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Bits: Azimo £15 gift card, Kimpton hits Amsterdam, order room service by text

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News in brief:

Get a £15 Amazon gift certificate with your first Azimo transfer

I mentioned this offer over Christmas, but I wanted to flag it again because it is still running until the end of the month.

Online money transfer group Azimo is offering a £15 Amazon gift certificate for new customers.  You need to use voucher code AZIMOGIFT when processing your transfer.

Azimo is especially good value for sending money to more ‘obscure’ countries which other online transfer firms do not cover.  For mainstream transactions, compare their prices with TransferWise who are their main competitior.

The promotion is not featured on their website.  In order for the AZIMOGIFT code to be accepted, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be a new customer
  • Excludes SWIFT, mobile top up, transfers made with a credit card and transfers from Euro to Euro or GBP to GBP
  • Minimum £15 transfer required
  • Amazon voucher will be sent within 60 days

The Azimo site is here.  The offer closes on the 31st.

Crowne Plaza Amsterdam Kimpton

Kimpton to open a hotel in Amsterdam

Here is a surprise.  IHG bought US boutique chain Kimpton back in January 2015, to howls of despair from its loyal guests.

We are talking about hotels which put yoga mats in every room, offer free bike rentals and run a free Wine Hour every night.  A Holiday Inn it is not.

The deal has not gone too well.  A number of hotels around San Francisco quit the chain, seven in total, which may have messed up the economics of the whole transaction.  IHG has also appeared wary of changing the Kimpton loyalty scheme, Kimpton Karma, which has not been integrated into IHG Rewards Club.

The big news yesterday was that Kimpton is expanding outside the USA.  The Crowne Plaza Amsterdam City Centre, photo above, is to close for a complete make-over, reopening next year as a 270-room Kimpton.

Amsterdam is a relatively ‘soft’ choice for the brand, of course.  However, converting a successful Crowne Plaza is a risky move for the hotel owners.  IHG will also not be making much additional revenue as it is simply switching one franchise fee for another.  Hopefully Kimpton will be available for IHG Rewards Club redemptions by the time it opens.

World’s first emoji room service arrives at Aloft Liverpool

Starwood’s ‘cheap boutique’ brand Aloft has launched the world’s first emoji-only room service menu at the Aloft Liverpool.

There is little I can do but quote the press release:

Guests are now able to order a fun selection of items from room service via text from the Aloft TiGi Emoji Room Service Menu – an emoji-led selection of packages that will offer essentials to guests that can be easily conveyed via pictures. Guests simply text the corresponding emojis from the Aloft TiGi Emoji Room Service Menu to the hotel dedicated TiGi phone line, along with their room number, to receive their chosen item. 

This is how it seems to work.  You look up what you want from the room service menu.  Each items has a different emoji next to it.  You text that emoji to a dedicated number, along with your room number, and your food will be delivered to your room.  No need to do anything as complex as ringing room service.

It would have been a shame to let such a ground-breaking event go unrecognised.  So they didn’t.

To celebrate the launch in Liverpool there has been an “emoji takeover” with local artists given the opportunity to showcase their work in a three day exhibition called EmojiExhibit. Artists include Graphic Designer, James Traynor who has designed a retro animated Emoji Pacman. 

Other designs include an emoji dress by fashion designer Heather Orr and emoji Shakespeare covers by graphic designer Jamie Rector. 

Guests at Aloft Liverpool are also invited to take part in a free Emoji Yoga class with Liverpool Yoga Studios, specifically designed to support the lifestyle of a modern traveller. The series of postures will provide a number of holistic and health benefits that are proven to reduce insomnia and relieve stress, perfect for business travellers or those suffering with jet lag.

More seriously, even if you have no interest in ordering room service via emojis, Aloft Liverpool is meant to be a very impressive hotel.  It is also, as I wrote here, a very good value Starpoints redemption.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (July 2024)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points for signing up and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(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.)

Comments (47)

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

  • harry says:

    Tracked successfully

  • aaron says:

    A quick check:
    Transferwise has better rate than Azimo for GBP to Philippines peso.

    • aaron says:

      I think I might have compared different services though. I’m on there mobile sites. Transferwise, I think is bank to bank. Azimo bank to cash pickup. Maybe.

  • David says:

    Would be fun to send random emoji’s just to see what turns up…

  • RIccati says:

    — A number of hotels around San Francisco quit the chain, seven in total, which may have messed up the economics of the whole transaction.

    This a cautionary tale for Marriott and Starwood.

  • Bandzior says:

    A word of warning: Azimo has terrible customer service and I would advise against using them. The rates may be slightly better than others, but it’s not worth the pain of dealing with their incompetent staff. My transaction was cancelled as I missed their call when they phoned for a ‘security check’, despite calling back within 5 minutes. Apparently my automatic refund is 5 days away. They are a joke, stick with the other established names out there.

    • harry says:

      No problem with you posting your experience.

      My bank transfer from lunchtime is already with our bank in Europe and will become available to us within 24 hrs, all very smooth & painless.

  • harry says:

    Yep planning on doing mine tomorrow, thought I’d give it 24 hrs

  • BrianDT says:

    Probably a bit daft, but how’s the best way to send £50 to myself? Either Sterling or Euros ?I can’t for the life of me see anyway of doing it. Tx.

  • Dale says:

    Is there any liklihood of IHG rewards being integrated into Kimpton Karma in the near future? Looking at Miami South beach and Kimpton have some nice properties there

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

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