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Bits: new SLH scheme with free Amex upgrade, who will buy Air Berlin?

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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.

Comments (30)

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  • Darren says:

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

    • h2d says:

      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.

  • Paul says:

    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.

    • Zauron says:

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

    • bsuije says:

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

    • Techno says:

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

      • David says:

        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 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.

      • AJ says:

        Good work, will definitely try that!

      • Horatio says:

        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

  • Xmenlongshot says:

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

  • Stu N says:

    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?

    • Doug M says:

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

      • Rob says:

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

        • Stu N says:

          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…!

          • Genghis says:

            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.

        • Mzungu says:

          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…

          • Rob says:

   tend to post within 2-3 days of check out. No idea about Rocketmiles though.

  • John says:

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

  • Caroline says:

    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!

    • JohnT says:

      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!

    • Cate says:

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

      • RussellH says:

        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!

  • JohnT says:

    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!

  • John says:

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

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