Bits: last chance for 40k IHG credit card bonus, best travel bonus for Bicester

News in brief:

Last chance for 20,000 or 40,000 IHG Rewards Club sign-up points

Back in February, IHG Rewards Club sent out emails to people who had held the old Barclaycard-issued IHG Rewards Club credit cards.

The email offered a special bonus if you took out the new Creation-issued IHG Rewards Club cards:

the free card comes with a bonus of 20,000 IHG Rewards Club points instead of the usual 10,000 (representative APR 18.9% variable) when you spend £200 in the first three months – you also receive free IHG Gold status

the £99 card comes with a bonus of 40,000 IHG Rewards Club points instead of the usual 20,000 (representative APR 41.5% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit) when you spend £200 in the first three months – you also receive free IHG Platinum status

My preferred card is the £99 version because of the free night voucher you get each year after spending £10,000, the free Platinum status in IHG Rewards Club and the generous earning rate of 2 IHG Rewards Club points per £1 spent.  This is doubled for spending abroad or in Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental etc hotels.

If you received the email but forgot about it, you only have six days left to apply.  The offer ends on 9th June.

You need to apply via this special IHG page.  To be absolutely clear – the terms and conditions says that only people who were emailed by IHG about this offer back in February will receive the special bonus.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

IHG Rewards Club credit card premium

Earn Club Carlson points at Bicester Village – the most generous option?

I don’t think this is new, but I came across it last week when updating my article on stopping Club Carlson points from expiring and it wasn’t something I knew about.

Club Carlson, the Radisson / Park Inn / Park Plaze hotel scheme, is a partner with Bicester Village and the other outlet sites owned by the same group.

You earn 10 Club Carlson GoldPoints for every £1 you spend.  I value a Carlson point at around 0.33p, so you are looking at a 3%+ rebate on your spending.

Bicester Village has plenty of other travel partners as you can see here.  Club Carlson seems the most generous – 1.25 Avios per £1 means a rebate of 1.25%.  1 Hilton point per £1 spent means a shockingly bad rebate of around 0.3%.  1 Virgin mile per £1 means a rebate of around 1%.

The ones that come nearest to Club Carlson – but still fall short – are Etihad Guest (2 miles per £1) and Flying Blue (2 miles per £1).

Club Carlson is not listed on the Bicester Village site but you can find the details on their own website here.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

LAST DAY! Win two tickets to (just about) anywhere with Qatar Airways and HFP
Bits: new Economist / Avios promo, 35% bonus when you buy SPG points - worth it?
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  1. Got the email, applied for the £99 premium card straight away. The 40,000 points didn’t come through in one go. 20,000 appeared after one month, and then the other 20,000 another month later. Be warned, Creation phone lines are not like Barclaycard’s – they are terrible at answering and I have made compensation claims over the lack of their response to my queries.

    • I’m still waiting for my 2nd 10k for White card, giving it 90 days from spend before chasing further.

      • Genghis says:

        +1. I spent £200 in the first month and then nothing in second month so statement wasn’t generated. I then spent £1 so a statement will be generated so hopefully points will then post. No idea if this makes a difference but it seemed to make sense to me at the time.

        • Hmm, I was starting to wonder something similar – have held off for now but will do so if it works for you!

        • Genghis says:

          Will keep you posted Alan

        • Gareth says:

          Ghent is. Did you have a screen shot of the £200 20k points offer by any chance. I applied via the app offer on ihg now creation are saying that they don’t see the offer, I have complained and they said they will ring me Monday/Tuesday.

        • Gareth says:

          Sorry, Ghengis..

        • Genghis says:

          Stupidly I didn’t take a screen shot. @Alan probably did

        • Yep, I’ve got screenshots of the in-app offer & the website 😉

        • Genghis says:

          @Alan I might be asking you for them too come month end 🙂

        • LOL don’t worry – will be keeping on file. I’m past the 8/52 mark so waiting to see if they appear at the time of this month’s statement (think I’ll spend a quid on the card too to ensure statement generated).

    • Brighton Belle says:

      . . . And their online statements are prehistoric. Impossible to download a transactions file for expense processing. Why on Earth financial companies find it so hard to output data to help their users. PDF of statements to satisfy HMRC and CSV Transactions file that most financial analysis tools can import. Amex have it sorted.

      • It does seem they need to come up to customer’s expected standards. At the moment you have to call them to set up a DD plus direct transfers from my current account take 24 hours to appear on IHG. Some may not see this as a problem but we pay off our credit cards each week on Friday and have to wait till Monday to see it hit the accounts. To be fair to Amex they have funds credit almost immediately.

    • RussellH says:

      My recent experience of Creation’s call centre is definitely better than Barclaycard’s – though B’card do have an 0800 number while with Creation it is 0371. Quicker to answer and friendlier, much less bored sounding staff.

      Both are/were equally incompetent at issuing the extra points for IHG hotel stays. Creation seems OK with payments made through the IHG website, but not with payments made at the hotel for the incidentals. I almost always have to raise an issue for these and have an ongoing complaint which has still not been resloved within the FOS’s official timescale

      Strangely never had a problem with Creation’s Marriott card giving the additional points, though it is 18 months since I was in a Marriott.

      Of course, the old IHG and Hilton Cards, operated by Barclays, but separately from Barclaycard also worked fine as far as the extra points were concerned, though there was for a time a positive bug in the Hilton card that gave me three points per £ for spend in any establishment with ‘Hotel’ or ‘Inn’ in its name.

    • In a week of (unusual) disappointments from Amex I’ve been okay with Creation so far. Got the first 20K immediately and the second 20K the month after the £200 spend statement etc. Only had to phone them once over some security issue and they were fine.

      • Graeme says:

        I must admit, touch wood, I have been pleasantly surprised so far too. Bonus should post this month. Payments do take a day longer in my experience, as mentioned above, that is of no consequence to me though appreciate this may inconvenience others, and I have no need for anything other than the PDF statement. I’ve seen worse web user interfaces though in fairness it is a fair way short of the best.

  2. Geoggy says:

    Just checked my wife’s email history. She did get an email in Feb but it didn’t say how many bonus points came with each card.

    If I click on the “find out more” link it’s 10k and 20k.

    So is this “the” email or should it land on a different page?

  3. Do they bonus points count to status?

  4. OT (related to the yesterday’s ink bonanza): now I have (or will have soon) 10 000 clubcard points I want to keep them as is and wait for a conversion bonus to BAEC. How do I switch automatic conversion off – switch to vouchers? Then I will receive £0.5 for 50 points and I obviously don’t want that. Thx!

    • Genghis says:

      You just switch off in your account. When you receive the vouchers they are valid for two years and can be converted to other stuff, and even to avios. If you have no plans currently my advice is to hold off before converting so as to keep your options open.

      • Thanks Genghis! It was not entirely clear to me as I thought if I get a voucher then that’s it – I get 50 p per 50 points and can’t convert that to adios.

        • Alex W says:

          Yes you can convert the vouchers to Avios or use them for any of the other Tesco redemptions.

        • RussellH says:

          That is the only way I have ever converted CC points to Avios!

          Always steer clear of automated things…

        • You get physical vouchers unless you ask for electronic only. Even if you get physical vouchers they are still there on line and can be used on line. Your online list of unused vouchers give a clear expiration date. Often people who look at their vouchers online for the first time find that they have lost vouchers without even realising it, but they are still there on the website available to use online.

          Obviously you need physical vouchers to use in store but you can print off copies of unused vouchers from the website.

      • sedgie says:

        I am lucky (old) enough to get 800 Avios per 250 cc points. Should I be worried that by switching off auto-convert I might lose this better rate? Logic tells me I wouldn’t, but…

        • RussellH says:

          My experience suggests strongly that you will keep the better rate.

          Earlier this year I tried transferring a few CC points to BAEC (peviously they had gone to for the very first time. Still got my 800 Avios

        • sedgie says:

          Thanks RussellH.

        • RIcatti says:

          They why switching, keep autoconvert on?

          Create the new account for you/someone in household to accumulate vouchers if you intend to convert them into other than BAEC.

    • It is in your profile.

  5. Sam wardill says:

    I think I may have got the bonus despite not getting the email nor using the link. I did have the barclaycard which is probably why.

    • Genghis says:

      Don’t think Barclaycard has anything to do with it. I was targeted but never held the Barclaycard.

      • Kathy says:

        Me too. I had an Accelerate target to apply for a card though.

        I applied last week, have been accepted and status updated (plus Accelerate bonus points received) but the card itself hasn’t turned up yet.

    • Sam Wardill says:

      I also got double Accelerate bonus

  6. xcalx says:

    This is a first for me.
    Booked flights (Thompson), hotel (RCI) and car hire (Autoreisen- offer free child seats) for Tenerife. Non of the suppliers took Amex.
    How do I stand regarding the Amex Plat insurance when nothing has been paid using Amex.


    • You’re fine if the suppliers don’t take Amex, they cover this as an allowable exception in the T&Cs…

      • Good to know, Air Asia don’t take Amex either. Which meant waiting for a new 241 earning period on the BAPP was a total waste of time!

        • the_real_a says:

          You can book Air Asia via AMEX travel since they are on GDS`s now. There is a bag and non bag fare.

      • xcalx says:

        Thanks, that’s just what I wanted to hear.
        Very impressed with Autoreisen car hire getting 2 free child seats and a very good price. Hertz wanted euro 70 per seat . Got the whole deal for £73 5 door 7 days full to full fuel.

    • RCI are painful! They don’t accept Amex, demand payment in full at time of booking (up to 2 years in advance!) for “extra” weeks which can cost over £1000 and have no cancellation policy. They need to get into the 21st century. I don’t book anything with them now apart from using the exchange system and the odd extra week which is massively cheaper than booking elsewhere and therefore just about worth paying up front.

      • xcalx says:

        Just booked 2 x studios at Hollywood mirage Tenerife in a couple of weeks time only £195 each for the week . Also booked the Sea palace one bed St Martin for a week in November for a great price of £419. Sold the timeshare a number of years ago but have managed to keep the RCI membership.

  7. Lev441 says:

    I’ve not actually made it into the hotel points game yet… currently sitting on around 250,000 virgin miles and 700,000ish avios… is the IHG a good/best hotel card to get? All my points come from business credit card spend..

    • Definetly Lev441. The IHG accelarate promos are generous and its easy to accumulate large balances. I saved $600 on high Key west room rates by using points and the pointsbreak promo is also good if your felcible with destinations. I visited Nepal for the first time in January using it.

      • Lev441 says:

        Loved Nepal when I travelled as a a poor student… a wonderful country which I’m sure is even better when you can stay at decent hotels!

    • The Premium card with 40k is a no brainer for Year 1 – bonus outweighs fee – especially if you can get £10k through. Points on Premium are worth 0.8p per £1 which is a very good MCard return in current market.

      • Lev441 says:

        Yeah I’m sure I could comfortably put £10k through. Should I view this as a long term card or a card to churn?

        • Genghis says:

          I plan on keeping it. I don’t think there’s any benefit to churning? It’s my go to non-Amex card

    • Genghis says:

      Definitely get into the hotel points game. Concentrating on avios and virgin can get a bit boring I guess. To diversify somewhat would make this hobby a bit more interesting and is likely to save you more money in the future (provided you use such hotels of course)

      • Alex W says:

        One of my biggest regrets in the points hobby is not going for hotel points sooner.

      • For long haul travellers, focussing on getting CW flights over Economy usually has more value than staying at an InterCon vs a HI Express.

        For short haul travellers, a weekend at the IC Amsterdam vs a HI Express is a better use of points, arguably, than flying to Amsterdam in Club Europe instead of Economy.

        • Genghis says:

          True. But if you put in a bit of effort into this hobby you can easily fly in J and stay in quality hotels a few times a year.

        • I’ve been toying into extending into the hotel side of the “hobby” for a while. I keep being put off applying for the Hilton Honours visa by the 6 month expiry date on the free night voucher as I usually have my travel plans made a good 10-18 months in advance. I think I need to work out when I want to stay in a Hilton Hotel, then apply for the card to facilitate this. Only problem with that would be if there was no availability on the date I needed!

        • RIcatti says:

          Also correct for USA destinations, where ICs are not that much different from HI when you get to the room.

          The difference is usually about lobby/reception area.

      • Lev441 says:

        Thanks for the help everyone, I’m going to apply when I get back in this evening!

  8. I didn’t recieve an email from
    barclaycard in February due to the fact that ive never held an IHG credit card before. However IHG emailed me with the offer direct so i applied and got the 40k points

  9. Cybrandian says:

    I applied for and received the free IHG card (and 20k points) back in March.
    Does anyone know or have experience of being able to apply for the premium IHG card as well and receive a further 40k points ?
    Thanks !

  10. Can you apply for both the cards ? Just cancelled the white card so could now go for black if it’s an option.

  11. Simon Fisher says:

    The link to Bicester Villageoutlet on the Club Carlson site is defunct, so “perhaps” is the deal? May be why they are not on the partners list at the Bicester end.

    “The page you are looking for cannot be found. It may no longer exist or has moved to a new location.”

  12. A bit OT but I had to take Barclays (IHG) to the FOS because after 8 weeks they still hadn’t replied to my complaint.
    After due consideration the FOS decided that Barclays only offering me pro rata refund of the £99 fee (£57) was sufficient and within their T&C’s.
    So no full refund of the fee or compensation for me reaching £9K of the £10K target

    • I wrote to Barclaycard and complained when they told us they were cancelling my IHG card. My gripe was I probably wouldn’t be accepted for the Creation card and therefore I would be unable to continue to earn qualifying points with IHG through credit card spend and that they hadn’t given us enough warning – I’ve since been accepted so my problem was solved. I had already received my free night certificate as I was at the end of my anniversary year so didn’t expect anything to come of the complaint. I had previously complained about my Mar points not posting correctly and had already received £60 in compensation for that which was resolved. Last week Barclaycard called and offered me £50 compensation for the cancellation of the IHG card and also by mistake they had reopened the case about the missing points in error but after checking my details discovered I was somehow missing 7534 pts which hadn’t been previously transferred (this was wrong as I always check the pts are correct each month and I wasn’t missing any) and so she arranged for said 7534 qualifying pts to be added to my IHG account and offered me another £100 in compensation for my trouble – I said thank you very much – that will help towards my Spire Elite target for next year! Between Barclaycard and Lloyds I’ve had £522 back in compensation in the past couple of months!

    • the_real_a says:

      Did you submit evidence on your quantifiable loss? I was made a satisfactory offer through their own complaints process for £9k spend.

      • No didn’t submit any evidence but Barclays can get information from IHG if they need it.

  13. Paulm says:

    I’m still waiting for the 2nd lot of 20k and have sent Creation a message today as it’s now passed the 8 weeks they mention in their t&c’s to award the points.

    I’ll update once I get a reply

  14. Another OT but anyone know how to add the Club IC experience onto my Amstel booking (second night Ambassador reward night)? IC website suggests you can either use your certificate or have IC club – but not both. Can you just pay at the desk??? Thanks

    • wgbalf says:

      I was there in March – booked IC Club for the first night and it was carried forward onto the reward night. However not a great product IC Club, not a sniff on the IC Park Lane.
      Staff seemed unaware of the ‘Club’ as the ambassador rep was not working that weekend, couple of free drinks at the bar with a few snacks/bites and afternoon tea. Lovely hotel – if they upgrade you ensure a river view we lost ours for an uninspiring city view suite and had to complain, then bumped back down to original river view room. Also major renovations under way – ask for a discount…

      • Thanks wgbalf

        Do you remember how you booked club world with the Ambas reward night? I can’t find a page which puts them both together. (Good tip on the repairs discount!!)

  15. Has anyone successfully received the full 40,000 points without having been invited to participate in the offer. If you just apply off the web-page that shows the two cards and the extra bonuses, is there any chance that they will just give you the full 40k points? I’ve applied off this page without the offer and wondered whether I might just get lucky?

    • Andrew_A says:

      I received the full 40k without being invited to get the card. I had held the Barclaycard version before but applied before my original one was closed. I had thought I received 20k after hitting the target spend but 40k just appeared in my account around 6 weeks later. When I check back there is no record of the first 20k so, tbh, I am not sure what went on.
      I also received my fee back and compensation from Barclaycard.

  16. Danksy says:

    It’s probably no coincidence that they’ve started emailing reminders for the sign up offer.. Might be worth checking your junk filters etc.

    Mine came through this morning.

  17. UK_Ship says:

    Also, not shown on the Bicester page but you earn 2 SQ Krisflyer miles for every 1 GBP spent at Bicester which isnt bad, and they often run double miles promotions

  18. travelbear38 says:

    Slightly off topic. If I have the ba American express and I accept a referral for the gold card I am eligible for the bonus membership rewards?

  19. New Card says:

    Is it possible to have both the IHG Black and White cards? Or do I need to cancel one to get the other?