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.

New targetted promo: £10 off £20 spend at Amazon with American Express
1,200 Avios with a Tesco Wine order and 600 Avios with Google Chromecast

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  1. Re the HH gold status – I had noticed mine had returned recently without having stayed anywhere near the required number of nights and had put it down to either an IT issue or return of the Amex platinum benefit.

  2. Would be FANTASTIC if HHonors Gold came back as a benefit, especially if it was a renewable benefit rather than a one use per account as previously.

    Fingers-crossed, although of course the American cards already get lots of nice benefits we don’t get (fee-free forex, airline credits, etc.) so not counting my chickens!

    • James67 says:

      If things stay the same; there have been so many instant gold or simple challenge iffers this autumn, it would not surprize me if the bebefits were about to be devalued.

    • barnaby100 says:

      It wasn’t a 1 per account If you emailed they just renewed it.

  3. Will make gold again via one of those pages, and did so last year… Be nice to not have to earn it by three day stays within certain periods especially the 10 odd days this year which were not even in those offer dates….

  4. Amex has a statement credit offer for Amazon – spend 20 pounds, get 10 back. Sure to go quickly….

  5. Interesting that the Grand Hotel in Bristol is becoming a Mercure. There’s a Mercure just down from that (the Brigstow) – I can’t imagine that they would want two so close to each other, so perhaps the Brigstow is being rebranded.

  6. I had a mailing through the letterbox yesterday from Amex, offering free Club Carson gold on my first stay. Sadly I’m already gold so no benefit there

  7. Damn.. I was feeling smug about just requalifying for HH Gold!

  8. Hi Raffles.

    I started staying at Jurys Inn Glasgow about a year ago. I love the loyalty scheme: it might not get you avios but you get valuable gifts including a beer every night after staying 10 nights. And it’s within my company travel policy. It’s a marmite hotel: I like the rooms but some of my companions hate them.

  9. 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.]

    • 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.

        • Thanks!

        • 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.

          • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

      • 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:-)

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

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

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

  11. 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.

    • 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!

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