Bits: Up to 30% off No 1 Lounges, bid for an IHG NYE party in Manchester, 20% off Radisson conversions to miles

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News in brief:

Save 30% on No 1 Lounges gift vouchers

No 1 Lounges has launched a Christmas offer, with up to 30% discount on lounge passes.  You can buy here.

There are two options:

you can buy a pass for a specific lounge, if you know where you will flying from, for up to 30% discount, or

you can buy a £20 or £50 gift voucher at up to 30% discount which can be redeemed against any lounge booking

Vouchers can be used until 31st December 2020 so you shouldn’t have any trouble using them.  Note that the £20 and £50 vouchers must be used in one transaction, so you should only buy these if you are likely to be travelling with other people.

Whilst this offer is presented as a gifting offer, you are free to buy vouchers for yourself and save up to 30% on your No 1 Lounge, My Lounge and Clubrooms visits next year.

The offer runs until 26th December and you can buy here.  If it asks for a code, use GIFT2019.

Here are links to our reviews of No 1 Lounges:

No 1 Lounges gift vouchers

Bid for an IHG New Year’s Eve party in Manchester

I recently ran a review of Principal Manchester, IHG’s new luxury hotel in the City (see the hotel website here).  It is soon to be rebranded as a Kimpton, but irrespective of the name on the door it is a very expensively refurbished hotel with a very modern feel, despite the Victorian building.

IHG Auctions is currently auctioning an interesting New Year’s Eve package at the hotel.  The current bid is a paltry 7,000 IHG Rewards Club points, which I’d value at £28 based on 0.4p per point!

This is what you get:

After last year’s sell out success we invite you to ‘Come As You Are’ and join us on Dec 31st as we count down the bongs to 2020 in style with a whole host of familiar faces & fantastic folk. Expect a funk-soul-disco-classics style house party in The Public Bar from Manchester’s longest standing musical institution and very special guests Funkademia! In the basement you will find a non-stop exotic discotheque with a genre jumping soundtrack courtesy of some specially selected Refuge resident & regular DJs 8pm till 3am

Package includes:

1 night stay at The Principal Manchester [on 31st December]  for 2 people in a deluxe double room including breakfast and a welcome bottle of prosecco

4-course sharing menu for two with a bottle of house wine

Entry for 2 people into the Refuge party and a bottle of champagne pre-midnight

This seems like a pretty decent deal to me.  Given the usual cost of New Year events and indeed the usual cost of a room at this hotel, I think it would make sense up to around 70,000 points.

The IHG Auctions home page is here.

PS.  If you’re a fan of 1980’s pop, Hilton Honors is auctioning a fun VIP package for the Let’s Rock concert at the SSE Arena at Wembley on 13th December.  How could you say no to all this?  Note that it comes with a hotel stay, meet and greet and VIP suite access.

Get ready to rock this winter with the Let’s Rock – Retro Winter Tour playing in Wembley, December 13, 2019. The iconic SSE Arena will host the lively show celebrating the best of the ’80s with Tony Hadley, Marc Almond, Jimmy Somerville, Nik Kershaw and more! You’ll have exclusive access to the VIP suite both before and after the show-enjoy a welcome drink, finger buffet and the best seats in the house. Meet the stars of the show, Tony Hadley and Nik Kershaw, during a Meet & Greet, then dance the night away at the exclusive afterparty. When the party wraps, head to Hilton London Wembley for a one-night stay.

WHEN: December 13, 2019
WHERE: SSE Arena | London, UK

This experience for two (2) includes:
– Meet and Greet with Tony Hadley & Nik Kershaw
– Reserved premium seats to Let’s Rock – Retro Winter Tour, December 13, 2019
– Soundcheck sit-in
– VIP suite access before and after the show
– Welcome drink & finger buffet
– Exclusive afterparty with DJ
– One night at Hilton London Wembley, December 13, 2019, with breakfast

You can bid here.  The current bid is 80,000 Hilton Honors points.

Radisson Rewards 20% rebate on airline transfers

20% discount on Radisson Rewards conversions to airline miles

Radisson Rewards is running a promotion to encourage you to transfer your points to airline miles.  You should ignore it.

As you can see on this page of their website, you will get a 20% points rebate if you transfer your points to miles before 13th November.

The transfer rate from Radisson Rewards to most airlines, including Avios, is 10:1. With this promotion, the rate is 8:1.  It still stinks.

I would value a Radisson Rewards points at 0.33p, and you can easily do better at peak times.  I generally value airline miles at 1p.

On the basis, a ‘fair’ ratio between Radisson Rewards and airline miles would be 3:1.  Since I accept that the scheme does not want to encourage you to transfer to airlines, since it costs them ‘real’ money, I would have accepted 5:1.

10:1, however, is a joke and 8:1, after the 20% rebate, is only slightly better.  You are still giving up 2.5p of free hotel room for 1p of airline miles.

Don’t forget the 35% Avios transfer bonus though ….

Until 2nd December, you will receive a 35% bonus on Radisson Rewards transfers to Avios.  This also covers transfers from IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy, Shangri-La Golden Circle, Melia Rewards and Best Western Rewards.

We wrote about the 35% ‘hotels to Avios’ bonus here.

This still doesn’t change the maths much, however.  Not even a 20% rebate and a 35% bonus makes ‘Radisson to Avios’ transfers good value!

Imagine you had 10,000 Radisson Rewards points, which should get you at least £33 of free hotel room.

Transfer them to Avios and you would receive 1,000 Avios plus a bonus 35%, for a total of 1,350 Avios.  When you received your 2,000 rebated Radisson Rewards points in a few weeks, you could convert those into a further 200 Avios.  Your total Avios earnings would be 1,550.

This means you are turning £33 of free hotel points into (assuming 1p per Avios) £15.50 of free flights.  You are still losing 50% of the value.  It is only worth doing if you really, really won’t use those Radisson Rewards points.  Personally I would consider topping them up via American Express Membership Rewards – a generous 1:3 conversion rate – and redeeming them for a nice hotel.

If I still haven’t talked you out of it, the landing page for the 20% ‘points to miles’ transfer rebate is here.

How to Radisson Rewards points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, you can earn Radisson Rewards points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.  These include:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – 10,000 Membership Rewards points (= 30,000 Radisson Rewards points) sign-up bonus

The Platinum Card from American Express – 30,000 Membership Rewards points (= 90,000 Radisson Rewards points) sign-up bonus

American Express Rewards credit card – 5,000 Membership Rewards points (= 15,000 Radisson Rewards points) sign-up bonus

It is worth noting that holders of The Platinum Card receive free Radisson Rewards Gold status for as long as they hold the card.  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and Melia Rewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here.

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:3 into Radisson Rewards points which is a very attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Amex point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 3 Radisson Rewards points.

How I earned 7,000 Heathrow Rewards points (= 7,000 Avios) with a £135 Rocketmiles hotel booking
RELAUNCHED: Get up to 20,000 Avios with the Capital On Tap small business Visa card

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Comments

  1. Was suitably impressed with the Edinburgh No1 lounge on Friday. Skipped the bacon roll, had porridge at 9:30am, coffees & then at 11am the chicken & chorizo stew. Really nice staff and a calm space

  2. OT:
    Has anyone successfully booked a trip from Europe to Hong Kong on Cathay J or F with Alaska Miles? Looks like a massive hassle with no online option to book – have to ring Alaska Miles in the States.

    Would appreciate any advice on finding availability and booking etc. Is there a way to find flights online before calling Alaska Miles? What’s the cheapest way to call Alaska Miles?

    • Skype, try LGW.

    • If you use BT for your landline you can opt for cheap or included overseas calls.

    • the_real_a says:

      Dont forget you get a free stopover even on one way with Alaska… You can engineer it so HKG would be your stopover with an extra regional flight tagged on within 12 months just for taxes.

      • Not certain but I think that I read someplace that the rules on that have changed?

        • I think they still allow one stop-over on a one-way award, and two on a round-trip. The stop-over locations have to make sense of course. The multi-city search is useful for this, as long as it is an airline that can be booked online.

          Harry T – in addition to the “nuisance” of having to book Cathay awards by phone when using Alaska miles, there is also the real problem that Alaska apparently simply don’t have access to the same availability on Cathay and some other OW airlines as BA do.

          I have seen this personally helping my sister use Alaska miles to book award seats on Qantas for premium economy or above. This doesn’t require a phone call, so it is easy to check on their web-site, They do have access to award seats. but not as many as BA do. I have only read about the availability problems using Alaska miles to book Cathay.

          • Thanks Lyn, yes indeed it’s fine. I just had a quick look and I see on OMAAT that it was on intra-Asia flights that the stopover was dropped back in October.

          • Thanks, Lyn – that’s very helpful. Looks like it’s a shot in the dark getting seats on Cathay with AS then – have to find a seat on another OneWorld site and call up and hope for the best. Makes Avios look far more straightforward!

      • Thanks, that’s very interesting.

  3. O/T: A whole bunch of new amex offers this morning including the usual hotel suspects like Amba and hard Rock, and niche retailers like Mr Porter and La Redoute.

  4. OT:
    Does anybody know if there is ever an extra Avios offer for adding a supplementary card to BAPP? Could do with an extra card for a family member, but there’s no rush, so if there is ever an offer it might be worth waiting.

  5. OT Hi I keep looking at avios and virgin redemptions and can never find much that really stands out.
    I have plenty of points but really don’t like paying the crazy fees that the airlines are putting onto (business/first class) bookings into places like the USA.
    Just wondering if any of you have any ideas or hidden sweet spots etc with Ba Virgin or any partner airlines?
    HKG/LHR stands out so far as the taxes and fees are minimal
    Other than that i struggle to see any real value without paying huge taxes.

    Thank you

    • You can fly out of Inverness to avoid APD.

      Taxes and charges may look high but be may be reasonable to pay in the context of high cash fares. I agree that certain redemption bookings don’t offer good value because of high taxes and charges and low cash fares, especially if you are flexible with travel dates.

      Reward Flight Saver redemptions usually offer good value on BA metal, especially during holiday times.

    • Due to the fees you refer to the sweet spots are best perceived in terms of time and flexibility as opposed to routes/destinations. For example you are getting a fully flexible ticket for £35. If you are organised you can use your miles and avios at times like Christmas and half term when they are hugely attractive compared to cash fares despite the fees you mention. They are also sweet if you only need a one way flight or a return without staying a Saturday night, and if you can find award availability last minute redemptions are very sweet too. As for the routes any pair of flights ex INV with a 241 and the long haul sectors in F is very sweet indeed 🙂

    • ChrisBCN says:

      I use my avios exclusively for European hops when the prices are high (summer, Christmas, specific dates I need to fly) and for long haul upgrades (buy WTP, use avios to upgrade to Club).

      This is mostly where the value is found, but of course there are plentiful exceptions. Flexibility with dates always helps you too.

  6. OT but bits

    Are self referrals still working on amex applications?

    • Most definitely.

    • Yes, have managed a couple this year.

    • Amex US has just closed, no appeals allowed, accounts which self referred. You should assume it is coming here very soon.

      • Looks like now is a good time to take advantage of that Bonvoy transfer bonus 😉

      • Being applied retrospectively to applications months/years ago?

        • Up to 2 years.

          “This shutdown is part of a series of upcoming shutdowns. This week’s was a beta test for a new machine learning model specifically designed to target churning activity through unsupervised learning. Amex data scientists are improving an evolving neural network model that identifies churning behavior as it happens, and then assigns risk scores that factor in to anti bust-out or fraud scores. They’re treated the same, those all have different scores but their values affect your overall risk/reward score for Amex. If that overall score reaches a certain threshold (which they’re still experimenting with what exactly it will be), you will get shut down. What they’re doing is based on the same ML models that are used at Amex for AML and fraud prevention. The shutdowns will happen in small waves because one giant hit would be a massive drain on resources and disruption to their overall business, including drawing negative public attention outside of the churning community. That would scare people who are profitable but think they’re winning. They are also incrementing shutdown waves because of the resource usage it takes to identify accounts and assign a score based on the new indicated risk factors. When shutdowns are triggered, they begin combing through the new dataset. Right now, the model only looks back two years.

          The clawbacks on self-referrals were a pilot program to this week’s events, not an entirety separate event. The same model that identified self-referrers was used for these shutdowns.”

          • Oh wow, probably one of your most significant comments of the year on HFP and not a single reply! Raises all sorts of questions but I think I’ll just be on my best behaviour going forward abd hope for the best 🙂

          • Yikes! Thanks Rob. Interesting info in that link you posted and on Reddit. There will be a lot of annoyed people on here, myself included, if they roll this out in the UK. Bizarre that they don’t just improve their IT systems to stop self referrals rather than treating customers like this.

          • Amex can be ruthless when it comes to account closure. Been there, done that.

          • But you wrre resurrected Genghis 🙂

          • Indeed. Just like Curve banned me and then I came back… It’s all a bit of a game. Got £100 from E.on last week too as I was fed up with their spiel about Smartmeters and I proved them wrong on multiple points. Was a profitable week last week.

          • @Genghjs, hopefully the baby will calm you down! Thanjs for the tip on E.on, they are hassling my parents with smart meters too. I got £50 off them a few months back because they messed up a couple of bills in succession. I subsequently moved to Bulb but I’m now having difficulty getting my £60 exit penalty credited to my account by them; two messages to CS have gone unanswered.

          • Charlieface says:

            EON is an interesting one, the T&Cs say you agree to be contacted about, not that you have to sign up for a smart meter.
            @Genghis, was that the argument, I’ve got that going at the mo?

          • @Charlieface
            Yes – I was fed up with their lies on their official comms and was then lied to by customer services. “But you agreed to have a smart meter on signing up etc”. They backed down very quickly. Offered £15 then £30 and after I filled out my Ombudsman form offered £100. I could have taken it further out of principle but £100 was too good to turn down.

            Good luck with your complaint.

          • @Genghis, Charlieface. I think E.On make it up as they go along. Having changed to them recently and there being nothing (obvious at least) about requiring a smart meter a recent email has said I agreed to one when I moved. Errm, no. I’ll ignore it for a bit longer.
            ScottishPower are no better. Yes this was part of the T&Cs when I recently moved supplier for my Dad, but when clicking a link to make a booking there is no availability and the form does not work for them to advise when further options are added. Screenshot taken, and I’ll sit back and wait for them to chase!

          • Thanks @Genghis and others. Exactly the issue my parents have. They are over 80 and get nuisance calls about this. I shall help them put in a complaint.

          • @BJ it’s worth pursuing for your parents. They also opted me out of all comms on smartmeters so don’t even need to agree to that term now

          • This is either a warning to behave ourselves or an incentive to make hay whilst the sun shines.

            If even referring your other half is enough to get banned, we are probably all on the hit list!

      • Spaghetti Town says:

        Really Rob? i’ve self referred for 1 card in my 3 year amex history

      • The referrer’s account, the referred account or both?

        • By account I mean ALL cards closed, the entire Amex account, not just the referred card.

          • Ah – I meant if you had a separate account for a card you referred yourself for, would that also be closed? I would have thought people would be savvy enough to use different emails and phone numbers when doing this!

          • Pretty sure this machine learning stuff is smart enough to link accounts in the same name at the same registered address!

          • The frequent flyer article also says that people who have referred spouses for several cards have also been shut down – I can’t see how this can breach Amex’s Ts & Cs though?

          • Doesn’t matter – Amex has the legal right to close your account for any reason at any time. Unless you could claim some sort of racial / sexual / age discrimation was at play you can’t do much about it.

          • You’re a little ray of sunshine today Rob 🙁

        • Spaghetti Town says:

          I’ll be my 45k Membership rewards over to Marriot soon then…

          • Spaghetti Town says:

            I also upgraded to Plat for about 3 weeks from green to steal the hotel statuses and get 20kr MR for a £1,000 spend. I’m probably a prime target!

          • A lot of us here are prime targets 🙂

          • I’m seeing a big rush on M&M Diners Club applications soon 🙂

          • Thinking about it, isn’t Monese the solution to the problem? The more we push through Monese the bigger the reward to amex?

  7. OT – has anyone flown Finnair J LHR to Helsinki on the mid morning (10:20) departure? Am interested in whether we should expect breakfast or lunch on this flight?

    • They serve lunch; Helsinki is +2 so makes a lot more sense than breakfast. It’s a fun way to travel especially if you get the A350.

    • And if you’re lucky you will get reindeer for lunch…lovely 🙂

      • Sounds good, thanks! Yes it’s the A350… booked on BA flights when dirt cheap and then moved to Finnair when the BA schedules changed! Fingers crossed for reindeer! What’s the drink service like? Presumably on demand in J?

        • I had a gin and a glass or two of wine I think – no problems there. The new lounges at Helsinki are great as well, we have BA Gold cards so could use the Premier lounge which I’d say is nearly at the level of CX/JAL lounges in Asia. If revamped business lounge is open, it’s well worth a visit as well.

  8. Morning all
    Has anyone received the 7500 (2500 first stay+second stay 5000) Hilton points after 2 reward stays?

    • Yes, many got them. However @LadyLondon commented that there was a sneaky term that the offer had to be redeemed within 60 days of registration despite the long promotion closing date so if you are having issues you may have fallen foul of that.

      • Lady London says:

        Yes that sneaky term was added after signup – was not in original offer terms. Original offer was targeted and apparently something went wrong so extra people could sign up for it.

        And no my stay just outside the 60 days has not been credited for the promo. I’d be interested to know did anyone else get credited for the promo if staying outside the 60 days?

    • I have received the first stay bonus. Havent had chance for 2nd stay yet.

  9. Shoestring says:

    Compare lounge pass price obtained with GIFT2019 to the £18 here https://salaryextras.dragonpassuk.com

    Both not as cheap as the Barclays Travel Plus Pack prices (a mitigated £18 due to RAC breakdown & travel insurance – I’d call it more like nothing/ free – for the first 6, then £15/ lounge pass).

  10. You’d be pretty pissed if you were the guy who had the 7000 IHG bid after reading this article LOL

  11. OT when booking the £5 entrance does it need to be attached to a specific card or can you split across different cards on the way in?

    • Shoestring says:

      Just booked my Xmas hols lounge visit for No1 & you only get the chance to input one lounge pass card. Try to get another 11.55% off.

      • Shoestring says:

        But if you want to split across 2 cards, eg DragonPass and PP, just make 2 bookings.

        • Assuming it’s £5 fee to guarantee entry, I usually prebook 2 for me and OH in one transaction and enter my PP number, then we present our individual cards when we actually go in. Never been a problem – it actually didn’t occur to me to book separately and they always key the card number in manually for the actual lounge entry.

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