Bits: Last day for IHG’s UK Flash Sale, Hilton Garden Inn at Birmingham Airport opens, Blacklane 10x at Miles & More

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News in brief:

Last day to book for IHG’s UK and Ireland Flash Sale

A quick reminder that today (Monday) is the last day to book in IHG’s short flash sale for Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites hotels in the UK and Ireland.

The rules are:

Book by midnight tonight, 8th October

Stay between 8th October and 28th February 2019

Discount is up to 25% off Best Available Rate

The booking page is here 

You need to be an IHG Rewards Club member to book, but sign-up is free.

As these rates are non-refundable, it isn’t really fair to say it is a 25% discount.  You’d normally get 10% off compared to the Best Available Rate for booking a non-refundable room, so the additional discount will be nearer 15%.  Still better than nothing though!

Don’t forget to register for the Autumn IHG Rewards Club promotion as well.

The new offer is called Double Points Plus More.  It runs from 16th September to 16th December.  You earn double base points from your 2nd stay, up to a maximum of 15,000 bonus points.  There are additional personalised targets which could be worth a lot more.  This is my article on the Double Points Plus More offer.  You can register on the IHG site here.

The booking page for the UK and Ireland flash sale is here.

IHG UK flash sale

Hilton Garden Inn at Birmingham Airport now open

Hilton has opened a new Hilton Garden Inn at Birmingham Airport.

(How does a Garden Inn differ from a normal Hilton?  Having visited the Heathrow one a few times, I honestly have no idea.)

Important, this hotel is directly at the airport, next door to the passenger terminal.  No shuttle buses etc required.  It’s not going to win any architectural awards (see picture below) but apart from that it seems to be a great option.

I saw rates as low as £65 per night for November, although I can also see dates where it goes over £200!  In terms of convenience, however, you can’t go wrong.

It could also be a cheap option for visitors to Birmingham itself.  It is a short walk from Birmingham International railway station and there are very frequent trains into Birmingham New Street for the city centre.

The Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham Airport website is here.

PS.  When you click the link above, the hotel does NOT look the one below. This is because hilton.com is, for some odd reason, featuring a hotel in Birmingham, Alabama!

Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham Airport UK

10 Miles & More miles per £1 / €1 / $1 with Blacklane

Chauffeur group Blacklane has extended its offer of 10 Miles & More miles per €1 / £1 / $1 spent on rides to the end of October.  Your ride can take place until the end of 2018 as long as the booking is made this month.

The company now operates in 300 cities in 60 countries and is particularly useful for airport rides.  We used them in Milan Linate in August and it was good to have the driver waiting at the gate with our name on a board.

If you are not interested in 10 Miles & More miles per £$€1, Blacklane also lets you earn airline miles with:

  • Asia Miles (2 per £/$/€ spent)
  • Flying Blue (2 per £/$/€ spent)
  • Qatar Privilege Club (1 per £/$/€ spent)
  • Enrich (Malaysia Airlines) (2 per £/$/€ spent)
  • Singapore Airlines Krisflyer (2 per £/$/€ spent)

There is also a hotel partnership coming soon but I am sworn to secrecy on that.

You can save 10% on your first Blacklane ride with code SAVE10%.

Blacklane has a slightly odd way of entering promotional codes.  You will be presented with a page asking for your credit card details.  After you type them in, there is an additional screen which asks if you have a voucher code.  Add SAVE10% on that page and 10% is deducted from your quote.  Your card is not charged until after the ride and you can cancel until 1 hour before pick-up.

You can sign-up for a Blacklane account here.  Click on the Miles & More logo on their home page to see full details of the ’10 miles per £€$1′ offer.

Earn 9,000 Avios for a 3-day Avis weekend car rental!
Bits: Avios confirms you can keep your 2nd Lloyds upgrade voucher, Hyatt drops home rentals but Marriott expands
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Comments

  1. The problem with Birmingham airport hotels is that the NEC is right next door and easily accessible. Once the Hikton metropole and way over priced Crowne Plaza are discounted the Novotel and not Hilton garden will be next on Peopls list which will explain the £200 a night rates

  2. Nigel the Pensioner says:

    I agree with Paul above. The Hilton GI however has no bar and no restaurant and will therefore not be seeing me! The Hilton NEC has a shuttle bus to the airport – depending on which way the wind is blowing and also has a club lounge. The Crowne Plaza is newer and is a short stroll from the station where the “Maglev” takes you to BHX for free on an overhead track. Not sure if there is a club floor?? That leaves the Novotel (of non hostel accommodation) whose rooms are atrocious but the bar is nice and the restaurant food – breakfast and evening – is actually quite good. The Novotel is literally 25 yards across the roads from the main entrance to the old T1 at BHX. Looks like its a choice between CP and Novo…… still.

    • Peter K says:

      Stayed at the Crowne Plaza NEC earlier this year and never want to return. Staff who did not know what they were doing, every day the room cleaners list said we were checking out, the boiler stopped working one morning so no hot water (even an hour after we rang reception to tell them), reception saying they would do nothing when there was noise loud enough to wake up up at 4am that went on for ages.
      Never again.

      • RakishDriver says:

        Agree, stayed a night a few weeks ago; the only plus point was that the restaurants were in walking distance by the lake. Overpriced.

  3. Rob …

    Just a point that the picture you have used is a picture of the Hilton Gardin Inn Hotel in Birmingham, ALABAMA!

    The one that has just opened at Birmingham Airport in the U.K. still is t an architectural gem but it’s a lot better than the one you’ve pictured.

    • It can’t be, because that it the picture Hilton is using on its website for the hotel if you click through.

      • I’ve seen it myself a couple of weeks ago. It’s definitely not the one on the picture on the Hilton website.
        https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=8Be7W8O0AbDkkgWKg6D4Cg&ins=false&q=garden+inn+birmingham+airport&oq=garden+inn+birmin&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-hp.1.1.0l3j0i22i30l2.1943.6315..7026…1.0..0.74.1028.17……0….1…….5..46j35i39j0i131.A7C4412sHiY#fid=0x4870b13af8cd317f:0xd285e51057cea333&fpstate=luuv&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipNeuKRHvjdRaGYo5MLZwkm8GHCcSFJ0d2BBcfOk&viewerState=lb

      • Chris L says:

        I am currently in sight of the hotel and can confirm it is as per the new image posted!! Actually not bad as airport hotels go. Apparently it was built in the space of 4 weeks – made up of container-sized modules shipped over from China.

        As an aside, I’m currently sat in the new Aspire (South) lounge. The recent reviews mentioned it was quite empty as of a few weeks ago, but there are a decent number of people in here today, to the point that the 2 members of staff are a bit over-stretched. It’s a decent lounge though. It’s definitely geared towards business travellers – the No1 is more suited to leisure travellers.

        • I’ll be there later today, not tried any of the 3, which would you recommend? Want some drinks and ideally decent food as I won’t get to my destination until late.

        • Chris L says:

          The No1 probably has the best food and drinks overall. Don’t know if you’ve been to one before but you get a small menu of hot items to order which you can only order from once and then there’s a buffet of cold items. The two Aspire lounges are both a hot buffet, but the quality isn’t as good. Aspire South only really makes sense if you’re flying with Flybe or Ryanair.

  4. OT – today is the last day to order from Tesco Wines before it closes. There aren’t many decent bargains though – the best one I’ve spotted is 33% off their own Bordeaux Superieur. It’s a 2016 so presumably should last a few more years.

    • There are also a couple of decent port offers if that’s your thing (I don’t know anyone under 65 who drinks it!)

      • I’ll get my coat 😂

        • Shoestring says:

          Dry white port is an excellent drink and very much ‘in’ across Iberia and amongst those who know over here.

          Completely different to Granny’s sticky sweet red port people usually think of in the UK.

      • I’m 26 and love a tawny port with nice cheeses. Riotous living!

        • Have a look then, they’ve got Graham’s 10 year old Tawny at 32% off!

        • Genghis says:

          We went to Graham’s in Porto over the summer and some of the ports were fantastic. We brought back a couple of bottles of good stuff.

  5. Is “Garden Court” a separately owned brand name?

    There used to be a Holiday Inn Garden Court in Aylesbury – which was always handy for a mattress run for Accelerate offers (stay in 2 or more Holiday Inn Brands). It’s now a Best Western Garden Court.

    • The Hilton ones are Garden Inn not Garden Court. I’d only stayed in a Holiday Inn Garden Court once (in Ostend) and it was dreadful, it was definitely below the level of a normal Holiday Inn.

      As for Hilton Garden Inn, all the HGI hotels I’ve stayed in have offered self service laundry so perhaps that’s a brand standard that makes them differ from a regular Hilton. They’ve also had a shop where you can buy drinks and snacks.

  6. OT: probably a bit niche, but has anyone transferred Heathrow Rewards points to Krisflyer? If so, how long did it take?

  7. OT: So i had been paying my Amex bill with Curve debit linked through to my Lloyds Avios card. Has anyone done exactly this since the recent curve changes? I’ve got a £3k bill due but don’t overly want to risk £90 of cash advance costs on the Lloyds card if they are now treating it that way. Is it still safe?
    Thanks

    • No longer seems to go through.

      • soloflyer1977 says:

        I did £100 amex transaction on Friday (Curve to Lloyds). It is still in the pending transaction. Will let you know if it attracts a charge. Fingers crossed

        • I did one for £5 last week, and it has went through as only £5, but what i can’t remember is when the cash advance fees get added on. Is it when it posts fully to the account (in which case it appears fine), or is it at statement time?

    • I did 2 similar transactions on Thursday which have gone through and no charges have appeared as yet. Everything I’ve done from Friday onwards is stuck in the pending basket.

  8. OT: Tesco Christmas saver. Does my online account need to be set to this (rather than “Vouchers”) or can I just go to store and pay in £360?

    • Shoestring says:

      You need to set it ahead of buying the top up (otherwise you can’t buy top ups). Once it’s been added, you can switch away from Xmas Saver, you’ll still get the vouchers last week of October

      • Kind of late to the party but would love some help…..what’s the deal with xmas saver? T&Cs say ‘Christmas savers top-up vouchers cannot be used on Clubcard partners or converted into Airmiles/BA miles.’
        Thanks

      • Harry, do Christmas Saver vouchers come through the post or are they print at home? I think my vouchers set to online only as I’ve not had any by snail mail for years. Thanks.

        • Genghis says:

          Whatever you’ve set your prefs to. We just get online and print at home, though code also included for online use.

        • Thanks Genghis, will leave settings as they are then as it takes a risk out of it.

  9. OT: Is it safe to book Alitalia flights for next year via Amex Travel? I will be cancelling my Platinum card before the travel date. I know they filed bankruptcy some time back.

    • Great mind!

      Too risky , they may survive in some form or other.

      • Shoestring says:

        Depends if you are getting an additional benefit worth the hassle. So the £50 off £200 or the £200 off £600 might make it worth the risk. Not sure if cancelling Amex Plat means you can’t do chargeback or claim on the insurance – because you held a valid card at the time of booking – worth checking.

        I’d not be booking Alitalia, myself (and I’ve got the Amex offers) – unless flight timings/ price were markedly better than alternatives and I had another way to get my money back if Alitalia go bump.

  10. pointsarb says:

    O/T Saw the Avis article but posting my q here as bits.

    Does anyone have any tips on any companies who do all inclusive long term car hire please? Currently a car owner but seriously considering ditching ownership in favour of long term car hire and getting somebody else to foot the bill for depreciation, maintenance etc. Closest all inclusive offering I’ve seen so far is these guys but just wondered if anyone else had any other recommendations: https://www.joindrover.com/

    Thanks!

    • Leasing would probably be a better option than hiring. There are loads of companies which lease any type of vehicle you can name, but costs and services differ a lot so you need to shop around. Be prepared to negotiate on things like the initial payment as well.

      • pointsarb says:

        Thanks Anna but leasing is not typically an all inclusive cost (inc maintenance, tyres etc) and, if it is, it’s usually quite expensive compared to these long term all inclusive car hire offers i’m seeing pop up which have sparked my interest. If you know any different however, please do tell!

    • Getting someone else to foot the bills would be nice, but in practice they just get spread across the payments plus their profit.

  11. OT: I think someone here went to the Singapore F1 GP this year…. any tips, including what else to do, where to stay, where to eat, etc, would be welcome.

    • Genghis says:

      Eat at Colony (fancy buffet, well worth it) and loads of different hawker markets. We enjoyed breakfast with orangutans at Singapore Zoo (though the food poor) and our walk through the forest to the tree top walk. Enjoy.

      • +1 for the hawker centres.

        Fullerton Bay Hotel is nice but I haven’t stayed during the F1 and I think it’s on the trackside, it has a roof top pool/bar which I would imagine would have a good view?

      • I enjoyed the Gardens by the Bay

        • Genghis says:

          How could I forget. Excellent! We went late afternoon and as the sun was setting we were on the walkway and then watched the light show. Good fun.

  12. PointsChaser says:

    OT
    I will be staying at the Conrad Centennial Singapore with my wife and booked their entry level room. Having a HH Gold card I was expecting breakfast to be included and an upgrade to the next category of room.

    I just received an email from them inviting me to upgrade my room for SGD90 putting me on the executive floor with lounge access which includes buffet breakfast, food, drinks, etc.

    On reading the fine print it appears my HH gold card only entitles me to a continental breakfast which took me by surprise. Is this applied only to Conrads or is it the continental breakfast the standard offering for all Hilton hotels gold card holders?

    • Standard.

    • Most hotels will give you full access to the breakfast buffet

      • As Ian says, most hotels will not follow you around checking that you took a yoghurt but not a sausage, and so will let you have access to the breakfast buffet.

        • Depends. Conrad St James were very insistent this time that it would be continental only. We aren’t cheats so we stuck to it. If they had not said anything then we would have assumed it was a free for all.

    • It depends on the hotel – at the HGI you will get a cooked to order breakfast for you and a guest (or full buffet access as we found in Washington DC recently).

    • Just wanted to say that I absolutely loved the Conrad Centennial Hotel when we stayed there in Feb this year! Very convenient for public transport and your get access to FT online in the hotel (never seen another hotel offer this).

      Sadly though, I cannot remember our exact booking details, so can’t help with your query…

    • Genghis says:

      As Gold, you’ll get breakfast in the main breakfast room, everything included. We stayed as Diamonds last year with little by way of upgrade. The lounge is nothing much to write home about IMO. However @Alan always get treated like royalty as Diamond. YMMV.

    • PointsChaser says:

      Thanks for the prompt replies.

  13. O/T – All Amex offers have disappeared off both of my cards. Is anyone’s else seeing the same?

  14. OT as bits – does the Amex Travel cashback offer normally take a while to post?

    I had the £200 back off £600 spend and booked car hire and internal flights for upcoming trip to SA, which were done as 2 separate transactions on the same day.

    I didn’t receive an email saying the offer had been used which I know sometimes happens and the transactions moved out of pending on Friday but no sign of any cashback yet.

    Have others had it post successfully with a cumulative spend?

    • fivebobbill says:

      Used the deal twice, once on my card, other on the wife’s. Both £600 totals were made up of multiple bookings. We both received a confirmation email within 24 hrs of meeting the target, and both had the £200 credited to our accounts within the week.

      • Ok thanks.
        Will give it a few more days and then chase up CS although I suspect they’ll prob just tell me it can take up to 90 days after the end of the offer period…

  15. Genghis says:

    OT Checked into JWM Hong Kong today. I reported ages ago that I’d got confirmation from the hotel when Marriott Reward changes were announced that we’d still get lounge access with my Gold status. Well after a little discussion, “but you confirmed it; I wouldn’t have kept the reservation otherwise – I would have as it was a TP Reward cert” – blah blah… it was honoured so lounge access for full week now. Excellent outcome. I encourage those with similar confirmations to hold their ground. On another note, CX 359 J is a very impressive product.

    • Do you know if flight manager was Kei by any chance?

      • Genghis says:

        No. Audrey IIRC. Had the status recognition thing.

        • Kei is an old friend of mine from when I worked in London. He told me which flights were operated by the London-based crews and 359 rings a bell. He was always adament that service was better from the Londo crews. Hope you enjoyed your breakfast and have a nice day. Btw, after your suggestion I did find that restaurant with the ‘swearing name, thanks, will try it next summer.

    • Thanks for OT.

      Did you book this before the IT merger. Also did you book on points using your earn n burn principle.

      • Some of us who had booked nonrefundable rates or redemptions before it became known we would lose free lounge/breakfast via amex platinum SPG Gold (hence Marriott) contacted the hotels in question requesting assurances that the benefits entitlement at time of booking would be honoured or we would cancel the reservation or seek a refund if necessary.

      • Genghis says:

        Booked before status merger using a travel package.

  16. lgflyer says:

    OT I remember reading here that BA was refunding non-refundable flights booked during the data breach period.
    I cancelled an avios redemption booked during that time, so got the avios back and wrote to BA to get them to refund the £35.
    I got a reply today: “Unfortunately, we’re unable to offer a full refund for your ticket and it must be refunded as per the fare rules. I understand this will be disappointing and I’m sorry we couldn’t meet your expectations on this occasion.”
    Anything I can do?

    • Shoestring says:

      I generally don’t accept answers like this as ending the matter.

      HUACA is good advice, ie get a better response from somebody else.

      Go senior – senior people don’t like dealing with sh!t like this, particularly if there’s precedent saying others have been compensated fairly in similar circs.

      Ultimately £35 is a ridiculously small amount for a senior person their end not to say OK to, given the data breach.

      As you may remember, I insisted on getting 5000 Avios back (each) on the cancelled F&B on RFS flights – I’d bought & paid for them in advance. Not so dissimilar to your £35. Mr Cruz (or his office) came up trumps, it was an obvious unfairness – whilst I fondly imagine Mr Cruz reading my case email and saying: zees Mr Shoestring ‘e ‘as a point, let them ‘ave zer 5000 Avios, we stoppa’d ‘im from ‘aving a cerveza and snecks on ‘ees RRRRRRRFS flights – it was probably all dealt with by a smart secretary.

    • Not in this case because you are not cancelling on principle due to the breach (or, erm, trying to get out of a non-refundable booking you can no longer fly …..)

      • Shoestring says:

        Why wouldn’t OP just say they were cancelling due to data breach?

        • lgflyer says:

          Yes, I said I was cancelling due to the data breach.
          I have just sent them a reply threatening with legal action.
          Consumer Rights Act 2015, section 49(1) is mentioned in the email.

        • Shoestring says:

          49 Service to be performed with reasonable care and skill
          Every contract to supply a service is to be treated as including a term that the trader must perform the service with reasonable care and skill.

          That’s the one 🙂

  17. OT – can Harrods gift cards be used in the Apple substore?

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