Bits: LAST DAY for IHG Flash Sale, is EgyptAir the best Star Alliance scheme?, new Visa cashback deals

News in brief:

LAST DAY to book in the IHG Flash Sale now on

IHG has been running a flash sale this week covering Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites.

This is ONLY for hotels in Europe.  600 properties are included.

Rooms are priced at either £39, £59, £79 or £99 (or € in Europe).  Here is the list.

There are some impressive hotels includedCrowne Plaza The City in London, which most see as comparable to the InterContinental in quality terms, is £99 for example.  The Paddington and Kensington Hotel Indigo hotels are also £99.  Even the very good Crowne Plaza Kensington which I reviewed here (and pictured below) is £99.

You need to book by tonight, Sunday 5th November.  Stays must be between 1st December and 28th February 2018.  Start by checking the list of properties included here.

Is EgyptAir the best Star Alliance frequent flyer scheme?

Last week I ran this article on which Star Alliance air miles scheme was the best.  There seemed to be no clear answer, as it depended very much on how you earned your miles and how you spent them.

One scheme that I did not consider was EgyptAir.  This may have been a mistake.

Here is an article written for the Award Wallet blog which looks at EgyptAir in detail.

This is the key point – you can set up a family account with EgyptAir and (amazingly) the status miles from all flights taken by family members count towards YOUR status.

This means that you may be able to earn yourself a Star Alliance Gold card simply by taking your family on one holiday!  There is no requirement to take any flights on EgyptAir itself to get status with them.

It isn’t all good news.  You will need to ring a Cairo call centre to book any redemption flights, which could be fun.  That said, this could well be a viable option for people who travel on Star Alliance with their family.

New travel Visa cashback deals launched

If you a have Visa debit card from your bank, you should find a new batch of cashback offers have been loaded onto your deals portal assuming your bank runs one.

This is what I see over at the HSBC portal but it should be similar across other providers:

10% cashback on UK Hilton stays over £75 (expires 13th November)

10% cashback on Heathrow Express tickets (expires 10th November)

15% cashback on Affordable Car Hire (expires 14th November)

Other deals include £10 back on a £40 Lidl spend, £10 back on a £40 H&M spend and £3 back on an £8 Costa spend.

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

Avios 'moving to dynamic pricing' - and other Investor Day news
Bits: 35% discount buying SPG points, Amex / Eurostar transfers suspended, BA Run Gatwick race
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  1. Stephen C says:

    Of the ones mentioned I only see Hilton on my Halifax Visa debit offers. My wife has Costa, but it’s 25% on up to £30 and the same for Subway

  2. Sam Wardill says:

    Be careful with IHG Flash sale. Non-refundable offers on local HIEx hotels (Wandsworth / Wimbledon) were more expensive than flexible standard rates when I checked.

    • Lady London says:

      @Sam yes I noticed the same. For the period the sale operates several of the hotels I saw regularly sell at or below the ‘sale’ price. One apparent bargain I did notice was Crowne Plaza in Neuilly, Paris at 39 Euros though.

    • Peter K says:

      Just checked a hotel in Birmingham I’m staying at on points in December and yes, it’s £4 cheaper to book direct than via the “flash sale”.

  3. Roger I* says:

    Interesting article about EgyptAirPlus. Trying to find out more, I was wondering if the SWISS deal to JNB featured by Rob recently would qualify for MS credit. But how to find out?

    The MS website has a calculator, but for MS flights only. Trying to enter LHR/LON-ZRH, ZRH-JNB, LHR/LON-JNB produces no results. (After all, MS don’t fly those routes.) But there is this comment on the calculator page: ‘Classes not eligible for earning miles X – I – O – R – N – F – A -P ‘

    Hmm. The LX deal looks like P class, so no 200% credit. Back to Miles&Less for this trip, then.

  4. They’re at

    Don’t have any of the ones Rob mentions, so it doesn’t look like they’re generic across all Visa cards. I’ve had the 10% off at Hilton before though (and did very nicely out of it!). Some are regular ones, like All Bar One – they ‘expire’ and then seem to reappear with a new date.

    • RussellH says:

      I do have access to nationwide Rewards, though this was something I had totally forgotten about.

      I also found a bookmark which took me to Royal Bank of Scotland Rewards; could not log in, phoned the help number, only to find that it is only for people with an account for which you pay £2 per month… At £24 a year, unlikely to be of any value. The N’wide one might be though…

      • It’s superb value at £2/month – 2% off council tax, mobile, electricity, gas, etc. Used to be £3 for 3% which was even nicer! Still better than Santander 123 (they’re only 1% on some things), although no in-credit interest.

  5. OT but I don’t seem to have gotten the 20% bonus for Clubcard transfers to virgin Atlantic.

  6. Elaine Hand says:

    thanks Rob
    Consider myself to be pretty good with signing up for deals but had no idea HSBC did this
    Just registered so will be interested to see what I am offered
    Why dont they tell customers about this ?

    • Same here. I was wondering if it was because I wasn’t signed up for marketing emails, but they send me enough crap through the post that I would have expected to get it.

  7. OT: Are there any rumours as to when the Lloyd’s Avios cards will close?

    • Nope

    • No

    • I’m wondering now. 26 weeks has now passed since I made my complaint about avios not posting from LLoyds, and nothing’s happened. I’ve reported it to the FOS but it’s making me think that maybe Lloyds never intends to rectify the problem because the cards won’t be around much longer…?

      • have you had compensation?

        • I have never had any problem at all. Have you tried 0800 072 3572?

        • Yes x 2. Which phone number is that? I’ve completed by phone and online but it’s still not resolved!

      • I wouldn’t conflate the poor CS from Lloyds with timing of card closure – suspect it’s more c***-up than conspiracy!

      • I contacted my complaints manager last week and was told that I seemed to be only person that he knew about whose pts didn’t transfer after the magic 26wks. I am now in another wait period of 2 wks but have been told I will get some more compensation. I only have a couple of hundred pts not transferred now but would like to start using the card again soon. I will get round to reporting it to the FOS next week too.

        • Gosh Liz that’s really shocking. Would you be comfortable using the card again though?

        • I will use it as long as they transfer the pts across manually every month. It means I need to phone up and ask them to do it though. Don’t want to get rid of it. I haven’t used it except for a couple of times for the last 4 months. Will see what they offer after the 2wks.

        • Ooh nice result, Liz! Sadly mine has always worked so no compensation!

  8. With Lloyds the offers cover all your cards, i.e. Visa debit, avoid rewards Amex and MC that you have with them – regularly including supermarket shops as well.

  9. My bank gives visa debit card offers but whenever i look at them it says “no offers currently available”. Must be because i hardly ever pay with a debit card.

    • I never pay by debit card, but having signed up to the HSBC offers, I’ve got a bunch. I wouldn’t use most of them, but they don’t have any history of spend to target me with as yet. I will probably use the Costa and Clarks offers, but don’t need anything from any of the other places at this time.

      OTOH, British Gas Rewards includes 10% off at Waitrose for a month. I shop there every day. My boss has been using this and the 10% comes off the gross bill, before any other offers are implemented, so you can get 10% off your free coffee and newspaper and the stuff you get 20% off as myWaitrose picks.

  10. I have similar offers via a First Direct CREDIT card!

    • Lloyds and Halifax (same group) have offers which apply to credit and debit cards.
      I have a new First Direct card but cannot see where offers would show; any advice please? Is it because the little reader has not arrived yet perchance?

  11. Santander has 5% off Emirates just now.

  12. the real harry1 says:

    12 new offers on Halifax debit card – Co-Op only 5% but I guess that’s a free £10 on council tax

    • Peter K says:

      Until your factor in the petrol cost of getting there and my wife buying magazines she never buys elsewhere. I lose more than the £5 saving!

  13. Off topic: Mrs Gavin treated me to a day in London for my birthday yesterday – not much of a treat for her as she commutes 4 hours a day to St Paul’s during the week – anyway after brunch at Aqua at the Shard – decent views and food – we went on the Emirates Cable Car over to Victoria Dock. Great fun! Finished off with a quick trip to the science museum where there are some interesting flight related stuff in one of the galleries including a cross section of a 747!

    • I’d forgotten all about the Emirates cable car. Will give it a go next time I’m up town. Thanks for the heads up!

      • Save it for a good day weather wise, personally I love it and everybody I have taken on it was very impressed.

  14. Try logging in as a BoS customer instead.

    It doesn’t matter whether you log in as or it’s the same user name and password.

    For general banking it’s also something to watch out for – especially with savings accounts. It’s a “market dynamic” thing – but they often offer different rates under the different brands for the same products.

    • Tried this but it didn’t work for me. My ID is ancient though so that might have something to do with it.

  15. Genghis says:

    Today’s Marriott Twitter: 15 mins. #RewardsPoints

    • thehornets says:

      Beat me to it!

    • OT @Ghenghis: Did you check your Sainsbury insurance? There was indeed a fault with mine, they backdated my double points and credited the 14k points manually even though I have not made five payments yet. Happy with the result, I can now cancel in a couple of weeks as soon as they take my fifth payment.

      • Genghis says:

        Nice. Was that through Nectar?

        I called Nectar and both mine and wife’s accounts have a double points indicator on them so should be on track to receive the bonus. I don’t shop at Sainsburys but made a purchase last Wed. The guy on the phone said the bonus points post in batches every month.

        • You are ok then, hope you get your bonus quickly. I called Sainsbury Insurance, l&g In practice, who emailed Sainsbury who fixed it in a few days.

  16. thehornets says:

    O/T: just like the last three or four weeks, there are 1,000 free Marriott Rewards points TODAY for those on Twitter. Just answer today’s question (the answer is 15 minutes), tag itv with #rewardspoints and within the day you will have 1,000 points in your Marriott Rewards account.

    Click here:

    There is a new competition each week- many of us have already earned thousands of free points for a few minutes work.

  17. LostAntipod says:

    Dont have the Hilton offer. Am registered.

  18. I am a Star Alliance Gold through Egyptair. LON-CAI is a route I often travel. I was eligible for their Egypt based credit card as well and in its first year or so all miles earned though spend were qualifying status miles so I earned gold in no time. I have just requalified partly because of contributions from family member travel. The other great perk with their credit card is it gives you a 25% discount on award pricing if you are flying Egypt Air metal.
    Small tip dealing with the program: don’t bother trying to contact the Egypt based call centres. Difficult to get through to. I just call their Dubai office (numbers on the website) and they are able to sort everything I need. Never been a problem
    Other downside is they don’t seem to have a published award chart, so you need to call to find out what awards will cost.

    • GUWonder says:

      Egyptair charges fuel surcharges on tickets using their miles, right? That’s something to consider.

      I’ve been promoting the MS program for a while now due to the MS*G status being very easy to acquire. For example, when SAS has its “children fly free” (well, just for taxes/airport-type fees) promo, it can lead to some insanely cheap ways for a person to earn *G status. But be aware that it can take some time to set up the MS family account and it must be set up before taking the flights according to the policy (or, perhaps in practice, before the flights are credited and doing the missing flight credit approach???).

  19. Tks for sharing about Visa Cash Back offers, Rob! I have a bank account with HSBC and they had never told me about this!