Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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.

  • xcalx says:

    OT.. Has anyone got a link to the Amex Plat insurance policy. have tried google but just getting the buy insurance page. I would like to check over the small print.

    Reason, Just off the phone to Amex/Axa and it appears I am not covered if I cancel the flights to and from MIA-SXM or the cost of the now closed hotel in SXM because I am not flying direct to SXM from the UK. I fly from the UK to BCN then a cruise to MIA. I was the due to have a week in SXM (have now extended the cruise a further 6 days) before flying back to the UK from MIA.

    • Anna says:

      That’s rather worrying if that’s the case, as many people, including myself, arrange their own holidays involving multiple flights. Does any kind of stop over in another country mean that you wouldn’t be covered as you wouldn’t be flying direct from the UK? Please keep us updated xcalx.

      • Alan says:

        Hmm I’ve not had a problem with that before – holiday to NZ with stopovers in Singapore and Oz, made a claim under baggage delay and it was paid out fine (this was a couple of years ago)

        • Drav says:

          could it be anything to do with xcalx taking a cruise to mia then sxm? rather than paying for a flight

    • xcalx says:

      Thanks Genghis

  • Prins Polo says:

    Somewhat related point – Rob, as an idea, do you think it would be worth running an article outlining what the options are when airline goes bust (i.e. paid with bank transfer – out of luck, credit card – chargeback or for GBP 100+ s75, debit card – I’m not sure).

    I actually had tickets for a flight on Monarch bought with the Gold Amex – there’s some limited insurance compared to the Plat and the scope wasn’t really clear, I decided to just forget about this and process a chargeback as the replacement tickets on Ryanair were cheaper than the original Monarch tickets.

    • Rob says:

      Worth a thought, although I am not an expert in this area.

      • Michael Jennings says:

        I had a two flights on Monarch, one booked with a Gold Amex and one booked with a Post Office Platinum card. I’ve requested a chargeback for each of them, and I will see what happened. (They only cost about 30 euros each, and I have booked replacement flights for about the same amount, so it’s not a catastrophe whatever happens).

        What has happened to other people in the same boat?

      • Prins Polo says:

        I’m sure there will be some volunteers, otherwise we’ll ask C-W-S 😉

  • Sussex Bantam says:

    I’ve just been cancelling my Plat card with AMEX by chat and in the blurb they told me that “we will refund fees in full if cancelled in the first 3 months and afterwards on a pro-rata monthly basis”

    Has anyone else come across this ? Is this a change in policy ?

    • jason says:

      Lets hope so….Although chat has been the most reliable for accurate info since launch!!

    • AndyR says:

      I cancelled a Plat the other day after 2 months and they charged me the fee for them.

      • Jonathan says:

        Same here

        • Sussex bantam says:

          I would have dismissed it as it hasn’t been my experience either but this was in their ‘standard disclaimer’ about losing any not transferred points. It reads like a cut and paste so I’m wondering if it’s true. I kept a screenshot of course…

  • dirtyneedlebluesky says:

    I’m surprised you haven’t set the cat among the pigeons with your Norwegian comment!

    • Bryan says:

      I agree. i am sure Rob knows about these things more than us, so it is useful information. But like a run on a bank, a rumour for being close to bankruptcy must be enough to push a fairly satisfactory airline to the brink.

  • Scarecrow says:

    Flying on Norweigan in three weeks!

    I have noticed that Ryan air have upped their pricing considerably here up North, since the collapse of Monarch, £300 return to BCN May school holidays without luggage.

    • Michael Jennings says:

      If you are an airline, you charge what the market can bear. Less competition and prices will go up, alas. Monarch always put downwards pressure in prices, and it is sad to see them go.

  • Henry says:

    Look really, it’s either “Hilton Honors tweaks its fifth night free offer” or it’s “Hilton Honors tweak their fifth night free offer”

    The habit of referring to practically everything in the singular (“police has said” etc) appears to be unstoppable but please be consistent when you apply it.

    • the real harry1 says:

      well, you seem to miss the point that these days ‘their’ is a way to avoid saying ‘his’ or ‘hers’ (or indeed, ‘its’)

      ie ‘the student wrote their essay paper’

      I don’t particularly like it, but ‘their’ has come to be somewhat useful where concision is a consideration – ie avoiding giving the several alternatives (his/ hers/ gender neutral’s/ bats for the other side’s/ not sure)

      so I would suggest ‘Hilton Honors tweaks their ‘fifth night free’ rule’ is merely about following that usage

      • David says:

        Hey Harry – given that I’m presuming you’re describing us homosexuals, ‘bats for the other side’ is neither necessary nor correct when describing gender rather than sexuality.

        Can we leave the outdated euphemisms off the comments please?

    • Rob says:

      Companies (and therefore loyalty schemes) are singular in my book.

  • Alex W says:

    Sad to say I think I called it – that Hilton would devalue the 5th night free after the new variable points pricing.
    Yet to price up any rewards yet but I presume that Rangali is permanently 95k per night and therefore no change to the 5th night free price.

  • Ion says:

    On the Miles & More 500 miles, mine posted very quickly after downloading the app, but a further 500 promised for signing up to the newsletter are nowhere to be seen ! Travelling too much at the moment to attend to it, but still rather irritating 🙁

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.