Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: booking a hotel this week?, 80% bonus buying Hilton points, 35% discount on SPG points

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News in brief:

Booking a hotel this week?

There was a spike in readership to our hotel pages yesterday so it seems that people are looking to get some bookings in place during this quiet(er) time between Christmas and New Year.

As a reminder, here are some promos worth remembering if you are looking to book for 2018:

Hiltonthis article looks at the current sale, covering ALL weekends in 2018

Radisson – this link gives you an exclusive 10% discount on many Radisson Blu hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Melia – HfP is one of a handful of partners promoting a code worth 10% off your next Melia stay at selected hotels.  You need to book via this landing page and enter code 0393-MELIA10 in the Promotional Code box.  You will also get triple Avios (9 per €1) if you book by 31st December.

Best Western – stays before the end of January will earn you a £10 Best Western gift card, but you must pre-register.  Details in this article. – you will get double Avios if you book by December 31st for stays by March 31st, details in this article.  Remember that bookings via do not qualify for hotel points or status benefits so it is best used for independent hotels or chains where you do not collect points.

You can find details of all of the Spring promotions from the major chains on our ‘Hotel Offers’ page here.  As a quick summary:

Hilton Honors – 2000 bonus points per stay – registerarticle 

IHG Rewards Club – a new round of Accelerate starts on 1st January with targeted bonuses, usually generous – registerarticle 

Marriott Rewards – 2000 bonus points per stay but only from your 2nd stay – registerarticle 

Starwood Preferred Guest – double points (plus an extra 500 at weekends) but only from your 2nd stay – registerarticle 

There are no global Hyatt, Accor or Carlson promotions currently announced for January to Easter.

LAST CALL:  80% bonus for buying Hilton Honors points

Until 29th December, Hilton Honors is offering an 80% bonus when you purchase 20,000+ points.

The Hilton ‘buy points’ page is here.

Regular readers of Head for Points will know that I tend to value Hilton points at 0.3p each.  You are paying 0.42p ($800 / £600 for 144,000) here so the maths does not look good.

Five star Hilton, Conrad and Waldorf-Astoria hotels typically run to 80,000 points per night.  In this sale you would be paying $444 for 80,000 points which is often more than you would be paying for a five star in a major city.  This is not a bargain.

However, Hilton Honors IS a decent deal at cheaper point levels.   To dig out my ‘usual suspect’ examples, the Hampton by Hilton in Sheffield, for example, is 10,000 points per night on most nights.  At 0.42p per point you would be paying roughly £42 per night if you bought the points.  That is a 58% discount on the typical nightly rate of £100.  Hampton properties include free breakfast as well.

On the other hand, the Hilton Sheffield is 30,000 points per night.  You would be paying around £125 for those points which is the same as the typical £125 cash cost – and you would earn points and miles back on the cash rate.

If you just buying a handful of points to top off your account, the price per point doesn’t matter anyway.  If you a few thousand short of a redemption then this is a decent opportunity to buy them.

…. and your last chance to buy Starwood points for 35% off

Starwood is offering a 35% discount when you purchase SPG Starpoints before 29th December. The link to buy is here.

The good news is that the discount is not staggered.  As long as you buy more than 5,000 points, you get the full 35% off.

At the top end, 30,000 points will cost you $682.50 (£509).  Assuming that you convert them to airline miles with the 25% uplift for moving chunks of 20,000 at a time, these can be converted to 37,500 airline miles in the majority of programmes.

This works out at 1.35p per airline mile.  This is not a great deal most of the time (you can often pick up Avios for 1.0p) but it might make sense with some other programmes.  You cannot buy Lufthansa Miles & More miles directly so being able to get them for 1.35p may well work for some people.

30,000 Starwood points would also convert into 90,000 Marriott Rewards points.  If you are working towards a Marriott Travel Package redemption – and they are great value as this article explains – then buying the full 30,000 Starwood points may well make sense.

The rules are straightforward – points post within 24 hours, maximum purchase of 30,000 points per year, your SPG account must be 14 days old to participate.

If you are interested, you can buy SPG points via this link.  The 35% discount ends tomorrow, Friday.

Mariott Bonvoy American Express credit card

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards (August 2021)

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 usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

Until 31st August 2021, the bonus is doubled to 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

You can apply here.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

40,000 points sign-up bonus and Gold Elite status 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.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).

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 (121)

  • Funtime says:

    OT Just had a glossy flyer from Amex through the letterbox promoting refer a friend to any card. A little credit card size card with the referral code on it to keep in your wallet.

    My gold Amex was correctly addressed and named me along with my referral code however Mrs Funtime’s BA whilst addressed correctly refers to her as Richard along with Richard’s referral code.

    This really is basic schoolboy stuff.

    • Anna says:

      I’ve got that – not sure why one would need a referral code, just refer online?

  • Manya says:

    Have booked one night at the Four Seasons in Hampshire with wife and baby daughter after New Years based on past recommendations from here. I am expecting this to trigger the spend 200 get 50 offer saved on my Amex card as the booking was for made via Amex travel website. I know there was some discussion around FHR properties not applying to this offer but I couldn’t see anything prohibiting FHR bookings mentioned within the T+C’s and Amex customer service rep I spoke to over the phone also confirmed the same.

    Any readers able to offer tips on which facilities to make best use of with a 19 month old?

  • JamesB says:

    OT AMEX Platinum Upgrade: my dad has just done this and he said platinum already showing on his online account. Does this mean any further spend on his gold card counts towards his £1000 target or does he need to wait until the physical platinum card arrives?

    • johnny_c-l says:

      It starts counting from when the online logo goes Plat.

    • Lawro says:

      Any spend on the Gold card should count towards the £1k spend target. At least that’s what I was told by an Amex rep. Essentially the Gold card functions as your ‘new’ Plat until the actual Plat card arrives.

    • JamesB says:

      Thanks Johnny and Law to.

  • Doug M says:

    OT: can you book Hilton with points you don’t have but will have by check-in? I’m sure I read here there’s one group that allow that?

  • Tom H says:

    OT closing in a Marriott 7 night travel packacage can go up and in cat to 9 if needed, any other sweet spots other than Domes and the car 5 in Vietnam?

    • ankomonkey says:

      Not that I’ve found. I’m currently saving for my second package but have no idea where I’ll use it (first is booked for Phu Quoc, Vietnam).

    • Peter K says:

      The Renaissance Barcelona Fira hotel sounds really nice as a category 6. It has very good reviews. Potential downsides are it is a bit out of town (which I think is good thing personally) and the troubles in Catalonia at the moment with the press for independence

  • Leo says:

    OT Sorry if I have misunderstood – when referring from Plat for Gold does the Plat referer get 18K points or 9K?

  • ankomonkey says:

    I got the extra 10k just by logging into my spg account like normal. No promo code needed.

  • AndrewPaddy says:

    OT / Confused by AMEX referral…

    With the referral mailing landing on the mat today I remembered something I meant to ask before. As a platinum can i refer for the BA and Starwood cards as well as the gold and platinum AMEX cards?

    Is there a guide somewhere showing who can refer what to who for what amount ?

    Finally, I took out a platinum and hit the 35,000 bonus. I also referred a friend who referred me for a gold card. Strangely enough it is showing me as eligible for the 20,000 signup bonus on that card as well… is that normal?

    Thanks to all for their help!

    • JamesB says:

      As a platinum holder you refer platinum. Your family and friends on opening your referral link will be invited to apply for a platinum card. However, the link now has a further button they can click to view other cards. If they follow this through with a successful application you still get the 18k referral bonus despite them applying fir another card.

      There used to be an amex page tabulating all the referral options but I have not seen it in ages.

      I do not recall anybody saying they held platinum and gold cards simultaneously. I doubt you can but I could be wrong. However, even if it is possible I cannot see how you can get another bonus with an existing MR account, it usually must have been closed for 6 months to qualify for a new bonus,

      • AndrewPaddy says:

        Thanks for the info….

        Instead of dropping my Platinum down to Gold I got a family member to refer me for a Gold while I still had the Platinum. It worked out as an 18,000 for them and no loss to me…

        I was very surprised myself when the 20,000 points offer appeared. Will see whether it is honoured although I have no real complaints if it is not.

        • lev441 says:

          Although you can hold a platinum card at the same time as a gold card, you wouldn’t be eligible for the welcome bonus as the t’s & c’s state that only those that haven’t held a Membership Rewards account for 6+ months will be eligible….

        • Genghis says:

          Re amounts, it’s obviously the card you refer from: 18k MR from Plat, 9k MR from PRG, 9k avios from BAPP, 3k avios from BA Blue (not sure exactly but I think 3k), 5k SPG from SPG Amex…

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