Bits: 50% ‘buy Avios’ bonus – good deal?, Marriott points with London house rentals, £264 Virgin fares to Dubai

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News in brief:

50% bonus when you buy Avios

British Airways has launched a generous ‘buy Avios’ bonus promotion.

Until 8th May you get 50% bonus Avios when you buy points.

As well as being the highest bonus we have seen for quite a while, there is also no minimum purchase.  The bonus kicks in with the smallest 1,000 Avios transaction.  You need to visit via this page in order to buy.

British Airways has increased the number of Avios you can buy under this deal – the cap is now 200,000 points per year!  This means that, with the bonus, you will receive 300,000 Avios for a whopping £3,215.

This is not necessarily a great idea as the best value is generally obtained by buying a small number of Avios to top off your account.  If you saw me on BBC1’s Rip Off Britain recently (you can watch the segment here, it is only 3 minutes long) you will know that one of the members of the public I tried to help had bought 100,000 Avios for £1600 without fully understand the restrictions behind them.

What does it cost?

In general, you will pay around 1.1p per Avios under this offer.  Based on my spreadsheet of the last 6.5 million Avios I redeemed, I got 1.14p of value.  This is using very conservative valuations for the flights booked, eg I value a Business Class flight to Dubai at £1500 because even if BA isn’t charging that there is usually a deal with a secondary airline.

I am clearly not a buyer at 1.14p.  However, as my core article on ‘What is an Avios worth?’ shows, it is easy to get a lot more than 1.14p.  My valuation is low because I do a lot of Gold Priority Rewards (using double Avios to force open a seat) and don’t always have a BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher to use.  I also tend to use Avios irrespective of the value, because I am sitting on so many.  If you are strategic you should do better than me.

The link to buy is here .

Is it worth buying Avios

New – earn Marriott Rewards points and stay credit with London house rentals

Marriott is dipping a toe into the ‘homes for rent’ market, and it has chosen London as its test bed.  The new venture is called Tribute Portfolio Homes.

The interesting quirk is that you earn Marriott Rewards points and status night credits on every booking.

The home page is here.    The service is put together by Hostmaker.  Hostmaker is a company which offers management services to people listing property for daily rent, and oversees listings on Airbnb, HomeAway etc.  This is a bit of a coup for them as it can offer an exclusive marketing channel to homeowners who sign up with it.

There are lots of interesting London flats and houses to rent.  What you won’t find – in case you were thinking of doing a cheap mattress run for status purposes – are any bargains.  I couldn’t find anything available for under £100 per night.

£264 Virgin Atlantic deal to Dubai

Virgin Atlantic is offering a surprisingly decent £264 fare to Dubai.

The fare runs from May to July although, to avoid the worst of the heat, I would go sooner rather than later.  £264 dates are few and far between in early May but there are other days at £274 – use the ‘5 week’ search option to find the best option.  That price is for the ‘hand baggage only’ fare but you don’t need a lot of clothing for the Middle East at this time of year.

The Virgin Atlantic booking site is here and you can learn more about their new Economy ticket types here.

A review of ‘Economy Delight’ – or, more accurately, a review of what happens on a press trip to try out ‘Economy Delight’ – will follow in a couple of weeks.

PS. Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Flying Club miles.  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.

(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.)

Shock BA announcements - some priority baggage WILL now receive priority, and a First Class bus!
An exceptional new Middle East beach redemption using Marriott Rewards or SPG points
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  1. Andrew says:

    Trying to keep up my Curve expenditure to keep withdrawing cash… anyone have any idea if paying Amex bills via it will help my cause?

  2. Andrew M says:

    Not possible. Sorry!

    • Andrew says:

      I just gave it a try (linked to a debit card) and it went through fine… Whether or not it counts toward my spend/cash ratio I guess we’ll wait and see. My ratio is about 1:1 right now as I put everything on my Amex, so if they are looking for a 5:1 ratio as I seem to remember reading here, I will almost certainly be declined at my next withdrawal! If not… can surely only be the Amex bill or an oversight.

      • I’ve just found out that loading up on a pre-paid foreign currency card via the Lloyds Mastercard (0% FX) is classed as “General” spending on Curve.

  3. Graham Walsh says:

    OT Looking to use the T5 Plaza lounge and use my Amex plat to get in. Anyone know if I can guest my g/f in? Can’t see it on the Amex site when it talks about it. I’ve got a supplementary card in my name, would if they would work if I can’t guest her in.

  4. @mkcol says:

    OT: got this email from Curve today.

    Initially I thought it was a phishing scam…

    “We need to send you a new Curve card

    Dear Colin,

    I am getting in touch to let you know that we will need to reissue your card by Monday, 30th of April.

    We have received information regarding increased amounts of fraud on cards that have been used at a specific online retailer, suggesting that this retailer has been compromised. As you have used this retailer in the past, as a safety precaution, we will need to send you a new Curve card to ensure your money is protected.
    What do I need to do?

    Please reply to this email confirming your shipping address for a new card by Monday 30th April. Once you have replied, we will block your card and issue a replacement. It can take up to 5 working days for your replacement card to reach you, so please ensure you have a backup card with you from the time you reply to this email until you receive and activate your new card.

    You can continue using your existing card until you reach out to us. If you want to take additional precautions, you can lock your card in-app and only unlock it when you’re about to make a purchase. Rest assured that you will not be out of pocket in the event of any fraudulent transactions.
    What happens if I don’t reply?

    If we have not heard from you by Monday 30th April, we will automatically place a block on your card to protect you from any potential unauthorised transactions on your account. Once you confirm your shipping address, we will be able to reissue your card.
    You may need to update your details

    Once we reissue your card, you will need to update your payment details for subscriptions and recurring card payments made through Curve (for example, Netflix, bill payments, etc.)”

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