Bits: great 1-day Air China sale, new Amex £50 Hilton cashback deal, SPG / Jingle Bell Ball

News in brief:

Excellent Air China deals out of Germany – today only!

Air China is having an ’11/11′ event this weekend.   All European destinations are running 20% off deals – except for Germany.  From Germany there are some very aggressive fixed fare deals.

We’re talking, departing Frankfurt, Munich or Dusseldorf in Business Class:

€1,118 – Hong Kong, Taipei, Bangkok, Phuket, Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur

€1,336 – Peking, Shanghai, Wenzhou, Fuzhou, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Xi’an, Shenyang

€1,632 – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland

In reality, it seems that fares to Australasia actually pop out cheaper, eg €1,465 is available to Auckland.

Travel dates are 1st December 2017 – 2nd March 2018, 16th March 2018 – 16th April 2018, 24th April 2018 – 16th June 2018, 20th July 2018 – 24th August 2018.

Air China is part of Star Alliance so you could (depending on which booking class the ticket books into) earn miles and status credit with Lufthansa Miles & More or one of the other Star programmes.  Use to find the most generous programme.

I know very little about Air China, so do some research on what planes are flying which route and what kind of seating if will offer.  A typial Air China business class is pictured below.  For anyone who missed the Qatar Airways sale last week, this offers a bit of compensation.

These deals end today.  The Air China Germany site, in English, is here.

Hilton ‘£50 back on £250 spend’ cashback deal

A new Hilton cashback offer has appeared on a lot of American Express accounts.  To see if you are targetted, visit the Amex website and take a look under the ‘Offers’ tab on the online statement page for each of your cards.

You will receive £50 cashback when you spend £250 or more at selected UK and European Hilton, Doubletree, Waldorf-Astoria, Curio and Conrad hotels before 31st January.  (Hilton Paris Opera is pictured below and Hilton Paris Opera.)

Not all hotels are participating.  Make sure that you check the list of hotels on the Amex website before booking – it is only UK and European hotels, and not all of them.  In theory you also need to book ‘pay at checkout’ rates to get this deal.  In reality, pre-paid rates will probably also trigger it.

In the past, these offers have been triggered by cumulative spend.  There is no mention of this – so you are not guaranteed to receive it if the £250 is not hit in one transaction – but you might be lucky.

PS.  Caffe Nero has also launched a cashback deal.  It is a bit off-topic for HFP but I mention it because it is available for ALL Amex-issued Amex cards so you can definitely register.  You will get 10% cashback on all Nero purchases until 6th December. (EDIT: works if it is not showing online.)

Jingle Bell Ball tickets available via SPG Moments

SPG Moments, the ‘experiences’ redemption option inside Starwood Preferred Guest, has added some great packages if you’ve got any 8-15 year old children.

Tickets are available to the Capital Radio ‘Jingle Bell Ball’ at the O2 on the 9th and 10th December.  There are different acts each night, with headliners across the two events including Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Liam Payne and Rita Ora.

It will cost you 25,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points for a pair of tickets to either night.  Your tickets are in the private SPG Suite, where full food and drink hospitality will be provided.

You can redeem for tickets via the SPG Moments site here.  As of 8pm last night there were six pairs left for the 9th and three pairs for the 10th.

Do NOT transfer points into Starwood from American Express Membership Rewards for this – it will take 2-3 days and these will go quickly.  You can transfer Marriott Rewards points into SPG as that conversion (at 3:1) is instant.

(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.)

What is the best replacement for the UK Emirates Skywards credit card?
Review of the new Hampton by Hilton at Stansted Airport
About Head for Points

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  1. O/T – last day to use Esso £5 off £50 spend! Just put through a healthy amount of spend at a Tesco express/esso petrol station

    • rams1981 says:

      I’ve had great use of the esso offer. One of cards had 3 of the offers and the other 2 and they stacked. Have an incredible number of tesco gift cards and others stocked up now.

    • Never got that offer on any of my cards. Did at least get 10p/L discount coupons from Tesco which helped a bit.

    • Bloody hell! Amazingly good result 😀

  2. Bob mcbob says:

    I wouldn’t touch Air China with a barge pole on an international flight. Used them many times between LHR and PEK when there’s no other choice, and their seats are uncomfortable, the food is dire and don’t expect any good sleep. They are 95% full of Chinese passengers, each taking the the kitchen sink on as hand luggage, people constantly walking up and down last business class using the loos.

    They actually make The BA product look good!

    • I liked they way the don’t bother turning the seatbelt sign off, I think simply because it won’t make any difference to what the average passenger does. Saying that, I flew them to Australia a couple of year ago for £430 in economy and had no one next to me on all 4 flights and the legroom was decent. Food terrible and unbelievably tight with the drinks, giving out basically shots of water and wine with the “meals”. Learnt to stock up on my own snacks and drinks after flight number 1.

      P.s. is there a reason I’m getting advertisements for gay cruises today on hfp Rob?

    • I’d never take Air China on the basis that they’re full of mainland Chinese. This isn’t racist. Even my Chinese colleague agrees and takes BA home.

      • Sorry but this is racist and typically said by people who don’t even realise they are being racist.

        To be fair, there is little difference between BA and CA overall J product on this route. Both face little competition at their home bases and are reluctant to improve their products. Neither is great but still OK for having a lie-flat bed to sleep on a non-stop flight. CA provides many connection options to the rest of China and Asia, which can be combined with 72hr (soon 144hr) visa-free stay in Beijing.

        • Perhaps to you but I am only speaking from my perspective from when we travelled in China. People taking photos of my wife and not taking no for an answer, people seriously pushing, people spitting on the train floor, people spitting in restaurants, children pooing into food containers out in the open in Tiananmen Sq… I am not racist. I just do not like the above. We have never had that in any other country we have travelled.

        • Barry cutters says:

          That’s not racism . Look up the definition. Iv been to 55 country’s and I have to agree, china is something else!! the culture difference is something astounding. Never seen anything like it – people spitting on the floor in the airport, I saw a guy hitting his wife in the street and nobody tried to stop it etc etc I won’t list the differences. What I can say is the hygiene standard has really put me off Chinese food all together

        • I knew someone would raise that comment as racist. It is not racist, there are major cultural differences between Chinese culture and acceptable behaviour in other cultures and i say this based on my own experiences spending 4 weeks a year in Asia, and experiences in UK. Important to raise the point that this isn’t a western opinion (we are very politically correct), it is the dominant opinion in many asian countries, including amongst friends who are of Chinese descent.

          In fact, the Chinese government had to start an public information programme to teach its citizens how to behave when abroad. Here’s an article from the FT on the subject:

        • the real harry1 says:

          Hong Kong is generally very civilised,as in what you might expect in Europe

          I wonder why?

      • ‘people spitting on the floor in the airport, I saw a guy hitting his wife in the street and nobody tried to stop it etc etc’ .

        I’ve seen this in the UK.

        • Barry cutters says:

          Is that a northern airport? Iv never seen people spitting on the floor at LHR….

          My point is that the comments above are not rasist. It’s an opinion of why he wouldn’t want to fly on air china .

          Myself and missus don’t go to turkey/morocco/ Tunisia as we find the male attention on western women too much. It doesn’t mean we are racist.

      • ‘Is that a northern airport?’

        Eh?…isn’t that racist against northerners??

        Actually it was LGW – and the women slapped him back so hard you could hear it from across the road in the car park.

        • the real harry1 says:

          he’s no moron 🙂

        • 🙂 lots of banter on the comments today. I’m from the north and live in London. There are certainly more chavs / rough’uns, whatever you want to call them from “the North”. You know, the staple for Jeremy Kyle kind…

        • Barry cutters says:

          it was a joke. I’m also a northerner living in the south

    • Irrilius says:

      I flew LHR-AKL with them in business class and have to disagree based on my experience. True, the food was pretty poor and the inflight entertainment was awful (I took my iPad loaded with films) but the seats were lie flat and comfortable and I slept well on all legs. I was pleasantly surprised and would definitely use them again if the price was right.

  3. I would not go for Air China neither – food is disgusting (and I am not picky person), very poor service and Beijing airport is one huge mess (on my way to London from Thailand, at least 1000 people were queuing up for only 1 opened transfer desk and blocked the whole arrival terminal, but border officers did not do anything)…not worth the money….btw according to seatguru, most aricraft types are only fitted with angle flat business class seats…

    • Seatguru means nothing, it is a private ad-driving site with no formal relation to airlines. For small ‘foreign’ airlines (read:non-US) I would look for more accurate sources elsewhere as it is unlikely to be kept up-to-date.

      • Seatguru was pretty good until it was bought by Expedia.
        Tripadvisor is going somewhat the same way.

  4. Jordan D says:

    Just looked and the Caffè Nero offer is on NONE of the 6 Amex my wife or I have …

    • Roger I* says:

      Odd. It seems to be permanent on ours. As one offer expires, up comes a replacement offer with identical terms.

      • Same here, but found it on Amex Connect.

        • Thanks! I did not know about Amex Connect! I didn’t have the offer on my card but found it here!

          OT: Back in August or Sept I had the £25 Amazon offer across 6 cards. I never got the points on 2 of the cards but they randomly turned up last week! Reading in here many people seemed to credited the same day!

      • +1 along with Debenhams which seems to have taken permanent residence on all our cards.

    • It’s on my Plat and Nectar, but not on my SPG. Hardly ever use them but did last weekend, shame it wasn’t on then! Used Curve instead, at least that got me 3% back.

      • RussellH says:

        I have it, for the third or fourth time, on both my SPG and my Gold Credit card. I always save it ‘to card’, just in case I find myself somewhere where the only thing to do it buy a Caffe Nero, but so far, that has never happened!

        Perhaps they keep giving me the offer in the hope that one day I might use it!

        Nothing else of interest there though.

    • Stephen Lee says:

      Neither is Caffee Nero on ours (Amex BA posh card)

  5. No Caffè Nero deal for me unfortunately. Maybe next time…

    • Same here – I’ve had a run of Cafe Nero offers and the last expired a few days or so ago. However, nothing showing as of this morning.

    • Nor me.

      One odd thing about the one that expired a couple of days ago was that it specifically excluded payments made in store via the app with Amex cards – yet Amex is listed as a sponsor on all the promotional material for the current ‘pay with the app and win a prize’ promotion. I wonder if they’ve changed that in the T&Cs of the new one?

    • No Caffe Nero offer for me neither. I’ve had the 5% and 7% ones in the past (which have come in handy) but not this one as yet ☹️

    • No Caffe Nero offer for me neither. I’ve had the 5% and 7% ones in the past (which have come in handy) but not this one as yet ☹️

      • Good hints above re Amex Connect. I’ve registered and the offer is on my online account. I’d completely forgotten about Connect so good result. Thanks folks.

  6. €348 return to Japan is worth mentioning.

  7. Ba-flyer says:

    Do Amex credit check supplementary cardholders? I have an offer for 3k MR and wondered if I can get a second card for myself?

    • That’s two separate questions!
      1. A credit card account is not permitted to be in joint names so there is no possible way they can credit check a supp – you would be wholly and singularly liable for any debts racked up by whoever held the card, so the most they could ever do is an ID check.
      2. There have been several posts on this in the last week. Genghis in particular has written instructions, but yes it is possible to give it to yourself.

      • re 2
        You apply for another card in your name and put ‘other’ as relationship (claim it is to separate expenses or something if asked). Useful for ShopSmall; whether you get the 3,000 points is another question.

        • Do you only get one supp bonus per card? I got the (unadvertised) 3k avios and was wondering if I could apply for another supp and get another 3k?

    • No credit check.

      Yep, see my previous posts – you can get an additional card for yourself (which will also be Plat and not count towards your free Plat additional card), which will have your name on it with “A. C.” after it. Handy for ShopSmall or for splitting spend.

    • They check they exist, but no credit check.

      • BlueHorizonUK says:

        Is anyone having problems adding additional card holders. I am a supporter on my wifes BA card and she just added me to her Gold card but got a letter saying it was refused and for me to call in but she had to speak first before they say why.

        All very odd.

  8. OT – thanks again to whoever gave me advice the other week about Istanbul Hiltons (or tried to!) – I’m sorry to say I ignored it completely, and regretted it massively… just back now from a few days there, and can honestly say I’ll never choose the Conrad again. It’s truly terrible, nothing like the brand’s other outlets. I’ve had better stays at £4 a night hostels. The Original Hilton for me from now on if I go back.

    • Interesting. I stayed in the Conrad last month for a conference and a couple of days afterwards. As an Honors member via Amex Plat was upgraded to very nice room. Made extensive use of the Exec Lounge and the breakfast in the main restaurant offered immense choice – including a honeycomb the size of a small hive. Staff friendly, too.

      • I am also Gold and practically had to beg to be moved out of the worst room in the hotel. Breakfast food was tasty enough but the place was overrun and horribly noisy, staff were grumpy and only agreed to clear a table when I pointed out there were no others free anywhere. Reception staff very unfriendly and seemed annoyed there were people staying. The guy in the exec lounge, the young girl making eggs at breakfast, and the warm concierge were the only redeeming features. The original Hilton at least has space and some of the old glamour. I really hate to say so as I love Conrads generally, but I won’t be going back to this one.

    • Useful to know, will remember that myself.

  9. HarryKUK says:

    If you book a prepaid rate on for a hotel outside of Europe does that still trigger it?

    If not, how do AmEx know where the hotel is when you book? Don’t they all just come under the same merchant code if you book on the UK website?

    • It says to pay at hotel checkout. So I’m not sure?

    • As the article states, it is only for a list of hotels in UK and Europe. If you click on the terms and conditions it brings up the (sneakily hidden) list of hotels where it can be used.

      How Amex know, i don’t know, but when i make a payment with other hotel chains it lists the hotel name, so i imagine its the same with Hilton i.e. the payment is Hilton Edinburgh and not just Hilton, so it isn’t one merchant code.

  10. I hope Air China 1st class is decent – we just booked LHR-PEK in 1st using 75k virgin miles (+£515). From all the comments above we might have wasted our points.

    • First class is perfectly ok. It’s not like a top first class product, but the crew will look after you well and the food was fine. Drinks selection was not bad but not great. Youll get a big seat which lies flat. Recommend you take a few things to watch on an iPad though because there isn’t much on the IFE.

      Lounges at LHR T2 are good (if they are open! When I went last summer the united lounge closed early and was refusing any non-United passengers because of a lack of staff…) and you can use a small Air China arrival lounge in PEK if you want a shower.

      • Thanks for the response Andy – planning on using this one way next year. Was also slightly concerned by the comments about the J product above. Also Aliks was the £515 cash element for 2 one way redemptions? Many thanks.

  11. The Nero offer isn’t in the offers section of my Amex account but thanks to a sign on the card machine in my local branch I managed to register at

  12. Andrew M says:

    OT: Wife’s Amex Gold application. “Check this box if you have another American Express Card”. She is only a supplementary cardholder on my Amex. Should she check this box? Thanks!

  13. Can I refer my partner for the Amex Gold using a Amex SPG and get 5000 SPG points?

    After clicking the referral link it does offer her the option to choose a different card at the bottom of the page so I am thinking yes?

    Also the T&C’s say ‘You will receive 5,000 bonus Starpoints if your friend or family member uses the Referral Programme to apply for a card (other than a Basic Card) and is approved. You will not receive any Starpoints if they apply for a Basic Card. ‘

  14. OT but I hope everyone has seen the new Emirates first class…looks amazing…

  15. OT update
    My wife applied for an extra supplementary card on her BAPP in her own name and got 3000 bonus Avios (but not the card yet).
    I did the same on my SPG and did not (but have received card).

  16. another OT
    If you get a Payment Card from BT you can use PayPoint to pay most of your bill just before the direct debit is sent (you may need 2 x dd to make it a proper bank account).
    All the information says that you have to pay cash, take bill etc. but I just paid at a Coop this morning with my payment card and Amex card.

    • My current pay point list is
      Thames Water

      • Plus SSE and TV license..

        I accidentally “overpaid” my BT one at the CO OP regularly, and they send you a refund cheque or deposit back into your account, as they don’t like holding too much of your money! Little tip that might work for you too.

  17. Thanks for he heads-up on the Air China fares, I just booked 3 tips using the link from you page, I hope his s one of the suppliers you received commission from.

  18. thehornets says:

    This week’s Marriott Rewards 1,000 pointer:

    Answer: 11 players #rewardspoints

    • A valuable public service you’re providing!

      • Genghis did you get your points from last week?

        • I’ve just checked mine – I got 29/10 but not last week.

        • No. Fingers crossed for this week. I’ll be tweeting again in about an hour if no confirmation received.

        • You have to make sure the tweet has “replying to” in it – I am a twitter novice so it takes me a few attempts to get it right.

        • Jonathan says:

          Genghis – I never got mine last week but a quick tweet to the rewards guys during the week got that sorted within about half an hour.

        • @Jonathan I tweeted in the week too but no response. Either I can’t use twitter or it’s shoddy CS.

        • Worth shooting them a DM. I did that to try and chase the Marriott MORE points but they got confused and thought I was talking about these NFL ones, saying they’d posted OK. Ironically the MORE points is only 1,000 anyway so kinda dwarfed by this giveaway, but would like to get it sorted!

      • I cut and paste one that’s have been replied to by Marriott so I know it’s right – massage it with a few other words – then press reply. Went through pronto tonight.

      • Got it this week though 🙂

    • thank you

    • Thanks. Worked every week for 1000 X 2 accounts.

    • Cheers.

    • Thanks as ever – love that you’ve added the hashtag to make copy and paste even easier 😀

  19. Love2Travel says:

    O/T: Trying to book a BA reward flight from London to Zurich. What is my checked baggage allowance as I am really confused and can’t find an answer? If I try and book with cash, it gives an option of paying £30 for each checked baggage and I am not keen on paying for 2 x return (£120). When I do a dummy run to redeem Avios, it shows 1 x 23kg included as default but then shows a link to baggage policy. Can anyone confirm I won’t have to pay for checked baggage (1 per person ofcourse) if I redeem my Avios. Thanks a lot.

  20. I wouldn’t recommend Air China. I flew then recently and you are forbidden to use any personal electronic devices for the entire flight (and they strictly monitor this). This means no personal entertainment other than the seatback IFE which was a tiny, buggy screen with very poor selection. My flight was 2.5 hours and I was very bored – I cannot imagine a long day flight – you would be climbing the walls.
    No menus in J and the champagne was served in a large shot glass.
    I wouldn’t recommend.