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.

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Comments

  1. Shoestring says:

    Prime example of a case where you simply need to see miles & points as money (plus there’s the convenience factor). No point chasing the former when you can save a helluva lot more time & money just by being canny with your purchase.

    MSE offers some excellent discount codes. Compare several providers. The sooner you buy, the more money you save – eg I get my Meet & Greet service at LHR with Drivefly for c.£5/ day – not the cheapest per day – but the most convenient, as in you can leave Immigration and be driving away on the M4 10 mins later.

  2. Gavin says:

    I’ve got a 9am flight out of Terminal 4 in September – away for 14 days – I’m very tempted by official Heathrow parking at £76. The Hilton deal is a lot cheaper but the time dealing with the Hoppa is offputting and my wife doesn’t want to stay in a hotel the night before which rules out the other options.

    • Shoestring says:

      here ya go – MSE Drivefly Meet & Greet would be about £80 (another M&G provider comes in at £75 but I don’t know them), so not as cheap per day as your deal – but for diddly extra you get the Meet & Greet service and can get away in minutes as opposed to all that messing about with Hoppas and minibuses.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Exactly why I use Drivefly M&G for reasonable length stays. great prices, reliable and convenient, though ring them before you collect your luggage not after like they say.

        on a last min week long trip I took leaving T5 and returning T4 I used the official Heathrow Valet service for not much more so always worth looking around and checking out checkback deals.

      • Gavin says:

        Can only see DriveFly M&G for £120 – maybe there’s a discount code?

  3. Hilton T5 related, just note that the Hoppa bus is only free if you book a space only with NCP. If you do a stay & park rate direct with Hilton you have to buy the Hoppa tickets from a machine in the lobby. We did the journey to T5 in Feb and took @15-20 mins at 8am on a Monday morning so not as bad as I had been led to believe.

  4. Sussex Bantam says:

    Does anyone know which of the Meet and Greet operators at LHR are owned by the same people ?

    I think Purple Parking and Meteor are now just different brand names of the same group but does that also apply to any of the other operators ? It strikes me that they may largely be the same company just operating under different brands…

    • Purple went bust last year and Holiday Extras bought it.

      • Lady London says:

        I always wondered why Purple Parking went bust. They appeared very successful, great brand recognition and presumably only paid rents for the sites they used? Not sure how they could have managed to go bust.

        • Shoestring says:

          did the owners pay themselves £2m in dividends a couple of years previously by any chance?

          • Lady London says:

            that was what I was hinting….or loaded it with service fees to another company etc… Been a few going bust pretty inexplicably recently.

          • Gavin says:

            they had a huge site near Southall which is now crossrail linked property development – land banking or similar until heads of terms agreed?

    • ankomonkey says:

      It also feels like a monopoly to me. I reckon most of them are under the same ownership.

      I’ve had 2 bad experiences with NCP Hilton T4/5 and found NCP CS inept and customer-unfriendly. But I’ll be using them again next week as they are significantly cheaper every time I need LHR parking for more than just a few days. What challenge will they have for me this time, I wonder…?

      • Shoestring says:

        nothing like a monopoly but they do align their prices a lot – nothing illegal about that – what’s illegal is scheming to align their prices!

        we need a return of the Amex Holiday Extras statement credit deal 🙂

      • How can it be a monopoly? All you need to get started is a field leased off a local farmer and you’re in business. Zero barriers to entry. The fact that Heathrow doesn’t allow bus pick-ups removes what is potentially the only barrier to entry, eg the inability to get a shuttle bus slot.

        • Yorkieflyer says:

          Precisely why I won’t use Meet and Greet. You have no idea how your car is being driven nor where it is parked.

        • Matthew says:

          You need planning permission near where I live to park cars in your field for airport parking! Lots got shut down recently for doing that….

    • Chris L says:

      I’ve used MBW Meet & Greet a few times and found them good. They’re independent and only at LHR. They’re especially useful if you are departing and arriving from different terminals – you can specify this at time of booking.

  5. I’ve used the IHG Stay park go deal for early morning flight and found it a good deal, and earned points offsetting the cost a little. Do we know the reasons why Park and Go was shut down as that was excellent value?

    • I meant “Good to Go”

    • Lady London says:

      Probably because it was cannibalising the airport’s ability to charge their standard rip-off prices to more punters!

      • @Lady L, I always thought G2G was run by LHR management anyway, just a different operation. A bit Like Lexus and Toyota or Nissan and Infinity

        • Lady London says:

          exactly. That was why they probably found they were cannibalising the mainstream ripoff-priced business that is BAA airports selling exactly the same commodity.

  6. Lady London says:

    Thanks for keeping this up to date Rib I really appreciate the new options you’ve researched and brought in.

  7. JohnT says:

    O/t just got into Wimbledon amex lounge, 15 min queue. Lovely space and wonder how many HfP readers there today?

  8. Nate1309 says:

    Real shame G2G parking stopped. Used them a lot and found good value.

  9. Shoestring says:

    Looks like the Hertz One site is down at the moment, good job it was fine at the weekend when I booked my £1 rental to LHR!

  10. Jason says:

    OT
    I have received my annual credit card statement from IHG , but not the free night voucher. Called IHG, they had no idea what’s going on. Is it IHG or Creation issuing the voucher?

    • First_Olly says:

      I have had my free night certificate posted for the past two years without incident although I have never checked how soon after the anniversary they showed up in my IHG account. I would suggest Creation lets IHG know you have met the target and instruct them to issue the certificate so I would call them in the first instance. Having said that, the reports of how bad Creation CS are on HFP might mean you do not get an answer.

  11. Bootlace says:

    If you have a BMW or Mercedes you can leave it to be serviced and parked for up to a week (BMW in Stockley Park) they will take and collect you from whatever terminal you require.

    Alternatively you can leave your keys with a mate of mine who lives in Cranford, he will service your car with a quick spin (literally) in tescos car park in Hayes!

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