Bits: IHG 5,000 points PointBreaks preview – with a London-ish hotel!, HFP on Rip-Off Britain

News in brief:

Shock as London-ish property hits IHG PointBreaks!

IHG Rewards Club will be releasing the list of new ‘5,000 point per night’ PointBreaks redemptions during Friday.

We will run it on HFP on Saturday and the rooms will become bookable on Monday afternoon.

IHG released a teaser list yesterday.  There are 120-150 hotels on the list usually, and this time they will include:

Yes, for the first time EVER, a London hotel is included.

Technically, of course, Croydon is not in London.  However, I have done a couple of mattress runs at the Croydon hotel in the past (booking, checking in and leaving immediately, to earn promotional credit) and it is as near as you’re ever going to get for 5,000 points per night.  It is under 10 minutes walk to East Croydon station where you can get a mainline train every few minutes to London Bridge etc.

It obviously isn’t the greatest place to stay for a London holiday, but come on …. a lot of people would take 12 nights at the Holiday Inn Express Croydon (with free breakfast!) over 1 night at the InterContinental Park Lane.

You can book from Monday afternoon.  I imagine that these rooms will go very quickly.

Rip Off Britain

Head for Points on Rip-Off Britain

We were in Manchester yesterday to film a segment for the BBC’s Rip-Off Britain programme.  This won’t be broadcast for a few months, unfortunately.

The story involves two people who were struggling to use their Avios points.  One person was having trouble finding seats to Tokyo – a notoriously tricky route.  The second was more complex, because the person involved had spent over £1,500  on 135,000 Avios during a ‘35% bonus’ promotion without fully understanding what he was getting into, especially as he lived in Scotland with few direct BA options.

With Simon Calder clearly on holiday, I was there to help out the two contributors which basically involved defending the commercial strategy of Avios Group / British Airways.

A photo from the session is above.  I’ll let you know when it is due to go out.

PS.  For anyone who thinks the BBC is blowing your money day in and day out ….. the total budget for this segment (not the whole episode) was £400.  That is not a misprint.  This included travel costs for all participants plus some home filming for the two contributors.  I was not paid.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Air France KLM buys 31% of Virgin Atlantic - and you will be able to redeem Flying Club miles on them
No conversion bonus, but win a share of 1 million Avios with Clubcard
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  1. There is nothing in China or Japan. Deliberate or not populated yet.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      No, that’ll be it. The others also start to disappear once they’ve sold out. Nothing at all in Oceania too, very rarely ever is…the HI at Melbourne airport at 5k points would be a dream for me!

  2. …. a lot of people would take 12 nights at the Holiday Inn Express Croydon (with free breakfast!) over 1 night at the InterContinental Park Lane.

    Not in my house (clicks check in button for Conrad St James).

  3. Times must be tough at the BBC, a few years ago they were paying £50 per minute for radio interviews!

    • Aeronaut says:

      See Christian’s comment below – don’t think it was £50 per minute, rather a £50 appearance fee for a few minutes interview.

  4. Lewis Watson says:

    Am still waiting for the venetian on a points break promo

  5. Christian says:

    You should have asked to be paid for your segment. Having worked there, the rules were pretty clear, only people whose job – ie they were already being paid to front up in public did not get an appearance fee – typically politicians doing political commentary. For everyone else you would get a small contributors fee. Around the £50 mark for a few minutes live interview on the news for example, plus your return cab. This would have bound to have taken longer so you should have been paid more. You don’t think Simon Calder does it for nothing do you?

    • Aeronaut says:

      I’m guessing Rob’s train fare to Manchester was paid by the Beeb? I suspect rather more of the budget for guests on Salford-based programmes is swallowed up by travel costs. (I hope the BBC has some sort of deal with Virgin Trains West Coast!)

      • It was, and they have no deal. I was given £89.30 for an off peak return and told to book it myself! At least I got the Flying Club miles :-)

        That was included in the £400 by the way.

        • Aeronaut says:

          £83.90, no? (That’s the cost of an Off-peak Return – a fully flexible Anytime Return is the bargain price of £338!)

          Having guests book the tickets themselves does mean that they (the guests) have the option to perhaps pay a bit extra and try and travel First class – the best value method for so doing being to buy fixed-time Advance tickets, of which there’s quite a lot of availbility on the west coast route.

        • …. which I did!

        • RussellH says:

          Has not changed much over the years, then!

          I was on a Radio 4 quiz show in the early 1980s – did three rounds. The rail fares were refunded – they did pay a sleeper back to central Scotland so that I could get into work the day after the recording. They also paid a single appearance fee following the initial broadcast, plus a further 50% for the repeat a few days later. A further small cheque turned up after a few months following the rebroadcast on the World Service.

    • Radio 4 pays me £50 for a segment, and I can do that remotely.

      But, come on, I’m not arguing over £50. My time was the most valuable commodity.

      • BBC Daytime programmes do have realtively modest budgets comapred with peak time programmes and it’s not surprising contributors are not offered an appearance fee. Reasonable expenses are reimbursed (as Rob exprienced). Of course the value for HFP is the on-air credit. Martin Lewis (MSE) is very good at providing on-air advice in exchange for the moneysavingexpert credit which has proven much more valuable than any £50 the Licence fee could have offered him. Look forward to seeing the segment. We’re doing Tokyo in F on a 241 in September.

  6. I’m just back from a Club redemption to Tokyo. I didn’t find it that hard to find availability. I even had to move the flights because of a wedding and was still able to find new flights.

    • Camille says:

      Nice shoes Rob!

      • Magnanni – they look like Berluti, and are hand patinated, but 70% cheaper.

        • Oh my. I’m starting to believe I’m out of my league on this site…with my Hush Puppies.

    • Lucky you! I tried to find something for 2-4-1 voucher for NEXT year, to no avail. Same with the US. But good availability for Korea and Canada.

      • Funny, I have done multiple 2-4-1 redemptions in club world with BA to Tokyo and always found plenty of availability. Im typically booking 11m forward though.

      • You can get Seoul very easily and that is a very short connection, either for cash or Avios on JAL.

        • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

          Shortish – over two hours surely?

        • Waribai says:

          Depends where in Japan you are heading. About an hour to my wife’s place.

        • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

          Good point. I was thinking Tokyo. Still, ‘very short connection’ is something like KUL-SIN in my books.

  7. Chris A says:

    O/T – I’m currently aiming to redeem a Marriott Travel Package ( with 90k SPG) which I should amass by Feb/Mar next year, with the merging of the schemes sometime in 2018 do people think these packages will remain? Rob?


    • Very hard to know. But from what I’ve read it’s unlikely the 2 schemes will merge early next year. If you can, try to time taking out your travel package with a BA conversion bonus from hotel points.
      I managed to do one this year when the bonus was on. It meant getting 162k avios. Not bad!

      • Chris A says:

        Thanks Ian. Did you go for a Cat 1-5 redemption and where did you stay? Wow that’s a result! How soon after getting the stay certificate did the miles post to BAEC?

        • I did the same (for a Category 9 property). Avios posted within a couple of days, inc the bonus ones.

    • It is looking more and more like 1 Jan 2019 now.

  8. Adrian says:

    The IHG point breaks list is as exciting as a BA sale!

  9. Someone was kicking off again on Moneysavingexpert about being ripped off over Avios.

    They were advised to visit here

    • …. where they will be disappointed to find only sensible reasoned debate and probably that they were wrong in the first place 🙂

      • RussellH says:

        Looking for some BA advice:

        Is BAEC Bronze worth going for?

        Our recent LGW-OAK returns earned us 280 tier points; the BA site says that we would need either 20 tier points or 23 flights (!) to get bronze. If we were to do it, presumably it would last until 8 May 2019.

        But we are unlikely to be flying anywhere again this year (and if we were, it would normally be to Europe on avios.

        Suggestions and recommendations welcome.


        • Genghis says:

          Wouldn’t bother. It would expire at the end of the following month + a year after current TP year ends. So if your current TP year ends 8 May 18, status is to 30 June 19

        • Genghis says:

          Perhaps look at well priced revenue flights instead of avios for remaining flights this year if it’s something of interest.

        • Only useful perk is booking your seats a week in advance – can be useful for families but if you’re not likely to use it much not worth chasing for the sake of it in my opinion.

        • Kilburnflyer says:

          Handiest thing about BA Bronze (Oneworld Sapphire) is ability to book exit seats for free (instead of US$130pp) on Cathay Pacific Economy fares. Also useful for Avios J redemptions for free seat selection T-7 days (Saves £85pp on Upper deck seats), finally you can check-in at Business class desks which I found very useful in busy airports or ones with annoying self-check-in for non-status pax eg. On Qantas Domestic flights

  10. Question on Heathrow parking: Can I easily park in the Premier Inn T5 car park, and then cross the road to take a “pod” to the terminal?

    Looks feasible on google maps but not sure if actually possible or not…

    • Genghis says:

      You’d have to pay at the Thistle for access or walk the long way round via Longford.

      • But would I even get in via the Thistle if i’m not staying/parking there?

        • Genghis says:

          Just cross the road into the Thistle

        • Simon Schus says:

          Yes, you have to go to their reception and pay them the fee (can’t remember how much, it was possible around £5). Saying that, I managed to bag a parking-only package at the Thistle so it made sense to pay the extra £5 given that it was already significantly cheaper than other options (I think I had booked it around 24 hours before departure too, as it was an unanticipated trip).

  11. Talking of Rip off Britain, I’ve just had my first statement for my IHG White card. I checked it to see how much I’d spend – a few tickets for the Edinburgh Fringe and my entry for the new Telegraph Fantasy Football season. Seems that Creation class online fantasy games as cash transactions, so my £9.99 entry fee attracted a £5 cash transaction fee and I’m paying interest on it. There isn’t really another way to pay it, but TFF have cleverly stated in their T&C that “some banks and building societies may make an additional charge for playing fantasy games online. Entrants should check with their bank or building society prior to entry.”

    When I rang up to query, the CS person said it’s in their T&C, as it’s classed as online gambling and lottery. I’m utterly gobsmacked. I was going to keep this card for ongoing spending, but I’m not sure I want to now. If I keep it at all, it will only be for the IHG status, which isn’t really that much to write home about, and not really worth a £5 fee!

    If that’s not a rip off, I’m not sure what is!

    • Alex W says:

      Not sure what your beef is there. Sounds like a form of gambling to me, so a cash advance fee sounds reasonable!

      • Aeronaut says:

        Though setting the fee at £5 seems rather less reasonable.

      • Having played TFF for the last 5 years, this is the first time I’ve been charged a CC fee. If I’d had any idea, I would have paid by debit card. But I don’t normally spend anything on my debit card.

        I’ve never seen the actual FF game as gambling and don’t indulge in any of the additional betting that is pushed as a sideline to the game.

        Sadly, I am now older and wiser.

    • Debit card??

    • I used £1000 from my Black card to fund some a share account. Made a few bob and a week later withdrew to the black card. Withdrawal went through as a purchase and deposit went threw as a refund on a different item. Hit the £300 spend in one go and collected 40k points bonus.

  12. nocnoc says:

    I have an Accelerate target of ‘pay with cash and points’, anyone know if a 5,000 points break would count towards that target? If so, it’s off to Croydon for me but don’t fancy doing a trip unneccessarily

    • No. Points and cash means instead of paying say 30,000 points IHG offers pay 25,000 + $ 40 or 20,000 + $70 for example.

    • Be careful. If you do, the stay does not count as a qualifying night for any of the other accelerate targets, eg stay 3 nights. It will ONLY count for the target and you end up losing points – if you pay, say £40 and 20000 points, you will get the 3000 or so for hitting the target, but you’re 17000 points down on the deal for a stay that wouldn’t have cost much more than £40 anyway. If you can hit your bonus without, I wouldn’t do this particular target.

    • No, you can’t do ‘cash and points’ on PB.

  13. Just seen full list of pointsbreak. What a poor show!!

  14. Well that’s a pain, the only IC seems to Bandung and I am due to stay there next week!! Hey ho it was only £60 a night for club earlier in the year and I have been upgraded to a villa already. Would probably have spent as much on breakfast each day with a pure points stay.