Bits: has Starwood given up its suite at the O2?, new Amex cashback deals inc Emirates and Avis

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News in brief:

Has Starwood Preferred Guest given up its O2 suite?

Regular readers will know that there have been some great points opportunities over the past three years to see top musical acts at the O2 Arena in London via SPG Moments.

Starwood Preferred Guest took a VIP suite in the arena and made tickets available as a points redemption, usually around 15,000 points for two people.  The suite was fully catered with a hot and cold buffet and a free, unlimited bar.

Anika reviewed a Muse concert here and I have been numerous times, generally to see acts too uncool to publicly name.

The game might be up, unfortunately.  The O2 suite was a three year deal and the three years is now over.  There have not been any concerts listed on the SPG Moments site for a while.

Other venues controlled by AEG (Mercedes Arena, Staples Center) also seem to have disappeared from SPG Moments.

If the suite has gone, this may be a sign of things to come with the Marriott-isation of Starwood.  SPG will have lost a lot of money on these events – the value of the points redeemed won’t even have covered the cost of the food and drink, yet alone the cost of the box itself – but it didn’t care because it was all about relationship building with its core guests.  I have never seen any signs that Marriott thinks the same way.

I wish Virgin Atlantic would do more with its suite at the O2.  I have no idea who gets the seats – once a year we get an invite, this year we get ’30 Seconds To Mars’, last year it was world darts – but there would be real value in Virgin Atlantic offering up seats for miles.

Virgin Flying Club is desperately in need of valuable low value redemptions as it doesn’t have any short-haul flights to offer.  With the credit card due for a major relaunch soon it would be a good way of driving sign-ups.

SPG Moments O2 Arena London suite

New Amex / Emirates cashback deal launched

Emirates has launched a decent cashback deal with American Express although not many people appear to have it.

There seem to be a few variants so you will need to look through the ‘Offers’ section on each card, via the statement page on the app or website, to see what you have, if anything.

The options seems to be £150 back on £800 spend and £100 back on £500 spend.

The offer expires on 30th April and the £150 version (not sure about the £100 version) is limited to the first 2,500 people to save it.

You need to book via the Emirates website here.  Thanks to Din.

PS.  There are also new offers for Q-Park, Firmdale Hotels, Heathrow Express (£10 back on £35), Avis (£25 back on £125), Gordon Ramsay Plane Food at Heathrow T5 (£10 back on £50) and Pride of Britain Hotels widely available.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Mark LLL says:

    Good morning,

    I have the PRG Amex offer for EK:
    quote ‘Save to Card to get a £100 statement credit when you spend £500+ at emirates.com/uk by 30/04/2018. UK departure flights only. Valid once per Card for the first 2,500 Cardmembers to save.’
    Also the spend must be in UK pounds, car hire and hotels excluded.

    May I ask, would cumulative spend usually count?
    I have saved the offer and spent over the 500 threshold – but only if combine two separate purchases on the Emirates Website (Flight and seat selection.)

    Thanks.

  2. Chris says:

    Rob what about the Avis offer as per the article title please?

  3. Jonathan says:

    I’ve got a small number <3k Emirates miles expiring at the end of March. Can anyone please suggest how these can be used without necessarily incurring other costs (I.e. not buying a flight!)

    • Richard says:

      Donate to charity. If you initially earned them through flying ek economy the answer is to credit to Alaska in future

    • You can book hotels with cash and points via Rocketmiles. It pretty much runs on the back end system of booking.com. More ways to spend check the emirates skyward miles website. Dont waste it!

    • Neil Donoghue says:

      Transfer them to Heathrow rewards and spend the cash on Duty free next time you fly

      • I think there is a 6k minimum for Heathrow Rewards transfers. Isn’t there a hotel booking portal where you can use them for a discount on a room?

  4. I was at the O2 last week in a suite 2 along from the SPG one. The SPG name is still on the door but the suite seemed unused that evening.

    It would be a real shame if they don’t renew the contract. We’ve enjoyed a couple of fantastic evenings in the SPG suite for concerts that sold out their public tickets in minutes (and before I got my act together!!)

  5. JamesB says:

    Can we read anything into the on going delay/wait for the new Virgin card?

  6. Richard says:

    Rob, can you give a date or rough date for the virgin card?

  7. Roger says:

    OT Amex Travel

    Did anyone who used Amex Travel on the last day of offer, seeing the date of transaction changed to 1 at March?

    I have this situation, will get in touch with AMEX Travel for credit. If not will cancel the travel booking.

    • yes, it was disappeared yesterday.

    • Same here. Will contact Amex today or tomorrow.

      Roger pls let us know what Amex say.

      • Sussex bantam says:

        Yep. Will cancel if not resolved

      • Roger says:

        Spoken to Amex and they have taken a note to see why the offer has not been applies it yet.
        I have been asked to wait for few more days. SO willl wait it out.

        • Thanks for the update, I will wait then

        • Sussex bantam says:

          I had an online chat with them and they said mich the same thing – although said it might take 90 days

          I screengrabbed the chat of course !!

    • Sandgrounder says:

      I used the offer on the 27th, date changed to the 28th, credit arrived today. I received a separate invoice on the 28th, can’t remember this happening on a different day when I have used them before.

    • Pangolin says:

      If you call them and explain they’ll manually trigger it but you might have to wait a few days to see the credit.

  8. Alex W says:

    Ooh Rob I’m a fan of 30 Seconds To Mars! If you don’t fancy it…

    • We are actually both away as it is Easter week but we have found a volunteer!

      • Alex W says:

        Doh. Have a nice trip!

      • Peter K says:

        Nice that someone put themselves out to help you in your hour of need by visiting a free concert on your behalf. You must have some good friends ????

        • Would you really want to spend an evening with 15 x 25 year old women, with you being the only bloke and old enough to be their Dad? That is what these marketing events are like.

          (Actually, Colin who runs weather2travel tends to follow me around these events, so it is actually two old guys who look like they are hosting a birthday party for their kids.)

          I am actually in the wrong niche. Last year Sandals took their top partners to Barbados for a ‘conference’. Anika got world darts at the O2 from Virgin. BA does nowt, of course.

        • Peter K says:

          Considering the consistently bad reviews of the Sandals in Barbados and the construction going on there (which I can confirm as I was in the hotel next door last year) you didn’t miss much not going there. Apart from an all inclusive time in the caribbean that is…

        • “Would you really want to spend an evening with 15 x 25 year old women, with you being the only bloke and old enough to be their Dad? That is what these marketing events are like.” to answer in short YES!!!!
          (in my defence I am 29 so not quite so weird)

  9. OT LLoyds Avios Rewards Card

    Is there anyway of telling how far off the upgrade voucher you are? I can’t find any details anywhere on the web site!

    • Mikeact says:

      Call them or keep a check yourself.

      • Akkers says:

        And once you meet the criteria how long is it until the voucher is posted onto your Avios account? I know amex vouchers are a day or 2 – but don’t know about Lloyds?

        Thx

    • Ben E says:

      I had this same challenge recently. The only way is to work out when your renewal date is, and do cumulative spend from then. I called them and got them to do it for me. Letter and voucher came less than a fortnight after hitting the spend target though

  10. JohnW says:

    Hi All,

    I noticed in the comments a while ago that there is a useful ‘trick’ that works (sometimes?) when searching for car rental. It was something like using Hertz Australia/USA instead of Hertz UK… is that right? Does it work with all rental companies and do you need to use a VPN?

    • Try Hertz Australia and the AMEX CDP code which will give you 25% off. Some other countries may work out better. You don’t need a VPN. Not sure if it works for other companies, I’ll let others advise on that if they have experience

    • Alex W says:

      I use autoslash, it comes out with the cheapest quotes every time!

  11. Jovanna says:

    Just tried using my Amex card at the counter at Southern Rail and it was refused. They no longer accept Amex. I wonder why that is?!

    • AMEX probably don’t want their name sullied by being associated with such a company!

    • Odd, considering more places than ever are accepting Amex. It’s still being accepted on their website, perhaps it was a glitch at the ticket office. I remember many years ago popping into a Tesco Express and saw signs that Amex was not accepted, the person on the counter thought it was a permanent thing. I called Amex and they said it was nonsense. Next time I went in it worked fine so must have just been a temporary issue.

      National Express East Coast at one point (2008) stopped accepting Amex (via all channels – ticket offices, machines, call centre and online) to cut costs. They were bombarded with complaints and decided to reverse the situation. I think it was six months without Amex, it definitely returned before they lost their franchise.

    • David says:

      They took mine on Monday morning – I’ve always used it (and when I renew my annual season in May they’d better!)

  12. OT. Looking for advice. I have managed to get 100k MR in my mums name (referring etc) and I want to use them for BA flights. I have read the article for the HHA etc but I was looking for reccomendations on what would be best.
    She does not use any but I wondered if anyone had any experiance on what would work out best for me to have full access to them.

    • Grimz says:

      I have my Mum in my household account in BA and that allows you to use them.

    • Peter K says:

      I assume you have her permission?
      One option is to open an Avios.com account in her name and move all the Avios into there. Then online you can join them into a single household account. You can then download a paper form to split accounts (you both need to sign it) and post it and you can say how much of the Avios each person keeps.
      Rob has an article on household accounts which will explain more. I think it’s in his “Avios University” series.

      • Yes, I have her permission. Im not too keen on credit card fraud so thought it best to ask her first 🙂
        Thats what I was thinking, that way all the avios will be in my account and if she ever decided to start collecting etc then she will still have her own account.
        Yes, I read the article but for me there was no clear winner so thought I would check what people on here had the most sucess with.

    • My mum is in the HHA together with my husband, and I book redemptions for all of us as required out of my account, no issues.
      I also manage her BA & MR rewards accounts through my awardwallet with her permission.
      You say she doesn’t use any but neither till mine until I took her 1st class to see some friends back home, and now she makes frequent use of them 😉

    • JamesB says:

      If mum is platinum you could get her to Marriott gold via dog status, transfer to 50k SPG-150K marriott- transfer to your Marriott, top up to 270k Marriott to 270k and redeem 162 avios travel package before end of the month.

  13. Grimz says:

    OT – I have just referred my Partner for the BA free card via my amex Plat for the 18k referral bonus. Is there a way of upgrading this to BAPP and bagging the 26k bonus for the 3k spend in 3 months?

    • Peter K says:

      No. You’d have to cancel it, wait 6 months, than apply again. There is no official upgrade bonus from the free to premium BA card.

    • Nick P says:

      How were you able to get the 18k referral bonus via the Plat for referring to a BA free card? Does the person you’re referring not need to also apply for an Amex Platinum themselves in order for you to get the referral bonus?

  14. Christian says:

    Damn – just booked flights with Emirates at the weekend.Might have to upgrade with cash!!

  15. Minhaal Rajani says:

    Any Platinum AMEX holders get the Emirates or Avis offer?

  16. Nigel Williams says:

    Mine was actually a slightly worse offer – Spend 800, get 100 back 🙁

    • Nigel Williams says:

      Its a shame Emirates dont fly to DFW, as I need to book tickets to see family for Xmas..

  17. Graeme says:

    It’s now been 51 days since I submitted an EU261 claim to BA, leaving me several hundred Pounds out-of-pocket. A grumpy Tweet yesterday has led to the offer of a phone call today – fingers crossed that’ll happen. Would others be expecting some Avios as compensation, or is that a bit greedy? It’s a pretty simple claim, I can’t imagine what’s taken them so long.

    • Graeme says:

      Apologies – OT!

      • Walty says:

        Did you do the claim online via their customer services link? My flight was cancelled on 18th Feb. Rebooked on 19th Feb. Completed customer service form on 20th Feb for re-imbursement of hotel & food along with EU261 compensation (selected joint claim at beginning of the process). Got a phone call last week that it was accepted and being processed. Funds arrived yesterday. A very painless exercise. Kudos BA!

  18. I’ve got the Emirates one (150 for 800), shame it can’t be booked under the QF code as unusually BA gives TP and Avios on EK booked under a QF code.

    Others I got was the HEX (£10 back on £35 spend), I can confirm that it worked when I added a couple of Network Railcard tickets (see http://saveecrewards.co.uk/blog/railcards-anyone – I booked two separate return tickets using the railcard discount in one transaction), then I did get the message off Amex that I qualified for the statement credit. Just make sure you add them to your basket and pay for them as a single transaction.

    I have the Qpark and Plane Food offers too. Would anyone recommend Plane Food at T5? Last time I used it was in 2009 before I had status and lounge access.

    • Cate ⛱️ says:

      Same Emirates deal here , but their tax/fees etc are just stupid even when you throw miles at it.

    • RussellH says:

      We have been to Plane Food a couple of times in the last six years or so, though not in the last couple of years (LHR is not somewhere we go very often). Both times perfectly accepatable, and reasonable value for money, given that it is at an airport where thb I do not expect to find reasonable value for money.

  19. OT – I was planning to cancel my BA Premium Plus card today but just received an email to add a supplementary card to get 3000 Avios. If I apply for the supplementary card today, I guess I’ll have the Avios in 2 or 3 days – will I have to wait until my next statement date in a month to have these Avios transferred automatically to my BAEC account, or can this be done manually before? I would not pay another month of fees (£16) for 3000 Avios…

    • They can’t transfer them manually. You need to wait till next month for them to move across. If you cancel the card before the points transfer you will have a very hard time getting the points once the link between the two is broken.

  20. OT – Got 5 passports to renew this month, can I pay with an Amex online? Need to hit a joining bonus and would like to avoid using Post Office Check and Send (£9+ each!) to be able to pay by Amex…

    • I’ve just had a look and the cards accepted are Visa, Mastercard and Maestro (does any UK bank still issue these?)

      The government departments seem to have wildly different card acceptance rules with Companies House accepting Amex and HMRC not accepting any personal cards.

      • mark2 says:

        Perhaps because Companies House are providing a service while HMRC are usually collecting tax due.

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