Bits: new Economist / Avios promo, 35% bonus when you buy SPG points – worth it?

News in brief:

New Avios / Economist offer launched

British Airways and The Economist have brought back a special offer for taking out a subscription.

As you can see at this link, you can earn 8,800 Avios if you take out a 1-year digital and print subscription to The Economist. The cost is £179.  This works out at 2.0p per Avios.

Alternatively, you can earn 6,800 Avios with a £145 print-only or digital-only subscription.  This works out at 2.1p per point.

There are a couple of caveats to add here:

we have seen a few ‘triple Avios’ offers recently – be wary about subscribing for 8,800 Avios as a deal for 13,200 Avios could be along again later in the year

many people have struggled to actually get the points they are due, which is a bit pathetic given the nature of the company you’re dealing with

As always, this offer is more attractive if you are self-employed or run a company.  Whilst I am not a tax expert and you should obviously take your own advice if necessary, it would be hard to argue that The Economist magazine is not an acceptable tax-deductible purchase for most business people.

The offer runs until 31st July.

SPG Starwood 350

35% discount when you buy Starwood Preferred Guest points

Starwood is offering a 35% discount when you purchase SPG Starpoints before 30th June. The link to buy is here.

The good news is that the bonus is NOT staggered.  As long as buy more than 5,000 points, you get the full 35% off.

At the top end, 30,000 points will cost you $682.50 (£529).  Assuming that you convert them to airline miles with the 25% uplift for moving chunks of 20,000 at a time, these can be converted to 37,500 airline miles in the majority of programmes.

This works out at 1.4p per airline mile.  This is not a great deal most of the time (you can often pick up Avios for 1.0p) but it might make sense with some other programmes.  You cannot buy Lufthansa Miles & More miles at all, directly, so being able to get them for 1.4p may well work for some people.

30,000 Starwood points would also convert into 90,000 Marriott Rewards points.  If you are working towards a Marriott Travel Package redemption – and they are outstanding value as this article explains – then buying the full 30,000 Starwood points may well make sense.

The rules are straightforward – points post within 24 hours, maximum purchase of 30,000 points per year, your SPG account must be 14 days old to participate.

If you are interested, you can buy SPG points via this link.  The 35% discount runs to 30th June.

(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.)

Bits: last chance for 40k IHG credit card bonus, best travel bonus for Bicester
Excellent Avios / Virgin and Tesco deal - act NOW for very cheap miles
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Comments

  1. Genghis says:

    OT. If I book two Virgin returns for me and my wife, the points for 3 sectors can come from my FC account and for 1 sector from wife’s FC account. Does the same work for booking partner redemptions, e.g. ANA?

    • Genghis-I’m fairly sure ANA partner redemptions have to be booked as returns and therefore you couldn’t just book a single sector from your wife’s account.

      • They have relaxed the rules on one ways on some partners recently ….. not sure if ANA was included.

        • I may be mistaken, haven’t checked in a while, but I think ANA were one of those that still needs to be booked as a return.

          • The relevant FT thread did have a post at beginning of May suggesting that many, if not all, partner redemptions can now be booked as one-ways with the exception of MH and NH….

          • Genghis says:

            Cheers Lawro. We still want two returns just the points to come 3/4 from my FC account. Is the only way to do that to book as two singles?

    • the_real_a says:

      Usually ANA short haul is better value with Avios

  2. Phillip says:

    On the SPG front, I’ll once again say what incredible value there is in redeeming through Alaska Airlines for intra Asia flights on JAL! 25,000 Miles and $35 gets you a one way in business class between Tokyo and Singapore (a 7 hour flight)! That’ll be 20,000 SPG points. At $455, that’s about £350! JAL has now installed reverse herringbone seats on the 777-200s they use on their longer flights to BKK, SIN etc.

    • Amazing deal and for the same price and same ticket can add a stopover in Tokyo and then fly onto anywhere else in Asia including Delhi (10 hour flight). Can potentially get 17-18 in JAL Biz for 25k Alaska. Done a couple of these recently and probably my favourite redemption to date.

      • I would be interested in hearing about more of these redemption opportunities, could we get an article going on brilliant value redemptions using various programmes miles?

        • Not that simple, unfortunately, because you need to factor in a) ease of earning, b) redemption availability and c) whether you’d use a BA 241 instead which generally makes BA better.

          I did recent articles on Air China via Virgin, ANA via Virgin and loads on Aer Lingus and AirBerlin via Avios.

      • Mrs_Fussy says:

        Really interested in hearing more about this as I have an upcoming Delhi visit planned and Tokyo is on my wish list

        What routing are you using ? London – Tokyo – SE Asia – Delhi … then how are you getting back to London ? Is availability easy to come by ?

        • Phillip says:

          If you want to use the stopover version then the itinerary you want would look something along the lines of:

          Open Jaw:
          London – Delhi, Singapore – London (maybe with a companion voucher?).
          Then for 25,000 Alaska Miles you can book Delhi – Tokyo – Singapore, on JAL. There are many permutations. I would start by looking at JAL’s route network if you are after routing ideas.

          JAL has decent availability and they also release seats throughout the year and close to departure. They don’t, however, release as early as BA does. Usually 330 days out. Also be aware of the various equipment used, especially from the two different airports in Tokyo. For example, they use 767 from
          Narita to Singapore but 777 and 787 from Haneda to Singapore.

  3. Dannyrado says:

    Are the airline miles given with a travel package posted to your airline account upon booking the stay or actually staying at the hotel?

  4. I’ve had no stays with SPG this year and my points are about to expire. Would buying SPG points count as activity this year allowing the points to be retained for another year?

  5. the real harry1 says:

    O/T half-term May-June 2018 – most state schools

    runs Saturday 26/5 – Sunday 3/6

    so tonight midnight would be T-355 if you were planning an Avios flight to pinch the Friday – or tomorrow midnight if going out on Saturday

  6. OT – can anybody confirm how long your account needs to remain open after you upgrade from gold Amex card to platinum card? Is it the 14 day requirement? Ideally want to cancel a few days after activating.

    Thanks

    • Why do that? Why not wait until all the hotel statuses etc are processed?

      • I applied for the upgraded statuses for the hotels through the Platinum card on 16/4 for both myself and husband and received the two confirmation emails from AMex but so far not received any acknowledgement from any of the hotels. What experience are others having on how long this is taking. Want to be cancelling this card soon.

        • Phillip says:

          Never actually got confirmation from the hotels, the status just changed.

          • I have a couple of hotels where I haven’t previously been a member so not received any info about any new account or status.

          • Ah- the system generally seems to work better if you have an existing account and upgrade it (my folks went to Hilton Gold within 48h). I wouldn’t trust Amex’s systems to properly deal with setting up a new loyalty account…

          • It may well be set up but they haven’t told you ….

          • Ok – I wasn’t a Shangri La member but wanted to get upgraded so I could match to KR Silver if that was still available – booked our KF flights for next May.

      • Actually it was really just to avoid paying the fees, which other people have mentioned is possible.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Can get more out of SPG/Marriot and Hilton gold for 2 years than the £50 it might cost.

          As a data point I got all mine within 3 weeks

    • How much is the bonus? I was thinking of waiting 6 months since closing gold to then go for platinum.

  7. krys_k says:

    Economist. Had a subscription for over a decade, runs out in 3 weeks. Last two years got 13k Avios through Iberia (no issue with the points posting). What’s the chance of a higher sign up offer coming along?

    • Genghis says:

      I didn’t take advantage of the last avios offer since the Economist wouldn’t put my sub through as if I was based in South Korea and I wasn’t happy with the UK price point. I like reading the economist but it’s not essential reading like the FT. I’m not tempted by this offer and hoping for another Iberia 12k avios at c.£155 offer

      • +1 with Genghis on the Economist offer. It does seem a tad stingy.

        • Lady London says:

          + 13K or so with Lufty or Iberia is the best I can recall seeing.

          I do need to renew my Economist subscripton but even at 13K last time, the fall of the UK pound made value tougher to find. I then got busy and forgot about it. I will focus more next time 13K or so comes around and will spring for it.

  8. Slightly OT. Thanks to this site (especially Rob, realHarry and Genghis), I’ll very soon be hitting my BAPP 2 4 1 AND Lloyds upgrade. This is mainly by transferring all my spending – council tax, car insurance etc – to the cards, which has been incredibly productive in terms of collecting avios, and being alerted to Tesco promotions.

    So, now, there are plenty of other Amex options to fill the gap until the anniversary of the BAPP and the Lloyds come round again, but what do people recommend for non-Amex spend? I don’t really want another card with a fee attached like Lloyds, and in any case would struggle to use more than one upgrade voucher in a year anyway on top of the BAPP 2 4 1, as we tend to travel as 3 pax. Hilton Honours is out as I’m not going to be able to use the free night voucher before it expires if I apply for it now. I’m not going to start collecting Virgin miles as it sounds as though we would struggle to use them at the moment (bound to school holidays). So a bit stumped!

    • Genghis says:

      Hi Anna. Good to hear my comments prove useful. I thought I just rant a bit.

      It sounds like you’re looking for another card, Amex or non-Amex that doesn’t have a fee.

      For Amex, look at Amex Gold if you’ve not done so already. And I know you said no fee but his n hers SPG Amex for 29k SPGs for 2 x £1k spend and £75 fee pro rata, so £1k a month spend = only c.£12. As I’m sure you’re aware, SPGs are rather valuable and can be converted to avios but even better to Marriott points.

      As for free non-Amex, I’m at a loss. The HH Barclaycard is the obvious one – arguably a 0.8% return – but you’re not ready to use the free night. We use the IHG black x 2 but it’s not free. But if you apply now and get 40k bonus, spend £10k for the free night and get the spend points, it works out as follows: £200 + 250 + 100 – 99 = 451 = 4.51% net return, valuing IHGs at 0.5p. This is decent but it’s £99 for the card (taken into account t in previous calculation) and relies on spending £10k.

  9. If you are considering AA you may want to do it before 15th June to get 25% bonus with Travel Package

  10. Can children (Under 18) apply for SPG account and buy points using parent’s credit card?
    Obviously the aim is to get Marriott travel package where I have already bought 30K earlier in the year with 30% bonus.

    Also what is likelihood of getting 40-50% bonus on buying spg points later this year?

  11. radiata says:

    Economist digital only if in Canada CAD152