Bits: Best Western sale (plus Avios, a status match and £20 voucher!), get your kids a toy passport

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News in brief:

Best Western Winter Presale now on

Best Western is not the most exciting UK hotel group but they have been getting more aggressive on their promotions recently.  For the last 10 months they have also been an Avios partner – see my article here – letting you earn miles on every stay.

Best Western also offers you a status match if you have status with any other hotel chain or even with Virgin Atlanticsee here.

They have just launched their “Winter Early Bird Rate”As per this page of their site, if you book before 31st August you can get up to 40% off bed and breakfast rates for stays between 1st October and 28th February.

If you need to book a stay for the next few weeks, Best Western is still offering a  £20 Best Western gift card.  You must register on this special promotion page before booking.  The £20 Best Western gift card will be awarded for stays up to 3rd September 2018 and is limited to one per person.

With either of these offers, you will also earn 500 Avios per stay.  Alternatively, you can take Best Western points and convert those to Avios, but for total bills under £250 taking the 500 Avios is better and more convenient.

Why I like …..

The picture above is of Cookie.  Cookie is my son’s best friend and is now an experienced global traveller.

I thought it would be fun to get Cookie his own passport.  Digging around online I came across   Upload a photo and, for £15, they send you a passport for your toy.

Whilst not a bargain, these are very high quality passports.  There are countries who issue scruffier passports than toypassport!  Take a look at the photo page below (click to enlarge).  If you want a personalised gift for a child in your life then this is worth a look.  All I’d say is that delivery was a bit slower than the advertised 5-7 days.

(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.)

Are the Amex Platinum Cashback cards a good alternative to miles and points cards?
Last minute Marriott Travel Package panic - and other things to do today and tomorrow
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  1. Ooh, it’s my niece’s 3rd birthday a week before we go to Portugal to celebrate my 40th. She would love it if I got one of these for Betty (her best friend). I know passport control can be a rather humourless bunch of jobsworths, but has your son tried to hand it to them at a border yet yet? Have they played along?

    • We used it at Heathrow yesterday but not with the immigration people in Milan. But the dog was in a bag at that point!

  2. Shouldn’t it be a paw print rather than a “signature”?

    I’ve stayed at 3 BWs in the past month, and they were all significantly cheaper on than direct booking. had additional rooms that weren’t available on the BW site.

  3. Best Western Rewards warning – if you have changed your preferred airline scheme (eg UA to BA) the website might show your change as done BUT it may actually not be your “Preferred” scheme – so will not be the one they post points to! Seems you can only do that by phone and they won’t do anything else if miles have posted to old airline. Also if posting to BA your £20 voucher from the recent offer may not arrive for 1-2 months as they wait for BA to “confirm” after each stay before issuing their own extra rewards. (Reposted as BW related).

  4. OT: Does anyone have an idea what date the Principal Manchester moves over to IHG, I know it’s sometime in 2019?

    • The rebrand is separate to joint Rewards Club. I expect it to be points earning and redeeming whilst still Principal.

      • OK, I’ll keep an eye on it, I’ve made a flexible booking at the new Indigo as a backup.

  5. Diydegsy says:

    O/T Does anyone have an email address for hertz gold reward points as I have points expiring soon, on the website you can’t transfer your points to travel partners to use them up and at the minute I don’t need a hire car. Anything I have looked at for help says log into your account and choose where you want the points to go but there is no option for anything other than car rental!!

    • Twitter!

      • Why do all companies these days assume that everyone uses FB and/or Twitter? Trying to find an email address or phone number on the “Contact Us” page of most organisations these days is a nightmare.

    • You should be able to transfer online, unless the website has changed recently.

      • I tried to find it recently for a reader – it has vanished from its usual position in the menu.

        • guesswho2000 says:

          If this is one where the points are promo points from account openings, I think it’s deliberate. The option to transfer points to miles is still there in my normal account, but the new one I opened for the Mrs doesn’t have the option, although I can use the points for free car rental days as normal.

  6. Chris Palmer says:

    Cookie’s passport is definitely forged. Birth place, London? Guangdong Province, surely?

  7. Hi

    Re the Best Western voucher, I received one from a recent stay and it’s pretty much worthless for me.

    Can’t use it on prepaid rates. See below wording from the voucher email. Flexible rate usually at least £20 more expensive than prepaid. Very disappointed.

    “Not valid on pre-paid reservations. Please print this email and present at check-in to ensure you receive proper credit towards payment.”

    Was this made clear in the terms and conditions of the promotion? I don’t remember reading this.

  8. Thomas Crooke says:

    O/T Apologies if its been covered before (couldn’t find anything via search), I cannot get the membership rewards site to link to my Virgin Flying Club account. I input the number and the page just refreshes to the previous screen, no changes. I have tried on Chrome and Edge on pc and Chrome and Safari on IOS. Anyone else had this problem? Thanks

    • I had this problem a while ago – not sure how I resolved it in the end. The Amex sites are quite buggy as they seem to be redesigning them and they are flipping between old and new style pages as the new branding is rolled out.

      • Roberto says:

        Phone.. will be done in a tick with customer services..

        • guesswho2000 says:

          Yep, this. I had this problem a year or two back, and their online email service (now dead) sorted it for me. Disappointing to hear it’s still a problem.

  9. O/T HSBC Premier credit cards. I got an email about the 25% Avios bonus yesterday. I don’t think it’s targeted.

    It’s not as easy as it could be to get the bonus. The airline page on HSBC counts as a pop up so can be blocked from opening (the other rewards aren’t). I’ve tried twice now to transfer 100,000 avios across and they transfer 10,000 instead. There might be a limit on transfers or I might be doing something really stupid.

    • I spoke to them yesterday and had confirmation that all I needed to do was transfer the points and the 25% uplift would be applied later.
      Lets wait and see what happens..

      • I’ve done two transfers so far and I get the uplift at the same time.

        The only problem is they transfer 10% of the points I request.

    • New Card says:

      This is a long term issue with 6 figure transfers from HSBC to any airline. Solution is to keep your transfers within 5 figures, so do one for 99,998 and another for the remainder. It’s annoying. But a straight forward workaround.

    • They auto apply the bonus. Transferred 250 avios worth and got 250+25%. Did the rest when that confirmed and I got the 25% too. They come through as a separate line on your BAEC statement.

  10. Optimus Prime says:

    OT – is it just me or the reward flights search doesn’t work for one way flights using the Lloyds voucher?

    • It is supposed to be possible but based on previous reports and your own comment it seems ig is still not. Aviis agents on the phone are very competent and helpful though.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      It’s a fault with the website, same I’d you don’t want to book for two people, if you download the webpage source (, or something), and change a line in it, then login and start the process as normal on, then load the edited version of the webpage you’ve just downloaded, it’ll work.

      This is ridiculously long winded, and I had time in my hands, so probably easier to call them.

  11. Question about the spg changes. I’ve got 36000 spg points in my amex account which will transfer over to spg soon. Will these devalue once transferred?

  12. Peter K says:

    OT Anyone have problems with linking a free night from the IHG card with a points booking into one booking at a hotel.
    At the NEC crowne plaza and when I rang in advance they said they couldn’t do it. When arrived they did they said they could…but then the cleaner two days running had said we are down as checking out.
    The key card then stopped working. Had a word with reception who this time again said it’s not possible for the two stays to be linked and we had been put for a no show for the second booking.
    Is reception just being rubbish or is it not possible? I’ve two more free night vouchers to use and it’d be worth knowing.

    • I have used consecutive bookings at Hilton and had to check in again for each.

      • Similar – card has always stopped working both at ICs and Hiltons when I’ve linked paid and redemptions.

    • We’ve done this with IHG at HIs (in Madrid and Toulouse) and the IC Le Grand more than once and haven’t needed to check in again – both combining a free IHG card night with points nights and combining my points nights with my husband’s. But I do think they were very, very careful when they issued our room cards.

  13. New Card says:

    Marriott Travel Package conversion details have been released. No points refund.

    • OUCH, going to be a lot of unhappy bunnies out there. The ‘smart’ money was on upgrading cat 1-5 to 6 or 8. Turns out that these (along with Tier packages) are the losers as conversions apear to be based on peak nightly rates.

      1-5 becones 1-4
      6 becomes 1-4
      7, 8 become 5
      9, T1-3 becomes 6
      T4-5 becomes 7

      • I’m disgusted by this. Marriott clearly knew what they were planning to do and didn’t tell us. More than one Marriott customer service team told me they would map over like for like. Cat 6 would be new cat 6 etc..

        I was told when I booked that I could upgraded at the time of booking a hotel if I wanted a higher cat. Now it seems that is no longer the case but there seems to have been no official announcement? They should have emailed everyone who held a TP and given a fair notice period.

        Great way to launch the new combined program Marriott, leg over your best customers

        • New Card says:

          Agree – terrible way for them to launch the combined program, by screwing over those most likely to be loyal.

        • The numbers of people involved are probably small so, unfortunately, they might get away with it. However, they might be forced to be more accommodating if the threat of class action arises. Agree though, it sucks. Also very stupid when considering it might encourage many high value defections to Hilton via status match.

        • Somehow I’m not surprised.

          I’m mainly annoyed because I was going to upgrade to cat 9 but was told specifically not to bother by the CS rep as the categories were going to map directly across and new cat 9 wouldn’t exist so there was no point. And it seems many others were told similar things.

          Of course I know it was up to me to listen to the CS rep or not but to map down to cat 5 based on peak pricing and no points refund is harsh.

          Direct mapping always seemed unlikely but i think either cat 6 or cat 5 plus some points back would have been fair.

        • I suspect the class action lawyers will already be rubbing their hands, I can’t see the American members standing for this!

      • What they’ve come up with is frankly ludicrous. At the very least they need to offer the difference between old 1-5 and old 6 given they’ve mapped them to the same thing. My planned SPG redemption (if there had been availability) now up in smoke as cat 5 (new).

    • My reply to New Card listing conversions has not posted. Cats 6 and 8 lose out becoming cats 1-4 and 5 respectively.

      • Has now, not sure what the issue was.

        • Happens sometimes, not often. Only when using reply option. I have seen others report similar issue but again only rarely.

      • Normally only an issue if 2 or more links or you’ve made lots of posts within a short timescale (I was hit by this yesterday).

        • The spam system seems to have changed its algorithm – I am having to unblock more than usual and have even emailed a couple of people to apologise (should have sent you one too).

    • New Card says:

      It seems to be received wisdom (though I haven’t seen anything official saying it) that it’s no longer possible to use a certificate for one category on a stay in a different category by paying the additional points required. The loss of that flexibility itself, if true, is a serious devaluation. It also means I was misled by the Marriott telephone operator when I purchased my TP.

      • I was very fortunate. My partner and I had a cat 1-4 each and I was left with only 72k points so I upgraded mine to a cat 7. The latter becomes a cat 5 allowing me to redeem on Paris Republique which was what I hoped for. Many options with the cat 1-4 at decent properties in Asia.

    • Scallder says:

      Where have you seen this?

      I took a category 8 back at start of July and the operator said they would map 1:1 which many recently have been told too. I knew it was a long shot but the fact that I’ve lost 30k Marriott points as I could have got a category 7 is the thing that has annoyed me more.

      However given the operator specifically said they would map across is clearly not on as I bought a category 8 rather than a category q-6 on that advice…

    • There are no winners here, though with my gamble on a Cat 9 cert I feel slightly less legged over than others. I still hope there will be some way of upgrading, though, as there doesn’t seem to beany particularly desirable Cat 6 hotels. What’s more, virtually all of the decent Cat 6’s seem to the ones which have just gone up in points price.

      • Peter K says:

        I think your comment on it being a gamble is maybe the point here. A number of people were hoping for a bonanza, when it hasn’t happened they are hurt as “loyal customers”. I’m not saying Stine weren’t genuine losers but for the others “You pay your money, you make your choice”.

        • Interesting point. For me the gamble was whether I could get a decent enough hotel with my certificate. Compared to the new pricing, though, it was not a gamble at all. For the same price I would get 20k fewer miles and a lower category hotel.

        • I knew it was a slight gamble, but they should be providing the difference between original categories when mapping down.

        • It is ludicrous that people paid 30k more for a cat 6 or an 8 than for a 1-4 and 7 respectively but end up with the lower category without a 30k refund.

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