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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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  1. 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..

  2. 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!

  3. 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 – 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Slightly OT, but Amex seem to have run a survey with Plat customers regarding how they rank the value of many perks of the card. Off the top of my head, there was 5x MR points when booking through Amex Travel or directly with airlines, getting mid-tier status with either a consortium or a single airline (with and without lounge access, with or without a status challenge to get to top tier), discounts when using MR points when booking through Amex Travel etc.

    Basically, it sounds like an upgrade to the card is coming, but they’re not sure which yet, and are testing the waters. Sounds exciting 🙂

    • Harry says:

      Staying OT, the points/status benefits of Amex Plat is well document/valued on this site. How does everyone value the “other perks”? Eg: Are the concierge useful at all? Any events invites and the odd “lifestyle enhancement” vouchers here and there?
      I’m wondering as I’m trying to decide between Amex Plat and HSBC Premier World Elite (not churning). From a points accumulation they’re of similar benefit to me (I use it for non-BA reward accumulation), but I’m a sucker for the little bells and whistles….(eg FHR for Amex and LHW for HSBC…)

      • Memesweeper says:

        The hotels booking perks for Gold and Platinum are handy if you’re heading to the right places.

        Other than that excellent insurance, lounge access and status at hotels are the only other features I use. I have the World Elite too and Platinum’s lounge coverage is much better.

    • Cate ⛱️ says:

      ‘there was 5x MR points when booking through Amex Travel or directly with airlines’

      This sounds interesting as long as there wasn’t a hefty mark up on travel which would negate the benefits and not just one airline.

    • Pangolin says:

      Well if anyone from Amex is reading this, 5x for airlines and Amex Travel bookings would be enough to keep me holding it (assuming they didn’t jack up the price or remove other benefits, eg. HH Gold).

  7. OT: Best non-Amex card for a student with (basically) no ‘income’? I’m looking for a Visa/ Mastercard credit card with some added bonus, earning some points, however, I need it to be available to students and without income limits. Currently, I’m using BA Amex, and I spend around 1-1.5k a month on it.

  8. OT (with apologies): I have two SPG hotel bookings coming up, but both were booked indirectly via on OTA. I called SPG and apparently this means I can’t add the bookings to my SPG account, however when I’m there can I still get my account number added to any hotel expenses like food, drink etc?

    • Chris Palmer says:

      Yes. You can still have your SPG account added for food and drink. Sometimes, you might even get lucky at the property. I was at the Westin Langkawi last year. I had booked through, but the receptionist added my SPG number to the book so I received free breakfast for a week (which would have been expensive otherwise).

    • OTA works with BA, by adding avios via the BA app when checking in

  9. mark2 says:

    Could you book a trip of some kind at your destination?

  10. Yes, you can book a multi-stop flight for example
    LHR to DXB to KUL (instead of a stopover which has a max stopover of 22-35 hours, book 1 or 2 days in DXB for an extra £50 to your journey) or look to book on weekends?

  11. You could choose a Flex or Flex plus fare on either sector if you already. It sometimes costs £50+-

  12. Eugene says:

    You could reserve a seat. Some of them are quite pricy- economy with a little extra legroom.

  13. Cate ⛱️ says:

    They have a hold your fare facility so could you buy your seats after paying a reservation fee – or two 🙂 ?

  14. Kevin says:

    OT and apologies if someone’s said it elsewhere but Qatar Airways is launching two direct flights a day from Gatwick to Doha from 22nd May.

  15. Mark LLL says:

    I had exact same situation: twenty pounds short of spend threshold and Amex terms say hotels/car hire spend do not count.
    Didn’t see an option for a charity donation.

    If all else fails, you might consider adding Emirates travel insurance at the booking stage – covering you against loss due to denied airspace (whatever that is) – 33 pounds for my itinerary. The risk would be if Amex excludes insurance spend, though I did not see that specifically excluded in offer T and Cs.

    Best of luck.

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