News in brief:
10am check-in (guaranteed?) now a Spire Elite benefit
IHG Rewards Club sent out an email to Spire Elite members over the weekend. It said:
“We know that when you’re busy travelling, every second of down time is precious. That’s why we’re making check-in times as early as 10am for Spire Elite members like you. Just update your stay preference to early arrival when you book a room.”
It has also been added to the list of benefits by tier on this page of ihg.com.
The small print on that page says:
“Subject to availability. Spire Elite members may check in as early as 10 a.m. Please select early arrival as a stay preference in your reservation confirmation.”
Regular readers will know how I value hotel elite status benefits:
Valued at £nothing – anything with the words ‘subject to availability’ next to it
Valued at £something – anything with the word ‘guaranteed’ next to it
Making an early check-in ‘subject to availability’ is particularly rubbish. If I turn up at 10am expecting a room, I want a room. If I have chosen an IHG hotel just because my flight landed at 8am and I want somewhere to freshen up, I don’t want to be turned away at check in.
We need to see, in reality, how this benefit works out. If it turns out to be ‘subject to availability but you will get it unless we physically don’t have a room available, of any sort, and we will make sure these rooms get prioritised by housekeeping‘ then it should be OK. If it turns out to be ‘we’ll give you a room if we feel like, but to be honest it won’t be happening‘, then not so good ….
Up to 40% bonus when you buy Hyatt points
Until 15th December, Hyatt is offering a 40% bonus when you buy World of Hyatt points.
This may well be the biggest bonus that Hyatt has ever offered. It comes after a turbulent time for the programme, with its CEO leaving amid much criticism of the new benefits package and ludicrously high (given Hyatt’s small footprint) qualification requirements.
The deal is obviously worth a look if you need to top up your account. It may also be worthwhile if considering a stay in a top tier Park Hyatt such as the ones in Paris or Sydney, where buying the points may be cheaper than paying cash.
The bonus is staggered:
20% bonus on purchases of 5,000 to 9,000 points
30% bonus on purchases of 10,000 to 29,000 points
40% bonus on purchases of 30,000+ points (the annual cap is 55,000 points pre bonus)
At the top end, you are paying $1,320 for 77,000 points (55,000 plus a 22,000 bonus). That works out at 1.71c – or 1.29p – per point.
The new Park Hyatt resort in Mallorca pictured below is a location where buying points may make sense. Prices for cash are still a little scary – rooms from Euro 495 (£441) in August 2018, or Euro 550 (£490) if you want a cancellable one. A redemption at 20,000 points per night (£258) would be a good deal.
50% buy Avios bonus still running on Iberia Plus
If you regret missing out on the 50% ‘buy Avios’ bonus on ba.com last week, the offer is still running for an extra week over at the Iberia website.
(I don’t necessarily think you should be worried about missing out, as even with a 50% bonus I do not think the price is low enough to buy speculatively, but if you have a definite plan for using them …..)
The Iberia Plus ‘buy Avios’ page is here. You will need to pay in Euro so factor in any FX fees on your credit card.
Note that you must be logged in to see the 50% bonus. Remember that your Iberia account must be 90 days old before you will be allowed to use ‘Combine My Avios’ to move the points out of Iberia Plus and into avios.com or British Airways Executive Club.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2022)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
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.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)