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Bits: Monarch Vantage Club, Hilton tweaks ‘fifth night free’, Miles & More app bonus extended

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News in brief:

The end of Monarch Vantage Club

I have purposely avoided writing anything on the collapse of Monarch.  The mainstream press can cover it better than we can and, since they stopped being an Avios redemption partner, we have hardly covered them.

Monarch did have its own frequent flyer scheme of sorts, Vantage Club, although it was so unexciting that I never wrote about it.  Ever.

This is a little odd, since the Monarch CEO since April 2014 has been Andrew Swaffield who was previously CEO of Avios Group.

The status benefits were actually OK.  Eight return flights got you Gold status which let you have free date changes, subject to paying any fare difference, and even free name changes on your tickets.

As a scheme for earning free flights it was pretty useless, primarily due to the high levels of taxes you still had to pay.  British Airways remains the only European airline to make short-haul redemptions attractive, via Reward Flight Saver.

Oh well.  That’s Monarch and airberlin gone within a month of each other.  Some City analysts are also questioning whether Norwegian can survive the quiet winter period.

Hilton Honors tweaks the ‘fifth night free’ rule

Hilton Honors has a pleasant bonus when you make a long redemption booking.  If you book a five night reward stay, the fifth night is free.

You need to have Hilton Honors status to take advantage of this deal but – unless you have transferred all your points from American Express Membership Rewards or Virgin Flying Club – you are likely to have it anyway if you can afford a five night redemption.  And if you don’t, Silver status is free with the UK Hilton credit card or you can get a status match from another hotel scheme.

Previously, the value of the free night was calculated by averaging the points needed for first five nights of your stay and deducting 20%. Ever since the Hilton scheme changed earlier this year to a variable pricing model – where each night could be priced differently – customers have been getting confused because it wasn’t clear how the discount was applied.

The deal has now changed.  The fifth night of your stay is now the free one, irrespective of what it costs.

If you have complete flexibility over when you stay, you can reduce the cost of your trip by ensuring that your fifth night falls on a more expensive night.  If you can’t do that, you will have to accept the fact that you will do better on some trips and worse on others.

Let’s assume a hotel is priced:

  • Monday – Friday 50,000 Hilton Honors points
  • Saturday 80,000 Hilton Honors points
  • Sunday 40,000 Hilton Honors points

….. and you are staying for five nights.  The best deal is to stay Tuesday to Sunday, since Saturday is the fifth night and at 80,000 points the most expensive one.  The worst deal would be to arrive on a Wednesday, since your fifth night would be Sunday which would only save you 40,000 points.

In general, however, this is a positive change for those with flexibility to plan their stays around Hilton’s variable points pricing.

Lufthansa ‘500 miles for downloading the app’ bonus extended

Miles & More – the Lufthansa, SWISS etc programme – is still giving out 500 bonus miles for everyone who downloads their app and logs in for the first time.

This offer was meant to expire on 30th September but has been extended to 30th November.  Even better, the miles post instantly.

500 Miles & More miles won’t get you a ticket in Lufthansa First Class, but they will get you a tiny bit closer.

Open the App Store or Google Play, search for Miles & More and download the app.  Once downloaded, enter your login details and the 500 bonus miles will show immediately in your account.  That’s all there is to it.

Comments (98)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • James says:

    Aren’t there reports however that the Hilton Honours points required for the other 4 nights when getting the 5th night free are being manipulated UP to all be the cost of the most expensive of the four ? I haven’t played about with it but I have heard there are instances of it happening.

  • Gavin says:

    Off topic as bits:

    Thanks to all those who recommended Meeru as an option for the Maldives for honeymoon several months ago. Been here 2 nights now, and both me and Mrs Gavin (most importantly) are loving it. Got a one category upgrade as well which has gone down well. We are not divers nor wowed by the bling factor so splashing about in the water, sunshine and the chilled ambience is all we need. Added bonus is aircraft approaching Male seem to fly overhead every so often!

    • TripRep says:

      Nice one Gavin, IIRC Meeru is in the same Crown & Champa group that own the two places I’ve stayed in the Maldives, Vilamendhoo & Conrad Rangali. Hope you at least try a wee bit of snorkelling, have a great stay. 🙂

      • Gavin says:

        Thanks TripRep, yes they are Crown and Champa. I’ve had a pop at a bit of snorkelling and it’s quite fun, not really for Mrs G though.

      • Gavin says:

        Thanks TripRep, yes they are Crown and Champa. I’ve had a pop at a bit of snorkelling and it’s quite fun

  • Wivus says:

    Just checked my trip to Tokyo next May and every night is the same at 95k, no matter what day. 5th night free calculation stays the same.
    Do Hilton do January sales?
    In addition, is it Hilton or one of the others where you can book with points before you actually have them?

    • TripRep says:

      Hilton have previously (2013 had as much as 50% off in January for the whose of the year, I got Reykjavik for £65 for Queen Exec later that March, never seen it so cheap

      You need the points in your account before you book, if you just sort you can do points & money, alternatively, the 100% buy points bonus is on til Thursday this week, still mulling over that one myself…

      • Wivus says:

        Thank you TripRep. I have the points for that visit but it will clear a fair percentage and just looking ahead. I shall wait until January and see as I am a bit flexible on dates.
        As for buying I will leave it at present as I have set myself a goal of achieving this trip with zero outlay apart from the Tax/charge on the 2-4-1 : Well that and eating and drinking -)

        • TripRep says:

          No worries, and congrats for navigating my shocking typos above! 🙂

    • mark2 says:

      Marriott is where you can book without points; maybe others too.

  • the real harry1 says:

    Here’s David’s article on Monarch VC

    • David says:

      Thanks. After writing that yesterday I did think of another loyalty points dimension: Monarch were also a Tesco clubcard redemption partner. However, rather than the points going into Flying Club, they went directly into money off coupons.
      Tesco are advising people to contact them – I’ve updated my article with link at the bottom.

      • David says:

        *Vantage Club obviously, not Flying Club. (Sorry thinking about something Virgin related at present).

        • the real harry1 says:

          You’re welcome. Sadly got an email from my kids’ swimming club that they are crowdfunding £5000 as 50 kids from across Cornwall were booked to go on an intensive training camp in Fuerteventura…with Monarch flying them 🙁

          Not my kids though. I’m hoping that my reply about S75 etc will come as news to them but I somehow doubt it – I guess in total the Monarch bit would have been over £5000 so probably bank transfer…it does illustrate the value of using a credit card & S75 (or charge card & chargeback) cover. Would have been so easy for them to pay with credit card/s, probably someone thought it had better be seen to be paid from the club’s bank account – wrong! Anyway, I didn’t get any sort of excited reply so not looking likely.

  • Yuff says:

    Did my 8th stay for diamond status match 10 days ago, was only at the hotel for 5 1/2 hrs as I had to catch an early flight.
    Would normally leave my card key in the room but as it was so early decided to physically check out, they had the wrong name in the room but didn’t have time to query it as I had a shuttle to catch.
    My booking showed as a no show 🙁
    The only way they could verify it was from my car registration on the date in question!

    • John says:

      Happens occasionally if you have a common name and you stay in a country where ID is not required to check in. At least you didn’t walk in on a naked man (or have someone walk in on you)…

      Having status can thus act as a check: “Mr Smith, I see you are a Gold member” “No I’m Diamond” “Oh sorry, there are 2 John Smiths staying tonight”

    • Rob says:

      This is what I think. You need to be in the hotel at midnight for it to count as a stay. Because you weren’t, the Hilton system has not triggered it. I would complain because, oddly, if you book a Hilton as a day room then it DOES count but I assume the hotel codes it differently.

      I was once refused points from a hotel because I checked in after midnight for a 1-night stay. It got fixed in the end but that was the hotels opening gambit.

      • Alan says:

        In this situation where I know I’m going to be really late I’ve sometimes called the hotel in advance and they’ve checked me in before midnight.

        • Yuff says:

          I did check in online and was given the right room. I also said I would arrive at 10pm and got there just after 11pm.
          Lady I spoke to was going to email Hilton Honors to confirm my stay and I’ve also got her email, so if thecstay direct post by Thursday I’ll send her another email 😉

  • Stu N says:

    OT – anyone know which Amex- friendly retailers sell B&Q vouchers? Got some DIY spend coming up and B&Q don’t take Amex…

    • TripRep says:

      Tesco? Morrisons?

      • mark2 says:

        with a Morrison’s More card you get 2.5% cash back and check your bank account for further offers.

    • N says:

      Wickes take Amex.

      • Stu_N says:

        Good reminder re Wickes, but no good for this one as B&Q sell the only ceiling lights in the known universe that will do the job…(and who am I to argue…!)

        Will try Morrisons, we don’t have a convenient full-size Tesco and I think Sainsbury’s was a “no” last time.

        • Genghis says:

          Some Tesco Metros have a decent selection of gift cards but it is on a case by case basis.

        • Alan says:

          Worth checking Esso/Tesco Express if you have one nearby and take advantage of the current Esso offer.

        • Stu_N says:

          Tesco Express had one £25 gift card, Sainsbury’s came up with the goods for the rest.

    • Bill says:

      I think you can buy the b&q gift card on the b&q website using amex

  • Graham Walsh says:

    OT As I’ve done what I can of my IHG Accelerate Bonus for this quarter and hit the bonus points too, is it worth diverting hotel spend to say another group? Doing 3 nights via next week to trigger another free night. Should I keep at IHG to try and hit top level? Actually 9.5k points or 50 nights away from 75k level.

    • Jason says:

      Marriott is stay 2 nights get one free

    • Genghis says:

      Run some numbers for your circumstances.
      Ie. Stay at ihg and earn those top up points, 25k IHGs and have SE till Dec 18. Or do you have the ihg credit card and you’ll spend on it between now and Dec 17?

    • John says:

      If they were all paid stays, then you are spending US$262 per night on average (make sure it’s actually the elite-qualifying points you are counting) so you’d only need about 4 nights at the same sorts of places you have been staying at to get to Spire
      Unless you’ve been using 1000/5000 bonus point packages in which case get a few more

    • Lyn says:

      To add to Genghis’s comments – if you stay at IHG a lot (rather than earning most of those points via the IHG credit card) you should also factor in a 100% Spire bonus on hotel points, instead of the 50% for platinum, once you qualify and for all next 2018,

      • Graham Walsh says:

        Good point. I can choose whereever to stay and all paid for stays. I’ve stopped using the IHG black card now as I’ve triggered the 10k spend and now focusing on BAPP. Already done Amex Gold plus bonus then upgraded to Plat. Also done VA Black to trigger those PE upgrades. Been lucky with lots of work expenses. Once I hit the BAPP target I’ll divert spend back to IHG too I think.

  • Andy S says:

    OT: IHG accelerate.
    back in it was noted that there seemed to be some hidden bonuses like the september one for october november etc. now it is october, but the oct one hasn’t revealed itself for me – does anyone else see it? I have a stay coming up this weekend and was hoping for this bonus (though of coruse its not the only reason i booked!!)

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Not visible in mine yet. They were there hidden last month

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