Bits: Virgin / Tesco bonus confirmed, Argentina v Barbarians with SPG, Hilton downtime, World of Hyatt changes

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News in brief:

Tesco Clubcard to Virgin Flying Club bonus confirmed

Yesterday I wrote about a 10% bonus on Tesco Clubcard transfers to Virgin Flying Club which I had been emailed about.  The article is here.

The offer did not appear on the Virgin or Tesco sites so it was not clear if it was targeted.

It IS now showing on the Virgin Flying Club page for Tesco Clubcard redemptions, so it is clearly not targeted.  You will get a 10% bonus on all conversions until 14th December.

See Argentina v Barbarians with Marriott Rewards / SPG

Marriott Rewards is offering VIP packages to the Argentina v Barbarians rugby match on Saturday 1st December at Twickenham.

There are three packages on offer.  Package 1 and Package 2 are the same (click here) with starting bids at 50,000 points:

  • Tickets to watch the Barbarians vs. Argentina game from a Hospitality Pitch View Suite (December 1, 2018)
  • Access to a private balcony to view the match
  • Three-course meal prior to kick-off
  • Beverage package including beer, wine and soft drinks until one hour after the final whistle
  • Match day souvenir tickets, match day programs and accreditations
  • Experience is for two people

The third package includes a room (click here) which has a starting bid of 75,000 points:

  • Tickets to watch the Barbarians vs. Argentina game from a Hospitality Pitch View Suite (December 1, 2018)
  • Access to a private balcony to view the match
  • Three-course meal prior to kick-off
  • Beverage package including beer, wine and soft drinks until one hour after the final whistle
  • Match day souvenir tickets, match day programs and accreditations
  • Single-night stay in a Pitch View Suite at the London Marriott Hotel Twickenham (Check-in December 1, 2018 – Check-out December 2, 2018)
  • Experience is for two people

All three auctions close on 16th November.

World of Hyatt changing cash and points

Hilton Honors downtime

Hilton Honors dropped me a note to say that, due to website maintenance, the Hilton Honors platform will be down during parts of today and tomorrow.  Don’t panic if the site is not functioning properly or at all.

World of Hyatt changes from 1st November – good or bad?

World of Hyatt is introducing a number of changes from 1st November.

The email sent to members had a neutral ‘New Ways To Use Your Points’ headline.  Unfortunately it hides one key change.

From 1st November, ‘cash and points’ redemptions will – to all intents and purposes – become useless unless you only have a small points balance.

At present, a ‘cash and points’ booking requires 50% of the usual number of points plus a FIXED and generally low cash payment, depending on the hotel category.

From Thursday, ‘cash and points’ redemptions will cost 50% of the usual number of points plus 50% of the Best Available Rate.  This means that there is little benefit to using this feature, especially as most people don’t pay Best Available Rate.  Cheaper rates are often available, including pre-paid ones.

Another minor loss is the removal of the two United Airlines lounge passes which were issued to top-tier Globalist members each year.

There are two genuine upsides:

A new redemption option, Premium Suites, will be available.  These will cost up to 60,000 points per night and so will only attract the very highest points earners.  A more realistic deal may be the new ‘use points to upgrade to a Premium Suite’ option – only available by telephone – at 9,000 points per night on top of the cash price for a standard room.

The 3-night minimum stay for a Standard Suite redemption will be removed

I can see how both of these options could be useful to me personally.  A Premium Suite should, at many hotels, sleep four.  This would make the 9,000 points per night upgrade from a standard room a good deal and probably cheaper than booking 2 x standard rooms for my family.  If a Standard Suite would be good enough, the removal of the three night minimum massively increases my opportunities to upgrade or redeem directly for one of those.

Hyatt has also confirmed that a new Category 8 will be introduced for reward pricing.  Don’t panic.  The company is promising that no existing hotels will be moved into Category 8 and so it does not signify a devaluation.

Category 8 will only be used for new premium partner hotels such as Small Luxury Hotels of the World members, coming to World of Hyatt soon, and the recently acquired Alila, Destination, Joie de Vivre, Thompson, and Tommie chains.

Full details of the changes can be found on the Hyatt website here.

(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.)

Credit & Charge Card Reviews (6): HSBC Premier Mastercard
The Marriott MegaBonus adds two new targets to spice it up
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  1. Frenske says:

    OT Esso offers 200 Clubpoints when using their Esso app for paying.

  2. OT – Anything to distinguish between cx or qantas business hk lounge for food? Thanks

    • Genghis says:

      Do you want dan dan noodles or something more “western” (i.e. a curry)? QF and the Wing aren’t too far apart.

      • Probably western. I’m all noodled out. If they’re near enough then I’ll park myself nearer the gate and switch if I nothing takes my fancy.

        • HeathrowFlyer says:

          Western – QF is best IMO for food. Lots of salads etc available.

        • HeathrowFlyer says:

          Also QF is usually next to the BA gates

        • guesswho2000 says:

          QF is on the right, straight after the FT e-channel gates, and their food is great, I had an excellent barbecue pork disk given to me by the bartender moments after I sat down last month.

          The CX lounges are all pretty good though, and if you fancy noodles at any point, head that way. There’s Mumm champagne in the CX lounges, but better on tap beer in QF.

          My advice would be to visit both (as in CX and QF, unless you really want to visit more than one of the CX lounges).

  3. chelseafi says:

    O/T went to SPG O2 lounge Sunday to see Counting Crows, myself and OH were the only two in the box but they had still catered for full attendance, the food was lovely. Just received an email from them to say after I’d paid 45,000 points it had gone down to 15,000 points, so they have refunded me 30,000, how good is that!

    • Peter K says:

      That’s brill!

    • I put that on Twitter when I saw it down to 15k but clearly no-one bit. Worth 15k for the spread!

      • chelseafi says:

        A few others have gone down to 30k now. Florence and Machine down from 60k to 45k, saw them supporting Stones this summer very good.

        • Rob – I saw it but far too late for us to go, would have loved to. Glad you had a good one chelseafi and a nice goodwill gesture from Marriott too.

    • Had the same happen to me at a WWE event in NY – very good of them!

  4. OT as Bits. Probably a question that Genghis can answer!

    If you close your BAPP before the Avios have been swept across to your BA account, are they forfeited or do they still transfer them? Thanks.

    • Genghis says:

      They are forfeited and don’t transfer across (unlike SPG used to, not sure about Marriott now…)

      • Thanks Genghis, and for the mega quick response!, I suspected as much. Think it’s still worth doing for me in order to reset the clock.

        • Genghis says:

          I always analyse in terms of monthly fees. I.e. BAPP costs £16.25 a month and if I’d be getting transferred over more than the pro-rata cost until next sweep at about 1ppa, I wait. Otherwise, happy to forfeit.

      • They’ve always transferred across for me after account closure on both BAPP and SPG. Wouldn’t risk it for large numbers of points, but for a few hundred I do.

    • mine were transferred (unexpectedly) few months ago.

    • Hahah Ghengis, you should be on the payroll.

  5. OT: if you use Avios with Flybe, Aer Lingus and Vueling are you supposed to share the same membership number with all three airlines or are they supposed to be separate Avios pots?

    I had created an original account when the scheme just started, this year I linked it to Aer Lingus. It uses my original Avios account number and I can see my points and transactions in the Aer Lingus site.

    I was looking at Vueling a few days ago and was surprised to see I already had an email and password saved with them. I logged in and it said it was converting my account to Avios. It had a different membership number to my normal account?

    Should Vueling remain separate or should it be merged? I have no points there as yet, but if I do fly them I’d rather get the points into the main account rather than orphaned in an account which I’ll probably forget about over time.

    • You can have separate accounts if you want, it doesn’t matter. However you can give any 3081 account when flying Vueling and the points will go into it.

  6. OT – Folks, I have a trip coming up with Delta booked on Virgin.

    For some reason my middle name is truncated (First and Last name are fine, middle name is just missing two last letters)

    Is this something that I need to call and get resolved or is middle name unimportant, and/or can it be updated at checkin?

    • I wouldn’t worry about it.

    • A few years ago I let my OH book flights with Delta and he managed to spell my middle name wrong. I called Delta and they wanted £65 to change the 2 letters involved. There were many online references to middle names being of no importance whatsoever on airline tickets so we risked it and no-one seemed to notice!

    • Sorry to hijack. I have a similar question, Surname on IB booking has been put in both surname and second surname I contacted IB within minutes of receiving email and they said they would reissue ticket with surname only, this has not been changed . The ticket still shows surname twice. Will I have problems or should I contact IB again.


      • I think the main issue is that your first and last name(s) need to match your passport. That said, this is far more important if you’re going somewhere with a visa/esta requirement.

        • My partner used to book tickets using his first (of two) forename and his last (of four) surname only. This didn’t match his passport which shows his extremely long name in full. He has never been denied boarding or refused entry to the US, but he they have called a supervisor at check in on occasions, and the APC kiosk gave him a slip with and X because the name on his passport didn’t match the name on the ESTA.

          We’ve amended everything to full names now. Unfortunately, airline booking systems don’t allow spaces, and run his four surnames into one. He tends not to be addressed by name by the cabin crew!

          He has trouble with credit cards too. His name is too long for the field.

  7. OT – We were travelling in Business Premier on Eurostar this Sunday, the journey got delayed by about 2.5 hours (though not through their fault as far as I can tell). One ticket was a cash ticket, the other was purchased on points. What’s the ‘best way’ in terms of compensation – evoucher, points, cash?

  8. OT: planning to cancel my Amex plat soon. If I want to keep some flexibility, is it best to convert my entire balance to spg?

    • RakishDriver says:

      Try amex ARCC ?

      • Yes, unless you are desperate to start the 6 month clock to get a new Gold/Plat this getting the free Amex Rewards Credit Card which we reviewed a few days ago is the best option.

  9. In a boring meeting so decided to check what the new fees were like flying out of HK. For virgin – £365 in J, £314 PE, £188 Econ. So long to another sweet spot.

    • I checked BA….

      Total Price (Including all taxes, fees, and carrier charges)

      19500 Avios + £ 4,736.74

  10. Rufusrea says:

    Tesco Christmas voucher problem . Trying to buy a computer using vouchers . Sales assistant puts first voucher through and informs me that there is no return on this item hits something else ( I think ) then informs me that the voucher has been used. so she try’s another two with same result . Her other assistant then informs me to contact club card myself as the vouchers have been used and it’s not their problem . Does any one know the correct procedure fit me then to be accepted?

    • Part of the problems Harry raised yesterday. I think this demonstrates that a competent CS agent is probably a better bet than an incompetent one. If they are going to play games with returns on laptops and other electronics just tell them it is faulty. Please let us know how you get oneuth your call to clubcard.

      • Rufusrea says:

        On with clubcard and he was able to see that voucher had been used but put me through to tech dept . They tried to say it was clubcard should be dealing with it and eventually decided to look into it by putting me on hold and every 5 mins saying they would be back as they were trying to sort it. Eventually they just cut me off . So I’m back where I started with a few vouchers apparently redeemed and nothing to show for it . I suppose I will have to return to clubcard

        • Rufusrea says:

          By the way maybe I wasn’t clear at the start. This happened while trying to use the vouchers to buy a computer not returning . I came away empty handed with a few vouchers supposedly redeemed

        • Shoestring says:

          Oh, that’s good news for the rest of us at least 🙂

          I guess you’ll have to go to TCC CS, you can’t really blame the in-store staff for not dealing with it.

          There have been thefts in the past.

        • You were clear, it does not bode well for the rest of us. I’m surprised you walked away without having this resolved in store, it was definitely their problem.

        • Shoestring says:

          BJ we’ll have to agree to disagree 🙂

        • @Harry, how so? If they were right about that giftcard refund issue and that’s circulated policy then we could all be s****ed.

        • Shoestring says:

          Rufusrea didn’t ask for a refund

        • Rufusrea says:

          re Tesco New clubcard rep looking into it it looks like it was cashier problem as four vouchers are showing redeemed for transaction I was not able to complete. Awaiting call back

        • @Harry. Ok, with you, I was thinking about Tescococo’s earlier comment on refunds to giftcard. Just been back there and see you have since commented. I’m heading back to Tesco tomorrow for another go.

        • Lady London says:

          +1 it sounds like some of your vouchers might have been nicked. this has happened from time to time apparently on an inside job at Tesco. Personally I’d call Customer Services immediately and get to the bottom of it.

        • Has everyone received paper vouchers? Mine haven’t come
          through yet but can see vouchers in app

  11. Graham Walsh says:

    Safety demo a bit more interesting

  12. OT Nectar swipe to win. Just tried crediting voucher to nectar account. Seems they are only taking one voucher per transaction this year if till person I went to is correct. For those with multiple vouchers to credit it is probably best to go to self service with a basket of stuff and check them out and credit vouchers one by one instead of making multiple visits to a store.

    • I went to the CS desk in Sainsbury’s on Friday evening and they credited 5 vouchers onto my Nectar account. 5 * £10 purchases, 3000 Nectar points 🙂

      • Thanks, will try CS desk on way in next time, it was just a Local today. You beat me by 100 points across 5, not so good as last year for me.

    • I was able to use two vouchers on one transaction at self service tills on Saturday.
      I used to think you could only add one voucher per transaction, think it was last year the till person said they could add them all in one shot!
      I tried looking at S&W T&Cs online to see if they had any restriction – page loads but body content is blank on pc and mobile.
      Try at Customer Services desk – they are always helpful (although sometimes busy)

    • Same with previous editions, you can only process one at a time, I think due to the barcode being the same. The checkout staff tells you to go to customer services and they will process (but they don’t). Best to split the shopping down into smaller chunks and process that way.

      Careful doing that on self service as security thinks you’re abusing the system by scanning the same voucher multiple times.

      • You are right if doing >1 of same value. Different barcodes for different values, worked on Saturday at self service, with one transaction adding one of 200 points and one of 500.

        • Rufusrea says:

          Good news eventually vouchers to be returned in a money card . Now have to start all over again. Has anyone had success completing the “whole “ transaction?

        • Genghis says:

          Once it’s a money card, it really is just money to be spent at Tesco (just like the xmas saver vouchers in original form).

        • Well that was worth all the hassle then…

        • Shoestring says:

          @David – for Rufusrea, maybe (declined vouchers) – I personally would not have accepted a money card as it was Tesco’s fault and if he had insisted on the T&Cs, original payment form should have been reinstated. In fact, he’d probably have got lucky there & then.

          nothing proven elsewhere yet

  13. O/T – anyone know why BA isn’t showing T-355 for flights to Tokyo currently can only book BA metal upto 7/10/19.

    Was looking to make a redemption early November but as flights don’t seem to be releasing at T-355 I’m a little early to the party ????

    Any idea if it will normalise anytime soon ?

    • Have you checkedto see if anything different showing on AA site?

      • AA only showing flights till last week of September 2019

        • You could call BA and ask. If it is available but not showing I am sure you would avoid the booking fee. I wonder if it is something to do with the latter stages of the rugby world cup?

    • Lady London says:

      T-355 is not exact. It varies by which airline is displaying it, destination and when they get around to loading! vigilance is best. It’s have to stop showing T-350 for me to start calling anyone otherwise I’d just keep a watch on it.

      Different airlines do vary in how quickly they show the same seats on other airlines for awards.

  14. OT: Does the amex16swp code work with supps if setting up a new amazon account?

    • Code was only working with old accounts, from memory it was something like accounts created before last October. This might have moved as they have extended the closing date several times, but shouldn’t work with a new account.
      You should be able to pay using a supp but the MRs would come from the main account

    • No, it only works on Amazon accounts set up before this year (exact date on the promo landing page).

  15. is the Tesco to Virgin 10% extra offer generally a good offer, or are there others, better to wait for?

    • No, it is poor. Offers were typically 20% upwards but in the past 6 months we have seen this and I think there was a competition too.

    • Unless your Tesco vouchers are expiring, I would sit on them – the extra flexibility is worth more than 10% extra VS miles unless you have short term redemption plans.

  16. ** Qatar flash sale **
    Book by midnight 31 October for travel before 31 March 2019.

    • Clever wording on the landing page for ‘offers’ not sale. Some of the Asia prices are higher than two days ago from my research. Thanks anyway Ben.

  17. How to save the Tesco point? I see I can auto transfer to Avios or virgin miles, any way to save it, ie not to do it automatically? I didn’t see an option to turn it off.

  18. Indiacharliepapa says:

    I’m trying to do a cheapish trip to NYC next year (Feb). Got the flights for 170+5k points last week now looking for hotel. Budget is around £100/night. Have been before so flexible on areas (Inc/esp brooklyn?) and would appreciate any suggestions (I have marriott gold via Amex plat if that makes a diff). Thanks in advance.

    • Staying across the river from Manhattan, either on the Long Island or New Jersey side, is a much more reasonable option than the city itself and public transport links seem to be good. Feb will be about the cheapest month to visit (as long as it’s not Valentine’s Day!), though £100 per night might still be optimistic. Airport hotels can be very good value if you’re prepared to travel to see the attractions each day. We’re going to NYC in May (in F, thanks HFP!) and as we land in the early evening have opted to spend the first night at the JFK Hampton Inn, which has cost me 40,000 HH points as opposed to at least 70,000 in Manhattan – it’s coming up at $167 plus tax for early Feb. You could also get HH gold via Amex Platinum.

      • Indiacharliepapa says:

        Thanks Anna

      • have a look at Yotel, if you sign up to be a member you get extra discount off too. When we went on a budget in jan a few years ago they came out the cheapest.

    • Worth looking at Airbnb if you ask me. I had two nights for under £100 in Brooklyn back in September. Wasn’t the nicest area but was right next to a subway station and about 15 minutes to WTC area of Manhattan, less than 30 to central park. I’m sure with a budget of double that will get you something decent. I couldn’t find any hotels remotely central for under £150 a night when I was looking other than the hell hole ones that always show up as the cheapest options.

      • Brooklyn is expensive now. New Jersey in better. I stayed here years ago:

        which is $140 for a random November weekend. 5-10 mins walk to the one-stop PATH train under the Hudson to World Trade Center, earn IHG points etc.

        • With a budget of £100/night the OP should be able to find hotels around that price even in Midtown if he/she looks at the brands at the lower end of the major chains such as HGI and Hampton. Reservations can be combined with the usual tricks to save more cash abd/or earn more points. Personally I would recommend locking in a BFR and then hope to get lucky with good opportunities in early new year promotions.

  19. Well just tried to convert to Iberia and got the following message

    You have not yet reached the required level of 2,000 points to access our offer.

    Any suggestions?

    • You need to set up auto-convert using the landing page in my Accor / Avios promo article from a couple of days ago.

  20. I should say from Accor

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