News in brief:
Bonus Heathrow Rewards points on fashion purchases
Heathrow Rewards is offering bonus points on purchases at selected retailers until 31st October. No registration is required this time.
The bonus points on offer, which convert 1:1 into various airline miles including Avios and Virgin, are:
500 points when you spend £125 – £199.99
1,000 points when you spend £200 – £299.99
1,500 points when you spend £300 – £399.99
2,000 points when you spend £400 or more
Participating retailers are Accessorize, Bottega Veneta, Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Harrods, Hermes, Hugo Boss, Jack Wills, John Lewis, Kurt Geiger, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Miu Miu, Mulberry, Paul Smith, Prada, Reiss, Smythson, Sunglass Hut, Thomas Pink, Ted Baker and Zara.
Coutts making more changes to its credit and debit cards
Private bank Coutts is making further changes to its credit and debit card structure. This follows the scrapping of its ‘Courtesy of Coutts’ loyalty scheme in 2013, which weirdly offered the wealthy an opportunity to redeem points for …. easyJet flights.
The new structure seems to be a way of competing more effectively with HSBC Premier and American Express Platinum. All foreign exchange fees on Coutts debit and credit cards have been scrapped. The £350 fee for the ‘Silk’ credit card has also been removed. The downside is the loss of travel insurance and Priority Pass as benefits. An ‘enhanced’ rewards programme will be introduced but there are no details as yet.
The new HSBC Premier World Elite MasterCard – with its 40,000 Avios first year bonuses – still seems a more attractive package to me. There is a £195 fee but it still includes airport lounge access. Whilst the Coutts cards are now free, there is still a minimum fee of £900 for the underlying current account required unless you meet certain criteria.
South African Airways sale
Whilst the latest British Airways sale finished last week, South African Airways has a few days to go on its own September sale. Here are the headline prices in Economy and Business – the Business fares are available over Christmas and New Year:
- Johannesburg £593 / £2546
- Cape Town £613 / £2566
- Windhoek £613 / £2746
- Durban £620/ £2796
- Port Elizabeth £620 / £2796
- East London £720 / £2796
amongst other destinations. These are clearly not ‘bargain basement’ prices but South Africa is rarely heavily reduced as you will have seen from recent British Airways sales. The requirement to keep a $200m aircraft sitting on the ground for half a day in London before it can fly home makes the economics of direct flights difficult.
As a Star Alliance member, you can credit the miles from the flight to a number of loyalty schemes including Lufthansa’s Miles & More, SAS EuroBonus and United MileagePlus. Flights depart from Terminal 2 at Heathrow.