Bits: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer devaluation, Thistle / Guoman / Amba sale, new Marriott Bonvoy logo

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News in brief (yes, ‘Bits’ is back after a Christmas and New Year hiatus!):

Singapore Airlines announces a mild KrisFlyer devaluation

Singapore Airlines announced a modest devaluation of its KrisFlyer loyalty scheme yesterday.

This is relevant because KrisFlyer is a transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards, HSBC Premier and Heathrow Rewards.  Singapore Airlines also restricts access to its premium seats to its airline partners, so your best of trying something like the amazing new A380 First Class Suite is via KrisFlyer.

(You can see our review of a tour of the new Singapore Airlines First Class Suite, including a video, in this HFP article.  The official website highlighting the new A380 is here.)

Overall the news is not too bad from a UK perspective:

Star Alliance redemptions are unchanged.  This means, in particular, that the ‘sweet spot’ redemption of 25,000 miles for a one-way Business Class ticket from the UK to the Middle East remains.

Premium redemptions between the UK and Singapore increase modestly.  One-way Business Class redemptions increase from 85,000 miles to 92,000 miles.  One-way First Class redemptions increase from 115,000 miles to 125,000 miles.

Premium redemptions on the New York to Frankfurt route increase modestly.  One-way Business Class redemptions increase from 65,000 miles to 72,000 miles.  One-way First Class redemptions increase from 76,000 miles to 86,000 miles.

Premium redemptions on the Manchester to Houston route increase modestly.  One-way Business Class redemptions increase from 65,000 miles to 72,000 miles. 

KrisFlyer is introducing some new features too:

It will be possible to upgrade from Economy to Business Class again.  When Premium Economy was introduced, this functionality was removed as only ‘one category’ upgrades were possible.

The ‘last minute’ redemption deals which have been trialled recently have been made permanent, although those are of little use if you live in the UK unless European routes are included.

The website will be changed to show redemption availability +/- 3 days, instead of just for one day at a time

Waitlisting for redemptions will only be possible up to 14 days before departure.  Unsuccessful waitlist applications will now be cancelled at this point.  KrisFlyer is claiming that this is a positive change as it lets you have more certainty over your travel plans.

The KrisFlyer website is here although at the time of writing it has not been updated to include this new information.

The new redemption chart – which kicks in for bookings made from 24th January – is here.  The existing reward chart is here.  The chart for Star Alliance redemptions, which is not changing, is here.

Singapore Airlines First Class suite

Thistle, Guoman and Amba launch sales

The Thistle, Guoman and Amba hotel chains – which are all under common ownership, and which tend to move hotels around inside their three brands on a regular basis – have launched a January sale.

It runs until 21st January and is good for stays until 2nd June (Amba) and 30th April (Thistle).  Guoman stay dates vary by hotel.  If you know you will need a room in London during this period then it is worth having a poke around.  Our review of the Amba Marble Arch is here.

The Thistle sale page is here, Guoman is here and Amba is here.

The Thistle Heathrow is included.  This is a horribly dated hotel BUT does let you take the driverless pods from the car park behind the hotel directly to Terminal 5, which is pretty cool.  We told that story here.

Remember that you may also have a Thistle / Guoman / Amba cashback deal on one of your American Express cards which would stack with this for a stay in January.

Amba hotels sale

And finally …..

Take your first look at this.  The ‘just trademarked’ logo for the new Marriott / Starwood loyalty scheme. You’ll be seeing a lot more of it in 2019:

(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. OT – Virgin CC companion voucher… how quickly does this normally post? I just hit my 20k target. Does it post on the next issue of my statement? or is it a few days after hitting the spend target?

    Also, is it actually visible on my VA account or is it one those “invisible but on account” vouchers that can only be seen internally when you ring up?

    • Genghis says:

      Mine posted once hit target. Comes as a line item on VFC statement, “Reward Qualification”. That’s it.

      • Ok. Thanks. Wonder why mine hasn’t posted yet.

      • Thanks for posting this Genghis. After reading I thought I’d check my VFC statement and mine appeared on Christmas Eve. Of course, I’ve no idea if I’ll actually be able to use it as I’ve already booked our summer flights.

    • IIRC posted with next statement. Shows as a line in your VS account activity statement – although take a note of the date as you can only go back a few months on this! I’ve still got 4x E to PE upgrade vouchers from previous card plus a new one from this, can’t see me using any of them given they’re pretty poor value vs cash whenever I’ve looked at them – didn’t factor them into benefits of the card though and these extra bonus miles on the Rewards+ card have been far more valuable, paying for half the cost of my ANA F redemption!

  2. Relieved to hear the Star Alliance redemption hasn’t changed. Excellent value!

    • The last time this happened the Star Chart changed several months later.

      • Did it? Perhaps I should put through some speculative bookings just in case. Thanks for the head’s up JP.

  3. RIccatti says:

    I do find substantial deterioration in Krisflyer availability.

    Most likely it is because SQ blocked redemptions to the upgraded Suites as novelty. SQ also controls First/Suites very tightly — last year on every of my redemptions (SYD, SIN, LHR) I was the only person travelling in the cabin and that was booked nearly year before that.

    Krisflyer situation is almost that you have to book at T-355 (or whichever the correct daycount for fares release). There is also the trick of Saver-level redemptions not being available at all throughout the year, only via unreliable Waitlist. Waitlisting can work so you can snatch that First redemption, however that being 4-2 weeks before travel, you are very unlikely to get deals on hotels/linked travel.

    Beware.

    • On the upside if you get the seat it’s pretty amazing – had entire Suites cabin to myself on one SIN-AKL leg and only 1 or 2 other pax on quite a few other flights.

    • I find the best hotel deals can be had in the days immediately before arrival, when they flog off the unsold inventory.
      That said, admittedly I tend not to go anywhere when there’s a conference, event or similar running.

  4. TGLoyalty says:

    You can’t hold the two BA cards at the same time.

  5. Genghis says:

    Remember any earned cash back is only paid at anniversary.

  6. Chelseafi says:

    O/T can I book a hotel reservation for FH&R for end of the year and still churn my amex plat? Many thanks

    • My impression is that it varies a bit by hotel – some insist on payment being on Plat card at checkout, others any Amex, other don’t care at all. You could always churn and take it out again before stay?

      • Never had a hotel insist on payment by Platinum but all have insisted on some sort of Amex, which is in line with T&Cs.

        • Agree re Plat (and the rules say ‘any Amex’) – sometimes you can slip another card in if the check out person is not familiar with FHR.

        • Cool – I had it once (somewhere in the USA, can’t remember which hotel!) where they specifically asked for the Platinum card.

        • I am currently in a hotel on the FHR rate. Rate rules in the confirmation say: “ALL RESERVATIONS MUST BE MADE BY
          AMEX PLATINUM OR CENTURION TRAVEL, MUST USE AN AMERICAN EXPRESS CREDIT FOR PAYMENT”. No card specified.

        • Sounds good – this was a few years ago, not sure if they used to be stricter then or was just a difficult hotel. I couldn’t be bothered arguing it anyway, had plenty others before then where I paid on PO MasterCard at no fee!

  7. As its bits,
    My wife had a new (couple of months old) BAPP, we did the usual add a supp (me) for 3k of points after receiving it, but in the offers today its showing add a supp and earn 3k. My question is can you add a supp for yourself, i suppose on the excuse of splitting work and private expenditure?

    I’m presuming there is no additional cost beyond the 1st free supplemental card.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Normally those offers are only for the first supp and you’ve already had that. I would check the T&C’s

      Also I don’t think you can add one for yourself but you can always try.

    • Yep, no cost and often earns the bonus points – just comes with ‘A/C’ on it (for ‘additional card’)

      • PS worked out very well for Amex Travel offer – got the £200 off £600 offer on main and A/C Plat cards. Need to work out how to actually use now!

  8. Has anyone tried the Amex MR Amazon offer this year?the expiry date of the £25off £40 offer is still 31/12/2018,extended?

  9. O/T. With regards to the Lloyds upgrade vouchers, I have more than I can use, and would like to use a couple for the in-laws. However the terms and conditions state the cardholder needs to travel. I can get all the way to booking, and my name isn’t compulsory as a traveler, but I don’t want it to become an issue for them later.

    Does anyone have experience doing this?

    • it’s fine, i’ve booked for other people previously.

    • Ronster says:

      Hi Jason

      I have tried to do this and I have not been able to do so, despite whatever people have said on here.

      Even when I have hung up and tried another customer service person.

      They are simply quoting the terms and conditions.

      Regards

      Ronster

  10. o/t – tried checking in for a flight tomorrow – BA93 London – Toronto – online it says i’m not able to check in online. Looking at expert flyer, it looks like they are not selling any seats in any cabin
    J0 C0 D0 R0 I0 W0 E0 T0 Y0 B0 H0 K0 M0 L0 V0 S0 N0 Q0 O0 G0

    Does this mean the flight is overbooked? What are my options if so? Will it work out in my favour?

    • Could also just be a random UK Border check – I had that recently on a flight to Sofia, couldn’t OLCI, had to go to desk and they cleared it within a few seconds. Unfortunately it was the day of a fire alarm in T5 HEX/Underground so was stuck trying to get from T4 to T5 and it was taking ages – thankfully they saw sense and called the gate to still let me be checked in!

    • Yes, flight is totally full. You never know how many passengers have flexible tickets and may just decide not to show up however.

      • rams1981 says:

        What’s the best thing to do – arrive early at the airport?

        • Lady London says:

          turn up as early as you can and smile sweetly just in case there is an upgrade going

  11. The new Marriott logo bears striking resemblance to the Hovis logo

    https://www.hovis.co.uk/Hovis/media/Images/products/farmhouse/Farmhouse-softwhite-Label.png?ext=.png

    This new loyalty programme breadter be good! I knead a reason to stay loyal to Marriott, but I kinda don’t crust those in charge of it…

  12. babygwc says:

    OT look at both amextravel .COM vs .UK – and prices for the same flights seem to be a few hundred quid cheaper on the .COM site, but not sure if this will trigger the spend £600 get £200 back. Anybody had any experience with this?

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