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Bits: 100% bonus buying Hilton points, new Qatar Airways amenity kits, Mastercard bans DCC on prepaid cards

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News in brief:

100% bonus when you buy Hilton Honors points

Hilton Honors has launched a new promotion offering a 100% bonus when you purchase 5,000+ points.

The Hilton ‘buy points’ page is here.

Regular readers of Head for Points will know that I tend to value Hilton points at 0.33p each.  You are paying 0.38p ($800 / £612 for 160,000 at the top end) 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 $2,860 for a five-night stay from 6th to 11th June.  Buying 320,000 points via this deal – if two people bought the maximum and pooled their allowance – 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 on 28th May.

Qatar Airways launching new BRICS amenity kits

If you have a Qatar Airways flight coming up, you may be interested to know that a new range of amenity kits has just been launched in both Business Class and First Class.   The bags continue to be designed by upmarket luggage brand BRIC’s.

To quote:

The new collection of BRIC’s amenity kits includes designs and contents created for both male and female passengers and features all natural Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio skin care products. The range includes lip balm, hydrating facial mist and anti-ageing moisturiser in Business Class, with Night Recovery Cream included in the First Class kits. Socks, eyeshades and earplugs complete the range, with the addition of a BRIC’s signature spectacle pouch and hairbrush in First Class.

For the first time, the versatile First Class female kit contains an adjustable strap that transforms it into a contemporary cross-body bag, enabling passengers to continue using their unique BRIC’s amenity kit as a fashion accessory. This kit comes in two colours, black with red trim and red with pink trim. The attractive First Class men’s kit comes in two colours, mustard yellow with navy trim and navy with green trim and can be reused as a washbag for years to come.

New Qatar Airways BRICS amenity kit

Mastercard bans Dynamic Currency Conversion on prepaid cards

Your travel life gets a tiny bit easier from Friday.  Anyone with a prepaid Mastercard will no longer be offered Dynamic Currency Conversion.

Dynamic Currency Conversion is when a shop or hotel offers you ‘the convenience’ of paying in your home currency, whilst failing to mention that a charge of 5% or so will apply.  To add insult to injury, your credit card will often add an additional 3% foreign currency surcharge – even though you paid in Sterling – because the transaction originated outside the UK.

From Friday, prepaid Mastercard products – which includes loadable cards such as WeSwap – will be blocked from DCC.  The card terminal will block it at the point of payment.  This may also include the Miles & More Mastercard which is technically a prepaid product.

The easiest way to avoid DCC is to pay with an American Express, since Amex bans the practice entirely.  Unfortunately, UK American Express cards charge 2.99% foreign exchange fees so it makes more sense to pay with a specialist Mastercard or Visa which waives this. has more details on this story here.

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  1. OT I can’t connect my Radisson account via the points transfer within Amex. Do I need to remove any of the digits from the membership number?

  2. Derek Broughton says:

    Does the DCC block apply to Curve cards? I can’t recall whether they’re technically considered prepaid.

    • The_real_a says:

      They used to be prepaid, but for the last 9 months they have been issued as “proper” debit cards (surprisingly).

  3. OT Finally getting round to looking at the Tesco sim deal – do you have to have your phone unlocked to do this? Sorry if that is a dumb question!

    • Either unlocked or locked to O2-UK

    • Or find a friend with a suitably unlocked phone.

      • I want to use my own phone as I only have 500mb – just come out of contract so I need to update it – so I could use the 8gb when away in our caravan later in the month – save on my mobile data gadget

        • Most networks unlock for free once out of contract. Do a quick google search. You may have to call them or fill in an online form.

    • The_real_a says:

      Suitable phones are available from asda/argos for as little as 10quid

  4. OT
    For Amex to Virgin transfers is there a special way to do it online (goes round in circles and will not add account when I try) or shall I live chat them. Thanks.

  5. illuminatus says:

    OT – had another very pleasant ride with Wheely to Gatwick this morning. There are still about 5 weeks left for Amex promo, I higly recommend it.

    Remember to use H6CD5 to get 20% off your 1st ride (stacks with Amex offer).

    • Louise says:

      Also Wheely amended my transaction when I was below the £25, I just messaged them
      and they refunded and recharged to make it over £25 🙂

      • illuminatus says:

        Yep, they still seem to be of that sweet size as a company where you get to real people in support, as opposed to ‘human bots’ or ‘procedures’.

      • SimonW says:

        aargh, well done you. I just sucked up a £23.60 charge. didnt think to message them to charge me more ! I have one more £25 deal left to stack with 20% off referral code though. £100 trip to LHR nets out to £55 in a lovely Mercedes van.

    • Husband and I found the two drivers we used over the weekend to be very friendly and professional with a lovely comfy car. Just had two of the £25 cashback credits on account today. One left to use. First ride stacked nicely with the 20% new customer discount. Used someone’s code from here so thanks for that whoever it was.

    • Luthar says:

      Had the wheely offer on 4 cards in my house. Used it a total of 12 times with the last 8 trips being just under £26. I really enjoyed that offer.

    • Doug M says:

      I used them to and from theatre on Monday. On the way had a really good chatty driver and asked me how I’d heard of them, mentioned Amex and he said yeah I’m hearing that a lot.

  6. ShouldntCare says:


    My other half got the SPG Amex a couple of months and has amassed 40k+ points, none of which have transferred because the Bonvoy membership number didn’t ‘register’ correctly during the application.

    Called AMEX and asked them to manually add, and received a letter in the post 2 weeks later rejecting the affiliation because ‘names don’t match’.

    Does anyone have experience with the above? First time this ever happens (we’ve churned the SPG card a bit) though not with a Bonvoy number. Is it a call to Marriott to get this fixed? We sometimes face issues because we have more than one surname (paternal & maternal).

    I doubt AMEX will be able to sort it out…and I’m definitely not planning on losing those points!!! Anyway I could get them transferred to my personal Bonvoy account instead?

    Any help appreciated.


    • Charlieface says:

      I had that with my OH who had her maiden name on her SPG account but Amex was in married name. The names must match exactly or it will reject it. The easiest way round for me was to email SPG to change the name (ended up emailing Marriott as it was after the transfer)

  7. OT: Hi All, With the AMEX “Churn” ended – will slowed to every 2 years at least. I was wondering if the same “Churn priciple” could be applied to any other the other cards.

    Specifically I was thinking about the IHG Mastercard (Non-premium) – that I’ve had for a while now – it’s my AMEX backup Mastercard – where there is a 10,000 signup bonus (with small minimum £200 spend). You have to keep the card for 6 month to prevent the signup bonus being reclaimed, but I was wondering if you them closed it and later (don’t know how long?) re-applied would you get the bonus again. (Again, going the time switch with the wife to ensure we always had a card running)

    I didn’t know if anyone had tried this or had any ideas.
    Thanks, Rob

  8. illuminatus says:

    OT – I am currently a holder of the free HSBC Premium CC.

    Am I correct that if i switch to the World Elite version, i will still get all the bonuses?

    Has anyone had any good experience of targeted bonuses or other incentives to switch to WE upon calling their support agents?

  9. OT – AMEX Shop small promotion.

    Looking at the map of my area some of the “shop small” locations coming up are Costa Coffee, Superdrug, New Look and WH Smiths. I guess AMEX’s view of “small” has radically changed!

    • My email from Amex this morning, although promoting small businesses is NOT as previous where I get cashback on my account for £10 spend. Are other getting the £5 cashback as per previous offer?

      • I have received a number of £5 ‘Promotion Credits’ probably from missing ShopSmall items. But on cards now closed so need to transfer to current card.
        But not on current purchases. There was a very brief reprise a few weeks ago with one per card on some cards (none of ours).

        • It’s not one per card

          That would have been ridiculous

        • Callum says:

          Why would it be ridiculous? Pretty sure mine also said once per card.

        • Tenner says:

          Callum, it’s an incentive to “Shop Small”, not “Shop Once”.

          “Pretty sure mine also said once per card” – Indeed, my own said the same, but it was simply poorly worded.

        • Rui N. says:

          In the US, Shop Small that only can be used once have been common, so it is expected that eventually they’ll come here as well.
          In one year, the Shop Small promo in December was simply “please use your Amex card to shop small”, not a cent was given.

      • Rob did an article on this promotion a week or so ago and it was definitley stated in that article that it was once per card for this particular promotion. If the map is accurate (and that is a big IF!) then the participating locations are not necessarily small. If the map is not accurate then you can’t rely on getting your fiver back no matter where you use it.

  10. Sent some points from Amex MR to Hilton honours last Tuesday. Still not arrived on the Hilton side.

    Accounts are linked and have don’t it before. What’s the hold up here?

    • Benylin says:

      Just for reference, not much help, I sent some on Saturday and got then yesterday. First time doing it to to my Hilton account.

  11. Chechire Pete says:

    DCC is just a fraud. I challenged Halifax Clarity why it’s not blocked as it serves no purpose on a 0% wholesale exchange rate card in any way or form, other than merchant banks trying to cream off profit. It should be banned permanently, never mind just prepaid products.

    • Shoestring says:

      the reason they have to offer DCC is legal/ down to competition law, ie it’s mandatory to allow other banks the opportunity to deal with your transaction. That’s why prepaid credit cards *don’t* have to offer DCC as you already selected the bank you prefer.

  12. Gounadave says:

    For new amenity kit read .Same contents in lower quality case . I speak from my flight on 01/04

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