Bits: Qatar sale ends (again), new Hilton New York option, HFP mobile changes

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News in brief:

Qatar Airways January sales ends (for the 2nd time) today

Here is a quick reminder that the Qatar Airways January sale ends today – see here for the UK site.  It was due to end on the 16th but was extended for another 72 hours.  This article is a repeat of what I published on the 16th if it sounds familiar!

On the face of it, Business Class discounts are lower than we have seen in previous years.  Most of June, all of July, August and early September are excluded from the list of possible travel dates, which is another negative for anyone with kids in school. The dates are:

  • Sale period: 9th to 19th January 2018
  • Travel period:  9th January to 10th December 2018. All travel must be completed by 10th December 2018.
  • Blackout dates: 9th June to 10th September 2018

From the UK, promo code UKGTBAFFILIATE gets you an extra 5% off the base fare on some but not all destinations.  Outside the UK, try code PCGTBGIFT for a further ‘up to’ 5% off the base fare, but it only works on some routes and we don’t have a list.

As a member of the oneworld alliance alongside British Airways, you can earn Avios and British Airways Executive Club tier points when you fly on Qatar Airways and credit the flight to BA.  Not only do you earn tier points …. you earn substantially more tier points than you would by flying British Airways!

The reason for this is that, because you will be changing planes in Doha, your return trip is treated as four long haul flights.  As long as each individual flight is over 2,000 miles long – which it is in all the examples except one below – you will earn 560 British Airways tier points per return flight.  This is calculated as four flights over 2,000 miles in Business Class x 140 tier points per flight.  Flights to Australia, except Perth, and New Zealand will earn 600 BA tier points (140 + 160 + 160 + 140).

Here are a few of the better headline prices. These deals are all for business class travel via Doha.  If two passengers are travelling together, fares may drop a little more.

These prices are NOT the full list of discounts – they are just random examples I found to be quite good. These are the departure cities you should be trying out if you want a good deal to somewhere not listed. The prices are a return flight per person.  You are looking for the red ‘Business Promo’ fares on the Qatar Airways site.

Athens to Hong Kong €1,467 (£1,293) – Greece sale page (IMPORTANT: Athens to Doha is only 40 tier points)

Frankfurt to Johannesburg €1,702 (£1,500) – Germany sale page 

Helsinki to Tokyo €1,442 (£1,271) – Finland sale page (EDIT: this may have been pulled or sold out)

Helsinki to Bangkok €1,145 (£1,009) – Finland sale page 

Helsinki to Chiang Mai €1,186 (£1,045) – Finland sale page 

Helsinki to Ho Chi Minh City €1,452 (£1,280) – Finland sale page 

Oslo to Melbourne NOK 16,170 in November (£1,474)  (Sydney, Perth etc similar) – Norway sale page 

Sofia to Johannesburg BGN 2,715 (£1,228) – Sofia sale page

Sofia to Shanghai BGN 2,270 (£1,023) – Bulgaria sale page 

Stockholm to Singapore SEK 13,391 (£1,200) – Sweden sale page 

Stockholm to Kuala Lumpur SEK 13,237 (£1,186) – Sweden sale page 

Stockholm to Cape Town SEK 15,060 (£1,350) – Sweden sale page 

If you are interested, I strongly recommend that you read my original article on the 2018 Qatar sale which is here.  This explains the different aircraft types flown by Qatar Airways, together with links to my flight reviews, to help you decide which routes to pick.

Hilton opens a brand new Embassy Suites in New York

Hilton opened its newest New York property, Embassy Suites by Hilton New York Midtown Manhattan, this week.  It is so new that the website doesn’t even have room photographs and when I wrote this yesterday it had zero Tripadvisor reviews!

The location is very handy, located between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue on 37th Street in the Garment District.  It is a brand new 39-storey tower and, as most of the area is low rise, it claims to have excellent views.

The good thing about Embassy Suites is that they are designed for families – although no rooms here take more than three people – on longer stays, although you can book for a night.  Rooms are large by New York standards and most have sofas and microwaves.  Free breakfast is included for everyone.

As a brand new hotel you are guaranteed, if nothing else, to find everything new and shiny.  Rates are as low as $199 next month – and $149 this month – looking at the website.  It caps out at 70,000 Hilton Honors points per night although it is well below that at the moment due to the cheap opening rates on offer.  The hotel website is here.

PS.  EDIT, March 2018:  Here are two hotel pictures taken by a reader who stayed and who was very impressed:

Embassy Suites New York Midtown


Embassy Suites New York Midtown

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Hilton Honors points.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

Changes to the HFP mobile site

In advance of a full redesign, we made some changes to the Head for Points mobile site yesterday.  The key changes are:

the font size is larger, and

there are more articles on the home page

It seems an overall improvement to me but let me know if you have any specific feedback – although I recommend leaving it a couple of days until the novelty has worn off.

(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.)

My review of the Holiday Inn Southend Airport hotel
Avios Redemption University - Lesson 8 - Is it worth using Avios for hotel redemptions?
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  1. First First tonight – ridiculously excited!

    • Enjoy..its amazing. We cant wait either..We are going F 241 on 29th to KUL that’s if Bali doesn’t explode again b4 we get there…where ate you going…

    • Enioy! Have an amazing time and report back!

      I have my first F ever in May too on a 241 and very excited.

      • Me too ! First first class from LHR to SIN in May. Did UC on Virgin last year but didn’t like the individual seat layout and plane was a bit grubby so looking forward to our first First with BA.

        • Kinkell says:

          We did F to JNB and to GIG last year (241s) only 4 of us in cabin to JNB…lovely. Daytime flight to GIG….great service . Certainly a very nice experience Enjoy your trips

        • Enjoy! Had my first First last year to HKG! Remember not to get carried away with food in Concorde lounge. I made a mistake and stuffed myself, so after eating all the food on board as well couldn’t sleep properly. Don’t forget to pre-book the spa treatment (28 days out) and check the Concorde room menus before on Flyertalk to know what to order when you get there.

  2. Booked in the Embassy Suites for a week in April, glad it is actually open now as the date moved a few times.

  3. I spent the whole of yesterday desperately trying to make the font smaller – kinda glad it’s not me breaking my phone! The text is too big now though, it makes it really hard to read with far too much scrolling. I know you’re going for an older audience (rip-off Britain!) but an option to customise for those who can actually read normal sized text would be good.

    • It’s not about an older audience, it is more about making it in line with what most other sites are doing.

      • I hope you are going to avoid the repetition style whereby stories are flagged up with headlines only for the same to be repeated further down the page. I find that very annoying.

      • Peter K says:

        I find it annoying sadly. My job is all about vision and it comes across as poor vision/children’s book print.

        On the other hand the larger print typically used on a Kindle compared to a printed book encourages slower reading but greater comprehension so maybe it’s a good thing.

  4. Redesign for mobile – I really don’t like the bold font used for article titles. Seems a bit “cheap” looking. But changes to the spacing are welcome and it does look a bit fresher.

    Also – comment form – few minor layout issues on the text boxes.

  5. Had a quick look at this on the mobile rather than my laptop – so much easier to read & a great improvement thanks.
    I don’t need to turn to landscape or pop my specs on now to read it. And it 43 yrs I don’t think I’m in “Rip Off Britain” territory 😀

    • Don’t read it on mobile because we get peanuts for the advertising compared to the desktop site 🙂

      • Don’t worry, only meant it was easier than before – still easiest on my laptop/work computer when I get more than 17 seconds to myself…..

  6. Quote:- “As a brand new hotel you are guaranteed, if nothing else, to find everything new and shiny.”

    This is true, when I stayed at a Hampton by Hilton on its first week of opening everything was indeed new and Shiny.

    In our room:-

    The tv was still in a box.
    The beds were unmade, with linen neatly folded on top of the desk and the mattresses still in plastic bags.
    Plastic dust protectors were over the smoke detectors.
    Around the room were post-it notes to point out minor snagging issues.

    Reception was chaotic with the day of opening matching up with a major baseball game.

    It was more funny than anything else. We just put the room into order ourselves, set up the TV and got on with it and raised it with reception the next morning.

  7. Scallder says:

    Have to say I prefer the slightly larger text (and as in my 20s very much not struggling with my eyesight) as easier to read and would choose this and a bit more scrolling over smaller text and less scrolling.

    Big fan of more articles on each page. Don’t know if it’s a big change, but as a small suggestion perhaps have 9 articles on the each page as opposed to 8 – that way as long as there aren’t any extra posts or a pinned article, you have 3 full days’ worth of articles on each page and no need to go into page 2 say on a Monday morning to have another read of all of Saturday’s articles. Perhaps that’s me just being lazy though…

    • No, fair point. Can do that next time we update it. (These are messy changes because everytime our core software gets an update, which is every 3-4 weeks, it will break the new look and they will need to be redone.)

  8. What changes? I can’t see any!!!

    • Me neither. On my android mobile in Chrome the website looks the same as before. Maybe the changes affect certain browsers in some way?

      • Odd. I need to dig out my ’emergency’ Android phone at home and see how it looks. Substantial difference in Safari.

    • Same here looks the same.

      • You should see 8 articles on the home page, a larger font and bold headlines. If you’ve forgotten how small the print used to be, look at Shopper Points which is still in the old font size.

        • Sorted, cleared the cashe, typed in address and went there directly. Big thumbs up from me, I like it. It feels cleaner, sharper, more professional. I like the spacing between lines of text.

    • I cannot see anything changed either, fully update android on S7.

      • We have tracked down an Android user (Anika’s boyfriend!) and taken a screenshot. It is fine for him. You should see this:

        Bigger and bolder headline and larger font text.

        If you DON’T see this, it is probably because your phone has cached the code. That cache will probably expire in a day or so.

        • LOL, you make it sound like us android users are an endangered specias, we outnumber iphone users by over 4:1.

          See my comment above, solved my issue and I vote for the new version, looks good.

    • I like the changes! Thanks Rob!

  9. Graham Walsh says:

    Many thanks for this.

  10. Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Like the changes. Would looooove the ability to edit comments.

    • That is way too technical unfortunately because the comments system is baked in to the software.

      When people correct their own comments with a 2nd comment, I do often go back and correct the original for them and delete the correction!

    • That’s drifting into forum type features. Wasn’t there some talk of a HfP forum, although I suspect a lot here are already active on FT

      • No, we were talking about a Q&A style page. We have the server capacity to do it now following our IT move but with a site redesign in hand it makes no sense because the site will get wider (I think) and we’d need to rejig it. Better to do it later.

        • Rob

          Did you make these changes to font size etc on the back of some Search Engine Optimisation expert?

          As these so called experts of google constantly tell me Im using the wrong header size. Which us laymen think as font size regardless of browser/os or phone make.

  11. Tom Cook says:

    OT – I was one of the people who despite having a good credit rating (999) and good income was refused an SPG card back in October.

    I have recently taken this up with AMEX who have just phoned me to say that they have approved me, they weren’t sure what had happened so if I still want the card they can get sort the application and get the card issued to me next week.

    • RussellH says:

      Why not ask if you can have double points for three months when you get back to them? Double points for three months was the offer they gave me to stop me cancelling my SPG card.

      • Tom Cook says:

        Good suggestion

      • OT @Russell, if you did not yet get a successful resolution with Staybridge I recommend you push them harder. I think they are on a sticky wicket, I’ve been refunded, upgraded, invited to arrive early and asked if there is anything else they can do to make my stay more memorable.

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