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Bits: 100% IHG buy points bonus (and prices cut!), Hainan to launch China to Ireland & Scotland, Cobalt Air to launch Athens

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News in brief:

IHG’s latest ‘100% buy points bonus’ ends tomorrow – and it has cut prices

IHG Rewards Club – the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc scheme – is running another flash sale this week for a 100% bonus when you buy over 5,000 points. It is as generous an offer as you will ever see for IHG points.

The page to buy points is here.

Interestingly, IHG has reduced the price at which it sells points.  This is logical, given the recent increases in redemption rates, but I have never seen anyone do it before!  The standard prices, before the bonus, are:

  • 1,000 – 10,000 points for $13.50 per 1,000 points (price unchanged)
  • 11,000 – 25,000 points for $11.50 per 1,000 points (was $12.50)
  • 26,000 – 60,000 points for $10 per 1,000 points (was $11.50)

The bonus rates are:

  • No bonus when you buy 1,000 – 4,000 points
  • 100% bonus when you buy 5,000 – 60,0000 points

With a 100% bonus, you would be able to buy 120,000 IHG points for (at current exchange rates for $600) £427.  This assumes your credit card has 0% FX fees.  This is substantially cheaper than the £515 it would have cost back in December – partly due to IHG’s price cut and partly because the £ has strengthened.

At the top end of the IHG Rewards Club portfolio, you have InterContinental properties which top out at 60,000 – 70,000 points per night. That’s what you would pay for InterContinental Le Grand in Paris or the InterContinental Amstel in Amsterdam pictured below.

With a 100% bonus, IHG is effectively selling you a night at a 60,000 point property for £213 all-in.  At the bottom end, the points for a 10,000 point PointBreaks night would cost just £36.

You should look at this if you have a ‘buy points’ target for your Accelerate promotion – although it makes more sense to buy 5,000 and get the bonus than buy 1,000 for no bonus.  If you are topping off your account, it is also a good deal irrespective of the exact cents per point cost.  The maximum number of points you can buy per year is 120,000 (ie 60,000 plus the 60,000 bonus).

You can buy via this link.  The offer ends TOMORROW, 22nd March.

Hainan Airlines to launch non-stop China flights to Ireland and Scotland

Later this year Hainan Airlines is going to connect Beijing to Ireland and Scotland with their first ever direct flights on this route.

Hainan Airlines will offer a four times weekly service Beijing-Dublin-Edinburgh-Beijing on Thursdays and Sundays and Beijing-Edinburgh-Dublin-Beijing on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  Before you ask, it does not seem possible to book Dublin-Edinburgh on its own.

The airline will launch the first flight on 12th June operating an Airbus 330-300.

Dublin Airport’s Managing Director Vincent Harrison said, “Hainan’s new Dublin-Beijing route links not just our two capital cities, but also our two countries. It is great news for tourism and trade and this improved connectivity will create new jobs throughout Ireland”.

In addition Hainan Airlines is launching thrice-weekly flights from London Heathrow to Changsha later this month with recent prices as low as £1,190 for a return flight in business.

Everyone who books a flight via the Hainan Airlines website by December this year will automatically get Silver Status in their loyalty scheme – though this will only be useful on Hainan Airlines flights as they are not part of a major airline alliance.

Cobalt Air Business Seat

Cobalt Air to launch London to Athens

Speaking of new routes, Cobalt Air has a new twice-weekly service from London Gatwick to Athens starting on 31st March.

Andrew Madar, CEO, Cobalt Air commented:

We are delighted to have this opportunity to widen our footprint in European aviation and commence direct London to Athens services at the end of this month. The travelling public has taken the relatively young Cobalt brand and its ethos to its heart. Our presence in Athens is already strong due to our existing services to Larnaca and Pafos from the Greek capital. We are very excited to bring additional competition and attractive fares to the London to Athens route.

The flights will be on Tuesdays and Saturdays with fares starting at £49.  Business Class is pictured above.

You can learn more about Cobalt Air on their website here.  Their full route map is here.

Your best option to maximise your miles when paying is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold.  This offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.  Our review of Amex Gold is here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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  1. The Original Nick says:

    Slightly O:T, I’ll be staying at the IC Toronto Centre on points. Has anyone any experience of the Club Lounge there? I will pay for access if It’s worth it.

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