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 ba.com, 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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Comments

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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! 🙂

  4. “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 BA.com seems to be saying the exact opposite?

  5. 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?

    /confused

    • >> 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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 Avios.com 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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…

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