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. OT Small Shop question – if the same Shop appears in two different towns can you use the same card in both shops and get both credits. They weren’t both listed last year but this year they are. It’s wines and spirits so would be good to get it in both as we can’t use the Magestic Wine offer up here over the border!

    • Liz. Yes. And to answer my own question from the other day, if a participating SS retailer has multiple branches but a branch is not shown on the map (through the map view of searching for the retailer name) you could still get the credit. Tested this out on Wednesday and received the email even though the branch I went to is not on the map at all, but other locations (including the city centre location) are.
      Good to hear -makes up for the Majestic loss!

      • Great Ewan thanks. Tried one shop in Cupar today and will try again in St Andrews next week!

        • Ewan/Liz, have you found any good chocolate shops? The usual suspects in Edinburgh do not appear to be on the map this year.

        • James, Coco still appears on the map. I will head there next week! Is that what you are referring to?? Not too far to some branches of Margiotta (mentioned in previous days by others), Vino and other off licenses – also good places for lunch / dinner!

        • Yes, thanks Ewan, I have no idea what I am doing with the map, even when directly searching Coco it didn’t come up. I have not started this year yet do I better get a move on.

        • The map is useless. I sat one night a few weeks ago and wrote out all the local towns and shops that we could visit over this 2 wks. I wrote down a fish shop in Arbroath. Went to the shop today and spent £30 and agreed to pay over 3 cards but it wouldn’t go through. Checked the map again when I got home and it’s not there now. It was definitely there a few weeks ago. Had to use my IHG card instead. Managed to use it in the Nickel and Dime for some bits and pieces today. It also didn’t appear again when I put in Arbroath but did when I put in Nickel and Dime. Strange things happening with the map.

          Not found any specific chocolate shops. Trying not to buy any! There was some chocolates in Luthvians in Cupar today which is a wine merchant but has a deli section as well. Lovely shop!

        • Yes, it is the map that has discouraged me from even trying so far this year, and experiences like yours don’t help either. I will try Coco to stock up on Colombian chocolate, Margiotta and Dusit Thai. I don’t fancy chasing a whole load of missing transactions so I’ll not be overdoing it. Good luck with your tea and sail, it was rough out there today 🙂

        • Indeed – I’ve just done a couple of Margiotta so far this year! Have done well with other Amex Offers though – am loving Morrison’s being on every purchase, planning quite a few more!!

        • My experience has been ok so far except the one shop today. Done 22 transactions and only 4 I’ve not had emails for. Other Amex offers have all posted so far too.

        • Ah, that sounds more encouraging Liz.

  2. OT, Does anyone know how this will work:
    Booked flights today for me and my father on a BA 241 to Bangkok.
    I wanted to book this for me and my wife but we were recently married and I need to change the name. BA are doing this for me but the name change will take time.
    I will call up to change the name on the 241 once this has been done and pay the £35 fee but was there a better way of doing this?
    BA wouldn’t book the flights while I was awaiting the change of surname?

    • Is she getting a new passport? i went away when married still on my maiden name

    • Could you just create her as a “new person” on your friends and family list?

      As long as the name on the passport matches the name on the ticket when she flies, there is no problem.

      NB if you weren’t aware you can cancel a ticket for free within 24 hrs of booking BUT award seats may not be available any more.

    • If the 2 4 1 is being used for you and your father, why do you need to change the name on that?

      If you mean you’ve booked a separate ticket for your wife, I’m not sure name changes fall within the £35 change policy.

      • Sorry iv maybe not made myself clear. Its me and my wife that are going but I have booked the other ticket for my father until I get the name changed. (means the seat is secured and I don’t miss out)
        I hope I don’t have to pay £70 for cancelling both names and rebooking?

        • Shoestring says:

          Just out of interest, no criticism intended, why have you done it this way, GRIMZ? You could just have booked using your wife’s maiden name. Her name doesn’t somehow change (legally) because she got married to you. As far as anybody else is concerned, she might now be Mrs Grimz but legally she’s both Ms Maiden Name *AND* Mrs Grimz & I guess her passport is still Ms Maiden Name unless you feel like wasting money on a new unnecessary passport.

        • I thought that I had read that it was not possible to change the name on an airline ticket. Hope I was misinformed.

        • You can’t change the name. If you could, people would buy up cheap flights 11 months in advance and resell them 1 month in advance in order to pocket a massive profit.

        • You can make minor changes with some airlines, if, for example, you spelled the name wrong on the booking (don’t laugh, my OH has actually done this!). Delta wanted £65 to amend one letter in my middle name so we just risked it and it was fine. But Rob is right, you can’t effectively change the person travelling. You’d have to cancel the whole booking, hope the seats reappear and re-book. And I think it will be £70 to cancel for 2 of you unless you do it within 24 hours.

        • The thing to do would book your wife under maiden name and if she did get a new passport then change her name!
          Hopefully you are within 24 hrs?

        • Shoestring says:

          My wife has never bothered to change anything to be Mrs Shoestring on paper, she has just kept her maiden name for absolutely everything, work, passport, bank, bills, house deeds etc.

          Far easier that way, she says – & it’s certainly never remotely bothered me.

          I think she has 1 email address she uses with ‘my’ surname on – but that was probably just because she needed another name/ alias to remember & not confuse with her maiden name email addresses.

        • Shoestring, that’s exactly like me. I hope you take advantage of her dual identity…

  3. BlueHorizonuk says:

    Amazon and Amex offer has been extended to 31/12/18

    Code is AMEX25OFFSWP

    • Thank you! Couldn’t get it to work last time but have now. A good use of 2 points.

      • BlueHorizonuk says:

        What did you get, it seems very hit and miss as to what it works on. Worst Amazon promo ever.

    • Can’t remember, was this a targeted offer?

    • Worked for me but you have to do the payment page in a specific order for it to work. When I first did it, the code said not valid for the purchase but then I added the Amex card first as payment option then did the code and it was fine.

    • RakishDriver says:

      Thanks, thought it was targeted, but worked.
      I did mess up subsequently by selecting the giftcard credit – immediately nuked the £25 saving.
      Had to cancel the order and reorder.

  4. I’m about 3 weeks away from my Iberia account being 90 days old. Can I buy the Avios now, wait for the 3 weeks and then transfer to my BA account?

    • Shoestring says:


      • Shoestring says:

        ly not (sorry pressed send!)

        You can try buying the Avios but not sure it lets you until a/c 90 days old & you’ve earned more than 1 Avios

    • As far as I can gather, you can buy the Groupon avios (it’s easier than I thought it would be after setting up my Iberia and Spanish Groupon accounts, let’s just hope they post now!), but not the Iberia bonus avios.

  5. OT: Any bonus to refer or join BAEC?

  6. HILARY HUGHES says:

    O/T Virgin Atlantic Credit Card sign up bonus might not be what you think it will be, at least it is not for me. I have had confirmation from them that I’ll get 5000 Bonus Miles with purchase made in first 90 days and 2000 miles for 3 months for £500 retail spend per month. This is neither what was advertised by VA on the date I applied nor what is being shown on this site.

  7. O/T word of warning regarding shop small. Just on the phone to Amex chasing why a credit hadn’t been applied (they are generally A LOT slower than last year) and was told that a shop that appeared on the map wasn’t included. Now escalating as a complaint as this whole offer is undermined if you don’t know if the credit will apply or not!

    • Agreed – if they are on the map as a participating retailer then Amex should honour it. Surely false advertising if they do not give you a goodwill credit equal to what you should have received. And there should be a feedback loop in Amex to update the map or at least remove the retailer pending verification.

      • Sussex bantam says:

        That’s just daft. Amex promoted the offer, the map is on their website and the retailer took your card. How are you supposed to know it’s not included ??

        • Shoestring says:

          More a case of the customer service staff being extremely unhelpful these days, in terms of not being willing to credit the Shop Small £5 when it doesn’t get triggered by buying something over £10 at a shop on the Amex map.

          I think they’re actually breaking consumer law – offering an inducement to purchase then not honouring their side of the deal.

        • Sussex Bantam says:

          It is essentially a breach of contract I’d guess. You fulfilled your side of the bargain – they now have to fulfill theirs.

          Whether you can be bothered to sue them for £5 is a different question of course..

        • How about referring them to the Advertising Standards Authority?

  8. OT: has anyone been charged paying finance like transaction with curve linked to HH visa recently? I heard in comments that virgin are now charging. Is this right?

  9. Sorry but another OT. Little while back there was a hotel mentioned in the Maldives which seemed to have HFPers stamp of approval. I’ve had a look through the comments and blown if I can find it. Any one remember the name? Cheers!

    • Conrad Maldives, seems to get a lot of oxygen on this site for some reason?

    • There are two that spring to mind.
      Conrad and st Regis.
      Conrad gets more attention because the Hilton gold through amex platinum gets you breakfast and afternoon tea. The overall feeling is that the island itself is fantastic but the accommodation is now ageing.
      St Regis is newer but only Marriott platinum elite get free breakfast, and food looks expensive. But if you book before the end of this year, it’s available at 60k points per night if you can find availability. I think it goes up to 80k if you book in January.

      If you are paying with points, you can get 5 nights for 4 with both of them.

      triprep has done a great review of Conrad -if you Google I’m sure you will find.

      Depending on when you are intending to go, Hilton have a new Waldorf Astoria opening early next year, as well as a Curio collection that looks a little too commercial to me. Marriott have the Westin which opened a few weeks ago.

    • Thanks for your assistance everyone.

  10. Lady London says:

    Re Accor you won’t get any bonus or points on a booking if you pay for all or even part of it using your Accor points.

    for some time now Accor will only give you one bonus or points offer at a time, on the same booking. If you have multiple extra point offers you have signed up for or qualified for on the same booking, Accor say they will only credit you whichever one of them would give you the highest number of points. So far as I’m aware that’s all they have been doing for some time now.

    Best to know upfront because Accor’s customer service doesn’t ever seem to resolve anything….

    • On my recent stay, part payed with points, I have received points for the cash part.

      • Lady London says:

        good news. you might have got points for the cash part but for sure in the terms and conditions of every offer I’ve seen you won’t get any bonus points or special offers on any part of the booking if even part pay with points.

        • Indeed, the past year or two if you part-pay with points you won’t earn any bonus points. Inconvenient for all those 3 x 2 night stays = 10,000 bonus points offers.

        • Ah yes, that is true.

  11. Aleks Nicole says:

    O/T but is anyone aware of any reward schemes that you can redeem against nights at the Shangri-La? I collect Virgin Miles/Avios and a number of others, but the only redemption I can find is on Kaligo which excludes the one hotel I’m searching for which is Shangri-La London!

  12. TonTonT3 says:


    Silly question – anyone know how to track number of Amex referrals you’ve made? I have a Plat and I’m not sure if I’ve referred 5 of the 5 slots I have. The rewards points statement only goes back 3 or 6 months but I’ve had the card longer.

    Wouldn’t want to miss out on getting the points…



    • Shoestring says:

      I guess you could explore your MR points earning history and count up the +18,000 incidents this year.

    • Download the pdf statements – they go back much further. At end of those is a summary of MR points earned that period. Can easily see how many you have used up.

  13. John McLeod says:

    OT Contrition – backed up by donations to charities – from IAG, following claim that EI staff were robbing the company en masse.

  14. Appreciate some advice when making first ever avios redemption!

    Looking to book return business/first to Florida for Disney during Christmas period 2019. Looking at going during off peak period In early December. Got my notifications set up on redemption finder. Happy to do open jaw to any of the 4 Florida airports. Got BA 241 and Lloyd’s upgrade. Flying Me, wife, 4yr old, and baby (due in Jan 19). How do I go about booking this!? In particular how to use Lloyd’s now is dead and booking outbound first and then inbound once become available and how do I book baby who does not yet have a name let alone passport.
    Many thanks JD

    • This is going to depend on how many seats BA release in the class you want. Some HFP readers are happy to travel on different days, but this would take some enjoyment out of the trip for me (especially with small children!). I think you would struggle to get 3 seats in first but might get them in CW to Miami, others might have more experience with this. If there are 3 seats available your best option would be to use the 2 4 1 for one adult and the 4 year old, then use the upgrade voucher for the 2nd adult. However, this would need 2 separate bookings and there’s a chance the 3rd seat would go in the meantime (unless one voucher belongs to you and one to your wife, in which case you could do the bookings almost simultaneously! I think you can add an infant after it’s born as it won’t need a seat.

      Another option would be to use the 2 4 1 and make a cash booking for the 2nd adult. You would probably get a good deal on a package (with hotel or car) prior to the start of the school holidays and you wouldn’t have to pay the balance till 5 weeks before you travel. You would get a decent chunk of avios for this as well.

      Hope this helps!

      • You have to call to use the upgrade voucher, they can book the outbound then add the return on later. You can’t do this at midnight, though, as their call centre doesn’t open until 8 am.

  15. OT – has anyone else had multiple texts & emails from BA today announcing changes of flight times for next year? Never had so many in such a short space of time (9 flights changed so far)!

    • Tom Cook says:

      No flights in for next year yet, but we got hit with the same thing happening this year with a few flights out of Manchester (which I think is where you many fly from). A couple of flights got moved to the next day which meant we had to go and try to sort out our prepaid Air BNB!

  16. OT: £100 off £500 United Airlines spend amex offer

    offer terms are it’s only valid on “flights departing UK airports”

    How likely is this to be enforced? Looking a USA-USA flight that would otherwise qualify

    • Shoestring says:

      Careful, I think Amex get to see your ticket ISTR

      • I think you’re right. Booked a cash ticket on VS with my Plat earlier this year and was surprised to see the flight details on my statement.

        • They’ve certainly always shown the flight details, the question is whether then make use of them when determining offer eligibility or not I guess!

  17. Don’t you just love it when hotels offer all these “Bonus Points for stays”.. but more commonly for last minute bookings. Where’s the bonus point options for early bookers? Don’t they deserve thanks and bonuses too?

  18. Ventee prive running also, cheap Avios without all the IB/Groupon problems

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