Bits: Should you buy Waitrose gift cards today?, Amex MR and the Heathrow Rewards deal

Deals in brief:

What happens to the Waitrose / Virgin Atlantic deal tomorrow?

For the last few weeks, the ability to earn 4 Virgin Flying Club miles for every £1 spent in-store at Waitrose has been a good earner for many Head for Points readers.  Details of the deal are here.

According to the Virgin website, the Waitrose deal will change tomorrow.  It isn’t clear how.  It could go away entirely or the rate could drop from 4 miles per £1 – which I personally see as over-generous, given that margins are paper-thin in grocery retailing – to something more sustainable.

(The ‘ends 24th May’ deadline is not showing on the Waitrose page of the Virgin website.  It is only shown on a rotating banner on their shopping home page.)

If you are nervous, you might want to pop into Waitrose today and buy a gift card for a few hundred pounds to cover your shopping for the next few weeks.  The gift card would also be valid in John Lewis.  I’ll let you know what happens to the offer after the 24th.

Waitrose Virgin Flying Club miles

Cashing out Amex Membership Rewards points via the Emirates / Heathrow Rewards promotion

I wrote yesterday about the new Heathrow Rewards offer, which is offering a 100% bonus this week when you cash out your points for Heathrow shopping vouchers.  You will get 2p per Heathrow Rewards point via a paper gift voucher valid at Heathrow for shopping, food or drink for 12 months.

I mentioned yesterday that, because you can convert Emirates Skywards miles into Heathrow Rewards (3:1 ratio, chunks of 6000 miles) this is a good way of emptying out any orphaned Emirates miles.

This could also be a way of using up any Amex Membership Rewards points you have.  Be clear that you can get better value than this elsewhere, but it is more valuable than redeeming Amex points for other gift cards.

This is how it works:

Transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Emirates Skywards in chunks of 6,000 points (1:1, transfer is INSTANT)

Transfer Emirates Skywards miles to Heathrow Rewards in chunks of 6,000 miles (3:1, transfer is INSTANT)

Redeem Heathrow Rewards points before Monday for paper shopping voucher in chunks of 250 points

6,000 Amex points would get you 6,000 Emirates Skywards miles which would get you 2,000 Heathrow Rewards points which gets you a £40 Heathrow Airport shopping and restaurant voucher.

That is 0.66p per Amex Membership Rewards point.  You can do better than this in terms of ‘notional’ value (you should get double that if transferred to Avios and spent smartly) but if you just wanted to ‘dump’ your Amex points then this isn’t a bad route.  Because the transfers are both instant there is no risk of missing out.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Bits: SLH scraps The Club, Emirates A380 to Birmingham, Virgin / Malaysia partnership
Special offer: 8,000 Virgin miles for opening a Virgin Money ISA
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Comments

  1. Bugger – has the upgrade from gold to platinum card been pulled again?

    • Genghis says:

      Looks like it. Not available for me

      • Moktar says:

        Just when I was thinking to upgrade next week 🙁

        What are the chances that the the link will resurrect in the next couple of weeks? Have a trip coming up in the last week of June and was planning to use the priority pass..

        • You can still send a message to CS asking to upgrade and if there would be any bonus points for doing so.

          They initially offered me 10k MR to upgrade with no spend required (others had 15k/20k offered I think) but I ended up using the upgrade link as I thought 20k for £1k spend was a better deal

  2. Janet Thomas says:

    Thanks Rob & Genghis. Is there any useful links for Curve & do you think there’s any chance of a promotion due to closure of Supercard?

    • Genghis says:

      Use Rob’s referral code?

    • Search for Rob’s article on it – has all the details and his referral code, which will get both you and him £5 in rewards – helps to keep the site ticking over, as he would say… :))

  3. Doug M says:

    My Waitrose points track fine from Wandsworth, but always fail from Holloway Road, Possibly a store by store issue?

  4. O/T but talking of things being discontinued – apparently Virgin will no longer offer Flying Club miles redemptions on Malaysia Airlines after August 31st. On the plus side, you can redeem until then for travel up to eleven months thereafter, and London to Kuala Lumpur return is still only 145,000 FC miles (do a dummy Avios booking on BA.com to check availability, then call Virgin to book). Shame – that was one of my favourite redemptions.

    • ^in First.

    • Thanks, will take a look.

      • Malaysia Airlines have also announced a devaluation (sorry, enhancement) to their own Enrich programme, switching from distance-based redemptions to price/demand based. Etihad do the same as I recall, and no doubt others do or soon will – shape of things to come etc 🙁

    • Also, MAS are switching to the Amadeus booking system.

      • Will be interesting to see how smoothly that goes. Given that their online booking stopped working on anything Safari-based for about three weeks recently and even now, if you’re viewing on iPad or iPhone, none of the main site content / manage my booking / chef on call etc can be accessed…

  5. O/T – Flying out of Gatwick South at 7am on Monday morning. Any ideas how busy the lounges will be then? Any need to pre-book the No1 lounge or will it be a waste of money. Thanks

    • Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

      We flew out of Gatwick South a few weeks ago at 6:40 AM (to Dubrovnik). Skipped the BA lounge and had breakfast in the Grain Store (£30 off for the two of us). At that time in the morning I’d say that’s better than the lounge if you have a Priority Pass.

  6. Jamie Carter says:

    The timing of this article couldn’t be any better for me as I need to top off my FC account by c2000 miles for a planned redemption – £500 of Waitrose giftcards ought to do the job nicely. Thanks for the advanced notice Rob, I would’ve been gutted to find out after it had already been pulled/reduced.

    • Jamie Carter says:

      So after rushing out to buy £500 of Waitrose giftcards last night, I just logged on today to find they’ve increased the offer to 5 points per £1. Well I definitely didn’t see that coming!! Missing out on an extra 500 miles isn’t the end of the world I guess.

  7. OT The Tesco Now TV Boxes Offer is now back in stock.

  8. O/T

    My 2nd bonus batch of IHG points has credited for taking out the Creation White credit card

  9. OT – Supercard is closing down!

    • Mark e says:

      Yep just got my letter from supercard. Finishes July 24th. Not financially sustainable it would seem.

      • Lev441 says:

        To be honest, I stopped using it when they rolled it out to the general public. I signed up for the card during the beta, and also the final version but there are better alternatives out there and I don’t think I’ve used it once!

      • The Original Nick. says:

        Yep, got mine too..

      • Yeah, got mine too. Reall shame. I feel like I remember Rob making some comment about how he didn’t see how they’d make money at some point. I guess he was right.

    • Graeme says:

      Also got my letter today. It’s a shame as I was still using it for card transactions abroad – perhaps Rob could do us a nice article about the alternatives (to take the thinking out of it for me!) and the trade-off between points and costs? 😉

      • Tomorrow ….

        • Would be good Rob if you include a review of the replacement called the “Travelex Money card”.

          Email if you need a link

        • It isn’t a replacement. I did an article when it launched if you search.

        • Not a great card – better going with 0%, Lloyds Avios or Curve with 1% fee than bothering with that sort of one. If you really want prepaid then Monzo is better as no inactivity fees and can withdraw cash at UK ATMs.

        • Graeme says:

          I think what Axel is referring to is the e-mail I received last night about my “NEW prepaid card” that I haven’t applied for.

        • Although I’m not sure it’s any different apart from being labelled Platinum and potentially having some weak travel insurance benefits!

  10. The Virgin / Waitrose banner says ‘before 24th May’, not ‘ends 24th May’.
    May be too late already.

  11. OT – finally got an achievable (I thought) IHG Accelerate target but I can’t download the APP (one of the requirements) because apparently it’s not compatible with my device (android). Any suggestions for a work around? Thanks

  12. Crafty says:

    OT: Anyone still seeing bonus points offered to add a supp to an Amex Gold? I need to add myself, but will hang on a few days if this is likely to appear.

    • thehornets says:

      I just wrote them a message and asked them nicely. They were happy to oblige. 3,000 points iirc.

      • I missed this. Was it only for Gold?

        • BAPP had the same deal but for 3000 Avios

        • I had a search online and it ended at the end of March 🙁 I’ll get in touch with them to see if they’ll still honour it.

        • Always worth a go with Amex, very good CS.

        • Quick update in case anyone else is wondering – they’re going to honour the bonus!

        • Excellent result! Amex CS are fantastic, always worth a polite request to them in this sort of circumstance, glad it worked out for you!

  13. Sally Graham says:

    Just checked the Virgin in store site and Waitrose now 1 mile per pound. Still worth doing as works with other rewards and cash back too, but I guess 4 per pound was too good to last!

  14. That’s certainly not the sort of change I was expecting!