Bits: 35% bonus buying SPG points, Amex / Eurostar transfers suspended, BA Run Gatwick race

News in brief:

35% discount when you buy Starwood Preferred Guest points

Starwood is offering a 35% discount when you purchase SPG Starpoints before 29th December. The link to buy is here.

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

At the top end, 30,000 points will cost you $682.50 (£522).  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 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 great 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 29th December.

SPG Starwood 350

Amex transfers to Eurostar Frequent Traveller suspended

In the run up to the launch of the new Club Eurostar loyalty scheme later this month, transfers of American Express Membership Rewards points to Eurostar Frequent Traveller are suspended during November.

Transfers into the new programme should be available from 1st December.

Join the British Airways Run Gatwick half marathon and 5k

British Airways is the headline sponsor of the new British Airways Run Gatwick half marathon, 5k and family fun run.  It takes place on Sunday 13th May around (but not in) Gatwick Airport.  British Airways Flying Start is one of the nominated charities for the event.

Full details are here if you are interested.  Entries are now being accepted.

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Comments

  1. You can buy upto 40000 SPG points instead of maximum 30000 using a special link.

  2. 30000 SPG points transfers to 37500 miles with 25% uplift – is this true? If so, I have always misunderstood it. I thought it would be 35000, i.e. the number of SPG points transfered plus a 5000 point bonus for each full block of 20000 transfered.

  3. Roger I* says:

    I thought I was through buying points or miles, and now this. 😀 I’m now considering buying SPG points for the Marriott benefits.

    Not that points prices for Protea hotels in Africa (especially South Africa) have recently been ‘enhanced’ (= increased), and that Protea-branded hotels don’t get Marriott status benefits, such as free breakfast for Golds. Some have been rebranded as Marriotts – I don’t know about status recognition at these.

    • Still cheap as chips though. I paid 15k a night for the Protea near V&A waterfront in Cape Town (prior to band change), 15k a night at Melrose Arch in Joburg (rebooked after band change as price fell) and 7.5k for a crappy Protea in George (but will do the job for one night prior to flight the next morning). Even without breakfast, I can live with those prices vs the general cash prices in those places.

      • Roger I* says:

        Sure. Rob had mentioned low Protea rates in his earlier article, and some have been increased. My Stellenbosch hotel doubled IIRC!

        OTOH it really is about time that Protea hotels were Marriottised. It’s confusing to have different benefits at different brands. It so happens that breakfast at that hotel was expensive by local standards (we didn’t bother) while breakfast at Arthurs Road, Sea Point was excellent in quality and price.

  4. Roger I* says:

    sorry, NOT should read NOTE (1st word, 2nd para)

  5. Sussex bantam says:

    OT – and then it was gone. Amazon no longer available in the Marriott more shopping portal 🙁

    • Ah, damn! Will need to fight them harder to get my missing 1k bonus then! (backup plan was just to make another purchase)

      • Christmas prese t for somebody from M&S will do the job

        • Probs, but their offer said for $25 spend, not for £25, so I’m challenging them as a point of principle 🙂

        • I did an M&S order on Friday night and 1188pts arrived in my Marriott account instantly! Wish all our points earning did that – would save a load of time and effort!

  6. So, I can buy 30,000 Starwood points x3 = 90,000 at a cost of £1,566.

    Then, transfer them to Marriott points at 1:3 = 270,000 points.

    I can then redeem the points with Marriott and will receive a 7-night consecutive stay Marriott voucher at Cat 1-5 hotel, and 132,000 AVIOS points (with the bonus promo)

    If so, that’s just about enough AVIOS for 2 of us to fly Club World to, say, Thailand using a BA Companion Voucher and stay at a Marriott for a week for about £2.5k (with taxes etc).

    Is this right?

    Thanks

    Paul

    • Starwood has an annual cap so you’d need 3 people who live at the same address (and whose accounts are 14 days old) buying the points, then merging them using the SPG free points transfer facility.

      Apart from that …. yes.

    • Not quite because you will struggle to buy 3x30k if only 2 of you in household, SPG does not have a transfer bonus to BA at present AFAIK, and your maths is all wrong. For example tax and fees using 241 return to BKK in CW will be about £1400 in addition to cost of SPG points. If you want to go to BKK business class take advantage of QR companion sale exEU. Your flights will be about £2000 total and you will get a whole load of avios and TP. You will get 7 nights in better hotels than Marriott cat1-5 in Bangkok for £350 and earn points too. If you didn’t want to go exEU then business class flights exUK to BKK can be had for £1200-1500 easily enough with TK, AY or KL.

      • Ex UK to BKK is nowhere near £1200/1500 and hasn’t been for quite some time, outside specific dates or Ukraine International !

        On the better airlines with better seats, you’ll be lucky to get anything under about £1750/1900.

        • Not true, LHR-BKK return J on TK has been selling for under £1200 including Easter vacation, some here on HFP have boojed it. KLM is not difficult to find from the regions or even LHR for £1450-1550 if organised and book in advance. Similar story with Finnair, which also went as low as £1300 in the sale last winter. Swiss companion fares exUK earlier this year were also very decent IIRC. Finally, always worth keeping an eye on Thai: although their companion fares are rare they do offer good value for a direct flight when you can find them. It is true £1700-1800 is more typical from the regions but the better deals I mentioned are not difficult to find with a little organisation and tracking although an element of luck always comes into play too.

  7. Diydegsy says:

    O/T Any help appreciated. Due to fly BA to Kuala Lumpur and then Malaysia airways to Phuket, as these are separate tickets do I have to collect baggage, exit and then check in again if so how easy is this we have 1hr 50mins between flights. Is it all in the same terminal?
    Can anyone also advise which lounge to use at KL for return journey as BA don’t have a lounge there, we are flying club. Thanks

    • Yes, unless you can find a sympathetic check in agent who will ignore BA policy on checked bags. However, no worries if your flight is on time, a nic E modern terminal that is easy to navigate with fast security etc. Probably just use an MH lounge if they are not under refurbishment at the time. If CV3V is reading today I am sure he will have some Goo d advice.

      • Diydegsy says:

        Hi thanks JamesB was getting worried if we would have enough time as I guess BA would not let us check our bags right through from Manchester but from what you say it should be easy enough any one know any different appreciate your views as haven’t used KL airport before. Do we have any other choices for lounges or just MH? Thanks again

        • Diydegsy says:

          Hi just looked at MH lounge which looks like it’s closed for refurb until January so unsure which one to use as the Cathay Pacific lounge (if we can use that one don’t know) closes at 22.30 and we don’t fly until 11.55. Help!!!

        • In the past I’ve connected to KLIA2 for Air Asia in an hour and that involves short train trip. When MY were refurbishing their lounges before they set up a makeshift lounge in the terminal walkways. Doubt you will have time to use lounge much anyway. I recommend you arrange hotel transfer from Indirectly with your hotel and explicitly state airport direct to hotel, no detours or shared rides under any circumstances

  8. SPG also has some very nice properties which can be cheaper booked with points than cash i.e. Gritti Palace 18th Aug 2018 = EUR 1,016 or 30,000 points.

  9. Totally off topic.
    Which Doha hotel offered in the Qatar free stopover programme is the best ?
    I know its always subjective but is there an obvious winner ?
    I’ll be travelling alone sadly; so no cheap companion fares for me 🙁

    5*
    Warwick Doha
    The Westin Doha Hotel And Spa
    Fraser Suites Doha
    Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels
    Souq Waqif,, Doha, 3496
    InterContinental Doha,The City

    4*
    Ezdan Hotel Westbay
    Holiday Inn Doha,The Business Park
    Holiday Villa Hotel & Residence

  10. Has anyone done the maths on anything like this ?

    Buy SPG Points
    Transfer to Asiana http://eu.flyasiana.com/C/en/homepage.do?menuId=002004005001000&menuType=CMS#none
    Use miles on Etihad (Guest seat needed)

    A round trip LHR-AUH would need 80k Asiana points or (min) 64k SPG (3 x20k plus theoretical 4+1k)
    64k SPG is worth ? Certainly worth 192k Marriott which is worth ?

    Haven’t gone into the absolute fine detail but aside from poor availability, do you think the maths stack up ?

    • Any idea what Asiana adds in taxes on Etihad? American doesn’t add the fake fuel surcharges that Etihad itself does.

      Is that F or J Etihad pricing?

  11. Marknewstart says:

    Does the link work ok as one tried it?

  12. Come on, guys – stop discussing points and adding OTs, let’s do the race! I can’t manage a half-marathon (but invited a friend to do that), and will sign up myself for 5K. It should be fun! Going to saty overnight at one of the hotels near LGW to get one or two Accelerate goals ticked. Fits well into my strategy!

    Thanks Rob for flagging this opportunity!

  13. Marknewstart says:

    Does the link work ok?

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