Bits: Yotel San Francisco opening, IHG buy points bonus, Virgin Holidays discount, Lucky Air ads

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News in brief:

YOTEL San Francisco opens 1st March

I did an article yesterday on the opening of the new Virgin Hotels San Francisco, which has special offers for Virgin Flying Club members.

At the cheaper end of the scale, YOTEL is opening in San Francisco on 1st March.  It will be in a refurbishment of a historic building on Market Street.  The YOTEL San Francisco website is here.

[email protected] is the loyalty scheme for the chain, although it doesn’t offer much in the way of benefits.  You can read more about [email protected] and sign up here.

You can also earn Virgin Flying Club miles when you stay with YOTEL:

You can find out more about earning miles with YOTEL on the Virgin Atlantic website here.

[email protected] is also a partner with Flying Blue, the Air France / KLM frequent flyer scheme.

75% bonus when you buy IHG Rewards Club points

Until 28th February you can buy IHG Rewards Club – the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc scheme – points with a bonus of up to 75%.

You need to buy 20,000+ points to get the full 75% bonus.  Smaller purchases of 5,000 to 19,000 points only get 50%.

The page to buy points is here – log in and see what is available.

This is not the most generous offer IHG has had, with 100% bonuses occurring 2-3 times per year.  That said, if you need to top up your account in advance of a planned redemption in the next few weeks, you might as well do it whilst the bonus is on.

Intercontinental buy points bonus

Virgin ‘flight and hotel’ saving this weekend

As part of its sale, Virgin Atlantic is offering an extra £100 off all Flight + Hotel bookings this weekend.  

Enter promo code 100OFF when completing your booking.  There is a minimum spend of £1,500 and you need to book by 28th January.  The offer is valid for departures up to 31st December.

The ‘Flight + Hotel’ home page is here.

Lucky Air

Coming soon to an airline near you?

Finally, here is a picture I saw in my LinkedIn feed.  (You can connect with me on LinkedIn here – I do occasional bits of extra content on there and if you work in the loyalty industry you will get a 2nd level connection with a lot of key individuals.)

This is apparently from Lucky Air, a Chinese carrier.  You’ll see that they have a smart 1-2-1 business class product, identical to what Qatar Airways offers on their A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft.

And then, erm, you get McDonald’s ads on the luggage bins (click to enlarge) ……

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

LAST CHANCE: EXCLUSIVE Marriott HFP offer – earn 10,000 points for a long weekend in Europe!
Bits: Lufthansa devalues the Miles & More reward chart, Finnair adds a 2nd long haul plane from Heathrow
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  1. OT
    Has anyone travelled from Vancouver airport into the city using the Skytrain please?
    I see that you can touch in and out like on the tube; does this includeUK cards?

    • Yeah, UK cards work just fine on the Skytrain. Keep in mind it’s Visa/MC only, it doesn’t accept Amex, unlike the tube. If you’re going to be using the Skytrain a lot, I’d recommend you get a Compass card, still, it’s slightly cheaper and tapping in is a bit quicker.

  2. OT: Upgrading from AMEX Gold to Plat as soon as the 10000 points from 15k spend post. As I’m upgrading, will be card number stay the same, or will they issue a new one? It’d be massively more convenient if it was the former..

  3. Lost+confused says:

    OT Amex Platinum – I’m doing the maths to decide if I should get a platinum or gold card so I have a few questions:-

    1 Is the £200 back on £600 travel spend likely to come up on a new platinum card? (I haven’t had a rewards account before)

    2 If I book Lufthansa flights through Amex travel will I still get my frequent flyer benefits (ie extra luggage allowance)?

    3 Does the hire car insurance cover a 2nd driver on my rental?

    4 if 3 is yes, what if a driver has a non EU license?

    5 if flying from Luton, am I likely to get into a lounge using priority pass ?

    Many thanks!

    • 1. Not immediately and not guaranteed

      2. Yes

      3. Yes

      4. The policy doesn’t say anything about licence, assume covered as long as the rental agency is happy for them to drive

      5. Probably yes.

      • Lost+confused says:

        Thanks John, and it doesn’t matter if the rental is paid for by another card (ie Mastercard) ? I couldn’t see any mention of this in the T&Cs.

        I also assume its ok if I booked the car rental before I receive the Amex ?

      • thehornets says:

        1. Offer has not appeared on mine since I received a new one two weeks ago

        (I do have 33 offers I don’t need though!)

        • Lost+confused says:

          OK thanks Genghis and thehornets, It looks like I’ll get reasonable value from it if the offer turns up and if not I can drop my Nationwide FlexPlus account (which I might do anyway) at which point the travel insurance becomes useful. I’ll apply and see what offers I get. I’ve about 20 days before I go away so hopefully it will arrive in time.

  4. With curve, once it’s all actually working properly, do you think you will be upgrade to metal for one month and spend £10k on amex (for example to get a 241) then downgrade, and repeat 6 months later?

    • Jonathan says:

      As I understand it, the minimum subscription term after the trial on the metal card will be 6 months apparently.

  5. Shoestring says:

    *10% off @Co-Op

    • Shoestring says:

      I’m pretty confident we can both get 10% off £300 @Co-Op twice a year each = £120 off the council tax.

  6. OT. Has anyone ever been able to use their Curve to buy FX for a Currency Exchange? Thanks in advance for any help!

    • *from.

      Just to clarify, I know I can get a better rate by using the card, it is just that I need the cash.

    • I suspect that the underlying card will treat it as a cash advance and apply charges accordingly.

      • Shoestring says:

        Not necessarily. I bought a couple of £thou FX on my Tesco credit card a while back (@HIFX) and it was treated as a purchase.

        • Was that cash? I’ve used Curve linked to Lloyds Mastercard to top up my Cash Passport with no fees but never tried it for cash.

        • Also, glad you didn’t go away for too long!

        • Shoestring says:

          it was transfer from HIFX to my foreign bank a/c

        • The Tesco Credit Card treats in-store Tesco FX transactions as purchases – but doesn’t award points for it. Perhaps this was similar? Does your card statement show the transaction earning points?

        • Dace seems to saying he wants to purchase cash with his Curve, or “holiday money” as we call it!

  7. OT Curve Metal Beta

    I have an invite but am close to the current 50k limit. Anyone know if you sign up for the metal beta does the 50k limit get extended or reset? Not much point otherwise!

    • Genghis says:

      Limits not dependent on card

    • Spend history is rest to zero with metal…

      • BlueHorizonUK says:

        no it isn’t. I just upgraded and still showing me as having exhausted by 50k limit.

        Sent them a ticket to see if they can up my limit otherwise asking for a refund.

      • No it’s not.

    • Jonathan says:

      They offer a £100k limit now.

      • Thomas Howard says:

        Have they confirmed this anywhere? I’m in if it’s definite. Everything they do seems fairly fluid and prone to change the next day.

        • Jonathan says:

          Yes, me. I on the new higher limit now. I hit the £50k limit and emailed support who upped it without question. £5k per day, £20k per month, £100k per annum.

        • Annual limit will be up to £1.4m. What you have to do to be given a £1.4m annual limit is a different question. £4,500 per day cap remains.

        • John what card do you have and are you in their beta?

        • It’s definitely available but not linked to card type.

        • Jonathan says:

          Legacy black. I am on the beta but was upgraded about a week before I went onto it.

  8. OT

    Is amending the return leg of a return avios booking charged at 17.50 for the leg or 35 as it’s a whole booking

  9. MarkyT123 says:

    OT – BA to Istanbul in September there is no avios availability on the flight I want, though plenty still on the days roundabout.
    I’d prefer this particular flight though. Is it very common for availability to reappear between now and then? Just need one economy seat. Thanks!

    • Shoestring says:

      It’s very common for the standard 4+2 (Economy + Club) Avios flights to get snapped up early, then if the flight is not looking very full, BA will throw more Avios flights into the mix – unfortunately often quite late on, eg last 2-3-4 weeks before flight.

      So it’s a case of ‘are you feeling lucky, punk?’. September isn’t peak but with limited flights per day I’d have thought IST often runs close to full?

      And are you flexible enough to wait until a couple of weeks before your best date then make alternative arrangements if the reward flights don’t come up? When it could also be a lot more expensive. I can’t operate like that at the moment as I don’t want to waste a day of our fixed (school) hols. But I could easily change tack to save money once school hols are not in the equation.

      • Bonglim says:

        Could you book a reward flight on the best of the available days at the moment.
        Then pay the 35 pound fee and change if the correct flight appears.
        That is what I would do.

    • If you are BA Gold, you could force open availability, but it will cost you double Avios.

      Otherwise, agree with Shoestring that it’s a matter of chance and luck. There is a website ( where you can set an alert for when reward seats open up (think there is a nominal fee?).

  10. Interesting Amex are actually promoting Curve to be used in the future for ideas on increasing spend so they are taking them quite serious now!

  11. Re. buying IHG Rewards Club points – are the points reflected onto the account straight away?

  12. Re. buying IHG Rewards Club points – are the points reflected onto the account straight away?

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