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More on the American Express / Priority Pass changes – no more free restaurant meals

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Last week we covered the changes coming to the airport lounge cards issued with Amex Platinum.

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two Priority Pass airport lounge access cards, one for you and one for your supplementary Platinum cardholder.  This allows each of you to get two people, for free and as often as you want, into any of the 1,200 airport lounges in the Priority Pass network.

You can find full details on Priority Pass here – you can buy one separately without having to take out an Amex Platinum card.

Priority Pass restaurant changes The Grain Store

Over recent years, Priority Pass has been adding restaurant partners too.  Instead of visiting a lounge, you can visit a restaurant in your departure terminal and receive a £15 discount on your bill per person.  However, American Express is now removing the restaurant benefit from UK issued Platinum cards.

There was one relevant exception.  The only UK restaurant participating in the scheme, the Grain Store Café & Bar at Gatwick South, will be retained, at least for UK cardholders.  We looked at The Grain Store here.

Amex implied, in a message on July card statements, that other restaurants would also be retained.  It turns out this is not the case.  There ARE seven other ‘non-lounge’ venues being retained but the other six are NOT restaurants.  They are in-airport transit hotels, primarily ‘Minute Suites’ in the USA, where your Priority Pass gets you a bed for one hour.  The Priority Pass website has full details here.

Gatwick’s The Grain Store is, literally, the only Priority Pass restaurant in the world which is still accessible to Amex-issued Priority Pass cardholders.

I also don’t think this will last.  The new Club Aspire lounge is due to open in Gatwick South in mid September – see the website here.   Importantly, this lounge is 50% owned by the parent of Priority Pass.  Once it is active, it makes no sense for Priority Pass to pay for The Grain Store when it can send people to the new Club Aspire lounge instead.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (September 2021)

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points which is a special offer running to 2nd November 2021.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and a special 30,000 points sign-up bonus until 9th November 2021.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (104)

  • Chelseafi says:

    O/T if you make a FHR booking for a later date and Cancel Plat card before stay, will booking remain with all the FHR benefits (provided you settle check out on any other Amex?) thanks

    • Rob says:

      Booking should remain, I very much doubt Amex travel is so wired up. You don’t need even need to use Amex to book Amex FHR – Emyr can do them, he told me! Not sure what proof of Plat card is needed in such a case.

  • Anne says:

    OT Need some advice from HfPers much more experienced in EU261 than I am! Have had notification this morning that BA have cancelled their LHR – Las Vegas flight on 24th Dec and have rebooked us on the 25th. We’d much rather go on the 24th if possible so we don’t lose a day of our holiday – I know I can ask to be rerouted on the 24th via LA for example with BA/American but could I ask to be put on the direct Virgin flight on the 24th instead?

    • Shoestring says:

      it comes down to ‘reasonableness’

      yes – it would be unreasonable of BA not to re-ticket you on the 24th as there’s a significant degree of pain involved in wasting a day of your hols

      but no – they would be perfectly reasonable to ask you to take a ticket via LA (on the 24th), if the extra journey time is only a few hours

      in other words, with EC261 you can at times take matters into your own hands – eg refuse the 25th ticket and if BA don’t give you a new ticket on the 24th, buy it yourself and claim back the costs from BA, if necessary forcing the issue through MCOL. But I’m suggesting you’d probably lose the claim on the grounds of reasonableness if BA offered you a perfectly good alternative via LA on the 24th

      but you never know, they might accept your Virgin direct route alternative (on the phone I mean) if you mention the fact that x extra hours travelling is not acceptable/ unreasonable

      no direct alternative with AA, I suppose?

      • Anne says:

        Thanks Harry. No direct alternative with AA unfortunately, via LA would be preferable to losing a day for sure. Will mull over the options before speaking to BA. It is part of a BA holidays booking inc. hotel (was 24th-31st) so not sure if we’d have any option to move dates slightly, say 23rd to 30th availability permitting, in order to maintain the full 7 nights?

        • Shoestring says:

          if you bought the tickets on a credit card (not a charge card) – you could potentially use the Section 75 legislation to make your credit card co pay for the Virgin tickets on the 24th

          ie BA didn’t fulfil its contract with you – the credit card co is liable for this & must make it good

        • Nick says:

          The fact it’s a BA holiday is important here, given the package holiday regulations that cover what you’ve bought. And yes, they will shift your whole holiday to keep the time away the same, if you ask them. If you wait a few days you may find they proactively get in touch anyway, but by all means call sooner. Note that you want to use the BA Holidays number for this, NOT call BA, as the airline call centre can’t handle this. And if you want to keep the days the same, feel free to look at flight options yourself before you call – they’ll happily book you onto any of their ‘joint business’ flights if you phone. The call agents CANNOT book onto virgin, only airport teams (for on-the-day disruption) can do this. Harry’s right, insisting on this so far out is unreasonable when there’s so many decent alternatives. Personally I’d probably pick Phoenix rather than LA.

    • Michael C says:

      Sorry to hear about that, Anna.
      Just to say that the turnaround in O´Hare is as short as it gets, if you can get rerouted via Chicago.

      • Anne says:

        Thanks Michael, that’s useful info.

      • Adrian says:

        Whilst the turnaround time might be short at O Hare, you’d then be left with 3hrs+ to LAS. If you’re in economy then there’s little difference, if in J then i’d take the lie flat all the way to LAX then you’re just looking at about 1hr to LAS. Also don’t forget you have to clear customs and re-check bags at your first point of entry, so especially if you don’t have global entry you’ll need some time to transfer whether at ORD or LAX. Also if you have status or are travelling in J the lounges are very good at LAX. If you do go on the 25th we’ll see you there as we are on the 275 to LAS!

        • Anne says:

          Thanks Adrian, we’re in J so thinking via LAX might be best if we stick with the 24th. Alternatively may very well see you on the 25th!

    • Anne says:

      Spoke to BA holidays, as ever the call centre staff there are just excellent, to ask about moving the outbound to the 23rd as we’d discussed it and decided we’d rather add a day and find a random hotel for the first night if needed. All sorted – flights changed and BA are covering the cost of the extra night, which is a result.
      The lady I spoke to said a load of cancellations had gone out this morning and it was manic with lots of people calling to change bookings.

  • Aidan says:

    Has anyone received their £10 Addison Lee credits yet? I’ve used that taxi twice, over two separate billing cycles and it quickly charges to my Platinum card but the credit has never appeared. I called Amex yesterday and it has now created a problem record for my issue as apparently the credit should appear within the same bill.

    • Alex M says:

      Yeap – received mine within 3-4 days. Used AL today again – their price from sw20 to lhr5 was just £36, with 10£ discount that makes them cheaper than my local indian mini cab i used to use!

    • Gin and Tonic Please says:

      I’ve not had my credits either. About to contact them today to get it sorted.

    • n_g says:

      I received my July credit a few days after my AL transaction and a few days before my Statement appeared. Have yet to receive my August credit but not sure when to expect it yet.

      Have been finding AL to be good value at times especially with their promos.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Not had mine since using them twice last week.

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    Morning Bits fans

    Any experienced AAers out there – is upgrading an economy (Y and K) ticket with AA miles a thing that’s actually possible in the practical sense? I can’t even work out how to do it, which makes me think it isn’t exactly straightforward…

    • Lyn says:

      I think you can only upgrade one level using AA miles, and even then probably only if you bought the ticket through AA for AA flights or AA code-shares on BA / IB. So can only upgrade to premium economy from economy. I imagine Y might cost more than discounted premium economy in the first place.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        Indeed, though it wasn’t me who booked, company with a travel policy I haven’t got my head around yet.

        What’s the procedure, for trying at least? I’ve got a bajillion Bonvoy points so I can xfer them over to aadvangtage and use them eventually and it was booked with AA direct so no issues there

  • Adam Baker says:

    I’m looking at using my AMEX BA 241 voucher next year. Do I need to wait for a year from the return leg flight date before booking a reward flight, or would it show me return flight options once the out leg date is available?

    • Jonny says:

      If it’s a tricky route to find seats on (e.g. LHR-SIN in Biz) then consider booking it as one-way (using the Amex 2-4-1 online) immediately. Then when the return seat inventory becomes available at T-355, phone up BA and convert to a return. It has to be done by phone. There is no charge. You can still use your Amex 2-4-1.

      The small risk is you’ll have to wait till morning after the midnight release to phone BA and someone doing an online booking may have snagged the seats first the night before. (Or try and phone an overseas BA office that is open at midnight GMT).

      Prob worth the risk of cancelling unwanted single outbounds if the returns aren’t available.

      • Andrew M says:

        Isn’t it posible to book the return online as soon as it becomes avaliable and then phone up and ask to have the two flights linked? The relevent 241 points would then be deducted from the return flight. Of course, you’d need to have enough Avios to book the return portion at full price before getting them refunded.

        • Genghis says:

          Yep. I do this all the time. The only way to use a 241 to CPT for instance.

  • xcalx says:

    OT Anyone else receive this email from Bonvoy , worth checking spam.

    Hello xcalx

    On behalf of the Marriott Bonvoy™ team, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for being a Marriott Bonvoy member. Your loyalty means the world to us.

    We are delighted to give you a small gift. Below is a $30 USD Marriott® GiftCard that may be used at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels and at participating hotel outlets for retail, spa, golf, and food and beverage.
    Marriott Bonvoy Gift Card
    Amount: $30
    Card: xxxxxxxxxxxxx
    PIN: xxxx
    Print this page for your records and present this email at the hotel to redeem the Marriott® GiftCard.
    We are truly grateful that you choose to travel with us. It’s our privilege to host you.
    Wishing you good travel,

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Heard on flyteryalk that people have been sent these over the past 6 months. Seems at random. Enjoy.

  • Kenneth says:

    Seems like the Latam article has been hijacked. Kept directing me to some loompasplace.com dodgy website

    • Rhys says:

      We’re aware of this issue and trying to resolve it as quickly as possible. If it redirects please close the tab/window!

    • Sussex bantam says:

      This was happening to me yesterday too

  • Mark says:

    Hi all – Re: buying Avios.
    Is my logic right here:
    1) To max a 2-4-1 voucher, you need to max your stash of Avios.
    2) If you are short, for a particular planned journey, it is necessary to buy more.
    3) In that case the incremental cost of any you buy to redeem with 2-4-1 voucher is 1/2 of the actual cost price – i.e: 0.54p per Avios in this case.

    Also, it can help meet CC targets to get to your next 2-4-1, or Virgin upgrade.
    Is this a no-brainer if you need more, and have a 2-4-1 or is my logic scrambled?

    • Shoestring says:

      makes perfect sense to me

      I’d probably see it as potentially even bigger value for money, as in: the 2-4-1 gets lost if not used – it can easily be worth £2000 in Business – so by *not* buying the missing Avios (for – say – £250) – you are throwing away £2000.

      Hey presto spend £250 to win £2000.

    • Genghis says:

      I’d encourage you to “run the numbers”. If you can get a sale fare to where you want to go and you’re flexible, buying avios even with the 241 may be poor value.

    • Russ says:

      Siding with Genghis on this one although Shoestring has a valid point.. If you go down the 2-4-1 route you’re committed to BA metal and departing from UK or outliers so will attract high charges.

      Then again you might be in a position to save your money, pick up a cheap RFS seat to Europe then paying cash on a cheaper fare to your destination which will earn both of you points which you can later pool. You would still have your certificate. As Genghis says you have to do the numbers but I’d add if you are doing long haul the airline and type of aircraft you fly becomes more important.

      • Doug M says:

        I agree with what you’re saying. I think giving a 241 a general value can only lead to flawed calculations. It has no value whatsoever until used, if you have a destination in mind, and the seats are available on the dates required, you can compare cash vs redemption and the 241 has a value in that circumstance. If you do it properly and include the Avios you won’t earn as a result of redemption not cash, my guess is mostly you won’t be seeing a £2000 value in that voucher. The calculation is always rigged to some extent, what value on TP which lead to lounge access and greater Avios rewards on paid flights? There’s always an element of what you see as value.

        • Mark says:

          Thanks, all. Even more to think about…

          • Anna says:

            Yes, always crunch the numbers. 3 CW seats to Bermuda or Grand Cayman (where only BA flies direct from Europe) can easily cost £6k, so it would absolutely make sense to buy avios in those cases.

          • Anna says:

            2 CW seats, even! 3 would be £9k 😱

          • Polly says:

            Esp crunch the nos if you get F 241 to Asia. Then again if a QR sale comes up it’s difficult not to cancel the 241 and waste it! Effectively. But then again for the sake of maybe £400 more pp, hardly worth the effort now of chasing 280k avios, if we can bag QR Q suites to Asia.
            Its 4-3 to Fed, few too many proseccos to post! Can’t take the pressure!

          • Genghis says:

            @Anna. Only assuming you’d pay £3k a ticket. Otherwise pointless basing your buying avios calculations on that number.

        • Lady London says:

          This is why Part Pay with Avios can be useful. Even though most of the time you’re not getting as much as you could from the Avios you can chose to use by using Part Pays with Avios, your underlying ticket is a revenue ticket so you will earn Avios and tier points on the journey. On a long haul this is well worth looking at.

          Above is distinguished from Avios+money tickets. An avios+money ticket is an award ticket paid for by Avios and you can add money to the Avios in the ticket. This type of ticket will not earn you Avios nor tier points. Except in very exceptional cases if you get lucky (basically errors in airline systems that in some cases can arise).

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