Holiday Tips 3 – how to earn Avios and get the best deals on Heathrow Airport car parking

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With the schools breaking up, I am currently running updated versions of my annual travel planning series.  This will cover the best ways of earning or redeeming miles and points to get the best value from your Summer travel.  Part 1, on earning Avios and miles from car rentals, is herePart 2, covering ways to earn miles when buying foreign currency, is here.

“How to get a discount on airport car parking” is a difficult and long-winded question, especially at Heathrow.  Luckily for me, the good people at moneysavingexpert.com have written a long article on the subject, which you can find here I can therefore focus on the ‘miles and points’ angles.

Earning and burning from official Heathrow Airport parking

The official Heathrow Airport car parks are certainly not the cheapest option but are certainly convenient.  Depending on your car park, you may even get to travel to Terminal 5 in the very cool driverless ‘pods’.  We did a trip report on the ride on the driverless pods (and a video!) which you can find here.

Heathrow pods

You can reduce what you pay for the official Heathrow car parks by redeeming Heathrow Rewards points.

The rate is a £10 voucher for every 500 points you redeem.  This is a very good deal, because the alternative would be receiving 500 Avios – and I certainly don’t value an Avios point at 2p – or a £5 shopping voucher.

You can also earn points with Heathrow Rewards, convertible to Avios or various other airlines, when you book the ‘official’ Heathrow car parks, at the rate of 1 point for every £1 spent.  The website for the official Heathrow car parks is here.

How to use the official Heathrow car parks for less

Heathrow Airport owns another low-key parking company called Good To Go Parking.  This sells parking at Heathrow at discounted prices as long as you stay a Saturday night.

Whilst the Good To Go website isn’t very clear about where you will be parking, you will actually be in the official airport-owned car parks.

Do check the official Heathrow parking site too, however, as on odd occasions it can be cheaper.

Earning Avios from offsite airport parking

You will usually save money by parking at an unofficial car park near an airport, although the trade off is a longer transfer time to and from the terminal.

Holiday Extras is the British Airways Executive Club partner and you earn 5 Avios per £1 when you book via ba.com.  Their home page for these offers is here.

ba.com also offers a range of airport hotels which offer inclusive parking.  You will also earn 5 Avios per £1 when you book these.

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Earn Virgin Flying Club miles from offsite airport parking

Virgin Flying Club has a partnership with Purple Parking.  Full details are on the Virgin site here.

Purple Parking offers the option of a ‘meet and greet’ service.  They will collect your car at the terminal and bring it back on your return.  All Flying Club members get a discount – even those on the free Red level – and you will earn 250 to 350 miles depending on what service you book.

Using Clubcard vouchers for offsite airport parking

Tesco Clubcard has a partnership with airport parking group APH.  You can see details of the deal here.

You receive 3 x the face value of your Clubcard vouchers (recently improved from the old rate of 2x face value) if you redeem them for APH parking.  You need to be booking for a minimum of eight days in order to use vouchers.

Do a one-way car rental to the airport for just £1!

As I outlined in this articleEuropcar is offering one-way UK car rentals for a flat fee of £1, including basic insurance.  Most of these are to or from major airports, in particular Heathrow.

This is not a marketing ploy.  The company is trying to save itself money by using you as free labour to get cars back to their original location or to re-allocate vehicles across sites.  Why pay a truck to haul a vehicle across the country when you can find someone willing to pay you £1 for the privilege?!  The Europcar £1 rental page is here.

Hertz has also introduced its own £1 one-way rentals to and from airportsHertz One, as it is called, is explained in this HFP article.

Earning hotel points with ‘hotel and parking’ packages

I wrote an article last year on the semi-secret ‘park and fly’ Park Stay Go rates offered by IHG Rewards Club via a little-known corner of their website.  This is worth a look.  You may find that you can book a hotel room for the night before plus solve your parking problem for less than the cost of an official car park.

The benefit of booking an ‘official’ IHG package rather than using a consolidator like Holiday Extras is that you will earn IHG points for your stay and your elite benefits should be provided if you have status.  Full details of IHG’s Park Stay Go are on the IHG website here.

The other Heathrow hotels may also offer similar packages depending on how busy they are.

Staying at the Heathrow Thistle for a quick pod transfer

If you are flying out of Terminal 5 at Heathrow, take a look at the Thistle hotel.

This is, frankly, not the most modern of hotels.  The reason to book a ‘park and fly’ package here is that you can use the driverless pods to reach Terminal 5 as they operate from the official car park behind the hotel.  There is a £5 per person charge for this but it makes for a fun and trouble-free start to your holiday.

I stayed at the Thistle Heathrow recently and took the pods to Terminal 5 the next day.  Here is my Thistle Heathrow hotel review.

Get an ‘under the carpet’ deal at one of the Heathrow hotels!

Some hotels at Heathrow sell their parking spaces – with no obligation to book a room – via the JustPark website.

If you want a really cheap deal, there are also private individuals on JustPark who rent out their driveways!  Most live inside the ‘free Heathrow bus travel zone’ so you won’t have to pay to get to or from the airport – although you will have to take your luggage on a standard bus.

I wrote a full overview of JustPark in this article.

Conclusion

There is no simple answer to the cheapest airport parking at Heathrow, or elsewhere in the UK. It is all about the trade off between the distance from the airport and the price you want to pay. If you would need a hotel the night before anyway, then a ‘hotel plus parking’ package is probably your best option – but remember that these packages, unless booked direct, are unlikely to earn hotel points or give you elite status benefits.

If you are price conscious, then don’t be distracted by the Avios points on offer from various operators. Focus on the bottom line price.  If you are spending your employers money, or are not price sensitive, there are numerous opportunities to earn Avios or Heathrow Rewards from the pricier, more convenient parking options.

30% bonus when you use Virgin Flying Club 'Miles Booster' - good deal?
Bits: update on £1900 BA Cape Town in First, Louis Vuitton opens in T4, going to Goodwood FOS? (photos added)
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Comments

  1. John H says:

    A word of warning about Europcar One way Rental for £1 deal, they canceled my reservation with them less than 24 hours before I was due to collect. And have not responded to my emails/ telephone calls asking for the reason or a result of the complaint I later submitted. That meant I was out of pocket £88 after they returned my £1 for alternate transportation costs.
    John

    • the real harry1 says:

      You’ve got me worried now! I’m planning on using one next week. As it happens, I have 2x £1 rentals booked —> LHR (plus another full price one) & was planning on tidying up today to avoid the £45 no-show charges – but I think I’ll delay cancelling the unwanted 2 until next week, given what you just said.

      • John H says:

        Sorry the real harry1 I even popped into the branch the day before I was due to collect the car and it was said to be ready for the next day…

      • Tony Cross says:

        Note the £1 deals don’t hit you with a £45 cancellation charge if you fail to cancel. You just lose the £1 already paid – which to be honest seems odd…

  2. Nigel the pensioner says:

    It used to be the case that if you accessed holiday extras via saga.co.uk you got an extra 5% off the prices. You didnt have to mention age or date or birth!
    Also if you read the mystery hotel description and then have the time and inclination (it seems many hfp readers do!) to carefully read the individual named hotel description of the same star rating, you can usually match the mystery hotel to a named one!

  3. Graham Law says:

    I’ve got a couple of outstanding bookings at Longstay T5 and they priced up more than 10 cheaper than its Good-to-go option

    • Yes, Ive looked a couple of times with a Sat night at Good to Go parking and found they were considerably more expensive than the Long Stays at Heathrow.

    • Peter K says:

      Do you mean a 1/10th of the price?

      • Andrew says:

        You never know.

        The same car parks charge different rates through different routes for the same parking. I’ve been charged less than £20 for a week’s parking at Heathrow on one site where for the same parking it was £100 on another.

        On another occasion, by selecting “any” on the drop down the charge for parking at T5 was £10 for a long weekend, but if I selected T5 from the drop-down it was £40.

        It’s all down to playing the system and finding the best price for your booking today, the same method probably won’t work tomorrow.

        On a Sunday evening, when I’m on the last flight from Edinburgh and just want to get home, nothing beats the pods.

  4. Ive done the Thistle/Parking/Pod thing.
    Never again.
    The hotel is a proper slum.
    Our group had 6 rooms & all the rooms was dated & not very clean.
    Nothing was updated & the bathroom was nothing like Rob’s review.
    Then the whole problem of actually finding a space within the hotel… or in our situation 4 parking spaces!
    Also eating is limited. IIRC the Pizzas took an age to come out.

    While the pod is fun – it is expensive for what it is. £5 per person EachWay – so a tenner each.

    • the real harry1 says:

      My understanding is that it’s simple to make it £5 EW for all your party, no need to pay £5x n 🙂

  5. OT – when do BA tier points get credited in the case of a return journey? My onward flight is before my membership year end and return flight is after the membership year end. If my onward point is credited immediately after the journey, I would move up to the next tier.

  6. Simon says:

    OT got something from Virgin Money in the post titled ‘We’re going an extra 33000 miles to welcome you back onboard.’
    I have had the Virgin MBNA in the past, I cancelled around two years ago. Is this a separate promotion to the one for transferring MBNA cardholders?

    • I think they have got confused over who is still a current cardholder because my wife got this offer and she cancelled hers too. As long as they sent it to you and you apply using the same email address it will all match up and you’ll get the bonus.

  7. Rob – any good deals for airport parking outwith London?deals

    I hope to report on one in a week or so once I’ve tried it out…

  8. OT: Found and booked £1250 LHR-GRU-GIG and return in August.
    Still might be something available on 8/9 August according to ITA.
    Anyway, how do I choose seats on LATAM?

  9. The driverless pods at T5 are loved by families with kids, but are poorly ventilated in hot weather. Hence not always as ‘cool’ as described! However, a firm favourite for most of the year.

  10. Chris L says:

    Agreed, the pods are fun! They’re a good option on short trips.
    One disadvantage of Good To Go Parking is that bookings are non-refundable unlike Heathrow.com.

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