Bits: new SLH scheme with free Amex upgrade, who buys Air Berlin?, currency converter app

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News in brief:

Small Luxury Hotels launches new INVITED loyalty scheme

I mentioned back in May that hotel marketing consortium Small Luxury Hotels of the World was scrapping its loyalty scheme, The Club.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World is a consortium of 520 luxury hotels in 80 countries. These are primarily independent properties, many of which are well known in their respective markets.

The Club is currently an Avios partner, and you are able to earn 500 Avios per stay at any SLH property.  Details are on here.

The new SLH loyalty scheme – INVITED – has now launchedThe details are here.

Taking their cue from the stupid tier names used by the new World of Hyatt programme (Discoverist, Explorist, Globalist), SLH will name its tier levels Invited, Inspired and Indulged.  

What is interesting is that you get decent benefits just for joining.  As an ‘Invited’ level member, which is what you get for signing up, you will receive free continental breakfast, early check-in if available, late check-out if available and free wi-fi.

If you are not already a member of INVITED, this link for American Express cardholders lets you join at ‘Inspired’ level.  This usually requires one previous stay so it is useful if you only have a one-off Small Luxury Hotels trip.  ‘Inspired’ gets you all the benefits of ‘Invited’ plus a birthday gift and a one-category room upgrade if available at check-in.

Air Berlin’s future to be revealed next Monday

Last Friday was the last day to bid for the insolvent airline Air Berlin, but we won’t find out the results until next week.

According to Der Spiegel there were at least six bidders in total.  The main contenders are Lufthansa, easyJet and Niki Lauda, who put in a joint offer with Condor to regain control of his airline Niki.

It was also reported by Reuters yesterday that IAG, BA’s parent company, has bid for something – although what is not clear.  The only obvious asset would be some slots to be used by Vueling or perhaps new low-cost long-haul carrier LEVEL.

Who gets what will be revealed on 25th September, four days later than previously announced.  The reason for this delay is rumoured to be the German election this coming Sunday as the current government gave Air Berlin a loan of €150m – unlikely to be seen ever again.

Who will buy airberlin?

Currency converter app

Fast Currency Converter is a free Android and iOS app (download Android here, download iOS here) written by a long-time Head for Points reader Lee Stenning which I offered to mention.

It has had over 50,000 downloads so far.  The key benefit over other similar apps is that Lee isn’t trying to sell you any foreign currency services – the app is funded by a small ad at the bottom – so it is very clean and is totally focused on delivering the information you are after.  It is worth a look if you’ve struggled to find something similar so far that suits your needs.

You can find out more on the Currency Converter website here and there is a YouTube video on how it works 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.)

Bits: avid hotels confirmed as a new IHG brand, how to save £68 tax on Avios flights to Cape Town
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  1. the real harry1 says:

    currency converter app tells me EUR350 = GBP311 so 30,000 Avios now @ 1.04p (Irish Independent)

  2. I thought that the changes at SLH would be detrimental but it actually works out ok, good to see.

    • The main downside of the new SLH program as I see it is the free night proposition. While previously as a top tier you earnt a free night with no limitations after 5 stays which could clearly be an exceptional deal (5 single nights at a sub £200 SLH hotel could earn a £600+ night at one of their high end hotels) you now earn a “free night” with a maximum value of $300 after 6 stays.

  3. Joined SLH Invited using the American Express member link. Then tried to upgrade to Inspired from their website, as instructed, but it doesn’t work.

    • The other interesting question is if that’s ‘lifetime’ Inspired or just one year?

    • +1 can’t figure out how to get the Inspired level…

    • I also can’t upgrade, I signed up and went back to the amex page and when I click accept, it does nothing.

      • I agree it does nothing. Are they going to contact us perhaps to verify if we hold an Amex card??

    • Hsergio10 says:

      Just send email to [email protected]. It should work

      Please see their reply below

      Hope that helps
      RE: Amex offer allowing you to upgrade from “invited” to “inspired”

      Dear Henry,

      Thank you for your email.

      We have successfully amended your INVITED account and upgraded your tier to Inspired.

      If you have any other questions relating to your membership, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

      Kind regards,
      The INVITED team

      Hi Team,

      My name is xxxx, newly joined as “invited” category, Member No. xxxxxxx.

      I’m aware of the ongoing Amex offer for amex members/card holders to be automatically upgrade to “inspired” level.

      I’m also a holder of two American Express cards and recently booked one stay early next year (booking number xxxxxxx with my amex card)

      However I tried to upgrade through this link ( without success.

      Could you please assist me in upgrading from “invited” to “Inspired”?

      Many Thanks,

      Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ managed by Small Luxury Hotels of the World Management Ltd.

      • Good work, will definitely try that!

      • Yup, same worked for me too. They replied after five business days:


        Thank you for your email.

        We have successfully amended your INVITED account and upgraded your tier to Inspired.

        If you have any other questions relating to your membership, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

        Kind regards,
        The INVITED team

  4. Xmenlongshot says:

    The Air Berlin loan is secured ahead of other indebtedness – very unlikely NOT to get repaid given slot value

  5. OT – have 750 Heathrow Rewards points. I normally convert those to Avios. No immediate need for Avios, but 50% bonus offer at the moment, until end of month.

    Is it likely anything better will come along in next few months or am I as well to convert now?

    • I think they have a double face value on parking vouchers if you park at LHR.

      • If you take the 50% bonus then, whatever other offer they launch, you are not going to have lost much if anything.

        • Thanks, thought as much. Don’t ever foresee parking at Heathrow so will cash in for Avios now. If a 100% offer appears next month, you know who to thank…!

          • I mentioned recently but instead of cashing in for avios the previous time around, in the benefit of hindsight I wish I had cashed in for double shopping vouchers. Opportunity cost of those avios was 1.33p, v steep. Who knows what future offers will appear, however.

        • Sounds OT, but not really! Any idea how long Rocketmiles take to post their points to Heathrow Rewards? I have a booking 25/26th September, which should yield 4500 points including the bonus. I’d like to transfer them on from HR to Avios before the end of the month and score a bonus on the bonus! Somehow I suspect it’s not going to work…

  6. Well at least the status level names and the order make sense for English speakers, unlike for Hyatt

  7. OT but has anyone received the 500 bonus avios from Amex for £20 spend at Shell/PO/WH Smith when they spent the £20 in a few separate transactions across the different stores or is it only showing for spending over £20 at one store in one go? I currently have £11 spend at post office racked up and wondering whether to just do £10 fill up at Shell or whether I need to do £20!

    • We got ours with a single hit (Shell), BUT for similar Amazon MR points offer we did get the similar offer with multiple spends in the timescale set. They are always very helpful so call them or use Chat service to check!

    • Yes: two trips to Shell and points were there by the time we got home from the garage.

      • I already had £2 at Shell (newspaper, not fuel) and £5 at PO, but as time was running out decided to buy £20 at Shell last Sat (not massivley more than Morrisons around the corner). No immediate points as the pending sale stated £1* and did not crystalise at £20 until late on Monday. After that the offer showed as ‘redeemed’, but no MR points for more than 24 hours – they arrived by late yesterday. Certainly nothing instant about it!

  8. Can’t see if the Fast Currency app shows rate change graphs from the screen shots (and have suggested it to them). I currently use Easy Currency Converter (from Extraordinary) which seems pretty good (and not too many annoying ads). Sure there are many more out there!

  9. Amex upgrade to Inspired link doesn’t work. Tried multiple browsers.

  10. OT but Air Berlin / Top Bonus related.
    I’ve booked a revenue BA flight and have added my BAEC number, which is Bronze right now. I also have Top Bonus Gold (OW Sapphire), so rang BA and they added that to my booking as well, so both are now on the booking. This allowed the agent to select the seats I wanted for free, and appears to give me lounge access (although weirdly it refers to the BA First lounge at Heathrow in MMB rather than the BA Club lounge).
    Does anyone know which scheme the flight will be credited to? I don’t collect points with Top Bonus, and my preference would obviously therefore be a credit to my BAEC account. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • You need to change it at check-in and get a new boarding pass issued showing your BA number. Topbonus is now suspended and the miles effectively worthless so you really don’t want them going there!

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