Bits: Caffe Nero rewards double dip, bargain redemptions at the DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur

News in brief:

Double dip on Caffe Nero purchases!

A new cashback offer has appeared on a lot of American Express accounts.  You may find this on your online statement page by clicking the ‘Offers’ tab.

You will receive 10% cashback on all purchases at Caffe Nero made before 29th March.  Department store concessions are excluded.

As we wrote last month, Caffe Nero is also the highlight of the new ‘earn Avios from in-store shopping’ service launched over at avios.com.   Once you have registered your credit or charge card with Avios, you receive 10 Avios points per £1 spent at Caffe Nero.

If you register the same American Express card which you used to load the cashback deal, this means that you will receive 10% cashback plus 10 Avios per £1 spent at Caffe Nero until 29th March.

doubletree-kuala-lumpur-2

Bargain Hilton redemptions at the DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur

The DoubleTree in Kuala Lumpur is generally regarded as one of the best Hilton HHonors redemptions available anywhere in the world.   I haven’t stayed there myself and wouldn’t normally mention it for that reason, but a reader dropped me a note on the hotel last week which made me think that I should give it a plug.

The DoubleTree is a Hilton HHonors Category 2 hotel.  This means that it is just 10,000 Hilton points per night.  (KL is not very expensive, of course, so you need to look at this in the context of local rates.  Given my valuation of 0.3p per Hilton point, however, it is still great value.)

If you don’t have any Hilton points, you’d need to convert 6,667 Virgin Atlantic miles or 5,000 American Express Membership Rewards points per night.

As with all Hilton redemptions, if you have Hilton status – and you get free Silver status with the free Hilton credit card or free Hilton Gold with American Express Platinumyou get five redemption nights for the points of four.  This means you pay just 8,000 Hilton HHonors points per night on a five night stay.

doubletree-kuala-lumpur-3

This is what the reader said:

I have just come back from Kuala Lumpur where I believe I have made my best ever redemption on a Hilton property – DoubleTree KL – and would like to share it, because I think it’s a hot tip to anyone who may have a KL trip planned.

It’s a steal at only 10k points per night.  I booked a basic room and got upgraded to a suite.  This was due to my Hilton Diamond status – which by the way I have to thank you for. I saw your status matching post and requested Hilton whether they would give me Diamond for having Concierge at Carlson, and they did.

The hotel has an executive lounge, accessible to Diamond status holders.  It’s on the 34th floor with amazing views over the city, breakfast is served and there is also a happy hour (free food and drinks) which runs from 5:30-7:30pm each day of the week.

Because we stayed a whole week, it ended up costing me only 8,700 points per night.At this rate, I find it impossible for anyone to go wrong with this hotel. It’s a world apart from any other Hilton property we stayed before.

doubletree-kuala-lumpur-1

The hotel home page is here if you want to find out more.  You can see a full list of all Hilton Category 2 (10,000 point per night) hotels here.

(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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Comments

  1. Note the pool is useless for anyone looking to sunbathe. We ended up booking a second hotel close by to be able to do so. Worth noting if that’s your thing.

    • JoshBosh says:

      There is the area between the hotel and residential block which seemed to keep the sun later in the day.

      Visited myself, basic room upgraded to an Exec room as Diamond. Room was nothing to write home about, but a lot more modern than the Pullman around the corner. Happy hour was very welcome, what with the alcohol prices in KL (i know it is not THAT expensive, but when you think relative to the neighbours), and the food was quite nice. Only issue i had was that the ice bucket was never replenished, so resorted (with others) to taking the ice from the beer bucket, lets me implore everyone else never to try that……

  2. James67 says:

    To add to this the hotel runs a usefull free shuttle bus to various points in the city which can be used to go out and return via taxi or the adjacent metro. There is a small mall in the hotel with various restaurants, a food court, an excellent food store, pharmacies etc. You can walk directly from the building into a small older Asian style mall which leads to the metro. Around here are the usual fast food chains. Anybody tempted by a holiday here needs to exercise caution on time of year as smoke from Indonesia can be horrendous. The hotel breakfast selection is huge but suffers from the usual buffet problems, best to use the cook to order counters in my view.

  3. 5% back at Nero on my BAPP, 10% on Amex Plat

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Both on my Platinum

      • Nothing on mine this time, although I had 2 last month (5% on £5+ and 8% on all spend)

        • In case you’re missing it, the details of the 10% offer are:
          offerId=4198B9E8BAAC0FFDDFA5FD1FEF5C3083
          offerSourceId=324B05F7120CC500D5EC9B4E7B1A30F3
          offerFullfillType=COUPONLESS

          😉

  4. Very timely – we are staying in this property next week! I missed a couple of tricks with this trip though:

    When I booked (pre Brexit) the refundable rate was slightly cheaper than non refundable but I wanted to lock in the FX rate so I went with the non refundable. Then they took 2 months to process the payment which was after Brexit! And then I cottoned on to the value a points redemption would have been!

    Secondly I have just become aware that Qatar is now offering QR ticket holders free 96 hour visas if you register 7-30 days in advance on their website. This avoids the usual QAR100 (?) fee for a visa on arrival and is useful if you have a long transit and want to see a bit of Doha! I realised this new free visa existed 1 day too late!

    • James67 says:

      In a 100% buy HHonors points promo you can effectively get the hotel for about $40/night. If you have currency issues like that again you can just call or email hotel and ask them to process payment immediately. If connections are over 8h in DOH you would get the complimentary layover deal but since most are in middle of the night it’seems not very useful for visiting.

      • Don’t rub it in 🙂 think we ended up paying just shy of £80/night… You live and learn!

        Think the layover deal is only if no quicker connection available? We built a ‘day time’ 14 hours into this trip specifically to see a bit of Doha! They do offer 3 hour escorted trips but think that’s only for up to 12 hour connections!

        • James67 says:

          Sorry, did not mean to do that, just pointing out buy option too in event you overlooked that. On the bright side you will earn some decent points. Some we win some we lose; a week after I applied for amex nectar with 20k points I got the email with 40k offer.. I’m sure we all know how you feel from time to time ourselves.

  5. And a question for those that have stayed!

    Can diamond guests use the main breakfast rather than lounge?

    • James67 says:

      Yes, you get full buffet.

    • Kevin Lee says:

      I was told ‘no’ as I booked a HHonors redemption. I see that others who have booked a paid stay received the full breakfast buffet.

      • James67 says:

        Were you told that at hotel, did they tell you to take breakfast in the lounge? I’ve stayed thre twice on points in the last three years and got full buffett both times as diamond. I also got a room upgrade both times but not to a suite as others have reported. My most recent stay was September.

      • It shouldn’t matter if its a redemption or not at any Hilton and I would ask them to confirm with someone else.

  6. Genghis says:

    Look forward to staying at Easter. I think it was Anon that highlighted it a while back as I cancelled the aloft at sentral (3,500 SPGs) to book this DT.

    • James67 says:

      Short memory haha

      • Genghis says:

        Sorry James! My wife complains all the time. Thanks for your tip!

        • James67 says:

          Not an issue Genghis, hope you enjoy your stay, sounds like a good Easter vacation coming up.

    • rams1981 says:

      where else you going other than KL? ill be there as well lol, arrive good Friday. We are planning to go to Vietnam and Cambodia as well.

      with Buenos Airies as well, are you copying my holidays? 🙂

      • Genghis says:

        🙂 Land in SIN Thu before Easter, head to Bali after a few days and then head to KL on 1 May. Really looking forward to it. My wife is a bit disillusioned with holidays at the moment after our China trip in Sep.

        No longer thinking Argentina for Q1 18. Mrs G (the boss) will be deciding between Chile, Mexico or South Africa very shortly.

        Vietnam is fantastic! We went in 2015 for 3 weeks and loved it. Go to any shack and get top food. If you let me know what kind of things you want to do, happy to give some advice.

        • We just came back from Vietnam (really recommend visiting Con Dao).

          Also booked Bali for Easter, going to travel around a little bit and 7 day stay at Courtyard in Seminiyak as well. Funnily enough, the economy Malaysia Airlines flights were just as much as taxes in economy. Also hat off to Rob for the Expedia trick!

          Just booked the DT for the last night before our flight from KL, thanks for the tip Rob.

          Just out of curiosity, how much should the KUL-DPS flights cost with AirAsia? Wondering if it is worthwhile to wait for a sale of theirs, perhaps for Lunar New Year.

    • Not me on that one.. I see James67 is the KL expert. 🙂

      Ironically I may consider a stopover in KL for a future trip on the way back from Perth..

  7. Johnnycl says:

    OT – loads of new Amex offers this morning….
    Mayfair Pizza £25 off £50
    Blackwell £10 off £40
    Amex Travel Insurance 23% off
    Gordon Ramsay £20 off £100
    Toms Kitchen £10 off £50
    Chemist direct £5 off £50
    Amex gage insurance £10 back
    Real Greek £10 off £50
    Pets at home £10 off £50
    The week £20 off £30
    Home wine tasting (!) £70 off £99
    Onefinestay £100 off £300

    • Charlie says:

      Thank you. Made me check my account.

      Oddly, but brilliantly I have 5% back when spending £5+ AND 10% every time on Nero on my Nectar Amex. Coupled with above that all sounds very good!

    • Wally1976 says:

      I also got the Holiday Extras 15% off (on BA cards but not PRG) that I’ve been waiting for -)

    • Genghis says:

      Mayfair Pizza sells “Krug-Brut NV” for £140. Anyone know if this is the Grand Cuvee?

  8. Kevin Lee says:

    I just returned from a trip to Kuala Lumpur and stayed at both Hilton properties. I fully endorse the DoubleTree KL. We stayed 5 nights so 8000 HHonors per night. We had two standard rooms booked and received upgrades to a suite and an executive room. The only noticeable difference from a ‘standard’ to ‘executive’ room is the higher floor and Aroma Actives toiletries. The hotel’s policy is to upgrade two rooms per booking for HHonors Diamond and one room per booking for HHonors Gold.

    The other Hilton property in the Malaysian capital is the Hilton Kuala Lumpur at KLSentral, which costs 40,000 HHonors points a night. This can be more than a redemption for a ‘Premium Room’ rewards which is based on the cash price! Location wise it is spectacular and exceptionally convenient for the KLIA Ekspres (KL’s answer to the Heathrow Express). My HHonors Diamond status only got me a ‘Hilton Plus’ room on the Executive floor. There is a full service Executive Lounge with b’fast, afternoon tea and Evening reception. The evening reception had sparkling wine and spirits (loved the Chivas Regal). This property also offers the full Breakfast Buffet (not just limited spread in the Executive Lounge) to HHonor status members. As is the norm in Asia, the breakfast buffet is enormous.

    • Kevin – we are staying at the Hilton KL Sentral in a couple of weeks’ time. Any tips you could pass on to make the most of our stay? We are a couple with a 6 months old daughter, if anything particular springs to mind.

      Is breakfast worthwhile compared with local options?

      • The north side (overlooking the gardens rather than Sentral station) is usually quieter – there quite often tends to be construction noise around the station, even at night, plus the Aloft opposite has a noisy-ish rooftop bar that (believe it or not) you can sometimes hear from inside your (Hilton) room if you’re a light sleeper and on that end of the building (the higher-numbered rooms). If you’re getting free breakfast (e.g. via status) then yes, definitely worthwhile. Otherwise take a GrabCar or Uber round to Jalan Telawi 2 round the corner in Bangsar – plenty of breakfast and coffee options there, from local to western. For getting to KLCC area, the LRT (subway) is in the main Sentral Station, but for Pavilion / Bukit Bintang, walk through Sentral, then through Nu Sentral mall, and onto the Monorail to either Bukit Bintang or Raja Chulan station.

      • Wayne Phillips says:

        We stayed with a 6 month old back in 2014, and doing the same in March with a now 2 year old and a new 4 month old. We’re kiwis living in London and via KL is now our preferred route back and forth.

        Rooms are large and good for kids. The pool is amazing. I think this time around we’ll just laze beside it. We intend to check out the butterfly park in the botanical gardens.

        Last time we were there we were out and about quite a bit. The monorail gets jammed at times, it’s only 2/3 carriages so I don’t think. Especially with a buggy during rush hour I wouldn’t recommend. Walking around town with a buggy is ok in the central area, but lots of high kerbs and smoggy traffic in parts. The hotel isn’t easy to walk anywhere from really, tourist wise The malls are nice to duck into for cooling off.

        There’s a porter service at the airport which I recommend with kids, they’re in the baggage hall and bring everything with you down to the train station then come on the train. They connect there to a cab, but if you’re brave it’s much easier to walk through KL Sentral station to the hotel while they bring your bags instead of going around the block (the hotel is connected directly to the station).

        Heading back to the airport, if you’re travelling on certain airlines you can check in your bags and get boarding passes at Sentral station which is brilliant.

        We walked to a nearby night market for dinner most nights, and might do the same, but the exec lounge has enough for a light meal.

        Have fun, we really enjoy our time there.

    • James67 says:

      Did you get buffet breakfast at DT? Wondering if thats changed recently based on earlier comments.

  9. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the Avios deal is now 1 Avios per pound spent at Caffe Nero – don’t know if the 10 points deal was just an opening offer or they suddenly realised that it was far too generous!

    On a slightly related topic, I noticed on the Bink website that Virgin and Morrisons are down as partners. Does anybody know if one can actually collect Avios with them already?

    • Still shows 10 per £1 on the iPad site.

      • I’ve redeemed twice against Cafe Nero and it is now showing at 1 avios per £1. A number of other instore partners are also showing lower rewards. My wife has yet to use any in store partners and according to the website she is still able to earn 10 avios per £1.

        • Interesting. Showing as 1 Avios per pound on the desktop website. I’ve used it twice (for gift cards combined with the last Amex Nero offer), so maybe the 10 Avios deal is only for those who haven’t yet used it.

        • It’s a shame that this rate has been cut so drastically. I, for one, have made 400 avios out of it over the past few weeks though, so maybe it was costing them dear.

        • Mobile site also still showing 10 per £1, at least it is when not logged in.

      • Just checked my mum’s account – she hasn’t used this offer yet and it’s showing as 10 Avios for her. So I guess it must be 10 for those who haven’t used it and 1 for those who have!

        • Just noticed in the terms and conditions – “Your final collection rate may vary based on your previous spend behaviour’…

        • O … K ….!

        • Just checked my account and indeed the last transaction posted is at a rate of 1/pound.
          Pretty cheesed off if this is not a mistake – I had to go out of my way to use Nero. Seems a pretty underhand marketing tactic that I would not have expected from Avios or Nero, especially as there was no warning of the rate change. Given the mark up on coffee and coffee shop food, 1 avios per pound seems derisory. The initial postings showed 1 avios per 10p spent not 10 per pound. I’m hoping they tried to correct this and got it wrong – one can but hope.

        • Andrew* says:

          I’m not surprised – their twitter account posted about the Binkg/Pizza express ‘deal’ (6 Avios / £) on Saturday – a day when it’s only 3 Avios / £…

  10. Paul Irving says:

    We stayed here in 2016. Not in the main city, but only a cheap taxi ride away, and walkable to the petronas towers. Connected to a shopping mall with some nice restaurants too.
    With the free breakfast, drinks and food at happy hour, you could stay here for free for a month for less than a few days in London.

  11. FlyingChris47 says:

    O/T but Hilton: Despite meeting the spend requirement for Gold on the Hilton Barclaycard in 2016, still haven’t had confirmation of Gold status being met. (Hilton have confirmed they haven’t received the Barclaycard spend notification). Anyone know a good contact route at Barclaycard / Hilton who can get this sorted? Vague recollection there was a social media contact email address that was good in the past?

    Front line CS at Barclaycard have been useless with no-one apparently trained on the card benefits and ending up in a dreaded loop of Barclaycard sending me to Hilton, and Hilton sending me back to Barclaycard with no-one able to actually do anything.

    • Sounds familiar. Had very similar issues with Plat status on the IHG Premium card. Front-line CS genuinely have no idea of the benefits and most of the conversations used to be spent explaining the benefits of their own card to them. I then gave up and asked to speak to a manager as soon as my call was connected if I ever had a card-benefit related question. Saved 20-25 mins per conversation.

      • FlyingChris47 says:

        Good tip. It’s frustrating having to explain their own product to them for 15 minutes before being hung up on because they don’t understand what you are asking for. Poor training clearly. Makes you appreciate Amex CS all the more.

        Fired off an email to [email protected] I found in the archives – is this still the best contact address of people that can “get things done”?

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      You’re thinking of [email protected]

      I would start working through their formal complaints process as well. They are usually fairly generous with cash compensation.

      • FlyingChris47 says:

        Thanks Andrew – great minds. If doesn’t get resolved pronto now, that looks a temping option. Spent far too long on the phone for what should be a simple button push.

  12. I used to stay regularly at DoubleTree KL, until I started using serviced apartments (which can often be had for the same as, or sb en less than, the cost of a room at DT). They used to offer three pieces of free laundry per day, which was one of the reasons I kept going back – allowed me to travel light – but they stopped that a while back – which was one of the reasons I switched to apartments with washing machines 😉

    I did a few redemptions there but more often than not paid cash – especially when Hilton had one of their double/triple/bonus points offers on (and especially back when you could get 1000 Virgin miles per stay).

    I found the rooms in the same wing as the lounge (south side, if memory serves) preferable to the other wing, where I had problems with lift noise, The lounge is good, but was getting very crowded the last few times I stayed. The pool tends to be mostly in the shade but gets sun for a few hours a day, around early afternoon as I recall. The mamak (food) stalls in the basement are great for a cheap lunch and Tate bar on the ground floor is quite nice – if you can find it (look for the almost-invisible door in the white wall behind the escalators… 😉

    Ampang Park LRT is just across the road via covered footbridge from the first floor (no need to go out via the grotty mall opposite). Top tip (unless anything has changed recently) – when coming back, ignore the sign inside the station telling you to turn right for the Intermark / DoubleTree; instead turn left and go up the escalators to exit he station, where you’ll find another set of escalators taking you up to the footbridge.

    May be worth noting that quite a few airlines (including BA, I believe) use the DoubleTree as their crew hotel.

  13. I used the Nero offer at Manchester airport a couple of weeks ago to get a quick coffee before driving and received 25 points on a £2.50 spend. I’ve now looked at the Avios website and it has dropped too 1 Avios per pound. The only incentive I had to use Nero was this deal, in the futurei’ll continue my usual Costa spend + loyalty card. Shame

    • When not logged in, I still see 10 per £1 on desktop too (now I am behind a desk). Same on mobile and tablet. Very odd – does it reduce after your first transaction?!

      • I don’t think it reduces immediately after the first transaction, I checked two weeks ago and it was still 10 per pound. ( original purchase was 13th December) It must have a fixed time limit. As Chris said in the T&C’s

        “Just noticed in the terms and conditions – “Your final collection rate may vary based on your previous spend behaviour’…”

        I don’t think it is based on spend as mine was minimal, it must be a week or two week offer only dropping when the system tracks the order as confirmed and then updates you to a new rate. My advice would be to take advantage for the first week strongly then expect it to drop after that.

        • Agreed, it appears that gift cards seem to be the way to go if still able to redeem at 10 per £1 rate.

        • Just reading the Avios ‘In-store’ page which highlights the Cafe Nero offer, saying that buying your coffee there every working day for a year could earn you enough Avios for a flight to most European destinations (one way). At 1 Avios per pound I don’t think so!

      • Meanwhile on food related issues…..

        Am a great fan of Aer Lingus short-haul buy on board menu.

        But IAG is now trying to start sales on top of the free meal on ex-DUB transatlantic services.

        Union isn’t happy, perhaps fearing that the free meal will be quickly discontinued if the cabin crew manage to flog enough revenue enhancing ice cream DUB-BOS etc.

        http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/aer-lingus-staff-plan-strike-over-selling-of-sandwiches-35351179.html

        Beginning to look like W Walsh has instructed all IAG executives to throw as many cost-saving ideas at the metaphorical wall as possible, in the hope that one or two might stick.

    • Johnny_c-l says:

      I’ve had email confirmation of pending Avios @ 10/£1 for two transactions (couple of weeks apart)….but who knows if that will post or 1/£1.

      • Mine pending Avios last week is showing as 10/£1. I noticed even when logged in to Avios.com, the general instore page shows as 10 Avios per £1 for Nero, but when I clicked in, it only shows 1avios/£1, however when I clicked calculate Avios, it is calculating with 10 Avios per £1 spent..

        • Read the earlier comments. It seems that Nero is slashing the rate after your first couple of transactions – there is some get-out wording in the small print.

  14. We stayed at the Doubletree KL in June 2016. Hotel is great and at that price is indeed a steal. Please be quiet about it 🙂

  15. the real harry1 says:

    O/T Tesco Groceries
    HP336 £4, HP337 £5.49, both come with 100 Tesco points