Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: BA bed bugs, Amex Platinum Waldorf and Conrad offer, Thistle launches free breakfast

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

News in brief:

BA bed bugs story – does it have legs?

Metro had a story on Monday about a Canadian family who were apparently ‘attacked by bed bugs’ when they flew with British Airways from Vancouver to London.

You can read it here.

The whole story is suitably vague, not even mentioning where on the plane the passengers were sitting.  (Can they be bed bugs if they are not in a bed?!)   On the way back, they were apparently given “the best seats on the plane” without actually explaining where they were either.

Interestingly, the quote from BA is that “reports of bed bugs onboard are extremely rare.”  Not “unknown”, just “extremely rare”.  Which is comforting.

British Airways 787

American Express launches Conrad and Waldorf-Astoria offer

Amex has launched a new offer for Platinum charge card holders.  Until 20th December, you will receive either a ‘3rd night free’ or ‘4th night free’ at participating Conrad and Waldorf-Astoria hotels.

These properties are all part of the Amex ‘Fine Hotels & Resorts’ scheme.  This means that you will also receive free breakfast, guaranteed 4pm late check-out, an extra amenity (usually $100 of food and beverage credit) and a room upgrade subject to availability at check-in.

You will earn Hilton Honors points and stay credit as usual, even though you need to book via American Express Travel.  (Emyr Thomas, our luxury hotel booking partner – details here – can also book ‘Fine Hotels & Resorts’ stays for Platinum cardholders if you find it easier just to ping him an email.)

Participating hotels are:

‘3rd night free’ – Conrad Seoul, Conrad Tokyo (review), Waldorf Astoria Beijing (review), Waldorf Astoria Park City

‘4th night free’ – Waldorf Astoria hotels in Arizona Biltmore, Boca Raton, Case Marina, Rome, Versailles, Berlin, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dubai, Panama, Ras al Khaimah (review); Conrad hotels in Koh Samui, Maldives (review)

Thistle Hotels launches free breakfast

As their latest salvo in the ‘book direct’ war, Thistle Hotels has launched free breakfast for everyone who books directly via their website.

This would stack with the current Amex cashback deal of £35 cashback when you spend £100 at Thistle.  Details of that offer are in this article.

If you’re looking for a Heathrow hotel, remember that the Thistle Heathrow – whilst not being the smartest hotel at the airport – lets you access the driverless pods in the adjacent car park for £5, letting you glide effortlessly into Terminal 5 in the morning!


Hotel offers update – December 2022:

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Want to buy hotel points?

  • IHG One Rewards is offering a 100% bonus when you buy points by 29th December 2022. Click here to buy.
  • Marriott Bonvoy is offering a 25% discount when you buy points by 20th December 2022. Click here to buy.

Comments (67)

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

  • Nick says:

    Bed bugs are often carried in suitcases which they have entered from hotel rooms, or other rooms, after luggage has been placed on the floor. One would imagine then that it would therefore be quite easy for them to get into an aircraft cabin.

  • TripRep says:

    I’d agree bedbugs on flights are rare & all airlines suffer.

    Looks like its hard to manage treating vs loss of revenue from aircraft being out of service, another case from last year when they decided to keep the aircraft running with the infestation (also on BA)
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/bed-bug-outbreak-on-british-airways-flight/

  • S879 says:

    So if I book the platinum offer say Conrad Koh Samui and get 4th night free with platinum and then book 4 nights with Hilton directly and get the 5th free, would that work if I email hotel to link bookings?

  • Nogoingback says:

    My son’s legs were covered in what I am pretty sure were bed bug bites when we arrived in LAX at Easter. He was so upset and itchy. I contacted BA with photos etc and was totally fobbed off.
    Luckily we were at a hotel with access to a tumble dryer etc

  • Clive says:

    Bed bugs are a scourge. I read that they’re almost impossible to get rid of and can hide under light switches, in curtains and carpets etc – so I’d be less worried about being bitten on a flight than by carrying them home from one.

  • Egg says:

    Thought Thistle always done free breakfast – at least if you sign up / register for free.
    They have some good pod parking & stay deals for around £80 (8 night parking) if you keep them peeled

    • Volker says:

      “…whilst not being the smartest hotel at the airport…” On the face of it, thanks to the driverless pods, the Thistle could be a real, less pricey alternative to the Sofitel T5 – maybe HFP could do a review? I’ve got several stays with late arrivals and early-morning connections at Heathrow coming up in the next few weeks; however, having seen that the Thistle got hundreds (!) of tripadvisor reviews in the categories “poor” and “terrible”, I went for the Sofitel again…

      • Andrew says:

        It’s absolutely fine. I’ve used it many times to avoid the M40/M25 in the morning to catch an early flight.

        Obviously it all depends on what kind of experience you are seeking. If you are looking for a WOW 7 night stay to impress your new bride whilst rolling in luxury and not setting foot outside the door – you’ll probably be a bit disappointed. If however, you are looking to spend time with family, put the kids to bed, arrive at the hotel at 11pm, sleep, get up at 6am, hop on a pod and be on the first flight to DC – then it’s absolutely perfect.

        • Matt says:

          The Thistle is our default pre-flight hotel. It’s a little bit tatty around the edges and clearly nothing special, but it’s not too expensive, convenient, and perfectly adequate for one night.

          It’s also within an easy walk of good Chinese and Indian restaurants on Bath Road.

        • Anna says:

          How exactly does is work with the pods and what is the transfer time? We stay at T5 at least once a year and the Sofitel prices always make me wince.

        • Tom says:

          We’ve driven down and stayed here from Leeds. Tatty round he edges, but fine for a 8pm check in, couple of pints and then jumping in the driverless pods to get to T5.

          Short walk to the pod terminal, jump in, the door closes and off you go!

  • xcalx says:

    OT Re Amex plat insurance

    You will be reimbursed up to £150 per person for refreshment
    costs, or up to £300 per person (including £150 for
    refreshments) for additional travel and accommodation costs
    incurred prior to actual departure on Your Trip if:

    Delay, cancellation or overbooking. Your flight, train
    or ship is delayed, cancelled, or overbooked and no
    alternative is made available within 4 hours of the
    published departure time;

    Has this jumped to 4 hours from 2 hours, was sure it was 2 hours

    • Adam says:

      I’ve had my card 10 years and am sure it has always been 4 hours.

    • the_real_a says:

      Yes 4 hours – however i felt slightly guilty on a recent delay to gorge myself at Fortnum and Mason in T5. Spent a good hour enjoying the fresh meats and seafood finishing with a £10 cup of blue mountain coffee. Bill came to just shy of £98… Rob mentioned i had made a schoolboy error and should have added a bottle of champagne.

      AMEX settled without even a hint of quibble. Makes delays an absolute pleasure.

      • Alan says:

        LOL here was me feeling bad spending £32.50 on some dinner on a recent AMS delay! Claimed on Amex Plat ICC Dollar (as don’t need to spend on card), but put actual food on Amex Plat UK – not an issue, settled over the phone and money coming back via bank account. Schiphol was total chaos that day so not a chance of getting refreshment voucher from KLM.

  • Gavin says:

    Off topic, posted last night but in case anyone missed and collects Aegean miles, 500 free miles for downloading or opening the Aegean app

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.