Bits: 50% ‘buy Avios’ bonus, warning for BA GGL or GUF holders, triple Accor points on one stay

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News in brief:

50% ‘buy Avios’ bonus via Iberia Plus

Iberia is currently offering a 50% bonus when you buy 2,000+ Avios before 31st December.  These will drop into an Iberia Plus account, but can be moved to British Airways via ‘Combine My Avios’.

(Remember that you cannot use ‘Combine My Avios’ with Iberia if your Iberia account is under 90 days old.)

Here are the prices.  You MUST log in to see the bonus.

The maximum purchase is 200,000 Avios with a 100,000 Avios bonus for €3,601!  This works out, in Sterling, at 1.06p per Avios.  I am not a buyer at this level but your circumstances may be different.  It doesn’t get a lot more expensive per point for smaller quantities.

The Groupon Spain deal is also still running  – click here.  Avios sells its points very cheaply via Groupon Spain as long as you credit them to Iberia Plus.

The Groupon deal is better value in most cases, although messier because you need to wait for Groupon to send your codes which you deposit into your account.  Use ‘Translate’ in your browser to see how it works.  Full details of the deal are here.

Warning for GGL / GUF / GUF2 holders

(This next paragraph will be very confusing if you are not a British Airways Gold Guest List member.  If you’re not, just scroll down!)

(EDIT: The emailed version of this bit was a mess – I have clarified the text below.)

If you a high level member of the Executive Club you may, depending on your tier points, receive a ‘Gold Upgrade’ or ‘Gold Upgrade for Two’ voucher, generally known as a GUF1 / GUF2.  This lets you upgrade a cash or Avios British Airways ticket by one class.

Most GUF holders think that you need Avios availability in the higher class to use the voucher.  This is NOT true if you are upgrading a cash ticket.

What IS true is that, if you try to use your GUF on a cash ticket via, there MUST be Avios availability in the higher class.  However if you book via a travel agent then this is NOT the case.   Your GUF upgrade can be processed as long as CASH tickets are still available in the higher class in the cheaper ticket buckets.

You can find out more on this travel agent website here which is one of the few agencies who actually know how to process a GUF.

If you want to upgrade a cash-bought Club World ticket to First Class, you need an ‘A’ class ticket available in First.  These are the cheap(er) non-refundable ones.

Now we get to the point …..

From 10th December, British Airways is withdrawing ‘A’ class availability on Dubai and Boston.  Only ‘F’ bucket First Class seats will be sold on those routes.  This is part of “a trial of new inventory buckets” – you can read more about it here.

It is likely that a travel agent will NOT be able to book a GUF into a cash bucket for Boston or Dubai after close of play on December 9th.  If you had been planning to use your GUF to travel in First on either of these routes you may want to move quickly.  Abu Dhabi remains a nearby alternative for Dubai of course.

This will also impact the ‘joker’ reward space opened up for Gold Guest List members since that also requires First Class to be showing ‘A’ bucket availability.

Triple Accor points

Bonus Accor points on your next stay

Accor (Novotel, Mercure, Ibis, Sofitel etc) has launched a new promotion offering bonus points on your next stay.

You need to register via this page of the Accor website.  Once you’ve done that, you will earn:

double base points on your next stay if booked via the website, or

triple base points on your next stay if booked via the Accor app

as long as ….

You book between 3rd December and 31st December

You stay between 3rd December and 22nd March (no minimum stay requirement)

Your hotel is in the UK or Europe, excluding Sweden

You can find out more here.

I would be surprised if this doubles up with the current ‘triple Avios on your next Accor stay before 31st December’ offer that we wrote about here, but it does no harm to register for this new one too just in case.

(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.)

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  1. how is the news about the GUF2 voucher related to gold guest list? are their GUF2 vouchers different to the GUF2 voucher handed out at 2500 tier points to gold members (GGL has requirement of 5000 tier points). Certainly when I got a GUF2 voucher I was not GGL.
    BA themselves have quite detailed instructions about the GUF2 voucher here:
    and that’s where the A class is mentioned, but nothing about GGL in the rules. I think the GGL part is incorrect in this story, you only have to be gold to get a GUF2 voucher, not GGL.

  2. Correct Riku, got a GUF2 and I have never been GGL …

  3. There is no mention of GUF1s which will have the same issue.

  4. Delbert says:

    Any recommendations for a good Accor hotel in London? Room rate’s not an issue.

    • I liked the new Novotel in Canary Wharf

    • Sofitel St James is my preference but also the Savoy if the rate is really not an issue.

      • Definitely the Savoy,for any number of reasons, not the least of which is the ability to stagger back to your room from the American bar in a couple of short minutes!

      • +1, was my first choice when I still had to go to London (on expenses) after moving to Edinburgh. Never did get a room with a bath though, it was all large showers. In that price range I really expect a separate bath and shower.

    • 1nfrequent says:

      Depending on where you need to be, the Pullman at King’s Cross has always been good to me – status recognition if you have it and the location is great for the Tube.

      Sofitel St James is also a good property with a good on site restaurant.


      • Anika did a Pullman night this year before an early morning Eurostar and hated it.

        • I didn’t think much of it either; unless you enjoy the ambiance of an office block.

        • Interesting – why? I stayed there a few weeks ago and was pretty impressed. Gold with Accor and as no upgrade they said everything in the minibar was free. Superb breakfast spread. Also given a voucher (worth up to about £12 IIRC) for a drink at the bar, had a nice cocktail.

    • Lady London says:

      Sofitel Heathrow
      Some people like the Sofitel in St James’s Square

      • Lady London says:

        And, now that someone’s reminded me Accor had hoovered up Fairmont/The Savoy/Claridges etc., probably The Berkeley in Knightsbridge. I am sure they would have maintained their high standards.

  5. You can upgrade Avios tickets with a GUF (albeit this article does not apply as you need reward inventory in the upgraded class)

  6. I might finally take the plunge and open an Iberia account this week! Realistically, I won’t be able to make any IB bookings for another couple of years, but as long as I keep collecting points during this time I’m assuming they won’t expire (planning a retirement trip to South America so probably won’t transfer them to BA)? Also, how much better is the Groupon deal and can you use it with a newly opened IB account?

    • Shoestring says:

      Easy to keep IB points alive with a 1000 point MR transfer once a year (in the absence of other easy wins).

      They are a bit over-mean about cancelling points so worth diarising.

  7. There’s also vente privee deal. However, the prices of 2000 Avios packages have gone up to 25€. You can purchase up to 3 x 2k packages. Not sure what on earth they were thinking when pricing as now it costs less to buy two 2k packages than 4k package which costs 59€.

    • Shoestring says:

      @meta – they always do that, small giveaway/ advantageous price just to get people to participate, make them think they grabbed a smart price.

      • But up until this round it was 19€ for 2k and 59€ for 4k.

        • There was a 2000 Avios option but it went during the day yesterday so I had to rework the article.

        • Lady London says:

          That’s why I left it. it’s only the base valuation I have for avios anyway. At best, at all price levels they were offering.

          Plus I’m very worried about how British Airways may be intending to devalue the Avios program which must be imminent. So I don’t want to invest in it.

    • This offer probably wouldn’t trigger on € spend as it says billed in GBP only. Would you like to try one for the team? 😉

    • Has anyone been able to verify the Vente-Privée offer works on the Avios bought via the French website?

  8. Pardon my ignorance but does this mean the end of lower cost First seats to DXB and BOS then?

    • Sounds like it. A class is discounted; fares to east coast USA are around £3-5k depending on how far in advance you book but can go to <£2k in sales. F is full fare flexible which is 6-10k.

    • No, they can control pricing in F class using other ‘levers’, such as fare restrictions and apex rules. This is part of a wider plan to rebuild the fare ladder to allow more price points at the bottom through direct and NDC, but which required additional letters to be repurposed.
      It’s a ‘trial’ so won’t all work immediately, but they’ll presumably learn which bits do and don’t. I suspect a nice fallout will be increased Z class availability for redemptions, particularly when GUF/joker holders start complaining.
      In addition, remember that the stated aim for F is to reduce to 8 seats on lots of aircraft and 0 on lots more, so having 3 letters just for F won’t be as relevant in that world.

      • Interesting – appreciate there are different fares within the headline classes but thus far, every time I have looked the A class has been substantially cheaper than F. If F will have a wider spread of fares than at present, should we expect this not to affect cash fares?

        May also be good for earning, as A earns 250% of base miles and F 300% – so this could actually be a good thing.

  9. Shoestring says:

    Personally I think 300,000 Avios @1.07p/ point is a steal and very much a non-brainer if you don’t have much of a stash. It allows you to grab reward flights @T-355, for example – especially good if you are forced by kids to travel peak, eg school hols.

    Whilst it’s obviously silly to check the value of your reward flights closer to departure date, it’s also great fun. So our 4 Xmas/ New Year flights are now pricing up at £3300 return, that works out at (£3300 -£140 RFS)/60000 = 5.27p/ point of value 🙂

    None of the hassle of collecting points in dribs & drabs, you just make a simple clean payment – and whammo! you’ve got 300,000 Avios sitting in your account.

    • +1 to all of that!

    • All depends where you are going. It would be nonsense for Asia and even USA given cash fares in past three years. zig flexibility is required that could clinch it in these markets too though.

      • Cash Business fares have been good, cash F much less so. But cash J + ~30-40k Avios + Avios availability = extremely good value for F. Plus you earn TPs and Avios on the underlying cash fare….

    • @harry not necessarily a no brainer, not everyone has £3000 lying around, or you’d lose out on interest earnings on that cash.

    • Lady London says:

      I looked at that and the numbers still didn’t really work for me. Cash fares where I would use them equated exactly to the cost of the avios at all price levels. There was no upside to having these extra avios on any route I would conceivably book them for.

      Plus there is my huge worry and suspicion about the potentially evil plans of British Airways that are as yet unannounced, that could kill the Avios programme entirely for me. It’s just not worth the risk for me till we know more about the upcoming changes.

      The only thing I didn’t think about was whether I would use Upgrade with Avios on any of my routes. Which I would agree is a marvellous use of Avios if you’re already buying up a bit on the cash fare so that you can take advantage of that. For others a sure good use though.

  10. Hugely O/T

    Looking at Eurostar plus onward travel in France via The Eurostar prices are the same when booked separately, but booking the SNCF separately results in about a 60 euro uplift.

    Do you receive any sort of FT points for booking direct with Eurostar / is it worth it? (obviously not in this case)

    • No, only Club Eurostar points.

    • @Dave Booking direct with Eurostar is worthwhile because generally you get Club points on the whole value of the whole booking – including TGV, Thalys and similar connecting trains. The additional points are also qualifying for status, which can be useful for getting or retaining Carte Blanche.

      I say ‘generally’ because some uncommon fares, whilst sold together by Eurostar are technically split tickets, so the connecting train doesn’t qualify for points. In practice this has never happened to me and I’m not sure if their IT can track them anyway!

    • Lady London says:

      I think it varies according to where you are going and in which direction.

      Linking any other train journey with Eurostar has always worked out for expensive for me. In both directions. I always end up booking the Eurostar separately. That does lose you protection in case of train irrops though.

  11. Using the my last GUV2 next month, can’t see me getting another anytime soon but quite a devaluation if this spreads, I’ve used it for A class to/from Sydney!

  12. Frankie says:

    OT but it is Bits. I’m flying one way London to Brisbane on Boxing Day Emirates economy. I’ve had an email offer to upgrade to business from Dubai to Brisbane leg (14 hours) for £746. Plane is 777-300ER and the seat is the lie angled flat seat. I’ve never been on a lie angle seats so wondering if anyone has any insight on the seat or thoughts on whether the upgrade is worth it as I am tempted. I can only find Emirates A380 biz reviews on here in fully flat non angled seats. Thanks in advance for any replies.

    • I think BNE gets the new 77W biz layout.

      2 x 3 x 2 arrangement.

    • I have flown both the old and new angled seats and whilst the hard product isnt fantastic, the soft product makes up for it. The complementary chauffeur drive from Brisbane is worth factoring in if it saves you a taxi fare. Dont forget to pay on Amex Gold if you have it, to earn 2x points on airline spend.

    • Also factor in any extra miles you’ll earn, assuming that you will get them for the higher class. If not then £746 sounds a bit steep for 1 leg.

    • Lady London says:

      What was the fare you originally paid for your current travel class?
      Gut feeling is it’s a bit on the steep side. I might have thought about it for £400-500 or so though.

      • Hello. I paid £800 for the economy fare one way. The email offering the upgrade says no extra miles (from original ticket) and no lounge access and no extra luggage and no chauffeur. So just the cabin upgrade

  13. OT ish. Trying to open an IB plus account but it won’t accept my passport number and keeps telling me to contact the service centre. Anyone else had this issue?

    • Cancel – I’ve now got an email welcoming me to Iberia Plus, even though all I got on the website was the message saying there was a problem with my passport number!

      • Welcome to the Iberia website!

        • Shoestring says:

          Yep wait until you want to actually use Plustore of heaven forbid book a reward flight 🙂

          IB website is generally acknowledged to be a complete PITA.

        • Lady London says:

          PITA level of the Iberia website is only exceded by the PITA level of a great many of their telephone agents. A few are wonderful but the great majority seem unskilled and not customer friendly.

    • Yes I’m starting to get that! It’s now saying I can’t buy avios under the promotion, do you have to have had an account for a certain amount of time to be able to do this? Would it also affect any I bought via Groupon?

      • Peter K says:

        Needs to be open for 90 days AND have had at least 1avios of activity to purchase avios from Iberia *direct*.

        Buying avios from Groupon and putting it in your Iberia account is allowed during the initial 90 day period and counts as the activity you need (but you still need to wait for 90 days to buy direct from Iberia or transfer into/out of Iberia via combine my avios).

        • Thanks – needless to say it would have been helpful to get that message from Iberia! (However, I am half Spanish and am quite used to the monolithic bureaucracy and lack of clarity in many areas of operation!)

      • I can help with the second question at least. It won’t affect Groupon. I set up an Iberia Plus account just for that deal, bought a voucher the same day and the avios from Groupon posted within a couple of days.

      • I think you need to earn at least 1 Avios before you are able to buy.

      • Lady London says:

        And for the thing you’re thinking of Anna if you start with Plusstore it can add a bit to what you receive apparently

  14. If, as seems likely, this ‘enhancement’ is eventually rolled out to all destinations, it will mean that GUFs will not be able to be used to upgrade from Business to First. I would imagine that currently a significant proportion of GUFs is currently used for just this purpose, so if this does come to pass, it would represent a serious devaluation of GUFs to BAEC’s theoretically most valuable members. It’s the jokers that keep me motivated to remain GGL. If they will no longer work on upgrades from Business to First, then I shall probably give up the struggle

    • it is not just those with the GUF voucher. first class round the world tickets and the like book into A class, so unless something is done about that, those routes would not be available to people using those kind of tickets.

    • Jokers really are the appeal of GGL for me too.

      I wonder if this means an end to First class avios to Boston/Dubai?

      Unless of course they do away with A and then make F available for GUF/Joker redemption, that would be great if that were the case. (I can’t be sure but that might have been a pig flying outside of the window just now)

      • Lady London says:

        Was the flying pig that you just saw, pink? In which case I think I might have seen that flying pig too! 🙂

  15. “In First Class –BA is increasing the number of inventory buckets from five to six on BOS, which are available through all booking channels”

    What ARE they talking about here? Since when did First have FIVE inventory buckets?

    Rob, why are you saying they’re reducing the number of buckets when the linked doc at seems to be saying the exact opposite?

  16. I’m also confused by this statement in the linked doc:

    We will be maintaining semi-flex fares which will maintain the A-class fare basis code but will
    now be bookable in F (the only remaining RBD in First). The availability of these fares will depend on
    the availability in the Club World cabin, as will some of the new Fully Flexible fares which will have
    an F- Fare Basis Code. You will be able to continue to use existing Branded Fares entries to
    differentiate between these two products.

    So an F fare code could mean a restricted First ticket or a fully-flexible one, and you’ll have to check the booking conditions to be sure?

    And how is that related to Club World availability?


    • >> So an F fare code could mean a restricted First ticket or a fully-flexible one, and you’ll have to check the booking conditions to be sure?

      Some marketing genius has probably told BA’s management that being restricted to 26 fare buckets, one for each letter in the alphabet, isn’t nearly enough.

      Far better to fiddle with fare buckets than actually spend money fixing flaws in BA’s product.

      • Clearly:

        In World Traveller – for those booking through BA’s direct channels or an NDC enabled
        connection, BA is increasing the number of inventory buckets from eleven to twenty-five.
        Nine of these inventory buckets remain available for booking through all channels.

        TWENTY FIVE in WT alone…

        I note there’s 12 WT buckets (YBHKLMNSVQOG) in terms of alphabet codes, so I still don’t understand, but then I’m not a travel agent.

  17. OT – Amex Offer on my Platinum – 10% off at TFL
    Save to Card to get a 10% statement credit on pay as you go contactless payments made at TfL stations by 14/01/2019
    Offer only available to the first 60,000 Cardmembers who save the offer to their Card.

    • Rob Walker says:

      Yeah just saw that. Seems like an excellent deal. Just a shame I’m not London based and rarely visit!

    • Don’t have this, which is a shame since I do contactless from zone 9-1 every day!

  18. Rob Walker says:

    OT: I was once told that the payment due date on AMEX charge cards is somewhat ‘flexible’, and that as long as you make payment before your next statement is generated, nothing bad will happen.

    Does anyone have recent experience of doing this? I was actually told this by AMEX customer services, but as I was actually calling to ask about the direct debit on my SPG *credit* card, I didn’t have much confidence in him!

    • Voltron says:

      My “due” date is always 13/14 days after the plat charge statement, seems very short timeline compared to other providers

      • Rob Walker says:

        Yes, it’s always a much shorter period than even their own credit cards.

        • Maybe it’s similar to the direct debit date they use for their credit cards which I think is 2 weeks before the final due date. Suppose it comes in handy if the payment is rejected for any reason as you have time to rectify it without incurring any charges

    • Lady London says:

      Personally I wouldn’t do anything that could show up as a missed payment on an Amex charge card. It’s just not worth the risk if this type of “unpublicised” policy changes or gets audited.

  19. If my Iberia balance is currently negative due to the promotional Avios I transferred to BA will I be able to transfer anything I buy in this promo?

    • It might just reduce your negative balance, why not buy the smallest amount first and see what happens?

    • Peter K says:

      I once had a negative balance in my account (about -100 IIRC). I could not use combine my avios (I tried to move points into the account to make it positive) until I had earned avios to make the amount a positive figure again via an outside source (eg Tesco transfer).

    • Lady London says:

      I am quite certain Iberia will swallow whatever Avios you put in there, up until the balance is positive again.

  20. OT but bits. I have 2200 accor points expiring at the start of January and no plans to use them. Are there any cheap ways to keep those points alive? I see their e-rewards programme gives 250 points with the first completed survey, but would they post in time to keep my balance alive?

    • Forgot e-rewards is invitation only, so that option is out.

    • Cheap europcar? Use them?

    • They have their own opinion panel thing “Club opinions” It gives you points for completing surveys. It also extends the expiry date of your points. Given the small number fo points you earn from doing their surveys, the expiry extension is the most useful part of the whole thing.

      • Totally agree – the number points they award is a pittance, esp given how long the surveys can take (or how often they screen you out half way through) but resetting expiry is definitely handy!

    • Peter K says:

      Not sure if it still works (I never did manage to get it to work first time round) but you used to be able to turn small amounts of Accor points into avios at Iberia.

      • Shoestring says:

        The auto convert trick of *any* amount of Accor points to IB Avios is still going strong, you need to be prepared to mess around a little to get it working, though

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