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 here. Part 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.
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.
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 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!
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 airports. Hertz 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.
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.)