Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: new low tax Toronto Avios redemptions on airberlin, Pine Cliffs with SPG Moments

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News in brief:

airberlin launches new Toronto service

As I wrote in this long article, airberlin offers an excellent way to fly to North America with Avios without paying much in the way of taxes and charges.

When Anika flew from New York to Berlin in Business Class last year, the taxes for the one-way flight were just £4.  Her review of airberlin Business Class is here – it isn’t bad at all.  You will pay well under £100 for a return flight starting in Germany.

airberlin has just announced a new route from Dusseldorf to Toronto.

Flights will start on 1st May and operate four times a week.

airberlin is also adding Dusseldorf to Chicago five times per week, on top of the existing Berlin service.

Tickets for these new routes will be bookable with Avios on ba.com from 1st August, so don’t start checking today.

There are usually two business class seats available per flight but you will struggle to find more as it is a small cabin.  Remember that, as a BA partner airline, you cannot use a BA Amex 241 voucher and all dates are ‘peak dates’ – there is no off-peak Avios pricing.

Pine Cliffs

Good SPG Moments deal at the famous Pine Cliffs in Portugal

If you can get down to Albufeira in Portugal on 4th August, SPG Moments has a very attractive event at the famous Pine Cliffs resort available.

This resort is painfully expensive at the best of times, but you can visit during the resort’s summer gala.  The auction package includes:

  • Two-night stay at Pine Cliffs, a Luxury Collection Resort, checking in Friday, 4 August 2017, and checking out Sunday, 6 August 2017
  • Diamond package for two to the summer gala on Saturday, 5 August 2017, including welcome cocktail, gala dinner, UB40 concert and after party with open bar
  • Meet Ali, Astro and Mickey from UB40 before the performance

There is only one bid so far, probably because of the short notice, at the reserve price of 25,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points.  The auction ends at 7am EDT tomorrow, so you’d realistically need to bid tonight.

The full auction listing is here.  You can find out more about the hotel here.


Mariott Bonvoy American Express credit card

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards (December 2020)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year. You can apply here.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

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

Comments (33)

  • Alan says:

    Bits OT – via OMAAT, a very nice vid showing everything that goes on behind the scenes in an airline – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTucrR1-fWU (it’s slick, so not BA!)

  • James Wagner says:

    Gutted I didn’t look at this first, would have enjoyed a trip to Canada 🙁

    Need to use a load of AirBerlin points (TopBonus) by September something as they are expiring.
    Grabbed a return in J DUS-CUR (Curacao) and a single in J Dus-Curacao (~380euro tax) to use up all points.
    The other person travelling with me doesn’t care about business class (can sleep anywhere !) so just using 25k Avios & £30 for an economy back CUR-DUS. Happy enough. Notthe best use of the points but suits me & my schedule.

    May have missed a trick as might have been able to add in London to Dusseldorf for the same cost, not quite sure, as think AB allow a free stopover in the originating region on redemptions. I may have made that bit up though !!
    Would have preferred a couple of flights to Canada to be brutally honest with myself but 2 weeks in the Dutch Antilles will do very nicely.

    Just looking at car rental now. Need to ask a question about AMEX Platinum car rental insurance.
    One company I’ve found (ACE) say 3rd party insurance is included and CDW/LDW is an extra charge.
    Now, I know AMEX covers certain things but do they top up from 3rd party to fully comp ?! Wouldn’t want to find out they’ll cover the damage to my vehicle BUT not the other vehicle or its passengers (or any pedestrians etc…) ? Bit surprised to see 3rd party mentioned.

    ?????????

    • Canuck says:

      I can’t speak for your specific card, but my Canadian AMEX Plat covers me up to C$85,000 worth of vehicle damage. Unsure about liability.

  • James Wagner says:

    OFF TOPIC. AMEX Platinum car rental insurance.
    A car hire company in Curacao I’ve found (ACE) say 3rd party insurance is included and CDW/LDW is an extra charge.
    Now, I know AMEX covers certain things but do they top up from 3rd party to fully comp ?! Wouldn’t want to find out they’ll cover the damage to my vehicle BUT not the other vehicle or its passengers (or any pedestrians etc…) ? Bit surprised to see 3rd party mentioned.

    ?????????

    • Rob says:

      Yes. You can refuse everything offered (that used to be the exact wording in the brochure). Only restrictions are around you being on holiday and not living there at the time I think.

      • James Wagner says:

        That is great news Rob. I’ll give Amex a call so as to not fall foul of some odd condition that may have snuck in and will report back if things are not as you suspect.

        That’s the AMEX Plat saving me another ~£200.

        (Although a £50 separate policy would possibly do the same so its saving me £50 really !)
        Thankyou very much for the reply.