Holiday Tips 3 – how to earn Avios and get the best deals on Heathrow Airport car parking

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With the schools breaking up, I am currently running updated versions of my annual travel planning series.  This will cover the best ways of earning or redeeming miles and points to get the best value from your Summer travel.  Part 1, on earning Avios and miles from car rentals, is herePart 2, covering ways to earn miles when buying foreign currency, is here.  This is the final article.

“How to get a discount on airport car parking” is a difficult and long-winded question, especially at Heathrow.  Luckily for me, the good people at moneysavingexpert.com have written a long article on the subject, which you can find here I can therefore focus on the ‘miles and points’ angles.

Earning and burning from official Heathrow Airport parking

The official Heathrow Airport car parks are not the cheapest option but are certainly convenient.  Depending on your car park, you may even get to travel to Terminal 5 in the very cool driverless ‘pods’.  We did a trip report on the ride on the driverless pods (and a video, because we’re sad!) which you can find here.

Heathrow pods

You can reduce what you pay for the official Heathrow car parks by redeeming Heathrow Rewards points.

The rate is a £10 voucher for every 500 points you redeem.  This is a very good deal, because the alternative would be receiving 500 Avios – and I certainly don’t value an Avios point at 2p – or a £5 shopping voucher.

You can also earn points with Heathrow Rewards, convertible to Avios or various other airlines, when you book the ‘official’ Heathrow car parks, at the rate of 1 point for every £1 spent.  The website for the official Heathrow car parks is here.

Good To Go parking has been closed

For a number of years, Heathrow Airport was quietly running a white-label parking site called Good To Go Parking.  This sold parking at Heathrow at discounted prices as long as you stay a Saturday night.

Good To Go was designed to compete with Purple Parking, Holiday Extras etc.  They actually tried to hide the fact that you would be parking in the official airport-owned car parks rather than the middle of a field five miles away.

Unfortunately, the majority of Good To Go was closed down earlier this year.

Earning Avios from offsite airport parking

You will usually save money by parking at an unofficial car park near an airport, although the trade off is a longer transfer time to and from the terminal.

British Airways recently ended their long-term partnership with Holiday Extras and launched a new parking partnership with ParkVia.

What is new with the ParkVia partnership is that it is NOT just UK only.  As well as allowing you to book parking at 19 UK airports, it also covers much of Europe, Canada and the USA.  If you find yourself needing to prebook airport parking in, say, Hamburg, it can be done very easily.

You will earn 5 Avios per £1 spent on parking.  You can book via the BA-branded ParkVia portal which you will find here.

Earn Avios with valet parking

You can also earn 5 Avios per £1 on pre-booked Valet parking at Heathrow Terminals 3 and 5, as well as 5 Avios per £1 spent when you pre-book a meet-and-greet parking service at a UK airport other than Heathrow.

The valet parking offer is outlined on this page of ba.com.

Earn Virgin Flying Club miles from airport parking

Virgin Flying Club has a partnership with Holiday Extras.  Full details are on the Virgin site here.

Holiday Extras offers the option of a ‘meet and greet’ service as well as on- and off-airport parking.  They will collect your car at the terminal and bring it back on your return.  All Flying Club members get a discount – even those on the free Red level – and you will earn 250 to 500 miles depending on what service you book.

NCP car park at Hilton Heathrow Terminal 5

How to get a good Heathrow parking deal via the NCP at Hilton T5

The Hilton Heathrow Terminal 5 hotel (photo above) has its own NCP car park.  You can park here for far less than using the official Heathrow car parks. Even better, your parking price includes a free ticket from hotel reception for the Hotel Hoppa bus service which will take you to the airport.

Details are on the NCP airports website here.  Search for ‘Heathrow’ in the top-right box and select the Hilton option.

This is how it is described:

“This NCP Heathrow Airport car park offers:

  • A convenient location near Heathrow terminals 4 and 5.
  • A shuttle bus service that’s included in the cost of your parking and runs regularly between the car park and the main terminal buildings.
  • A staffed car park 24hrs a day and located within the grounds of the 4 star Heathrow Hilton Hotel.
  • The ability to pre-book your Heathrow parking using our great value saver rates.
  • One of the cheapest Terminal 4 and 5 parking options available.”

One thing to note is that the Hilton Heathrow Terminal 5 – and therefore the NCP car park – is NOT in the airport, hence the need to give you a free ticket for the Hotel Hoppa bus.  It IS well priced, however, compared to the official airport car parks or some independent operators.  There are a lot of cowboys operating in this space and using a random name is not recommended.

The pricing at the NCP Hilton Terminal 5 option is particularly attractive if you may need to cancel your booking – you only pay a modest premium for a flexible rate.  You can get a quote via the NCP airport site here.

Using Clubcard points for airport parking

Using Clubcard vouchers for offsite airport parking

Tesco Clubcard has a partnership with airport parking group APH.  You can see details of the deal here.

You receive 3 x the face value of your Clubcard vouchers (recently improved from the old rate of 2x face value) if you redeem them for APH parking.  You need to be booking for a minimum of eight days in order to use vouchers.

Do a one-way car rental to the airport for just £1!

As I outlined in this articleEuropcar is offering one-way UK car rentals for a flat fee of £1, including basic insurance.  Most of these are to or from major airports, in particular Heathrow.

This is not a marketing ploy.  The company is trying to save itself money by using you as free labour to get cars back to their original location or to re-allocate vehicles across sites.  Why pay a truck to haul a vehicle across the country when you can find someone willing to pay you £1 for the privilege?!  The Europcar £1 rental page is here.  (EDIT:  this site has not been working properly for a few weeks.  I have kept it in the article for when it gets fixed.)

Hertz has also introduced its own £1 one-way rentals to and from airportsHertz One, as it is called, is explained in this HFP article.

Earning hotel points with ‘hotel and parking’ packages

I wrote an article earlier this year on the semi-secret ‘park and fly’ Park Stay Go rates offered by IHG Rewards Club via a little-known corner of their website.  This is worth a look.  You may find that you can book a hotel room for the night before plus solve your parking problem for less than the cost of an official car park.

The benefit of booking an ‘official’ IHG package rather than using a consolidator like Holiday Extras is that you will earn IHG points for your stay and your elite benefits should be provided if you have status.  Full details of IHG’s Park Stay Go are on the IHG website here.

The other Heathrow hotels may also offer similar packages depending on how busy they are.

Staying at the Heathrow Thistle for a quick pod transfer

If you are flying out of Terminal 5 at Heathrow, take a look at the Thistle hotel.

This is, frankly, not the most modern of hotels.  The reason to book a ‘park and fly’ package here is that you can use the driverless pods to reach Terminal 5 as they operate from the official car park behind the hotel.  There is a £5 per person charge for this but it makes for a fun and trouble-free start to your holiday.

I stayed at the Thistle Heathrow and took the pods to Terminal 5 the next day.  Here is my Thistle Heathrow hotel review.

Get an ‘under the carpet’ deal at one of the Heathrow hotels!

Some hotels at Heathrow sell their parking spaces – with no obligation to book a room – via the JustPark website.

If you want a really cheap deal, there are also private individuals on JustPark who rent out their driveways!  Most live inside the ‘free Heathrow bus travel zone’ so you won’t have to pay to get to or from the airport – although you will have to take your luggage on a standard bus.

I wrote a full overview of JustPark in this article.

Conclusion

There is no simple answer to the cheapest airport parking at Heathrow, or elsewhere in the UK. It is all about the trade off between the distance from the airport and the price you want to pay. If you would need a hotel the night before anyway, then a ‘hotel plus parking’ package is probably your best option – but remember that these packages, unless booked direct, are unlikely to earn hotel points or give you elite status benefits.

If you are price conscious, then don’t be distracted by the Avios points on offer from various operators. Focus on the bottom line price.  If you are spending your employers money, or are not price sensitive, there are numerous opportunities to earn Avios or Heathrow Rewards from the pricier, more convenient parking options.

(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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Comments

  1. An excellent post as always Rob…although only 2 days after I’ve just booked my Heathrow Parking for next month (August 2019)!!! As a tight Scotsman who doesn’t like to pay much for anything I thought I’d share my experiences of Heathrow Parking (it might help others).

    In my case this year we didn’t book our holiday plans until the last few weeks and while it always pays to book early for certain parts of your holiday….booking direct with the official Heathrow dot com website worked cheaper for us. I work in the aviation sector so can usually source good discounts with trade for various travel type things, but even with this route I couldn’t better the price that we received.

    Our situation was as follows:

    2 Adults and 3 Children that required parking for 14 days in mid August at Heathrow. As we are travelling from Derbyshire and our flight back into T5 doesn’t land until 2250hrs, we had two options…
    1. Face a 3hr drive home and get back at stupid o’clock
    2. Find a Hotel and parking option.

    The problem with many of the Stay, Park and Fly options are the hotel distances and the reliance on the Hoppa/TFL Bus services. These Hoppa services stop running anytime between 2300 ish and 2330hrs. So you are dependent on alternative means of transport (which can very expensive and outweigh the deal). Also from experience…some of the cheaper hotel options can be the furthest away with 20 min journey times…not what you want after a long day/flight, lots of bags and 3 kids in tow! So whilst its nice to park at a hotel and keep your keys etc …..there’s this time issue and the extra £20 overhead for the tickets ( 2 x Adult Rtn).

    The Meet and Greet Options are usually pretty good (we’ve had good and bad experiences) Again some stop after 2330hrs and you pay a premium there after. We quite like the Heathrow T5 Long Stay (a quick bus journey), keep your own keys and regular times.

    Looking at our parking options online with the Official Heathrow Parking website…it was coming out at £139.20 for 14 days parking…..No thanks …so then I looked at various other options such as MSE…my own trade discounts through APH, Holiday Extras etc. Although some were cheap..once you added the transfers etc and add ons it didn’t look so good.

    Then I stumbled on the small section of the Official Heathrow parking website which mentioned Stay and Park options..so after loading in my details a price came back for £154 for a Mystery Hotel (Holiday Inn Express T5 on Slough Road after a bit of google search) with T5 Long Stay parking and parking at the Hotel which is supposed to be £10 per night.

    So for an extra £15 we’ve got a hotel room for the night with Breakfast and parking…plus the Official T5 Car Park for 14 days. When we phoned with APH (The Agents managing the service on behalf of Heathrow) couldn’t bring up this price!

    I guess in a long winded way….Try the searches on the Official sites using all options and see what comes back…..

  2. OT e-Rewards… Is anyone getting sick of completing most of a lengthy, survey as in 15 to 20 minutes, only to be told you are not suitable, or to get a 30 minute survey for a few hundred points?

    • Lady London says:

      This kind of fraud by survey sites is pretty rife. There is forum discussion on it on MSE.

    • Mark2 says:

      I used to do those surveys a lot and got probably 100,000 Hilton points but I stopped about 12 months ago for the reasons you mention and lack of time.

    • Peter K says:

      I gave up on E-rewards after they changed the goalposts ealier this year. Haven’t bothered with them since and what you have said has reaffirmed my choice.

    • Never had this issue myself, always get told I’m not compatible within a few minutes.

  3. Thanks Rob. There have been a couple of Thistle offers on amex so may try one day. We usually just book one of the chain hotels which give us points on parking and leave the car in their carpark. You get to keep the keys rather than handing them over.

  4. Roger says:

    Rob, slightly off topic but I just wondered if the 100% bonus on Heathrow Rewards to vouchers offer will be on this year? I recall last year it went live on 24th July! Any help appreciated as flying on 27th from T5!

    • There is a new team at HR, who I haven’t met yet, and they don’t seem keen on any sort of bonus as you will have seen (or not seen) so far in 2019.

      • Roger says:

        Thanks for coming back – will be interesting to ‘watch this space’. Have a good rest of the weekend 🙂

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