Bits: the future of the SPG / Marriott credit cards, Virgin Hotels San Francisco offer, cheap Avios via Groupon

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News in brief:

What is happening to the Starwood and Marriott UK credit cards?

Over in the US, a major rebranding of the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards has been announced ahead of the launch of Marriott Bonvoy on 13th February.

Over here …. nothing.

The latest official update on the UK credit cards is:

Marriott Rewards Mastercard (no longer available) – “For now, your Marriott Rewards Mastercard will stay the same. Keep using it, and you’ll continue to receive the exclusive benefits and rewards you earn today.  When the programme name change occurs, you’ll earn Marriott Bonvoy points just like you earn points today.”

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express (still available, 30000 points sign-up bonus) – “For now, your Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express will stay the same. Keep using it, and you’ll continue to receive the exclusive benefits and rewards you earn today. When the programme name change occurs, you’ll earn Marriott Bonvoy points just like you earn points today.”

So, nothing to get excited about.

Here’s something to make you jealous though.  The US version of the SPG Amex is getting this very cool new look.  There is no guarantee we will see the same over here as the current UK card does not use the same design as the US one.  I’d really like to see this design used:

Special offers at the new Virgin Hotel in San Francisco

The new Virgin Hotels chain is gearing up to open in San Francisco next month, following the successful launch of the first property in Chicago three years ago.  It is a new-build property at 250 Fourth Street, South of Market.

If you are a Virgin Flying Club member you can get special deals on stays between 1st February and 31st May:

All Flying Club members will earn 2,000 miles per stay, double the usual rate

Silver Flying Club members will receive a free upgrade (subject to availability at check-in)

Gold Flying Club members will receive a free upgrade (subject to availability at check-in) and free breakfast

You can enter your Flying Club number during the booking process on the Virgin Hotels website.

The Virgin Flying Club page which explains the benefits you get at Virgin Hotels is here.  You cannot, at present, redeem miles for free nights at Virgin Hotels.

Next up will be properties in Dallas and New York.  The first site outside the US will be Edinburgh where Virgin Hotels is converting the historic India Buildings in the Old Town.

How to earn Virgin Atlantic miles from UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Flying Club miles from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Flying Club miles.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

Groupon Avios

Buy cheap Avios via Groupon Spain

The Groupon ‘cheap Avios’ promotion in Spain, with Iberia Plus, is back again.  Click here for details.

The cheapest – and best value – 2,000 Avios package has already sold out.  You were only paying €19 for 2,000 points, which is 0.84p each.

Here are the other prices, which are less of a steal – although substantially cheaper than buying Avios directly via

  • 4,000 Iberia Plus Avios for €54 (1.2p)
  • 8,000 Iberia Plus Avios for €99 (1.1p)
  • 15,000 Iberia Plus Avios for €189 (1.1p)
  • 20,000 Iberia Plus Avios for €249 (1.1p)

Whilst these deals were administratively messy when they first appeared, I get fewer complaints these days.  The IT seems to be working better now.  Of course, all of the information is in Spanish but Chrome can translate the page for you.

The Groupon Spain page you need is here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. O/T regarding Virgin Rewards credit card 241 benefit.
    I just called Virgin asking whether I could use flying club miles for 3 reward tickets and use the 241 for a fourth, rep said I needed to have one cash ticket.

    However, I just found this on the T&C page:
    “A companion reward ticket in Economy. Spend your miles for a reward booking in Economy and take one companion with you in the same cabin for no additional miles.”

    Is the rep wrong?

    • Oh and I need 60 tier points to bump to Silver (so I can do the same with premium), any ideas how I can get there without flying (Unless it’s SAS short haul to copenhagen…)

  2. David P says:

    OT but Marriott-related bits:

    My Marriott ’29 ways to stay’ points posted a few weeks ago but these don’t seem to have reset the expiry date for my points. Was there ever a definitive answer to the question of whether these points counted as eligible activity or not?

  3. OT – when does Curve Metal “go live”? I assume at the same time they will be allowing Amex on both the old curve cards as it says at the below link?

  4. Rob,

    Is it safe to assume a Curve article coming tomorrow morning?
    I am tempted to apply for metal but not until I see full analysis.

    As others posted, don’t need insurance or lounge benefits, so in two minds.

  5. KBuffett says:

    OT – What is the best sign up bonus for a company AMEX and can I self refer?

    • None, if you already have a personal Membership Rewards earning Amex. Otherwise it is 45k for Plat.

  6. Can I just keep my old blue card (which is physically black) and pay the Amex 0.65% fee when putting my tax through to get my BAPP 241? I know Anna has asked something similar twice and no-one has got back to her.

  7. Berneslai says:

    OT: I need to get my hands on 40k Marriott points to complete a reward booking. What’s the best card to get (if any) for reward points if I already have Amex Gold and Platinum and have held Amex SPG in the last six months?

    • Amex MR is not the optimal way to get Marriott points but if you need the points desperately – I assume you have reached your 90k referral limit this year?

      Also consider asking partner/family member/very good friend to take out a SPG amex, which you use to spend (and pay back your trusting person) and transfer the sign up spend points to you.

      • berneslai says:

        Thanks. I wasn’t sure if Marriott points could be transferred (I know Hilton points can) between members.

        What’s another way of earning Marriott points? This is for a booking in August that I’ve already secured at 100k points for 2 nights (I already have 60k points). I don’t stay often enough at a Marriott to get 40k through nights and Megabonuses.

        • Sorry is this a trick question? August is more than 6 months away so you should be able to refer yourself for the SPG Amex again.

          I’m not aware of any other way to get 40k points quickly except buying them, but you would probably be better off doing 1 night redemption and 1 night paid.

        • Alex W, thats cutting it fine/impossible, 6 months from now is 25th July. Allow a day or two for card to be processed, then you need to wait a months statement to get points to move from amex to Marriott you are well into August already and IIRC Marriott want the balance of points a week/two before check in

        • Ignore me! I though SPG was currently held

    • I think your only option is via referrals. If you could refer someone from plat to SPG and get them to spend £1k and transfer the Marriott points to you, that would get you 63k Marriott points I think.
      Alternatively 2 X referrals from plat to any other card would get you 54k Marriott.

  8. People mentioning grandfathered black Curve card, has it been confirmed that you will get to keep the black card without paying a monthly fee or any other benefit?

  9. OT Curve related. Just received the following email from curve:

    “Thanks for waiting.
    You’re almost ready to join Curve Amex Closed Beta Programme.

    You have been selected to take part in the Curve Closed Beta, but we need some more information from you first.“

    Is this the same email that other have receined today? I’ve now completed the form but unclear as to what happens next, am I meant to be receiving a link next? If so how long after submitting the form does the link come through?

    • RakishDriver says:

      You’ll probably next receive a ‘crashlytics’ email to register your device for the beta rel.

  10. How do we use the Curve Amex Wallet? I added £500 and it charged my Amex Card, just tried using the curve card online and it didn’t go through?

    • If your balance is topped up and showing in the Curve app then should work fine. If having problems then I’d contact Curve support.

      • I topped up, but the balance is still 0 right now? I’m guessing it has to be not pending on amex then? Would I be correct saying this

        • If showing as pending on Amex then should have gone through. If it doesn’t show up in a couple of hours I’d contact support to try and work out what’s happening. I’d also try force closing and restarting the app.

        • Peter K says:

          @Alan. “Try force closing the app?” Didn’t know that only Jedi’s and Sith would be able to use the curve beta!! 😉

        • Yeah I’ve sent them a message through the chat- it shows the top up but the balance is still 0

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