Bits: Groupon / Avios offer problems, 75% bonus buying IHG points, 20 years since Heathrow Junction

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News in brief:

Groupon / Avios issues

EDIT: Comments below suggest that Groupon has fixed its IT overnight, so if you had problems yesterday please try again

On Saturday I wrote about the repeat of the Groupon / Iberia promotion which let you buy Avios for 1.1p.

When this offer first ran in 2015 there were terrible IT issues which meant that many people had real problems receiving or redeeming their vouchers.  My later articles, when the deal re-ran, came with a note of caution.  However, after 3-4 outings with no reported issues, I began to recommend it again with no caveats.

It seems I gave Groupon too much credit.  The new Iberia / Avios offer seems beset with issues with no-one able to redeem their vouchers. The ‘good’ news is that, because everyone seems to be impacted, you can be sure it will be fixed if you sit it out.  (A problem which only impacts you is never easy to solve, but when everyone is hit it is better!)

If you’ve got a voucher which you currently cannot redeem, I would put it to one side for a few days, let others – in Spain, who speak the language – put pressure on Groupon Spain and Iberia Plus and just wait for it to resolve itself.

InterContinental Times Square

75% bonus when you buy IHG Rewards Club points

Until 28th February, you can buy IHG Rewards Club – the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc scheme – points with a bonus of up to 75%.

The page to buy points is here – log in and see what is available.

This is not the most generous offer IHG has had, and it is also staggered:

  • Buy 5,000-19,000 points, get a 50% bonus
  • Buy 15,000+ points, get a 75% bonus

I wouldn’t buy speculatively with a 75% bonus as I am fairly sure that a 100% bonus for everyone will be along in a few months.  If you need to top up your account in advance of a planned redemption, however, you might as well do it whilst the bonus is on.  It is also worth buying if your IHG Accelerate promotion has a ‘buy points’ target you need to hit.

It’s 20 years since Heathrow Junction railway station opened (and closed)

For those of a certain age, this article published last week is worth a look.

In January 1998, Heathrow Junction railway station was opened in record time following the partial collapse of the tunnels being built for the Heathrow Express.  You would travel from Paddington to Heathrow Junction and connect to a waiting bus to be transferred to the terminals.  Six months later, with the collapsed tunnel rebuilt and full services able to begin, it was closed.

(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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  1. Annabelle says:

    OT but has anyone recently successfully received an amex referral bonus by referring themselves for a new card? ( ie PRG holder referring themselves for BAPP card )
    Thank you

    • I’ve read plenty of people have

      • Annabelle says:

        Thanks Louise. Although I can refer my husband for new BAPP card I was thinking he could refer himself as he has platinum card so will get an extra 9k MR points! Not sure whether to risk that and not get any referral points at all! Decisions!

        • I’d be very interested to hear any positive results with this working. I currently have an AMEX platinum and was contemplating taking out a BAPP.

          If I can gain another 18k MR for referring myself that would be amazing!

  2. Delbert says:

    Well, the bonus Avios have tracked as received an email this morning from Iberia informing of 174 Avios pending. That’s a start, I suppose.

  3. Early OT – considering the gold to plat upgrade as so many on here have suggested.

    Looking at the benefits, from reading the terms of the travel insurance it seems that most cover only if you pay for your booking on the plat card meaning if I use my BAPP we wouldn’t be covered so would have to purchase travel ins anyway?

    Have a few Hilton stays coming up in the next 4-5 months. One of which is a 5th night free reward stay in Toronto. Only silver honors at the moment but if I get the plat card will be gold Hilton honors. Do you get gold benefits on reward stays? So room upgrade and comp brekkie?

    The lounge access for a ET booking in May will be useful I suppose. Other trips do not matter as in CE, F and CW.


    • Re Plat insurance, important stuff covered regardless how pay. For inconvenience stuff, if you follow the definitions through, so as long as you pay on an Amex issued Amex (eg BAPP) it’s ok.

      Yes, get status benefits on Hilton Reward stays.

      • To add to first point, if retailer does not take Amex you’re also covered.

      • Thanks Genghis!

        Important stuff for me is medical and legal. Nice though to be covered for baggage, lost items, delays amd cancellations.

      • Genghis did you know this?
        Iv just been told by the Amex call centre that if I have referred from Plat and my friend takes out the gold card then I only receive the 9000 bonus? You only get the 18000 bonus if you refer from plat and the person you have referred takes out plat!

        • That was the previous rule (de jure) which was reality (de facto) but I thought de facto you receive 18k referral from a Plat->Gold referral. Not done it myself though.

        • Andrew* says:

          Referred my wife for gold from my plat, I got 18k

    • Assuming that you mean the main downtown Hilton.
      We stayed there two years ago as Gold. We did get an upgrade and free breakfast. They said it should be in Executive Lounge but as it was weekend we could use the normal restaurant which was good. On Monday we were relegated to the Exec Lounge where the food was poor: like a Hampton without the waffle machine. But YMMV.

    • AndyGWP says:

      There’s another website that was promoting a link for free Hilton Gold status the other day… they did say it was targeted to certain credit card users, but appeared to be working for anyone.

      Apologies if I shouldn’t mention it here (or if its no longer working!) :/

      • @Grimz:

        I can confirm from recent experience that you get 18,000 MR for referring from Platinum to Gold – I did this a few weeks ago…

        • Great thanks for the info – 9000 posted for me just after I upgraded to plat and I did the referral. I have since done some other referrals and I await the bonus points.

          I didn’t argue too much as I wasn’t sure what the actual rule was!

  4. OT – anyone else having issues with points posting at I’ve had several purchases which haven’t posted within the specified time frame, including a hotel stay which was completed 144 days ago! CS seems to have ground to a halt with it taking weeks to receive anything other than the ato-generated email response.

    • In my experience, anything with hotels seams to take ages. Just waited about 8 months to get Hilton points. Just keep emailing them!

      • I am, but it’s time consuming and they also seem to be breaching their own terms which state that hotel stays will credit within 90-120 days from completion (though I don’t understand why it should even take that long if businesses can do it within 35 days!).

  5. Groupon / Iberia voucher went though no worries this morning so I take it all ok now .. Happy Days.

  6. yes- all Iberia purchases worked fine this morning

    • blenz101 says:

      Still not working for me.  Either goes around in a loop or get the “Este cupón ya ha sido usado” message.  Very frustrating. 

      • Try a different browser and type in the numbers – Chrome and copy and paste wouldnt work this morning but it all worked on Firefox when it was typed in

  7. Alan Young says:

    O/T but IHG related, isn’t the 5,000 points thingy due soon?

  8. What a great blog that is (The one about the Heathrow Station – Ian Visits) I may have to add it onto my list of regular blogs (After HFP obviously)

    • I was quite impressed with it, I must admit.

    • Nick Burch says:

      If you like Ian Visits, you may also like Diamond Geezer. A bunch of us spent a bit of time chatting about both of those two at the HFP christmas party towards the end 🙂

  9. O/T I only have a Plat at the moment and my wife has nothing. Is the best way of maximising sign up/referral bonuses for me to refer my wife for a Gold and BAPP, and then for her to upgrade her Gold to Plat? She would then refer me for a BAPP. Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Jimbo,
      Thats exacltly what I am doing at the moment (throwing a parent referral in there aswell)
      May be worth mentioning that Rob said the rules might be changing soon, depending on when you both last had the cards (I am trying to get it all done ASAP)

      • Latest I heard via the call centre is that it will move to a 2 year gap to get another bonus, but that is now the 3rd different story I have been given (and sits between the other stories in terms of severity).

        • Two year gap between cards rather than 6 months !!!! Now that would be absolutely heartbreaking (and would just steer me away completely from AMEX (currently 8 cards a year) (BAPP, GOLD, PLAT, SPG x 2)……..It could only be mitigated by the reappearance of something like the 3 V licence to print AVIOS….

        • @Mike. That’s the reason they’re changing. They’re losing money from you (and me).

        • and me and my wife!

        • roberto says:

          Do we know if the “two year rule” (potentially/possibly) will be if you
          (1) Cancel, then wait and re-apply?
          (2) Re-apply having already cancelled?
          It makes a big difference depending where you are in your churn cycle.

          I am waiting to refer SWMBO & the six months is annoyingly up on the 1st of Feb .. I have sent her the link (and kept a screen print) in readiness and it clearly highlights the six month stipulation. I suggest other in the same position also get their ducks in a row.

          • Almost certainly applied retrospectively to earlier cancellations, which is why I was suggesting that you DON’T currently cancel a card you actually want to have longer term in case you have issues reapplying.

  10. David Ottley says:

    I had an email from Avios/Groupon Spain this morning saying the system error had been fixed. However I still cannot validate my Groupon as the system continues to tell me the Groupon has been used, which it has not. Never had a problem before but this time………………..

  11. Olly Loosemore says:

    No availability left on this offer now 🙁

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