Bits: Accor adding suite upgrades, Diners Club will soon be accepted widely, Aer Lingus cancels Montreal

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News in brief:

Accor adding suite upgrades to its new loyalty programme

Perhaps stung by criticism that the recent launch of its new loyalty scheme – Accor Live Limitless – was very much lacking in substance, the hotel group released some further information yesterday.

Details are on the Accor Live Limitless home page here.  In summary:

existing tier thresholds for Silver, Gold and Platinum will not change, so you can continue earning status points in 2019 secure in the knowledge that you will renew or gain status based on the current published numbers

a new Diamond top tier will be introduced for anyone who earns 26,000 status points in 2019

a new ‘invitation only’ top tier will be added for exceptionally high spenders

anyone achieving Platinum will receive a suite upgrade certificate which can be guaranteed in advance of arrival.  Additional suite upgrades will be earned at 18,000 status points and then every 4,000 status points thereafter.

bar and restaurant spend will earn points even if you are not a guest in the hotel.  This will allow you to stop your points expiring for the price of a coffee.

It is also stated that earning rates will remain the same in terms of points per € spent.  There is no mention of what will happen to how you spend those points.  More information will emerge later with the new scheme going live in late 2019.

You can find out more on the Accor Live Limitless site here.

Accor Live Limitless

Diners Club acceptance to hugely increase in the UK

THE most surprising event in UK loyalty credit cards last year was Lufthansa partnering with Diners Club to return to the UK market.  Luckily, given the exceptionally low Diners Club acceptance in the UK, the card came partnered with a prepaid Mastercard which is funded via the Diners Club.

As both cards have the same earn rate of 1.25 Miles & More miles per £1, I assume that 99% of Lufthansa credit card holders have done what I have done – put the Diners Club card in a drawer and just carry the Mastercard.

This might change.  Barclaycard has just announced that the 110,000 businesses which use Barclaycard as their payment processor can now accept Diners ClubThis article from Finextra explains more.  Barclaycard is not asking shops for additional fees on Diners Club transactions so the majority will presumably opt in.

I see a small risk here for the Miles & More payment cards.  If Diners Club acceptance increases sharply, it would make sense for Diners Club to reduce the earning rate on the Mastercard element of their UK payment cards.  This would allow them to stop paying Mastercard its fee cut on those transactions.  It won’t happen in the short term but I can see it happening eventually.

Thanks to Kartik for this.

Aer Lingus cancels Montreal

Aer Lingus cancels Montreal due to aircraft shortages

It seems that Aer Lingus is suffering from manufacturing delays with its new A321LR single-aisle long-haul aircraft.

It announced yesterday that Montreal, due to launch on 8th August, is being delayed to 2020 due to a lack of aircraft.  There will also be service cuts in July on the Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Hartford and New York (from Shannon) routes.

Anyone booked to fly on these services is being rebooked.

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Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    Bits

    Anyone know if an Apple purchase using the Educational Discount or Affiliate Discount is collected under the same system as a standard Apple purchase?

    The £50 of £500 spend in Amex offers is quite intriguing, but don’t want to lose it by using a college log-in for the more basic 2-3% discount on an Iphone.

    • You can always return it if it doesn’t work out…

    • Optimus Prime says:

      Do those discounts allow for part payment with a gift card? If so you can use the Amex offer to buy one and then redeem it with your student account. (People over at HUKD have confirmed Amex offered is triggered by buying gift cards).

    • guesswho2000 says:

      I made a purchase a couple of years back using Apple Education online and it was the exact same merchant which charged my card as a purchase I made about two months ago, if that helps, “Apple Online”, so should trigger the offer no worries.

    • Not exactly the same but I’ve bought a MacBook under the academic program and still gotten the Avios via BA shopping (20k or so!)

    • Mr Dee says:

      Yes you can use both, you can also buy a gift card and then use it with the educational discount. I would however wait until their event on the March 25th incase of price reductions.

    • There are cheaper places to buy apple products even after the £50 rebate.

    • Louise says:

      Definitely worked out by buying a gift card last time they had this offer. Also meant I didn’t have to rush into my purchase

  2. Chris says:

    Anyone having issues with the Lloyds Avios card? Spent almost £8k – received 196 points!!! I calculate it should be 9996!!!

    • Mark2 says:

      Great new! It used to do this and much compensation was paid.

    • You need to log a complaint either online or by phone. Emphasise that you need the avios ASAP for a redemption and they will add them manually. When they finally sort out the IT issue, you may well get the points as well. Ditto the upgrade voucher.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yes lucky you.

      Raise an issue with Lloyds then they will probably ake forever but eventually you’ll get them and some compensation for your trouble. £100 last time straight into my account plus a cheque for £150 out of the blue but I think that was an admin mistake

  3. Bobster says:

    OT: anybody know how long it usually takes for nights to credit/post after a Hilton stay?

  4. Sussex bantam says:

    ACCOR offering *3 points in stays booked via the app – can’t find any T&C anywhere but showing in the app when I log in

  5. David says:

    OT BA Amex (free blue version): just rang up to cancel, and was offered an extra Avios per £1 spent for the next 3 months if I keep it, so 2 Avios/£. This has suddenly become the top card in my wallet!

    • Michael says:

      I was also offered this, but i worked out i’d earn more by cancelling and applying for the Premium Plus card in 6 months time. Plus i’ve also got a SPG card on the go which i’m diverting all spending too to gain the sign up bonus.

  6. Dominic says:

    OT: Marriott Bonvoy double points offer starting 19th March now listed in my promotions (as previously noted on here)

    • EvilDoctorK says:

      On another Marriott Bonvoy note how quickly to transfers to Avios happen … requested yesterday, nothing yet .. I guess this is normal ?

    • Froggee says:

      Probably one for the legend that is Genghis. I have a stay booked in early April that will earn 22,685 base Marriott points. Am I right that the value of a Marriott points post today’s category changes would still be close enough to 0.5p for the bonus from this to be worth £100+?

      if so, should I be booking one night before going so that this triggers as it is only from the second stay? I’m stuck in my hometown until I fly so I’m limited to £70 a night for a Marriott I walk past on the way to work or £50 if I get in my car and drive for five miles.

      And the above is on the presumption that this promo stacks (i.e. doesn’t cancel out or override) with my other “just for me” double points promo which starts from the first stay unlike this one. The wording seems to imply both are stackable.

      And final question… If I take the £70 option should I ask Mrs Froggee to meet up for a nooner in case she thinks I’m seeing someone else!?

      • Probably. Marriott is trickier now to put a value on the points. A lot of the hotels in Cat 8 do actually sell for the £425+ figure which would continue to justify a 0.5p valuation. Cat 8 is also a fairly small list in the context of Marriott.

        My valuations are generally driven by a top category hotel being worth £250 per night but the top-end Marriott properties, mainly the old SPG ones, are well north of that.

        Of course, when you get into £425+ per night territory you’re probably NOT “saving” £425+ because you probably wouldn’t pay that for cash. The value therefore becomes more nebulous.

      • Alex W says:

        Yes do a mattress run, perhaps book an airport hotel the night before you fly to give you more lounge time. Does Marriott do stay and car park deals? The Hilton and IHG ones can be excellent value.

        I would say you are perfectly safe valuing Marriott points at 0.5p or more at the moment. I just booked the new Langley for 35k points per night which is selling for £400+ per night. There are quite a few sweet spots still there even though travel packages have been decimated. Don’t forget 5 nights for the price of 4 as well.

        Some good airline transfer deals too. 60k Marriott to 25k Alaska miles, you could get £500 value out of those on a good redemption.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        If its 5 miles for the £50 per night id probably go for that.

        Plus cashback and the points it earns might you a few points itself.

        Like Alex W says always worth considering a night in an airport hotel if not just to make the start of the holiday easier

        • Froggee says:

          Thanks all – we’re on a connecting flight so will be leaving home at a not too unsociable 8am which removes the benefit of an airport hotel. Although as an aside, the last two times we’ve “slept” in an airport hotel for some reason my boys hardly slept a wink which made the next day very long indeed. I may just go for the tried and tested option of asking my wife what she thinks I should do! She likes the occasional weekend in London (sadly with pals rather than me and the boys!) so she gets the value of free nights in 5* hotels…

  7. OT – Paid for some flights on the 27th Feb with Amex Travel to trigger the £200 off £600 offer. Got an email confirming the offer had triggered and the payments came up as pending. The payments have now disappeared in my account but haven’t been charged. Anyone had this before?

    • paulm says:

      Yeah seen it before, they will usually just appear a few days later confirmed with the credit a few days after that

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I’ve got this. Ill happily have them not reappear as the tickets have been issued.

      Suspect its just IT gremlins and the charges and credits will post soon

    • Mzungu says:

      Hmm, I booked a hotel through Amex Travel on the 25th for the same reason. I haven’t received an email confirming that the offer has triggered, I didn’t know to expect one. Should I call, worry, or just wait to see what happens?

      I have a screenshot of the app showing the offer saved, and the payment on the same screen 😉

      • illumintus says:

        Happened to me too, all reappeared in a few days.

        Generally speaking, there are small glitches like that, but so far I am very impressed with Amex IT systems, it’s simple stuff but it seems to work well.

        • Charlieface says:

          It’s not a glitch, it’s because Amex Travel take so long to settle the transaction that Amex Cards removes the pending hold. The transaction can still be settled a while after.

      • I didn’t get an email at all when I booked via a sup card and I thought maybe it was only payable on the main card only as a result – but the credit was indeed applied to the next main bill.

        • I had to chase the credit last time around when this happened. Customer service made it clear they were only crediting as a goodwill gesture as the terms strictly required the payment to be fully processed before the promotion end date.

  8. Mark2 says:

    OT
    Does anyone know please if it is possible to confirm identity to open a Revolut account without the photo of driving licence and selfie. I have tried many times and failed.
    Or does anyone know of a phone number to speak to them (optimistic I know).

    • illumintus says:

      I did with a passport and selfie, all went fine.

      EU driving licence is a commonly accepted ID, so I am sure the issue is with the selfie quality rather than the document type.

    • Andrew says:

      Do you have any Children, Nephews, Nieces or Grandchildren who could help you?

      • Shoestring says:

        Mark2 – early warning senile dementia alert! Can’t get how to photo your DL or do a selfie! Won’t step foot in Asia as it’s too worrying!

        Just joshing, old mate 🙂

        • Polly says:

          Thought you couldn’t wait to get back to Asia when the last kid goes to uni!!!

        • Shoestring says:

          It’s Mark2 who says he won’t ever set foot in Asia for some reason

          I can’t wait to get back, I personally think Thailand must be one of the very best places in the world to take a holiday (esp during the European winter) and my wife is a big fan, too.

        • Polly says:

          Right.. remember you loving it..yes, we hit Thailand either Nov or Feb every year.. feels like home every time…and/or Bali gets in the mix. Cambodia planned for Nov next tho..never been so looking forward to it.

  9. Chris says:

    OT… has anyone ever had an issue with refunds on closed credit cards? A hotel has agreed to refund me but insist on it being to the same card. Card was closed after hitting sign up bonus 😉. All they have on file is the last four digits and funnily enough I destroyed the card a while ago… I can’t confirm the old card details and they won’t refund on different card for “money laundering laws”… I’m kinda stuck… ☹️

    • Andrew says:

      It’s not so much “money laundering laws”, more anti-fraud procedures.

      Orphan credits are flagged on the retailer’s merchant report. More sophisticated Point of Sale systems will prevent a refund to a different card without some form of override. It’s essentially to stop rogue staff from faking returns onto their own cards.

      You just need to speak to someone sensible at the hotel, at the very least credit it to the same type of card. Eg Mastercard Debit to Mastercard Debit or Amex to Amex.

      • Lady London says:

        Same type of card (VS or MC) is supposed to work but staff crediting you back may have received instructions that insist on the same card (not required by the banking system I believe).

        I’d just say the original card expired and was not renewed and proffer another MC/VS together with any ID required, if they really get pernickety. I’d expect them to do it.

        • Chris says:

          So would I but the assistant manager is sticking to the party line. He is speaking to his manager….

      • Chris says:

        Thanks Andrew. So far I’ve not found anyone sensible… but I’m persevering!!

        • Graham Walsh says:

          What about if you said the card was destroyed due to fraud so you have a new one?

    • Sundar says:

      Wouldn’t you be able to ask the bank for the old card number ? As long as you identify yourself, wouldn’t they be able to tell you the card number ?

    • Louise says:

      Amex have been proactive at letting me know of refunds on accounts if it is with them

      • Chris says:

        Yeah, the problem is they confess to not having the card details, just the last four digits. I’d have let them refund and spoken to Amex if I could get that far…

        • Polly says:

          They do…they just want you confirm the complete no for security. I just had a refund from last Oct processed back to my ac the dd came from.

    • There’s no legal requirement for this, I have occasionally returned items after cancelling a card and had a refund made to a different one. Could you ask to speak to the manager, explain the situation and ask if they would write you a cheque or do a bank transfer on this occasion?

      • Chris says:

        Yep, asked for a cheque and the answer was still no, has to be the same card even though it doesn’t exist…

      • Shoestring says:

        I took an item my wife bought (on her card) in for a refund at the weekend – they said they needed her card ending XYZA, so I said sure and just put in my Halifax debit card, there was no problem getting the refund

        • Shoestring, I wonder if it wasn’t just any shop…?! Also works with First Direct debit cards.

    • Chris says:

      Thanks everyone for all your help. As always, you are a jolly decent bunch of people!!

    • the_real_a says:

      Barclaycard did a charge-back on a closed account in same circumstances. Its best to get a “refund” invoice or some other paperwork from the hotel.

  10. Kevin Dulin says:

    OT – Does anyone know if the Trainline offer on AMEX works with the app as well? or just online? The app doesn’t include a booking fee for same day tickets, but online does…

  11. Robman says:

    Hi, off-topic question for anyone who can help me with an answer. Yesterday I received a notification from Iberia that one of my flights that I’d booked in the Avios promotion that they ran will be cancelled. The flight was today from Asturias to Madrid. I wasn’t going to take this flight as I’m in London. However, being the opportunist that I am, I was wondering what compensation I would be entitled to, either from Iberia or through my Amex Platinum travel insurance. I’ve never had a flight cancelled before so not sure what my options are. Any advice much appreciated.

    • Shoestring says:

      You *might* be entitled to the EC261 compo from IB, worth filing it just in case. Timing is all, ie sounds like you didn’t check in, but that wouldn’t necessarily matter if they cancelled late enough before the flight.

  12. Munch says:

    I reserved the Ritz Carlton NY before the change today but not exchanged my points to the travel certificate. I’ve checked this evening and its increased to the new 85000 point per night from the original 60000 points. Is this correct, I was led to believe they would honour the old rate if reserved before the 5th March even f the points were not exchanged?

    • Yes, that’s the case. This has cropped up on some of the US blogs today. Marriott will hopefully fix it.

      • Munch says:

        Ok sounds like another Marriott IT fail. They seem to love frustrating their customers

      • In anticipation of this I took screenshots of my two reservations and also sent myself emails of the reservation with the old points levels. I hope Marriott fixes it though as I’m not looking forward to potential turnarounds on the phone with misinformed CSA.

  13. OT
    I’m trying to get reward flights on BA from London to the US West Coast.
    I’ve got trackers set up to show when seats become availability however there are many options returning but none going out to the US.

    Is there something that I don’t know which means there are many more seats into the UK?

    • Kieran says:

      I suppose it depends on dates. Certain dates of travel are more popular than others and obviously certain destinations are more popular too.

      I had the same problem but in reverse. Could get out to the US but not back to London. I fiddled around with different airports and dates and eventually got something. If you are BAEC, don’t forget Alaska and Aer Lingus.

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