Bits: 10% Qatar discount code, Waitrose / Virgin saga rolls on, Amex hotel deals

News in brief:

10% off Qatar Airways business class

Qatar Airways has released a 10% discount code to selected partners, including HFP.

Code UKPREMIUM will get you 10% off the base fare of a business class ticket.  You need to book by 30th August for travel by 14th June 2018.

Full details are on this page of the UK Qatar Airways site.


Waitrose / Virgin Flying Club saga continues ….

The saga of the Virgin Flying Club / Waitrose ‘in-store earning’ promotion continues.  It seems that the two sides can’t go more than a fortnight without changing the rules of the offer.

Yesterday morning, the Virgin / Waitrose page online was changed to say:

Rewards only given when you spend over £85

This would be a pain if it was applied, given that our average spend in Waitrose is usually sub £50.  As we carry it all home by hand, this could be the end of our in-store earning.

Yet, by yesterday evening, the line had disappeared.  There is now no minimum spend requirement showing.

Virgin also continues to offer different rewards to different people.  I am currently getting 3 Virgin miles per £1 whilst my wife is only offered 1 mile per £1.  All very odd ….

PS.  Looking at my Virgin in-store transactions last night, it seems that I earned 54 miles at Habitat recently.  Except that I didn’t …. presumably my wife bought something using one of the credit cards which I have registered.  This shows how odd these schemes are …. Habitat is paying money to Virgin for my miles, even though the miles literally had no impact on the purchasing decision.

ME London strand

New American Express hotel cashback deals launched

A couple of new hotel cashback deals have appeared for American Express cardholders.  You can find some, all or none of these under the ‘Offers’ tab on your online statement page.  You get different offers for each card you hold.

My new ones are:

Small Luxury Hotels of the World – £25 back on £150 spend

Offer runs until 26th January.

Melia Hotels (click for website) – £50 back on £200 spend

Valid until 26th October.  Note that only a small number of hotels are participating, mainly in Spain, although ME London, photo above, is on the list.  Remember that if you have an American Express Platinum card you can now get automatic Gold status in Melia Rewards.

The following offers are still running:

Airbnb – 2% cashback

This is an older deal but it has been extended to 25th August.  You can also get £30 off your first stay via our refer-a-friend link here.

Guoman Hotels (click for website) – £50 back on £195 spend

Valid until 29th September.  Includes The Tower and The Cumberland in London.

Thistle Hotels (click for website) – £35 back on £100 spend

Valid until 29th September.  Remember that the Thistle at Heathrow allows you (for a £5 fee) to take the driverless pods from the car park behind the hotel directly to Terminal 5 – more here.

Red Carnation Hotels (click for website) – £50 back on £250 spend

This may not be a well known brand, but they own the impressive Ashford Castle in Ireland as well as a few upmarket London properties.  I wrote this article about them because they are also a Virgin Flying Club partner, so you’ll earn 2,000 miles per nightas well as getting £50 back!  Ends 13th September.

onefinestay – 10% back

This is a more upmarket airbnb!  Ends 30th September.

(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.)

Good 'airport parking and hotel' deals via little-known IHG link
British Airways and Loganair finally agree a codeshare deal for 1st September
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  1. Genghis says:

    Instead of churning the SPG card like I normally do I’m holding the card and putting some spend through since SPGs are the best thing since sliced bread (and double points at SPG / Marriotts until end of Nov 17). Anyway, I’m quite disappointed with the Amex offers on the card.
    To long term card holders: will they get any better and have ones I might actually use on there? (I know unlikely to have other hotel offers like BAPP never has Eurostar).

    • Hi Genghis. Just a thought but have you tried copying the URL of the deals from your other cards to your SPG? I managed to copy the Amazon deals and they both triggered. On this occasion the points haven’t arrived but I think this is because the offer was for MRs, expect it would work for simple cash back ones.

    • With a number of issues suggesting the very future of this card, at least in its current form, and 6 months taking you into next year then I wouldn’t churn either. Presumably you would normally do so with a referral cycle with Mrs G. If she is not currently holding the card it might be best she get one soon, even if breaking your churn cycle. I queried lack of offers on SPG with amex last year, they said it is up to SPG which offers can go on the card so obviously no competitor hotel chains. However, have you thought about trying live chat, you might just get lucky.

      • Genghis says:

        Hmm. I think there’s still time to churn again (will be Mar 18) and as I need to work on 2x BAPP from next month I’m going to risk it. But after next getting the card I will keep it until it dies.

        How have Amex handled previously withdrawn cards? Eg. Any compo? Any credit for spend for end of year bonus (even though v unlikely to spend £25k for a crappy reward)?

        • G,
          Thought you would be doing the referral churn with Mrs G on SPG cards. We now run them along the others, just for the spend bonus and referral points. Offers useless, l agree. But l will call up next time and ask for something if a good offer comes to Plat or BAPP. It’s a useful 25k avios, (we don’t use hotel points) on a minimal 4k spend tho. Plus we get a pro rata refund.
          Like James says, refer OH sooner than later, we are doing that this week.

        • @ G & P, hopefully we will get some clues on longevity if the cards if amex take further action on contended cards. Perhaps Andrew S or Rob will know something. If they are throwing in the towel I doubt current benefits on contended cards will last long.

          @G no idea on amex withdrawing a card, I think they have had the same portfolio for years.

          @Polly, did you hear that QR niw flying to Chiang Mai, so now 4 destinations in Thailand.

        • Genghis says:

          Of course referred Mrs G. It’d be a waste otherwise.

    • I’ve held onto my SPG for circa 18months now… obv no hotel offers, but otherwise similar to Gold/Platinum offering. Some discrepancies when differing amounts offered – but assume that is due to spending history on that card/if I’ve had a similar offer before

      • Genghis says:

        Thanks Nick. I’ll hold onto the card for another month or so and see what happens.

    • I had a period late last year where i wasn’t getting any offers at all on any of my amex issued cards (I think it was shortly after cancelling the Gold charge card). I emailed them and they basically told me there was nothing they could do and told me I could complain to the financial ombudsmen (Not sure they’d be intetested).

      Seems to be back to normal now though

  2. Any further tips for Heathrow airport parking?
    Looking for purple parking discount code. Not much other than MSE code via one of the providers.

  3. I’ll continue to ship in Waitrose what ever happens with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club as its just a small added bonus that I’ll just let build up over time.

  4. Richard says:

    If there is a minimum spend at Waitrose you can always top up with Waitrose/ John Lewis gift cards

  5. Richard says:

    2 x live chats would add the Melia offer yesterday – and tips to get it added?

  6. Wally1976 says:

    Completely OT sorry – going to be flying into LGW South late on a Saturday night in a couple of weeks with wife and 2 children. Then staying overnight at Courtyard Marriott and don’t want to pay their breakfast prices for the Sunday morning so just wondering if anyone can suggest anywhere for a cheap breakfast in the vicinity – within walking distance – as I don’t know the area. We have Amex plat with supplementary card and hence Priority Passes for all if that opens up any opportunities (landside of course). Thanks.

    • There is nowhere within walking distance of LGW if you have hungry kids.

      You could walk 30 mins through a muddy park to the small town of Horley and try your luck with the cafes there or take the train to Crawley otherwise it’s airport terminal breakfast for you.

    • Genghis says:

      It’s certainly not great but OK for a one off and cheap: McDonald’s

    • Frenske says:

      There are shops e.g. M&S and WHSmith at Gatwick Airport Station. There might be also a coffee place but it has been awhile and memory has faded.
      Otherwise there are coffee places Costa/Cafe Nero land-side which do sandwiches and croissants.

    • There’s a Tesco about 10min drive away with a Harris & Hoole. Might be afflicted with Sunday trading rules but with taxi could be cheaper than hotel breakfast!

  7. Does anyone know if the Thistle hotel offer is spend by or book by 29th Sep?

  8. OT can anyone recommend any hotels within 2 hour drive of London to escape for the weekend? Up to £250 p/n with pool? Thanks.

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        Agreed, although I think I’d choose Ettington, in the same portfolio, over it.

        Might be able to do Lainston House at £250.

        • Thanks both will check them out.

        • depends how far you want to go, we really rated Hilton Syon park (although still within london), great pool and spa facilities and as gold we got a free upgrade and breakfast. plus if you are a plane geek you get to watch all the heathrow planes come in.

        • Syon Park is good, I have reviewed it if you search.

        • Have Hilton Plat so did check out Syon Park but booked on the dates we were looking for unfortunately. Thanks.

    • ok it doesnt have a pool but the beckford arms in wiltshire is awesome, great for a couple and their breakfast is unbelieveable… even includes a bloody mary station. 2 years on i still dream about their hash browns.

  9. Fed up with Waitrose/virgin. Several transactions not posted. I did a £1 test the other day and only got 2 points instead of the 5 points I was supposed to get. Give up!

  10. OT, anyone tried a clubcard to virgin transfer in the last 7 days. I initiated one last thursday and 7 days on the points have still not posted in Virgin. I’ve transferred to Virgin previously so the accounts should be linked and it’s usually much quicker than this.

    • Genghis says:

      Usually posts overnight…

    • Did a small transfer yesterday to see, and have received a 20% “Annual Summer Bonus” in addition to the points.

      So time to move the rest.

    • Done a couple of small transfers first to see if I got the 20% bonus before doing the rest. Posted the next day.

      Noticed that I had to put my flying club number in each time though

  11. OT but hotel related: Do Ambassador weekend certificate stays/nights count for IHG Accelerate targets?

    • Genghis says:

      Yes – officially for only one night (the first night) but the hotel might put two nights though (mine did in Singapore).

      • Same, 2 nights posted for my recent stay in NYC. For reference highly recommend club lounge in Barclay IC. Excellent breakfast and evening service.

    • I hope so…just checked out of San Fran can recommend the lounge breakfast was excellent free flowing champagne for 2 hours in the evening.

  12. OT Is it possible to earn points for meals when not staying at a hotel if you hand over your membership card? Having a meal at the Sun Dial restaurant in Atlanta next week which is at the top of the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel – thought I might be able to earn some SPG pts – probably not I suspect.

  13. Wally1976 says:

    Another OT, sorry. Has anyone recently transferred Amex MR points to Club Carlson? I initiated a transfer last Friday and they haven’t hit yet. I did a small transfer (same accounts) a few weeks ago and didn’t think it took this long (but maybe my memory’s not great).

    • Frenske says:

      The last time it took a bit longer than a week.

    • RussellH says:

      They do say it takes ten days; the last one I did was much quicker, but yes, it usually takes a good week. Never had any problem with a transfer though – and I have done more to CC than anywhere else.

    • Wally1976 says:

      Thanks Frenske and RussellH for the replies which have reassured me. Want to cancel this card ASAP but would rather that be another day or two than god knows how long sorting out an errant transfer.

  14. Any idea when we could expect another Qatar sale? been holding on to book flights for January to Auckland but the prices have been in the £2400 range for last few weeks.

  15. Presumably the Melia deal stacks with the 10% off code from the Hotels page.

  16. RussellH says:

    None of the Amex offers on either my Gold Credit Card or my PRG Amex, which needs to be cancelled very soon, now I have paid off the balance.

    I am keeping the Gold Credit card for the moment since, like others above, I intend to go for SPG for (probably) the last time. But I shall cancel that as soon as I reach the spend threshold, as I do not believe in paying card fees unless absolutely essential (I paid around £12 for my last SPG Amex).

    I suspect that having another card account to credit the card fee refund makes things easier for Amex too.

    Long term plan is to go for a blue BA Amex after binning the SPG, then cancel the Gold Credit card so that I can get my partner to refer me for a new PRG Amex before she cancels hers.

  17. My Virgin/Waitrose thing did say 3 points/£1 but only posted at 1 point per £1. It does now say 3 points/£ but for transactions less than £85 it’s 1/£ so it would seem they’ve got there in the end. But I’m not sure what this does for Waitrose as I shopped there previously anyway.

  18. O/T last week there was some comments on being offered a 5k bonus from MBNA virgin if you call to cancel. Took my white card out in June got the 10k bonus, called today to cancel they’ve offered me a 5k bonus if I spend £1000 in 90 days, this I accepted, not bad for a free card 15,000 miles.

    • Michael Jennings says:

      I’ve just hit the £1000 spend target on mine, but the full 10,000 miles haven’t posted yet. When they do I must try this…

      • Genghis says:

        They should post on your next statement (but I had trouble last year with the changeover of VFC numbers and had to wait a few months for them to post).

  19. OT – Just a little moan about the Lloyds Rewards card but just wanted to see if anyone has had a similar experience. When I log on it does not let me see any pending purchases, also when I go to make a payment it just logs me off and says “error”. Very frustrating as I want to know what I have spent on the card while I am away.

    • Genghis says:

      Only way to make a payment outside of DD is to call them or to make a bank transfer setting your card no as the ref.

    • Mine often doesn’t show pending transactions but then other times does including even contactless.

      You should be able to make a bank transfer from your current account. I think I searched for the details when setting up the new payee and then put the card no as the ref.

    • Genetic says:

      I have the same. It looks like another IT problem as the fonts are all misaligned in the error message, too. I used to be able to see pending transactions most of the time, but haven’t been able to for a couple of weeks or so.

    • Wally1976 says:

      Yes the pending transactions usually doesn’t work for me either (although it does sometimes). To make a payment to your card make a payment to sort code 77-29-00, account 00000000 and your 15 digit Lloyds Amex card number as reference with no spaces (e.g. 377012345678901).

      • Wally1976 says:

        Also, the ‘available credit limit’ includes pending transactions so can be used as guidance (subtract it from your credit limit to get your outstanding balance including pending transactions).

  20. Currently looking at redeeming some Marriott points for a 2 nightHK stay. At the Renaissance ive got an option of 80K points in place of a £431 cash rate or 49K points + £247 using points & cash. Could someone help with the maths here & tell me if one of the options is better value?

    • Genghis says:

      Marriott points are generally valued at 0.5p so paying 80k for something costing £431 (0.54p) is about right. With the cash and points offer, you’re then paying £247 to save 31k points or paying close to 0.8p per point (i.e. a bad deal). Note that cash and points bookings don’t earn points so there’s no rebate to be factored in. Unless you’re saving for a Marriott travel package, the points pricing isn’t bad.

      • Thanks Genghis. Thats what I thought as well …just needed some confirmation on the methodology. Ive also got the option of JW at 90K for a cash rate of £593. At 0.66p would be even better value but not sure I need that much luxury….

        • Genghis says:

          I think I’ve mentioned before but I thought the Fish Bar at the JWM was fantastic.