Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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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 points from credit cards? – August 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our August 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the other top current deals:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

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

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers.

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending:

Barclaycard Select Cashback Credit Card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (133)

  • Doug M says:

    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.

  • Mycity says:

    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).

  • Ben says:

    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.

    • JimB says:

      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).

  • Relaxo says:

    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.

      • Relaxo says:

        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.

  • Confused Novice says:

    RE: Waitrose/Virgin. I recently spent £170 at Prezzo and received 3% back as I had obviously registered for an offer that I had forgotten all about! Then I received 170 Avois as expected, then 340 Virgin miles. I had no idea how/why the Virgin miles were credited, so was pleased to read it happens to experienced points collectors too 🙂

  • Crafty says:

    OT: Against my better judgement, owing to some attractive targets I am participating in IHG Accelerate again for Q3. Which leads me to a question that might on the face of it seem stupid – but with IHG you never know.

    I have a reward stay coming up. I also have a F&B target for Accelerate.

    If I charge F&B to the room during my reward stay, and then settle the bill as normal, will this count for my Accelerate target? Or will IHG exclude ALL spend associated with a reward stay, even if the spend is incremental F&B?

    • Relaxo says:

      +1 Good question! Given the state of IHG IT would probably guess it was not valid….but maybe someone else has empirical data?

      • Danksy says:

        So here’s some empirical data….albeit maybe not statistically valid 😉

        I have fallen foul of this before where I tried to argue that a F&B bill should apply but since my stay wasn’t ‘paid’ but on a redemption! In the end I ran out of energy – but this was last year and things may have changed!

        Good luck, maybe TOFTT and let us know how it goes?

  • Rich84 says:

    We do our weekly shop at Waitrose and I have been receiving Virgin miles for several weeks but I have no idea how the amount is calculated. Some weeks I get around a mile per £, other weeks it is 3 miles per £. Can’t see any logic to it but at least the miles are being credited quite quickly.

  • Peter Taysum says:

    Totally OT

    I want to go to see a play in New York. I usually follow advice on HfP and book in advance for CW+ but I’m going in Nov and ‘not much time’. Norwegian seem to do all Economy DUB to SWF (Newburgh) return @ £212 (booked as two singles). I’m thinking single out (daytime) and wondering about options back. Not sure Economy back overnight! ;-p Single BUS Air Berlin on Avios? (low taxes) but worried concerning Air Berlin. (I’m NCL so can hop to DUB relatively cheap)

    I’m on a budget due to Estonia and Warsaw CE holidays in Sep to retain BA Gold!

    Any clever advice welcome. I’m (relatively) Avios poor…

    • Rob says:

      AB should be OK …. still in the 3 month period. BA may also reroute you on BA anyway.

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