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Bits: 7200 Avios with home insurance, £10 Boots card for joining TopCashback, HfP server issues

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News in brief:

7,200 Avios or 7,500 Virgin miles with Tesco home insurance

Tesco Bank has extended its current offer of 3,000 Clubcard points when buying home insurance until 31st August.  This is good news if your renewal missed the previous dates.

You can convert this into 7,200 Avios or 7,500 Virgin Flying Club miles.

Full details are in this Shopper Points article from yesterday.

Tesco Bank

£10 Boots gift card when joining TopCashback

I wrote last week about how TopCashback is ending the conversion of cashback to Tesco Clubcard on 31st July.

If you were not a TopCashback member but want to sign up and see if you can generate any paid cashback before 31st July, the company is offering a £10 Boots gift card when you earn your first £10 of cashback.

You MUST be referred by an existing member to get this deal.  Instructions on how to join are in this Shopper Points article today.

Even if the cashback from your transactions does not arrive by 31st July, you will still get the £10 Boots gift card – this is triggered however long it takes to earn your first £10.

Boots gift card

HfP server issues

Finally, apologies to anyone who had trouble accessing HfP on Friday and Saturday.  There were some server issues which I do not fully understand but which I am guessing come from another site on our server receiving a substantial traffic boost.

HfP was never ‘down’ completely – page views were only off by 20% – but I know it was frustrating for many people.  High end, dedicated, specialist WordPress hosting for HFP would cost well over £2,000 per year given our page views and I am obviously trying to avoid that if I can.  I’m not sure if I have just been lucky to not have any major problems for the last four years given my current low cost approach.

Comments (34)

  • Ralph says:

    Odd, am surprised given how much the site earns through advertising and commission that you are not on your own vps or dedicated server.

    • Rob says:

      I pay 23p per day for hosting and that seems to be enough – it handles 1m page views easily enough (99% of the time).

      • BigDave says:

        if it ain’t broke don’t fix it…

        • Rob says:

          ….. has been the plan so far. The problem is that the cost of going offline for a couple of days if it happened would be high. High-end hosting would shave a few tenths of a second off the page load times as well which, in theory, would get me a modest Google ranking improvement – although HFP is already pretty lean. These are all woolly concepts, however, compared with facing a hard cash outlay which is very real.

          • Talay says:

            We don’t really need much of an online presence so we haven’t put much effort, time or money into that channel but as we seek to improve the web offering, we come up across the £5 or £5000 options which seem fairly clear and then the plethora of low to mid range options which are just baffling.

            Also, no-one seems able to say how they arrive at any estimate or break it down so that I don’t see me paying £500 an hour for something which should cost £500 total. Also, there does not seem to be a way of distinguishing whether one option is better than another prior to purchase.

            If those delivering the service made it easy then they would earn more but they hide behind smoke and mirrors trying to hook the mug, or it certainly feels like that.

            I don’t blame you for not wanting to enter those waters and seek out change for no reason.

          • Rob says:

            It is a terrible market. On a similar note, I spent some time recently with a business fairly similar to HFP. It is paying £4,000 per MONTH for SEO consultancy despite losing money hand over fist. Despite this, its Google rank is far below mine, which I got from paying £21.99 for SEO For Dummies. I saw the monthly report this guy got for his £4,000 and it was shockingly bad. Where they had added something, it was only because the business was working off a stunningly low base in the first place (eg home page did not contain key words relating to what the site was about).

          • signol says:

            There’s no Clubcard partner available to spend the points on hosting?! 😉

      • edd says:

        I was getting repeated 503 errors over the weekend Rob.

        Your site is much too valuable to rely on some rubbish hosting like GoDaddy! I personally think Siteground are excellent.

        Just as constructive criticism, although ‘if it ain’t broke’ is true, Google is a demanding beast and the best performing sites (perhaps with more user friendly Wordpress templates too…) can suddenly get big performance boosts- I’d argue that it’s really worth it.

        • John says:

          I like Namecheap.

          There are arguments against hosting in the USA but for a site like HFP it shouldn’t really matter.

  • Fenny says:

    It was vaguely frustrating, but not enough to fork out big money on hosting.

  • Yuff says:

    I’m not sure it would have been traffic Raffles, I tried accessing the site at 3.30am Saturday morning, can’t image it was very busy at that time, and got the server error message. It was intermittent through the morning when I tried .

    • Rob says:

      It is hosted out of the US which is why it generally works well – the main traffic spike is 8am to 10am in the UK when almost all of the US is asleep.

  • Waribai says:

    Considering the Disney store website is down till Wednesday (and who knows how much they spend on their web presence!) I think Headforpoints is doing very well!

  • Matthew says:

    I can recommend a VPS solution too. I pay about £30 a month for a decent one which allows for multiple WP sites with higher page views. Might be worth looking into. You def don’t need to be spending £2k on a solution.

  • Alexey says:

    Yes , definitely migrate to VPS , shared provider eventually may just block your site if it will take too much cpu from their host … It can be even less that 30 GBP … as recommendation : A2 Hosting … hosting my site on it – so far no issues

  • harry says:

    Quiz – which one would you go for? (you’ve got plenty of Avios, 4 travelling, RFS redemption)
    30000 Avios + £ 70.00
    24000 Avios + £ 130.00
    21200 Avios + £ 150.00
    18000 Avios + £ 170.00
    15200 Avios + £ 190.00
    10000 Avios + £ 230.00

    • Genghis says:

      Personally I’d go for the 30k avios + £70. The more cash you’re paying, the less value you’re getting for your avios. You’re getting 1p of ‘value’ on the 24k + £130 if you pay the 30k + £70.

      • harry says:

        I will, too – but BA computer won’t let me make the booking!

        Cash price of these 4 tickets right now is HBO £472, with checked luggage £516.

        Let me just try to book again then I’ll crunch the math 🙂

        • harry says:

          Nope! – Unfortunately our systems are not responding, so we are unable to process your request at the moment.
          We apologise for this inconvenience and suggest you try again later.

          Anyway, I’ll be merciful and compare HBO to RFS.

          £70 + 30,000 Avios vs £472

          Gives those Avios a value of (472-70)/30,000 = 1.34p

          We will actually check in some luggage, so in reality about 1.5p.

          Unfortunately I’m 1 day out for off-peak but not willing to face my wife’s wrath at kids missing too much school, if I were not such a coward I’d have got 1.7p 🙂

    • John says:

      Anything except the full avios redemption means you are buying the additional avios to make up 30k at between 0.8p and 1p

      While you can sometimes get 0.8p real value from an avios, that’s no fun. You’re basically buying a gift card and spending it straight away without making any profit.

      I’ll stick with my 0.6p valuation which means a fixed price of £41.50 or £44.50 to fly London to anywhere in Zone 1 RFS, and the same or cheaper to come back.

    • Matt says:

      I’d personally go for 10000 Avios + £ 230.00, unless you’re sitting on an unlimited pool of avios (unlimited in the sense that your pool of avios isn’t a constraint over the foreseeable future)

      2 ways of looking at this:
      1) Assuming you’d be willing to pay £ 472 for the HBO fare, you can get 2.42p of value from using only 10,000 avios (versus 1.34p for 30,000)
      2) Regardless of the base fare, if the additional 20,000 points is worth more than 0.8p per point, it is worth paying the extra £ 160 to keep those points.

      “While you can sometimes get 0.8p real value from an avios, that’s no fun.” – I agree, up until the point where you are a few thousand avios short for a redemption opportunity that you need to book right now…

      • harry says:

        Those are all good points. As it happens I have got plenty of Avios, so – given the impending fear of a devaluation/s (Avios/ Tesco – ie maybe both sides) some of us share – I might as well use them and keep my cash.

        I look at it in a slightly different way to some here. I personally would not like to spend nearly £1000 on flying 4 of us out & back for 10 days, just to enjoy the wonderful BA offering (2x £472 in HBO peak). There are very acceptable alternatives from the LCCs that would cost closer to £600 & we can certainly manage without snacks & booze/ Cokes for a few hours.

        But my mental calculation is a bit different. Of course I like RFS redemptions because of Heathrow, the free stuff, the checked in luggage etc (and I think the BA Europe ET offering is quite good). More importantly, my long term average in acquiring Avios is somewhere under 0.5p. Just sent another 250K to our a/cs today and they cost more like 0.25p (Gold card target hit & referral plus Tesco).

        Going on 0.5p acquisition cost, my £75 plus 30,000 Avios for the tickets today has really cost us £225, so I’ve beaten the LCCs for value plus get the extras. Maybe I’ll even modestly pat myself on the back tonight in the way Novak probably did yesterday – that’s why I like this hobby – you put the work in, you get decent results.

  • harry says:

    O/T Nectar, got an exciting one for you here, Raffles http://www.nectar.com/offers/64B0F02905

    50 free Nectar points for watching the Virgin Trains advert
    1. To qualify for this promotion you must click on the ‘Visit website’ link and watch the ‘Be bound for glory’ advert within the specified dates.
    2. 50 bonus Nectar points will be awarded to Nectar customer’s accounts within 28 days of the offer expiry date.
    3. Collectors will only be awarded points for their first viewing of the advert

    Unfortunately I don’t have a Nectar card to test it for you, might be targeted/ a/c specific but worth a whiz, Nectar fans 🙂

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