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Bits: up to 30% discount when you buy SPG points, Singapore Airlines drops fuel surcharges

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News in brief:

Up to 30% discount when you buy Starwood Preferred Guest points

Starwood is offering a 10%-30% discount when you purchase SPG Starpoints before 30th April. The link to buy is here.

The discount is staggered. You get 10% off purchases of up to 9500 points, 15% off 10000 to 14500, 20% off 15000 to 19500 and the full 30% off only when you buy at least 20,000 points.

At the top end, 30,000 points will cost you $735 (£600). These can be converted to 35,000 airline miles in the majority of programmes. The price per mile works out at 1.7p, which is certainly not a bargain but less than a lot of airlines charge for buying their miles directly.

Remember that until 8th March, British Airways is offering a 35% bonus if you transfer hotel points from seven major loyalty schemes into Avios – click for my article on that deal.  Even with that bonus this is not a cheap offer.  You would get (35,000 * 1.35) 47,250 Avios for £600 which works out at 1.27p.  I struggle to see the value in Avios points at that price but it may work for you if you have a specific redemption in mind.

The rules are straightforward – points post within 24 hours, maximum purchase of 30,000 points per year, your SPG account must be 14 days old to participate.

If you are interested, you can buy via this link.

Singapore Airlines drops fuel surcharges on redemptions, but ….

Singapore Airlines announced yesterday that it was dropping fuel surcharges on redemptions on its own aircraft via its Krisflyer scheme.

There is always a snag, of course.

In this case, the snag is that Singapore is removing the 15% discount for online reward redemptions.  As almost all redemptions which didn’t involve partners were made online, this is effectively a 18% price rise.  There has also been some tweaking upwards of reward prices as well.

As an example of pricing, a one way from Singapore to London in Business Class increases from 80,000 to 85,000 miles.  Stripping out the online booking discount and the actual rise is 68,000 to 85,000 miles.  However US$241 of fuel surcharges will no longer apply.  If you value miles at 1p each the impact is roughly neutral.

The changes take effect from 23rd March, so you have a couple of weeks to book at the old prices.

If you are interested in earning Singapore Airlines miles, there isn’t a Singapore Airlines credit card in the UK.  It is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner at 1:1.  You can also pick up miles via the HSBC Premier MasterCard (0.5 per £1) or the HSBC Premier World Elite MasterCard (£195 fee, 1 mile per £1).

The new reward chart is on the Singapore website here.

Comments (70)

  • Charlie says:

    Can’t sleep in my Premier Inn room…

    I think the decimal place needs a shift Rob. 1.27p instead of 0.127p.

    • the real harry1 says:

      good night’s sleep money back guarantee

      • Worzel says:

        Would like to have the same guarantee where I’m staying as an insomniac with a wooden leg appears to have moved into the room above!

        Hopefully Rob will clarify the BA companion ticket situation later.

        • Rob says:

          Must …. stop ….. writing …. stuff …… late ….. at ….. night

      • Charlie says:

        Do you think they’ll give me the money instead of work? 🙂

  • Genghis says:

    Buying SPGs could work out if you’re buying a Marriott package

  • Matthew says:

    Some price increases in miles are small, whereas others are quite considerable. Varies significantly with the route.

  • avidsaver says:

    O/T Sorry but have I missed the outcome of the following? “UPDATE: BA has agreed to give me a legal opinion on Monday on whether it believes a BA Amex companion ticket qualifies for EU261 downgrade compensation.”

    • the real harry1 says:

      still in preparation

      • Genghis says:

        IIRC as written on FT, Raffles noted BA don’t want to put pen to paper

        • Tariq says:

          So essentially the legal opinion deviated from what they wished it to be…

          • Rob says:

            I have now got a response from BA, albeit not written by a lawyer. I can only hope that a lawyer has read it. I will run it tomorrow.

          • the real harry1 says:

            sounds worth the wait

            my guess is that they’ll say ‘241s are not first in line – claims for downgrading may or may not be met – depending on merit’ – so we should claim & hope for the best – BA won’t go to legal defence in most cases – they’ll hope most people are too idle to claim

    • Doug M says:

      Yeah he said on Flyertalk they offered the alternative of some statement he considered too insulting to readers intelligence to publish.

      • Lady London says:

        That’ll be business as usual with BA, then 🙂

      • Rob says:

        Indeed they did!

        But as our reader will be submitting his EU261 claim next week I can ‘live blog’ his progress!

        • Cate says:

          Oh how delicious 🙂

          It’s going to be handbags and vouchers at dawn. Can’t wait!!

  • Genghis says:

    OT. I’ve recently used the ‘Yuff’ method of using an Amex 241 and would like to share my experience.
    1) I booked the outbound LHR-CPT at T-355 online a couple of weeks ago, applied the 241 voucher and paid 62,500 avios (off peak) and £700 or so in taxes
    2) Last night at T-355, I booked the return leg JNB-LHR online as a single and paid 125,000 (off peak) and £470 in taxes (but couldn’t get the earlier 388 flight that I wanted so had to settle for the later 744 – I guess someone on the phone had already reserved these considering I was there at prob 00.00.01)
    3) Called up this morning to cancel the return leg and get it added to the original booking. I was told that there is no guarantee that it would get readded to the inventory but I said to proceed and understand the risk. I was put on hold for five mins.
    4) The agent then came back on and said it was all done, the avios had been refunded, I’d receive a refund of the taxes paid last night and that I needed to pay 62,500 avios and some more tax to true up to the required taxes for the return. All sorted.

    No need to stay on hold to US or Japan

    Potential risk of return legs not being returned to the inventory
    Risk of not getting the original flights you wanted as someone else has nabbed them on the phone

    • the real harry1 says:

      nicely done, good way to get round the agents abroad who won’t book your tickets on the phone at midnight UK

    • Kip says:

      Do the seats open up at the exact time every day or is it a general ‘some time between midnight and 1am’?

    • AndyR says:

      What fees do you pay in total? Just the £35 each cancellation?

      • Genghis says:

        No fees. There are no fees to add the return leg of a companion voucher booking which was not available to book at the time of original booking.

    • Genghis says:

      Another negative – you need spare avios to book the higher cost of the return leg at midnight

      • Lawro says:

        Thanks for reporting back-good to know seats do seem to become available for redemption again immediately.

        Would just be immensely frustrating though if someone took the seats over the phone before I could navigate through to the payment page online.
        Don’t phone agents have the ability to ‘hold’/remove the seat from inventory once you tell them which seats you need and they have appeared at 00:01 and only then go through the necessary ‘paperwork’.
        If so there still may be an advantage to securing the seats by calling….

    • Grimz says:

      I can see by comments below that you had no cancelation fee – how does that work?

      • Genghis says:

        No cancellation fee for the flight I booked last night as you can cancel within 24 hours for a full refund. No change fee as like I said before, no change fee to add the return to a return leg of a companion voucher booking which was not available to book at the time of original booking

        • AndyR says:

          Ah it was the free cancellation within 24 hours that I was forgetting about. Clever 🙂 and well done for getting flights to South Africa!

          • rams1981 says:

            glad it worked for you as it did me @genghis. Let’s hope the 2 for 1s are honoured!

          • Genghis says:

            Cheers @rams1981. Already booked a few Protea and African Pride hotels on Marriott points – great use of SPGs.

        • Grimz says:

          Ah the 24hrs is what im missing! Great thanks for that information.

    • pauldb says:

      I played around something similar to this when trying to book a trip to NZ over Chirstmas: lots of iterations for lots of family members. My own experience is only a small sample but when 2 seats were made available they always reappear upon cancellation the next morning. However there were some cases when BA opened up multiple seats and they didn’t reappear: e.g. LON-SIN on the last offpeak Wednesday in December had 10 seats released to my surprise … they were all gone by morning and my cancellation did not reappear.
      So I would appear that without manual intervention from BA, 2 seats are opened and on a very rapid cancellation they come back, but just be aware on a bigger manual release it may not be the same.

  • the real harry1 says:

    O/T free holiday in New Zealand (technology bods)

  • Roger says:

    Hope there is conversion bonus for other airlines too very soon from SPG.

  • Mycity says:

    O/T based. On Genghis as above re using SPG for Marriott travel reward. I’m sure I’ve missed something but can I clarify two points?

    If I use say 270,000 rewards on aMarriott package do the do the miles posts straight away?

    Secondly am I correct in saying I get a voucher for 7 nights that sits on my account for use within a year, therefore I don’t need to book a hotel straight away?


    • Rob says:

      Yes and Yes.

      You can also top up the package later with more points if you eventually choose to redeem at a higher category hotel.

      • Mycity says:

        Thanks Rob

      • Keith M says:

        Does adding more points later then extend the one year validity?

        • Matthew says:

          I’m hoping that is the case as I have a cat 1-5 voucher at the mo and wish to boost it to a cat 9.

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