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Bits: EXCELLENT £994 Club World fare to California, the Starwood Amex may be sticking around

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News in brief:

British Airways selling Oakland for £994 in Club World

British Airways has quietly started selling tickets to Oakland in California for £994 return for travel in January or February.

You can take a look at the Low Fare Finder tool on here.

This is clearly an excellent deal for anyone thinking of a California break in the New Year.  There is a direct rail link between Oakland Airport and San Francisco which makes it easy to get around even if you don’t want to hire a car.

Here are the fare rules:

  • Both legs must be flown between Monday and Thursday
  • Fly between 7th January and 28th February
  • Must stay a Saturday night
  • Must book by 14th December

You can book on hereBA’s special page on Oakland is here.

If you have an Avios redemption booked to San Francisco or Oakland during this period, you may want to seriously consider cancelling – getting a full refund of the Avios and taxes less a £35 per person fee – and rebooking for cash.  As well as getting your points back, you will be earning a large number of Avios (16,142 for a Blue member) and 280 British Airways tier points per return trip.

It seems the Starwood Amex will be sticking around …..

In a move which will have repercussions, Marriott has signed new agreements with JP Morgan Chase and American Express to issue partnership credit cards going forward.

Whilst this announcement – which you can read here – only covers the US market, it will have an impact here too.

Marriott has had a long and exclusive US relationship with Visa.  Many people expected this to continue, and for the American Express relationship, which was inherited with the purchase of Starwood, to be abandoned.  This would have been terrible news for American Express which is still reeling from losing 10% of its global billings after Costco moved its US credit card contract.  The SPG Amex accounts for a further 5% of the Amex loan portfolio.

Instead, Marriott has signed new agreements with both JP Morgan Chase (as a Visa issuer) and Amex.  For the US market:

Marriott expects to introduce new, co-brand products starting in 2018 with enhanced member benefits – super-premium consumer and small business co-branded products from American Express and mass consumer and premium consumer co-branded products from JPMorgan Chase. Additional details on the future products will be shared in 2018. In the meantime, both companies will retain their existing portfolio of accounts and continue to offer their current products.

Whilst nothing is certain, this makes it more likely that American Express in the UK will have the option, if it wants, of continuing to issue a ‘Marriott Preferred Guest’ (or whatever the new merged scheme is called) card from 2019.

Whether Amex wants to do this is a different question.  With the card caught under the EU interchange fee cap, subject to final appeal to the EU courts, it may not be financially viable for them.

My long article from Monday on why you should think about getting the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card (10,000 bonus Avios or other miles for a start) is here.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (August 2022)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 bonus points and 15 elite night credits Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply 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.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

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

Comments (79)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • RZ12 says:

    Not seeing any Oakland return business fares for £994 at all. Searched within January-Feburary and with varying lengths of nights via the BA low fare finder tool.

    Cheapest return fare I see on my screen is £1495.

    • Rebecca says:

      Same – I was just looking at this for a work trip I need to make in Jan to SF.

      Where are these fares?

    • Rob says:

      May have been pulled. Was very freely available yesterday.

  • Stephen Lee says:

    Well I have had fun this week. Having had invitations to meet some MEPs in the European Parliament in Brussels as well as to tour a coach builder near Eindhoven I decided to take a “holiday” and drive my hybrid car to the Continent form my Beer, Devon home.

    Night one use a free voucher from my HHonors to stay at the Hilton in Bearsted Road, Maidstone. It has been a long time since I last stayed at a Hilton property so I was very happy with the reception and room. Especially so as I was the guest of the day and received two free drinks vouchers !

    On to Le Shuttle using my Tesco vouchers which give a 66% discount on the return fare

    First night in the Holiday Inn at Brussels Schuman where I had to pay full whack on points but at 30,000 points instead of €125 I think I got an OK deal. I got a bonus when I was able to charge my car in the underground car park

    Then on to Holiday Inn Express at Hasselt where I have had 3 x nights at 5,000 points per night which was a real bargain. Even better, we received 7 x €5 vouchers to use for drinks in the Holiday Inn 100 metres up the road. I value the cost per night as a result of the vouchers as £11 per night !

    Tomorrow I go home via Holiday Inn at Ashford for 15,000 (£60) of points.

    Happy days !!

    • the real harry1 says:

      nice one

      you didn’t go for the free Eurotunnel offer wyb a few bottles of wine? 🙂

      just kidding – it’s only for 1 night in France

    • following from behind says:

      I’m from near Beer. Used to love hiring the boats in the bay during the summer and trying to catch mackerel. Beautiful village 🙂

  • dicksbits says:

    fares definitely not there! Looked for mid-Jan and the prices are at least double that.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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