Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: Avios / Caffe Nero deal tweak, Flying Blue / PointsHound bonus, AA hotel bonus

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News in brief:

Tweak to the Avios / Caffe Nero in-store cashback deal

As we wrote back in December, you can now earn Avios when you buy coffee or a snack at Caffe Nero.

This is an in-store cashback deal organised by and requires you to register your credit card details.  You currently earn 5 Avios per £1 spent although this number has moved around over the weeks.

As of last week, Nero has changed the rules of this promotion.  Purchases made on a Visa card no longer earn Avios from 27th April.  If you have registered a Visa card to take advantage of this deal then you need to switch it to a MasterCard or American Express.

There is also 10% cashback on Caffe Nero purchases available to most Amex cardholders until 25th May – check your online Amex statement.

Avios wing 9

3,000 Flying Blue miles with PointsHound

Flying Blue, the KLM / Air France programme, is running a new promotion with hotel booking site PointsHound.

If you book a two night stay via this special PointsHound page before 31st May, you will receive 3,000 bonus Flying Blue miles.  This is on top of the standard miles you will receive from the stay.

Existing PointsHound customers CAN take part.  You are only allowed to earn the bonus once however.

Hotels booked via PointsHound will not give you any points in their own loyalty programme and will probably not honour any status benefits you have, so it is best used when staying at an independent property or at a chain you rarely use.

25% bonus on hotel point transfers into American Airlines

American Airlines is offering a 25% bonus when you transfer your hotel loyalty points into their AAdvantage programme.

Whilst AA miles are not so easy to earn in the UK, there are some good things you can do with them:

AA is a partner with Etihad – you can book their flights for fewer AA miles than you would need Etihad Guest miles AND AA won’t add on the fuel surcharge

AA does not add fuel surcharges on its long-haul flights, so using them for transatlantic travel from the UK is a lot cheaper (in taxes and charges) than using Avios

AA charges for redemptions by total distance and NOT by segment, so a trip which involves changing aircraft – such as a Qatar Airways redemption – can end up cheaper using AA miles than using Avios

On the dowside, American has some complex and unpublished routing routes which can throw up issues when trying to book certain routes.  They are also bad value when redeeming for domestic US flights where, oddly, Avios can be a lot cheaper in terms of miles needed.

You can get the bonus on conversions from:

  • Best Western
  • Club Carlson
  • Choice Privileges
  • Hilton Honors
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Starwood Preferred Guest
  • World of Hyatt
  • Wyndham Rewards

The deal runs until 15th June.  Full details are here.

Hotel offers update – September 2022:

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Want to buy hotel points?

  • World of Hyatt is offering a 30% discount when you buy points by 30th September 2022. You can buy here.

Comments (64)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Roger says:

    Slight OT but regaled to AAdvantage via Marriott Hotel + Air package
    Using 270k Marriott points one can get 150K AA miles and 7 nights at category 1-5 hotels.

    Looking at various blogs it seems that 7 nights certificate is valid for 12 months.
    Is that valid for booking and stay at further future date or for consumption within 12 months from the issue date? Seriously considering this Hotel + Air package. Already bought 30K SPG miles for nearly £600 and with AMEX MR transfer should get to 90K SPG points later this month.

    • Rachael says:

      My impression from speaking to Marriott is you use the certificate with in 12 months but if you upgrade they will add another 12 months.

    • Amit says:

      Is AAdvantage included in the marriott travel package? Couldn’t see it on the list

      • Colin mackinnon says:

        Yes. It is missing from U.K. List but on the USA one. Called Marriott and they said AA in U.K. Is fine. And so did a travel package redemption and miles went to AA OK!

        • Amit says:


          • Roger says:

            Has anyone found any T&C which says miles converted from Marriott Travel package will also earn 25% bonus?

            Could not see it anywhere, just want to get a confirmation before I spend too much time acquiring SPG points

  • Roger says:

    Anyone spotted £100 Visa or MasterCard prepaid card at Morrisons?
    Assume it gets treated as debit card for online and offline spends?

    • mark2 says:

      That will vary between merchants.
      Presumably there is an additional charge, usually £3.95 on £50 cards which more than wipes out the 2.5% cash back from Morrison’s or am I missing something?

      • Peter K says:

        £7.95 on the £100 prepaid cards.

        • Sundar says:

          Then buying 2 x £50 gift cards is cheaper ? 2 x £3.95 = £7.9 as opposed to 7.95 on the 100 !

          • the real harry1 says:

            get ’em in Boots with the £5 off £20 deal if you’re that desperate

  • Burton says:

    Now all we need is AMEX MR to SPG Conversion Bonus!
    May be I am living in La La Land….

    • rick says:

      May be…
      But on a serious note, does anyone know of any past history of Amex MR to SPG transfer bonus?

      • Rob says:

        No, never.

        • guesswho2000 says:

          They did a targeted 50% last year on the US MR programme. That’s of little use to most of us reading this though, and the US transfer rate is 3:1…

  • the real harry1 says:

    O/T just wondering when people normally get hotel status cards etc with Plat? I was in & out in a couple of days before cancelling, Plat card + PP card arrived same day, should I therefore not expect to receive anything further in the post?

    • Roger says:

      I have been waiting for my hotel status upgrade for 2 weeks now.

      • the real harry1 says:

        Amex Plat card, I meant

        • Rob says:

          Hotel status uogrades are not automatic, you must request them. Don’t request, don’t get.

          I did Hilton for my wife last week and it was processed within 48 hours.

          You are unlikely to get a plastic card until you’ve done a stay.

    • Stu_N says:

      Melia Gold took about a week for the status to update in my account and a month for the card to arrive. Starwood and Hilton came through in a day or two but haven’t had anything through the post – that’s about 3 months now, I guess they don’t send cards. Still have the Platinum but doubt that makes any difference.

      • MattyS says:

        Received acknowledgement email for upgrade from Amex Plat to HH and SPG on 16/4, still not showing when I log into those accounts.

  • the real harry1 says:

    I see Alitalia went into administration overnight – not a good idea to book new flights with them

    • HV says:

      I already have flights booked with them in July (22) – should I be worried or is it business as usual at the moment?

      • rick says:

        Hope you used credit card for booking.

        • Rob says:

          Etihad owns the Heathrow slots, apparently, because it took them as security for its loan. They could be pulled at any point – although, due to the ‘use it or lose it’ slot ownership rules, Etihad needs someone flying in and out.

        • HV says:

          Ye I did. Two flights from FCO-LHR (one way) were £130 for both with seats and baggage. The loss of £130 isn’t to bad, but finding new flights for the same day now is very expensive and nothing on Avios either. Will wait and see.

    • ankomonkey says:

      So this makes my status matched Freccia card collectible! ebay here I come. It finally has a use!

    • Fenny says:

      I’m still getting email offers from Alitalia and the website doesn’t say anything about administration. Not that I’m likely to book with them after they screwed up an offer of status upgrade for 1 return booking last summer and have completely failed to do anything about it. They even took points off me last week! But the Club Ulisse email address stopped working a couple of weeks ago.

  • Andy says:

    The Cafe Nero shop in store collection is a disaster. The only card registered is my BANK Amex. However since 17 March 2017 non of my points have posted.

    I have not changed Amex card and submitted about 5 manual claims on avois.come and still waiting to hear back on these.

    • Richard says:

      Same here regarding Caffe Nero, I’ve used 3 different cards registered- not a sausage!
      The ‘ missing Avios’ people (based in the Far East judging by the names on the replies) certainly take their time about it.

      • JohnT says:

        I have just noticed these stopped a while ago? On the FAQ it says “You might not earn Avios In Store if the same payment card is registered with another ‘card-linked offer’ programme. To avoid this, ensure that you delete or remove the card from any other ‘card linked offer’ programmes.” ? However I can’t remember what other ones could be tracking the transactions apart from BINK for Pizza Express (which is also Avios)?

    • john says:

      Went in a Nero in House of Fraser the other day and they claimed they didn’t take Amex 🙁

      • Brian says:

        Neros in House of Fraser/Blackwell’s/ etc are generally exempt from these offers, anyway. You need to buy a gift card from a High Street branch and use that…

    • BigDave says:

      I finally received some avios from a Cafe Nero visit in March
      I used linked amex card and have not seen the discount come through on my amex account
      and as it would only be 30p or so I have not bothered to chase it up

  • Stu_N says:

    Just been looking at Amex statements and I’ve noticed a rounding difference between BA Plat Plus (1.5 avois per £) and Amex Membership rewards (1MRP per £).

    Seems Avios are rounded strictly, so a £9.73 transaction earns 14.595 Avios which is rounded up to 15 Avios. A £9.50 transaction earns 14.25 Avios which gets rounded down to 14. Membership rewards always round down, so a £6.95 spend earns 6 MRPs.

    So if you spend as lots of small transactions, the Avios card should average 1.5 Avios per £, on MRs you’ll probably average a fair bit less than 1MR per £.

    Not ground-breaking but probably adds up over time.

    • Peter K says:

      I’m sure Rob did an article on how to maximise your points on Amazon purchases using this rule/quirk to buy amazon online gift vouchers £1 at a time to top up your account.

      • Genghis says:

        I thought we concluded £0.34 was the best on a BAPP?

        • Stu_N says:

          I think paying for my shopping in 34p chunks and sending myself a pile of £1 gift vouchers every time I want to buy something from Amazon is more than I am willing to do to earn extra Avios.

          I’m fairly ambivalent about hotel vs Avios at the moment as have spent most of both balances recently so putting <£5 spends through my BAPP and saving the Plat for bigger stuff seems like a sensible approach.

          • Peter K says:

            I can’t be bothered either but someone somewhere will be doing it and good for them 🙂

  • N says:

    Is there any way to buy Hilton gift vouchers?

    My Amex £50 off £250 expires this week but would like to bank it for the future.

    • Rob says:

      Don’t think so, this has come up before. It would need to be bought in a participating hotel, for a start.

      • Aliks says:

        I registered my Lloyds Amex card for the Hilton offer, but nothing has come through so far. Should I chase Hilton or Lloyds?

      • the_real_a says:

        There is a Hilton gift card that you can purchase from a participating hotel. I did this last time this offer was on my card. I bought one from my local Hilton and then used later in the year at somewhere i needed to stay.

    • Peter K says:

      If there is a specific hotel you are interested in they may allow you to pay money now and bank it for future use. I’ve had a hilton hotel offer to do that before when I needed to cancel a refundable booking where they had already taken the money.

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