Bits: 15% off Official Gatwick Parking, LOT to launch London City to Budapest, new Amex hotel cashback deals

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News in brief:

Save 15% on Official Gatwick Parking

Official Gatwick Parking has launched two new deals for anyone looking to pre-book the airport-run car parks this Summer.

Via this link (click) you save 15% on the official long-stay car park for trips completed by 20th July.

Via this link (click) you save 10% on long-stay, short-stay and Premium, valid for any dates to 31st March 2019

Official Gatwick Parking discount code

LOT Polish Airlines to launch flights from London City to Budapest

Following on from the announcement last week that LOT was launching London City to Warsaw in the New Year, the airline has now announced London City to Budapest.

From 7th January, LOT will fly twice a day (once at weekends) to Budapest using a new Embraer 190 aircraft.

I didn’t know that LOT was now running long-haul flights from Budapest to New York and Chicago, so this would be an (admittedly obscure) way of spending Star Alliance miles on a trip to the United States is availability was not available on direct flights.

New American Express hotel discounts

A trio of new hotel cashback deals have appeared on many American Express accounts.  My wife has them on her Gold card whilst I have them on my Platinum.

The deals are:

£35 cashback on £100 spend at Thistle – website here 

£55 cashback on £200 spend at Guoman – website here (the ‘posh’ Thistle brand!)

£55 cashback on £200 spend at Amba – website here (the ‘trendy’ Thistle brand!)

All deals run to 30th September.  Whilst the rules do not discuss it, these offers generally work when the spend is incurred via multiple transactions if you can’t spend £200 in one stay.

Here is Anika’s review of Amba Marble Arch which I think was the first thing she ever wrote for HFP!

(PS.  Current Amex offer totals on my account:  Platinum 35!, BA 5, Starwood 3.  Very odd.)

(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. Stuart says:

    OT – platinum upgrade from Gold Credit card: I have a standard email that I send to people when they ask about what we do with Amex cards. It has my referral link, instructions on applying for gold, then upgrade to platinum. One of my colleagues got a copy from someone that I sent it to previously, & followed the process without talking to me about it. He’s now proudly flashing his platinum card around, after “upgrading for free”. Given the timing of the referral bonus coming in, he must have had the gold credit card, so it seems that upgrades ARE possible. That or he got lucky.

    • Mark2 says:

      I would expect him to get the Platinum card.
      Surely the question is whether he gets 20,000 MR after spending £1,000?

      • Alex W says:

        Good point but even without the 20k bonus it’s a good way to circumvent the fee…

  2. palcsaky says:

    I’ve got £100 back on £800 spend with Thai Airways on my Gold charge.

  3. Is the sign-up page for Aerclub broken?

    Been trying to sign up, brand new email address, keep getting red exclamation mark and “Unfortunately we are unable to complete your registration”.

    Tried reformatting phone number to 3 digit dialling code and 7 digit number, tried taking space out of UK postcode.

    Any other suggestions?

  4. Lots of offers on Plat, hardly any on SPG. However I’d prefer fewer offers that were actually useful rather than a high volume of rubbish ones!

    • Pangolin says:

      It seems that offers on SPG are being steadily removed. Right now, I’ve only got one (!) but at the start of the year I had more offers on my SPG card than on my Amex Plat.

      I also get mostly rubbish, relating to irrelevant categories (Kids/Family, Women’s Clothing) – so much for Big Data!

      Meanwhile, I sit and wait for another Amex Travel or Hilton deal.

  5. AndyR says:

    OT Can you apply for the IHG Premium Black credit card if you already hold the free white one?

  6. Pangolin says:

    It’s great to see the LOT options to/from LCY opening up.

    Rob, you say you weren’t aware of it but in fact LOT seems to have a medium to long-term strategy of building up BUD as a secondary hub to WAW. This makes sense as WAW is pretty much saturated for non-Schengen traffic, unless or until the extension to the south side is built (and consequent rearranging of gates, passport control).

    The other reason is that the Polish government is actually trying to build a new (white elephant) airport in the middle of nowhere. The idea then is that WAW gets shuttered or used for LCCs.
    LOT is not exactly a fan of this idea so they are hedging their bets by adding more routes from BUD.

    Laughably, the Polish authorities say that this new airport would attract even more pax than FRA gets! Yeah, these guys are smoking some serious s***.

    • Michael Jennings says:

      Hungary doesn’t have a locally based full service carrier since the demise of Malev, so there was clearly a gap in the market there.

      Interesting to see if they now decide to offer any more flights out of LCY other than WAW and BUD. It sounds like they have bought enough aircraft for that.

    • londonsteve says:

      As posts above point out, BUD is a fertile market for a ‘full service’ carrier offering business market orientated connections. The de facto national airline since Malev went bust, is now Wizz Air, operating solely 320/321 family metal with an ULCC philosophy (their per seat cost is now below Ryanair, despite being so much nicer to fly with). They target the leisure market, quite strong now both in and out of Budapest, business travellers however are not best served by the choice of destinations or timetable.

      London is full of emigree Hungarians and many higher paid workers commute home for the weekends. Also not insignificant levels business traffic are heading to London during the week, not least because Budapest has become a European hub for multinational service centres. The new LCY connection will prove very successful, I’m sure, not least as there won’t be all that many seats to fill in the first place.

      Longer term, with Brexit and a stagnant UK economy, a few flights vanishing from Luton as well as BA’s 4th daily flight during summer are probably on the cards. BA’s flight looks particularly vulnerable, perhaps even ultimately cutting back to 2 daily services instead of three over winter – their forte was connecting transatlantic traffic via LHR. Now that AA fly direct from Philadelphia and direct flights with LOT (no less) to JFK and O’Hare (adding LA in the future), there’s little incentive to fly with an increasingly poor BA and transit in chaotic and perennially tardy LHR to save tiny sums, or nothing at all….. I’m sure LOT’s costs per passenger mile are vastly lower than BA over a BUD-JFK route so BA is stuffed on any front.

  7. OT if you use your Curve card linked to IHG black and withdraw cash when abroad do you get 2 x pts or 4 x pts as foreign spend. I changed the app to AUD so appears as a foreign transaction and have been charged 2.99% by Creation but they are only giving 2 pts on my 3 cash transactions instead of 4pts. Did I do it wrong – I’m confused?? I was trying to get more qualifying points towards Spire for next year.

    • Genghis says:

      Creation “foreign” transactions are funny. It’s not “foreign” as in non-GBP, it’s physically in a foreign country. e.g. Uber also excluded. Internet transactions usually excluded

      • Yes they emailed me and said internet transactions abroad only count for 2 pts but the 3 Curve cash transactions actually show the AUD and FX fee so you would think they would qualify as foreign spend. I have challenged it so will see what they say. Would have been better off not using cash as I got charged the 2.99% anyway but only got 2 pts instead of 4pts.

        • Genghis says:

          Transaction processed in London in AUD. Not double points IMO but good luck.

    • Alex W says:

      You’ll only ever get the 4 pts per £1 if you use the IHG Card directly and not via Curve. They can’t fund it if you use Curve to avoid the 2.99% FX fee.

      Personally I wouldn’t be telling the credit card company you’ve been doing cash transactions as they might start charging you interest! And the rest of us!

      • Genghis says:

        Having an AUD charge from Curve hit Creation, there should be a 2.99% fee.

        • Alex W says:

          I still wouldn’t expect to get the 4 pts/£ when using Curve, as you say it doesn’t count as foreign. Not sure why you would want to pay 3p for 1.6p worth of points anyway!

  8. paulm says:

    Re; amex offers. Just seen on my account a £5 off £50 spend for Virgin Trains

    • David says:

      Thanks for this, heading up North to the family in a couple of weeks!

  9. OT : why do we have to put our name and email address in every time we comment now? Did I miss something?

    • I need to get this fixed. Due to GDPR, we can’t automatically set a cookie containing your name and email. HOWEVER as you will see on the HFP mobile site, there is now a tick box which WILL save your details.

      For some techie reason we can’t figure out, the ‘theme’ we use on the desktop site is not showing this tick box. Once we get it sorted out you will be able to check it and it will save your details.

      • Ok I’ve ticked it on my mobile but I usually use an iPad and there’s no tick box there

  10. Peter K says:

    As a data point, I just cancelled my IHG premium card and it took under 12 mins to do it and have the £99 fee refunded. I followed Rob’s guide of not making any payments on the card after the fee hit (actually for a month before to be certain) and it was no problem.
    The free night did not hit my IHG account until the day the statement with the £99 fee was generated.

  11. bb101 says:

    Thank goodness we will have another direct option between London and Budapest. The choice at the moment is RyanAir, Wizz, Easyjet or British Airways — all discount airlines (or the equivalent). It’ll be nice to be able to travel with a good carrier for a change without having to change in Germany.

    • londonsteve says:


      Did you know FlyBe do SEN-BUD? Another E-190, I think they’d be quite nice to try but SEN is not practical for me. Perfect for anyone within striking distance of Liverpool St or on the eastern half of London.

  12. Chris H says:

    OT question: I want to cancel an Avios booking. Go into MMB and the website tells me to select “View or change existing booking” – but there is no such option! Am I going mad? Do I need to call the BA call centre? (Will that drive me mad…?)

    • the real harry1 says:

      try a MMB option on a sister site Finnair, Royal Jordanian for example

      no idea if you can cancel bookings on those sites but you can do most things such as select seats

  13. OT and regarding O
    Iberia Avios promo again.
    Does anyone know if I can use some of the avios to book Iberia Express flights? Would book Edinburgh to Madrid with them if possible but cant see how I would move them.

  14. Kevin Chin says:

    OT regading Avios.

    I booked and flew with Malaysia airline 3 months ago and provided my BA executive account No during the booking process. However I have yet received my Avios so far. I checked with Malaysia airline and they asked me to check with BA. Is this is the right approach?

  15. Kilburnflyer says:

    I think there has been a significant decrease in card offers available on “co-branded” Amex cards such as BA, SPG etc… Only card that seems to get a healthy amount of offers for me is Amex Gold, so a similar experience to you Rob. That merchant cap coming into play do we think?

    • Mark2 says:

      The only offer that I have used, muchly, is Esso which was on BAPP.

    • Possibly. All the promo stuff we are seeing from Amex is Gold/Plat. On the other hand if you only have a cobrand you wouldn’t know Gold had better offers ….

  16. I called American Express to complain about my offers the other day. I recently cancelled my Gold Charge Card which consistently had about 30 odd offers on, my British Airways Premium card never has more than 5 which is a joke. They are looking into it but I doubt I’ll hear anything, I never have more than half a dozen on my BA card for some reason and regularly miss out of some decent offers

  17. Matthew says:

    OT but a quick question about Amex referrals. If I refer someone for a card and they pick a different one which bonus would I get? Do I receive the referral bonus for the card I refer from or the one they end up choosing?

  18. James L says:

    OT – I have the PRGC since April, (22000MR), companion credit card (5000MR), supplementary card (3000 MR) , all bonuses now received. What is the best course of action now? Upgrade to platinum? Also, will there be a hard search on your credit report if you upgrade? Thanks!

  19. James T says:

    OT – I have the PRGC since April (22000MR), companion credit card (5000MR), supplementary card (3000MR), all bonuses now received. What is the best course of action now? Cancel both Companion and supplementary and upgrade to platinum? Also, will there be a hard search on your credit report if you upgrade? Thanks

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