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Bits: more free coffee, Malaysia devaluation, Best Western sale, Regus thefts

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News in brief:

We’ve done coffee for points …. now try coffee for free

Last Saturday I ran a piece about how to use Nectar points for drinks at Caffe Nero, how to use American Express points for Starbucks drinks and about how to optimise your Starbucks return by buying gift cards in Tesco.

I learnt something new from the comments. If you have a pension or insurance product with Aviva, you can have a free coffee at Caffe Nero every Monday until the end of the year.

I tested this with my Aviva pension and it works. Download the MyAviva app for your smartphone and log in with your normal Aviva online details. Under the offers section you will find the Caffe Nero offer. Click a button and a unique code pops up which you show at the counter to claim your drink.

I tried this at Fenchurch Street last Monday and the process was pretty efficient – not much slower than paying with cash.

There obviously isn’t any point switching your pension to benefit from this.  However, if you visit Caffe Nero on a typical Monday you could save £80 over the rest of the year.  That may be worth switching your household or car insurance if it is coming up for renewal soon.

Reader Paul also pointed me towards this offer which gets you a Nero coffee for free when you sign up for the Transport for London ‘Penny for London’ charity promotion.  It will add 1p to every contactless tube payment you make which is donated to charity.

Malaysia A380 350

Malaysia Airlines devaluation

Oneworld member airline Malaysia Airlines devalued the reward chart for its Enrich programme at very short notice 10 days ago.

This is unlikely to impact many Head for Points readers.  However, I had written about Malaysia before because it offered astonishingly good value redemptions to Australia if you used American Express Membership Rewards points transferred to an International Dollar Card American Express.

When I say ‘astonishingly good value’, we were talking about just 65,000 UK Amex points for a business class return to Australia from the UK.

Those days are now gone.  Here is the new reward chart.  Sydney is 10,681 miles via Kuala Lumpur so that is Zone 7.  That is 230,000 miles return, less 15% for online booking.  It takes you down to 195,500 miles.

You get a 50% bonus when you convert UK Membership Rewards points to the International Dollar Card scheme (to reflect the £ to $ exchange rate) so you would now need 130,000 UK Amex points for a business class return to Sydney.  It is still substantially cheaper than using Avios points and Malaysia is running A380’s out of London.  You can also travel from elsewhere in Europe to avoid Air Passenger Duty.

A longer FAQ on the changes can be found here.

Best Western Winter Sale extended

I ran a short survey on the site recently about your hotel preferences.  Of the chains with a loyalty scheme, Best Western was the most popular one which I do not already cover.

I am currently working on a couple of pieces outlining their loyalty programme – including the timeframe for getting a status match.  In the meantime, I just wanted to flag the Best Western Winter Sale which has a couple of weeks left to run and offers discounts of up to 50% across the UK.

Regus Heathrow

Regus thefts

I have mentioned Regus a few times on Head for Points.  Their drop-in business lounges around the world are perfect for people like myself who need a place to work occasionally.  You can also get a free pass via some loyalty schemes.

It is worth noting that I have now been robbed twice in Regus in London, in different centres.  About 18 months ago I had two £25 3V gift cards taken from my desk – unfortunately for the thief, I had redeemed them that morning.

Two weeks ago, on the coldest day of the year so far, my cashmere coat was stolen from a coat peg.  I was sitting about six feet away at the time.  The style of the coat meant that it was impossible to take by accident.  I nearly got hypothermia getting to the tube.

As with airport lounges, it is easy to get a false sense of security in Regus.  The bottom line is that you shouldn’t leave anything sitting around that you wouldn’t feel happy leaving around in, say, a public library.

Comments (31)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • JQ says:

    I’m tempted to leave used 3V cards around just out of my sight to see if anyone takes them.

  • Frenske says:

    My Tesco life insurance (which gives me 5000 clubpoint) is underwritten by Aviva.I guess that does nor work for the free coffee.

    • Waribai says:

      See if you can set up a login to their site. If you can then it will work

    • John M says:

      Just tried it with my Tesco Life insurance account.
      Couldn’t register for MyAviva…
      got this message
      “We’re sorry, but the policy number that you’ve provided is not available to be viewed online.”

      Pity, that’d make the £5 a month really worth it!

  • Waribai says:

    Sorry to hear about your coat. It wasn’t Berkley Square by any chance was it? I have heard that thefts occur there.
    Regarding Cafe Nero, I don’t think it is guaranteed till the end of the year. There is a limit of 41000 codes. They ran the same campaign last year but the limit was never reached. I don’t mention Aviva to the till staff. I just say “I’ve got a code” and show them my screenshot of the code. Seems to be the quickest way!

    • Rob says:

      No. The 3V’s went at Lombard Street, the coat at King William Street.

      T&C’s on the Nero offer say it runs until December with no mention of a code cap, but let’s see.

      • Jeff says:

        Rob, presumably all admittances to Regus are recorded by a front desk? Plus presumably there is CCTV on the entrance/exit and public areas including said front desk? Sounds like a relatively easy exercise to ascertain who the thief was, especially as you can presumably narrow down the precise timing. Just a thought.

        • Rob says:

          Some sites do not record everyone. Regus was also, historically, selling ‘5 visit’ cards via WH Smith for £10 which were untraceable.

          Centres also do lots of meetings and courses. King William St will have 100 people on courses on the same floor as the lounge on an average day.

          • Jimmy says:

            I’ve also had experience linking ‘Regus’ with ‘theft’. Can’t go into detail while investigations are still ongoing, but to say that the staff did / do not take security seriously would be a major understatement.

          • Rob says:

            Sounds familiar. I got a similar response to what I would expect to have received had I told a friend the story, rather than telling someone who works there and under whose nose it happened!

      • Waribai says:

        Yes, it was on the original T&Cs but they seem to have removed it so happy days. I actually managed to get it on a frozen pension from a previous job which I haven’t contributed to for at least 5 years!

  • Chris says:

    Morning everyone, I have a quick Best Western question hopefully someone can answer.

    I done a status match with them last year before a few stays in an area where there were no HH or IHG options and that has now downgraded.

    Does anyone know if you can status match more than once and if so can you do it straight away?


    • Rob says:

      Not sure. In the worse case scenario you could open a new account and match that, assuming you can easily spend the points in your old one.

      • Chris says:

        That’s a good idea. I’ll try another status match anyway and see what they say and will let you know.

        • Fenny says:

          I’d be interested in the outcome. I matched last year and didn’t actually use them at all.

  • Kipto says:

    I status matched Hilton gold to get best western gold last year. When checking into a best western hotel in Monteray, California hotel last year I was given a bottle of water and packet of crisps in recognition of my gold status !!

  • Joe says:

    It’s not in my aviva app today, will it be there tomorrow?

    • Rob says:

      Will check later if its in mine, kids have got my phone and are watching You Tube ….

      • Rob says:

        Hmm. All offers gone from my app to be replaced with a Rugby promo. Hopefully it comes back tomorrow. Is listed under ‘Advantages’.

        • Jason says:

          The offer comes up every Monday, you can’t access it before tomorrow.

    • Chris says:

      It’s in my app just now. On the first screen after you log in there is an ad for 15% off life insurance and if you swipe to the right it is there or if you click on advantages at the bottom menu it is also there.

      • Joe says:

        Thanks guys, just checked again and it’s there off the main screen. Flying out of Ltn tomorrow early doors so will try to get a free coffee from outside (whilst my colleague queues to drop his bag!)

  • mrbw says:

    Thanks for the tips Rob. also if you are on o2 (or have a free sim lying about) you can download the o2 Priority moments app and get a free cafe Nero hot drink every tuesday and lunch for £1 on mondays at upper crust/whsmith.

    • Jason says:

      Just went into O2 priority, no caffe Nero offer that I can see 🙁

  • Craig says:

    My wife and I signed up for Penny for London around two and one months ago respectively. Neither have received the code yet. Has anyone had any success with this? Not going to kick up a fuss since it is a charitable endeavour, but just curious as to other’s experiences.

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