Bits: last day for Hilton’s flash sale, Singapore Airlines devaluation, cheap Avios via Groupon

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News in brief:

Last day for Hilton’s UK, Europe and Middle East flash weekend sale

Hilton is running a flash sale on rooms in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa.  The sale home page is here.

We never got around to covering this last week, amongst all the coverage of the new British Airways Club Suite and the changes to American Express sign-up bonuses.  Apologies.  However, you still have today to book.

Here are the terms:

book by Monday 25th March

stay on any weekend until 8th September 2019 (Fri/Sat/Sun nights except in the Middle East)

all bookings are pre-paid and non-refundable

some hotels may have midweek dates available at sale prices

The discount is up to 25% off Best Available Rate.  Because these rates are non-refundable, you should really compare them with the standard Advanced Purchase Rate.  As this is usually just 10% or so below Best Available Rate, the sale should still offer a saving.

Remember that Hilton Honors is offering 2,000 bonus points per stay, which I value at £6-£7, until 5th May.  Full details of that offer, and the registration link (you MUST register before your stay), are in this HFP article.

The home page for the Hilton flash sale is here.

Singapore Airlines devalues Star Alliance reward chart

Singapore Airlines devalues its Star Alliance reward chart

Singapore Airlines has announced some changes to its Star Alliance reward chart from 16th April 2019.

If you are wondering why you should care, it is because:

Singapore Airlines is a transfer partner from American Express Membership Rewards, HSBC Premier and Heathrow Rewards

There are some very attractive sweet spots in the Singapore Airlines scheme for travel on Lufthansa, SWISS, Turkish and Austrian, amongst others

Our favourite Singapore Airlines redemption is 50,000 miles return in Business Class between the UK and Middle East.  This is an exceptional deal, given that British Airways wants 120,000 Avios on a peak-date for the same flight.  You would probably route via Germany on Lufthansa or Switzerland on SWISS.  Some other Star Alliance ‘sweet spots’ are covered in this HFP article.

Here is the current Star Alliance reward chart (PDF).  The new chart, from 16th April, is here (PDF).

It isn’t a decimation.  The Middle East deal goes from 50,000 miles return to 58,000 miles return, for example.  This is not great but it is still less than 50% of the miles you need with Avios.  If this means that the 58,000 miles rate is semi-guaranteed for the next 3-4 years then I will be happy.

Groupon Avios

Buy cheap Avios via Groupon Spain

EDIT: the deal has gone to ‘sold out’ overnight, sorry

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

They are not a steal at these prices, although substantially cheaper than buying Avios directly via ba.com without a special offer:

  • 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)
  • 35,000 Iberia Plus Avios for €439 (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 Avios will be placed into an Iberia Plus account and – as long as the account is 90 days old – you can use ‘Combine My Avios’ to transfer them to BA Executive Club.

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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Why you shouldn’t waste Avios on Club Europe redemptions from London City
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Comments

  1. illuminatus says:

    OT – re ‘Combine my Avios’, BA T&Cs say it is possible to transfer Avios BA Household Account > Iberia Personal, but Iberia are telling me it is not possible.

    Has someone transferred from BA Household Account?

    • Open an Aer Lingus AerClub account, log in to Avios.com with those details and use Combine My Avios from there. Works every time.

  2. Oops…..

    BA plane lands in Edinburgh instead of Dusseldorf by mistake

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47691478

    Passengers and ground crew thought they were going somewhere different to the flight crew!

    • BSI1978 says:

      Have I read this correctly – surely the pilots would have clocked this prior to take-off? Do they board plans not know their final destination until the paperwork is handed to them?!

    • I’ve heard of TUI almost doing this last summer. People boarded a flight bound for LGW instead of East Midlands.

      Seemingly flight crew fail to actually check boarding passes, at all.

      But doesn’t the pilot normally announce destination/weather/duration to pax before pre flight safety brief?

      • RogerC says:

        Flew with this company from LCY the day before, ironically to Edinburgh, in place on a BA plane. No checks on boarding passes and poor English on the tannoy from crew. Still pretty amazed that not one passenger noticed they were going the wrong way!

        • Probably just desperate to get a look…best place to live and work in UK, Europe and the world according to three different studies recently 🙂

      • Never happened to me but on a package ski holiday a couple of years ago I could tell by the route we were going that the coach taking us to the airport was going to the wrong airport. I had to tell the rep 4 times before she checked with the driver at which point there was a rapid u turn and frantic calls to the airport to try to hold the plane! We just got to the airport in time!

    • Graham Walsh says:

      My colleagues Sister was on that flight this morning

  3. youngtraveller says:

    O/T have you guys seen the news about the ba flight that landed in Edinburgh by mistake? No one noticed till they landed.

  4. OT Still chasing Virgin Life Insurance points from last year, so make sure they’ve posted to your account. They know I should have them as they see I applied with the correct link. What’s funny is that the guy at Virgin Money called them Air Miles.

  5. Kenneth says:

    OT – I need some advice please.

    Have just returned from a fortnight in the US. Flew CW with Avios from Manchester to San Diego. My main suitcase did not arrive at San Diego. It contained clothes and two cased musical instruments that I needed for an event in California. BA lost my case for a 6 full days.It did eventually turn up at my AirBnB, delivered by FedEx. The trip was pointless without the instruments. I lost the Avios, taxes, an upgrade voucher, accommodation, car hire, etc. Contacted BA on my return and was told that BA do not guarantee that cases arrive on the same flight. And, because I did not buy any clothes and toiletries they said they had no responsibility. They offered me a miserly 15,000 Avios or a one-way upgrade voucher (don’t know the conditions attached) as a “goodwill gesture”. Have not accepted yet. My trip was a disaster. Any ideas whether anything can be done, please?

    • Matthew says:

      Travel insurance? I’d imagine a claim with that rather than BA for loss.

      • Kenneth says:

        I have a Platinum Card. I called them and told me that my insurance did not cover any of this. I couldn’t believe it. Neither can I believe that BA accept no responsibility.

        • You mustn’t have explained yourself properly.
          Amex Plat insurance certainly DOES offer coverage for delayed/lost luggage. Read the policy. But then, you never bought any replacement clothes toiletries etc (why not?? how could you live without these)
          All very odd, I suspect you have not told us all the applicable detail.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Sounds like the case that went missing was the one with instruments.

          I have to say that reading this you should read the T&C’s of your Amex insurance policy and be really clear on what the issue was and why your claim is valid if something around the delay is covered.

          Sometimes not being covered is because they don’t understand the actual issue. I’m not sure many here do other than you had a holiday rather than worked/recorded music, was there a cost to this and does the insurance cover loss of income? Maybe you need another policy for future trips?

        • Jill (Kinkell) says:

          One of our cases failed to turn up in Denver last year. We were travelling First, so we got an automatic prepaid m/c with $300 for anything we might require. Case forwarded to us 24 hours later.

        • Shoestring says:

          @Jill – from whom?

    • Confused says:

      “I lost the Avios, taxes, an upgrade voucher, accommodation, car hire, etc.”

      but yet “Have just returned from a fortnight in the US.”

      Not sure I follow this. Lost instruments aside, it appears you ‘enjoyed’ two weeks in sunny California regardless?

      Are you saying you now didn’t take the CW flights (using Lloyds upgrade voucher), slept rough in California (appropriately as you had no change of clothes for a fortnight) and didn’t use your booked accommodation or use your presumably pre-booked car hire etc?

      I’d suggest you seek advice much faster in future (ie as soon as you realise such luggage has gone AWOL)

      • Kenneth says:

        Thank you for your valuable advice. And no, the second week was spent visiting friends as I had very little choice with reward availability. What I am saying is that the main purpose of the trip was to perform and record music. The money I spent in advance on car hire, accommodation and such was wasted because I could not do this. And California was not sunny. It was cold and wet. Luckily I didn’t have to sleep rough.

        • I think you’d have to show that you suffered some sort of financial loss due to not being able to play the instruments. If you accept the Ts & Cs when you book your tickets (i.e. that your luggage may not arrive with you) then you haven’t got much of a case TBH. I would have thought valuable musical instruments would need separate insurance anyway?

        • SimonW says:

          I’d have thought you carry the irreplaceable instruments as hand luggage, or rent/buy another one on arrival if they go missing. If 2 of them fitted in a suitcase, I’m guessing they arent that large.

        • Well Anna is right – you need first to establish your financial loss. What was it? I would have thought that the loss of a chance to earn money on your trip would be outside of your insurance terms with Amex and you’d be hard pressed with BA either – but I’m not clear if you are saying that….

        • If you had no (other) clothes, and never bought any to replace them, how did you get by? And why did you ‘waste’ the (prebooked?) accommodation and car hire? Could you not just have used these regardless, if as you say, it was going to be wasted otherwise?

          What travel insurance did you possess? Amex Platinum or Bank policy or arranged personally?

          Lots of detail missing from your woe.

          PS How cold was it? current weather showing about 20 ish degrees

        • Shoestring says:

          Yep well known that BA will not compensate you for consequential losses (ie missed everything! as trip mostly pointless without the instruments) – (yes they would have refunded you urgent replacement clothing, toiletries etc, with receipts).

          Not worth pursuing with BA as they won’t budge & already offered you a reasonable ‘sorry!’ gesture.

        • Mikeact says:

          Seems to me that this guy, unfortunately, is not a seasoned traveller as the story does not seem to me to be from someone who knows their way around. Lesson learned.

        • Justin says:

          I guess BA/travel insurance would have covered you to buy/rent another instrument to do what you needed to.

  6. OT: 1000 Lufthansa Miles and More about to expire. Anything I can do with them/do to prolong their life?

  7. Shoestring says:

    FINTECH start-up Curve ….

    [EDITED as I have already had one formal complaint in the last 7 days from a national print title about Shoestring cutting and pasting entire or large chunks of articles]

    • Freddy says:

      Someone might wanna tell curve that everyone have scrapped their amex cards so may aswell not bother

      • Mikeact says:

        You mean Rob’s 13000 bloggers or his 30000 social media followers…or both ?

    • Shoestring says:

      OK, noted, no wish to do more than quote a couple of short, relevant bits:
      [As a result, Mr Bialick said, his business has spent millions of pounds on transactions fees and development work for a project that never launched….As well as launching a legal challenge, Curve said it is filing a complaint with the Payment Systems Regulator. “We have a very large set of investors and we have a lot of money in our war chest,” Mr Bialick said. “When someone is actively trying to kill you, that means you are disrupting the model.”]

      • “When someone is actively trying to kill you, that means you are disrupting the model” Is he all there? Their business model is a dead end; and to be honest starting to look at little outdated. Who in their right mind would bother to kill off something that isn’t profitable and not that popular (Curve only has 500,000 cardholders according to the article).

  8. sprout7 says:

    O/T – I’m afraid I need some advice on the following strategy:
    I’m looking to align my wife’s BAE tier point year end with mine and despite numerous calls and mails to exec club they are unable to help. The only way I can think to do it is by transferring her points to her Avios.com account, closing her BA account (forfeiting an unused 2 for 1 voucher in the process) reopening a new BAE account in March / April (my year end is March 8th) and transferring the points back into the new account.
    Could anyone confirm if this will / won’t work?
    Many thanks

    • Should work but seems a little extreme. It is pathetic that BA allows this situation to develop. We have four different month ends amongst the four people in our house.

      • sprout7 says:

        Yea it does seem bonkers. My main concern was reconnecting the new BA account to Avios but I guess we’ll give it a go. thanks

      • Yes it is, but it is the only solution BA will offer sprout IME. Been there, tried that! I agree it is extreme though, with status lasting up to two years date differences should not be much of an issue if Mr(s) Sprout travel regularly. At the very least it should provide scope for managing the date of closure and rejoining.

    • ChrisC says:

      You are actively wanting to give up a potentially valuable 2 for 1 voucher just to tidy up some dates?

      You must be mad to give this up and then be willing spend X thousands of avios unnecessaryily on your next trip where you could have used the voucher and saved them.

      She would also lose any current status she may have and also the life time tier points – which may not bother you / here but it would other people.

      But if you want to waste the voucher and avios then go ahead. The only people who would benefit are BA.

      • sprout7 says:

        Following the change in Amex sign up bonus rules the 2for1 becomes less valuable to us as we will cross refer more frequently and obtain more vouchers than in the past. (I currently hold 2). Hitting the £10k spend target is not an issue.

        We intend to travel on more short haul redemptions in economy so having Silver status becomes far more valuable (and for long haul seat reservations). Therefore aligning tier point year end dates becomes significant if we are to maximise the effectiveness of tier point runs / holidays.

        I can assure you there will be significant benefits for me if she is able to get lounge access as well rather than me suggesting she sits outside while I go in alone!

  9. Shoestring says:

    O/T There are other cards. FWIW I took out a Sainsbury’s Nectar credit card this morning, it offers 28 months zero interest on both new purchases and balance transfers up to your credit limit. So you can buy new things for the next 28 months and pay no interest on your purchases, obvs only up to your credit limit. [I have no balance transfers but I guess you’d pay a small fee to transfer your balance from another credit card, then zero interest for the 28 month term.]

    Acceptance was immediate online – which is better than I can say we ever got for Amex card applications! 🙂 Credit limit £15,000. You *must* pay the minimum monthly amount each month or you will lose your 28 month free credit offer.

    Don’t do this unless you can pay off the balance in full before the 28 month term is up (when you start paying interest.)

  10. Rob, any plans to cover the Apple Credit Card that was announced today? US release ‘this summer’ but I don’t see any details of when it will hit the UK.

    • Mikeact says:

      No point.

    • Shoestring says:

      understood but ‘hard cash in return for spending’ will only ever be a fixed percentage of your spend – whereas Avios points (for example) can at times be worth many multiples of their face value.

      Eg a face value 1p Avios point can work out to be worth 4p or so when you need that flight and cash prices are sky high – but there’s still a reward flight available!

      • Chris L says:

        I agree but for many it’s “ifs and buts” vs cold hard cash. I doubt most consumers who follow a blog such as this manage to achieve 1p per Avios value. You’re only going to do so really if you’re redeeming for business class or above, aside maybe from peak times, granted.

      • Chris L says:

        Sorry I meant “…most consumers who DON’T follow…”

      • £25,358.46 for 2 pax one way in flexible first EDI-HKG on Christmas eve when I must travel. I paid under £1k + 75k avios with a 241. Also used avios to BKK on same date last year in CW when even economy was over £1500 return. Doubt you’ll see me near an apple card so long as an avios card remains.

      • Correction to my 22.11 xomment: should read 120k avios for peak first, was thinking of my default off peak CW redemptions which are 75k.

    • Optimus Prime says:

      But a card with those benefits and no fees is not sustainable in the UK market, is it?

    • No

      • This is the sort of problem old media has; failing to keep up with new tech. Apple has massive clout, and Sachs isn’t some two-bit operation. This card will no doubt come to the UK (less sure about mainland Europe), you should be at the front of covering this Rob. Just Saying…

        • The problem is the Apple brand is on a slippery slope because they are failing to keep up with new technology. Reason for their interest in such things as credit cards is because the know they are fighting a losing battle on the tech front. I suspect they will be another Nokia within a decade.

  11. Spurs Debs says:

    Oh I’m going to look at that … any excuse for a spa treatment !

  12. Shoestring says:

    Don’t forget the big wins. You might be focused on points & flights – but some of the really big wins are on pensions & ISAs. Points might be a hobby but points = money.

    Get another £40K into your pension, if at all possible. Before the end of the tax year. That’s the very best big win in my humble opinion.

    Mission success.

    • Shoestring says:

      so a £40K contribution for a basic rate taxpayer must be worth 800,000 Avios points

      for a higher rate taxpayer, considerably more 🙂

    • If you’re earning so little that you get the full £40k allowance then you don’t earn enough to put away £40k ….

      The only reason I think I should stick HFP into a corporate vehicle is that I could reduce my salary to exactly £40k, pay the entire lot into my pension and have zero tax liability.

      • Jimbob says:

        Not entirely true, with the joys of a db pension you can earn less than £100k, yet have “pension growth” of more than £40k per year, and get hit by a marginal tax rate of 80%.

        Think I may have gone off topic though…

        • Haha – it gets better – move from earning £109k to £111k by doing £2k of non-pensionable extra work to cover a gap and you can get a nice £9k+ tax bill, marginal rate 475% or thereabouts. All on a theoretical benefit that you’ll lose about 25%+ of by taking earlier than State Pension Age…

          (OK I’ve gone even further OT but couldn’t resist!)

        • Matthew says:

          Would you mind explaining for me?! Are you talking about the LTA? Thanks

        • No – this is due to tapering of AA. See worked example (in the form of a quiz!) at https://twitter.com/goldstone_tony/status/1109163914175172608. It’s a fiendishly complex piece of legislation that combines with DB pensions (such as the NHS) to make it extremely costly to take on extra work.

      • FlyingChris says:

        “So little” being under 150k…?

        • £150k is £90k net. I doubt anyone on £90k take-home is putting £40k into a pension unless they have substantial savings to top-up their day to day spend.

        • Charlieface says:

          Sorry mate, anyone on 150k paying the full 40% really isn’t doing their homework.
          (For reference I’m on less than 10% of that at the mo)

  13. Benilyn says:

    OT: London to Maldives redemption in business, any ideas? BA impossible to get. Looking for March 2020.

  14. See above…

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