News in brief:
IHG’s extended ‘100% buy points bonus’ ends today
IHG Rewards Club – the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc scheme – extended its recent ‘100% buy points bonus’ promotion but IT DEFINITELY ENDS TODAY. It is as generous an offer as you will ever see for IHG points.
The offer is targetted but very widely targetted, so it is very likely you will see it on your account. Here are the standard purchase rates which do NOT include the bonus:
- 1,000 – 10,000 points for $13.50 per 1,000 points
- 11,000 – 25,000 points for $12.50 per 1,000 points
- 26,000 – 60,000 points for $11.50 per 1,000 points
I receive a 100% bonus with any order of 5,000 points or more. Some people seem to have a higher minimum, as high as 25,000. Some people also seem to have been offered a cash discount on top of double points for buying the full 60,000 points, although I did not receive that.
With a 100% bonus, you would be able to buy 120,000 IHG points for (at current exchange rates for $690) £525. This assumes your credit card has 0% FX fees.
At the top end of the IHG Rewards Club portfolio, you have InterContinental properties which top out at 50,000 – 60,000 points per night. That’s what you would pay for InterContinental Le Grand in Paris or the InterContinental Amstel in Amsterdam.
With a 100% bonus, IHG is effectively selling you a night at a 50,000 point property for £219 all-in. A 60,000 point hotel would be £262. At the bottom end, the points for a 5,000 point PointBreaks night would cost just £22.
You should look at this if you have a ‘buy points’ target for your Accelerate promotion – although it makes more sense to buy 5,000 and get the bonus than buy 1,000 for no bonus. If you are topping off your account, it is also a good deal irrespective of the exact cents per point cost. The maximum number of points you can buy per year is 120,000 (ie 60,000 plus the 60,000 bonus).
Some more clues about Avios ‘dynamic pricing’
British Airways is planning a move to ‘dynamic pricing’ for Avios redemptions, it was disclosed at the Investor Day presentation last week (read more here).
If you want an idea of what that may involve, aajob description appeared on the Avios website last year. £55,000 – £60,000 was on offer.
Here is what someone, assuming they filled the vacancy, is now doing:
“The role is responsible for the dynamic pricing of rewards for members of the loyalty programmes that use Avios as their reward currency, delivering the right product at the right price and at the right time, in order to best maximise margin and the satisfaction of members to drive engagement.
The Senior Pricing Manager will work closely with the pricing team, product teams, marketing, and other members of the Avios and relevant travel partner commercial teams to manage inventory and drive ongoing pricing strategies, as well as providing critical input to the tactical promotion process. The Senior Pricing Manager will provide analysis, advice and recommendations to drive the pricing strategies, with support from the Avios management team in line with stated commercial objectives.
This is a dynamic cross-functional role that requires excellent organisational and analytical skills, commercial awareness and a passion for delivering results.
What we are looking for…
- Deliver the budgeted margin on redemption for the Avios currency (cost per avios)
- Deliver Avios redeemed and cash on redemption targets
- Use price to drive volumes back to suppliers at optimal levels to drive value through the chain
- Directly responsible for the “dynamic pricing portfolio” and strategies to deliver the above
- Support the development and implementation of “Pay with Avios” with partners
- Work closely with Customer Insight & Analytics to determine the impact of price or inventory changes on customer satisfaction and long term loyalty
- The role will be key in managing the transition to new dynamic pricing system capability, ensuring processes are robust and accountabilities between internal stakeholders are clear
- Ownership of the maintenance and development of dynamic pricing systems and rules engines
- Support, manage or own (as appropriate) CAPEX / OPEX projects involving customer price
- Work with the Head of Pricing to develop integrated pricing strategies across existing products
- Support continuous improvement and consistency of the reward pricing propositions across products, markets and schemes”
Some reader pictures from inside Plaza Premium Terminal 5
Yesterday we ran some PR pictures of the new Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5, which opened on Monday.
At present the only way to get in for free is via Dragonpass or by showing an American Express Platinum charge card.
It looks similar to the Aspire lounge in terms of scale (not surprising, as they are in identical spots in the terminal, but on opposite sides):
…. but with a better use of space:
You can find out more on the Plaza Premium website here.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (August 2022)
As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £20. You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.
There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.
The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer. Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.