Bits: ignore Amex’s 20% MR bonus, excellent Marriott redemption in Corfu, Etihad’s new sale

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News in brief:

Don’t redeem your Membership Rewards points for cash credit with a 20% bonus

American Express has been emailing Gold and Platinum cardholders this week with a ‘special’ offer.

If you redeem your Membership Rewards points for statement credit by 31st March, you can get a 20% bonus.

To be fair to Amex, they are very upfront about what you get.  The email makes it very clear, in an example, that you’ll now get £27, rather than £22.50, if you redeem 5,000 Membership Rewards points for statement credit.

To save you getting your calculator out, you are getting 0.54p per point.  This is terrible.  At least, it is terrible for anyone who reads HFP and knows how much value you can get out of them with travel partners.

If you read my article on the best uses of Membership Rewards points, you’ll see that 1p per point is achievable via travel rewards.

The only possible upside from this offer is that a lot of non-HFP readers might take advantage, pushing down Amex’s average cost per Membership Rewards redemption.  This would make it less likely that they will need to cut the more expensive travel rewards ….

A Marriott bargain in Corfu – Domes Miramare

We have mentioned Domes of Elounda in Crete quite a bit of Head for Points.  Until Marriott pushed it up to 85,000 points per night last week, it was probably the best family-friendly Marriott Bonvoy redemption.

At peak season, it is still a decent deal even at 85,000 points.  A family suite for four in August is around €800 per night so you’re getting 0.8p per Bonvoy point against my ‘expected’ value of 0.5p.  Outside the Summer peak points are no longer a good deal.

Anyway …. we got an email last week from the marketing guy at Ledra, which owns the various Domes properties.  They have clearly noted the stream of HFP readers redeeming there!  He wanted to let me know that Domes Miramare has opened in Corfu.  A picture is below.

The Domes Miramare website is here.  Because it is a new property (well, a full refurbishment of an existing hotel) it is currently disproportionately cheap for both cash and points.  This is an adults-only property, please note.

As an example, in early August Domes Miramare is €500 per night for cash (good value in Corfu for high-end luxury in August) or just 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.  It even has the pricier sea view rooms at 35,000 points.  This means you’re getting 1.25p per Marriott Bonvoy point which is an excellent result.

Take a look at the Domes Miramare website.  It does look impressive (I haven’t been, of course, and for clarity they’re not paying us for writing this) and British Airways flies direct to Corfu.  Comments below suggest there isn’t much happening in the immediate area so it is best if you plan to spend most of your time in the resort.

Domes Miramare

Etihad’s new UK sale now running

Etihad has launched a new sale, running to 9th March.  You can see the details here.

There are some interesting Business Class deals, including (all via Abu Dhabi from London or Manchester):

  • Abu Dhabi £1,579
  • Hong Kong £1,799
  • Tokyo £1,799
  • Singapore £1,799
  • Kuala Lumpur £1,799
  • Seoul £1,799

Tokyo looks especially interesting given that this is not a route usually discounted heavily.

Etihad’s A380 Business Class Studio is EXCELLENTI reviewed it here on the A380 which you are very likely to get if you depart from Heathrow.  The official Etihad promo site for the Business Class Studio is here.

Etihad is not in a major airline alliance but you can redeem your miles for cash via PointsPay.  It is also a partner with American Airlines as well as many others.  You can easily top up your miles via an American Express Membership Rewards transfer.

These prices are good for travel until 10th December.  You can see all the sale deals, including economy prices, on the Etihad site here.

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  1. BSI1978 says:

    Morning all – any suggestions for hotels in Sofia for a long weekend? Thinking reasonably central as our first time there. Reasonably high end if possible without breaking the bank (which I appreciate could be a little contradictory….)


    • Tocsin says:

      I’ve had a couple of stays at the Hilton – if you have status they upgrade nicely. Centre is walkable, metro station a couple of minutes.

    • GeoffGeoff says:

      Stayed in the Grand Hotel Sofia a couple of years ago. Would do so again if in town.

    • New InterCon

    • AlexT says:

      New InterContinental. Used to be the old Radisson Blu and has been refurbished recently. It is as central as you can go (in front of the houses of parliament). The Hilton is older (10+ years) but still pretty central and right by a park.

    • There was an IHG hotel on points sale recently (either CP or IC) – you can check if they still have decent redemption rates

    • Would definitely recommend the InterContinental – had a superb stay there as Spire Amb. Great upgrade and free dinner for two (& bottle of wine!) as they couldn’t upgrade us any further! 😀

  2. Which are the nicest Melia hotels in europe? I have some points left over to use, was looking at the Gran Melia in Rome but there doesnt appear to be any of the non-revenue based points redemptions available all year so need other options.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      ME in London isn’t bad

      Can’t the points be used for dining credits? If so it has an STK if that’s your thing

    • the_real_a says:

      ME Ibiza absolutely stank. Like rotten rubbish outside. We left early although the hotel was nice.

  3. fivebobbill says:

    OT/ Lloyds Avios
    Just to give everyone the heads up that the Lloyds Avios Upgrade Vouchers are STILL being awarded.
    The wife and I hit our annual “renewal” date about 3 weeks ago, and had the £24 fee added to our February statements. I happened to have a fairly big outlay lined up and was able to put £7k on each of the Amex versions of the cards.
    We both got an email today to say that new Upgrade Vouchers have been awarded, valid until end of March 2020 – so awarded roughly 7-10 days from qualifying spend.
    Assuming the 1.25 avios per £1 is still being awarded on the Amex version, hopefully we’ll also get 17,500 avios between us come the March statements.
    Had worse starts to the day 🙂

    • the_real_a says:

      Yep – my renewal is April so looks like I might be able to sneak in another voucher too. Having said that the tax and charges on BA redemption’s are now are getting so ridiculous that taking a strategic positioning flight to the EU first is becoming much more of a no-brainer.

      • fivebobbill says:

        They do seem to be ever increasing the fees yes, however there is still reasonable value to be had sometimes. I was able to upgrade to Business one-way Belfast-LHR-Abu Dhabi in Jan there for 26k avios and £386.
        You don’t even wanna know how much the cash price was !

        • fivebobbill says:

          Additionally, last November, one-way Belfast-LHR-Rome in Business for 10,500 avios and 50 quid!

    • Vouchers will be awarded as per Ts & Cs until Lloyds close your card (after giving you 60 days notice in writing). I stopped all payments on mine and used it for a balance transfer anticipating that it would happen sooner rather than later but I still haven’t had the letter. Don’t suppose you get anything for a balance transfer?!

      I’ve had 3 “free” vouchers on top of my regular 2 so can’t really complain!

    • Louise says:

      I received my email today too, wonder if they send them out in batches

      • Neil Donoghue says:

        This is very strange, Louise did your annual fee roll over in February? My annual leave rolled over on the 16th of Feb and I received my voucher today although I am £287 short of the £7k target. I know this as I am only 2 weeks in and my current balance is £6,713 with no pending charges!?

        • Louise says:

          My annual fee hit 14th Jan, i hit 7k on 20th Feb (thanks to curve) so was expecting an email around 20th March (4 weeks as per their instruction)

  4. o/t BA have published some details of the updated First class soft product on their website. Or is that old news?

    • New Card says:

      From 31 March, enjoy a whole host of new features and thoughtfully created comforts in First.

      Delicious, indulgent dining experience, with exclusively designed crockery, cutlery and glassware from the finest British designers, William Edwards, Studio William and Dartington
      Foam and microfibre mattress topper and 400 thread count bedding
      Exclusively-designed male and female Temperley London loungewear, amenity bag and slippers
      A range of luxury Elemis skin care products
      High performance Meridian headphones offering a fully immersive in-flight audio experience
      The rollout of new First products will start 31 March and will be complete by mid-April.

  5. James says:

    Avis – Soft Landing ??


    I am currently Avis Rewards Presidents Club tier.
    I have only had a few rentals so far this year with Avis and so will not be re-qualifying for Presidents Club.
    I also won’t qualify for Preferred Plus (on spend or number of rentals).

    Will I therefore drop all the way down to the bottom tier for next year (Preferred) or is there a soft landing down just one tier to Preferred Plus ?

    Thanks for any help.

  6. Travel Strong says:

    In the same way that we often refer to “100k Avois”, I hereby table a motion for all points schemes to be referred to by their brand.
    “So you’re getting 0.8p per Bonvoy”
    “I now have 0 Honors”
    “It will earn you 80,000 Virgins”

  7. Freddy says:

    Is there any other Marriott family friendly hotels in sunny climes anyone can recommend?

  8. Gold Amex q – do the Lounge Club passes get renewed every year?

  9. What are the best airports for ex-EU ‘from’ searches? My go-to list is;


    Any others worth including?

  10. Hi,
    Having problems paying HMRC VAT using Curve – anyone else experiencing problems?

  11. O/T…due to personal circumstances outside my control it looks like i’m going to be forced to ‘miss’ a flight since i wont now be able to get to the airport on time. in terms of Amex Plat travel insurance cover does this count as a valid reason…? i would of course go into greater detail with them if making such a claim

    • All in the small print of the policy … exactly how closely related someone needs to be to you for illness to count etc, breakdown on way to airport, etc. No easy answer except that if you somehow had a choice in the matter at hand then probably No.

    • RakishDriver says:

      Might help, Plat holder – booked a BA shorthaul for my sister (she’s not a plat holder) – she got ill a day before the flight. Cancelled with BA, didn’t even get all my taxes back. Filled a an axa claim online, insurance excess applied, got most of the fare back.
      Note you must cancel the flight, not just miss it.

  12. The Amex Platinum benefits for Avis is Avis preferred? But that’s the standard membership meaning there isn’t actually a benefit?

    • RakishDriver says:

      yeah, I always wondered what extra I’m getting from Plat in the context of avis tier.
      You do get Raddisson Gold – match that to Sixt Plat – and then match that to Avis preferred plus or President, if you’ve rented a fair bit in the past with Avis.

      • Hi, how do you match Radisson gold to sixt plat? ( I have a sixt booking coming up but never used them before) thanks

        • RakishDriver says:

          I recall not smooth, but was done in a day – login in to your sixt account, message them with a request to status match.
          You’ll need to provide a screenshot of your Rad gold when requested.

        • thanks, ok will give it a go

  13. Ian M says:

    I’ve tired 10 different dates but Domes Miramare Corfu shows as unavailable for all of them on the Marriott app. Wondering if this is a Marriott IT problem or if Headforpoints has caused a rush of bookings!

  14. OT: If I upgrade a gold charge card to platinum, do I keep the saved offers that are currently on the gold card? I’ve got my eye on the £50 off apple one…

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