Bits: Hilton increases some redemption rates, BA 747 flypast with Red Arrows, Addison Lee discount codes

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News in brief:

Hilton Honors increases some redemption rates with no notice

Hilton Honors has quietly increased some redemption rates over the last few days, with no notice.

Hilton has no ‘official’ redemption chart any longer, of course.  Rewards are dynamically priced based on the current room rate BUT there is also a cap in place.

This is actually a good system, because it encourages redemptions where you may otherwise not bother.  If a hotel is selling very cheaply for cash in the low season, the cost of a Standard Reward Night will fall too.  The value will be around 0.25p – 0.33p per point.

On peak dates, the cap kicks in.  This is where you can achieve the best value for your points.

I have checked the majority of the Hilton properties in London and there are no changes.  The priciest hotels (Conrad St James, Lincoln Plaza and London Hilton on Park Lane) remain capped at 80,000 points.  The cheapest, DoubleTree Greenwich, remains capped at 30,000 points.

However, looking at reports on FlyerTalk it seems that this could be a progressive roll-out rather than a ‘big bang’ change, so perhaps London still has increases to come.  Asia seems to have been particularly badly hit with many properties seeing 10,000 point rises.  It also appears that the vast majority of 10,000 point per night hotels in the US have been moved up to 20,000 points.

I thought I would also look at the ‘exchange rate’ when a hotel is offering redemption rooms for less than the daily cap.  Here are a few London examples for a random date in January 2020 when rates are low and the cap is often not triggered:

Conrad St James – 76,000 points or £235 – 0.31p

The Waldorf Hilton – 71,000 points or £244 – 0.34p

Hampton Waterloo – 46,000 points or £140 – 0.30p

DoubleTree West End – 59,000 points or £162 – 0.27p

DoubleTree Marble Arch – 53,000 points or £164 – 0.31p

Nothing seems to have changed here.  The ‘pence per point’ valuation remains in the range I would expect.  For clarity, the cash price shown is the cheapest non-refundable rate.  Rewards nights ARE cancellable / refundable.  On the other hand, cash nights earn points as well.

If there is something to learn from this it is that Hilton Honors does not feel that it has to give advance notice of changes to the points ‘cap’ on any particular hotel.  If you are considering a Hilton redemption and you have the points in your account, you should book it.  There is no downside – you can cancel at any point for an instant refund – and plenty of upside should the price sneak up.

How to earn Hilton Honors points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Hilton Honors points.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

BA BOAC 747 at RAF air tattoo

British Airways 747 flypast with the Red Arrows! 

British Airways has announced that the Boeing 747 in BOAC livery will be making an appearance at the Royal Air Force International Air Tattoo.

The aircraft will be flying alongside the Red Arrows, which is certainly something you don’t see every day!  This is part of BA’s 100th birthday celebrations.

The event is scheduled for Saturday 20th July at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.  The organisers are promising a similar BA event for Sunday 21st July although details have not been released yet.

Details are not yet on the tattoo website but can be read here.

Addison Lee weekend discount code

Save £5 on Addison Lee weekend trips this Summer – and £8 off your first ride

If you have an American Express Platinum charge card, your new Addison Lee benefit is live today.

You will receive a cash credit of up to £10 per month to offset Addison Lee rides charged to The Platinum Card.  You do not need to opt in to receive this benefit.

You can download the Addison Lee app to your smartphone by clicking here.

First-time riders can save £8 by using code RIDE8.  The minimum spend is £15.  Full terms are here.

For existing customers, the company has launched a new offer for weekend rides taken in June.  You will receive a £5 discount on any ride of £11+ taken on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday in June, July or August.

You must use promo code WEEKEND in the app.  You can claim the £5 up to six times.

You will still receive your American Express Platinum cashback on top of this, based on the net amount charged to your card.  Terms and conditions for the offer can be found here.

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  1. OT. I’m flying into London in August. I have a choice of arriving in LHR T2 or LGW north terminal. Destination is hotel near Wembley. Both airports are approx 1 hour journey time on TFL if not using HEX. Both flight arrivals are roughly the same. I know LHR has an arrival lounge which I may not use. The only thing I can see not factored in is the plane to train duration. Both are domestic flights. I’ve used LGW lots but not LHR T2 at all. Any thoughts which is quicker / better suited to my needs ? I think if I use HEX that makes it quicker to the hotel but is there anything else to consider?

    • Alex M says:

      wembley is only 35-40 mins from Lhr by uber and shouldn’t cost much. Or you could use AL, if you have Amex Platinum 😉

    • Lady London says:

      Other factors being equal I would always choose LHR T2 over LGW if going to Wembley.

      Apart from the presence of Arrivals Lounge which LGW is completely lacking in, Wembley is physically considerably closer to Heathrow than Gatwick giving resilience and more options to reach your hotel if something goes wrong.

      If you do land at Gatwick then look at the train line that goes up via shepherds Bush and then willesden or similar it was a revelation to me earlier this year how quick and easy it is. But I would still choose to land at LHR for Wembley rather than LGW as those rail lines can suddenly become unreliable and LHR gives you additional car/taxi and bus options. I wouldn’t dream of using Hex for Wembley.

  2. Harry T says:

    For those of you keeping an Amex in your wallet rather than cancelling and hoping for the best in 2 years, what’s your current strategy now the regular bonuses have gone?

    • Shoestring says:

      for a start, green card is £60 pa, so we should be able to get that back in year 1 on Amex Small, the other offers, plus the introductory bonus & referral bonus – nothing to worry about

      • Shoestring says:

        and maybe you can time it nicely to upgrade to Plat when your wife doesn’t need to know so her spend is not important?

        • Shoestring says:

          she basically told me flat not to get any more cards in her name 🙂

          of course, my darling, I said

      • Freddy says:

        Didn’t see an intro bonus on the green card

        • Shoestring says:

          then you missed out lol

          I think it’s 2000 MRs or something equally paltry

          • Freddy says:

            Not enough zeros for me!…I think people keeping an amex are hoping that their spend is enough to tide them over. Some relying on upgrade incentives, regular referrals, business cards or in a couple, one person holding an amex and the other diversifying onto other cards and then returning into 2 years. Really depends on people’s aims and means

          • Shoestring says:

            there are always holders of company Amex cards – I got 100K points on my card on expenses in about 3 years 🙂

      • Harry T says:

        For some reason, my replies haven’t been going through.

        Are the cash back offers on Green as good as Platinum? I’ve heard Platinum gets 200£ off 600£ AMEX travel spend etc

    • Steve-B says:

      Currently maximising all my spend through SPG card as this must surely be the next card to be culled. I’ve got a few more referrals to do through my Platinum card then will drop that by the end of the year.

      • Doug M says:

        Similar to this. I’m still pushing some spend through gold, need about another £4K for the 10K points at the end of the year, will stop spending and once 10K points post and cancel the card. Plat will be cancelled after the July trip. Most spend goes through SPG and IHG+. Also going to cancel the Virgin paid card, was good for a year but not worth £160 once you’ve milked the sign-up bonus, although did come in handy when linked to Curve to pay Brighton. Will prob get the Virgin free card if they’ll take me, link that to Curve. Got a Tandem card for foreign spend, low credit limit though, so will probably get the Nationwide one with no FX and free balance transfer.

        • Just to add that I cancelled the CA premium + card this week and managed to get the fee refunded pro rata, found a tweet from VirginMoney last year admitting they would refund fees under certain circumstances although the exact circumstances weren’t explained!

      • Harry T says:

        Why spending so much so much on spg? Flexibility of Bonvoy points? Better earnings rate than Plat?

        • If you ignore the fee (which is unreasonable) you are getting at least 1.5p on Bonvoy points per £1, which can’t easily be beaten. Only 1.5 miles per £1 on the £160 Virgin card comes close.

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks, Rob. What do you mean when say it is unreasonable to ignore the fee?

    • My strategy since I started collecting miles/points has been not rely solely on sign-up bonuses or for that matter one single source of earning. I probably earned as much as points from sources other than sign-up bonuses (and I am not including flying).

      We discussed this here couple of weeks ago. Not everyone can be so devoted to exploiting all the opportunities and I appreciate that. Essentially, I will continue earning as much as I can from all the sources possible and then burn as soon as I can as the next devaluation might be just around the corner.

  3. I just had to spend ages educating the AMEX Gold Business Card call centre agent about the signup bonus for the Business card. I took out the Gold card after 6.5 months without a AMEX Rewards card (my last one was personal AMEX preferred gold card). I phoned and checked with AMEX that I had left it long enough before applying for the Gold Business card on the 28/05 and they told me I had left it more than the required 6 months gap. The card arrived and I started using and then I noticed I didn’t have the usual count-down showing how much more I would need to spend before I hit the signup bonus (£3K in 3 months). When I phoned to ask why the agent kept insisting I had to wait 24 months before I could get a bonus. She referred to her manager twice and then resorted to Googling it then finally agreed with me. She spoke to someone else and then said the AMEX system can’t differentiate between a business or a personal rewards card so she had put a note on the system and I would probably need to call back to get them added once I have completed the spend sign-up bonus amount! She also said she would have to re-educate her colleagues about the differences (24 month preferred rewards gold card gap vs. 6 months gap for the gold business card)! Unbelievable!!

    • Shoestring says:

      good result

    • Rooster says:

      That said you will probably get it once you meet the spend even though there isn’t a count down timer, I wouldn’t phone until then. You can see the amount you have spent by totalling up the months spend on the view points page.

    • Lady London says:

      If they would read HeadforPoints it would keep them up to date.

      • Most of the Amex agents do, they tend to refer people here when they ask tricky questions!

      • Jay Smith says:

        Hilton have joined a long list of companies devaluing their loyalty systems, which means they do not deserve trust fron their customers.

  4. Graham Walsh says:

    I did a quick summary of the main Amex benefits

    Travel Insurance £162
    Car Hire Insurance £42
    Wifi Access £135
    Lounge Access £268
    Total – £607

    You could say you don’t need lounge access if you are BA Silver or just PAYG, same with WiFi. I’ll be cancelling soon once I’ve used up my referrals.

    • Fair enough. It works for our household as we need two lounge access cards (that would be 2x £268) and now and then we can also guest friends/family in for free. I also still think with savings from Amex offers plus I am hoping to do at least onefinestay booking a year or maybe every 2 years.

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