Bits: buy Avios from 0.85p via Groupon Spain (again), Lufthansa Premium Economy sale to Asia

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News in brief:

More 1p Avios via Groupon Spain

Groupon has launched another cheap Avios promotion in Spain, with Iberia Plus.  Click here for details.

Here are the prices:

  • 2,000 Iberia Plus Avios for €19 (0.85p)
  • 4,000 Iberia Plus Avios for €54 (1.2p)
  • 8,000 Iberia Plus Avios for €99 (1.1p)
  • 15,000 Iberia Plus Avios for €189 (1.1p)
  • 20,000 Iberia Plus Avios for €249 (1.1p)
  • 35,000 Iberia Plus Avios for €439 (1.1p)

Arguably it is a no-brainer to buy the 2,000 Avios package, given you are paying just 0.85p.

However these Spanish Groupon offers – unlike the recent Irish offer – can get messy.  All of the information is in Spanish (Chrome can translate) and if you have problems you are dealing with the Iberia and Spanish Groupon contact centres.  That said, I haven’t heard of any reader complaints for a while so the IT seems to be working now.

You can buy a LOT of points though.  The limit is 1 coupon per Iberia account for the 2,000 Avios package, 5 coupons per Iberia account for the 4,000, 20,000 and 35,000 Avios packages and 10 per account for the 8,000 and 15,000 Avios packages.  These Avios can be transferred across to British Airways via ‘Combine My Avios’ without any problems.  Buyer beware though.

The Groupon Spain page you need is here.

Groupon Spain Avios deal

Lufthansa launches decent Premium Economy deal

Both Lufthansa and SWISS have launched Premium Economy and Economy sales from the UK to Asia.

I am not focusing on the Economy deals although if you follow the links you will see the pricing.  Here are the Premium Economy deals on Lufthansa (SWISS does not have PE):

On Lufthansa, which you can book via this special page:

  • London – Shanghai from £579
  • London – Qingdao from £579
  • London – Hong Kong from £649
  • London – Bangkok from £599
  • London – Singapore from £579
  • Manchester – Beijing from £599
  • Manchester – Shanghai from £599
  • Manchester – Qingdao from £599
  • Birmingham – Beijing from £599
  • Birmingham – Shanghai from £599
  • Birmingham – Qingdao from £599
  • Edinburgh – Beijing from £599
  • Edinburgh – Shanghai from £599
  • Edinburgh – Qingdao from £599
  • Glasgow – Beijing from £599
  • Glasgow – Shanghai from £599
  • Glasgow – Qingdao from £599
  • London – Almaty from £549

You can check the SWISS economy deals, from any of its UK departure points, here.

All deals must be booked by 1st October except China, where the deadline is 8th October.

Travel periods are from 23rd October to 8th December 2018, from 24th December 2018 to 22nd March 2019 and from 22nd April to 18th June 2019.  A six day minimum stay applies.

The Lufthansa booking site seems easier to use as you can focus just on Premium Economy sale deals via this page.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Comments

  1. OT: Is it possible to convert/transfer Amex USA MR points into an UK Avios account? The situation is that my SO and I are in the US and UK respectively and would like to combine Avios (and respective AMEX MR points) to make a BA redemption (using my UK 2-4-1). What is the best way to go about doing this, if possible?

    • swhostring says:

      No.

      But you CAN transfer MR points from country to country when you take out a new Amex card in your new country of residence. So you can do it that way, ie get them into your UK Avios a/c once you’ve moved the MR points to your UK Amex a/c.

    • I think it has been mentioned in the past that if you have a UK-issued USD Amex you can switch your MR once per year to the US program, but have to convert all your points. I’m not sure if there is a way to do it the other way round

      …However, Amex in the US currently has a 40% bonus offer for MR converted to BA Avios, so might be worth doing that this time (effectively getting w 40% discount on your redemption) and keeping the 2-4-1 to use another time?

    • Actually, you can. My wife and I moved from the States a year ago and so we both have USA MR accounts (with US billing addresses etc). Her BAEC account is UK based (so that she could get the BA Amex and the 2-4-1), and just yesterday we were able to move 60k USA MR to 84k Avios in her BAEC account.

  2. OT: anyone know what happens to your points when you declare bankruptcy? Due to bad circumstances this may happen and although points are the least of my worry at the moment. It would be nice for them to still be there when I start to get my life back on track. Some points schemes are linked to credit cards, others aren’t. Would the card issuer be able to take the points back?

    • swhostring says:

      I don’t think many bankrupts would declare them, they have minimal nominal value.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      If they are still on the card account when/if they close your account ie MR points which haven’t been transferred or avios from a bapp which haven’t been sent over to BAEC

      I don’t think they could claw back any avios from your BAEC for past months/years of earnings example.

    • Sorry to hear of your circumstances. Points aside, can we help you any other way?

    • the_real_a says:

      This isn’t as simple as it sounds – points are often part of settlements with divorce and inheritance. EU based companies are generally compliant with court orders (for transfer of points), judge do make these orders. I think it comes down to how useful the points would be to a creditor (i.e. ex-wife, business partner Vs HMRC), and if the creditor knows you have a points balance.

      • Hi James, sorry to hear this.
        Could you gift/transfer the points to family who live with you, for rewards schemes that allow this? Or set up household accounts and then dissolve them, giving the balance to the other person? This isn’t something I know much about as my O/H regards my points and miles collecting ways (and the piles of boxes of lego that are slowly dwindling) with deep-seated suspicion.
        HfPers who have household accounts or transfer points – which schemes allow for this, and could that work?

        • I’m no expert but I know there are rules against giving assets away

        • swhostring says:

          My wife has somehow got about twice as many points Avios/ Virgin as myself, (& I’m in charge, she hardly knows what’s going on & has a good moan when she does), so I would need to do a bit of nifty points/ password changing 🙂

  3. Since when did SWISS have PE? Lufty PE is a waste of money unless you need the status miles. On flights to China (including HK) the economy cabin is usually empty enough that you can lie flat across a few seats, and I suspect this will likely be the case on dates when sale fares are available, unless there are lots of takers…

    • I am thinking of going to either hongkong or Thailand next year…. I was thinking of a business reward flight from manchester ( taxes are higher than cash seats in economy) are you suggesting economy is just fine and I should save my miles?

      Also where’s good to go in Thailand/hongkong in March? I am thinking bargain shopping and beach time….

      • See comments on the accor 6000 promotion a few days ago for discussion of Thai beaches. IMO Bangkok is best city on earth for both shopping and eating. Twin centre Thailand a HK is a great holiday choice.

        • swhostring says:

          I’m a Bangkok-hater but Thailand-lover 🙂

          If you *have* to see it for yourself, I’d advise only committing to a couple of nights in Bangkok and planning to move out to somewhere more beachy or jungly pretty smartish.

          Yep – see the comments on https://www.headforpoints.com/2018/09/13/accor-6000-bonus-points-offer/

        • Harry hasn’t been to Bangkok for decades so don’t listen to him BJ has it right. Bangkok is fantastic for street food and shopping and great hotels which are a bargain. Thailand weather in March is great- Hong Kong not so much.

        • Lady London says:

          I’ve been to Bangkok more recently than that and I agree with Harry. Can’t stand the place. If people are short of social opportunities at home then I can see why Bangkok might be popular but otherwise it’s tiresome, overtouristed, and a thinly disguised police state.

        • @LadyLondon, when did you become so sensitive 🙂 I much prefer making the odd 300 Baht donation to some Thai policeman for his kid’s school books than seeing my tax in the UK spent on illegal surveillance. Only thing I find tiresome about the place is the traffic jams. I grew up feeling trapped in a very rural village though so have always been drawn to cities like Bangkok, London, New York, Tokyo, Cairo etc etc, I find the buzz very seductive.

      • I didn’t say anything about business class.

        Thailand is much the same all year, only the likelihood of rain changes.

        The only cheap things in HK are public transport, greasy spoons and household goods. There is no sales tax so some savings may be made if one wishes to evade HMRC duties.

        • Speaking of greasy spoons John, I have cobsistently failed to find decent Chinese food in HK as crazy as that seems. I usually end up with something too greasy or with undercooked meat. Can you make any recommendations please?

          BTW, a few weeks ago I think it was you who was asking about a Hilton I stayed. It was Coylumbridge, a worn tired old style UK Hilton but one I still use regularly in the ski season at Cairngorm.

        • swhostring says:

          Yep for cheap shopping it has to be Singapore

        • Disagree with that regarding Thailand from someone who lived there for five years. If you go at the wrong time of the year to the wrong side you can be washed out. End of Nov through May are best time to visit.

        • @Sapiens we plan on dining there next month.

        • Lol I actually saw a shop in HK called Wong Ki Furniture. We didn’t go in!

        • @Genghis, Alex, I cannot see any comment from Sapiens. What’s up?

        • @BJ comment removed. It’s an actual restaurant name but sounds like swearing.

      • Phuket is nice at that time of year. You can avoid Bangkok altogether by flying into HKG for a few days and then get a flight from HKG to HKT (Phuket). Le Meridien is an excellent choice if you want a good beach but you will need to take a tuktukmor Grab Taxi into Patong for shopping. I also like the Amari Phuket from which you can walk into Patong. The Amari is in a fabulous location and extremely well run but it is vital to get an Ocean View Room. Avoid “Ocean Facing” rooms which may in theory face the Ocean but actually just look into the back wall of the Ocean View Rooms. If you are on more of a budget, the Nai Yang Beach Resort is good – next to a National Park and only five minutes from the airport. It is away from the flight path, right across the road from a beautiful beach, and there are some great little bars and restaurants. I like to stay here for a couple of nights at the end of the trip as I really like Nai Yang and proximity to the airport is really useful particularly if flight departure is at an antisocial hour. You could add a third destination to your trip….and that is Siem Reap in Cambodia which is the gateway for exploring Angkor Wat. You really need 3 or 4 nights here. Siem Reap is a fun town and there is some good shopping for you. Stay in the centre – I like both Khmer Mansion Boutique Hoel and Rambutan.Resort which are both full of character and offer excellent service. There is a daily Air Asia flight between Siem Reap and Hong Kong. The best routing to incorporate Siem Reap and Phuket is Hong Kong to Siem Reap to Phuket to Hong Kong as the flight departure time on the Siem Reapmto Phuket leg is more sociable than the other way round!

        • Best hotel in Siem Reap is Viroth’s. Fantastic.

        • swhostring says:

          Yep but that’s losing valuable holiday time, doubling back on yourself, unless you want to build in a couple of days to see HK. Easy enough to get direct flights to Phuket, haven’t looked but it’s *so* popular that there must be plenty of Oneworld award flights available

        • +1 for Marriott Nai Yang. Now 25k per night, or 20k off peak when the peak/off peak kicks in in 2019.
          Good selection of beach restaurants and bars to sit and enjoy a beer watching the sunset, 10 mins stroll along the beach (tide permitting).

        • Excellent suggestions. Thanks all. I am getting excited now

        • +1 for Siem Reap, it’s just incredible there. Go to the most popular temples at lunchtime, when most tourists head back into the city. I had Ta Promh almost to myself for a couple of glorious hours because of this. If you want a break from manically exploring temples, visit one of the quieter ones (like Ta Keo) and bring a good book. Climb to the top for a quiet read with a view. The far flung temples are well worth a visit too – Banteay Srei and Beng Mealea, but get there as early as possible, before the coach tours arrive.

      • Are you sure you want to visit LOS in March, Boi? It’s the height of summer with the temperature and humidity through the roof. It really isn’t comfortable, unless you like that kind of thing.

        Did it once and never again.

      • the_real_a says:

        Boi – the taxes FROM HKG on a one way are restricted by law. They work out at about £40 for business class flight. Price and book these trips as one ways on separate tickets. So if cash is tight, perhaps do economy there and biz return.

        • Thanks. I have to say I can’t imagine being in economy long haul but we shall see.

        • swhostring says:

          Lounge, 4 hours early, take a comfy pillow, sleeping pill?, go to sleep on plane?

          Save oodles.

  4. OT: I am trying to make sense of the recent changes to curve and how they impact me. How are credit card companies likely to treat transactions coded as “business services “?
    Should I clear the balance ASAP or business as usual?

    • The same way that they would be treated without using curve.

    • No news so far, I think there is a lot of HfP readers keeping their eyes peeled on Curve B Svcs updates.

      Let’s wait and see what happens, just be careful with ATMs if you have cc linked as for 3 days your cc issuer is informed you are taking out cash.

      • I have just looked at my virgin cc online. All my curve transactions ( some are classified as business services on curve, others are shopping-so curve has them classified differently) : virgin has classified all as:
        transaction type:purchase
        MCC: Professional services not elsewhere classified.

    • The key benefit it provided was being able to draw cash on a (reward) credit card. The change means they’ll report this to the CC issuer as a cash advance so no reward, high fees.

      They’ve made the card useless to me in closing the loopholes, I’ll go back to standard credit / debit cards for now but hoping that they sort Amex integration so won’t bin it just yet.

    • For people searching what this is all about, they (very quietly) announced that they will start passing something other than the MCC 8999 code on to the underlying card issuers. Consequently they warn against using Curve for cash withdrawals from credit cards. Here’s the blog post – https://blog.imaginecurve.com/introduction-of-new-technology-for-transaction-processing/ I assume this might also break some other things I was relying on Curve for, *sigh*

      • Does that mean if MCC code is 8999 its ok? so far all my transactions are showing with that code.

        • the_real_a says:

          No because the blog states that the system changed on Saturday. Future transactions will no longer be passed through on 8999, they will be passed through with the MCC of the original transaction, so ATM withdrawals for example will be passed through with an ATM withdrawal MCC…

        • Where can you see the MCC that was passed to the underlying?

        • the_real_a says:

          MBNA show it in the click down on the online summary. They no longer show the MCC number but the description is there. You can look them up on the following list.

          Other companies you need to call up and ask…

          https://github.com/greggles/mcc-codes/blob/master/mcc_codes.csv

    • I have a small amount of some business services to purchase today so I’ll see what happens before using it on the main load later this month.
      The cash thing is quite annoying as I didn’t go nuts on it but was handy to consolidate my spending in the month and also the amount of times I’ve had my debit card skimmed by cashpoints around where I work has made me wary of taking it out of the house tbh. More annoying though is their response on the website. It’s almost literally ‘think of the children?!’ – whereas we all know that they were getting screwed on the fee spread, and probably being pushed by their business bank etc, so just say that it wasn’t sustainable or something instead of reaching for some silly marketing spin…

      • I made one of those “business” transactions today and virgin showing MCC as 8999 so I suppose so far so good?
        On vurgin you can click the kettle +sign to expand and see MCC (and transaction type once processed).

  5. OT-
    Has anyone managed to get Amex Platinum link up and working for BAPP, SPG etc.?

    • No – plenty of comments, so wait and see next week to see if it is reversed.

    • Do you mean for making a referral? I’ve been trying to refer someone for an SPG card from my Amex Plat, but it no longer seems possible. They only have the option for the 3 charge cards, Plat, Gold and Green.

      • Yes, correct.
        Those are the only choices.
        I have still 3 referrals to use and was hoping that I can refer OH for BAPP.

        • John Ratcliffe says:

          Just been on chat about this.

          They said ‘our marketing and introductory/referral offers change/vary from time to time, depending on the existing market conditions and other factors…

          I am afraid, the current cards available on your account for referral are Membership rewards enrolled cards only.’

    • I was able to use the referral less than a week ago and the referee got the points very soon but it seems to have vanished today. Let’s see.
      Quick question, I have the Platinum Amex, BA Amex and now the SPG Amex. Have I reached the limit for Amex cards?

  6. Swiss also have fares around the £1,5k mark and up to 10% lower via ota’s in club to Hkg and nrt for similar dates, through end of August 19.

  7. OT – Update regarding SPG Amex points not transferring over to the new SPG/Marriott accounts. I have again today been told by both Starwood and Amex that you won’t receive your points until you update Amex with your new account number..

    I still find this hard to believe. How many people hold the SPG Amex? Every single card holder will need to call Amex and give them this new number? Really??

    • Yes really, its all done manually.

      • Seems insane, I’m no IT expert but surely it’s not hard to link the old account numbers to the new accounts, especially so considering the accounts still show the old number under your new one when you login!! I feel like Marriott hired a group of 10 year olds to oversee this merger

        • RakishDriver says:

          I reckon it’s ok, they must have the accounts linked in their database tables – SPG rep I spoke to today managed to pull all info.
          It’s seems that some of the front line don’t know the low level details and probably haven’t been told…resulting in conflicting guidance.
          I’ve now got consistent guidance from amex and starwood, so expect the points to eventually hit the marriott a/c.

    • RakishDriver says:

      I just spoke to starwood.
      confirmed my previous Marriott number, after combining with SPG, is my ‘new’ number.
      and he can see that my amex account is linked to this Marriott number.
      He also mentioned that although the SPG number is not to be used anymore (I had used it for my SPG amex application couple of weeks ago) it is still linked to Marriott.

    • I think they’re misinformed – I queried this last week with Amex and today with SPG – they know it’s still an issue but no-one mentioned having to use new number. Amex have already sent last months points across anyway before the number changed so it’s an issue at the SPG end with them not showing up in accounts.

      Annoyance is I want to cancel my SPG card but can’t do so until I know the last chunk of points went across!

  8. For the Groupon offer I use a translate app on my phone and hold it over the screen.

  9. OT. re Marriott travel cert.
    Anyone used the travel cert since Aug 18 mine is still showing as a cat 6 in my account, thought it may have re issued as a cat 1-4

    • Same here and with current IT shenanigans, reluctant to even contact.
      I have two certificates to use.

    • They don’t autoconvert, however when you call them they can’t use the old cert and have to convert to a new one. I had an Old Cat 6 that for 30k extra they’ve converted to a New Cat 5 (otherwise would only have been Cat 1-4). Unfortunately SPG properties not yet available to book, hopefully will be by 20th Sept.

  10. Does anybody know how long it usually takes Amex to process application for a *supplementary* Plat card?

  11. OT,

    BA companion voucher related. A friend has a voucher expiring today! So I said why not book a reward saver for anywhere for say 10 months in advance, and when you have the points/notion of where you want to go then call up and change to the class and destination that you want, obviously with fees but will save the voucher.

    Am I missing something or is this feasible?

    • I think for 241 the outbound trip must commence before the expiry of the voucher.

    • Lady London says:

      Not sure but think I recall something about only being able to change destination to within the same “zone”? This may not apply here of course.

    • That would work for Lloyds (where you just have to book before expiry) but for BA 241 you have to have flown outbound sector before expiry.

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