BA sale

Bits: save 5% off ski hotel packages with SNO, 18000 Avios with The Economist (1.2p each), Park Hyatt Kyoto opens

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News in brief:

Save 5% on ski holidays with SNO

Long term readers will remember that, last year, we arranged an exclusive reader discount with ski holiday company SNO.

I’m pleased to say that SNO has agreed to offer Head for Points readers an exclusive 5% off discount code again this winterTheir website has some good half board hotel packages at the moment, including the Hotel San Giovanni (pictured) in Livigno, Italy, which currently comes with a free lift pass.

You can claim a 5% discount from the brochure price of all SNO holidays using the code SNOHFP.  You can find all SNO hotel deals here – you need to book by telephone 020 7770 6888 to claim your 5% discount.

It’s back – earn 18,000 Avios with a subscription to The Economist

British Airways and The Economist have brought back their special offer for taking out a subscription.  As you can see at this link, you can earn up to 18,000 Avios with a new one-year subscription.

Here are the two options on offer if you are a UK resident:

Print only or digital only:  £179 with 15,000 Avios (1.19p per Avios)

Print and digital:  £215 with 18,000 Avios (1.19p per Avios)

Subscribing to The Economist could make sense just for the Avios bonus even if you have little intention of reading it in detail, although there are occasional opportunities to buy points for nearer 1p each.

There are even better deals when looking at other countries.  A digital only subscription for someone with a Canadian address snags you 15,000 Avios at 0.78p per point (C$199 / £116). Pricing in the Eurozone is unfortunately poorer than in the UK, with 1.6p per Avios on digital-only subscriptions in Belgium, France and Germany.

As always, if you are self-employed you may be happy writing off the subscription cost as a business expense which would sharply reduce your price per Avios even further.

This offer runs until 31st January.   Thanks to Michael for spotting this.

avios economist

Park Hyatt Kyoto opens – an excellent redemption

Japan has become an increasingly popular tourist destination in recent years, and the Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics will have made even more people interested.

(If you’re a committed Head for Points reader, you will be most interested by the opportunity to redeeem a very small number of Virgin Flying Club miles for the amazing new ANA Business Class and First Class seats!)

When I was in Kyoto in 2017, I stayed at the exceptionally classy The Ritz Carlton, which I reviewed here.  That hotel was a game changer in terms of how people saw The Ritz Carlton, which had started to lose some its shine in recent years.

Park Hyatt has now come to Kyoto.  Park Hyatt Tokyo became world famous for its role in Lost In Translation, and big things are expected from this hotel.

As a World of Hyatt redemption, you are – unsurprisingly – looking at the highest possible rate of 30,000 points per night.

This is still excellent value, however.  This hotel is exceptionally expensive – £1,000 per night in late March and over £2,000 per night in late April.  You are getting 3p-7p per point compared to my standard valuation of 1p.  Even when you go slightly ‘out of season’ in May it is coming up at £700+.  Remember that Hyatt guarantees that reward nights can be booked as long as ‘standard’ rooms are bookable for cash.

This would be an EXCEPTIONAL deal when Hyatt next runs a ‘buy points’ bonus, where you tend to pay around 1p per point.  The last 40% bonus ended three weeks ago but I’m sure another deal will be along before too long.

What happened on my Virgin Atlantic 'celebration' flight to Tel Aviv with Richard Branson ......
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Comments

  1. Booked Park Hyatt Kyoto for next year’s sakura season couple of months back when they opened up redemptions. The rates were around £1600 per night after tax. I topped up my points balance during the buy points promotion. All considering one night cost me £250. Property looks amazing and food prices seem reasonable too compared to Ritz Carlton.

    Just a warning, it is very difficult to find award space during high season and sometimes even off-peak. It might be because it is a new hotel, so people want to try or because hotel is playing games with inventory or both. For my dates there was a minimum stay of 3 nights in order to book on points. If you looked for same dates and one or two nights nothing would show up even though standard room was available to book for cash. Hyatt agents wouldn’t budge and said minimum nights rule applied, so I booked 3 nights online and then called to shorten to 2.

  2. Dorset Flyer says:
  3. OT: Paying rent via debit card, using Curve linked to IHG.

    Will Creation see this as a “cashlike” transaction and limit it to £700/week?

    • Payment goes to an estate agent, if that helps.

    • Harry T says:

      Unsure about your idea but I know that you can top up Revolut with IHG and could then do a debit card transaction or bank transfer from Revolut to pay rent. Hope that helps.

      • Thanks, but unfortunately Revolut can only be topped up slowly from IHG cards, and the payment is both large and imminent!

        • IHG does indeed grind slowly with Curve, to paraphrase the proverb. We’ve now got one each, to speed up the process and also unlock a second free night for spending £10k; to my delight I had forgotten about the 20,000 point sign up bonus on new cards! One thing we use it for is our monthly car payment, as the company doesn’t take Amex, but I have to make sure I have £300 loaded up to Revolut in the days beforehand to be sure we stay within the IHG limits.

          • Can you have 2 separate IHG credit card accounts but credit them to just the one IHG account?

            Looking at rejigging current Hilton focus & husband could help with that!

    • Not sue why think it will look cash-like; surely it will just show the agent’s name?
      A few weeks ago I paid £2700 to a vet without problem. The insurance would have paid direct but then no points!

  4. OT / CURVERS BEWARE!! Both myself and my husband have had our IHG credit card accounts stopped and new cards being sent out due to a data breach reported to them by mastercard. However in both cases it was an attempt at Curving something (it happened to me so I tested with my husbands so we know what it was) we were double dipping at the time is all I will say, so beware they will not listen when you tell them that it was you using the card because once the breach is reported they must follow guidelines. Access to online account suspended until new card arrives too so I will have to call to make payment too. Very annoying 🙁

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Same with my IHG Black primary card, but the supplementary is fine, as is my White card, and OH’s Black and White cards. Access to online account still fine, and I was told to just use the supplementary until the replacement turns up.

      They were all 6x (2x white, 2x black and 2x black supplementaries) being used for the same thing, so god knows what’s caused the issue on only one.

      • Be interesting to see if the same happens again when the new cards arrive, if so I will cancel them as I cant spent the 10k on them directly. I do now have access to my online account, it was a temporary suspension. I guess IHG will have lots of new cards to send out in the coming weeks until they realise there is no data breach, they certainly wouldnt listen to us.

  5. Benilyn says:

    Wild OT: Anyone know any copy-cat room spray / diffuser for that Shangri-La hotel smell?

  6. OT one for Harry @shoestring

    Flying LBA-LHR-BCN on Friday. Can you go over the routine for snagging the exit row seats.

    Thanks

    • Harry T says:

      I’m interested too!

      • Shoestring says:

        OK but somebody recently said they couldn’t make it work, might have been an element of user error?

        1. check in online T-24 or the earliest you can, choose the best seats you can – but *DO NOT* print BPs or save as PDF – just exit saying you’ll pick up BPs at airport [the reason is that this crystallises your BP with no further change possible]
        2. arrive earlyish at airport and do self check in at the machines, these let you choose any seat (in your fare class) for free incl exit seats
        3. if it fails (as that other person said), you can still go to the check in agent and ask for a better seat incl exit seats for free

        • It was I!

          T5 machines now give no opportunity for user input after you put your passport in – they just spit out your BP.

          I haven’t tried going straight to a desk, but since now most desks are unmanned, I wouldn’t be too hopeful.

          Please report back if you manage to pull it off at T5.

        • Thanks H. Will give it a go at LBA on Friday.

  7. OT, I want to move my Avios to AER club from my BA Executive account. Can anyone help?
    I have an Avios.com account all set up.

  8. Harry T says:

    OT: Avios on BA Cityflyer.
    I’m looking to go to Florence in August from Edinburgh and Palma in September, again from Edinburgh. These are direct flights with BA Cityflyer (thanks, @Anna for alerting me to these a while back).

    I have the option to book either Club Europe or Euro Traveller redemptions for these flights, both of which are good value per Avios. I’ve used the Avios and money option that gives best value per Avios, which does yield higher taxes.

    Please could someone who has flown these routes suggest whether it is worth the extra Avios for flying Club to and from these destinations?

    Seems like you get fast track security and a decent lounge at Edinburgh but not coming back. Club and Economy have the same 2-2 configuration and actual seats on the planes BA Cityflyer uses, so no advantage to the actual physical club seat.

    I’ve included the Avios options below.

    Edinburgh to Palma is, for each leg:
    Economy: 6800 Avios + £121
    Club: 18700 Avios + £131

    Compared to the cash fares, this works out as
    2.43p per Avios for economy and 1.08p per Avios for Club.

    Edinburgh to Palma is, for each leg:
    Economy: 5000 Avios + £121
    Club: 16000 Avios + £161

    Compared to cash fares, this works out as 3.43p per Avios for economy and 1.65p per Avios for Club.

    Thanks for any help. I just want to make sure I don’t squander Avios on Club redemptions that don’t offer much benefit over Economy redemptions on these short haul flights.

    • Harry T says:

      I should say I can only really find information pertaining to the LCY BA Cityflyer flights online, so I’m hoping someone can give me advice about the Edinburgh routes, if they vary significantly.

      @BJ have you flown these routes from Edinburgh?

      • Shoestring says:

        that’s a lot of extra points & money for a couple of G&Ts and a sandwich / lounge snacks plus the 10 second pleasure of boarding & exiting first

        as you say, the journey (seat) is no better – no blocked middle, even – if you had 2x 32kg of luggage, that’s different but I guess that doesn’t figure

        eg your (single) Palma leg effectively costs you an extra £120! Nothing says you have to get trolleyed every time you fly, buy a couple of drinks in the pub & a bottle of Beefeater or Gordon’s in Duty Free for later & save your pennies would be my advice, esp with an Embraer

        • Lady London says:

          Not flown the routes but CE does not seem to give anything much to look forward to. Esp oit of LCY. So Y every time if using Avios.

          Club only worth cash if cheap (possible in low season) and if you need tier points.

          I think i’d also check in case there are cheap Y cash fares. Should be esp if you dont have to take BA. Dépends how many Avios you have and how easy you find it to earn them.

        • Harry T says:

          Thanks @Shoestring and @Lady London – much appreciated. Y cash fares are extortionate, as I think these are the only direct flights from Edinburgh to Florence and Palma – will double check. Obviously I can cancel my Avios redemptions if cash flights plummet in price. I prefer the Avios flights for now because I can’t get time off work that far in advance.

      • No but I’m interested, only problem is my partner doesn’t have the time. If we do then I expect we would just choose ET on avios as I value flexibility and we have other lounge options. The 2+2 config us compelling to settle for ET imo.

    • I’ve flown the MAN-NCE route and will be doing MAN-AGP next year. On such short flights with no difference in the seating I would save my avios every time and travel in ET, especially as the lounge at MAN is nothing to shout about and I have never noticed any difference in the circles of hell which constitute the MAN security experience!

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks – looks like the Club Europe experience isn’t worth the extra on these routes then! I’ll save my Avios for long haul 241.

        In unrelated news, what’s your current Amex/rewards card strategy, Anna? I’m wondering whether I should take a break from Amex so I can reset for the bonuses in two years. My partner is going to take the two year break.

        • You need a partner Harry, settles the strategy dilemma and comes with a few other benefits too 🙂

          • Harry T says:

            I’ve got a partner! Does have some benefits, I agree :).

            What’s your strategy for points collection with your partner?

          • Regards amex? When the rules changed we split the difference, my partber cancelled all, his cards and started the clock ticking while I carried on my old habits business as usual.

          • Harry T says:

            I’m thinking of doing something similar. I will apply for the SPG six months after cancelling it and see if I have been favoured by the Amex IT gods, as you have! Currently just maxing out referrals on the Platinum, waiting for Amex Travel 200£ off and spending on Gold to get the 10,000 Bonus MR. Just got my 241, so BAPP will be going soon.

    • Scallder says:

      Flying back from Florence in July (albeit to City), the queue for check in was longer for the Club/Priority check in desk (there was 1) than the standard desk (there was 1)!!

  9. OT – BA On Business flight booking changes/cancellations.
    Broke my foot the last couple of days, so I need to either cancel or change the date of my BA on Business booking – anyone done this before? The website seems to say that you will receive the on business points back, but does not say what the fees/charges are for doing so? Any feedback appreciated!

    • Lady London says:

      No charges – at all – but you used to have to leave a clear day between change/cancel and date of flight. So for a Thursday flight you had to do it on Tuesday not Wednesday.

      Be careful not everything used to work properly in the OB website. So do in their opening hours in case website does not work and you have to call them.

  10. OT: What are people’s thoughts on AMEX travel offer appearing any time soon? Thx!

    • Shoestring says:

      yep due for a repeat appearance, possibly

      • Charlieface says:

        What I’m missing is the Post Office offer, that came regularly every 6 months til it stopped about a year ago. £10 One4All gift cards were suddenly very popular at the time…

        • Charlieface says:

          That’s hilarious, I just saw on the previous page it came back again. Unfortunately don’t seem to have it…

        • +1
          They could never understand why I did not care which pattern card they gave me.

          • I asked for the ‘thanks teacher’ ones and tge lady in the pist office commented on a lovely gesture and when I redeemed them them the shop assistant said I must be a popular teacher!

          • *post office even 🙂

  11. OT – The Emirates Cashback offer of £200 off £1800 spend appears twice in my offers with different end dates, 08/11 and 27/11.

    I’m curious if anyone else has this. Would it trigger twice hence £400 off a qualifying spend?

    • Shoestring says:

      quite possibly, yes!

      nobody knows in this particular instance – but there have been similar situations (ie 2 relevant offers available for the same supplier) where both have been triggered by the same transaction

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Yep when you have the same offer twice double dips seem to happen.

        • Thanks both. There’s only way to find out I guess. Just need to find a decent J fare that is also eligible for a potential F upgrade using Skywards miles. That’d be a real winner.

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