Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: £1 BA ‘hold your fare’ offer, new Barclays credit card rules, Premier Inn ‘stay 3, get 1 free’

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

News in brief:

Hold the price of your British Airways flight for just £1

A relatively new British Airways feature is the ability to ‘hold’ the price of a flight for 72 hours for a fee of £10.  This gives you ability to lock in a price whilst you try to firm up other arrangements.

To be honest, I am sceptical about the value of this versus the cost – mainly because it does not apply within 21 days of departure, which is when prices are more likely to shoot up overnight.

To promote the service, until September 29th the fee is reduced to just £1.  If you find a British Airways fare that you like, you can lock it in for 72 hours for a quid.  At that price, you really can’t complain.

Full details are on here.

BA 747 Dunsfold Aerodrome landing

Barclaycard brings in new rules on card issuance

Barclaycard issues three of the most interesting non-flight reward cards I cover – the Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa (review here, EXCELLENT deal with a free night for spending £750) and the two IHG Rewards Club cards, which are currently on special offer as I wrote at the weekend.

As these are both pure Visa cards with no Amex element, they will be hit VERY hard by the new rules which will limit the charges that Visa and MasterCard can make to retailers.

In what may be a response to this, Barclaycard appears to have brought in some new rules on who can get a card.  These rules are not available in writing but have been discussed on the telephone with some HFP readers.

You cannot apply for a card if you have already had it in the previous six months (this is an old rule which remains)

You cannot have two Barclaycard-issued credit cards at the same time (this is new)

The latter means that you can no longer hold both the Hilton HHonors and IHG Rewards Club cards.  I can see the logic behind this – why pay for a sign-up bonus when the cardholder will simply shift spend from one Barclays card to another? – but it is annoying.  I held both the Hilton and IHG cards for a time earlier this year.

It will take a while before we know if these rules are being strictly enforced, but they are definitely meant to be in place.

Get a free night with Premier Inn

I don’t cover Premier Inn much on Head for Points but I do recommend them – I was in the Scarborough one on Saturday.  Whilst £78 per night was not a bargain, the room was large and spotless and I had absolutely no complaints.

From 21st September to 31st January, you can earn a free Premier Inn night if you complete three separate stays.

Your three stays must each be for a minimum of £39.

The free night must be used on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday before the end of February 2016.

You need to register for this promotion via this link.  Existing bookings count as long as you register before you check in.  

best hotel loyalty promotions

Hotel offers update – July 2024:

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

Want to buy hotel points?

  • Hilton Honors is offering a 100% bonus when you buy points by 23rd July 2024. Click here.
  • Marriott Bonvoy is offering a 25% to 50% mystery bonus when you buy points by 24th July 2024. Click here.

Comments (84)

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

  • Daniel @ Propeller Travel says:

    Important to mention that using a travel agent, as long as you don’t abuse the privilege, allows you to hold bookings on (almost) all fares, without paying a fee.

  • Leo says:

    I am presuming this includes the ordinary platinum barclaycard? Was going to give up my IHG visa in due course and then re-apply. I don’t want to have to give up my long-standing card for credit rating purposes. Should I just keep the IHG? I’ve got the Amex etc.

    • Jason says:

      I was under the impression the more credit you have the more detrimental it is to your credit score. So I though cancelling cards you are not going to use was a good idea!

      • Leo says:

        My understanding is that it’s wise to keep older cards to keep up your credit rating – you can reduce the various credit limits etc.

      • cheekychappie says:

        You need to think that £15-20K of credit is fine, anything more isn’t helpful and anything less than £10K could be better.

      • Richard says:

        It’s also supposed to be good to have credit you don’t use, though, so that it’s clear you’re not desperately spending up to your limit.

        I spent quite a while reading about credit ratings when I went self-employed a little while back, because I was worried I’d never be able to get a credit card again. I ended up reaching two conclusions: 1. nobody really knows how they work, and 2. if your credit *is* good, then your credit rating will be good, and it’s not worth worrying about denting it by trivial things like applying for a card every six months. (As opposed to denting it by significant things like missing payments and defaulting on debts – which it’s easy to forget a lot of people do.)

        • cheekychappie says:

          It is all very individual – as you say – but average people here, ie not the FTSE100 CEOs et al – would be about right to think £20K credit over 4 cards is good, another £10K is OK, more than that they start to ask questions.

      • RIccati says:

        It’s not the amount of credit you have (above certain, high threshold in proportion to income).

        It is a credit utilisation. It is often cited (FICO forums) that if you spend above 30% of your credit limit then it is seen negatively by the lenders. (The old irony: to get credit you must show that you don’t need credit).

        Yes, having a very old credit card helps. More so, an old current account — lenders like a show of a custom.

        • RIccati says:

          P.S. It terms of going above 30% of credit limit — lenders will be able to see if there are any promotional BT on your account and might choose to treat them more leniently than ‘normal’ credit card debt.

        • John says:

          Different companies, different policies – and at different times. It’s perfectly possible to be turned down for a card if the issuer fears you won’t use it to borrow much, especially if they’ve suddenly decided to accept greater risk in return for the possibility of more income and – hopefully – profit.

          A credit history showing low utilisation and full monthly balance pay off is pretty unattractive to many issuers, especially with the new EU cap on interchange fees.

          I’ve a feeling someone with existing card limit utilisation percentages below 30 will soon find it harder to get cards from the likes of cap1, Barclays, Aqua, provident etc than someone with higher balances and even a few missed payments. Especially if there are rewards attached to the cards.

          Time and eventual interest rate rises will tell.

          • Alan says:

            Agreed, I found I had a much higher rejection rate when applying previously for IHG or Hilton (compared to a zero rejection rate with Amex or MBNA) – I could only surmise that they felt I wasn’t going to earn them anything in fees!

          • RIccati says:

            — It’s perfectly possible to be turned down for a card if the issuer fears you won’t use it to borrow much

            It’s perfectly possible but not perfectly fine. Only lenders that specialise in sub-prime or near practise this. Barclaycard, Aqua, Capital One, etc. Call it a predatory lending.

            Generally the better your credit quality — the lender is happy to take you on board.

            — A credit history showing low utilisation and full monthly balance pay off is pretty unattractive to many issuers

            This is quite a speculation and can be dangerous. Lenders usually offer outright credit limits of 5-7k per card that can be perceived very high. This allows them to lock-in a customer — two-three cards with such limits and fourth lender will deny. Often you have to call and reduce the credit limit.

            30% utilisation comes from these numbers, 7k*30% = £2,100 — think what should be a monthly income to put this spending through the card (barring ‘manufactured spending’) and then, what should be gross salary to do this on a couple of cards?

            A missed payment is a NO NO. It must be at least a year old and will blemish your credit record for six years. I’ve seen mortgage applications declined outright because of a missed payment that is 2-3 years old.

          • Jason says:

            I had a missed payment on a tesco credit card, for about 3 weeks, until I realised I’d missed the payment when I received another statement from them showing no payment.
            Turns out they have a problem with their credit card app and I’m getting 2 statements because the card number changed when I had some fraudulent use on the card. It’s still not fixed but I know which statement to use now.
            All the charges and fees were refunded but I wonder if that will stay on my file for 6 years.
            Fortunately the cards I seem to use most, Amex, seem to approve my applications, although I can’t remember if I’ve done one since the tesco incident.
            Fortunately I won’t be using my card much from November, should I cancel or drop credit limit down to £500, it’s the old card 1 point per £2 spend.

  • RIccati says:

    — I wonder are barclays declining people due to already having a card from them AFTER doing a credit search ?

    I had exactly the same impression. After an application, the website offered to create an online banking profile (and gave the same message as for approved application back in April). The credit scoring was done and it seems application passed their lending criteria.

    But subsequently, I found out that the application was cancelled.

  • Mick says:

    O/T. does BA have a daily update to their Off peak chart … Looking to book an award seat on the 29th of Sep for next Sep ??

    Any help would be appreciated

  • John says:

    Wouldn’t worry about it. One search will have negligible consequences (or maybe none at all, as there are three credit ref agencies in the UK – experian, equifax and call – and most companies will only use one, so the search won’t be recorded by the other two).

    If the publicity from the people flogging alleged credit scores has spooked you though, you can do “soft” indicative applications with Cap 1 or through Money Saving Expert etc which will give you a mostly accurate idea of which type of cards you’ll be accepted for at any one time, but without generating a search record.

    • RIccati says:

      To sort out the myths,

      All UK financial credit providers hit Experian and might hit Equifax/other.

      One search alone does not make a dent but every next search within a short period likely to have an increasingly negative weight.

      How short — defined by lenders themselves internally.

  • polly says:

    Put in a dummy booking that’s how I get it.

  • AndrewA says:

    I received the IHG Visa card yesterday whilst still holding a barclaycard Platinum Visa although I did half the credit limit before applying. I didn’t get approved straight away so was a bit surprised when it just arrived in the post. I have already managed 4 stays this month so have 2 x free nights to use, hopefully in New York next year. The 40,000 sign up bonus will help me towards a third night.
    All this through subscribing to your emails so thanks for all the info.

  • Thomas Jackson says:

    Is the hilton free night offer churnable? If I cancel now, will I be able (under current rules of course) be able to get another one in 6 months or so?

    • Rob says:

      There is no stated rule but, yes, people have successfully reapplied after 6 months.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.