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

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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.

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.  

Hotel offers update – December 2023:

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?

  • IHG One Rewards is offering a 100% bonus (some members may see less) when you buy points by 30th December. Click here.
  • Marriott Bonvoy is offering a 30% bonus when you buy points by 20th December. Click here.

Comments (84)

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

  • Bhavin says:

    I much rather use the 24h cooling off period. This covers you all the way along as your booking is not in 24 hours. Also remember that the £1/£10 is taken off the fate of you do choose to issue the ticket so all is not lost!

    • Jy says:

      Hi slightly OT – does anyone know when I will get the free night certificate when I hit the £750 spend for the Hilton card – I’ve hit it a couple of weeks ago but nothing on my account / email – thanks!

      • Nick M says:

        I think they do them in batches… I got mine within a couple of weeks of hitting the spend. My wife had to wait a bit longer. Shouldn’t be too long, but HHonours are pretty good if you email them to ask when to expect it.

        • Balazs says:

          You should get it pretty fast!
          For me it hasn’t been the first full month yet since got the card, but got my certificate already.
          Might worth to drop them an email. 😉
          Good luck!

      • Rob says:

        I think they do them once a month or so – I got mine quickly but when I wrote about it, others reported it was slow. I also get batches of email queries about the vouchers at the same time which implies the emails go out at once.

        Vouchers currently have a 12 month expiry rather than the promised 6 months. Not sure if a glitch or a new policy and they forgot to update the website.

        • Liz says:

          What is the rule with redeeming the free vouchers for IHG and Hilton. If you hit the target spend in, say Sept 15, do you have to redeem and stay by Sept 16 or can you redeem by Sept 16 and stay after Sept? It’s not clear on the T&C’s. Thanks

        • Nick says:

          That’s handy to know Rob as I’m waiting for mine. If it is valid for 12 months that’d be good.

    • flyforfun says:

      Having 72 hours to hold your flight is great when you have an a*hole of a boss that doesn’t sign off holiday leave requests quickly enough. I lost many sale fares in my last company because every time I requested it, he’d take days to come back, even when I prompted him.

  • ee says:

    Re Premier Inn, are qualifying rates a minimum of £39 or over £39? My reading of the website was ‘over’ and that therefore bookings of £39/night (of which I already have 2) are not eligible.

    • Rob says:

      I think it is bad wording. If £39 rooms were excluded, anyone sensible would say ‘Spend over £40’ so it was crystal clear. But I could be wrong …..

      For some reason Premier Inn doesn’t want to be involved with HFP so I can’t approach anyone to ask.

      • David says:

        I read it that bookings must be £40 or above. I see no wording which suggests that £39 rates are included (phrases include “over £39” and “above £39”). I don’t see why a clarifying call to the Great Night Giveaway helpdesk should be an issue (via the 0333 number stated on website), even if they don’t want to “be involved with HFP”?

      • @alastairtravel says:

        Premier Inn like to do their own thing – they don’t really work with travel agents / TMCs either unless there is no alternative due to major corporate deals

      • Nick says:

        That’s their loss Rob.

  • Tony says:

    The Barclaycard rules. Can you close the IHG card and immediately apply for the Hilton?

    • Rob says:

      As long as you had held the IHG card for 6 months, so there is a 6 month gap between apps, it reads as if you are ok.

      • James says:

        Where on the site is the 6 month cooling off detailed? Can’t see it in any of the links on the front page?

        Does this mean if you have a standard Barclaycard, you need to wait 6 months before applying to the HIlton again? Or just 6 months between HIlton cards?

      • Jason says:

        That’s handy to know 🙂
        Wife and I both took out premium cards and I cancelled hers, have ended up spending over 20k on mine and only got 1 voucher……what a silly billy I am 🙁

    • tim says:

      I assume the Barclays rule will be for new cards only – or will they shut off one of my IHG or Hilton cards suddenly?

    • World Traveller says:

      It seems it’s now only possible to take out a new Barclaycard issued credit card if you don’t already have one. The following is copied from their website…

      Best suited for people:
      Who do not already have a credit card provided by us, including one of our partner cards. Our partnership cards include Hilton HHonorsTM, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Littlewoods and Caravan Club.

      • scott says:

        i applied last week and already have the platinum card got home from work and the new card is on my doormat already and they did not even tell me if i was approved or not lol ,thanks for the heads up about the extra points raffles

  • Nick M says:

    OT – I registered for SPG as recommended a few weeks ago & have been offered 2x “stay a night, get a free category 1-5 redemption”… is there a link to see which hotels this includes? Can’t seem to find it at the moment! Thanks!

    • Rob says:

      Not sure if there is a Cat 5 list. However, this is not a bad offer. In London, for eg, Cat 5 includes Sheraton Park Lane. You will get something at the four star level. Outside major cities most hotels are 1-5.

  • Jonathan says:

    OT: what’s everyone’s view of the Swissport lounge at LHR T3? Is it as busy as the notorious T5 Prioritypass accessible lounges?

    I have a flight with CX in October and see that’s the only option with my LoungeClub Card that came with the Amex gold card.


    • Nick says:

      I think the only priority pass lounge in T5 is the Aspire lounge – is that particularly busy?

      I’ve not been to the Swissport lounge at T3, but I have been to the Servisair lounge. The Swissport one cannot be any worse than the Servisair lounge, it’s just not possible.


    This is the most depressing update I’ve read all day. I knew about the premier Inn offer but I had not registered yet until I saw that current bookings count if you had spent over £39. I had 2 bookings already so I signed up and went to my bookings – both £35! This particular Premier Inn I stay at a few times a year so I hang on for the sale rooms which are either £29 or £35. I think to take advantage of this offer you need to know which PIs have sale rooms above the £39 level.

    • Rob says:

      On the upside, if this is the worse thing that happens to you all day then life can’t be too bad 🙂

    • Brian says:

      You should try reading the news. Hundreds of people crushed on a bridge in the Middle East, the refugee crisis showing no signs of abating, people drowning, bombs exploding, David Cameron STILL Prime Minister…

      Slightly more depressing than the fact that you have two bookings at 35 pounds….

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Could be worse. You could be a pig who recently accepted an apparent innocuous invitation to tour No. 10

  • Paul Irving says:

    If you spend 3 nights at say £40, can you then use your free night at a central London hotel that normally costs circa £120 a night?

    • cheekychappie says:

      Can I redeem my free stay at any Premier Inn?
      Free stays can be redeemed in over 700 UK Premier Inn sites, excluding Preston West, Wakefield Central, Warrington Centre, Wigan West (M6, Jct 26) and Wirral (Bromborough) and any hub by Premier Inn hotels.

    • Chris says:

      In the previous two years when they have ran this Promotion I have found that availability in “Central” London is very low.

      Two years ago I ended up at Beckton and last year was Stratford.

      • David says:

        I redeemed with no issues for a central London property two years ago. As I recall the availability matched those available for sale on the website, although perhaps this has changed since?

  • Mark Phillips says:

    What happens if you already hold both a Hilton Honors and an IHG Barclaycard? Can you keep them both or will one have to be closed down?

    • Rob says:

      You can keep them, but you won’t be allowed to get back into that position if you cancel one.

      Hilton is biggest loser as the IHG card is the only one worth keeping because of the annual free night.

      • Solo says:

        I’m surprised the hotel chains will sit and let barclaycard do this. Especially given this point

    • Jason says:

      I suspect it’s meant to be like the 6 month rule to stop sign on bonuses.
      If people were getting the cards, and keeping them, I doubt this rule would have been introduced 🙁

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