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Bits: Amex Plat getting free Hilton Gold?, 19 Thistle hotels rebranded, 20% bonus Marriott to AA

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News in brief:

Free Hilton HHonors Gold coming back as an Amex Platinum benefit?

Until December 2013, American Express Platinum charge card holders received Hilton HHonors Gold status, albeit as a ‘one year only’ benefit.  Then, overnight, Amex pulled it – much to the anger of Platinum cardholders who had purposely delayed applying because it was a ‘one year only’ deal.

On Monday, Hilton Gold reappeared as an Amex Platinum benefit for cardholders in the USA.  There is no guarantee that the UK will follow suit, but it is definitely worth keeping an eye on.  Hilton Gold offers free breakfast at all brands except Waldorf-Astoria so it does have value.

Hilton Gold 350

Thistle’s regional hotels rebranded

Back in July I reported on a story that Thistle Hotels had kept very quiet – 95% of their hotels outside London were leaving the chain on the same day!

The owner of these hotels, The Hotel Collection, has now announced its new franchise agreement.  The hotels are being split roughly equally between Jurys Inn and Mercure – Business Traveller has the full list.

Mercure is part of Le Club Accorhotels which means that you will be able to earn Avios from your stays, either directly or by taking Accor points and converting them.

Jurys Inn does not seem to have any airline partners any more but you can take points in the Jurys Rewards scheme.   This deal will take Jurys to 35 UK properties so I may spend a little time looking at the reward scheme for a future article.

Thistle Brighton

20% bonus converting Marriott Rewards points to American Airlines

I discussed the current 40% bonus on Marriott transfers to Avios in another article today.

There is another option out there for non-Avios collectors.  American Airlines is offering a 20% bonus when you convert Marriott Rewards points to AAdvantage.

Full details can be found on the American site here – there is no need to register.  You must transfer by 31st October and you can make multiple transfers during the promotional period.  ‘Hotel & Air’ package redemptions are included.

Comments (49)

  • harry says:

    O/T bit

    When buying a BA ticket originating outside UK, you can pay with PayPal and avoid the processing fee – it wouldn’t let me pay with Amex —> PayPal but insisted on getting funds from my bank a/c. [If you pay with a UK credit card, BA recognises this & charges you the processing fee.]

    • JQ says:

      What processing fee? BA only levies a CC fee when buying a ticket from the UK in GBP with a UK card, and this is avoidable if you use Amex (possibly with some Visas too).

      So basically you’ve paid BA with bank transfer, plus Paypal’s DCC charge of approx 4.5%. If you don’t set up a DD, then Paypal will be forced to use your linked CC. (You can still withdraw £1650 per year from Paypal to bank without setting up a DD).

      If you pay over £100 with a UK CC, the CC provider is jointly liable if BA fails to deliver what you purchased.

      • Cheshire Pete says:

        I’m still confused how t avoid the BA fee, as changing your country never worked for me! Unless I’m spending more than £500 with BA I avoid the charge by using Amex Platinum travel services which sells the same ticket without a charge and you get double MR points into the bargain. Incidentally this is also preferable than booking with KLM direct as another example of saving when using Platinum travel.

        • Nick says:

          Thanks!

        • JQ says:

          If you won’t need to change your booking then you should always book with amex travel as you avoid the forex fee for non-UK tix. Amex gold gets 3MR per £ and old amex golds get 4.

          • harry says:

            It’s not as cut & dried as that, drawbacks include no HBO availability / not being able to book 355 days out with Amex Travel. Both of which are pretty serious if you are also getting Avios RFS redemptions as soon as the 4 Avios flights pop up at midnight T -355 but need a fifth flight on the same plane at cheapest cost.

            I saved nearly £20 by getting the HBO flight for my wife vs Amex Travel.

            And I repeat, last time round [similar situation 1-way BA flight EU—>UK] I guess BA simply identified me as UK by my Amex payee address (OK I’ll try being in Ukraine next time) but it definitely panned out the way I said: ie cost of flight in EU currency got bumped up by the processing fee once I put in my card details because they said it was a UK card.

      • harry says:

        That’s not quite right. I have bought a BA ticket in the past: Europe—>UK, initially charged at (say) EUR150, then when I put in my Amex details, I got a message that BA recognised it was a UK card and therefore I had to pay the processing fee.

        And today PayPal hasn’t charged me 4.5%, just the exact amount BA wanted. PayPal presumably gets its fee (from me, anyway) from the exchange rate, which was reasonable. It was almost identical to the HIFX rate, which is always keen. I think it will also take money from BA.

        • Rob says:

          Amex does not do country verification, or indeed name verification. BA IT would be getting more sophisticated if they had started checking the BIN numbers of Amex cards.

      • idrive says:

        Agreed, BA has no charges for AMEX in EU. Only UK many many many flights bought and no charges.Otherwise, we all could not benefit of the 3X BA Prem, what would be the point otherwise:-)

  • Rich says:

    HHonors Gold in the US – is that for Amex Platinum Business card holders or just the personal card?

    • Rob says:

      Definitely personal, not yet clear on small business card from what I can tell

    • James says:

      Both: “As a Platinum Card® Member or Business Platinum Card® Member you are eligible to enroll in complimentary Hilton HHonors™ Gold status. “

  • Jordan D says:

    As someone who’s got HHonors Gold by £10k spend on the Hilton Visa, am almost disappointed if the Hilton Gold appears via the Amex Plat route.

    • Peter K says:

      But with your route you would have saved an ongoing £450 a year fee which would have wiped out some if not all of the saving so it’s not so bad.

    • Brian says:

      Think of the people who spend all those nights in Hilton hotels, paying the inflated prices that Hilton charges compared with the competition, in order to get status!

  • Ethers says:

    On AMEX online travel there was no CC fee last time I booked BA

  • nicko-m says:

    If Hilton Gold comes back thats a sure sign another Amex Platinum fee hike is on the cards and a (poor) reason for them to increase it.

  • Rimas says:

    OT bit. Royal Jordanian flights from LHR to BKK business return for £997. Not the best price, but OK.

    • Rob says:

      Thanks Rimas, will make a story for tomorrow.

    • Polly says:

      Good to know. My OH had to fly RJ. Y recently as BA was full. Very pleasant flight , but still haven’t posted miles yet. That’s an ok price without having to exit the UK, actually, Rob. Good post, look forward to reading about them.

  • Nick M says:

    RE: Amex card offers

    Does there appear to be any particular logic behind which cards get which offers? – I don’t claim anything unless there’s a reasonable chance that I’ll use it, but is it best to wait until you know for sure that you will (and hope it is still showing) – or does this not really matter?

    • Polly says:

      We didn’t get the amazon on any of our 3 cards, plat, BAPP x2

      • YL says:

        Just to make you feel better, 4x Amex issued Amex and not a single one receive this Amazon offer!

        • flibbly says:

          2 Amex issues “Amexes” and I’ve not had any offers at all for 2 or 3 months now 🙁

          (What is the plural of Amex ?)

  • harry says:

    O/T noticed Virgin ISA now 6000