Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: new IHG Spire Elite benefit launched, “Amex 2-4-1 – the Book” launches

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

News in brief:

New IHG Spire Elite benefit launched

A few people have emailed me recently to ask if I know anything about the promised new benefits for IHG’s new Spire Elite top tier.

The answer is ‘No’.

However, thanks to an eagle-eyed HfP reader, we do have a lead on something.

On the Spire Elite Benefits page of (click here), the following has appeared:

Enjoy an Upgrade to Five Star status with Hertz Gold Plus Rewards

IHG Rewards Club has teamed up with Hertz to extend to Spire Elite members a complimentary upgrade to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status.

To take advantage of this special benefit, click Request Hertz Upgrade.

You can apply via the link on this page of the IHG website.

This is not the greatest offer in the world (American Express Platinum cardholders get the same deal, for example) but at least it is proof that IHG is out there trying to arrange something.  Hint – free breakfast would be nice, IHG.

Get Hertz status from IHG One Rewards

Amex 2-4-1 – The Book

It can only be a matter of time before we get “Amex 2-4-1 – The Movie” ….

American Express has teamed up with Phaidon to create Companion, a free, unique online travel guide which features ten of the most exciting cities in the world explored from the differing perspectives of the insiders who live and work there, such as celebrated photographer Martin Parr.

 Designed to satisfy the diverse interests of travelling companions, the guide is inspired by the Companion Voucher, a British Airways Amex Card benefit that provides a complimentary second seat companion on a British Airways flight.”

It is fair to say that this is probably the first book ever to be inspired by a Companion Voucher.

You can take a look – and, to be fair, BA has spent some money on this – by clicking here to visit the BA Amex application page.  Scroll down to the section on ‘Companion Voucher’ and you can access the book.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback (3% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (29)

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

  • David says:

    I can see the thumbnail for the Companion book, but cannot find a link to access it.

  • Nick says:

    Slightly off topic, but has anyone who has renewed their Intercontinental Spire Elite Ambassador status in the past four months received their renewal pack yet? I renewed in September last year and still await the renewal pack with the new IC Spire Ambassador card. According to the IC Ambassador customer service team they have had ongoing issues with their card supplier. I’ve emailed a few times to follow up and I’ve just got the same basic reply, that they have still not yet resolved the problem. Following a further email last week I received the following reply:

    “…Please be advised that we will forward a follow up email to your vendor to check the status of your portfolio. We will send you an email as soon as we receive an update.

    Rest assured that while you are waiting for your Ambassador portfolio, you may enjoy your Ambassador benefits and privileges with the exception of the Complimentary Weekend Night privilege, simply by quoting your Ambassador account xxxxxxxxx when making reservations or upon arrival at an InterContinental Hotel.

    In the meantime as a goodwill gesture, we have credited your account with 5,000 points as compensation for this unfortunate situation.”

    All well and good, but I am now already nearly four months through my latest renewal and still no complimentary Weekend Night certificate.

    If anyone else is in the same situation it may be worth chasing them up and getting some “free” goodwill points at least.

    • Leo says:

      I’ve only been waiting 4 weeks for mine but I’ve an AMB night booked for 1st week in March. I’ve resolved in my head that I’ll be paying cash for that…’s rubbish though isn’t it.

    • Rob says:

      Mine was due 3 months ago, no sign ….

    • Thunderbirds says:

      I renewed in July 2015 and still don’t have mine. I don’t think that they started producing the new packs until December 2015 so they will be rolled out in Jan/Feb 2016.
      I have a 241 weekend voucher for March so let’s hope.
      You may find that individual hotels give you additional benefits not documented. I’ve already noticed that some Crowne Plaza Reading is offering upgrade to Club with Lounge access.

  • Ed says:

    The hertz five star benefit expires at same point spire elite status expires, which for me is 31 Dec 2017

  • Alan says:

    I completed the Hilton status match and I have to say I’ve been treated far better as Hilton diamond member than I ever was with IHG.

    Currently at the Caledonian in Edinburgh booked in October when I was only a blue member. I booked it in the BA Sale and once I was matched to diamond asked Hilton if I could carry it across and they happily obliged.

    When we arrived at the hotel they couldn’t do enough for us. Great upgrade to a very nice junior suit (from a standard BA sale room).

    The best thing was that WA is noq allowing platinum members breakfast it would seem.

    I think the status match for Hilton could be a master stroke for them.

    • Alan says:

      I remember you mentioning this booking before – glad it worked out well for you, it’s a nice hotel in a fabulous city (although I’m biased! :D)

      PS – remember the Hilton status is Diamond, it’s the credit card that’s Platinum!! (you almost had it until your penultimate paragraph!)

      • Alan says:

        Ha that’s the second time! Silver, gold, diamond just doesn’t sound logical!

        • Alan says:

          Hehe I can tell you’re a newly minted Diamond – you still think there might be some logic in the system 😉

          In general though I find Hilton benefits pretty good – some others (Hyatt for example) might have better top tier benefits, but fewer properties to make use of them in, esp outside the USA.

          The best place to have Diamond is in Asia – service is fantastic and lounges (esp Conrad ones) superb. Enjoy the status, agree it has been a smart move by Hilton.

          • Idrive says:

            Alans! Maybe get a slight difference in your nicknames:) it looks like you are talking to yourselves! I believe he also confused Platinum from Accor maybe?
            I recently checked in online at a Hilton and chose my upgraded executive room.
            Does anyone know if this means that the chance to be upgraded to an even upper room as Alan to a junior suite is lower? Or shall i just ask at reception? It’s like airlines…if you choose your seat and check in online there is no way you will ever get an upgrade!

          • Alan says:

            Haha – you’ll find that I’ve had a nice Route 66 sign next to my name for the past couple of years to help differentiate in just this sort of situation 😉

            In theory Hilton say that it shouldn’t make any difference and you’re still eligible for upgrade (IIRC the during the process it says this too) – however as you still have to call by the front desk anyway I would have no shame in asking again there re. upgrade.

            For airlines it is definitely still possible to check-in online and have picked your seat and still be upgraded – it has happened to me a couple of times! A beep at the gate and a new boarding pass produced 😉 However some say that selecting a special meal may block and upgrade.

    • CV3V says:

      Was just thinking the same, as a Spire Elite member, Accor Plat and now Hilton Diamond (status match) IHG is not at the bottom of my preference list. When you cost in the price of 2 breakfasts each day, expected upgrades and Exec Lounge access then Hilton becomes good value for me. Done 1 Hilton stay so far, and have another 2 stays booked. Previously over the last few years i had stayed with Hilton a total of 1 night.

      • Alan says:

        Same for me. Also booked in the Bournemouth Hilton next month for a great cash price. If I revive a good upgrade and factor in the lounge and breakfast it’s a great product.

        Don’t get me wrong there are some tired hiltons out there!

      • Fenny says:

        I’ve got 2 nights booked in Hiltons in London and Amsterdam in March as part of the Winter Sale. It will be interesting to see what I get for being Diamond. I also have 2 nights at the HIX at Schipol to hit two of my Accelerate targets. I can compare the experiences.

        I did 10 nights in IHG properties last year and none in Hilton. The year before it was the other way round.

  • Liz says:

    Just had a look at the Hertz upgrade link. I have Spire but I never drive abroad so don’t want the Hertz a/c in my name. It says ‘ the last name you have on on file as an IHG member must match the last name of your Hertz Gold Plus Rewards membership in order for upgrade to be confirmed’ – so does this mean I can apply for Hertz in my husbands name and get his account upgraded under my Spire a/c? Any thoughts?

  • Janet Thomas says:

    I booked Hertz car hire last week. Anyone know if the upgrade will apply to existing bookings?

    • Lady London says:

      Normally your status would matter for upgrade at the time you pick up the car.

      My advice would be to call the branch beforehand and get your status at time of pickup and upgrade request logged and hopefully agreed to. Upgrades don’t seem to be spontaneously offered any more just because you’re Five Star Gold. Hertz do have at least one higher status level than this now. I can only base my comment on the lack of spontaneous free upgrades on my experience picking up a number of cars in many varied locations with Hertz in the past couple of years or so. I usually prefer not to be upgraded anyway but it would be nice to be offered once in a while.

      btw if anyone’s based in Australia I did see a very nice Europcar benefit that has been arranged with Accor Platinum cardholders.

      • Gary M says:

        I’ve been trying for well over 3 years to get status updated from Amex/Hertz. Amex say Hertz have to do it, and Hertz say it’s Amex’s responsibility. I try at regular intervals, get personal assurances , have the request (now complaint) passed upwards , etc.

        They also said reenter you details to re-register with the exact same name, email, home address etc. I held back doing that fearing in IT meltdown, and me losing the account completely. (Finally did it last year, but nothing happened, life just continues as before with still no status upgrade.

        It’s never bothered me a lot, as probably 99% of the time, booking with my Amex Platinum gets me the upgrade anyway. But I did want it in place for last year. We’d a family US road trip, and I wanted to take advantage of the guaranteed double upgrade to 2 levels higher. Despite the assurances, it again never happened, and of course, this was the 1% of bookings where I didn’t get any upgrade at all.

  • Recap: New IHG Spire Elite Benefit, Best Western Rewards Explained, Stolen Car & More - Doctor Of Credit says:

    […] Bits: New IHG Spire Elite benefit launched, “Amex 2-4-1 – the Book” launches (really!) by Head For Points. […]

  • Alan says:

    Idrive had to start again as it was getting really small on my phone (that does annoy me by the way!)

    The online check-in lets you select 3pm as the earliest and I wanted to get in the room before then so I thought I’d leave it. I actually got to the hotel at 10 and my room was ready. I’d emailed ahead and said I’d like a space available upgrade.

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.