Bits: bonus Avios at Bicester Village, Necker Island gets trickier on Virgin miles

News in brief:

Double Avios and 10% off at Bicester Village

Until 10th February, you will receive double Avios (10 for every £4 spent) when you visit the Bicester Village designer shopping outlet in Oxfordshire.  Full details are here.  This offer has been running for a while but passed me by until last week, apologies.

You can also pick up a VIP discount card at the information centre on production of your British Airways Executive Club card.  This entitles you to an additional 10% discount at most stores, although a handful are excluded including Prada, if I remember rightly from my last trip.

You can also collect Avios at the European outlet villages run by the same group – details on here.

Bicester Village Avios

Necker Island redemptions get harder to achieve

Few people know that you can redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for holidays on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island retreat.  The details are here.

This is probably the best value Virgin redemption you can get.  A week on Necker Island during those weeks where the island is not let on an exclusive basis will cost you $30,730 plus 2.5% service charge for a couple.  That is £25,400.  Flights are not included in this price.

On that basis, 1.2 million Virgin Flying Club miles is a very good deal – you’re getting over 2p per mile.

You might think that 1.2 million miles is a lot, and of course it is.  However, it would ‘only’ require £600,000 of Amex spend on the Virgin Black credit card and I know there are a surprisingly large number of HFP readers who spend six figures per month on their cards.

In the US, you could get to 1.2 million miles almost entirely from credit card sign-ups.  That is what Greg, author the Frequent Miler blog, did.  The articles from his week are here.

Virgin has decided to make life a bit harder for credit card heavy hitters.  A new clause on the Necker Island page says that you must now have Virgin Flying Club Silver or Gold status to book this award.  This is not hugely difficult but, unless you can find a promotion offering it for free, it would require you to shift some business travel towards Virgin.

PS.  If you were thinking of booking Necker Island for cash for $30,000, you can earn 50,000 Virgin Flying Club miles if you give them your number!

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. TGLoyalty says:

    OT but Avios related a targeted offer from PayQwiq which might be in your inbox.

    You can now use PayQwiq, the simple and secure way to pay for your shopping and collect Clubcard points, in every Tesco store and petrol station in the UK. As you can imagine, we’re pretty excited about this at PayQwiq HQ. To thank you for being one of the first to try PayQwiq we have a fantastic Clubcard points offer for you.

    We will give you an extra 50 Clubcard points with each of your next 10 PayQwiq payments until 07/05/2017

    • Are you an existing user?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Yep I am but only used it in the original 500 point offer as I was in London at the time.

    • Genghis says:

      Nice. I got the ‘Our Terms and Conditions have changed’ email on Friday but no offer…

      • Seems to be targeted. I got the offer on one account, but not on another, though the general email about PayQwiq being available everywhere went to both.

        • Brian W says:


          Its targeted, I got the offer on 1 card and not the other 3. Last time it was the exact opposite so its obviously based on the last couple of months usage and whether you used it to gain the last offer or not.

          With this being the 3rd similar offer, its turning out to be a nice little Avios earner this if you stop using it as soon as you hit the required transactions, especially if used for items you would be buying in Tesco anyway.

    • Received the same, I only did the initial offer a couple of times, not sure if that has anything to do with it. I also got one of those “get 150 points next time you shop” vouchers spat out with a receipt recently which hasn’t happened for a long time.

    • I downloaded the app when the first trial was running, but as I don’t live anywhere near the first sites, I couldn’t use it. Haven’t had any kind of offer now it’s everywhere.

  2. I’ve thought about Necker Island before, but it’s just not appealed as much as other resorts like North Island. However, using miles makes it very tempting and I’m already half way there. I may just have found myself a new years resolution.

  3. How are people spending six-figures/month on their cards!? Have the cartels started taking Amex?

    • If you run your own business and can buy supplies on Amex it isn’t hard.

    • VAT + PAYE + 3rd party costs. That means on a good (bad, as outgoing costs are never good) month I can put through 6 figures. At 0.6% cost for paying on a credit card to HMRC, that means a £600,000 spend would be £3,600. So still significantly cheaper than $30,000. Consider me sold.

  4. Drolma-la says:

    The Frequent Miler’s comments about getting to VA Silver in order to get to Necker Island made me wonder, yet again, why the US credit card deals are so much better than what’s available in the UK. It would be great to earn tier points with VA based on credit card spend.

    • Very simple. 1.7% interchange fee vs 0.3% fee here. Someone spending just £2000 a month (equivalent) is generating £400 a year for the card company even if they don’t pay interest. In the UK they generate £72.

      • they were always better in the US before the 0.3% cap – you can’t blame the cap for everything !

        • But even before the cap then interchange rates here weren’t as high as in the USA. Plus they’ve got more companies in the market (Chase, BoA, etc.) so more competition between them for customers.

        • And crucially a much bigger market!
          Our is a tiny market by comparison in terms of number of potential customers… and in many respects our market is also now sadly on a trajectory to get a lot smaller.

  5. Charlie says:

    O/T – Has anyone received the 20,000 bonus Nectar points from Nectar themselves yet? This is from taking out the Nectar Amex card. I have the bonus points from Amex, but not Nectar. Anyone else?

    • Johnny_c-l says:

      Yes, I received mine about two weeks ago. I applied just before Rob ran the article (and at a lower bonus….grrrr!) and hit the target in my second statement cycle. If you log on to Nectar online you should find a message in your offers saying you’ve hit the bonus and points are on their way.

      • Charlie says:

        Ok thanks. I’ll look on the computer when I get home to see if I have anything similar.

    • Yes, both, within 2 weeks of each other.

  6. OT – statement credit offer for BMI Regional on my Gold card today. Might be useful to some.

  7. Patrick says:

    If one follows the link to the Bicester Village website you will see that a condition of receiving the Avios is that you must present your “British Airways boarding card”. Does this mean the offer is actually only directed towards the tourist trade and cannot be accessed by local casual shoppers?

    • Definitely not the case, I have done it before.

      • You don’t need to show a card but often I have them tell me its targeted and I have had to show them proof I have ‘received’ the offer.

    • I went there on Saturday and they did not ask for a boarding pass. I just showed the printed voucher and my BAEC number that I had written on a piece of paper. 4,500 free Avios for me!

    • The Original Nick says:

      Just present your receipts from your purchases from that day and have your FF number to hand. You can credit to other airlines too not just Avios. Gone of the days when you could walk into any shop at Bicester Village shopping outlet and say you were an employee at another shop in Bicester village and get up to 50% off. You now have to show a wage slip or employee card unfortunately. I live in Bicester so I know how they operate.

  8. Slightly O/T – the tesco clubcard payout is due to take place shortly, and I auto convert to Virgin miles. As Virgin have recently overhauled Flying Club, I have a new membership number than I did last quarter. Will I need to update my Tesco account to the new flying account number? Only issue is I am experiencing difficulty logging in to my Tesco account . Just wondering if I leave the old flying club number on my Tesco account, will it pay out anyway, as the two numbers should (hopefully) still be linked, if anyone knows at all would be greatly appreciated

    • Ignore me – This has just been answered by someone very helpful at Virgin – both numbers are still valid so it will still pay out

  9. Has anyone else had an issue with the iOS update to the Places (Le Club/Accor) app?

    Mine is unusable since the update last week, and the app is now listed as unavailable in the UK app store.

    • I’m having problems too.

      I’m planning a “Happy Mondays” stay this weekend, so I got in contact with Accor on Facebook, and this is what they said:

      “Hello, we are facing a technical issue with our Places app, our IT department is working on it, if you need assistance with a check in or badge, please send us your email address and booking details via PM. Thank you!”

  10. Olivier says:

    O/T I’m new to Tesco CC and want to save my points to convert them to Avios at a later date. Do I have to do anything now (set up account to automatically convert to BAEC for example but then I would miss out on future conversion bonus) ? I would not want the points to convert to Tesco vouchers at the end of the collection period which is 26 January I understand

    • Make sure auto convert is turn off in your clubcard account.
      That way the points will remain as clubcard points for you to spend/use (including convert to Avios, etc) at a later date as you wish.

      If you have never turned autoconvert on, then it should be off already.

    • As long as auto-convert is NOT turned on, Tesco will post you paper vouchers (and store electronic versions of them in your account). You can then convert at your leisure over the next 2 years.

  11. Charlie says:

    OT – The Hilton reward night certificate issued with the credit card, does the stay need to be completed within 6 months of issue? Or just booked within 6 months?

  12. Genghis says:

    OT. If I book a 2 night IHG points stay as two separate stays, can I easily transfer one of the nights to a (Creation) rewards voucher once it becomes available on my card anniversary?

    • No, although there is a pretty decent chance with hotel rewards that free nights will still be available and you can rebook.

  13. Thanks Alan will give it a go. 8.4% was £60 so worth trying for more.

  14. the real harry1 says:

    saw this in the morning & had my doubts – but looks to be working fine
    free £20 credit on Uber for EXISTING customers as well

    hat tip Kurt
    ‘Google Maps is offering £20 off an Uber ride for new and existing customers. No idea if its for selected accounts or everyone but I opened Google Maps, plotted a route home and selected the Taxi option (little man waving) and I got a popup saying £20 off this trip. I accepted and ordered and was asked to link to a new or existing Uber account, I linked to my existing and got the £20 discount.’

  15. OT my husband recently open a Tesco bank account so that we could earn on a big tax bill (without extra costs for using a credit card). I have just seen that in theory you don’t get extra points when paying another bank or financial institution using debit card. Do I assume that they have all institutions correctly coded or is it worth paying £8 to everyone we have an account with to see if anything has slipped through the net?

    • I think HMRC is not a financial institution in that sense. The rule is to stop you paying money into savings accounts with a debit card.

  16. Not noticed before but you can earn miles with Virgin at Bicester Village, not sure if this is new though