Bits: get tier points and a flat bed on FRA-MAD, Virgin / Avis deal, Hyatt partners with Small Luxury Hotels

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News in brief:

Fly Frankfurt to Madrid in LATAM business class for £172 return

LATAM, previous LAN, is a oneworld partner airline.  You can use Avios points to redeem for its flight from Madrid to Santiago, Chile, amongst other routes.

It also has an impressive business class seat which we reviewed here.

Few people know that the LAN flight from Chile does not terminate in Madrid. It carries on to Frankfurt.  This allows you to earn some British Airways tier points in style.  Why? Because you can buy tickets just for the Frankfurt to Madrid flight.

If you want to try out the very nice business class seat below, here are the current special prices currently as per the LAN website here:

Frankfurt to Madrid one-way – £172

Madrid to Frankfurt one-way – £150

Return trip – £172 irrespective of where you start

You will earn roughly 1,100 Avios points and 40 tier points for each segment. The flight is 2 hours and 40 minutes so you will get a decent amount of time to enjoy the LAN seat. Lounge access is also included.  You will be flying a Boeing 787 Dreamliner which many people have not yet been able to experience.

The timings are not ideal, to be honest. The Frankfurt flight departs at 19.35 and lands in Madrid at 22.00. The Madrid to Frankfurt flight leaves at 15.05 and lands at 17.45.

There probably aren’t many HFP readers who actually need to fly from Madrid to Frankfurt, or vice versa. However, if you are after some cheap BA tier points and fancy trying out a different airline then this is a fun deal.  You can book this on the LAN website here.

One option would be to tie this in with the A350 flights that Iberia is currently running from Heathrow to Madrid and which I reviewed here.

LAN LATAM Boeing 787 Business Class

Virgin Atlantic and Avis bring back their bonus miles promotion

Virgin Atlantic is re-running its generous deal with Avis, albeit that you don’t get quite as many miles as last time.

If you book a car for 3+ days you will pick up 4,000 bonus Virgin Flying Club miles!  This is on top of the standard 500 or 1,000 base miles depending on the length of your rental.

That’s the good news.  The bad news is that a lot of people had trouble getting the miles to post when this offer ran last year.  This time the offer has been clarified to say that you must book via the special Virgin / Avis site – this clause was also there when it ran in the Spring and the miles did seem to turn up promptly.

Full details of the offer are on the Avis / Virgin Atlantic partner website here.  This is the small print:

Booking dates:  until 15th August 2018

Rental dates:  1st September 2018 to 30th April 2019

Qualifying countries:   North America, UK, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia

Rental requirement:  3-28 days in a Group C or higher vehicle

You can earn the bonus up to three times.  On top of the 4,000 bonus miles you will receive 500 base miles, increasing to 1,000 base miles for a rental of 7+ days.

I would be happy to value 4,500 Virgin Flying Club miles at £45 – especially as redemptions on KLM and Air France should be available to members within the next 12 months – so your rental could end up being close to ‘free’.

You can see full details of the Virgin / Avis partnership on this page of the Virgin Atlantic site although it has not been updated with this offer.

Avis and Virgin Flying Club offer

Hyatt announces a partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World

The Hyatt hotel group has taken a few knocks recently.  After Marriott acquired Starwood, it was the clear baby of the big international hotel groups.  A bodged shake-up of its loyalty scheme, creating World of Hyatt, alienated many loyalists.  The most recent attempt to gain scale by mounting a last-minute bid for NH Hotels went nowhere.

There is now some positive news.  Sketchy details have been announced of a partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World, a marketing group representing 500 boutique high-end properties.

It isn’t clear what this will entail.  Some SLH properties will become bookable on the Hyatt website and you will be able to earn and redeem World of Hyatt points and enjoy status benefits when you book.

It remains to be seen how many SLH members will take advantage, but we could soon see UK hotels such as Luton Hoo, 11 Cadogan Gardens, Danesfield House, Langshott Manor and Stoke Park available for points.

(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.)

Review of the Aspire lounge at Belfast City Airport
My review of the new Hyatt Centric Madrid hotel
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  1. pauldb says:

    25% bonus on HSBC to Avios transfer for August. How does that stack up historically?

    • Very interesting! I think it has been higher in the past, and in November rather than August? But still a good deal for those with the right card!

  2. Diydegsy says:

    Bits I have points expiring with hertz which I will not be able to use for car hire but I can’t seem to find a way to transfer them to IHG or other partner airlines,does anyone know if that route has stopped . I have looked at the website but there doesn’t seem to be a way of doing it?

    • My Hertz points haven’t expired in 3 years despite not earning any

    • Odd. Here are the FAQ rules:

      How can I redeem my Gold Plus Rewards Points for Frequent Traveler Points?
      You can redeem your Gold Plus Rewards Points for Frequent Traveler Points online by following these four quick steps:
      1. Log in at
      2. At the top navigation bar, click on “My Account,” from there select “Use My Points.”
      3. Select the “Frequent Traveler” tab.
      4. Complete the form and hit “Submit”.

      But the tab is not there ….

      • Lady London says:

        Hertz has changed things or introduced new rules without telling anyone before.
        Last example was when in August it refused to let me use my 2 days available on a perfectly qualified 2 day booking. It would only accept 1 reward day on the 2 day booking I needed even though I have more than 2 available. verified with several variants of UK hire starting from several Hertz corporate locations. Even phoned Hertz. The agent said they’d noticed the system doing it in the past week or so.

        Very annoying as it was an urgent last minute booking at a new airport due to a flight change and at a peak pricing period. So what I paid for the one day I had to pay for, would normally have paid me at least a 3 day booking. There was nothing in the rules about this restriction applying at that time, the agent checked and confirmed they did not know why it was doing it either. Longer bookings made no difference. Sneaky Hertz. I’m currently doing the odd car hire booking elsewhere as I don’t want to be tied to them if they restart doing these kind of tricks.

  3. RussellH says:

    OT: IHG Open Table

    Anyone have much experience of this? I had a browse last night and was suprised to see a number of places that we go to anyway signed up. It seems like points for nothing if booking places we would go to anyway, even though we would not normally bother to book!

    • Feedback is good and the points count for status it appears.

    • AndyGWP says:

      Wow – I live in a very small town up north, and expected nothing but likewise there’s a few local places on there that I would have never expected! Cheers for the heads-up! 🙂

      • RussellH says:

        That is basicly my own situation, though it is seven miles to the nearest small town.
        Intersting to note that the rather larger town 20 miles away, with much more upmarket shops and a theatre has far fewer offerings. perhaps because it is full of tourists at this time of year!

        What I am potentially looking forward to now is IHG points combined with Amex Shop Small in 4 months time…

    • Basically with OpenTable, the restaurant pays a fee per person depending on how each customer books. For the small independent I used to work at it was 25p if they booked on the restaurant website or £1 if they booked through the main OpenTable site.

      When the restaurant wants to have a special offer that’s featured on the OpenTable site (2 course for £25, fee glass of wine, etc.) they pay more for these customers. The IHG points bookings will be similar to these from the restaurant’s point of view so it shouldn’t affect you in any way, so free points if you’d already eat there anyway 🙂

  4. OT – booking the return leg on a 2 4 1. I have never done this by phoning before, it sounded like hard work but I need to book outbound at T-355 as availability is very limited. From experience I think I’ll be safe to wait until the UK call centre opens on the day my return flights are released (I really struggle with the overseas call centres, they only seem to be able to read from a script). Are customer services fairly familiar with the process? It’s difficult to envisage how the it works as obviously the voucher completely disappears from your account once it’s used for an outbound leg. Many thanks!

    • If you have enough avios you can book the return as a single (ie full cost) and then phone up when the UK call centre is open to get half of the Avios refunded. They don’t change the tax though, so that was is more expensive if you’re going to the Americas, cheaper if you’re flying East.

      I have booked a 241 return in the past by phoning Japan – they were absolutely fine doing it. A more recent experience was also pretty good – missed out on the flight we wanted through no fault of theirs, but they were very helpful looking for alternatives. Just explain you want to add a return leg to a booking now it’s available.

      • Thanks Matt. I have booked 2 outbound legs before with a 2 4 1 and was only charged the avios for the outbound flight (75,000 for 2 x CW seats), so has this changed?

        That’s bad news about the tax, will adjust it if you call up to add a return leg with a Lloyds upgrade voucher.

      • Genghis says:

        They will reprice the tax is you ask…

        • Yes, when you book the outbound you’re only charged for that flight.

          If you phone up to add the return then it is added to the initial booking and the charges are done as a return. If you book the return as a separate, single booking and then phone up later to get half the Avios refunded then you end up with 2 one way bookings and they don’t adjust the cash component.

        • Ok that makes sense now, thanks!

        • Sussex Bantam says:

          On a related note – trying to book using an Avios voucher (not done this before) for flights which I’ll need to do at midnight T355.

          What’s the best approach ? Book both singles and then call to join them together and use voucher ?

        • Jonathan says:

          Is this an interesting way to use a 241 to HKG but benefit from no YQ on ex HKG leg? Always assumed taxes etc would be repriced as part of avios refund.

  5. OT – i have a Lloyds Upgrade voucher to use, has anyone had experience with persuading Avios to apply it to very separate open jaw flights, e.g. 7 November Chicago – LHR and 18 November KUL – LHR please if the availability is there?

    • the_real_a says:

      If you call up the voucher is added as a manual addition, so whatever you can persuade them to do 🙂 However the rules are clear, one flight of the return must originate IN the UK. I do HKG – LHR / LBA – PEK on the voucher each year.

    • Jonathan says:

      It’s possible but the “surface” segment (ie. the distance between the arrival & departure points of journey 1 & 2) must be shorter than the shortest flight so your itinerary would not be possible but LHR-JFK, MIA-LHR would be fine.

  6. if you send your platinum referral link the referred person can choose any card at the bottom of the page

    you get 18k if they choose any card there

  7. Myself and others have tried to refer to other cards and it has been limited to the same family I.e. Platinum > Platinum, Gold, Green; BAPP > BAPP, BA; SPG > SPG. Is anyone still seeing the full card list?

    • Big Mac says:

      Yes, if you click the referral link and click other cards you will see a good range of cards.

      • Thanks. Just seen other comments confirming. Great news!

      • I clicked on my own referral link yesterday from gold and other cards just had platinum and green

      • AndyGWP says:

        Lumma – this changed around 3pm yesterday (so that all cards were showing again)

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Yep it’s back and hopefully stays that way until Im ready for my next BAPP sign up 🙂

  8. Optimus Prime says:

    OT – a friend of mine’s flight has been rescheduled and will take off at 18:25 instead of 15:55 today. He’s been notified by email this morning. Is he entitled to any comp at all?


    • No. Needs to arrive 3 hours late.

    • Lady London says:

      Surely it may still arrive 3 hours later than the original flight should have? Taking off at a later time, within the 3 hours, could surely also get a further delay in the flight landing time? Would that qualify if the actual landing time is more than 3 hours after the original landing time?

    • the real harry1 says:

      Hang on. A flight doesn’t just normally get ‘rescheduled’ at short notice – check if your friend’s flight has been cancelled and he’s been re-allocated another flight = compo.

      Flight distance also matters.

      Check the CAA rules on compo for whatever situation your friend is in.

      • Optimus Prime says:

        He got an email saying it was ‘rescheduled’. It was today’s IB3166. Doors were opened at 19:40 instead of 17:20 so I guess no compo for him.

        • the real harry1 says:

          Don’t be too hasty – If you received less than seven days’ notice of the cancellation, you can claim compensation based on the timings of the alternative flight:

          If your new flight departs no more than one hour before the scheduled time of your original flight AND your new flight arrives less than two hours after the scheduled time of your original flight, you are not entitled to financial compensation

          Otherwise , If your new flight arrives more than two hours after the scheduled time of your original flight, you can claim €250 – no matter what time it departs

          Otherwise , if your new flight arrives earlier than two hours after the scheduled time of your original flight, you can claim €125.

          You can only claim compensation if your cancelled flight matches one of the situations described above. All compensation figures are per person.

        • Optimus Prime says:

          Thanks, Harry.

          I’ll let him know.

        • Lady London says:

          The alternative interpretation could be that the original flight is still flying, but your friend has been offloaded and moved to another flight! BD tried that on me once as I’ve mentioned here before. What Harry seems to be saying is that if the flight number has changed so your friend is now on an actual different flight, different (probably easier) rules to get compo apply.

        • the real harry1 says:

          That’s it. Easy compo. They can’t just off-load you & shift you to another flight – even if it’s just a bit later. Timing is all.

  9. depends on arrival time

  10. Quick question for the more knowledgeable:

    Today is the last day to spend £10K on BAPP to earn 241 voucher. I’m short about £3K but can make a payment just now using the card. Does it count the spend to when you make the payment or when it posts?

    • I’m pretty sure it’s when the payment goes through, so it depends how quickly that happens with your recipient. I hit my £10k spend last week and it took a couple of days to trigger the voucher, then another couple of days to appear in my BAEC account.

    • AJ, it has to have posted in the avios count page to be counted. Hope you got there in time. Just a word of advice for future. Make sure your final,spend is at least 1 week before the target date. Gives it plenty of to post.

    • Genghis says:

      “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Perhaps diarise things in future?

      • the real harry1 says:

        Yeah – well I’ve got more than a tad of Autism in the old blood – but people are Human and mess up

  11. OT but as this comes up from time to time. I got a BAPP in May and triggered the 2 4 1 last week due to good financial planning! I can use the voucher in a few weeks so contacted Amex on chat today so ask definitively whether cancelling the card will affect any flights booked using the companion voucher. The response was, “There will be no impact if you cancel your card after redeeming your companion voucher”. So it seems that in Amex’s view, as long as you’ve actually used the voucher, your flights will be safe. I will be holding them to this anyway!

    • My preference is to hold onto the Amex BA blue as a minimum but that’s out of caution rather than logic.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Use or font use the voucher cancelling the ba card makes no difference. I have two in my BA account right now after cancelling cards ages ago.

      As long as you have any amex you will be fine. Even if it’s in someone else name.

  12. Premier01 says:

    I can also recommend the LATAM FRA-MAD 787 experience- thanks to Rob tried in 2016 was access to Air Canada lounge (fresh, chic but not outstanding), brand new 787, friendly but unobtrusive service and a very comfortbale lie flat bed.

    Two weeks back tried 777 BA Club World seat LHR-MAD- enjoyed trying 5B lounge and the 4 course meal I have to say was excellent but I would be very disappointed to part with much cash to fly the old seat which was flimsy- sstorage full of crumbs- on a LH overnight.

    Seems churlish to not activate the IFE or open up First to elites or extra supplement- would be good to try First out on this route but used as crew mess area it would seem.

    Looking at Finnair Helsinki A350 next…. any other ideas for 5th freedom/ short-haul routes with LH aircraft? The ones listed like EK Larnaca to Malta seem very over-priced and perhaps too short to bother with.

  13. “You will earn roughly 1,100 Avios points and 40 tier points for each segment.” FRA-MAD LA doesn’t reflect tier point and avios for BAEC, only Iberia+…..

  14. OT: re Hilton Europe/Amex MR offer, how do I pay in GBP for European hotels to trigger the offer? I tried a dummy booking but on the payment page it seems the only option is Euro.

  15. ArianaGrande says:

    Incredibly off topic – I currency hold 2 credit cards amex with combined limit of 40k + charge card, I would like to apply for another amex, possibly SPG but I don’t want to trigger some flag for too many credit card apps + too high limit (no idea why its this high), second crd was approved a month ago, statement 1 generated and paid off in full…

    Wise to apply? or close one then apply?

    • RIccatti says:

      There was a limit on 4 cards with AMEX, if memory serves.

      Definitely reduce limits and yes, close a card if there is no other benefit. Sign up benefit will be of more value, even if you get rejected now but accepted in 3 months time.

      I would have waited for 3M between applications (and even that is less than lenders prefer to see these days) but it’s possible to have accounts opened in 1M interval.

    • RIccatti says:

      There are other considerations, such as what is the age of your oldest card/current account. Things are very different for people who have >10-15 years history on THE SAME OLDEST account.

      The average age of credit account does matter, and it makes sense to keep accounts opened for next months and only close them before the new application — but this is an approach to take if you are going to wait 3M.

      The impact of hard credit search itself is rather miniscule. It is possible to have 3 and above recent hard searches (1-2M) and still get approved. If you are known this lender and if the lender need signups for the card you are applying to.

  16. OT – if anyone’s after last minute AA redemption flights within the, some availability seems to have appeared this morning. I’ve just got MIA – BOS for 3 of us in business for the princely sum of 60,000 avios plus £12.90 in tax. The cash price for 3 seats is £1551.

  17. Lady London says:

    Wasn’t there something with QR in the Middle East? Something like Doha to Abu Dhabi in an amazing First?

    • Lady London says:

      This was for the poster asking about luxurious short haul flights.

      • You won’t be flying Qatar to Abu Dhabi any time soon!

        But, yes, a cheapo F tickets inside the ME got access to the bonkers Qatar F lounge in Doha.

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