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Bits: Element in Amsterdam open, warning on Emirates Membership Rewards conversions

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News in brief:

Starwood opens 2nd European ‘Element’ hotel in Amsterdam

Starwood opened its Amsterdam ‘Element’ hotel yesterday.  This is looking like a good value Starwood Preferred Guest redemption at 7,000 points per night – cash rates seem to hover around €200 on busy days.

It is only the second ‘Element’ property in Europe, following the earlier opening near Frankfurt Airport.  A UK site is earmarked for Tobacco Dock in Wapping next year.

I have never stayed at an ‘Element’ but the idea is that they are themed around a ‘healthy mind, healthy body’ lifestyle.  You will find a large fitness rooms, large double-height lobbies with water features and areas for working, eating and socialising and healthy free breakfasts.  Open plan rooms include ‘plug and play’ docking stations so you can bring your own entertainment, ambient lighting, the Westin ‘heavenly bed’ and rainfall showers.  Studios include kitchen facilities for those wanting a longer stay.

Amsterdam is location in Amsterdam Zuid, the main business district.  You will need to take the metro into the city centre but this is not a huge strain.  The hotel is connected to a shopping mall.

Details can be found on the Starwood website here.  There are no actual photos up yet – that is how new the hotel is.

Emirates A380

Amex Membership Rewards to Emirates transfer glitch

Three people have been in touch with me recently about problems transferring American Express Membership Rewards points to Emirates Skywards.

The rule, which is not publicised, is this – you can only ever convert Amex points from one Membership Rewards account into Emirates.

What does this mean?  It means that, if you close down your Amex Gold or Platinum card and later re-open one, you will no longer be able to make transfers to Emirates.  Similarly, if you have a non-UK Amex card, you will not be able to convert points to Emirates from both that card and a UK card.

This seems totally bizarre, but when three people have the same problem and are given the same explanation then it is worth flagging up.  The fact that I had never heard of this problem before suggests that it may be a new rule or a new problem – whether it is permanent or not is a different question.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our September 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

The following offers will end soon:

  • 2,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard (ends 15th October)
  • 30,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard (ends 15th October)
  • 10,000 Avios on British Airways American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 40,000 Avios on British Airways American Express Premium Plus (ends 2nd November)
  • 60,000 points on The Platinum Card from American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 30,000 points on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (ends 9th November)

Here are the top current deals:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

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

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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.

American Express Business Gold

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

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

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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 and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (33)

  • harry says:

    O/T transferring Avios out of IB.

    1. won’t let me transfer to BAEC, is that to be expected? A/c now over 125 days old. Would a phone call work?

    2. on IB transfer to avios.com, running up against ‘Your selected account is a household account. To use Combine my Avios, your account must be a non-household account’. What is the neatest solution here?

    • Rob says:

      No solution. You cannot do CMA into an avios.com HHA because, technically, an avios.com HHA does not belong to an individual.

      BAEC should work but often does not. Have you tried from IB and from ba.com?

      • harry says:

        yes I tried both the latter options, no go but maybe another day I suppose. Or I could play with different browsers, these days I often find that IE is rubbish at this kind of thing but Chrome, Firefox or Opera are fine.

        I guess I could close down the avios.com HHA element as not needed any more, do you know what they are looking for in terms of name/ address/ email match etc?

        • Rob says:

          IIRC it is name, email and DOB. Definitely email match needed as I found out recently.

  • Andrew Scott says:

    I had the same problem recently trying to transfer MR points to Nectar. I wonder how many other schemes might be caught by this ‘rule’….?

    • TimS says:

      I’m sure I’ve transferred in to nectar from 2 different MR accounts in the past?

      I did discover that when entering the nectar number you need to exclude the first block of numbers for it to link.

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