Bits: Avios invests in Monese, No 1 Lounges / Virgin Atlantic deal, new O2 concerts for Marriott points

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News in brief:

Avios invests in Monese

On Monday I published a mini-rant about the bloated state of the UK credit card industry.  As part of that, I asked why investors were pouring vast sums into online current account start-ups (Monzo, Revolut, Starling etc) when such products have never made money even for legacy banks.  On the other hand, few start-ups are pushing into UK credit cards which have historically been hugely profitable.

A reader pointed out to me that Avios Group recently invested in Monese as part of a $60m funding round – see here.

If you’ve never heard of Monese, it is like Revolut, Starling or Monzo but aimed at people who are new to a country and would otherwise struggle to meet the checks required to open a traditional bank account.  You can open a Monese account in various European countries, including the UK, simply by uploading a scan of your passport.  Monese is, of course, also happy to open an account for you if you are living and working in your home country.

I am assuming that Avios has a plan for Monese – we need to see what develops over the next few months.

Avios and Monese

New No 1 Lounges / Virgin Atlantic offer – big savings on new My Lounge Gatwick South

No 1 Lounges has launched a new ‘double miles’ deal with Virgin Atlantic see here.  This leads to an exceptionally good deal for the new My Lounge at Gatwick’s South Terminal.

My Lounge, the ‘hipster’ offshoot of No 1 Lounges, opened at London Gatwick’s South Terminal this week as we wrote here.  Reader reports so far are that it is refusing Priority Pass and Lounge Club guests, even though the lounge website here clearly states that they are accepted (EDIT: the website has now been upgraded to confirm that only DragonPass is accepted).

If you are heading to Gatwick South over Christmas, this new Virgin Atlantic deal is a good value way of getting in.  For bookings made by 31st January, you will earn double Virgin Flying Club miles and get a discount on the list price.

The Virgin Flying Club member prices are:

  • £35 – The House (Heathrow T4)
  • £35 – Clubrooms
  • £25 – No1 Lounges
  • £15 – My Lounge

…. and the miles you currently earn are:

  • 800 miles at The House (usually 400)
  • 800 miles at Clubrooms (usually 400)
  • 700 miles at No1 Lounges (usually 350)
  • 400 miles at My Lounge (usually 200)

This is very good value for the new My Lounge.  As the website shows, My Lounge Gatwick South costs £30 on the door and £24 if you book in advance, which includes Fast Track Security.  Via this link, you would only pay £15 per person and you would get 400 Virgin Flying Club miles.

You can book the Virgin offer via this link.  As the miles are earned per booking, you should make separate bookings for each adult in your group.

No 1 Lounges Virgin Atlantic deal

New O2 concerts available for Marriott Rewards points

Marriott Rewards has added a new batch of O2 concert tickets to its website.  These are for the Starwood Preferred Guest suite, which comes with full catering and free drinks all night.  Here is a review of a Muse concert from the suite, and I am there myself on Sunday to see Paul McCartney.

These concerts are now bookable.  The first few have been available for a while but the remainder are new:

  • Davido, 27th January, 45000 points
  • Disney on Ice, various dates, 45000 points
  • The 1975, various dates, 45000 points
  • Boyzone, 7th February, 45000 points
  • Ozzy Osbourne, 11th February, 45000 points
  • Massive Attack, 22nd February, 45000 points
  • George Ezra, 19th March, 45000 points
  • Nicki Minaj & Future, 11th March, 45000 points
  • Country to Country, various dates, 45000 points
  • Post Malone, 14th March, 45000 points

All pricing is for two tickets.  Availability has been split between the Marriott Moments site here and the SPG Moments site here.

(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. Can I refer someone for the Costco AMEX from my Gold MR card and still get 9K bonus? Is there any bonus for the referee?

  2. Perhaps we should set up our own loyalty scheme. All it needs is money and the right connections. Failing that we could always give Heathrow Rewards a not so subtle hint about expanding into this area.

    • I think Heathrow Rewards should do a credit card. The opportunity for redeeming for shopping vouchers or a mix of airlines, with transfer bonuses too, would be very attractive. HR is also less sensitive to ‘value’ because their core goal is not making profit from the programme but encouraging traffic to Heathrow and to the retailers.

  3. Optimus Prime says:

    OT – not sure if this has been mentioned here but looks like there will be new benefits for IHG Ambassador such as one free breakfast per night and guaranteed Platinum status.

    • Optimus Prime says:

      BTW free breakfast only when statying in a InterContinental hotel.

    • Yep, I mentioned it in another page – Rob is going to be covering tomorrow.

    • I used my first Ambassador voucher last month in Ljubljana and was very impressed. These changes will improve the offering, even for ‘normal’ Ambassador membership so highly likely to renew next year.

  4. O/T re bonus Heathrow Reward points for Heathrow Express tickets booked before 31 December.

    I made 4 separate bookings for HEX on the same day: 3 were for the £5.50 90-day advance purchase weekend fares, and 1 for £12.10 90-day advance purchase weekday fare. Only the £12.10 fare attracted the 250 bonus points and not for the other 3. Has this happened to anyone else?

    I probably won’t chase up on the remaining bonus points but nowhere on the T&C says the cheapest fare is not eligible for bonus points.

    • The same thing happened to me – the two £5.50 fares didn’t get the bonus. The higher priced ones did. Very annoying!
      This is the email I got from them…
      Enjoy 250 extra Heathrow Rewards points on all Heathrow Express bookings made in December
      Hello Catherine,
      Travel from London Paddington to Heathrow Central (Terminals 2 & 3) in 15‑minutes† on Heathrow Express and enjoy 250 extra Heathrow Rewards points* on all bookings made between 1‑31 December 2018.
      *250 extra points available on all Heathrow Express bookings made between 1‑31 December 2018. Offer not applicable when using HAL employee discount. Participating fares may vary during the promotional period. Heathrow Rewards card must be presented at time of transaction. Points will be allocated to your account within 30 days of making a qualifying purchase. If the points do not appear in your account after 30 days please contact us. Only one offer per transaction. Points will be deducted from accounts if items are subsequently returned. Full Heathrow Rewards form terms and conditions apply. Click here to see the full terms and conditions.

  5. the_real_a says:

    As i understand it the major growth strategy is the upcoming open banking rules, that the “platform” with the greatest interactions will be best placed to plug-in other financial institutions products into the dashboard. So you would view your AMEX statement or buy your insurance inside of your – say – monese app. The race is on to get the most daily interactions, which the fintechs are best placed. So rather than seeing these things as products, we should actually view them as platforms.

  6. O/T but linked to the article on partner avios redemptions yesterday, can anyone point me in the direction of where I can check the avios required for non BA flights please?

  7. O/T – If anyone is flying next week (December the 21st) I can guest 2 people in to the Concorde lounge at T5 around 9am!

    • I thought you couldn’t guest people into Concorde Room unless they had F tickets? (As opposed to F lounge)?

    • That would be brilliant – we expect to arrive at that exactly that time. How do we make contact – wear a red carnation, carry a copy of the Times etc?

  8. On Monese website: “The process of opening a basic bank account with a highstreet bank can require long documentation and involve face to face appointments. The Monese app will enable you to open a fully-featured UK current account instantly on your mobile, without credit checks and without waiting.”

    Basically Monese is openly advertising for criminals to open an account with them! 😀

    • No it’s not. They still do ID verification, address verification and fraud checks – just much, much quicker than other banks.

      • However the bar on the checks is much lower than any other banking outfit (especially high street banks). As long as you show a valid passport + visa and give a plausible sounding reason during a video call you pass the address check (ie staying with family, partner etc) even if you don’t have any other footprint at the address.
        I’m not saying that isn’t very useful for some legitimate people who want a basic account in the UK but can’t provide a rental lease, utility bills etc because they are staying with family. It’s difficult to set up mobile phone contracts etc without a UK back account.
        Other banks know this and so don’t accept Moneze statements as a proof of address.

        • While I have no idea whether banks accept their statements as proof of address, my understanding is that Monese do check your address. It doesn’t have to be your current address, but they check numerous EU records to find you listed at a previous one. Are you saying they still approve it if they can’t verify it?

          Regardless, I don’t quite get how knowing an address makes it any more secure?

  9. Can anyone recommend the best Priority Pass lounge in Johannesburg International? Have a few hours to kill and dont know which one is the best.

    Much appreciated!

  10. Kayleigh says:

    OT. I’m trying to get 25,000 avios from my husbands BAEC account into mine. I don’t really want to set up a household account as I have some Iberia points that I need to transfer in in Jan which I understand is difficult with a household account, even more so now the Avios website is no more.
    He has had a look online and it looks like it’s going to cost £175 to do this! I’m sure I’ve read that you can do this for free to your spouse but can find this info now. Any tips on how we can do this for free?
    Any advice greatly appreciated!

    • What and when do you want the avios for? There might be a couple of ways around this but it depends on when you need to do it all!

      • Kayleigh says:

        Hi Anna,
        I’m looking to book outbound NCL to HKG this weekend when flights are released, but I have enough points in my account to do this. The return trip (open jaw) in early Jan 2020 I would look to book as soon as the reward flight availability became available (BKK-NCL) as business looks hard to come by on this route! So this would in about a months time.
        Many thanks 🙂

        • If you don’t want to use Shoestring’s method, could you transfer the Iberia points in early then create a HHA afterwards to be able to use your husband’s avios?

          Though if you only need 25,000 to get a return CW trip to the Far East, it might even be worth buying them with the current BA offer which expires on Sunday. It would be an even better deal if you were working towards a sign up bonus or 2 4 1/upgrade voucher!

    • Shoestring says:

      The website is going strong, so the old transfer method IB—>—BAEC HHA still works fine. It’s just called Aerclub but still on platform

      So you could set up BAEC HHA with no worries about getting hold of the IB points later.

      • Kayleigh says:

        Thanks Shoestring. I’ll give it a go!
        Bought the first leg this morning NCL – HKG. Was hoping for Business but they had First availability. With a bit of a reshuffle of all our points programmes, a little time to earn the final ones we need for our return leg, and £79 for 6000 avios on the BA offer I think it’s well worth the upgrade.
        This will be the first time we have travelled in anything but economy so cannot wait to try it out.

  11. OT – Anybody else getting fed up of chasing nectar for missing bonus points. I’ve had numerous offers not redeeming and need to use chat to get them, starting to make me wonder to just drop using the nectar app and only buying things when I need to and not go out of my way for these offers.
    Applied for the life insurance bonus 14,000 nectar points and such a hassle to claim. Time is better spent elsewhere.

    • O/T
      I have an Iberia flight booked by redeeming points earned from the recent Iberia 90k points promotion. Can anyone tell me, if I can no longer take these flights, am I able to change the flight dates rather than cancel and potentially lose the points?

      • Changing dates shouldn’t be an issue as you keep the same booking reference which means no cancellation / rebook takes place.

    • I find claiming Nectar bonuses very easy through the online chat, but agree it is a pain having to track everything oneself.

  12. O/T Has anyone been unfortunate enough to end up in the “Yotel” lounge in Charles De Gaulle T2E?
    As a one off, I’m travelling Flybe into Manchester so having to use the back up Priority Pass (normally travel BA with Silver card)

    It’s officially the worst lounge I’ve visited. That bad it’s almost funny… €10 credit to spend on crisps and chocolate. No alcohol. The only PP option at Terminal 2E!!

  13. O/T – Oyster Topup (Considering a lot of you are doing this right now) – When does the topup applied at the shop appears on the card; It’s immediate or you have to make a journey.

  14. Shoestring says:

    O/T check your BAEC points a/c? The compo Avios from the US class action on BA fuel surcharges are dropping into people’s a/cs. What seems odd – but good – is that people are getting the compo Avios even when they didn’t join the class action, it seems that you’re in unless you opt out! Provided you flew under the circumstances outlined in the class action, you should be in line to get the compo.

    • I didn’t join but have received 12,598 today which I can’t think of any other explanation for! Seems a strange number though.

      • Shoestring says:

        Common compo multiples reported on FT seem to be 20,000, 12,500, 35,000.

        • Shoestring says:

          Anna did you drill down to see the longer explanation of where those points came from?

        • All it says is “Avios – Collected from Avios programme activity”, which is why I thought it was something to do with the Lloyds card. I transferred all my avios out of before my account closed.

          Can anyone remember the date by which the bonus Tesco avios were supposed to appear?!

  15. Shoestring says:

    My 384 bonus Avios for the Tesco 20% promo have dropped into the a/c. I wasn’t targeted for anything larger than the minimum transfer, unfortunately – but as I said at the time, this one was open to everybody.

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