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Bits: £1050 Club World tickets to Durban, new Marriott double points promo, last day for 100% bonus buying Hilton points

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News in brief:

£1,050 British Airways Club World flights to Durban

As part of its occasional ‘Dream Tickets’ promotions, British Airways is running a 2-4-1 offer on Club World tickets to Durban.

Full details are on ba.com here.  You must:

book by 1st March

travel between 1st April – 31st May or 1st July – 31st August

both passengers must travel together at all time

The cost will be £2,099 for two tickets which is EXCELLENT value, albeit that you are heading into Winter.  Availability is limited so there is no guarantee you will see seats at that price for your chosen dates.

You can use ‘part pay with Avios’ to reduce the cost further but you’re getting well under 1p per point so I don’t recommend it.

If your ultimate destination is Cape Town or Johannesburg, remember that you can redeem Avios for direct Comair flights from Durban to both cities.  Full ‘Dream Tickets’ details are on this ba.com page.

Dream Tickets British Airways Durban

New Marriott Bonvoy double points offer on the way

It seems that Marriott Bonvoy is about to launch its first global promotion since the scheme was rebranded.

There is no registration page yet but some members have reported receiving details in the post, potentially sent too early by mistake.

It will offer double base points on all stays, starting from your second stay, in the period 19th March to 4th June.

We will cover it in detail when registration is live.

Last day for 80%-100% bonus when you buy Hilton Honors points

Finally, today is your last day to buy Hilton Honors points with a 80% or 100% bonus when you purchase 10,000+.

The Hilton ‘buy points’ page is here.  Whether you are offered 80% or 100% is down to Hilton targeting.

Regular readers of Head for Points will know that I tend to value Hilton points at 0.33p each.  You are paying 0.39p ($800 / £625 for 160,000 if you are targeted for the 100% bonus, and some people seem to have had their allowance doubled too) here if you buy the maximum so the maths in general doesn’t work.

HOWEVER ….. there ARE real bargains to be had at peak periods.  At the top end, the Conrad Maldives is usually 95,000 points per night.  Via this offer you would be paying under $500 per night which is a great deal.  We did a big review of Conrad Maldives here.  Remember that you can pool points between Hilton members for free so it is now easier for different people to buy points and merge them together.

Hilton also does ‘five for four’ if you have Hilton Honors status.  As Hilton will status match you from any other hotel scheme where you may have status, most HFP readers should qualify for this.  Five nights would cost you (95,000 x 4) 380,000 points which would cost $1,900 with this deal.  A non-refundable cash rate would cost around $5,000.  

The new Waldorf Astoria Maldives is also a bargain if you buy points as we explained here.

Similar deals are available at peak times in other major cities.  Conrad New York, for example, costs $2,800 for a five-night stay from 6th to 11th June.  Buying 320,000 points via this deal would cost just $1,600.   Conrad New York is an ‘all suite’ hotel which I recommend.

If you are just buying a handful of points to top off your account, the price per point doesn’t matter anyway.  If you a few thousand short of a redemption then this is a decent opportunity to buy them.

You can buy points via this link.  The offer ends tonight, 26th February.

(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. I have always found this Marriott ‘starting with your second stay’ thing extremely annoying. I wish they would end it as it actively discourages me from using their promotions in favour of Hilton or IHG who reward me for every stay including the first.

  2. The annual limit for Hilton points purchase is 80,000 for 800$. With 100% bonus this is 160,000 points, not 320,000.

    • Maybe Rob meant over two people who can pool or transfer HH points.

      • Up to 10 people can pool points (shortcut to account closure if the accounts appear just to be opened for pooling) and unlimited numbers of people can pay to transfer points so giving figures for 2 people doesn’t make sense.

    • Sometimes Hilton doubles the allowance so that either applies here or Rob might have cut and pasted an earlier article, where it did, in error.

    • They have allowed the purchase of 160k with double points bonus at least once before.

      So buying 320k on one account has certainly been possible in the past.

  3. Can Lloyds upgrade voucher be used on BA flights operated by Comair?

  4. O/T:

    Is anyone still waiting for their VA 10k miles from the original Virgin life insurance promo? My miles still haven’t landed so I’ll be chasing. Glad I saved a copy of the terms on signing up before they raised the bar.

    • Shoestring says:

      I’ve got screenshots as well. Are you sure you have paid 6 months’ contributions [+ up to 60 days on top have passed]?

      Promo started June so eg first payment end June would mean 6th payment end December + 60 days = end February at the earliest.

    • Have you checked your activity statement for activity date back in June 2018 ? When mine posted (right on time) I was confused as I couldn’t see them at the top of the statement. They were lower down under more recent flights and credit card activity, with an activity date of June 2018 (when the life insurance was taken out) and transaction date of Jan 2019 (when they posted)

  5. Buying points also works at the bottom end as well – if you’re staying in one of the (admittedly few remaining) 10,000 point hotels which charge around £100 per night, buying points brings it down to around £38 per night at current rates.

    • Agreed. Had a great 5 night stay at Hampton Newport a couple of years ago when it was 5k I think. A cheap base to explore the wider area and even interesting stuff to see close by like the wetlands and Roman remains and exhibits. A no brainer to buy points for a stay here on Six Nations weekends when hotels in Cardiff are sky high. Likewise Hampton Newcastle for Magic Weekend even though it is now 20k/night, rates can be about £250.

      • @BJ would you recommend Hampton or Staybridge Suites (if you’ve ever stayed there) in Newcastle?

        • If arriving by train Hampton as next to the station. Car parking is an issue, need to use public parking or hope you can grab a free space in surrounding streets. Personally I like Staybridge Suites better. It has parking, is convenient to the river, better breakfast and obviously better rooms. In good condition when we were there last spring. We had a problem with VAT on booking but an email sorted it out quickly, they were very apologetic, got the best suite in the house, free drinks and snacks. I think it was RussellH who had similar VAT problems at Staybridge in Birmingham, cannot recall how that story ended.

        • Thanks BJ. Staybridge Suites it is. I know Newcastle well but never stayed at either hotel.

        • RussellH says:

          Yes, it was me that had an issue with VAT at Staybridge Birmingham a few years ago. Headline price did not include VAT, so the price for the night jumped 20% as I clicked the confirm button.
          I took it up with the manager afterwards who assured me that as Staybridge “positions itself” as a long-stay (30 nights+ => 5% VAT IIRC) brand, it was entitled to display VAT excl. prices, even on a single night. I do not remember any apology, just ‘that is the way things are’.

          As to Newcastle, we have stayed (on points or cash+points) at the Hampton many times, though not since the points price went up from 10 000 last year. Given that we always arrive in Newcastle at Central station, the location of the Hampton is unbeatable. We have stayed at the Indigo too, which is only about 300 yards further from the station, and it is nicer. But there is much less chance of seeing people arrested on a Saturday night from your room at the Indigo, cf. Hampton.
          🙂
          Indigo have also, for some reason, always given us breakfast on room only bookings – IT glitch??
          Never tried Staybridge in Newcastle, too expensive, and the location is inconvenient from our point of view.

        • Lady London says:

          Stay bridge’s reason for evading the requirement to display their pricing with VAT included does sound rather weak. An analysis of their guests’ stays, presence of children and method of payment would put paid to that.

          This feels dishonest of them so perhaps the VAT man will be along soon

        • @Russell, thanks for tip on Indigo, may try next time. We usually take the car hence Staybridge but still have £55of LNER vouchers from Nectar promo so may add to it and go First for breakfast, stay the night and back First again at dinner time giving us two full days.

          @Lady London, not sure about Russell but in my case the ratevinfo stated VAT was included but then it was added on top after booking. May be wrong but I thought all advertised rates in UK have to include VAT.

    • How do you screen Hilton hotels by daily points needed to redeem please? I have a status match target and am a couple short with a short window to meet so fimdimg 10k per night options would be a great help!

  6. OT Do Curve increase limits if asked. I have a £9000 spend this week and would have liked to get the Lloyds voucher. I am a Light user of curb £2000 pd £5000 pw. Also is the Lloyds voucher per calendar year or anniversary dates.

    Thanks

    • *curve

      • Lloyds voucher is per anniversary dates and if you already have £50k from Curve, good luck getting more. Don’t forget Curve using a rolling 365 day system before payments are wiped out. Not sure about the new metal card

    • Yes but YMMV
      Lloyd’s voucher is per anniversary year

      • Hi Genghis, can we still earn the Lloyds upgrade voucher for the £7k spend ?
        Do you know the cutoff date ?

        I for some reason thought it had already been stopped even for existing card holders..

        Cheers.

        • Cut off is whatever your personal card anniversary is (you’ll see from when annual fee charged). Existing cardholders haven’t been informed of any change yet so business as usual.

    • Grant Stevenson says:

      If you are light user of Curve and don’t have a ‘varied spend pattern’, which seems to translate as daily use for all purchases, then don’t bank on getting your limits increased on first request.

  7. Barry cutters says:

    Ot – I see a few comments about Lloyd’s upgrade voucher. Am I right in thinking that this card is closed to new applicants.
    If so I’m a bit stuck on which card to get next, I have platinum Amex and wish to keep it for insurance benefits , I have just cancelled the ba premium card too, I have spent 15k ish in the IHG premium madtercard and still have 7 months to wait before I get the free night voucher . Spent around 13k on thr virgin premium card and see no need to cancel as it’s a good earninng Non Amex to have. And I can’t find anything to replace it with .
    Any ideas ?

    • Yes, closed unfortunately. You could still apply via the branch for a while but I am sure closed now too.

    • Worth getting SPG while it’s still there. OH & I both got it recently, with sign up bonus plus some MR points transfer we should manage 2 nights next in a Cat 6 hotel which we’ve only ever looked wistfully at as it’s generally over $1k per night!

    • Barry cutters says:

      Thanks Peter.
      I’m already spire and easily hit the points threshold to retain in first 1/3 of year.
      Currently sitting on 1.3m IHG points and I can’t burn them as fast I can earn.
      Think I’m just going to keep splitting spend between Amex plat and MasterCard from virgin .
      May look at the spr card again as Anna suggests as this is something Iv never done .

      • Having now enjoyed the majority of our 3 month trip across Asia, I would now consider Marriott points by FAR the best of the hotel currencies if you want to stay in nice hotels. So many great choices compared to even Hilton (my 2nd choice for currency).

  8. O/T Looking to rent a car in Japan for a few days in May. Any advise?

  9. As mentioned by Peter, the SPG amex will be an easy 10,000 Avios/Virgin/Pretty much anything, for you as you seem to be a high spender.

  10. Pleased to hear of the Marriott Global promo. Just about to turn platinum, plus a guaranteed stay each week.

  11. Disappointed. When I saw the Double Points promotion, I was rather hoping it was the option to buy some BonBon and get 100% free.

    There seems to be regular Hilton & IHG offers, but it’s Marriott that I could do with at the moment.

  12. fivebobbill says:

    On Hilton 5 for 4 on points.
    I’m looking at 5 nights in Abu Dhabi / Dubai, 19th – 24th of April. The reward total is indeed coming up as 5th night free in a standard room, but when I look at an Exec room the 5th night points are being charged – an extra 50,000 points.
    Can I assume the 5 for 4 only works for standard rooms?
    Also, I’m a Gold member and trying to balance the best value v cash, but would like lounge access if possible, so what are the chances of an Exec room upgrade in the UAE if I was to pay cash for a standard room?
    Grateful for any suggestions – also Gold with Marriott and Radisson as well btw, via Amex Plat, so doesn’t have to be Hilton.

    • 5 for 4 is only on standard rooms with Hilton, you are correct.

    • Yes. It is only for standard rooms. I almost always got upgrades to exec level or higher with hilton in the UAE. Gold as well. You mention other chains – could you be more specific as to what your needs are so that we could help you further? Marriott and Radissin will not upgrade you to lounge access with gold sadly.

    • It works on ‘Standard Room Redemptions’. The Exec Room will be a ‘premium room redemption’ which is where Hilton pays the hotel the full cash rate and simply charges you the cash rates x 0.3p, give or take, in points.

    • fivebobbill says:

      Thanks guys for all the replies, decided to have a splurge and book the Jumeirah Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, £200 back on the Amex Plat made it almost reasonable…
      Treat the missus and keep all the points for next time.
      Thanks again

      • Nice hotel (reviewed it a couple of years ago) in great shape and with a decent little beach and pool for a city centre hotel.

      • Is this the £200 off £600 amex travel offer? If so does this mean you have prepaid for the hotel?

        • fivebobbill says:

          Yes the £200 off £600 offer. My card was charged in full immediately (needed to be as the offer ends 28th Feb).
          However my reading of cancellation is that it can be made up to 3pm local time the day before arrival, whereby you will be charged a 1 night fee, After that you are charged a 1 night fee plus taxes & fees – roughly another 20 – 25%

  13. O/T I have seen mention of booking internal US flights using Avios. Is this only through the BA website? When searched yesterday the amount of Avios seemed high in comparison to what I thought I had previously read.

    • It may be possible via American Airlines if you have an account with them, I’ve only ever booked via BA. Don’t forget flights are charged by sector so short trips might appear relatively avios-heavy.

      • You can book AA flights with Avios. Easiest to find availability via AA.com – you are looking for Mile SAAver flights – then book via BA. Min is 7,500 Avios for shorter economy flights (don’t look at the AA miles, the miles needed are usually different). It can be very good value as the taxes are so low and they are genuinely taxes and government agency charges. We paid 7,500 Avios and about £5 for internal flights that were selling for >$250 per person so all good.

        You can also book Alaska flights which gives you good options for the West Coast; Rob has written “how to” articles for that but its all offline.

      • You can only book using Avios via BA. AA website can be handy to search for ‘SAAver’ availability though.

    • Lady London says:

      Look online but don’t hesitate to call BA to book. For routings not showing on BA site. Done it many times. You can still check availability of saver tix on AA website before calling BA to use your avios to book. Don’t forget you can also use AS with avios that way. Can be very useful some routes. You can request waiver of phone booking fee if something you booked couldn’t be booked online.

      • If I remember correctly some US dom routes are cheaper with Iberia. Might be worth checking

    • Problem in US is that First class redemptions are 4x the Avios price for coach.

  14. OT: BAPP – earnt the 26,000 bonus avios for spending £3,000. My first statement hasn’t been generated yet. However, the ‘avios to be transferred’ is literally 26,650 (£650 was the last transaction that hit the £3,000 bonus) The other base avios was taken away. On the BA Amex avios statement it says ‘Avios (-)5400’ which is all the base avios and ‘(-) 3000’ for the supp card. Is there any reason for this? The avios hasn’t been transferred yet and don’t think it should have as my first statement hasn’t been generated?

    • They’ve transferred across to BA (your statement will be generated in a few days). All perfectly normal.

    • Avios get transferred a few days before the statement date. You did not spend the £650 to hit the target and get the bonus avios in time for this sweep. They will go across next month.

    • Fair enough, thanks guys, will look at my avios balance in the next few days. How long does it normally take to reach the BAEC avios account once transferred?

  15. jeremy i says:

    O/T – what would people recommend for x4 nights over Easter in Berlin? The Pullman? The Hilton? Wardolf AstoriaA? So difficult as there seems to be lots of choice. We’d like a nice large pool and hopefully breakfast included (Hilton Gold and an unused 200 off 600 amex travel voucher).

    • I was very disappointed with hilton. No upgrade as gold at all but still tried to upsell me. Breakfast average, dumpy tiny room. Location excellent though. Consider Sofitel K-dam. Excellent upgrade as gold.

    • Unlike Adam, I’ve only ever had a great experience at the Hilton. Lovely large rooms overlooking Gendarmenmarkt, excellent breakfast and a really good, spacious lounge with decent food options. Don’t know if there’s a pool, though.

      If you use Amex Travel, you may not get status benefits at any of the chains, though.

    • I’ve enjoyed the IC, Waldorf, Hotel Indigo and Hilton in Berlin! All good in different ways. Be aware if using Amex Travel offer you’re very unlikely to receive status benefits or points though (you might get lucky but can’t bet on it) so may be worth looking at a highly rated non-chain option that includes breakfast?

      • Jeremy I says:

        Thanks all. Yes I was thinking I’d use the amex travel if not booking a hilton (ie, the only chain i have status in).

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