefits.

        Point being is that your husband should do a bit of research each time he goes to book a hotel to maximise benefit for him. Sound advise though getting the Amex Plat (even just doing a quick churn to get the sign ups and hotel schemes) and using BAPP on BA flights.


        • To add, as your husband will have lots of expenditure, make sure that expenditure is always doing something for him. What I mean is hitting sign up bonuses (he applies, refers you and he uses a supp on your account), hitting a 241 etc.

          • Get him to sign up for PartnerPlusBenefit (the Star Alliance small business scheme). If you use the link in the HFP sidebar, half way down, you get double the usual sign-up bonus.

          • Would also add maybe getting the Lloyds Avios cards – FX free and for the first 6 months have 2.5 Avios/ on the Amex, so could do very nicely for his spend out in the US. I know some on here have experienced problems, but having signed my wife up a couple of months ago (and adding me as a supplementary), it has worked perfectly.

            After £7k get the upgrade voucher so can work towards this as well as the 2 for 1 on the BA Amex.

    • Also could get a non-Amex card to pay his VAT that might tie up with his hotel chain choice.

    • Lady London says:

      Try to find out (hfp, BA) if the promotion that gives you a free First Class upgrade for one leg of a CW transatlantic trip is still running. AA, IB and BA are all running pretty much the same version. It usually occurs around this time of year but I’m not sure if there was en earlier signup period required – but for upcoming flights the flying period is definitely still operational. I’d try to book AA planes on BA flight numbers transatlantic mostly if it’s their newer Business Class – apparently the service on AA has also improved on these as well as the plane which is the main advantage..

      If you’re going to be earning that amount of miles you might also want to take a look at whether the AA program might be better for you than BA. AS also worth a look.

    • What I’ve done in the past with company travel spend that is claimed back rather than paid for with the company card is the following:
      American Express Platinum for hotel status and travel insurance.
      Lufthansa Miles & More credit card (as I had European travel) however your husband may prefer BAPP from American Express which gives him 3 Avios per £1 spent with BA and a 25k bonus.

      Hotel wise I would pick a chain and stick with it, I prefer Hilton as my #1 followed by Starwood but Marriott bought them out. I had the Hilton card for Hilton spending.

      I think it may be worth getting the Americans Express Gold card as well purely for the bonuses on foreign spending which may outweigh the earning potential of the credit cards.

  8. Super win. Congratulations!!

  9. Planeflyer says:

    Shame it’s only Mastercard that works with the Android Pay deal. The only card that I now have that works with AP is the defunct MBNA Diamond Club card. I wish Amex would work.

  10. For hotels I like as they don’t tie you to one chain, and you can pay with Amex which typically offers the most points as a card. For every 10 nights you get a free night at the average price of the 10. Book through through the Avios site for extra Avios, and the reward scheme still works. You can use Topcashback for them as well, but that can negate the rewards, and seems to have a poor conversion rate based on comments.

    • Sorry just remembered others have commented on a problem with VAT invoices for this company, which is not a problem for me so I’ve always ignored it, but you mentioend VAT so it may not be suitable.

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