Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: 2000 M&M miles with a car rental, 50% bonus on Amex – Hilton transfers, KLM Flight Bundle

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News in brief:

2,000 Miles & More miles with a car rental

Lufthansa Miles & More is offering a generous 2,000 miles with your next car rental.  Interestingly, this offer is valid across a large number of rental companies and not just one.  More interestingly, you can earn the bonus miles once per partner so it makes sense to change companies each time you rent.

Rentals must be completed by 31st January.  Europcar has specific small print attached, the other brands do not.  Sixt is also taking part but I cannot get the link to work unless I specifically click out from the email I received.

You MUST book via the special links here to get the offer:

Targeted 50% bonus on Amex Membership Rewards transfers to Hilton

I was shocked yesterday to see that American Express Membership Rewards has brought back a transfer bonus to a travel partner.

These bonuses used to be very common, and still are common outside the UK.  We have not seen one actively promoted by Amex in the UK for a few years.

Unfortunately this deal is targeted.  If you were not emailed about it – and I wasn’t – you can’t take part.

People who got the email will receive a 50% bonus on transfers on Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors before 31st January.

This is not a bad deal.  The normal transfer rate is 1:2.  Under this deal it becomes 1:3.  Because Hilton redemption prices are now directly linked to room rate – but with a top-end cap – you can get decent value here.  I value a Hilton Honors point at around 0.33p because that is now the floor value, give or take, when you use them for a standard redemption.

This means that you will get close to 1p of value per Membership Rewards point via this deal and that is pretty good.

I’ve no idea what the criteria is for being selected for this offer.  I have previously done Amex to Hilton transfers, although I have not currently claimed my ‘free’ Gold status as I am Diamond via the recent status challenge.

KLM introduces the KLM Flight Bundle

Back in August we wrote about the re-launch of the British Airways Flight Passsee here.  This allows you to pre-buy seats in bulk on a particular route.

The product is hugely flexible.  You pick a particular route and can then choose:

  • how many tickets you want
  • how long or short you want the expiry period to be
  • how far in advance you are prepared to book

to get to a price.  Once you’ve bought them, you are guaranteed ‘last seat availability’ irrespective of the selling price at that point.  Of course, if you have agreed to book 14 days in advance in return for a bigger discount then this is less of a benefit, but for people flying a route on a regular basis it can offer savings.

KLM has now launched Flight Bundle – see the KLM website here.  It works in an identical way, which is not surprising as it is being sold by the same company, OptionTown.  It is worth a look if you are a regular traveller on KLM.

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

Comments (57)

  • guesswho2000 says:

    Re the Hilton MR bonus I haven’t been targeted sadly, my HH account is linked and I have transferred in the past, so perhaps it’s an effort to encourage those who haven’t done so previously. However they also seem to be offering this for Australian MR accounts (50% bonus), and it appears to be open to all.

    Unfortunately the standard MR-HH in Aus (and most places ex UK) is 1:1, so if I need a top-up I’d still use my UK MR account without the bonus, over the Aussie one.

    • Rashad says:

      Maybe not necessarily, I’ve received the offer from AmEx and I’ve got my AmEx -Hilton accounts linked and transferred points lots of times

    • John says:

      Well if you earn 1 MR per £ here and 1 MR per $ there, and £1 was $2 when the Aussie dollar was created and continues to be roughly the average exchange rate in the long term, so 1AUMR to 1HH seems fair enough.

      • guesswho2000 says:

        On that logic, at 1:1, given you can exchange MR points between countries at the exchange rate, 1,000 AU MR would be ~560 UK MR…1,000 vs 1,120 HH or, 1,500 vs 1,680…UK wins

        However, it’s 2 MR per $, so fair point ;o)

        • Alan says:

          This was where the Amex Plat ICC Dollar used to be good – transfer across at exchange rate (which used to be decent) and then 1:1 to KrisFlyer. Made my SQ Suites booking even cheaper!!

    • William says:

      I never got a targeted offer from Amex, but telephoned them and have had no problem at all. The bonus will be posted in eight weeks while the normal transfer proceeds as usual.

  • jude says:

    My husband got the Hilton offer and considering transferring. We have a trip next summer to NY and Washington. Have never had the Hilton card for the free night so was going to combine. Any Hilton hotel recommendations in either of these cities that provide family rooms/suites? Our boys are 14 and 11 so need proper beds rather than a cot. Any advice greatly appreciated.

    • John says:

      You can only get a standard room with the free night voucher, not sure if any hotels will have a standard room that sleeps 4.

      However you could redeem 2 rooms, one with the voucher and one with points. Then see if larger rooms are available on points (will cost more) for the other nights. Or, if both of you get the card then you could get 2 free night vouchers.

      Remember it has to be a weekend night and you must stay within 6 months of getting the voucher, so possibly a bit early to get the card.

    • Ian says:

      We stayed at the Midtown Manhatten using the Barclaycard voucher 18 months ago for a pre cruise stay. In common with many large US hotels the room had 2 double beds. Your boys may not wish to share, but if they did that might be an option. Be aware, the hotel is MASSIVE!

    • Andrew says:

      Don’t just look at DC itself. Arlington is just across the Potomac – the area around Crystal city in particular is very well connected by Metro and has a few Hiltons. I usually prefer to walk between DC and Arlington along the Mt Vernon Trail which is always busy with pedestrians and cyclists. The last few times I’ve done DC, I’ve changed at New York for a local connection to DCA and simply walked across to Crystal City Hotels.

      Marginally further out is Alexandria (we’re only talk 3 tube stops – so about 12-15 minutes to central DC). There are a few Hilton hotels near the King Street Station. Depending on the service, some Amtrak to/from New York also stop at the adjacent King Street Amtrak station. Alexandria is really quite pleasant. From there you can walk across to National Harbour – or take the boats across if you’ve walked too far already.

    • Anna says:

      We’re going to DC and Virginia next year and we’ve booked 3 nights at the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Alexandria which is ideal for families as up to two children can sleep in the separate living area which means you get a bit of privacy! I haven’t had the HH card yet, but I’m assuming these properties qualify. They also include free parking and breakfast which would have been extremely pricey in the city itself.

    • Alan says:

      DoubleTree Suites in New York would be a good option from an accommodation perspective – would sleep 4 on standard redemption.

      • Jude says:

        Thanks for all the tips, will take a look at the hotels mentioned. Have a living room area would be okay as you would get some privacy.

  • The Original Nick says:

    I had the Hilton offer too and considering a transfer for a hotel in Toronto as I have a stay there in May to then visit Niagara Falls.

    • mark2 says:

      Suggest you have a look at HGI Niagara on the Lake which is much nicer than the town of Niagara Falls where the Doubletree is decent. Both are low points cost. Hilton in Toronto is so so.

      • Rob says:

        I did a review of the Hilton-run Embassy Suites at Niagara which, oddly, is the hotel with the best views of the falls. If you pay more elsewhere, you get less (in terms of view).

      • Alan says:

        Another recommendation for Niagara on the Lake – really lovely to visit. Niagara itself it certainly worth seeing but I wouldn’t plan to stay there.

    • Andrew says:

      Little point in hanging around Niagra once you’ve seen it.

      I’m really not into the “arrive, look, depart” kind of tourism, and it has been a while since I visited, but think beautiful falls surrounded by a really faded and downmarket version of an Northern seaside resort selling nothing but funnel cake and Chinese tat.

    • Tilly says:

      My sister recommended the Doubletree in Toronto when I visit in May. Also doing Niagara falls but was planning on doing as a day trip.

      Going to have transfer 10k MR points to do a 4 +1 free night redemption. Such a shame I didn’t get the offer.

  • Biffin says:

    Great to see that the only real problem with this site has been fixed – the spelling of ‘targeted’.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Just tried having the HH offer added to my account and was refused. I was going to make this transfer anyway so I’ve lost nothing but it would have have paid for a night at a decent hotel. Ho-hum, 1st world problems.

  • Alan says:

    Do Hilton Honors have a lot of availability for redemptions or is it just a few rooms at any one point?

    • TripRep says:

      Depends, but generally good availability.

      Where & when are you looking?

    • Rob says:

      It is NOT ‘last room availability’, put it that way. Hyatt and Starwood will guarantee you a reward room is a standard room is also still available for cash.

    • Alan says:

      Generally not bad availability – although Hyatt/SPG say reward room available if standard room available for cash, they have much smaller footprints – Hilton have a LOT more properties which definitely helps when looking for availability if you can be a little flexible.

  • Tom says:

    Random OT.

    Upgraded from CW to F on the return leg of a flight we have coming up using 40k avios. My other half rang BA yesterday to see if we could upgrade on the way out for a similar price.

    The operator said that even though no one is booked into F she was unable to offer us anything other than a cash upgrade (£5k!). Obviously we wouldn’t pay that. She then said it would be worth asking at check in as they would rather have someone fly in F than no one at all, which seems a bit odd to me, if that was the case then you think they’d offer some kind of avios upgrade or try to do a cash deal at a level which isn’t a bit OTT?

  • RussellH says:

    Just off the phone to Amex CS to cancel my SPG Amex. For the first time I was offered a bonus to keep the card – double SPG points for three months. I do not have the increased offer on MR points on my Gold Credit card, though the agent did ask me if there was anything on that card he could help me with as well.

    I had not read this page before phoning, but I doubt that I would have had the nerve to ask for a bonus on the Hilton transfer as well as the double SPG points.

    Does look like a concerted effort to keep the SPG connection going in the longer term though.

    • Cate says:

      The SPG incentive does sound attractive. I just wish they’d mention this before you phone up to cancel as by then most people have committed themselves to another line of action. Some of us have credit card strategies lines up six months to a year in advance.

    • mark2 says:

      Thanks for the tip about the SPG points.
      I am going to cancel, but want to apply again before it goes, and there is still ShopSmall to consider.
      Decisions, decisions.

      • Cate says:

        I don;’t think anyone who actually knows has said that the card may go. from RussellH’s comments it seems Amex are keen to keep it alive.

        • Genghis says:

          But MBNA offered retention bonuses on the Virgin cards even though they’ve lost the deal, I guess in the hope that customers retain and use the crappy substitute offering going forward.

          I was offered an SPG retention bonus last year but declined and cancelled. I plan on keeping the card for quite a while when I get it next year though so could try and call Amex’s bluff and see if they would offer me a retention bonus. I could end up looking stupid though.

        • Cate says:

          Indeed with MBNA, however Marriott have lately released a statement suggesting that they have plans to go forward with Amex as a partner. I’m keeping a wary but watchful eye on developments but it’s business as usual with churning for now.

          Perhaps when you phone Amex you could just tell them that there is no longer an incentive to keep the card and ask if they have anything in mind to keep the card? Looking stupid on the phone’s fine – no one will see you 🙂

    • New Card says:

      This would be a very attractive proposition to me.
      How far down the process of cancelling the card did you have to get in order to get offered the double points bonus?
      I really don’t want to cancel my card, but I really do want a double points bonus – and am wondering how to go about getting it!

      • New Card says:

        Also – has anyone ever managed to get a retention offer via Live Chat instead of calling?
        (I think I already know what the answer will be…)

        • Alan says:

          I have via secure messaging with MBNA and with the previous Amex system – nothing offered when I recently cancelled SPG although they offered to call me I wanted to churn so just said to go ahead and cancel.

      • RussellH says:

        Only just noticed your question about how far along the process did I go. Sorry.

        I fully intended to cancel; I had already paid off the balance last night. I think we had got all the way and he had said that he was about to cancel the account – then he asked if I would be interested etc. I did have to think about it for a bit, and I am not sure if I shall keep it going for the full three months. I really do not like paying fees to hold a credit card and I would never pay the full £75. SPG Amex is the only card I have paid a fee on since NatWest dropped their £20 fee on their Airmiles Visa; was that the 1980s or 1990s??

        I therefore regard

    • AndyGWP says:

      How long have you had the SPG card for RussellH?

      • RussellH says:

        Just under three months.

        I had planned to cancel a month ago, but they left a useful number of points on the card on 6 Nov, so I kept going for another three weeks, then switched to using my other Amex, leaving me with xx667 Starpoints. I moved 1000 Marriott points to SPG last night and currently have x(x+1)000 Starpoints. I do not find the starpoints particularly useful (unless we plan a trip to Liverpool), in themselves – it is what they can be converted to.

        What I now realise I did not ask was how many points I would get for a Marriott stay…