Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: Amex @ Frieze Art Fair, Philippine Airlines B777-300ER, Accor relaunches Orient Express

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

News in brief:

Exclusive Amex lounge at Frieze London

Although they never told their customers, at least the Platinum ones, American Express has a private lounge at the Frieze London art fair in Regents Park.

Any Platinum or Centurion cardholder can get in.  I am not sure of the guesting rules but at least one is allowed.

I was there yesterday for the preview event and the Ruinart champagne was free flowing.  Luckily I could get in by showing the statement page of the Amex app on my phone, as my card was back in the office. Do try to visit if you will be at the fair over the next few days.

Philippine Airlines launches B777-300ER

Last week Philippine Airlines invited us to a party to celebrate the launch of their new B777-300ER aircraft on the London – Manila route.  This becomes a daily service from 6th December onwards.

Philippine Airlines was the first airline to connect Europe with Asia and is determined to become a contender again on this route.  There are currently good deals on return flights when booked before 15th October including Kuala Lumpur from £459 and Manila for £505.

The Philippine Airlines website is here.

AccorHotels to relaunch the Orient Express hotel brand

Accor has announced a deal with French railway group SNCF to relaunch the Orient Express hotel brand.

There was, until a few years ago, a group of hotels owned by Sea Containers under the Orient Express brand.  These hotels were all rebranded as Belmond after a dispute with SNCF which was never fully explained, and the first UK city centre Belmond hotel – the ex-Cadogan Hotel – is due to open in Knightsbridge in a few months.

The difference this time is that AccorHotels now owns 50% of the Orient Express brand, whereas the Sea Containers deal was a pure licensing agreement.

The plan is to “develop a new collection of prestigious hotels under the Orient Express banner.  This collection, which aims to be the very epitome of the art of travel, will offer a unique experience steeped in history that combines the luxury, exoticism and sophistication of East and West in iconic locations.”

Accor will also take over the operation of the existing Orient Express art deco rail fleet, making it available for event hire.

(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.)

Comments (34)

  • James says:

    Anyone know of the routes still available for earning Avios on travel money ? If any even exist anymore.

    Even better if it can be done via credit card as a purchase but appreciate that might not be at all possible anymore 🙁

    Cheers.

    • Rob says:

      Travelex 1 Avios per £1, or use a Curve in an ATM linked to a points earning Visa or MC. The points are not free, either way.

  • Alex Sm says:

    Well timed with the upcoming release of the “Murder on Orient Express” epic remake

  • Mikee says:

    O/T – the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Amex/Visa additional signup bonuses have now been pulled (previously you could get an extra 13,500 miles on top of the 18,500 sign-up bonus on the Black Card if signing-up with a rep in the Clubhouse at LHR T3 – the White card also had an extra Clubhouse bonus but can’t remember how much extra it was).
    According to the Virgin rep in the Clubhouse, the deal has been pulled as Virgin are “renegotiating their deal with Amex” so another sign this card could be changing soon.
    HOWEVER, you can actually still get the extra bonus miles by applying by phone with MBNA and quoting Virgin Clubhouse promotion (0800 056 5576). Not sure how long this will last but suggest calling and signing-up asap.
    Note that 18,500 miles are credited by MBNA on 1st spend on the card and the additional 13,500 are added directly by Virgin within 3 months – card fee is £140.

    • Alan says:

      It was a 9k bonus on the White.

      Shame this has been pulled, but here’s hoping they come up with a decent offer to replace the Amex one! Almost hit the £10k to get 2nd upgrade voucher with the Amex – wished it covered UC, but PE to East Coast US would be OK at econ pricing!

      • Liz says:

        That’s what we did for our trip in Aug. Went out UC and came back PE from Washington DC using our upgrade voucher – flight was quite good and food was fine.

    • Liz says:

      We got in just in time then – we both took out the white card in Aug – made one purchase and both got 12k pts a couple of weeks ago!

  • Graham Walsh says:

    OT Re Virgin, got an email today about miles booster – 30% extra. Just wondering if it’s worth it. Done 3 return US trips with them in the last 6 months.

    If you make a purchase through our Buy Miles or Miles Booster programmes between 2-31 October 2017, you’ll recieve an extra 30% of miles on top as a brilliant little bonus.

    However, no option on boosting miles, just the 30% extra when buying https://www.virginatlantic.com/gb/en/flying-club/miles/earn-miles/buy-miles.html

    • the real harry1 says:

      had to check but it’s them not you!

      ‘If you make a purchase through our Buy Miles or Miles Booster programmes between 2-31 October 2017, you’ll recieve an extra 30% of miles on top as a brilliant little bonus.’

      Sack the illiterate Marketing Mgr! 🙂