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Bits: 30% off Eurostar Standard Premier, bonus Accor points at Fairmont / Raffles / Swissotel, Miles & More credit card update

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News in brief:

30% off Eurostar Standard Premier tickets

Until 16th July, Eurostar is running a 30% off sale in Standard Premier.

Standard Premier is, for most people, the sweet spot for Eurostar pricing.  You get a Business Premier seat, and the only major differences are a lower quality meal (but you still get a meal) and lack of access to the lounges (but you can get into Eurostar lounges with an American Express Platinum charge card).

Travel dates are:

  • Paris – 1 August to 5 September 2018
  • Brussels – 16 July to 5 September 2018
  • Amsterdam – 16 July to 5 September 2018

The following black-out dates apply to all routes:  20 to 22 July inclusive, 28 to 29 July inclusive, 24 to 27 August inclusive and 2 September 2018.

You can find out more on the Eurostar site here.  Don’t forget to sign up for Club Eurostar and collect your points.

How to earn Club Eurostar points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, Club Eurostar does not have its own UK credit card.  However, you can earn Club Eurostar points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.  These are:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – 10,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

The Platinum Card from American Express – 30,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

American Express Rewards credit card – up to 5,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

Membership Rewards points convert at 15:1 into Club Eurostar points.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, so you earn the equivalent of 1 Club Eurostar point for every £15 you spend.

American Express Platinum also comes with a great Eurostar benefit – lounge access!  You can enter any Eurostar lounge, irrespective of your ticket type, simply by showing The Platinum Card at the desk.  No guests are allowed but you can get entry for your partner by issuing them with a FREE supplementary Amex Platinum card on your account.

Eurostar Standard Premier sale

Earn 1,000 bonus Accor points at Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel

From 2nd July, the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel brands have been fully integrated into Le Club AccorHotels.  You can now earn and redeem points, and enjoy Le Club status benefits, when you stay at any of the three chains.

(Raffles Singapore is pictured below, but currently closed for renovations.)

To celebrate, Accor has launched a special offer.

You will receive 1,000 bonus Le Club AccorHotels points with any booking made for a Fairmont, Raffles or Swissotel property.  You must book by 19th August for a stay completed by 30th September.

1,000 Accor points are worth a €20 discount on a future Accor stay or, if transferred to Iberia Plus, 1000 Avios.  Do not transfer your Accor points to British Airways as the rate is 50% worse at 2:1!

Full details of this offer are on this special page of the Accor site.   You MUST register.

What is not clear, unfortunately, is whether you can only earn this bonus once or if you get it on every booking at the three chains over the period.

Raffles Singapore

Miles & More credit card expiry clarification

If you have the MBNA-issued Lufthansa Miles & More credit card, which ceases at the end of the month, you should have received an email from Lufthansa about mileage expiry.

In theory, as you were no longer a credit card holder, any miles you held over three years old would have expired on 30th September.   Lufthansa is giving us all a grace period and no expiry will take place until 30th June 2019.  The number of miles over three years old which will expire on that date will be visible online from 1st April.

Lufthansa is hoping to get a new card deal in place and, if we’re lucky, a new product will be available before this date which will avoid the need for any panic redemptions next year.

(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.)

Bits: BA First to Cape Town for under £2000, BA Holidays discounts, HI Kingston South becoming a Crowne Plaza
(SOLD OUT) TODAY ONLY: LEVEL flights from Gatwick to Vienna at 2p return
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Comments

  1. Genghis says:

    Also fast track and flex tickets on Eurostar biz prem which worked a “treat” coming back on Wed afternoon. I usually travel standard prem on cost (booking my own tickets for credit card points etc) but biz prem cheaper at £412 return this week with corporate travel agent special fare. Wizzed through security at GdN, got to lounge and changed to a train an hour earlier. All trains then had to go on the standard (not high speed) line leading to 1.5 hour delays, so only got home 30 mins later than planned for wife’s bday. Would have been more in the dog house had I had a Standard prem ticket.

  2. Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Semi OT: any news on when/if a Hilton credit card will be returning to the UK market?

  3. Matt B says:

    Looking to book a hire car in California for August. Never had to hire a car in my life let alone drive abroad so a total novice.

    My wife has Amex Platinum and I will shortly be a supplementary card holder – which means we don’t have to take any cover/insurance out as the Amex covers us for up to £75k damage? What about personal liability cover… Would that be taken care of by travel insurance?

    Also any good Avios earning opportunities at the moment? Avis seem to be quite competitive so leaning towards them

    Thanks

    • Genghis says:

      Check the usual channels too – rental cars etc. We paid £20 for 9 days or so in South Africa for Ford Focus style car and was happy to forgo whatever avios offer was on at the time.

    • Bagoly says:

      In the UK, automatics always seem to be much more expensive than manuals (to sting the Americans?).
      How does it work the other way round?

      • Matt B says:

        To be fair I’m happy to drive an automatic, but don’t recall even coming across a manual from the sites I’ve looked at so far.

      • Doug M says:

        Thrifty used to have the odd manual, or stick shift as they say. I had one once that was a Shelby conversion of some standardish Dodge, think like an Ford Cosworth. Clearly been driven by a mass of people that knew nothing of using a clutch. Got it in LA and drove up to SF where it was awful. It had no hand brake, the parking brake being a foot operated one. Try doing a hill start on those SF hills with a knackered clutch and no hand brake. A few times I had to get the person behind to go round so I could roll back before getting the clutch to bite. No heel toe on the throttle and brake for me.
        Back on topic I reckon the only manual you’ll see in the USA now is if you rent something specifically exotic and expansive.

        • Lady London says:

          “Try doing a hill start on those SF hills with a knackered clutch and no hand brake.” @ Doug M that gave me a laugh! and brought back fond memories. Even if you’re in a car without a knackered clutch and with a hand brake, parking on some of those hills and keeping it parked) is a nightmare. Plus if clutch is in any way impaired some of the hills are so steep you might not even get up them. Happy days 🙂

        • Not any worse than putting your faith in the brakes of an ancient streetcar and it’s operator.

    • Doug M says:

      My experience with the USA is that the CDW/SLI (insurance) inclusive rates are often more competetive than just car hire rates. Typically you need LDW/CDW loss/collision damage waiver which cover the hire car, and then SLI supplementary liability insurance which covers damage to others. I’m not sure what Amex actually offers. The insurance required can vary by state too. Get something reasonably large, driving a small hatch is no fun on a 6 lane road surrounded by huge trucks, pickups and SUVs. I like Avis, but if you hire often enough they’ll all mess you about some how. Look at joining the loyalty scheme, no great points type benefit, but can allow queue jumping which is huge at the busy times. The Avis and Hertz ones allow you to go straight to the pre-reserved car, although if first time you’ll get redirected to the office, so they can see license and cc, but garage office still much quicker than the rental desks.

    • Bagoly says:

      If you two are naturally ambidextrous, or game players comfortable with changing frames of reference, then the other side of the road should be no problem.
      If you are not, then do add extra thinking step before each manoeuvre – highest risk moments are when starting again, E.g. coming out of parking, especially in the dark, and on empty roads.

      • Doug M says:

        I think when you have a rental with appropriate steering it becomes natural. I find driving rentals on the ‘wrong’ side completely normal. Driving my own car in Europe with inappropriate steering side much more unnatural, for more likely to drift inside with tendency to edge right. Of course I’m probably just a poor driver.

      • Lady London says:

        + 1. I can’t repeat that advice enough. Like you said @Bagoly, also at a T-Junction, make sure you start off again on the Right side of the road. or anytime you are forced to stop and wait with nothing else around. THINK. Go right.

        Also when you first get up in the morning and go out to the car and pull into the road, you might be half asleep and forget GO RIGHT! not pull out automatically onto the left side of the empty road.

        IME the steering wheel being on the right hand side of the car does help as long as you’re moving. The danger point is when you stop, and as @Bagoly says, when you start again be very very sure to pick the right hand side of the road.

        I say this as someone who has driven abroad regularly and at length for over 40 years, I still get caught out. After one three-year period when most of my driving was done in Europe, I also pulled out at a T-junction on a country road in the UK, and promptly took up the right hand side of the road so much I had schooled myself to. I was only saved from a head on collision by the quick thinking of the oncoming UK driver – I was fair and square on the wrong side of the road.

        This is long after I’ve got through the “changing the window winder” accidentally every time you go to change gear with your left hand” stage. I don’t think I’ll ever have to stop being vigiliant and remember every time I stop, which country I’m in and ensure I pull out again onto whichever side of the road is the right one… or the left one… er … you get my drift

    • Oh Matron! says:

      Get yours;f a hertz membership, then use the amex plat perk (if it still exists) to get president’s circle 5 star thingy. This allows you to rock up and *pick* a car from a selection. The last time I was in SFO, there was a bunch of eco boxes, a tonnes of trucks and… A Mustang…

      The time before that, in Boston, I ended up with this lovely Infiniti! They may need to see your driving license the first time you rent from them, but this, to me, is one of the more useful perks of Amex Plat

      • Pangolin says:

        Amex Plat doesn’t give you President’s Circle, it only gives you Gold Five Star, which is a lot less impressive. You can still bag a category upgrade (subject to availability) but you dont get to pick the best available car.

        I think Amex Centurion gives you PC level.

    • Gavin says:

      Driving in US is very easy, getting the hang of the 4 way stops is the key, and remembering to turn right on a red, and park the same direction as traffic. I did 4000 miles without an issue all around the Rockies and Western states. Defo hire a reasonably bigger car, a Nissan Rogue or similar is minimum size I’d want for California.

      You can get a cheap cooler box from Walmart or Target for a few dollars and this combined with the ice machine from your hotel is a great way to keep waters, soft drinks and more cool if doing a lot of driving somewhere remote eg Death Valley

    • sunguy says:

      I have always found http://www.avisba.com some of the best pricing if there is going to be more than 1 of you driving. The prices I have tended to find have been about the same as a number of even price comparison sites – except you get an extra driver included. Also, the insurance is also a part of the hire…..

      IF you have your own insurance, booking via another channel without the insurance can bring the price down, but Ive never seen a significant reduction compared to the avisba route.

      • Gavin says:

        Other thing I remembered is Navmii app, download to your phone, it’s a free offline GPS which uses no data and has worldwide maps. Saves on the crazy hiring cost of a GPS unit.

        • Brian W says:

          +1 I’ve used this in the USA and Spain and it works really well.

    • imbruce says:

      As you have a Amex Platinum card you will get Hertz number 1 Gold membership, I tend to use Hertz as I can pay in advance in £ instead of $AU.
      The car insurance supplement is provided by insurance4carhire.com.
      I have had a bad experience using Avis as have a few other people with them charging for damage
      or extra days when the car has been returned without damage or returned on time.
      I have always found Avis a lot dearer than other rental car companies when I have checked their prices.

    • the_real_a says:

      Just be careful of tolls. They will offer you an extortionate transponder for something like $30 a day. It may have changed, but all tolls could be paid via cash (a few years since i was in CA).

      Despite my toll device being “off” it was still picked up by the overhead readers and charged accordingly. So i would advice taking a knife to the thing and gluing back when you return.

      With AMEX plat you can decline all insurance (that is none mandated by the state). Its very common to have insurance benefits with credit cards in the states, so most customer service staff are familiar with it being declined. However you should be cautious of unscrupulous tactics such as your size of car being unavailable and offering you an upgrade (and then you paying for it). Ask for an estimate of the bill in written form so you have evidence of what is being charged at the rental. Do not rely on the electronic “click to accept”. Also take photos of every panel on your phone before you drive off. Dont be afraid to report any and ALL damage and have it noted.

  4. O/T apologies has been asked many times. What’s the best route for Amex Gold to Plat upgrade to maximise points. I have Amex Gold charge card and companion credit card at the moment.

    • And thank you in advance for the help!

    • Mark2 says:

      I suggest cancelling the companion credit card and any supplementaries first, so that you may get the points again for plat equivalents.
      BUT I have deleted the bookmark to the upgrade page (after upgrading mine) and a web search fails to find it. Is it still available?

  5. Mark E says:

    Slightly O/T

    My partner and I are both AMEX plats, will we have any luck trying to bring our four year old into the Eurostar Lounge at St Pancras with us?

  6. rachael says:

    Eurostar related: we have the Platinum card and want to use the lounge in London, we have the cheapest ticket and noticed the lines are rather long. After check in do you usually find there is time enough to visit or will we just have to jump on the train ?

    • luckyjim says:

      The benefit of the lounge is it gives you somewhere comfortable to relax if you need to wait for your train. If you don’t need to wait you don’t need the lounge. You won’t be missing anything.

      • Genghis says:

        Drinks at the manned bar at the Paris lounge, however, are excellent.

  7. Roger says:

    OT-

    Do you receive (option to choose from) 25K IHG point every year on qualifying Spire Elite with 75K IHG points via IHG credit card?

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