Bits: HFP Marriott promo update, Malmaison UK hotel deals, good Enterprise / Virgin promo and competition

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News in brief:

Marriott / HFP bonus points promotion update

Yesterday we launched an exclusive HFP promotion with Marriott, offering 10,000 bonus points when you book a weekend stay which includes a Thursday or Monday night.

One hotel listed in the article – Aloft Munich – was removed by Marriott at the last minute.  The other participating hotels we listed, such as Hotel Arts Barcelona pictured below, are correct.  Sorry for any inconvenience.

If you missed our article yesterday you can read about this special deal here.

Hotel Arts Barcelona special promotion

Good Malmaison UK hotel deals for advance bookings

We don’t cover UK boutique hotel chain Malmaison much on HFP because it does not partner with any airlines or operate as part of any major loyalty scheme.  They did have a Virgin Atlantic deal at one point but it ended 2-3 years ago.

At the moment, Malmaison is running a decent advance booking promotion for its hotels.  If you can commit to a pre-paid booking at least 90 days in advance, there are substantial discounts available.

You can find details here.

There are participating properties – generally decent – in Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Cheltenham, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Reading.

The Oxford hotel, picture below, is famous for being based in a converted prison!  Thanks to Shoestring for this.

Malmaison Oxford advanced booking discount

Good Enterprise / Virgin Flying Club deal – and win a family travel kit

If you are doing a short car rental, the best Virgin Flying Club reward deal is via their Hertz partnership.  As you can see here, you earn 1,000 Virgin Atlantic miles on most Hertz rentals, however short.

For longer rentals, there is currently a better Virgin deal available with Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Enterprise is offering 300 Virgin Flying Club miles per day when you rent a car from them.  The maximum mileage you can earn is 3,600 miles per rental.

This offer is valid at Enterprise Rent-A-Car locations in the UK, Europe and North America.   Whilst the landing page doesn’t mention any terms, the Virgin Atlantic site says that it is valid for rentals until 31st October.

(EDIT: The actual offer dates are ‘book by 30th November for rentals completed by 31st December)

You need to book via this Enterprise / Virgin joint site to earn miles.

Enteprise Virgin Flying Club triple miles

Enterprise and Virgin Flying Club are also giving away a family travel kit, including an iPad,  two pairs of children’s headphones and a year’s subscription to Disney Life.  Simply email the answer to this question:

What year was Enterprise founded?

A – 1946
B – 1958
C – 1957

to [email protected] with the subject line ‘Enterprise competition September 2018’.  You need to add your name, your Flying Club number and answer (hint: it’s 1957) in the body of the email and send it by 1st October 2018.  One entry per person.

(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.)

Why you should join the Automobile Association to save ££££'s on hotels!
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  1. Malmaison
    Oxford is not included in the deal.

    They run this promo all the time IIRC

    • Shoestring says:

      Plenty of availability starting from £38/ night.

      I saw last night they are also running another deal
      FROM £89
      Buy a room for two this autumn and get dinner on us.

      • Both Malmaison and Hotel du Vin (same group) have lots of special offers with and without dinner, with and without breakfast, including a glass or bottle of champagne, etc, if booked direct. Most are excellent value and mostly much nicer hotels than the points earning chains, IMO.

        Just wish that their website was fit for purpose as it’s impossible to use, even with a VPN, abroad as there’s an issue with the dates on their calendar. I have to get my sister (in the UK) to look up the rates and book for me.

        • Louie – agree both are great fun. I thought it was just me being unlucky not getting their website to work when making bookings

    • was going to say the same about the offer – it’s not a special for this week only.

    • Oxford Malmaison was a very big disappointment to be blunt. Poor staff attitude and grim rooms. The general house style of Malmaison is somber generally but this was so dark you couldn’t read a menu in the bar.

      • It’s a real mixed bag of a chain. I didn’t enjoy the Oxford one for the same reasons you state and the London one felt rather neglected last time I stayed there. However Newcastle & Edinburgh ones are great. The Liverpool one was just strange as it’s in a new-build and as such rather soulless.

      • Isn’t that the point at the Oxford hotel though? Bearing in mind its historic past? I recall a wild evening of debauchary when I was last there. Although my wallet did lose a few fifties as a consequence. Ah, happy Oxford days

  2. OT – seeking guidance/advice on the best lounge option at T5 ahead of our first ever J flight to CPT shortly. Looking to maximise the experience for the OH as not sure when we’ll be doing it again….!

    • Assuming direct to CPT it’ll be T3. If the later flight, a mix of QF (western food / gin) and CX (dim sum / noodles / champagne)

      • Totally agree with Genghis. Avoid both BA and American at all cost. Although if you want a bag of jelly beans for the journey American is the place to go.

      • Appreciate the swift response Genghis and yes, you’re quite right – we are departing T3!

        • Michael C says:

          Yep, my own spin around T3 this week was AA for 1 minute for (surprisingly ok) expresso + a couple of magazines (the lounge looks disturbingly like a set from The Prisoner) followed, as everyone says, by the delicious food/lovely people/beautiful toilets in the Cathay lounge!

  3. OT: I know I ought to know but…. which of the Amex cards offer additional points (and how many) for a first supplementary card – Plat, Gold, BA Blue, BAPP, SPG, any others?

  4. OT I sent Curve two emails over a week ago and have had no response to either. I know they are busy because they are migrating prepaid cart holders to the debit card, but still, I am unimpressed. Because I am now concerned about how responsive Curve would be if there was a problem, I am now minded to stop using the card.

    I also had an issue with my Starling account recently, and while not Starling’s fault, the customer service response was unsatisfactory. The conclusion I draw is that while fintech shave interesting, competitive and disruptive products, for the most part the customer service falls short of what is needed for a retail banking proposition. Unfortunately, this means that I will be using legacy providers from now on!

    • Although I don’t like to recommend Monzo, I believe their reputation is very good for customer service. According to the recent Times profile of the CEO, if they’d had one more vote they would have qualified for inclusion in MSE latest banking customer service poll, and would have blown the long-time leader First Direct out of the water with a satisfaction score of 97%.

    • Ditto on Curve – emailed weeks ago and still have no answer. Starling’s CS leaves much to be desired, same for Revolut – but I genuinely think Monzo’s is excellent.

    • Totally agree about Starling. I still use them as the product is very good, but their service with an issue was appalling. I’m still mulling over whether to take it further with the Ombudsman.

      I think with fintech generally they’ll hit a peak point very soon unless they sort out their crappy service. They might be disruptive and innovative but there’s only so far people will let them take it without underlying substance.

      • I’ve threatened use of the FOS many times before but never actually did it until last month. Easy process. Unsurprisingly the co then paid up as a “goodwill gesture” with the usual, “not accepting any liability” line

        • If more people made use of the FOS I’m sure fin tech and retail banking in general would improve. £550 a pop is not a small number for a fin tech. And the fact that TSB paid Lloyds half a billion to delay their tech transfer, still screwed it up and are giving their customers pennies, the threat of upto £550 a pop would change theirs and others behaviour, in my opinion.

        • Lady London says:

          Is is true that the subject financial services company have to pay about £600 to the Ombudsman every time someone raises a complaint? Would be a powerful incentive to settle/ resolve the problem surely, if someone mentioned they were going to take that step?

        • £550 IIRC, but the first 20 per year are apparently ‘free’

      • I’ve had a problem recently with starling where it keeps saying my phone doesn’t pass the security test for use with the app (and it’s a Samsung Galaxy Note 8), I then either have to restart my phone or reinstall the app all together

    • They are quite hit and miss. I’ve noticed a couple of times that I’ve had very quick responses but sometimes the same agent then takes a few days to get back to me. I wonder if some enquiries are left for the same agent to deal with so there’s a delay on their days off. The last one I spoke with via email didn’t know what a supplementary card is, go figure!

    • I’ve generally had an OK experience with Curve since day one. But lots of niggling problems. As of today though, I’m done with Curve. Just withdrew £100 cash. ATM threw up an error. Yet Curve and the underlying card both show the £100 withdrawn. Curve has become far too much hassle. For me, anyway.

      • It will probably be refunded in a few days. That’s just how wirecard works (and why you shouldn’t use them for hotel or car rental authorisation)

      • Brighton Belle says:

        They’ll sit on your money for as long as they dare, earn some interest and then pay you back. My refunds take around 5 days to appear.

    • the_real_a says:

      Until about 8-9 months ago, curve customer service was excellent. Same day intelligent responses from tickets raised in app. But it seems they have hired lots of EU millennial’s in London, who have absolutely no idea 1) what a credit card is and how it works because they have never held one and 2) how things work in the UK in respect to normal card payments. Curve support is now truly awful.

      • I think this is bang on and mirrors my own perceptions.

        Revolut is still the worst by a country mile, but we’re getting to the stage where’fintech’ means nothing more than lousy customer support. So much for being ‘disruptors’ when most of the disruption is to customers not high st banks.

      • That would explain why they don’t know what a supplementary card is!

      • Settle down son, we do know how to use credit cards, we do know how to run trains and busses and we can see a doctor without waiting 2 weeks for an appointment!!!!! You think europeans sit around a camp fire eating with their hands, and talking about that rich white Brit they saw driving past their village in a…….car? Jeez…….

        • the_real_a says:

          Wonderful. Perhaps a man of your calibre and experience would do well at Curve support. Have you considered a career change?

    • you could try Monzo, which I believe has the best customer service. Although I still keep my Barclays account, I now use Monzo for everyday banking.

  5. Adam Goodall says:

    Hold on a minute, have I been doing this wrong all along? When I apply for gold and bapp cards while churning, either me or my wife always order each other a supplementary card at sign up and get no bonus points. Should I be holding off and then adding the supplementary cards at a later date?
    If so this could be one of those real penny dropping moments!

  6. OT: As per advice here applied to upgrade my Hilton / Marriot / Shangri La status via amex site. Hilton got upgraded within 1-2 days, still waiting on Marriot and Shangri-la, been over 15 days. Any idea how long it takes / who to chase up, amex or hotel?

    • I tried upgrading my Hilton via the Amex site a couple of weeks ago but doesn’t seem to have worked. Did you have to do anything special/different?

      • No, Hilton is actually the most responsive of all of them. When I upgraded my wife last year it was done within 72 hours, on her existing account.

    • Agreed, recently did Hilton and only took 2.5 days.

    • Did them recently, Shangri-La took about a week and Marriott took about 2 weeeks although they did set up a new account even though I gave them my existing account so keep an eye on the amex site as it may get confirmed on there with a new account number.

  7. OT- Tesco Clubcard

    What is the best use of travel or travel related use of CC points now, with various changes,
    Don’t have plenty but still worth £50 or so in native points.

    • I still like Uber credit at 3x value – just a shame it only works in the UK.

    • Uber in UK is a genuine 3x. is a real c.2.5x

      • What about BAEC pts, bad value?

        • When for me the alternative is Uber, those avios cost 1.25p (3/2.4) and I’m not a buyer at that price.

        • Very complicated, depends where and when you are travelling, if you would pay cash instead, class of travel, if you need flexibility etc etc. If in doubt then it’s best to dtick with the other options mentioned.

        • Shoestring says:

          Not necessarily bad value. There’s a +20% bonus conversion rate to BAEC every couple of years. Last one was November 2015 – so looking possible for end 2018 IMV

          Conversion TCC points —> Virgin miles – +20% bonus is fairly regular.

          That gives £2.50 = 720 points = genuine 2.88x. So Avios are costing 1.042p (3/2.88), much more palatable than the normal comparison 1.25p.

          Then again, what value are you getting with your airmiles? I wouldn’t convert for less than 1p & usually achieve a fair bit more, whereas with Uber you can’t improve on value.

        • I think holding onto Clubcard vouchers for a transfer bonus is fanciful these days – although I STRONGLY recommend not converting until you need to redeem. No need to unnecessarily risk being caught in a devaluation.

        • @shoestring the comparison is primarily to what the alternatives are for acquiring points (ie Groupon offer at 1p is better than “paying” 1.25p assuming you would otherwise pay cash for Uber). Only if no acquiring alternatives would I consider what I sell them for.

        • @Shoestring…and pigs might fly!

        • Shoestring says:

          @BJ [pigs might fly] – but we had exactly this with BA 3 yrs ago so time for a repeat, and with Virgin just recently in March 2018.

          OK Tesco has gone mental and abolished Direct, Wines, decent Clubcard points offers etc all in the name of profitability. I know ‘Jack’s all’ about what’s going on!

          But who actually pays for the 20% bonuses on the TCC —> airmiles conversions?

          I think we should be told 🙂

        • @Harry, ok, let’s see. Somebody posted yesterday or day before it is the partners who pay. I am wondering if Tesco intend to be very aggressive with this Jacks business with a view to making it their core operation in the long term if it works out for them. I can see them even converting their Extra stores and renting out excess space to concessions, causing further havoc on the High Street.

      • Obviously depends where you live. We don’t have Uber or Ubereats in our neck of the woods so that wouldn’t be a good use of CC points for us.

        • Shoestring says:

          Not much in the way of Uber down in Cornwall, either 🙂

          So a meaningless comparison.

    • Shoestring says:

      redspottedhanky (train tickets) & Eurotunnel both 3x

    • I did 🙂

      • is 3x even if you can’t use it against the tax your still getting 3x on the rest, so I don’t think 2.5x is right

    • @roger fairly regular transfer bonuses to Virgin FC so 1:3 conversion.

      • Not sure those will continue – last quarter they adopted the BAEC/Avios competition promo model instead.

  8. OT – if one churns the platinum Amex what’s the strategy for maintining the hotel status that comes with it. I get how the first time one gets the Amex you can register for the status, but can the status be ‘renewed’ each time you get the card thereby extending the status? Thanks

    • Depends on exp date of 1st status card. Ours usually last well through a couple of churns. Dont think they extend. I know they wont duplicate, as we got an email informing us we were already members!
      Genghis might know…

    • We renew on each churn. Don’t really know if it does anything but our statuses never run out.

  9. Slightly OT! For those that credit Hertz rentals to IHG and use the Amex Plat CDP (211762) how many IHG points do you receive?

    • Lady London says:

      I would shop around and consider other bookings for Hertz points unless I really needed IHG. I’ve tested IHG’s headlined “we get you 35% bonus off Hertz car rentals” a few times now. It never came to more than 10% off. Which I can get anywhere. So I haven’t prioritised IHG for booking Hertz.

      Europcar had a really good tie-up with Accor that has yielded nice numbers of points in some countries. I know Australia was one (as in hertz dot com dot au) but think I’ve seen the odd excellent promotion with Europcar for Accor points in Europe too.

    • Never collected miles, always Hertz points. Often don’t credit properly and have to retroclaim, not sure if miles are any more reliable.

    • johnny_c-l says:

      I tend to default to the Virgin Atlantic CDP with Hertz, that seems to end up with the best rates I’m able to find and the miles post quickly.

  10. Hi. I have 200k Mr points was going to transfer them over to marriot for family hotels.
    With all the changes would I be better putting in Hilton instead. Resort type hotels for family 4 would be my target .We like the higher end hotels. I have platinum amex card hotels status.

    • I suggest comparing the footprints in the places you want to visit. I did start changing over to Marriott, but loss of breakfast with gold makes me veer back to Hilton.

      • The whole point of Amex points is that you can sit on them until you need them. Find a holiday spot, look at reward and room type availability and then move them.

        • unless you want to churn!

        • I just moved 130k MR speculatively to Emirates Skywards so i can churn and on the assumption i’ll do a redemption with them in the next 4 years. I felt there was too much of a devaluation transferring them to Marriott and even if Emirates does a devaluation themselves my churns should allow me enough to top up so nothing really lost in the long run.

        • Shoestring says:

          I thought you could churn & keep your MR points if you play your cards right?

    • Booked 6 nights at W Maldives over Christmas and 5 nights at St Regis NYC over Easter with most of my MR points. For average 5p/points, I think I’m happy with that.

  11. Had anyone stayed at the Dundee Malmaison? Would you recommend it? Very keen to visit, particularly for the new V&A and this could be a good option. And would it be horrific there in January?

    • Not stayed at the Malmaison in Dundee as I live in Dundee but it’s in a beautiful building with a lovely spiral staircase. The unlimited Sunday lunch with the buffet starters is very good. The new V&A is well worth a visit which is just opposite the Malmaison. January will be fine as long as you wrap up warm as it’s all on our new waterfront overlooking the River Tay.

    • Not stayed there, but V&A fabulous. Hotel Indigo also looks good if looking for an IHG option. Highly recommend Draffens (‘secret’ bar).

  12. Do you ever pay the yearly fee when churning the Gold Amex (£140 fee is free in the first year but is that only for the first time you hold the card?).

    • No, first year free each time.

    • May be worth paying one month of it for the 10000 MR for spending 15K in the previous year, works out to about 1.5 MR/£ for £12

      • Or, might not be worth doing that and binning it as soon as you reach your £3000 spend (or immediately after you receive your referrer points for referring your partner) to start the 6-month clock for a new card. Horses for courses

  13. Rang Amex CS about still missing Marriott / SPG points from monthly transfers today. Advised back office aware of many issues and making their way through all outstanding. Expect 2-4 weeks to see points in accounts.

    • Don’t think there’s any point asking Amex as it is definitely a problem on Marriott’s side. But I need to make sure they are giving me 33000 points instead of 11000 as the signup bonus…

  14. Lady London says:

    I would shop around and consider other bookings for Hertz points unless I really needed IHG. I’ve tested IHG’s headlined “we get you 35% bonus off Hertz car rentals” a few times now. It never came to more than 10% off. Which I can get anywhere. So I haven’t prioritised IHG for booking Hertz.

    Europcar had a really good tie-up with Accor that has yielded nice numbers of points in some countries. I know Australia was one (as in hertz dot com dot au) but think I’ve seen the odd excellent promotion with Europcar for Accor points in Europe too.

  15. That’s a pity, the aloft Munich in particular would have been nice and probably booked if still on the list ….

  16. O/T – does anyone know how much fuel surcharge/ taxes should be from São Paulo – London one way?

    I thought surcharges were banned from Brazil…

  17. can I sign up for both amex BA cards ( free one & fee paying one) card and get both sign up bonuses?

  18. Shoestring says:

    O/T amazingly cheap Ryanair deal just popped up

    They *never* go as cheap as this on our route from Bristol out to the place in the sun! First movers obvs get the cheap fares then it goes up.

    • Need to get to Frankfurt (flying onwards on JAL) in January, so thought the sub £10 fare looked inviting. Until I checked where Frankfurt-Hahn airport is. About 120km from Frankfurt by road according to Wikipedia. That takes the record for me for taking the proverbial by naming an airport after a town that is nowhere near. Can anyone come up with another airport further from the town it is supposed to serve?

      • Shoestring says:

        Frankfurt-Hahn is probably a bit of an outlier (+ literally!) Obvs Luton/ Stansted are just as easy to get to central London from as Gatwick & not *so* much worse than Heathrow. In other countries it’s luck of the draw, out at our place in the sun everybody uses the same airport. Take Paris, for example – Beauvais is about 50 miles outside the city centre, so not too bad; or Barcelona – same airport as everybody else.

  19. OT, booked car hire via BA Avis website, how long does it take for Avis to credit my BAEC?

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