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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  1. OT: someone (Shoestring?) mentioned a few days that they’ve used their Tesco vouchers (£6 off £40, those ones) to buy Amazon gift cards. How does that work? I’ve received my vouchers yesterday, and they specifically mention gift cards do not count.

    • If you buy some other shopping with the gift cards.

    • I haven’t had any coupons like the £6 off £40 etc for a long time. Nothing has appeared in my app, should I be contacting CS?

      • These MOC post through the post even if you are signed up for online vouchers. If you zre digned up for a delivery pass of any kind, or if you shop at Tesco on a regular routine, then you are less likely to get them. I mostly shop Sainsburys because nectar is now better than clubcard but ai shop Tesco once in a while and am always getting these coupons from them, presumably to encourage me to shop more.

        • Suusex bantam says:

          This is true – I do the same in reverse. Usually shop in Tesco but occasionally in JS. I’m inundated with JS offers and get virtually none for Tesco.

          Which, if you think about it, makes perfect sense as a strategy…

          • You might find though that if you shop at JS regularly then you will continue to get those offers from them. This is why I switched after clubcard effectively collapsed. Today for example, I took a £43 deliver that came with 500 bonus Nectar points from product offers on the app, and my receipt had 3x 500 bonus points and triple points on petrol attached. I keep my points mostly for 1p redemptions on LNER so that’s £5+ value on a very average shop. By comparison, I would have got 103 zviis from Tesco for the same spend. While it is true ny partner again has 3x £8 off £40 MOC at Tesco, we are not losing that as we can use on giftcards..

      • I cancelled my deliver saver a few months ago when the Cubcard offers dried up – since then I’ve had 2 lots of £8 + £6 + £6 money off vouchers. In fact I’ve been flirting with most of the supermarkets and getting free delivery and money off codes continually so it pays to be disloyal!

        • My local Tesco has a food bank collection trolley so I’m going to go in next week and spend the voucher value on things they need for their Xmas hampers.

          • My partner likes to do this too. We also always stick some extra in for the BA charity when we book a flight as we like the charities they support, I know it’s not the best way to give so we just keep it to £10/time.

        • I called Sainsburys and told them I was going to Tesco as I really disliked their new online layout (honestly, I do) and then discovered £6 off £60 over the next 4 weeks. Not sure if it was just a coincidence or not.

          • TBH I think the MOCs at Waitrose are pretty good – my partner and I both get them off. Reliably knocks 20% off a shop. Plus you earn VS miles shopping at Waitrose.

    • Just buy a few little things along with the giftcard and go to a checkout that has less experienced staff serving! The system won’t stop the vouchers being redeemed.

  2. Status matching question. I have BA GGL and SIA Gold/ PPS Solitaire.

    I find myself needing to fly a few SkyTeam flights in the coming months around China.

    Is there a Skyteam airline I can/ should status match into? Status matcher is lacking any feedback on a lot of their members.

    • China Southern was matching IHG hotel status to their elite member tiers, up to gold, but I think application is now closed. Not sure if it will re-open.

    • A lot of status matches are now ‘challenges’ where you get a reduced target over a shorter period in which to earn the status rather than a straight match.

      You could contact the airline you will be using in china and ask them. will help if you said you plan to take X number of flights in the next few months

    • Lady London says:

      Why not take a look at what Alaska Airlines can offer you for the airlines you’re considering using? They have their own set of alliance which appears very useful – and SkyTeam airlines amongst them.

    • Lady London says:

      PS For SkyTeam you could maybe take a bet and accrue in Virgin – but it’s a bet on the hookup happening between Virgin and SkyTeam and then a bet on what the earn/burn rates are, as and when it does happen.

      I think taking a look at AS for accrual as in my other post might be the way to go.
      If your concern is status benefits for those flights, then if statusmatcher did not contain reports of success then you could have a quick look in flyertalk – which is the other source people with this need might post.

  3. Scallder says:

    OT: Was booking some reward seats for next year to Miami in Club and as it’s first long haul flight with daughter after she turned two we don’t get the free seat selection (and only a Blue!). It’s a 747 and looked at seat prices – the cheapest on offer was £93 per seat and for every seat upstairs, BA wanted £156. I know that status means you don’t have to pay and business tickets get free seat selection, but who is going to pay that amount?! Just absolutely ridiculous for seat selection…

    • Enough people pay, and enough people don’t pay, that BA is happy to keep it at those prices.

    • On the flipside, it keeps seats open for status holders, so prioritises frequent flyers. BA probably see it as a good investment for their biggest spenders, and if anyone wants to pay the sky-high fees they get the extra ££ too.

      • Yeah I paid something like that (£150-£190 range, forget exactly) two choose the last pair seats on Club to Osaka. Was a bit annoying…

        • On the upside, it is quite impressive how – if you’re Gold – you can book a short-haul flight even at 2-3 days notice and still get Row 1.

          • Couple of weeks ago I did a same day change on a BA short haul and still got a row one seat.

            So yes BA does look after it’s elites (though I’m gold I’ in no way shape or form a ‘big spender’)

            Rather than spend money on seats choose one member of the family and use the cash you would have spent on seats to get them BAEC status. Remember even Bronze gets seat selection at 7 days before the flight so could be worth it!

          • I’m not sure why you would want Row 1 in Club Europe!?

            Impossible to stretch your legs ’cause of the bulkhead, the seats seem slightly narrower because the tables are in the arms, and you lose the benefit of the extra fold down table in the middle seat.

            I suspect people are actively avoiding row 1. I am a mere Blue. I got 1F (pre-allocated) when I flew to Lisbon the other week on a redemption. 1D was empty.

            Was in row 8 on the flight home and at least I could stretch my legs a little under the seat in front. Still bloody awful though. I wouldn’t book a CE redemption if economy was availabile. I was surprised how busy CE was, and suspect BA are simply making CE available for redemptions to maximise income.

            The only good thing about the whole CE experience was the Cathay Lounge at T3 – nothing to do with BA.

            My OH flies regularly between London and Lisbon on redemptions. He is also Blue and has also had Row 1 pre-allocated a couple of times.

            If I find myself allocated Row 1 again I will be changing it. It was also surprisingly noisy.

      • Spaghetti Town says:

        Doubt it’s going to make much difference where you sit with Club Suite if travelling as a couple (i’ve not flown it)

    • Jill (Kinkell) says:

      Gee whiz, that’s outrageous. I booked Club to Miami for next year and bagged seats on the 747 UD, but I get free seat selection. I once paid for seats…in the days when it was about £60 and it was for UD on a 747 from Mauritius (on a 241). First time on the UD, so I felt it was worth a go at the time.

      • I can just about see a good arguement for seat selection fees in economy although I think first booked first pick was fair enough. I dislike airlines charging for seat selection in premium cabins with a passion, especially from BA who have outrageous fares most of the time anyway.

    • I somehow managed to bag 3 F outbound seats to MIA at T-355 for next Easter with a 2 4 1 so got free seat selection for all 3 of us, well worth 200,000 avios with the F experience as well! (Looking forward to trying out the Cathay Lounge).

      • Scallder says:

        Hi Anna,
        Was booking 3 as well as need some flights out there for a cruise we’re doing from Fort Lauderdale (flying Sat and cruise starts Monday as wanted plenty of time in case of delays!). There was only 2 Club seats on the first and last flights (of 3) of the day but was 11 it seems on the middle flight! Unfortunately First wasn’t there as would have certainly taken that if I had the option!

        Am looking to doing a bit of lounge hopping around T3 though (even if can’t get in the Cathay First bit)!

      • Enjoy, Miami’s so great. Came close to moving to Florida many years ago but was Gainesville, not Miami so that swung the decision.

        • Thanks BJ, we’re only there for 3 days before flying down to the Caribbean but planning to do a bit of shopping and see the new Bond film at the Aventura Mall.

      • Aston100 says:

        Are F seats always available at t-355?

        • No. Only 2J, 4Y guaranteed.

          • Aston100 says:

            Oh right, so if it’s a popular route (thinking JNB), I should just try and get J seats at t-355, and then keep an eye open for any F seats that come along later I presume?

        • I must have just hit lucky, I was on at 1 am T-355 hoping for 3 redemption seats in CW or F to anywhere on the US East coast. My first choice was Miami so I tried that first and the first redemption seats to appear when I hit the search button were 3 in F. I do check my booking every so often to make sure it wasn’t just a dream 😂

    • Lady London says:

      Isn;t there something about children under 12 being normally seated next to the adult they’re travelling with free of charge? I am pretty sure there’s a legal requirement there and pretty sure most airlines say they will do that. A quick call the BA asking if that is something that would happen automatically due to the child’s age, would set your mind at rest.

      I’m pretty sure you will get the right answer! 🙂

    • It’s priced to not sell.

  4. OT as well
    Has anyone noticed that now since the Eurostar changes, all accounts on Advantage (Amex transfer account) created automatically by the new program last year or a couple of years ago are now downgraded to Classic?
    Happened to mine and my wife’s

  5. Sherri Elwick says:

    Has anyone tried to get the discounted lounge vouchers? There is no discount as far as I can tell.

    • Sherri Elwick says:

      I can see the discount using the link on my phone but not via my PC. However in the T&Cs on the No1 website it states the vouchers are valid for one year. In Rob’s article it states they’re valid until 31st December 2020.

      • It is very clear on the desktop site that the vouchers are valid until 31/12/20.

        • Sherri Elwick says:

          Thanks Rob, underneath in the T&Cs it states vouchers valid for a year. I called them and was advised because I already know when I’m flying I can redeem the vouchers immediately. And was also advised Promo code GIFT2019 is required.

    • Shoestring says:

      GIFT2019 code needed

  6. Massively OT, but am after some advice on Costa Rica for next Summer.

    Our draft itinerary is:
    – 1 night stop outside of San Jose (Alajuela)
    – 2 nights in Tortuguero
    – 4 nights in La Fortuna / Arenal
    – 2 nights in Monteverde
    – 4 nights on the beach

    My queries are:
    1) Is this balance right? We also have a spare night to allocate to one of these places.
    2) Beach – we are debating between Manuel Antonio National Park, and Samara / Nosara. Which is best for beach plus activities?
    3) Hotels (obviously….!). My wife has a short-list. Are there are any stand-out hotels you’d recommend? Good points earning opportunities are welcome (I have the usual statuses from the Plat card, but nothing on the short-list is from those chains), but am happy to use and collect towards a free night instead.
    4) Finally, transport – how did you get around? In developing countries I don’t normally hire a car, but am toying with it for Costa Rica. Am I crazy?

    • I spent a few days in the country last year and the most outstanding hotel was the Peace Lodge (waterfall gardens) – an incredible place.

      We booked private transfers with Rainforest Explorers – was more expensive that I presumed but the service was top notch (it takes a surprising amount of time to move around the country).

      • That hotel looks lovely – am tempted to use our spare night to go there as an additional location.

        With Rainforest Explorers, did you use them to organise your itinerary, or just for the transfers between your locations? From their website all I can see is a number of different 1 day tours which they operate in different areas across the country.

        • Jill (Kinkell) says:

          We were in CR a couple of years ago. we had 2 nights outside San Jose( Alejuela) at a quirky small hotel Villa Rosa Blanca, which we thought was nice and different.. The 2 days allowed us to go on a coffee tour and visit LA Paz gardens and waterfalls. Our transfer to La Fortuna was a private 3 hour drive and we stayed at the Nayara Springs Hotel for 2 nights…lovely hotel and gardens, huge suite, with complimentary laundry . We did the hanging bridges, cocao plantation, waterfalls. 2 nights in La Fortuna was fine for us, then on to Monteverde. Our transfer was via boat across the lake, then almost 2 hours in a minibus on unpaved potholed roads…certainly an experience! In Monteverde we stayed at the Hotel Belmar , which was nice and informal, . We had a guide for the Cloud Forest and I have to say what he spotted we’d never have seen in a million years if we had been on our own.
          We didn’t go to Tortuguero as we were time limited, and no beach as we were heading to the port on pacific side to connect to a cruise which was heading up to San Diego.
          We liked CR and it is the most developed of the central america countries. Have a great trip

          • Thanks Jill – it sounds an amazing country and I can’t wait. How did you organise your private transfers – was it via the hotels you were staying at in each place, or an independently company? I’m inclined to let someone else deal with unpaved and potholed roads!

          • Jill (Kinkell) says:

            Hi Chas…I booked our 6 day itinerary with Trailfinders..there were options of private or group transfers..we did private and glad we did as a couple we met in Monteverde did a group transfer and found it challenging. Not sure in what way. I’m sure there are lots of other companies and tour operators, both UK and in CR who can do ‘the business’ and would be fine. We were very happy with TF

        • We booked a 1 day tour with them and as part of my communication with them, we got speaking about private transfers. They are a small family business – drop them a note and I’m sure they would be happy to help 🙂

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      Couple of years ago we hired a car from Avis one way car hire from airport, San Jose to Jaco on the Pacific then got a transfer to a cruise. Picking up the car took over an hour, endless paperwork but driving was fine, roads a bit poor off main routes but not busy and road etiquette ok, I wouldn’t plan on driving after dark though, great for seeing a bit more of the country under your own steam. Many comments you see on Costa Rica are from Americans who obviously consider the country to be a scary third world destination, not at all true!

    • Thanks all – appreciate your feedback and further responses.

  7. Spaghetti Town says:

    Anyone else had the curve survey over the weekend?

    • memesweeper says:

      Yes. Perhaps the entire user base. Maybe only those that previously used HMRC…

    • Scallder says:

      Yes – would not be happy if that route got closed down or started charging for it…

      • Agreed, but there are other ways. I thought it interesting for them to fish in that survey for who we’d use as an alternative!
        I suspect with the upcoming PSC changes in the private sector there will be a significant reduction in people paying HMRC, so if Curve do make these changes the benefit will be limited.

  8. Ahhh I miss my free Amex Platinum & PP…. now paying for lounge seems a pain….

    • If you need 12 nights at an independent hotel then booking with ebookers will get you Bonus+ latinum status which comes with two lounge passes per year. I also found that this status lasted longer than it was supposed to.

  9. Which lounge will be the best option for a morning visit after 9am on a Sunday? Flying Norwegian on 20 December. TIA

  10. I want to book a trip for my parents on their BAEC account (because they’ve got their 241 voucher on there). Can I transfer avios to their BAEC account?

  11. O/T @EwanG, Andrew, Alan and others in Edinburgh and East Central Scotland: Just paid a car with amex at an Eastern Group Dealership so there is a good chance it works across all their garages. As you probably already know many, if not most, of the garages in Edinburgh are owned by this group. Didn’t ask, just popped my card in the reader and it worked.

    • Full amount or deposit/balloon payment? I know that Western Volkswagen at Fort Kinnaird allow it as I tried with success recently.

      • Ah good news, sounds promising, my payment was £6999 at Eastern Mercedes.

        • Thanks BJ and Michael – I’ll bear this in mind for the future as no current plans to change cars.
          It would be a great way to hit the Business Amex spend thresholds.

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