Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: IHG ‘buy points bonus’ last day, Avios ‘dynamic pricing’ job, more Plaza Premium T5 photos

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

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 page to buy points is here.

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).

You can buy via this link.

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, take a look at this job description that appeared on the Avios website last year.  You can download the full job spec, which remains on the Avios website, as a PDF here.  £55,000 – £60,000 was on offer.

Here is what someone, assuming they filled the vacancy, is now doing (hat-tip to Flyertalk):

“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”

Plaza Premium LHR T5

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.

Plaza Premium LHR T5

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):

Plaza Premium LHR T5

…. but with a better use of space:

Plaza Premium LHR T5


Plaza Premium LHR T5


Plaza Premium LHR T5

You can find out more on the Plaza Premium website here.

Comments (114)

  • the real harry1 says:

    O/T also last call for the £5/£10/£15 Esso/ Amex deal – ends on 11th Nov

  • Brian says:

    OT – a new Hilton offer has appeared on my Amex Gold card – spend 250, get 50 back. Better than the last one that just ended, which offered 3,000 MR points.

  • The_real_a says:

    Seems quite a low salary for that kind of role…

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. Some quite premium things they’re asking for: advanced analytics, commercial accountability, managing IT change etc.

      Doesn’t sound like the role comes with a team either.

      • Alan says:

        Interesting, I was thinking the opposite! Only on about £10k more than that after two decades training…

        • Genghis says:

          Go private, Alan. Those BUPA guys I go to seem to charge £150 for 10 mins work.

        • JamesB says:

          @Alan, there is a group of enterprising young (well some not so young anymore) ladies in Stockbrig who could show you how it’s done! Might make some of their colleagues green with anvy or leave others feeling blue.

        • Worzel says:

          Overgenerous salary: I know someone who runs a hospital for the same!

      • bagoly says:

        We don’t want them paying so much that they get someone who forsees arbitrage opportunities!

      • Cate says:

        You have to keep in the back of your mind that the alleged requirements of many advertised job roles are just advertising the brand. i.e. ‘This is a dynamic cross-functional role that requires excellent organisational and analytical skills, commercial awareness and a passion for delivering results’ sounds better than ‘can talk to mates from other departments at the coffee machine, analyses who paid for the last coffees, considers if it’s worth popping to Waitrose across the road for a free cappuccino, can multi task i.e. can carry two cappuccinos back at the same time.

    • Talay says:

      Crawley is not Kensington but I suspect most property there is unaffordable on a £60k salary and this job specification is, in my opinion, asking for some skills and responsibilities quite a way over a £60k job.

      As mentioned elsewhere, this should really be more of a team specification and given the importance, I would have thought someone senior would have it in their portfolio. Perhaps that is a failing of BA and their management, giving important tasks to outsiders with no experience and not prioritising it highly enough ?

    • Aliks says:

      The low salary indicates that the Senior Pricing Manager is all about crunching the numbers, and not about making the decisions.

      I suspect the major challenge is to pull the data together from different incompatible sources, and squeeze it into monthly report packs.

      • Lady London says:

        Yes it looks like an Excel bunny job, that knowledge of databases and a bit of IT would help with. Travel industry also notoriously pays badly.

        • temp says:

          Indeed, this role actually seems pretty well paid for the industry… BA revenue managers earn significantly less (c.20k)!

          That most comments are surprised how low a salary this is probably says more about the HfP demographic!

        • temp says:

          Indeed, this role actually seems pretty well paid for the industry… BA revenue managers earn significantly (c.20k) less!

          That most comments are surprised how low a salary this is probably says more about the HfP demographic!

        • temp says:

          It’s weird. I have never really considered what the background of the average miles collector (if there is such a thing) is, but far clearer now! I guess it shouldn’t be so much of a surprise that a lot of people into miles-collecting earn a good wage… Appetites have already been whet for business class, 5-star hotels/resorts etc. And I can’t imagine many people on an average wage consider paying £450 a year for a credit card, no matter what the ‘benefits’!

  • Roger I* says:

    Somebody quibbled when I refer to the Avios price of a redemption.

    A quick count shows 23 references to ‘price’ and ‘pricing’ in the ad. 🙂 QED

  • Liz says:

    OT update from yesterday – pts have finally arrived in our BARC from BAPP – that took a week to transfer instead of the normal overnight.

  • Roger I* says:

    er, ‘refer’ should read ‘referred’ (1st line)

  • Mike G says:

    Plaza Premium or Concorde Lounge, which would you favour?

    • Rob says:

      I’ve got some more Concorde Room photos for tomorrow so you can decide!

      PP will be rammed as soon as they start allowing Priority Pass. Just had some more pics from a reader – this morning, at the peak period, there were 6 customers.

  • Sarah says:

    If I wanted to stay in a 60,000 intercontinental, would I be best to buy points using this deal or renew ambassador membership and then use the ambassador certificate to buy a weekend night and get one free? Would I also get points for buying first night?

    • Genghis says:

      Depends. You need to run the numbers yourself. If AMB route you then have it for the year. You get points for night 1 on AMB stay.

    • Cate says:

      Be sure to check out the cash price for the date you want first. I was looking at the IC Lisbon yesterday for a weekend jolly and they wanted 60,000 points but only about 135 euros cash. Points didn’t make sense this time.

    • Alex W says:

      Consider whether a paid stay would hot accelerate targets too.