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Bits: bonus Heathrow Rewards points, Coutts credit card changes, South African Airways sale

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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

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

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.

You can find out more on the SAA site here.

Comments (41)

  • Malcolm says:

    I suspect that the changes to Coutts card range (which include the phasing out of its Black Card) indicate that RBS/NatWest will also soon discontinue the RBS/NatWest branded Black Card (the original one with £250 annual fee which has some useful benefits).

    RBS/NatWest has been simplifying products across its range of current, savings and card accounts. Customers with products that are no longer available have been moved to products in the current range. Their policy now seems to be to provide travel related benefits (e.g. travel insurance and airport lounge access) as part of a packaged bank account (the Black Reward Account). Customers with this bank account have the annual fee refunded for the Reward Black credit card which has no foreign transaction fees.

  • Liz says:

    Sorry OT again – if you book a pts and cash IHG in the USA do you have to pay taxes on the booking or just the extra $40 or $70 to make up the points

  • Peter K says:

    OT. The extra £20 from the moneycorp card has finally arrived in my account.

  • harry says:

    hmm, not sure I am up for a last gasp fully flexible £5000 flight or 2 on my BMI DC card – not really my thing, you do what you want, though 🙂

    But a long summer holiday car park booking using the 15% HEx statement credit might be acceptable! £1.99 insurance to get a full refund if you change your plans.

  • Brian says:

    OT – and nobody is up right now, I’m sure – but Tesco haven’t binned the bonus CC points for gift cards after all! Indeed, you might say it’s better for smaller spenders now – get 75 points for £25 spend!

    • Genghis says:

      Good morning. Oh – now that is interesting. Where did you see that Bryan? Will it be 75cc points per £25 spend rather than per £25 gift card?