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Bits: Montreal Avios bargains, 100% bonus buying IHG points TODAY, an email arrives

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News in brief:

Montreal becomes an Avios bargain with Aer Lingus

We told you last week that Aer Lingus is launching Montreal and Minneapolis for Summer 2019.

What I didn’t spot at the time is that Aer Lingus is NOT fudging Avios pricing to Montreal!

This is what I mean.  Dublin to Boston is 2,993 miles.  This was a generally agreed fact at Aer Lingus when it was a British Airways Executive Club partner.  However, when Aer Lingus launched its Avios programme 18 months ago, Boston mysteriously moved.  Aer Lingus suddenly decided that it was over 3,000 miles from Dublin.  This meant that the cost of an Avios redemption in Business Class on a peak date jumped from 75,000 Avios to 120,000 Avios.

Dublin to Montreal is 2,973 miles.  And, for once, Aer Lingus is not disputing this fact.

Montreal, which starts on 9th August 2019, is correctly pricing up in the cheaper Avios Zone 4.  This means that an Economy redemption using Avios is just 10,000 Avios each way off-peak and 12,500 Avios each way peak.  Taxes will vary depending on whether you book on avios.com (£188 return) or with BA via the telephone (should be under £100).

A Business Class redemption to Montreal will be just 31,250 Avios each-way off-peak and 37,500 Avios each-way peak.  That said, Aer Lingus only usually makes one Business Class seat available and even that isn’t yet showing for Montreal.  You can book Economy redemptions however.

Hat-tip to Inside Flyer.  You can read more about the new Montreal and Minneapolis routes on the Aer Lingus site here.

Aer Lingus Montreal with Avios

IHG new ‘buy points’ flash sale TODAY – up to 100% bonus

IHG Rewards Club – the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc scheme – is running a flash sale with a bonus of up to 100% when you buy over 5,000 points. 100% is as generous an offer as you will ever see for IHG points.

The deal ends TODAY, Thursday 20th.

The page to buy points is here where you can see if you are selected for this offer.  I was, despite not having received any email from IHG.

The standard prices, before the bonus, are:

  • 1,000 – 10,000 points for $13.50 per 1,000 points
  • 11,000 – 25,000 points for $11.50 per 1,000 points
  • 26,000 – 60,000 points for $10 per 1,000 points

With a 100% bonus, you would be able to buy 120,000 IHG points for (at current exchange rates for $600) £456.  

At the top end of the IHG Rewards Club portfolio, you have InterContinental properties which top out at 60,000 – 70,000 points per night. That’s what you would pay for InterContinental Le Grand in Paris or the InterContinental Amstel in Amsterdam pictured below.

You should look at this if you have a ‘buy points’ target for the latest Accelerate promotion – although it makes more sense to buy 5,000 and get the bonus than buy 1,000 for no bonus.  If you are topping off your account, it is also a good deal irrespective of the exact cents per point cost.  The maximum number of points you can buy per year is 200,000 (ie 100,000 plus the 100,000 bonus if you were offered the maximum 100% extra).

You can buy via this link.  The offer ends tonight, Thursday 20th September.

InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam

An email I received ….

Finally, if you were wondering how the general public approach their miles and points – and where the programmes are making real money – take a look at this email I received earlier in the week.  Whenever I appear in the media as I did recently over the BA data breach I tend to hear from a few people like this who are outside our usual sphere of readers.

I won’t comment but as a HFP reader you probably know that this situation is wrong on so many levels.  If this person had contacted me before doing the transfer things would have been so much different:

Hello Rob

I’m completely new to the world of points. I have just transferred 421,000 Amex points gathered over 24 years to BA Avios to book a trip to the USA for my wife’s 70th birthday.

I’m travelling on 02.10.18 BAXXX to New York, currently booked in as Economy. There appears to be no availability in premium Economy or Business class which how we’d like to travel.

We are travelling in the US and then returning to have six days in Washington before flying back on BAXXX Business Class to Heathrow.

(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. O/T – currently on route to Buenos Aires on BA and I’m impressed with the wifi speeds. Good job BA.

    • which planes now have wi-fi? and cost if playing J/F?

    • fivebobbill says:

      Just off Iberia MAD – LHR yesterday and they give you a code for 4MB wi-fi data free in Biz, so tried it out.
      Glad I didn’t pay, kept disconnecting and speed was abysmal… I was in row 1.

  2. Do the IHG points count towards status?

  3. Reminds me of the guy at the summer party who was proudly telling me he’d used his Avios to get to Australia in economy ????‍♂️

  4. How long after making an avios booking (via avios.com) does it take to be able to pick a WTP seat?

    Currently I just have a link to ‘seating’ (which then says seats are only available at checkin) rather than ‘choose a seat’ link that appears on a BAEC redemption?

    • Unless you have status, it’s at 24 hours before the flight…

      • You can usually book seats as soon as the booking is ticketed. You can check this in the App. Look for the “ticket number” field when you go into the flight – table below the seat choice button, would usually start “125”. If you try to do it before it’s ticketed, it usually falls down somewhere in the process.

        You’ll have to pay for seats unless you’re BAEC Silver or Gold. BAEC Bronze can choose free of charge 7 days out (exactly 7 days from the time of the flight).

  5. Ouch….

  6. O/T – I’m looking to upgrade my gold card to platinum to take advantage of the 20k upgrade bonus . My gold card is in it’s first year so currently no fee paid. I read somewhere that on upgrading to plat you get charged the annual gold fee. So my question is if I upgrade from gold to plat, take advantage of the 20k bonus and then cancel plat, what are the fees likely to be?

    • Anything from nothing till your Gold anniversary to £450.

      • Thanks – so if I complete it all before gold anniversary I may be charged nothing?

        • You will likely be charged at the point of your Gold anniversary (this happened to me and my wife once each when we upgraded after about 6 months. One of my wife’s upgrade, which also upgraded after 6 months, was not charged the fee until 12 months after the upgrade).

      • I upgraded in July and was charged the full annual fee

        • I wasn’t aware of the charge kicking in upon the gold card anniversary – that’s a very good perk. I upgraded to platinum in early July and have not been charged the annual fee yet. I took out my gold card in January 2018. Should I assume I will not be charged until end of December or if I do, it will only be the gold annual fee if £140? Thx

  7. OT – apologies as I am sure this query has been posed (many times!) previously but reference using a 241 voucher, am I able to book the out leg first without stating/booking the return flight?

    From memory I can then call up BA to book the return flight when seat(s) open up with no additional charges etc?

    Thanks

  8. OT – I am about to have 2 x 241s in my account. Can I use them for 4 of us to travel together ? Or do I have to be on each one separately ?

    • You can use them for four people on one booking. I think they need to be named on your household account. I booked for four of us to NY in Biz next May using 2 x 2-4-1.

    • I am sure you cannot. You have to be flying as the named passenger for the 241. Your voucher only entitles you and a companion.

      • Term 12 “If the Cardmember has two valid Companion Vouchers on their account they have the option to redeem both of them together for one flight booking allowing the Cardmember to travel with 3 companions and pay the Avios flight price for only 2 people travelling on the booking.”

      • T&Cs specifically state that if you have two vouchers you can use it for a booking of four so long as the voucher holder is one of the people travelling.

        • Where do the vouchers appear in your BA account?
          My amex app confirms I have earned it, but I can’t see where to find it. Shall I just call up?

  9. So I don’t throw my points away, can someone spell out what was wrong with this email? Is it just the fact that booking economy is not a good use of points because of the taxes BA charge?

    • Yes, after paying BA’s taxes and fees the economy fare portion is very low so you are not getting a good deal. Read some of Rob’s introductory articles which explain this in depth. It’s a bit like buying wine – the cheaper the wine, the greater proportion of the price is tax, if that makes sense!

      • swhostring says:

        Not just that. Think ex EU, better reward availability/ cheaper in Business or PE on partner airlines etc – also had a lot of a valuable currency – 421000 Amex MR points – and turned wine into water.

      • Hence why I only ever buy Petrus!

      • There are multiple things to keep in mind though. Sometimes even in economy is worth it, specially at short notice and/or your travel does not include saturdary night.
        However, I agree. The example above is not (was not) a good way of using Avios.

        • swhostring says:

          if you are a penniless pensioner, the example in the article was a way to improve personal cashflow & get a ‘free’ Economy flight out – don’t forget they came back in Business so that’s where most of the points went.

          Perhaps they know their time on this good Earth is limited so couldn’t care less. Can’t take it with you! (Signed, Gotmy55yrsendoscopytodayman&theyfoundsomething!)

    • lazypeople says:

      why don’t you try reading some of robs articles?

  10. Rob,
    I wonder whether you could expand a little bit on opportunities for booking flights with Avios from USA to UK. I only remember your article about AirBerlin, which does not exist any more. Is Iberia the only cheap option as I find taxes demanded by BA excessive?
    Warmest regards,

    • Iberia and Aer Lingus are the low tax options. You can obviously do Finnair too but taxes are not low and it is a major diversion.

  11. Apologies if already mentioned here, but this news seems interesting re Emirates and Etihad: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-20/emirates-said-to-be-exploring-etihad-deal-to-forge-no-1-airline

  12. Aer Lingus intend Montreal to be in Zone 5. A reader sent me this –

    https://www.aerlingus.com/media/pdfs/EI_routes_avios_amounts.pdf

    Just in case you want to do something with it.

    • Thanks Trent, interesting. Not entirely surprising but they should have done it from the start.

      • I agree, it’s a bit shoddy to have it in the computer incorrectly, but attention to detail is not everyone’s forte apparently.

    • o/t bits. Currently on hold waiting for Marriott “ customer services” to answer the phone. Luckily I was transferred via Amex 0800. Been waiting 55 mins for them to answer the phone. I am still waiting for my SPG points to be x3’d so I can make a reservation. I can’t believe how poorly managed the merger has been. What seems to be the problem with multiplying people’s SPG points balance by 3 ??

  13. Hi, booking IHG today in light of the 100% points sale.
    As IHG will only allow lowest tier room booking for award nights (limited to 2 people), any advice on how to book a room with two young children (3yo and 1yo). Im happy for the younger one to co-sleep and the older one in a cot.
    If relevant, we are booking as Spire Ambassador and the property is Intercon Mauritius

    • Book the standard reward room and email hotel?

    • jarvester says:

      With a bit of research you’ll find properties that will allow you to book rooms that can accommodate four people as a standard reward. They are not frequent but do exist. If none of those suit your travel plans I always phone the hotel in advance and explain my situation. If you have status more often than not they will agree to pre-upgrade you to a family room for the price of a standard reward. Just be nice and ask as a favor upfront, as this is not part of your benefits. The four of us just been to Amsterdam last month and both the newly opened QO and the Kimpton de Witt agreed on this upfront as Spire members, which was a super nice touch and made our holiday stress free. Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers (nice hotel!) and CP Newcastle are two others that come to mind, but there have been more over the years, so ask nicely and you shall receive. And don’t take no as an answer if you don’t succeed initially, just keep trying until you find someone willing to help 😉 p.s.: I don’t think you’ll get too far with Intercontinental, but would like to be proven wrong if someone has had a different experience!

      • Thanks. Will try and contact. I’m banking on the spire/ambassador upgrade will get me to a family room anyway.
        Btw I enjoyed the QO Amsterdam too. Better than the kimpton other than location.

  14. O/t: a referral from wife’s ba blue to a bapp for me. This should result in a referral bonus for her and me? 4K for her and 1k additional for me??

  15. OT: I cannot recall if anybody mentioned it already but just noticed avios has disappeared as a pay out partner at TC leaving only BA.

    • swhostring says:

      Not worth mentioning! avios.com (as was) is no longer extant, is pining, he has expired & gone to meet his maker, he is pushing up the daisies, ceased to be, has shuffled off the mortal coil. This is an ex-points scheme.

      Hence only BAEC these days.

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