Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Hilton Sa Torre Mallorca and Hotel des Indes leaving Hilton and Marriott to go independent

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Two interesting branded hotels which we have reviewed in the last couple of years have both announced that they are leaving their respective brands.

This is probably not a total coincidence.  When we review an existing hotel – as opposed to a new opening – it is usually because it offers something ‘different’ from the usual chain experience and we want to share it with you.   Such hotels often end up deciding that it is too hard trying to be a square peg in a round ‘branded’ hole and that it is easier to do their own thing.

We reviewed Hilton Sa Torre in Mallorca here.  It is fair to say that not many Hilton hotels have their own 15th century windmill and 19th century chapel.  The history of the Sa Torre estate dates back even further to the end of the 14th century.  Hilton Sa Torre (click here for the hotel website) is leaving Hilton on 31st December.  I don’t know what will happen to it in January.

Hilton Sa Torre Mallorca review windmill

In the Netherlands, Hotel des Indes in The Hague – part of Marriott’s The Luxury Collection – is leaving Marriott tomorrowWe reviewed the Hotel des Indes here after I bought a night in the Presidential Suite in a charity raffle.

Review Hotel des Indes The Hague Den Haag

The hotel, which has also been an InterContinental and a Le Meridien in the recent past, is apparently joining Leading Hotels of the World.   The hotel is the yellow building in the picture above, and the interior design is equally eclectic.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (December 2023)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (125)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Doodles says:

    OT, it’s my birthday today and despite joining BAEC in 2010, I have never received any kind of birthday offer from them, until this year when they offered me 2018 avios for nothing. Have a good day, everyone.

  • Vistaro says:

    One of the best Hilton redemption gone.

  • French Londoner says:

    I have an On Business account and it is true it is hard to find the sweet spot to use them.

    I was under the impression that the only way to book an upgrade with OB points was by booking and applying the upgrade in the same transaction and online. I guess that it is not correct: if we now can upgrade a TA booking by calling OB after, this must mean we can (and could) book first on BA website and then later call OB to upgrade?

    Out of curiosity, does anyone know if it is possible upgrade the outbound of a flight with OB points and the return with Avios?
    Thank you

    • Alan says:

      Indeed – that’s why I flagged it up to Rob as seems a very beneficial change! Have yet to see how easy it is in practice but not having to book and upgrade all at once is a big improvement.

      Given it’s only been around for less than a week I doubt anyone has tried yet although in theory it certainly could work using different methods. Worth asking on FT in case anyone else has tried but otherwise guess just need to give it a go!

      • French Londoner says:

        Thank you Alan,
        it is awesome news indeed,

        And yes I will ask on FT to see if people have tried…


  • Delbert says:

    Thanks for the tip the other day about Novotel Blackfriars, Rob.

    I’ve booked one night in February 2019 and also tickets to The Book Of Mormon, which would appear to be a different conversation entirely. I also registered for the triple points promotion for booking via the app (2 x points online).

  • Tom Cook says:

    OT small shop related – had dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant yesterday that is on the small shop – bought four rounds of drinks before dinner with my amex, and got 4 confirmation emails. However, on making the second payment the waitress said “we don’t take amex”. I said I’d just paid on AMEX and so she told me that they were not meant to accept it due to the high % fee and that staff could get in trouble for not taking a different form of payment. Then when it came to paying for dinner at the end my old man got his BAPP out to pay only to be told the same! Surely if you’re that bothered as a business then just don’t take AMEX?

    • Mark2 says:

      Did you offer to pay the extra 2%?

      • Tom Cook says:

        Why would I offer?

        • tom1 says:

          Agree you shouldn’t have to offer, but if its a case of paying a 2% charge (so 20-30p) allows you to get £5 back, I’d always be tempted. Whether or not the server has the authority to make that decision is another thing.

        • Tom Cook says:

          I know what you’re saying, tom1, but they took AMEX, so surely they’d factored in the cost before agreeing to take AMEX?!?

        • tom1 says:

          ‘surely’ – yes you would expect/think/hope so!

        • Mark2 says:

          I regard it as a purely business deal: £5 in return for 20p.


      I would I form AMEX, they take card suppression very seriously for the reasons you’ve said.

    • ankomonkey says:

      Restaurant near me that I’ve used Shop Small at previously have removed their sticker and told me they now only take Amex if the customer has nothing else. Last time I bought £10 gift cards from them on different cards. After what they said I doubt they’d sell me 6 £10 gift cards on 6 different Amexes…

  • iamfugly says:

    O/T. Has anyone had experience of Curve closing their account, as its allegedly against their terms of use for customers to create a new account to get around spending limits. Basically, I reached my limit on my original card and rather than wait another 6 months for the £50k annual limit to reset I cancelled the card and set up a new one about a month later. I have now been threatened with having my second account closed and reinstating the first. Just wondering if anyone else has had similar experience and if so what did they do?
    Many thanks in advance

    • Alan says:

      Sorry no experience of doing so but given their T&Cs I doubt you’ve got any grounds to challenge it I’m afraid.

      • iamfugly says:

        I have scanned through the Terms of Service and Fair use policy. I am no legal expert but I cannot see any point which states it is a breach of their service to cancel an account and to re-apply at a later date. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to reply. I will update with any further news if interesting.

        • Alan says:

          Agree can’t see anything specific but the wording around limits, etc gives them such leeway I guess they’ll say the annual limits were for you rather than the card…

  • Chris L says:

    OT Avios redemption – I booked some BA reward flights via Iberia a few months ago. I noticed today when checking MMB that the flight times have been changed and are less convenient. Do I have any rights (e.g. change flights/free cancellation etc) or is it just ‘tough luck’? Would appreciate any insight.

    • Alan says:

      Depends upon extent of change to an extent – if over 2h then free rebooking/cancellation, if under that then can vary a bit by agent. In general AA are very good with this, I find BA a bit more variable.

    • Shoestring says:

      BA’s published time parameter (to get a refund) in this situation is 2 hours’ difference. I think the operating airline is important here, ie BA not IB.

      Changing flights is easier & if you have an alternative flight you’d prefer, BA can be quite helpful.

    • Chris L says:

      Thanks, it is well over 2 hours. My only hesitation with cancellation is that the flight was booked with the special expiring Avios from the Iberia promotion. If I get a refund would the Avios ‘vanish’? Or am I being overly paranoid?

      • Alan says:

        Hmm – definitely a potential risk! No chance of finding an alternative date rather than cancelling?

        • Chris L says:

          There certainly are other flights that might work better, but none with redemption availability – or should that not matter?

        • Shoestring says:

          Sorry should have rolled that into 1 answer – no, redemption availability should not matter if you are rescheduling & it’s BA’s fault.

      • Shoestring says:

        Quite likely the IB 90K Avios will vanish though nobody on FT has actually reported that yet

        • Lady London says:

          I can confirm they will disappear if nothing special is done by Iberia.
          Mine did.
          For reasons caused by Iberia I had to transfer the 90,000 across to BA. (Yes, really. This had not been my plan at all.)

          As a test I left exactly 2 avios in my Iberia account. I moved 89,998 across to BA.
          On 3rd Decenber I noticed my Iberia avios balance had become 89,998. Er… sorry, it had become -89,998.

          This proves that any of the 90,000 promotional avios left in the account were taken away from me, and were the amount taken away less than the full amount of avios I’d earned in the promotion, Iberia would put the account into negative for the rest.

  • tom1 says:

    Planning my next year of cards, I thought I would share my thinking so some experts can make some suggestions also!

    I think I can make 4 Amex referrals a year to friends and family. Looking at Amex referral bonuses, the Plat at 18k/£180 is by far the best, then Gold CC at 9k/£90 so I will look at holding one of those for the whole year.

    To decide which one I will take (i.e. £450 fee vs £0 fee) I valued the benefits each card gives as follows, assuming I only use the card to hit the sign up bonus (£2k on each card):-
    (Rob I am sure did an article, but everyone values points differently I think)

    Amex Plat Charge Card:-
    Annual Fee -£450
    35k MR signup bonus +£350
    2k MR for £2k spend +£20
    72k MR for 4 referrals +£720
    Travel Insurance +£80
    Lounge access (when not travelling in biz), 6 visits x £15 = £90
    Car hire excess insurance £25
    Opportunity cost of not getting another Gold signup bonus of 22k MR next year -£220
    Net Value +£615
    Amex MR generated: 109k

    Amex Gold Credit Card
    Annual Fee £0
    22k MR signup bonus +£220
    2k MR for £2k spend +£20
    36k MR for 4 referrals +£360
    2x Lounge pass x £15 = £30
    Net Value +£630
    Amex MR generated: 60k

    So on the face of it, it looks quite balanced. If I only make 3 referrals, it swings toward Gold, make 5 and Plat is the clear winner.
    The big benefit I am missing is the hotel status that comes with platinum, but I find it hard to value because I’m not sure where I will stay, and therefore what benefit I will get. This biggest ones are likely to be free breakfast at Hilton (genuine value), non-guaranteed room upgrades at various brands (nice to have) and enhanced earning rates. Having said that, I could probably get Hilton via a status match from IHG etc.

    So I think my decision is that I go for Plat -always nice not to have to worry about lounge passes, insurance etc etc.

    I would be interested in your thoughts,

    • Shoestring says:

      You can get max 90K of MR points for referrals (calendar year), so that might be 5x 18K or it might be different multiple.

    • Shoestring says:

      Don’t forget you’d get a pro rata refund of the £450 Plat fee. Ie you hold it for 6 months, it’ll be £225-ish.

      • tom1 says:

        Thanks for all the comments!

        I’m working on the basis the referrals would be evenly spread over the year – so maybe I could cancel in the last few months of the year once the last referral has taken place. but then the insurance, lounge passes etc lapse. But it would start the 6 month clock ticking.

    • Shoestring says:

      Lounge passes – not £15 but £20 these days would be a reasonable assumption.

      • tom1 says:

        True – my assumption here was what I would spend in a bar if I didn’t have lounge access.

    • Shoestring says:

      You can refer yourself as well, so don’t go thinking it just has to be friends & family.

      • tom1 says:


        • Shoestring says:

          Nectar Amex seems an easy win, I now need to burn 50,000 Nectar points I never thought I’d have 🙂

          • Alan says:

            Yeah I’m still working through them – have ended up using quite a chunk on buying fuel as their prices at one of the stores are pretty competitive. Have to do with the cashier rather than at pump, in 500pt/£2.50 chunks.

        • Shoestring says:

          Can you just give the cashier your Nectar card to pay or do you need to get £2.50 vouchers somehow?

        • Shoestring says:

          So on a £72.50 tank-up, the cashier would have to do 29x £2.50 Nectar point transactions?

          • Alan says:

            Nope they just take them of all in one go – can only be in £2.50/500pt multiples but they’ll take off as much/little as you want – just tell them if you want a specific amount or maximum possible. Can then pay balance on card.

    • Alan says:

      You should hopefully be able to hit 5 referrals if self-referral keeps working…

      • Shoestring says:

        I have an ‘old’ Gold card still going (waiting for my annual bonus right now) so hoping for various things to keep going 🙂

      • BJ says:

        Care needed here now, I believe amex may no longer be giving people a third cobranded card if they are already holding two. With the six month rule it is possible but requires carefull attention to the dates. Considering the frequently ignored platinum everyday card helps, even if only applied to trigger a referral bonus.

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