Bits: HFP on Radio 4, new Amex cashback hotel deals inc Marriott, changes to the Tesco Premium credit card

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News in brief:

Listen to me on ‘You and Yours’

I did a segment on Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ yesterday lunchtime, discussing the recent changes to petrol loyalty with Esso dropping Clubcard and BP dropping Nectar – which Esso is joining!  We did a Shopper Points piece on this here.

You can listen by clicking here (log-in required) and fast-forwarding to 29:25.

New American Express hotel cashback deals

American Express has launched a new batch of hotel cashback offers.  Some, all or none of these deals may be available for registration under the ‘Offers’ tab online of one of your American Express cards – click here for the Amex website.

The new offers are:

£100 back on £500 spent at Marriott / Starwood brands (expires 31st January, ONLY valid at this list of UK and European hotels) – website here 

£55 back on £200 spent at Amba Hotels (expires 31st January)- website here 

£55 back on £200 spent at Guoman Hotels (expires 31st January) – website here 

£35 back on £200 spent at Thistle Hotels (expires 31st January) – website here, here is my article on staying at Thistle Heathrow and using the driverless pods to get to Terminal 5 the next morning  

Existing offers you might have forgotten about include:

Virgin Trains – various permutations of spend and cashback (expires 28th February)

£100 back on £1000 spent at Trailfinders (expires 31st December)

£20 back on £150 spent at Avis (expires 31st December)

£50 back on £200 spent at Hand Picked Hotels (expires 31st December)

25% back on all Gett taxi rides (expires 31st January, max £50 cashback)

£100 back on £500 United Airlines spend (expires 16th December)

£5 back on £30 spent at Minicabit (expires 31st December)

£20 back on £150 spent at Europcar (expires 13th December)

3% back on all purchases from The Trainline (expires 16th January)

£50 back on £250 spent at Hilton (expires 31st December)

£50 back on £200 spent at Red Carnation Hotels (expires 24th May, some good London hotels

£10 back on £35 spent at Heathrow Express (expires 29th January, will work with this 250 bonus points promo)

Changes to Tesco Premium credit card for existing customers

Tesco Bank makes big changes to the Tesco Premium credit card – will it re-open to new applicants?

The Tesco Premium credit card was closed to new applicants in June.  Tesco Bank has just announced major changes to the benefits package for existing cardholders which makes me think that it may be reopened to new applications at some point.

The Tesco Premium credit card was a surprisingly aggressive offering:

  • £150 annual fee
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • 5,000 bonus Clubcard points (12,400 Avios) for spending £5,000 in Tesco per year
  • 1 Clubcard point (2.4 Avios) per £1 spent with Tesco
  • 0.25 Clubcard points (0.6 Avios) per £1 spent elsewhere

This was a real ‘Marmite’ card.  For people who spent a lot at Tesco – and fuel purchases were included in the £5,000 target – it was a decent deal and a very good Visa / Mastercard option for collecting Avios.  If you couldn’t spend £5,000 per year, it wasn’t worth it unless you needed the travel insurance.

Tesco Bank pulled the card from the market shortly after Tesco Direct was closed.  Tesco Wine closed shortly afterwards.  I think that a lot of people had been relying on Tesco Direct spending to reach the £5,000 target and these people were now stuffed.

Tesco Bank has announced that the card will be relaunched for existing cardholders from February 2019.  Your benefits will change on your next card anniversary after 1st February, which means that some people will remain on the £150 package until January 2020.

Details are on the Tesco Bank website here.  In summary:

  • the annual fee drops to £36
  • the travel insurance benefit is removed
  • the bonus is realigned to offer 2,500 bonus Clubcard points (6,200 Avios) for spending £2,500 in Tesco per year
  • 1 Clubcard point (2.4 Avios) per £1 spent with Tesco (unchanged)
  • 0.25 Clubcard points (0.6 Avios) per £1 spent elsewhere (unchanged)

I think, if you can hit the £2,500 of annual Tesco spend – which many people could do just on fuel, even without buying any food – this looks pretty good.  The £36 fee is easily justified by the 6,200 bonus Avios for spending £2,500, and you have the added benefit of earning 0.6 Avios per £1 on all your other Visa / Mastercard spend.

It is less clear cut if you collect Virgin Flying Club miles.  The free Virgin Atlantic credit card, which currently has a 10,000 mile sign-up bonus for another 10 days, earns 0.75 miles per £1 spent, is better.  For day to day spending, it trumps the Tesco Premium credit card.  You could still justify using the Tesco Premium credit card purely for Tesco spending as long as you knew you’d hit the £2,500 annual target – but it does mean another card in your wallet.

For clarity, there is no certainty at the moment that Tesco Bank will reopen the Tesco Premium credit card to new applicants from February.  If they do, however, it will become the best Visa / Mastercard option for many Head for Points readers.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

FINAL TWO WEEKS: Get 5,000 to 10,000 EXTRA sign-up miles with the Virgin Atlantic credit cards!
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  1. OT but related to Amex offers: Does superdrug sell giftcards of other retailers (Amazon/M&S/JL)? I tried a couple of stores and couldn’t find any.

    • Yes but find that it is only certain stores, got Amazon vouchers at Fenchurch Street hidden in a corner but not my local branch. Staff seemed not very familiar in processing them

      • oh really I walked around this one hunting everywhere! will look again. THanks

        • From memory they were on a shelf facing nearer the larger set of tills toward the back of the store. Racks pretty empty but think as other said it was Apple, Amazon and a restaurant type one

        • I think I was looking in the wrong one! (couldn’t find them in the one on the corner of Fenchurch and Mark Lane, but found them in the one at Fenchurch Street station, thank you). They had £50 amazon. Also some topshop, asos,itunes and the restaurant one.

    • Yes – quite hard to find and varying selection. The ones I found were near the batteries if that helps!

    • Peter K says:

      Hard to find (almost hidden) but two local stores to me have them. Very limited, mostly Apple, Amazon and some eating out ones.

    • Zana711 says:

      I got mine at the Charing Road Cross branch of Superdrug (2 mins walk from Tottenham Court Road station). The stand of gift cards is hidden away in the back end of the store where the cold & flu medication is. Got a good selection including Amazon, iTunes etc. I only bought 2 X £25 Amazon to trigger the promotion.

    • My local superdrug have no idea how to activate them, so given up with this offer.

    • Yes, best to ask a store assistant as I found the rack tucked away at the back of the store.

    • Rob Walker says:

      Bought Next vouchers with the Superdrug, Wiko and WH Smith offers. Used my Amex cards and hers and was able to pay off ‘our’ Next Directory bill.

      Incidentally Next Directory credit accounts are payable with Amex. Always strikes me as strange that they let you pay what is effectively a credit card with another credit card.

    • They only sell £25 and £50 Amazon gc, so bought 5x£40 Superdrug gift cards, then used Superdrug gift cards to buy 4x£50 Amazon gift cards.

  2. O/T Amex Plat benefits – I’ve managed to upgrade my hotel accounts by giving my existing details, but car rental is proving difficult.

    Only option is to register for a new account at Hertz and Avis. Amex on phone can’t help, only email India to ‘see if they’ll allow an offline registration’

    Any suggestions?

    • Charlieface says:

      For Hertz try just adding the Amex Plat CDP to your account and waiting a couple weeks, that usually works.
      For Avis, not sure, a direct email to Avis may help. At worst you can status match from Hertz.

    • RakishDriver says:

      For Avis, email them at [email protected] and tell them you are a amex platinum card holder – I didn’t have to give my card details as already saved in my account.

      And then request a tier upgrade – I got elevated to President’s club , status match with sixt. I suspect also down to the amount of custom Avis have been getting from me.

    • Thanks both.

      Oddly my Hertz account has shown Five Star for a while. I thought it was from rentals last year, but possibly it’s because I have the Amex CDP still in there from last time I had the Plat. Surely it needs more than that though? Anyone can put the CDP in their profile. I was never asked for to show the card even when I had it.

    • I already had a Hertz account so I called the (UK in my case) customer helpline. I ignored all the numbered options and pressed “0” hoping for for an unlisted operator option in the phone tree. It worked.

      I then pressed “1” for “a new case”, whatever that was, and got through to an operator.

      I explained I had a Plat card and should be at Five Star tier. She changed it as we spoke. Didn’t ask for my card number or CDP or anything. (Although I had already entered my Plat number in their system.)

      • I’ve just been through this myself. I ended up creating a new Hertz account via the amex Platinum link. I then emailed customer services ([email protected]) and they closed my old account and migrated my existing points over to the new one. Took about 3 days

    • Don’t forget, Priority Pass gives you Avis Preferred Plus… So, better to email them with your PP number and request upgrade than simply go for Preferred via the Plat…

  3. O/T

    Referred family for Amex Plat – so they should get 35000 bonus on £2k spend – the spend threshold was reached last week, but only the regular (non-referral) bonus 30000 was applied

    should the extra 5000 be applied at the same time, or is there usually a delay?

  4. BA adding Ljubljana (reviewed here?) and Montpelier for next summer. Flights apparently loaded though I haven’t checked for an avios flush.

    • Sussex Bantam says:

      Ljubljana is lovely – I got quite excited until I read that it was only mid July to end Aug…

    • just back from Ljubljana last Sunday. Shame BA won’t fly during December – the xmas market and lights were really great. Sure it’s a fab place to visit any time of the year but my wife and I had a really good time last weekend. Easyjet flights ok, and the intercontinental with the ambassador voucher was a lovely treat, and the main reason we chose the destination.

    • Thank you very much.

      Montpellier timetable doesn’t seem to be available yet but apparently 4 days a week instead of the 2 days a week last time they tried this route. Fingers crossed the route stays this time.

  5. O/T Anyone having issues transferring Amex MR points to Krisflyer. I have been trying this morning and just now and no luck.

  6. Jill (Kinkell) says:

    O/T. Am looking to book a couple of nights in Atlanta next year. I have IHG points, Marriott points (110k) and various hotel statuses via Amex plat. Any recommendations for somewhere nice to finish off a road trip before flying home?

    • Depends on the route your going, but Chattanooga is nice (esp the views from Lookout Mountain – Cafe on the Corner does some great food). Heading from there into Atlanta the suburb of Roswell (different to the aliens one!) is pretty nice – Roswell Provisions on Canton Street is also a good choice.

      • Quite a drive (2hrs+ without traffic) though. But yes, nice place to stay and lots of options.

        Some v nice hotels in Buckhead – stayed at the IC last time and mostly good bar a room service disaster and terrible after service

        • As I say depends on the route you’re taking to Atlanta 🙂 We were on a big loop from Charleston to Nashville to Memphis then back to Atlanta so less of a detour!

        • I mostly meant for if the night before flying back part was important (ie 7am flight!)

          If it can be fitted in Chattanooga is my recommendation too – I stayed at the Hampton in lookout mountain, cheap and nice (and happily moved my non changeable reservation that I booked for the wrong month)

        • Ah, got you – we were a 10pm flight so actively looking for things to do during the day 🙂 Stayed in a suite at the HI Chattanooga, decent price. Tourist info in the city there were pretty useless though, just said ‘errmm, there’s an aquarium'(!) – thankfully we found the lovely art district, had a nice walk and coffee then walked across the bridge!

    • Jill (Kinkell) says:

      Thanks all. Will look into it. We are driving Washington to Atlanta, but haven’t finalused our itinerary.we thought a couple of nights in Atlanta, but may well reduce to one given Flight back is late evening ( F with 241) sounds as if I need to factor in a route that includes Chattanooga .we have plenty of time to tour about.

      • Ah, enjoy – we were on the same flight timing (and in F using Avios+241 too!). BTW just to forewarn you, Atlanta airport is massive, with 2×6-lane freeways heading into it. Then takes an age to get a bus from car hire drop-off to the international terminal. No premium security and pre-check (if you get it) closes early so can take a while to get through. Therefore want to arrive with plenty of time – downside is the contract lounge that BA use is heaving, even though they keep a separate area for certain airline passengers. Don’t expect much by way of food pre-flight there.

    • Buckhead is usually the best. Avoid downtown

    • We just booked the HIX Downtown. We flew in to Atlanta and didn’t hire our car till we were leaving Atlanta. That hotel is within walking distance to CNN, Coca Cola, Olympic Park etc. Tram right outside takes you out the Martin Luther King places. We booked 3 nights. One for the first night/travel day and 2 full days is plenty to see everything.

  7. @ Rob – Any Taxi discount codes from non-UK airports ? Remember you had some earlier this year which was very useful.

  8. Has anyone received their points yet from Marriott following their 29 ways to stay? I still haven’t had any!

    • My wife’s account received one days win of 50 points over two weeks ago but nothing since, she won 2k.

    • If you’re referring to the game, then none for us. If you’re referring to the extra 2000 points for staying at a new brand, then yes.

  9. Shoestring says:

    O/T check your BAEC a/c for the extra 1224 points from Tesco conversion if you took advantage of the +20% bonus a few weeks ago – extra points starting to get awarded.

  10. Shoestring says:

    Raffles: [50% avios sale for return flights from MAD to BOS, JFK, ORD @ Iberia for existing members]

    Could be more destinations than that, of course

  11. How long does it take Amex to add Marriott as a transfer partner. I added it this morning but it still shows as pending

  12. OT; I have asked before but i lost track of where the comment was…Can we track old comments?

    Looking to book 241 return flights to BKK – Which is the best overseas BA office to call and what number? Lots of info on other sites but it is all out of date and the website link no longer works which Rob did an article on.

    Many thanks

  13. OT Am I the only one who wants to use the Amex Shop Small Offer who is regularly told that the shop doesn’t accept Amex when they should do? Often there is a massive Amex Shop Small sticker on the window and the place is listed on the Amex website…

    It happened to me again today. It drives me up the wall. I don’t mind them not taking Amex but they should not have an Amex Shop Small sticker on their door if they don’t. It’s false advertising. Is there a way of reporting this to Amex?

    • I have found turning the card face down and touching it to terminal to be effective in many of these cases. Best not to ask!

  14. Does anyone know if the Marriott Spend is all in one transaction or if it can be split across multiple transactions?

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