Bits: 100% bonus buying Hilton points, BA refunding flights booked during data breach, Crazy Rich Asians

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News in brief:

100% bonus when you buy Hilton Honors points

Until 20th September, Hilton Honors (the new-ish Hilton Tallinn Park, reviewed here, is pictured below) is offering a 100% bonus when you purchase 40,000 or 80,000 points.

The Hilton ‘buy points’ page is here.

Regular readers of Head for Points will know that I tend to value Hilton points at 0.33p each.  You are paying 0.38p ($800 / £614 for 160,000) here so the maths does not look good, especially given the current state of the £.

Five star Hilton, Conrad and Waldorf Astoria hotels typically run to 80,000 points per night.  In this sale you would be paying $400 for 80,000 points which is often more than you would be paying for a five star in a major city.  This is not a bargain.

However, Hilton Honors IS a decent deal at cheaper point levels.   The Hampton by Hilton in Sheffield, for example, is 10,000 points per night.  At 0.38p per point you would be paying roughly £38 per night if you bought the points.  That is a 60% discount on the typical nightly rate of £100.  Hampton properties include free breakfast as well.

At the top end, the Conrad Maldives is usually 95,000 points per night.  This often sells for over $2,500 per night, so paying under $500 per night this way is an astonishing deal.  We did a big review of Conrad Maldives here.  Remember that you can pool points between Hilton members for free so it is now easier for different people to buy points and merge them together.

If you are just buying a handful of points to top off your account, the price per point doesn’t matter anyway.  If you a few thousand short of a redemption then this is a decent opportunity to buy them.

The offer ends on 20th September or when 3,500 packages have been bought – so if you are keen then don’t leave it too long.

hilton hotel tallinn park exterior press picture

British Airways offering refunds on flights booked during data breach

It seems that British Airways is willing to refund non-refundable flights booked during the data breach period, as well as BA Holidays purchases.

They are also willing to refund your out of pocket expenses, such as pre-booked hotels.

A reader who wished to cancel a non-refundable booking sent me copies of his correspondence with BA this week.  It resulted in a full settlement of everything he requested, including incidental costs AND interest on the money he paid, at the standard County Court-imposed rate of 8%.

This particular reader relied on The Consumer Rights Act 2015, Chapter 4, section 49(1) which states that ‘all services must be performed with reasonable care and skill’.  If you accept that British Airways has clearly breached this obligation, the underlying purchase contract for your flight or holiday would be void and you could request a full refund.

China Rich Girlfriend cover

Crazy Rich Asians sequel

If you have seen the film “Crazy Rich Asians” in the last few weeks, you might be interested to know that Kevin Kwan wrote a sequel, “China Rich Girlfriend“.

If you want to know what it’s like, here is the very first page, from the start:

“Wait a minute, I’m in first class.  Take me to first class,” Edison Cheng said contemptuously to to the flight attendant escorting him to his seat.

“This IS first class, Mr Cheng,” the man in the crisp navy uniform informed him.

“But where are the cabins?” Eddie asked, still confused.

“Mr Cheng, I’m afraid British Airways does not have private cabins in First Class.  But if you allow me to show you some of the special features of your seat ….”

“No, no, that’s fine.” Eddie tossed his ostrich leather briefcase onto the seat like a petulant schoolboy …..

You can find out what happens when he realises that there are no flowers in the toilets either (or something like that) for £5.75 at Amazon!

Thanks to ermen at Flyertalk for this.

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Comments

  1. Regarding buying Hilton points, the math never seems to work for me. I’ve been looking at New Zealand, Hawaii and LA and its always been cheap wrong to just pay cash for the room.

    Are there any key sweetspots I should know about? I have stayed at the Doubletree in Kuala Lumpur before anyone says that…

    • What about Japan? Doing some preliminary scoping for the 2019 summer holiday and hotel prices there seem eye wateringly high.

      As Rob notes, the low points hotels offer great value. I stayed at the Hampton in Newcastle on 10k points a year back. The Toon were playing at home that day too, so cash prices were very high – in the region of £100 IIRC.

      • I’m in Tokyo at the moment… I just checked the points deal here…

        For the beautiful Hilton Tokyo.

        50,000 yen a night = £361.74
        60,000 points a night

        Buy 80,000 points for $400 = £312

        So for £312 you’d get 1 night in the hotel + 20,000 points spare. It’s a saving on the hotel itself, so the remaining £40 + 20,000 points (valued at £66?) is a bonus 🙂

        • I’m currently at Tokyo Bay on the APA Resort for reference.

          I agree about eye-watering prices, been here for a month and this is the best place we’ve stayed at around £60 a night for 2 people in a 14 square foot room around 1.5 hrs from the ‘city centre’

        • Also, don’t forget, every 5th night booked with points is ‘free’ i.e. 0 points.

        • We stayed in the Hilton Tokyo for 24,000pts/night for three nights in May, and as a Diamond we got upgraded to a suite too! 🙂

        • This year in April (during cherry blossom), I got two nights in a junior suite for 38000 yen each at Hilton Tokyo (got lounge access, food credit of 2000 yen as a gift, and early check in at 11am). Hilton ran a sale in Nov/Dec last year. I would hold off until a Japan/Korea sale. Also on my previous stay, I liked The Strings by Intercontinental. Rooms have great views, though slightly dated. I paid on points for 50k, think it’s 55 or 60k now.

      • Tony, hotel rooms in Japan tend to be expensive and and on the smaller side in city locations. However, before spending points I recommend visiting Hilton’s Japanese website (hiltonhotels.jp/sale-en) as it often has 20% – 40% room sales and sometimes even 50% off flash sales.

      • For Japan is best to avoid Western chains: they are Ridiculously overpriced. Look at local chains, like APA or Ville Fountain. They are more sensibly priced.

        • Would agree with this,

          We stayed in the Keio Plaza, it has a good view out across to Mt Fuji

          When we booked it was tagged onto some BA flights, making it into a BA holidays booking and from memory worked out at least than £50 night (although this may have no bearing on the actual room rate / night rate)

        • ankomonkey says:

          Or a capsule hotel for 3000yen/night.

        • Airbnb in Japan is good for cheap accommodation if you get sick of capsule hotels

        • Agreed with this. Got back from Japan yesterday. Western chains were seriously expensive so I stayed somewhere more local.

    • Axel Heyst says:

      Doubletree in JB – Johor Bahru! 😁

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Fifth night free on redemptions can be an important part of the maths for buying points.

    • New York can be an ok deal, room prices around $450 per night but 70,000 points so you’d have $50 and 10,000 points left over. I’m just mulling it over as I have a 5 night stay for 4 of us on my wish list!

    • Hampton Newcastle magic weekend s £250 cash or 10000 points, Hampton Newport similar when a big game on in Cardiff and rates hit the roof there. Just two UK examples.

    • DoubleTree Warsaw 12k; DoubleTree Krakow, 15k; DoubleTree Wroclaw, 20k. All three have superb executive lounges – better than a majority of Hiltons in the UK. Good use of points when cash rates are not low / no 2500 mile promotions on.

    • DoubleTree Queenstown in NZ was massively better value on points when I booked with them – about 1/3 of the cash price!

  2. Re: BA. So a full refund on flights and hotels…which presumably were then cancelled and new ones booked? How is this compensation for their balls up?

    • Because they let the customer cancel a non-cancelable holiday despite this data breach not remotely impacting the trip.

      On the assumption their identity isn’t stolen etc, this is pretty generous compensation in my book.

  3. Re the BA refund…..how does the refund help? Why would you want to cancel them…if you booked them in the first place….doesn’t seem logical to me?

    • Shoe string says:

      Missing the point, both of you. This isn’t compo. People want to cancel their flights for various reasons. That often comes sat a cost or is not possible for that fare bucket (ie if you can’t fly, you’d lose the cost of the ticket).

      Here we have a way to cancel aforesaid tickets for free and get full refund. Plus consequential costs could get refunded as well (eg hotels).

      • We can all see the ‘illegitimate’ reasons for wanting to take advantage of this. I think the point the commenters were trying to make was what possible ‘legitimate’ reason could there be. How would the potential loss of your credit card details lead to someone having to cancel their travel plans?

      • How exactly is it not compo? The only reason for a refund bring given is as compensation.

        • Shoe string says:

          It’s not compo if you don’t fly – you’re just cancelling a ticket & getting your money back.

          A great advantage.

          I love it when you can cancel for free – eg Europcar rentals offer this, so I always feel happy about booking with them a long way ahead, you have 100% flexibility with your plans.

          And there’s nothing ‘illegitimate’ involved – it’s just an added flexible benefit that BA didn’t exactly anticipate when they sold the ticket.

          Don’t forget many of us love Avios bookings for precisely this reason – highly flexible & can cancel for a small fee.

        • Shoestring – These tickets aren’t refundable. Even if they were, the third party things like hotels most definitely aren’t.

          Call it inadequate compensation if you want, but BA are giving them a benefit to make up for something they did wrong – that meets every single definition of compensation I’ve ever seen…

          Comparing it to Europcar or Avios bookings is absurd and pointless. I do agree it’s not illegitimate though – if BA let you cancel then you have every right to cancel, you aren’t doing anything wrong…

        • Shoe string says:

          Sounds to me that BA’s hand has been forced by the reader concerned & BA are just complying with the law as stated in the article. Or not willing to fight the point.

          Not as if they have taken out full page ads offering this option to people whose cards got hacked.

          So falls into the category of useful tip to know, just as reading the EU261 compo thread on FT should be compulsory reading for anybody who flies & cares about their rights.

        • Not if your flight is now cheaper in the sale than it was when you booked …

        • What law?

      • wetboy1uk says:

        Dont think they are missing the point. You may find it the future that travel plans change and you need to cancel but canot if you have a non refundable ticket. But if you purchased a few weeks ago it is very unlikely your plans would have changed yet – so it is compensation and people are taking the piss – what a surprise.

    • I’ve thought about changing the booking I made – simply because I’d rather be in the house when data is being sold that says I’m not at home…

      • Andrew

        Nothing about what was stolen indicates when you won’t be at home. It was payment details (including the data necessary take validate you) but not the details of your booking.

        I suppose it does suggest ‘at some point in the next 355 days’ but no more than that

  4. O/T

    Anyone know if a Lloyd’s Avios upgrade voucher can be used on an open jaw itinery?

    Was thinking of planning a last min trip:

    London – São Paulo
    Buenos Aires – London.

    I feel like they are in different zones? Not sure if that’s relevant…

    • It can be done but it would need to be by phone.

    • Yes, call them. Once you get through they are extremely helpful and good at doing this. They do seem to have long wait times at the moment, but if you use the chat facility they will tell you roughly how long this is going to be. I waited about 20 mins recently but it was worth it as I wanted to add 2 returns to outbound CW flights with very limited availability.

      • That’s great, thanks! Hopefully seats are still there when I ring up….

      • As long as it’s simple like this one! I book more complex open jaw itineraries (well, very simple in my mind but I have no idea how their system works) and always have to talk to several agents who all deny it’s possible until I eventually get one who can do it or find a supervisor who can show them what to do.

    • Yes, done plenty of these before – their website only worked for London bookings anyway so I’ve always had to call and generally found them decent, albeit last agent I had was pretty unhelpful but still got there in the end as I’d researched availability on advance!

  5. Re BA refund , so you then have to re-book, i can understand getting a full refund and keeping all your flights and hotels, that would be great

  6. OT but bits – about 5 days ago I made a redemption booking and paid for seat selection but cancelled within 24 hours as better flights came available. I got the avios plus taxes refunded immediately but there’s still no sign of the refund for seat selection – will this turn up eventually? I have cancelled selected seats in the past and got a refund, I’m just hoping BA haven’t changed their policy on this!

    • I rang BA last week with a scenario similar to yours. They told me that the avios would appear back in the account immediately upon cancelling but there would be a delay in getting the cash refunded.

  7. “If you are just buying a handful of points to top off your account, the price per point doesn’t matter anyway.” – is this any better than using points and money, given you can use any combination of points and money for a booking?

    • If you’re someone who wants to take advantage of the fifth night free for longer stays it is points only and I’ve been in the position where I had to “top up” due to being a bit short for the four night total.

    • Good point 🙂 Very similar. I keep forgetting you can do that now.

    • Yes, but as points & money is based on the flexible paid rate, so in practice it would probably be cheaper to just buy the points rather than using points & money, when the buy points rate is 0.38p per point.

      If points & money is cheaper than 0.38p, it is likely that using points is a bad deal because the rest of the redemption would be at a value of worse than 0.38p. Or it is marginal and you need to calculate the value of points that would be earned, and resort fees make it all more complicated too

  8. Can anyone please post a starting limit for a new curve debit card (I have the very new without any numbers – lettering at the front of the card)?

    Looking at daily and monthly limit.

  9. OT: My curve (before I’d hit limit) would allow me to pay my amex bills, but now I have a new Curve card for family member, it won’t let me pay down my Amex bills, ways gets declined. I have used the card normally in shops so I know it’s working. Any ideas?

  10. Bill Carson says:

    I did try and cancel a holiday booking with BA today, but they claim that Holiday bookings were not affected by the breach and therefore they won’t cancel them and provide a refund. This seems counter to other information we’ve received, and of course I’ve received all the emails from them that my card details were lost, so, sounds like they now have a prepared script and I’m not that bothered to fight it 🙂 It might work for flight only booking based on what they said as they accept people lost their card details through that side of the website.

  11. Eric the Half a Bee says:

    OT but BA – Has anyone else received a birthday Avios gift from BA?

    “From all of us at the Executive Club, a very Happy Birthday.

    To mark the occasion and thank you for being a valued Member of the Club, we’re giving you a special birthday present. 2018 bonus Avios.

    To receive your present, all you need to do is register.

    You can put it towards your next getaway. Let’s make it a birthday to remember.”

    I registered and sure enough 2018 Avios appeared in my account 2 days later.

    • Shoe string says:

      My wife, yes – about 5 years ago! A one-off, seems entirely random and rare these days. Would be nice if it came back, a rather cheap & easy way for BA to make itself more popular.

    • Shoe string says:

      Eric – what exactly did you register for?

      • Eric the Half a Bee says:

        It was just a link to log in to the BA website and click a button marked ‘register’. That’s it – no terms to comply with, which is why I was so surprised to get something genuinely free from BA! 😁

    • I get one every year but it’s something like 5000 bonus Avios if I fly in my birthday month. Always irritating as I’m virtually never able to fly at that time of year!

    • My wife did this year when they opened a new BAEC account from her closing Avios one. She registered the deal to her existing BAEC and was given 2018 Avios which was a nice bonus.

    • I got this back in August, as did my wife. Our birthdays are within 3 days of eachother so it was a nice 4k boost to the household account.

    • I did in August too.

      A couple of years ago I was offered a bonus if I flew within a month or so of my birthday (I didn’t)… doesn’t happen every year and my wife didn’t get an offer – at least not that she opened/mentioned to me…

  12. OT – a question re BA lounge access at LHR T5 please.

    Which lounge would be available if arriving on BA First (on an award of course) on return part of a transatlantic trip, but connecting on to France in CE?

    • If same day connection, you can use Concorde Room. Keep your inbound F boarding pass just in case they ask for it.

      • Thank you. Yes it is a same day connection. I was wondering if that would be possible. Would a guest be allowed? One of us would be in First and the other in economy!

        If so, it makes the 70K one-way Alaska miles award even more of a bargain Assuming the availability they show is real..

        • Yes, you can take a guest as a First passenger.

        • Thank you again, Stu.

          For info – have booked the Alaska award. 70K miles versus 110K or something on BA for First one way. And less “tax” as well, even though both flights are BA.

          Also for information – the flights showed available until I clicked through, and then they didn’t, but Alaska were able to book and confirm them for me over the phone, and waived the phone booking fee. Their customer service is always really good. A reminder that Alaska can sometimes be a good use of SPG points.

    • Technically it has to be a SAME DAY DEPARTURE connection to use the Concorde Room in T5 and your long haul probably departed the night before, but worth a try. Shouldn’t be an issue if both flights are on the same day.

      • I’ve always interpreted that rule as granting access if your departure is on the same day you ARRIVE in London.

        The vast majority of BA long haul arrivals into London are overnight flights – it would be absolutely bonkers to deny connecting passengers access to CCR on the basis their flight _departed_ the previous day. We have never had any issues in getting F passenger privileges at T5 after an overnight flight with onward connection. That includes access to CCR, using F wing (as this can often be quicker than flight connections), or making cabana and spa bookings with YouFirst. I’ve rarely been asked for my inbound boarding pass as the lounge staff can normally see you’ve come in on an F flight from scanning the onward CE one.

        • Yep, I’ve had no issue booking a cabana for the morning of arrival of an overnight flight from the US in F – then connecting to EDI later in the morning.

      • Thank you Rob as well as Stu. Although I can’t help but agree with Stu’s “bonkers” comment since all transatlantic flights would have left the day before, plus the fact that there are no First flights within Europe. The F wing and spa bookings comments are helpful too. This is way out of our normal league.

        Come to think of it, it worked for us once before at the First lounge in Gatwick many (many) years ago, the only other time we tried it.. It would be nice to try the Concorde room for once, rather than the mundane Galleries / Silver lounge.

  13. This only shows how important it is for the media to have their eyes on a story.

    BA recently refused to refund the cost of an alternative Ryanair ticket bought when one of their flights got cancelled, even though their own people were telling us at the time to buy Ryanair tickets and we will be reimbursed.

    • Shoe string says:

      Take it to MCOL. Ryanair were explicitly told by CAA last year that in the case of cancellations, if they couldn’t offer an alternative flight (either on Ryanair or their shortlist of preferred airlines) within a reasonable time (which might even be same day if you had something important to get to but more normally means within 2 days), then they had to re-ticket the customer on non-preferred rivals, such as BA in Ryanair’s case.

      BA refusing compo at first for all sorts of spurious reasons is par for the course. It’s great – most wusses drop out on first refusal – which is why BA do it – leaving more money in the pot for people who stand their ground.

  14. I am going to cancel an avios redemption booked during the data breach period. Will BA refund the cash portion if I contact them?

  15. Tempted to buy points here at 100% bonus.

    This made me raise an eyebrow….

    “At the top end, the Conrad Maldives is usually 95,000 points per night. This often sells for over $2,500 per night, so paying under $500 per night this way is an astonishing deal.”

    Hmmmm.

    As resident Rangali expert here I feel necessary to ask for examples of $2500/night rooms that can be booked with 95k points

    Quick fact check, sample date in high season in February, Beach Villa, 95k / $765 and Water Villa 95k / $1030 (bargain for points)

    When looking for examples I also noticed that the new Hilton Curio SAii Lagoon is being advertised…

  16. OT – Flying BA First this morning out of Heathrow T5. Currently stood up jammed into a bus waiting to be driven to the stand. Flying in a 787. Maybe I’m turning into a snob but surely they should have a separate mini bus for first class passengers?? Unbelievably bad start to a journey

    • Yes, you are turning into a snob. It’s a 2 minute journey ffs.

      • Was on the bus for 15min actually 😉

      • TGLoyalty says:

        But you’ve paid for a 1st class experience and a cramped bus isn’t that

        • Edit: you’ve paid for a BA 1st class experience and a cramped bus is part of that.

        • It’s a bit shabby but boarding is often the least “premium” part of a F experience.

          FWIW, flying Club Europe into T5, I’ve had a CE-only bus take us from plane to arrivals.

      • Tbf I was on a similar bus beginning of the week and it took about 15 mins with some interesting turns. Can always tell those who aren’t used to commuting on the London tubes as they never hold on and when they inevitably get thrown about, I helpfully show them where the hold rails are located. Alas, I wasn’t in first only CE so can’t comment on the separate bus desire.

      • Qatar and Emirates have luxury buses for First Class passengers, I’ve been on the Qatar one which is very plush.

    • Yup, I agree, they need to protect the masses from the complaints of us who expect to pay little and receive a lot. On the bus, what you have to do to make it a more exciting start to the journey is stand your ground by the door and enjoy a face off with the driver and otheer pax trying to force you deeper indide, it gets the blood flowing and reduces the risk of DVT.

    • We had a separate bus on Sri Lankan airlines. However I found it annoying because we had to wait for all the economy pax to board first! I think it was a class/caste thing.

  17. Too much coverage of BA data breach on HFP IMO. It’s boring, wasn’t the first such incident and certainly will not be the last. The consequences of such breaches rarely match the furore surrounding them. Every day we are at risk of card and identity fraud so this is no differemt, we all know what to do if it happens, and I admit it’s a PITA if it does but let’s just get on with it witbout the song and dance.

    • This is substantially more serious because of the full leak of your CVV code, home address etc. It will also remain high profile because it will be the first penalty fine issued under the new rules.

      • Oh I see, will follow it then and see if anything different happen this time.

        • The Financial Times has another half-page on it today (at least in the US edition) and calls it ‘one of the most serious data breaches ever’ because of the CVV leakage.

  18. OT but… when does the amex gold fee for the 2nd year become payable? Is it on the anniversary date itself or the following month’s statement (ie after the 13th month)? I can reapply for amex gold from the 11th of the month after a 6 month break and hubby’s gold card anniversary date is the following day… was hoping to have him refer me to get the 9k before he cancels the card to avoid the fee but it is going to be quite tight! I guess he could cancel once he has the referral bonus after a couple of weeks and get a pro-rata refund if not, which would probably be worth it for the extra 5k avios compared to the 4k for self-referring from my BA card?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Wouldn’t worry about it the fee is refundable pro rata and calculated in days. 5k points are well worth the few £ it will cost.

      Did he not hit the spend requirement for the bonus 10k on anniversary? This normally takes up to 4 weeks to post as well

  19. First time BAPP user here so apologies for noob Q
    Do your Avios sweep automatically every month into your BAEC account? I saw some Avios taken out today and also my 3k supplementary card reverse (not sure if moved to BAEC or cancelled?). Nothing on my BAEC account yet, maybe a few days delay.

    • Shoe string says:

      automatic, monthly

    • Avios leave the Amex account approx. 1 week before statement date. Usually takes 2-3 days for them to appear at BAEC. Normal points (1.5/£), points from BA spend (3/£) and any bonuses go over separately.

  20. Have Amex remove the 18k platinum referral bonus form their credit cards cant seen to refer plat to SPG?

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