Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: YouTube videos on BA tier point runs, Hard Rock Hotel £99 deal, last call for 30% Hyatt bonus

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News in brief:

Watch a YouTube series on planning a BA tier point run

HfP reader Matt Jones dropped me a note to highlight three YouTube videos he has published on how to put together a British Airways tier point run.

This is, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, a series of flights which are specifically designed to maximise the number of British Airways tier points earned. The route is normally circuitous, to put it mildly, but the cost is often less than a direct flight from the UK.

Historically, Hawaii was the archetypal BA tier point run. You would start in Helsinki, or somewhere else that got you 80 tier points to the UK. You would transfer to the A318 London City to New York JFK flight, which offered 210 tier points instead of the usual 140.

In New York, you would swap to an American Airlines flight to the West Coast, ensuring it was over 2,000 miles. This would trigger 210 tier points if it was a two-class aircraft with only a First and Economy cabin. You would change again to your Hawaii flight, bagging another 210 tier points for a 2,000+ mile flight on a two-class plane. This route would get you 1,420 tier points return and could cost as little as £1,000 in Business Class, although usually £1,500 – £2,000.

It’s a bit trickier these days, but the principle is the same. The big changes are the loss of the City – New York flight, meaning no more 210 tier point transatlantic trips, and the downgrading of two class American Airlines flights in First to 140 tier points.

What I like about Matt’s videos is that he is a middle aged guy like myself and his videos reflect that. He doesn’t jump around and shout as much as an oversugared teenager would, at least no more than he has to to ensure the videos are lively and interesting.

Part 1 is here and the other two parts follow on. The whole thing is 40 minutes long.

Hard Rock Hotel London £99 special offer

Book London’s Hard Rock Hotel from £99

Travelzoo has another good quality London hotel deal, this time at the Hard Rock Hotel near Marble Arch.

This was refurbished very recently – it used to be The Cumberland and only re-opened in May 2019.

Travelzoo is selling room vouchers for £99 for a Classic Double or Twin. I don’t recommend this, as the £119 Superior Room is better value, as it includes breakfast.

Importantly, you are guaranteed a 4pm check-out on these rates.

You can redeem your voucher for a room up to 31st March 2022. You can claim a full refund from Travelzoo if you never use it.

I strongly suspect that, by the time Summer and Autumn come around, you won’t be able to pick up a 4* hotel with breakfast in such a location for anything like this price.

The Travelzoo page for this offer is here.

World of Hyatt

Last chance for a 30% bonus when you buy World of Hyatt points

Until Tuesday night, Hyatt is offering (yet another) 30% bonus when you buy World of Hyatt points via this link. 

This is obviously worth a look if you need to top up your account.  It may also be worthwhile if you are considering a post-corona stay in a top tier Park Hyatt such as Paris, where buying the points may be cheaper than paying cash.

This clearly won’t work at all Hyatt properties.  However, if you are visiting an expensive city at peak season it is definitely worth doing the maths.

The chain has some excellent hotels, and I genuinely find Park Hyatt to be the best luxury chain which is run by one of the multi-brand groups.  It doesn’t beat Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental etc but I’d take one over a Ritz-Carlton, Waldorf Astoria or St Regis any day.

Hyatt has recently started letting you book suites online for points and there are some bargains to be had.

The Hyatt ‘buy points’ site is here if you want to buy.

PS. Don’t forget that Hilton is currently offering a 100% bonus when you buy Hilton Honors points. We also covered the new 40%-50% Marriott Bonvoy bonus on Saturday.

Comments (23)

  • ChrisC says:

    BA reduced the tier points on the CWLCY flight from 210 to 140 in the spring of 2015 as part of a large package of changes to avios and TP earnings.

    • Mr. AC says:

      Would be interesting to know if this was regarded as a mistake later on within BA given the low performance of the route… It if the group of people that cares enough about TPs to fly that route as opposed to something else would have been too small to tip the scales.

      • Sam G says:

        The LON-JFK performance was affected by global entry mainly I believe. I have a couple of friends that stopped using it once the pre-clear immigration benefit was lost, the time penalty of the Shannon stopover wasn’t worth it. They actually switched to the AA 777 flights for the WiFi and 1-2-1 layout. Inbound a different story and was still the flight of choice back

  • Matt's Planet says:

    Thanks Rob and Team – hope its useful for some readers out there!

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Hi Matt, I watched your vids this morning & subscribed. Good, clear advise on using ITA. Great job..

    • John W says:

      Hi Matt , watched your videos this evening and learnt a lot from want you presented = Thanks !

  • Mark Priest says:

    £75 pp for Breakfast, Cocktail and Dinner in Marble Arch. Bargain!

  • Ian says:

    The Hard Rock offer looks very attractive if it really is fully refundable. For £149 they offer the superior with 4pm, but it also seems to include a meal for two. If you were planning on eating at HRC anyway, it looks worth considering. I’m not sure how these deals work out if you are after a two (or more) night stay, but the rates look very good compared with what is available today on their website.

  • tony says:

    Are they likely to be anal with the availability on these travelzoo rates? So come October and things are a bit more normal, they’re selling rooms for £250/nt. Will they even countenance giving them away at this price or simply decide they only have voucher rooms available on Sundays in November?

    I know you can get your money back, but that’s not really the point.

    • tony says:

      Just to add, I see that if you look on Travelzoo.de, the Dixon is available for EUR105 (so £90) a night room only. The terms are quite explicit re blackout dates, so have bought myself a handful 🙂

    • Rob says:

      The hotel has a choice, doesn’t it? If can either accept your booking and get the money, or it can refuse you and you will get a refund. Until mass business travel returns, the higher end London hotels are not going to be full.

      • tony says:

        It’s just an interesting dynamic. The hotel will presumably have been paid upfront by TravelZoo, so I’m in turn making a free loan to the hotel. They can then decide at some point in the future if they want to convert my money to a room, or return the cash (most likely in 2022 as you’d try again to book the room).

        The hotel could therefore decide it doesn’t care so every room can go at this price, or be exceptionally greedy and have fewer rooms available on aggregate than have been sold via the vouchers. I guess i’ll find out when I come to make the bookings, but suspect that won’t be for a few months yet as i’ll wait for underlying prices to rise to get better value here…

        • Sam G says:

          highly unlikely they’ll have been paid upfront by travelzoo – especially as that would leave travelzoo on the hook if they go bust as the vouchers are refundable!

          Agree with Rob – I don’t see a problem redeeming these except potentially some very peak dates around Xmas if things really go well. If they start being picky they’ll come under pressure from travelzoo market managers pretty quickly as well…

          These types of hotels usually have a lot of group tour bookings from overseas tour operators at very low rates. They don’t have any of that base of business this year so they’ve got plenty of capacity for this type of booking and are happy to take 50-60 quid a night after commission which is about what they’d be getting anyway.

          • tony says:

            If the hotel isn’t paid anything upfront then why not just sell the rooms through opaque sites nearer the time? I’ve got those rooms at the Dixon for £90 but they reckon they will sell at £250-£300 in October, so that’s a massive haircut if there’s nothing in it for them cash-wise.

            I guess perhaps it allows them to book some future revenue into the accounts???

  • ChrisW says:

    Never really understood the Hard Rock brand. It seems like a very 90’s US-Celebrity thing?

  • Sam G says:

    @Tony – these sales now are an attempt to generate new demand and build a revenue base that otherwise wouldn’t be there. I’ve bought one for no particular reason other than a night in the summer with a friend at some point will be fun as I’m sure many others will do. They’re betting on a) occupancy still not being at 100% so they aren’t displacing higher rate business and b) they didn’t sell you a room for 90 quid that you would have bought for 250 quid nearer the time (which is unlikely!) then overall they’ve maximised possible yield and revenue

    The London market hinges on the inbound strategy of the government which sounds like it’ll be announced around mid-April, if they end up trying to fill London hotel rooms for the bulk of the summer on domestic demand alone expect to see many more of these types of promotions and packages with train tickets, theatre etc to stimulate demand and it’ll be interesting to see how low rates can go, especially early in the week.

    New York in January ends up in a similar situation and I’ve seen Hyatts at $69 which usually go for $100s for example

    • Tony says:

      Fair points – thanks. I might be looking at this the wrong way as I do reluctantly spend up to £250 for London hotels (business expense). It’s more productive given I live a fair way out. Getting rooms at a good hotel for £90 therefore makes a lot of sense for me.

  • Christian says:

    Get tier point runs while you can before they become socially unacceptable due to carbon footprints and Greta.

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