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Bits: new ‘Miles and More’ meilenschnaeppchen, United ‘buy miles’ bonus and a Marriott / SPG arbitrage

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News in brief:

New ‘Miles and More’ meilenschnaeppchen announced

It has been a while since we covered these on Head for Points, but for the benefit those who don’t know about them, Lufthansa runs a monthly list of discounted routes for collectors of Miles & More miles.

The December list of discounted Miles & More redemptions from the UK is here.

Given how high the taxes are, the European redemptions are still not great value.  Neither are the long-haul Economy destinations

The following routes are heavily reduced in Business Class and ARE a good deal:

  • Algiers (40000, was 70000)
  • Dallas (55000, was 105000)
  • Nanjing (70000, was 135000)
  • Osaka (70000, was 135000)
  • Qingdao (70000, was 135000)
  • Shenyang (70000, was 135000)
  • Tunis (40000, was 70000)
  • Vancouver (55000, was 105000)

You need to book by 1st January for travel between 1st April and 15th May.

Note that these discounted redemptions are non-refundable.  You also cannot book them for children, only adults.  Redemptions for children need to be booked by telephone for the standard price, which is 75% of the full-price adult redemption (so the child pays more than an adult!).

It is a tricky process with a family.  You need to check for availability for 3-4 people including the children, then book for the two adults online (non-refundable) and then call Lufthansa to add the children.  You can’t book the child tickets first as Lufthansa will not book an unaccompanied minor, but if the other reward seats disappear for some reason then you are stuck with non-refundable adult tickets …..

United offers a 100% ‘buy miles’ bonus – and a reminder of the SPG / Marriott arbitrage

I know that quite a few HFP readers have a United MileagePlus account which they use for crediting their Star Alliance flights.  If you have some United MileagePlus miles which you need to top up, United Airlines has brought back its regular miles sale.

Until 29th December, you can get the following bonus on miles purchases:

  • 5,000 – 19,000 miles – 25% bonus
  • 20,000 – 39,000 miles – 40% bonus
  • 40,000 – 69,000 miles – 75% bonus
  • 70,000 – 75,000 miles – 100% bonus

At the top end, you are paying 1.9c per mile.  This is unlikely to make much sense if buying all the miles you need outright for a redemption, but is a decent price – given the difficulty in earning United miles in the UK – if topping up.

Full details and the page to buy are on the United website here.

With the United UK credit card now closed to new applicants (see my article here), it is worth flagging up an interesting arbitrage via Marriott Rewards for earning United miles.

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card (reviewed here) is the best way to earn United Airlines miles in the UK now that the United card is closed.

At first glance you might find that an odd thing to say.  Whilst most airlines transfer 1:1 from Starwood, the rate from SPG into United is exceptionally poor at 2:1.  This means that you are only earning 0.5 United miles per £1 spent on the Starwood American Express card.

However …..

Ever since Marriott Rewards now allows you to convert your Starwood Preferred Guest points at the generous rate of 1:3, the game has changed entirely.  Marriott and United have a special partnership and part of this is an especially generous transfer rate from Marriott Rewards into United MileagePlus.

Here is the conversion rate into United which is taken from the Marriott website here:

8,000 Marriott Rewards (2,666 Starwood points / £2,666 of SPG Amex spend) = 2,000 United miles

16,000 Marriott Rewards (5,333 Starwood points / £5,333 of SPG Amex spend) = 5,000 United miles

24,000 Marriott Rewards (8,000 Starwood points / £8,000 of SPG Amex spend) = 10,000 United miles

56,000 Marriott Rewards (18,666 Starwood points / £18,666 of SPG Amex spend) = 25,000 United miles

112,000 Marriott Rewards (37,333 Starwood points / £37,333 of SPG Amex spend) = 50,000 United miles

With the last two options, you are earning 1.34 United MileagePlus miles for every £1 of Starwood Preferred Guest American Express spending.  You will need to be spending a decent amount of money on your credit card to do this, or otherwise topping up your Marriott Rewards points via hotel stays, but if that is not a problem this is a very good rate for earning United miles.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Comments

  1. Worth mentioning that you get 10% more united miles with a Marriott travel package. So up to 132,000 miles (instead of 120,000 Avios etc) and 7 nights in a hotel, from 270,000 Marriott points.

  2. RussellH says:

    If you only have 30 000 M+M miles, a European trip using Meilenschnäppchen is definitely worthwhile – 15 000 for the fare and 15 000 for the fees + taxes means a **completely free** trip. Further, you can fly from MAN / BHX / EDI at no extra cost, unlike BA.

    • Lady London says:

      I booked an LH miles trip on Y in Europe a few years back which cost about £130 in fees. It was worth it for me because I was able to route it through MUC (as no direct flights from my start to end destinations – so did a long stopover in MUC. Was even able to reschedule the date of the MUC-end destination leg. At £65 for effectively two legs with flexible-ish dates, I was happy with the overall fees of £130 on this.

  3. The Original Nick says:

    O:T, My BA flight today AMS-LHR at 14:15 was cancelled yesterday and we were put on a later flight at 17:30. We were given less than 24 hours notice. Can I make a claim for anything?

  4. The Original Nick says:

    Thanks

    • You can always claim food, calls and accommodation (if overnight) regardless of the reason for cancellation. But if the underlying cause is weather (e.g. Heathrow asked BA to cancel 10% of flights to provide slack for deicing/ant-icing runways) then there’s no full compensation. If it’s because an aircraft went tech, then there is.

  5. Oh Matron! says:

    Don’t forget tgat there’s still a promo with SPG at the moment: 1000 points in mid to high end properties per stay and 500 in lower tier, with a whopping 10k points after 25 nights. Oh course, it’s bloody difficult achieving that in the UK. I’m at 21 nights so far….

    • 21 nights is good. Is one night classed as a stay or do you have to do two nights in a row to qualify?

      We went for Marriott’s stay twice get one night free offer. May be able to justify a few nights at the Sheraton Heathrow as in the area over xmas for 1000 spg.

      • Ah I also see that you can register the Sheraton heathrow for triple points. Wonder if that’s stackable with this?

  6. Czechoslovakia says:

    LH related: 40% off all PPB upgrades and redemptions booked before year end. Sweet.

    • Yes, I’ve got this ready to go in a ‘Bits’ article for a quiet day.

      • Rob, on Singapore airlines LH is listed in biz class at 25,000 krisflyer miles + 227.52 euros. Are the fees roughly on par with FH’s own website?

        • Sorry that’s from FRA. Its still 25,000 but + 323.50 from LHR-DXB.

        • LHR-DXB, Business, using Miles & More miles on Lufty:

          70,000 miles + £509 return (bit cheaper on SWISS via ZRH)
          35,000 miles + £323 one-way from London

        • Thanks Rob. Well, at least we know what the fees are now. Ho hum….

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