Bits: £30 deal for Glasgow’s Lomond Lounge, £50 cashback at Bicester (plus miles!), 30% off Marriott Bonvoy points

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

News in brief:

Visit the Lomond Lounge at Glasgow for just £30

We recently reviewed the new super-premium Lomond Lounge at Glasgow Airport – take a look here.

Rhys was very impressed by what he found, with high quality food and furnishings and only a small number of fellow guests.  It is the ideal place to get your holiday or special break off to a good start.

The standard price for the Lomond Lounge is £40.  However, the daily deals site itison.com is currently selling access for £30see here.

The offer is good for visits until 31st March 2020.  It also comes with fast track security at Glasgow, so you can spend more time in the lounge!

You can find out more about the Lomond Lounge on its website here, but book via itison for the cheaper rate.

PS.  Lomond Lounge is unofficially allowing Priority Pass holders to enter at the moment on payment of a £15 supplement.  I say ‘unofficially’ because it is not listed on the Priority Pass website.  I believe that you need to go to the UpperDeck lounge to have your Priority Pass swiped and then take the receipt over to Lomond Lounge.  This is possibly just a launch promotion which will be dropped later.

Lomond Lounge Glasgow Airport discount code

Save £50 at Bicester Village – and earn double miles

A new American Express cashback offer has appeared for the Bicester Village shopping outlet in Oxfordshire.

This may show on all, some or none of your Amex cards under the ‘Offers’ section.  You need to click ‘Save To Card’ to activate it.

You will receive £50 cashback when you spend £500 at Bicester Village before 24th December.

The rules are typically vague.  It says ‘Valid at participating stores’ but there is no list of stores.  It is not clear if the spend needs to be in one transaction or cumulative (I assume the latter) or if it needs to be in one day or can be cumulative.

This offer would double up with a new Virgin Atlantic promotion.  As you can see on the Bicester Village website here, you will earn double Virgin Flying Club miles – two per £1 – when you shop at Bicester Village before 24th December.

You can also collect Avios at Bicester Village at the standard rate of 5 Avios per £4 spent.  Other airline partners are also available.

And earn cashback at Guoman and Amba hotels

Speaking of Amex cashback offers, a generous new offer has appeared for Guoman and Amba hotels.  These are small London chains owned by the same company that owns Thistle, and the properties are generally renovated ex-Thistle hotels.

If you are targeted, you will receive £55 cashback on a £200 spend at Guoman or Amba hotels before 28th February.

Anika’s review of the Amba Marble Arch is here and the website is here.  You can look up the Amba portfolio here and the Guoman portfolio here.

Buy Marriott points at a discount

Save 30% when you buy Marriott Bonvoy points

Marriott Bonvoy is running another discount when you buy points.  This deal is as generous as they ever get.

Via this page of the website, you will save 30% on all points purchases until 22nd December.

The annual purchase cap of 50,000 points has been doubled to 100,000 points, although the maximum you can buy in one go remains 50,000 points.  At the top end you are paying $437.50 (£340) for 50,000 points under this offer.

My rule of thumb is that a Marriott Bonvoy point is worth 0.5p so this offer is not great at 0.68p per point.

However, you might find it worthwhile if:

you are topping off your account before making a points booking, or

you are planning a stay at a property where you know you will get outsized value

The snag with Marriott Bonvoy is that the annual points buying cap is too low to allow you to exploit the deal.  The St Regis New York, for example, can easily run to $1,300 per night including taxes, which makes 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (on a ‘Standard Reward’ day) a great deal.  The problem is getting enough points.

However …. you CAN transfer up to 100,000 Bonvoy points per year from one member to another.  You need to ring up to do this, which is a bit annoying, but that is the only restriction.  This is one way around the limit on points purchases.

The link to buy is here if you are interested.

How to use 'part pay with Avios' to book Iberia, Vueling or Air Nostrum flights
Credit & Charge Card Reviews (10): IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard

Click here to join the 14,500 people on our email list and receive the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

Amazon ad
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. First time Lomond Lounge appeared on itison it was £24, I doubt we will see that again if they move this offer.

    Tgere is also an amex offer for £50 back on £200 at Hard Rock Hotels.

  2. Saw some comments yesterday on risk on self-referral. Has there been some news from Amex that they are going to shut down/ block people who have done this in the past?

    • It has started in the USA already so we are mostly assuming it will come here sooner or later too. Rob said the screening software they use looks back two years, and that no appeals have been allowed in USA where accounts have been closed.

      • Thanks, must have missed thIs. Assume referring spouse is allowed and just no self referrals? What are the rules they have implemented in US?

        • Shoestring says:

          Patterns of card abuse picked up by the algorithm and referred to the gaming team for verification – they’re not going to chuck you out for referring your wife, bro & a couple of friends, more likely give you a medal

          • The logical primary target must be self-referring 6-month serial churners cancelling for a pro rata refund. Secondary targets could be any combination of those elements. Interesting if they are targeting 6 month serial churners who neither self-referred or cancelled for a refund. If so, I think that would be unfair because this was playing strictly by the rules and was as much the fault of amex as the churner.

          • So long as you keep your account pretty much empty what can they do other than dump you as a customer? Genuine question, what can they do?
            From a purely selfish point I can’t see the issue with self-referral over spouses referring back and forth, but I would say that as a self-referrer. How is a family continually referring in the same small group any better for them? I’m sure they’re capable of better T&Cs if they really want to stop what they may perceive as abuse of the system, but obviously whilst people spend on the cards they need to balance incentive to customer and cost of reward to Amex.

        • It was discussed in comments at length 2-3 days ago. If they closed down accounts with spouse/partner referrals they would have few customers left so I guess only self-referrals affected. I have no idea about rules. I am sure if you google amex self referral account closure you will probably find loads. Personally I’m not bothered, I will not self-refer again, beyond that what is, is. Just have to hope for the best 🙂

          • From comments on US blogs my guess is that they wouldn’t be too happy if you were making several spouse referrals each year and your spouse wasn’t using the cards or cancelling after triggering the sign up bonus every time. Obviously this is going to be slowing down anyway now with the new 2 year rule.

          • Mr(s) Entitled says:

            They may not be happy about a spouse referral under those conditions but they had the opportunity to write the terms and conditions. It bugs me when company’s see the T&C’s as a one way street that only exists to limit their liability.

            Really, it is their own fault and akin to a petulant child taking their ball home with them.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Even if they close your account try again in two years when you are eligible for a sign up bonus again anyway.

            What’s the saying? Time is a great healer?

          • You can make circa 200k every 6 months from self referring, 800k a year for a couple. That’s excluding the 270k limit that was reaxebky offered in the business platinum. A couple can do circa 200k every 24 months if playing by the new rules.

            Lest say they enforce self federal ban in 2 years time (ar berry figure). Self referral could have netted 1.6m while without you’d be looking at 200k.

            Make hay while the sun shines is my view.

          • What I figured too, an involuntary fallow period, hopefully followed by a welcome back. If my sign up bonus doesn’t work on my next application I will likely trigger it voluntarily anyway. If I need flexibility of an avios redemption 3-4 years down the road then I’ll just buy a few 100k avios or other miles as Shoestring often touts the wisdom of.

          • @BJ you’re going to go AMEX cold turkey for two years? Not tempted to just get a referral in a few times a year?

            My concern is the BAPP or SPG might not exist in two years, or they change the sign up bonuses.

          • @Harry T, possibly but likely only if I think I will get caught up in this and my sign up bonuses stop. It’s early days yet, time for reading what everybody has to say (especially Rob) and evaluating any evidence of patterns that might emerge, not a time for knee jerk reactions. Like you said, we do not know what the amex landscape will look like a few years down the line. All I know for sure is that amex has been good to me, and I would like to keep it that way going forward even though the best days are probably behind us. My travel plans and related avios-earning goals are somewhat modest so it makes no sense to succumb to greed when a steady approach to earning a diversified portfolio of both miles and points from multiple sources does the job, and with much less harm to our credit files. I haven’t had a mortgage for many years already but it is obvious from occasional comments here that care needs to be taken with credit files in this respect. It would be plain stupid for younger readers to compromise something as huge as a mortgage by too much zeal for the miles and points game. Thus, if you’re in the position of needing a mortgage at some point then it would be a good idea to factor thst into your credit card strategy. A good tip that Rob once provided was to keep at least one bank account and one credit card very long term to demonstrate stability and loyalty.

          • Thanks for the wisdom, BJ. If I don’t end up emigrating to Australia in a few years (my most probable course of action, given how much I enjoyed my time there) then I will be looking at a mortgage here and I must keep my credit score in mind, rather than just embracing short term gains.

            I have had a Halifax Clarity Card for some years and I plan to keep that long term. Moving forward, I have my eyes on getting an SPG Amex and keeping that to spend on (can convert points to Alaska miles and Asia miles like you suggested) and perhaps just churning the BAPP and Platinum bonuses every two years. Difficult to weigh up making hay whilst the sun shines vs thinking long term. It is tempting to keep maximising referrals on the Platinum Card.

            Of course, when I get an SPG again, I will get to see if the Amex IT gods also favour me and that will change things…

          • All the best with your plans.

          • @BJ thank you!

          • Lady London says:

            OT @Harry T if you’re eyeing Oz long term keep a beady eye on it as its not just the professional criteria which you sound to meet easily but I believe age limits sometimes come into play as well.

    • Lot of chat on this one about referrals, spouse etc and what is happening in the USA…

      Taking GDPR into consideration, is it likely that the same software analysing points and cross referencing between spouses could be run legally in the UK or rEurope?

  3. OT, Bits: I would appreciate some inspiration please. I have a nice stash of Avios, one 241 voucher and will trigger another one early in the New Year. This covers the long-haul plans I have over the next couple of years, Dubai/Maldives and a Far East trip. I also have 45k Virgin miles, a 241 voucher and no status. I was planning New Year 2020/21 in New York then possibly whizzing down to the Caribbean for a week. I will also be able to earn another BA 241 before the Far East trip. The difficulty I’m having is that I’m really struggling to use the Virgin 241 and am sorely tempted with just converting the points to Hilton, because of various issue the card only cost me £60 for the year. Thoughts?

    • If you can only use the Virgin 241 for PE then I would think it is best to use it to East Coast USA as flights are short enough to be comfortable in PE. My entire lifetime stash of Virgin FC miles went to Hilton excepting LR era, with increasing costs of Hilton redemptions I no longer rate this transfer.

      • No status so Economy only! I think the best option might be the early flight, 0815 with an airport hotel the night before. This would fit quite nicely with a flight back to JFK from Punta Cana.

    • The 2-4-1 on virgin is a joke, unless you are a gold member or want to try premium economy (but then it’s not 2-4-1).

      I’d keep your Virgin miles in your account unless they are about to expire. Then if you have options:
      1) collect more and you might use on Virgin (or Delta)
      2) move to Hilton when you know you’ll need them
      3) move to IHG
      4) use on Kaligo for a room only rate (there’s an article on HfP about this)

      • Shoestring says:

        5) use on the extensive AF/ KLM network, including Europe
        6) use on ex-Flybe network

        • Lady London says:

          And avoid economy, and particularly Y with no status, every where you can.

          Numbers just dont usually stack up in Y for many reward tickets. Often the so-called taxes you will pay over more cash than an outright cash ticket.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Yes, I just ignore the Virgin 2-4-1 as worthless and work from there in seeing if my spending pattern justifies paying the card fee.

  4. Also if you serve in the armed forces you can stack the Bicester Amex discount and Avios with an additional 10% off if you collect a VIP pass from the welcome centre. A nice gesture for our Armed Forces.

    • The Original Nick says:

      If you know anyone who works in any of the shops you can get thier 30%-60% discount too. Those 10% discount cards are freely avalilable and I also think you can get them by flashing certain CC at the visitors centre but I’m not sure which ones.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Any Amex is eligible for the 10% but it’s not every store and it’s not even everything in every store but worth trying for a small walk to the visitor centre

        • Have done it a few times and the 10% vip card for just having any Amex is pretty good. I would say it works on 75% of the stuff, including high price items like mulberry etc.
          You need an ‘invite’ – on your phone screen is fine – just search for it on google.

  5. OT – I got to try out the new catering supplier to BA at Gatwick earlier in the week, and it was very good, an improvement. There was a mix up with one option not being available, an early teething problem as this was its first day launch. The gnocchi and the trout were both delicious. I was inbound from FCO.
    Link to Newrest article;
    https://www.newrest.eu/en/news/newrest-has-opened-a-new-production-unit-in-gatwick-for-british-airways/

  6. The Original Nick says:

    OT, I’ve used my Amex Platinum card to book The Courtyard by Marriott at Luton airport for the 3rd of January and also the AC Marriott Alicante for the 4th-6th. No charges are showing on my card. Does anyone know when the charge will hit my account because I wanted it to hit before the 31st December to take advantage of the Amex offer of £50 off £200 spend?
    Or could I call the hotels to ask them to force through the charge maybe?

  7. OT/ Bits: I just had a very interesting conversation with American Express regarding my BA premium card. Basically I was told that the credit limit is a monthly limit and one can’t spend over that I.e if your limit is £3000, if you spend £2000 and pay it of within a few days, if you then want to spend another £1500 within that same month, you wont be allowed to as it seems like you’re going over your limit but you aren’t. I was a bit shocked by this. Anyone else had this experience?

    • not true, but cycling your credit limit is an invitation for an Amex financial review

    • fivebobbill says:

      Wouldn’t be 100% sure of that one Yemi, I regularly hit just below the credit limit on a lot of my credit cards, before making a substantial payment to release more credit on the same card.
      In fact I did so yesterday on my BAPP, and having just checked my account my “Available Credit” has increased again by the amount I just paid off.

      • Yes my available credit limit has increased to the amount I paid off but the credit is not available to use I’ve been told.

        • fivebobbill says:

          Can’t be confident about Amex Yrmi, but I have a Hilton Visa and it’s had a credit limit of £6k since I took it out years ago. I put £10k – £12k through it every month by making payments when I’m near my limit. Never bothered asking to increase the limit for a couple of reasons, it helps me keep an eye on my spending, and the lower limit on my credit report wont hit other card applications.

    • Why don’t you just ask Amex for a temporary credit limit increase? Obviously you can’t keep doing that every month but as a one off Amex will usually agree.

      • I’ve paid for the item with another card so I dont need the limit increased but I was just surprised at the fact that the credit limit is monthly.

    • I’ve paid off my card balance during the month on both the SPG and the BAPP and kept on merrily spending. Amex don’t care about this and the IT will let you do it. I should say I wasn’t doing this to manufacture spend or anything, just because I happened to legitimately spend a lot on those cards during particular months.

    • the_real_a says:

      Not true. Have done this for near on 20 years without issue. Wealth is not the same as income, plenty of reasons why you would be spending more than your credit limit each month (e.g. look at the income sources excluded from your income declaration). Perhaps it would trigger a FR with AMEX, but if you have been honest on your income.. so what?

    • Jonathan says:

      Yemi, I regularly spend 3-4 times my credit limit on 3 of my Amex cards each month and paying them off numerous times throughout the month. Have done for years and never had a problem.

  8. Not that I’ll ever drive down south for a special trip to shop at Bicester Village, but there definitely is a list of participating stores if you click “view participating locations” in the app

  9. @Shoestring
    I’m considering buying 100k Avios or so from Iberia with the recent promotion, just as a general top up (looking at a 241 to Cape Town to Hong Kong, which would wipe most of my Avios, so would be good to have some extra afterwards).

    Is it worth waiting for a better price than this? It’s around 1.06p per Avios.

    And would I be better off paying on my Gold Amex for 2 points per pound (though FX fee) or running it through Curve linked to Virgin?

    • * Virgin Rewards +, so 1.5 points per pound.

      Also have Halifax Clarity if that helps.

      • Shoestring says:

        1.06 won’t ever be beaten (by anything significant) bot 100K Avios

        isn’t Curve FX fee-free on weekdays? in which case it would be better than Clarity

        • @Shoestring – I think Curve is free for the first 500£ a month of international spend or something… not that they ever enforce their T&Cs!

          Right, looks like I should jump on this offer unless it is likely to recur at a later date.

          • Shoestring says:

            the cheapness of the offer partly depends on the GBP/EUR exchange rate, which happens to be quite good at the moment (compared to the immediate previous months)

            look at the 3 month chart here https://moneyweek.com/prices-news-charts/gbpeur/ – click 3 month/ draw

            so the price has been fixed in EUR at a cost that is attractive enough to the Spanish Avios buyers – yet has got noticeably cheaper for holders of GBP

            it’s £200 cheaper to buy 300K Avios on Iberia site than on BAEC site, you don’t see that too often

          • Very interesting!

            I seem to recall there’s often some ways of buying Avios through Spanish group on too?

          • Shoestring says:

            IB Avios offer expires tomorrow

          • AerClub variant must bd in Euros, how does it compare and when does it end?

          • @BJ
            https://www.avios.com/gb/en/my-avios/buy-avios

            AerClub one seems to end on 20/11/19. Get 50% bonus on buying Avios.

            So 300,000 costs £3215, which is 1.07p per Avios.
            105,000 costs £1135, which is 1.08p per Avios.
            Similar value to Iberia.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Do you mean the groupon iberia deal? Thought that ended Nov 7th?

  10. O/T Virgin Atlantic 787-9 upper class seat selection advice please – between 7A (windowless seat on the quieter aisle) and 1K right up top near galley on the busier aisle) which is the better choice for an 11 hour day flight?

  11. Secret Squirrel says:

    OT:
    How long does Amex Shop Small credits usually take? I used at a participating merchant a week today but no credit showing..

    • Shoestring says:

      The offer runs from 7 – 22 December 2019

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Doh!
        As I saved the offer a week ago, I assumed it was with immediate effect. Teach me to read the terms first…😅

    • Good one…doesn’t start until early December 🙂

    • Last time I messed up it cost me 20k amex MR points for spending £1000 instead of £4000, and the time before that it cost me 2x 90,000 avios at 0.22p each … hope that makes you feel better. We’ve all been there, done that and lost out at one time or another.

      • I’m glad I upgraded to Platinum before it became much more difficult to hit the required spend! Sad I wasn’t around for the mythical Iberia 90k though.

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          Groupon Iberia Avios offer, how long do the points take to hit your account once you’ve redeemed the voucher?

    • Use chip and pin. It will hit your account quicker than contactless, if that helps.

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.