Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

IHG’s voco Reading hotel opens

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

IHG’s new ‘conversion brand’, voco, has opened its first hotel in the South of England.

The old Millennium Madejski Hotel in Reading, by the Madejski Stadium, has been rebranded as voco Reading.  The hotel website is here.

voco was launched by IHG last year as a brand with minimal brand standards, like Hilton’s DoubleTree or Marriott’s Delta.  This allows existing hotels to switch over to it very quickly, since they do not have to make many changes to their bedding / showers / restaurant hours / lobby / parking / air conditioning / fitness facilities etc to meet ‘brand guidelines’.

Voco Reading open

That said, the hotel is doing some minor room refurbishments between now and June 2020.  This is described, slightly worryingly, as “adding charming touches that make a world of difference, to create moments you’ll remember long after check out”.  It is being done a few rooms at a time to avoid interference to guests.

Our review of voco Cardiff, the old Principal Cardiff hotel by the harbour, is here.

You can learn more about voco Reading here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (138)

  • Alan says:

    Fantastic news re Dundee flights switching back to London City and Belfast flights making a welcome return!

    • BlueThroughCrimp says:

      Agreed!
      The Belfast route is a welcome surprise too, although the last time it was on, the time I used it, it was cancelled and stuck on a bus to Edinburgh.

      • Alan says:

        Oh no! I used it a few times and it was great. Crew somehow managed to make two passes of the trolley even though it was an extremely short flight!

        • BlueThroughCrimp says:

          Wow – that’s good going!
          I missed half of the game I was going to at the Odyssey…
          Hopefully it’ll be on for the winter 2020 schedule

        • Lady London says:

          Can we still use Avios to book Loganair flights?

  • Paul says:

    3rd runway. Never going to Happen

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    Criminal to knock down the White Horse, Achari and Sipson Tandoori! Other facilities are also currently available…..

  • Jack says:

    I booked into London IHG hotel with a big spend last week as it was my x4 on the promotion. 1 week later it’s still not posted and I’m about to book into a cheap holiday inn express tonight. Going to be furious if come Monday the HIX posts at x4 and the big one still hasn’t posted.

    • Rob says:

      No risk – it is 4x on fourth and subsequent stays.

      • B says:

        But not discounted stays. My HIX say for £24 last Monday was denied.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          If it’s more than 30% reduced then I think it’s non qualifying but if you booked via IHG website and it wasn’t clear it was non qualifying I would contact IHG CS

        • Rob says:

          If your stay is discounted by over 30% then it may become non qualifying.

          • Jack says:

            Ah ok, so the hotel was booked in the cyber sale London Kings Cross, so possibly not qualifying then. However I spent £150 in the bar so surely that’s Qualifying regardless. I didn’t realise it was 4th x 4 then x4 on subsequent stays this is good news.

          • Rob says:

            Cyber Sale will qualify – put in a retroclaim. No promo with extra discounts for members can be non qualifying!

          • Will says:

            IHG have some pretty sketchy points allocations. I booked 2 rooms on the same night recently with an extra 3000 points per room for something like an extra £5, only expecting the base/status points on one room as that’s the rules but as if paid for the additional bonus points on the extra room I was sure they’d be deposited. No, still chasing up 3 weeks on.

        • Lady London says:

          Never seen that price on a UK HIX before. Which one was it?

  • Paul says:

    O/T: Is there a rule as to how long you need to wait to re-apply for the Amex Gold to get the first year free again? I upgraded my Gold to Plat a year ago and I’m thinking of cancelling the Plat and take the Gold again (find it difficult to justify the increased fee on the Plat), will I get the first year free again?

    Thanks!

    • Rob says:

      Don’t think so. It needs to be a clean cancellation and not a downgrade, though – a downgrade means paying the Gold fee.

      Remember you need to empty your MR account when cancelling Plat unless you have an Amex Rewards Credit Card.

    • Js says:

      They’ve updated the rules
      When you downgrade to gold you now get a year free.
      There is no minimum time between cancelling an existing gold card and applying for a new (credit) gold card.

      • TokyoFan says:

        So I can downgrade my Platinum charge card to a Gold charge card? Or does it become a credit card? Do you still get pro-rata refund of the platinum fee?

        Thanks in advance!

        • JS says:

          Gold charge card.
          You get a refund of the plat fee.
          You keep all your saved offers.
          There seem to be a lot of people doing it.

          Advantages over cancelling and reapplying for credit card: keep offers/MRs, you can upgrade again
          Disadvantages: No S75 coverage, no referral bonus

  • JAD says:

    Looking for some advice on a BA flight change issue and duty of care situation. BA have changed the time of the inbound flight into LHR to arrive much later in the evening such that I can no longer connect to the BA domestic flight (booked on the same ticket) to EDI. There is no later BA flight to EDI (and I don’t think there is any other airline with a flight to EDI that evening). The best option for me is probably to get the first flight to Edinburgh the next morning. I rang BA and they are saying they will change the flight to EDI to be the first one the next day. But that leaves me needing a night at LHR which BA are saying they will not pay for as they have given me more than 14 days notice. I believe they have a duty of care to provide accommodation for that night. Would be great to get confirmation of this and also how I go about getting BA to agree and pay for this. As I mentioned I have spoken to BA twice and they have said they will not pay for this night’s accommodation. Thanks

    • TGLoyalty says:

      14 days is for compensation over and above duty of care. If they have agreed being on the flight the next day is the only option then I would book a reasonable hotel room, something you would pay yourself if you were staying around the area for a night, and claim post landing.

      • JAD says:

        Thanks, yes I can do that but my concern is if I accept the first flight the next day and then try to claim for the nights accommodation – then BA adopt the stance that because I accepted the flight the next day I was implicitly accepting I would need to get my own accommodation the night before. What I’d ideally like is BA accept one nights accommodation is required and book it, but failing that some sort of confirmation that they will pay the nights accommodation if I book and pay for it. At this point BA customer services have point blank refused they they have a duty of care and should pay for the accommodation. Any ideas on how to get some sort of confirmation that they accept they have a liability and will pay?

        • jc says:

          Like with anything of this nature, your options are:

          Escalate until you reach someone who agrees to give you what you are owed (formal complaint if necessary – including for the totally avoidable timewasting and distress!)

          Get it in writing or audio recording that they are opting to put you on a flight the following morning – and use that when you go to claim the expense afterwards

          Just claim the expense afterwards

          • JAD says:

            Thanks JC, i’d hoped to have this resolved after two calls with BA but alas no. Will now escalate through customer services and if necessary a written complaint. Shocking attitude from csa in second call. I politely asked to speak to her supervisor and was told supervisor would not speak with me as their answer was the same. I’m BA gold – but clearly makes no difference in terms of service / response. Feels like a complete and unnecessary waste of time as I think this is a clear case of duty of care applying.

          • Lady London says:

            I personally think it’s time courts got the ability to order that compensation and/or reimbursed expenses due to passengers put in this situation should be doubled or tripled. Or at least the ability to fine British Airways for every instance of ‘vexatious denial of a passenger’s statutory rights under EU261’.

            It is absolutely clear that BA is imposing the need to stay a night on the passenger unilaterally. BA is 100% liable for duty of care even if they had done this with the passenger’s flight 1 year in advance.

            After an issue not dealt with after two calls recently, with someone else I opened the third call with ‘can I speak to a supervisor please’. Then I mentioned the previous calls and said out of courtesy I was informing them that I was recording this call. The correct solution swiftly followed.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          The duty of care team will pay. There is no circumstance I know of that duty of care doesn’t apply to (as long as the company is still operating) if you are put at a disadvantage because of schedule changes regardless of how much notice there was.

          Even when there are ATC strikes and eu261 isn’t payable duty of care is. You bought a product from A-B B-A at a specified time if they can’t deliver Within reasonable timeframes what you bought they are responsible for any reasonable associated costs of the changes.

    • Anna says:

      Sounds like a typical BA “first refusal” – most staff now seemed to be trained to reject any attempt by a customer to get any money out of the company, justified or otherwise!

      • JAD says:

        LL – agree with you on this, otherwise no chance any of these behaviours will change.
        Anna – yes unfortunately it seems the std BA response – which I was half expecting based on others experiences. It was the refusal to put me through to a supervisor that ‘surprised’ me. Anyway, written complaint just submitted.

    • Shoestring says:

      @JAD it’s 100% certain you are entitled to duty of care for the hotel night (£200) plus food & drink (£25) plus transport to/ from hotel

      don’t worry, BA are highly unlikely to reject your claim after the event (with receipts)

      if they act BS, escalate with a notice before action etc, don’t take the BS answer/s & they will back down, I promise you

      there’s no such thing as 14 days’ notice negating duty of care

    • Fraser says:

      Ask them to book you on the Caledonian Sleeper instead.

      • JAD says:

        Thanks TG, Harry, Fraser, appreciate the further replies and also the sleeper suggestion – hadn’t thought of that – though possibly because the one and only time I’ve done the sleeper it was anything but! Re the DoC issue – will be interesting to see how BA respond to my complaint given what 2 CSAs have said.

        • JamesLHR says:

          From my understanding of the wording from EC261, your right to duty of care is covered under Article 5, clause 1(b).

          Clause C, which is mutually exclusive of Clause B concerns regarding the 14 day period and compensation. Care and compensation are completely different matters.

          Article 5

          Cancellation

          1. In case of cancellation of a flight, the passengers concerned shall:

          (a) be offered assistance by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 8; and

          (b) be offered assistance by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 9(1)(a) and 9(2), as well as, in event of re-routing when the reasonably expected time of departure of the new flight is at least the day after the departure as it was planned for the cancelled flight, the assistance specified in Article 9(1)(b) and 9(1)(c); and

          (c) have the right to compensation by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 7, unless:

          (i) they are informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure; or

          (ii) they are informed of the cancellation between two weeks and seven days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than two hours before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than four hours after the scheduled time of arrival; or

          (iii) they are informed of the cancellation less than seven days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than one hour before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than two hours after the scheduled time of arrival.

  • boi says:

    OT: has anyone bought e-gift card online from John lewis? Just wondering if it will trigger my Amex spend £50 get £10 back from JL?

  • Alan says:

    O/T – Has anyone that through the Barclays Premier 25k Avios switch offer recieved their Avios voucher?

    The T&C’s stated:
    “Following a successful account switch you will receive an email by 20 December 2019 containing an electronic voucher code which you can use to redeem the applicable Avios”
    but I have not recieved anything as of today.