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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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Some 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 ba.com here.

Hilton Visa

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.

Premier Inn

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.  Thanks to Alex.

Comments (87)

  • 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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  • Mark says:

    I have a Barclaycard Rewards Amex+Visa combo. Anyone know if I can also apply for the IHG card (again!!!)?

    • RIccati says:

      Might not come through but only left to try, especially if you are not applying for anything else.

      Make sure 6 months are passed from the time you closed IHG card.

      If you do, please tell us the outcome.

    • Unfortunately not, it seems from their website it’s now only possible to take out a new Barclaycard issued credit card (Barclaycard or partnership card) if you don’t already have one. Partnership cards include Hilton HHonorsTM, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Littlewoods and Caravan Club.

  • Jerry says:

    The BA hold flights facility saved us wasting some flights the other week when a meeting changed during the 72 hour hold. If you don’t want to forfeit the hold fee if your plans change a trick is to go ahead and purchase the flights anyway and then use the 24 hour cooling off period to cancel the tickets. That way you get your (usual cost) £5 hold fee per passenger back (automatically) and the cost of the flights. Not worth the hassle for £1 and only really when there is more than 1 passenger. We did this. It worked, but phoning BA during the 24 hour cooling off window to cancel is a total pain and takes ages (20 minutes on hold).

    • JQ says:

      So BA effectively has a 96-hour cooling off period then? As long as your credit limit can take the hit?

  • Mark says:

    I thought the hold a fair was £5 well that’s what I paid last week.

    Can’t use it when doing part cash part avios though.

  • Andy says:

    Really glad I did online check-in for Premier Inn yesterday, grrrr!

    I’m curious Raffles, on average how many nights a week do you stay in a hotel?

  • Shelly says:

    I was a bit disappointed to read that Barclays are changing the rules on their cards and quickly applied for the Hilton card this morning. I’ve only had the IHG card for 2 months but have just received an email confirming I’ve been approved for the Hilton card.

  • Charloc says:

    Hi, is it true that sometimes if you look up flights to a certain destination on a certain date if you don’t book straight away the website will use cookies to put the price up next time (as they know you are interested in them)?

    • Ian says:

      Yes I’ve been told this is done by some LCCs but as far as I know not by BA. One way to avoid doing this (unless you want the hassle of clearing every cookie off your computer) is to use the Incognito mode if you use Google Chrome – or no doubt a similar facility exists with other browsers?

      • callum says:

        I refuse to believe this is true. I challenge people every single time the claim is made and not a single person has ever managed to demonstrate it.

        It doesn’t even make that much sense. You’re just as likely to be deliberating because you aren’t sure you want to spend that much, if they push up the price then you may not fly with them at all.

        • Rob says:

          Of the instances I have seen of this in other sectors, it is more about the ORDER prices are shown. For example, a hotel site may list results to iOS users starting with the most expensive whilst it may list them to Android users starting with the cheapest. The prices, however, remain the same.

    • JQ says:

      I don’t think any airline which publishes fares to a GDS can do this

      • RK says:

        My partner just got his Hilton Barclaycard, having had the IHG barclaycard for about 5 months now, so the rule on having two at same time obviously not in effect yet.

        • RIccati says:

          Barclaycard exercises a manual review on this policies. It’s not automatic. The application goes in as usual and passes credit scoring.