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Bits: Heathrow Christmas rail woes, 30% off Hyatt points, 2000 Virgin Points with Clubcard

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News in brief:

No tube or Heathrow Express to the airport over Christmas

If you are flying over Christmas or New Year, or just heading to Heathrow to pick up a visiting relative, you need to be aware of a number of key rail closures.

There will be no London Underground services to Heathrow Airport between 24th-30th December and 2nd-3rd January.

In addition, there will be no Heathrow Express or TfL Rail (ex Heathrow Connect) services on 25th-26th December.

On 26th December you can use buses or a rail replacement bus service from Hammersmith. There are no bus services on 25th December, however.

You can find out more on National Rail Enquiries here.

Get a 30% discount buying World of Hyatt points

Hyatt is running another ‘buy points’ promotion, but this is better than most. To confuse people, this one offers a 30% DISCOUNT rather than a bonus.

A 30% discount is equivalent to a 43% bonus, to save you doing the maths. This makes it the best bonus we have seen for some time.

At the top end, you are paying $924 for 55,000 points, which works out at 1.2p per point. This is just a little over the value that we place on them. Our core article on what World of Hyatt points are worth is here.

It is clearly worth a look if you want to top up your account in advance of a redemption. It may also be worth buying all of the points you need if you are planning a Winter break. Park Hyatt Dubai, for example, is around £500 per night just before Christmas but only requires 20,000 points.

One great benefit of World of Hyatt is ‘last room availability’. If a standard room is available for cash it must be made available for points. This can greatly increase the value you get.

The ‘buy points’ page is here. The offer runs to 30th December.

2,000 Virgin Points by activating Tesco Clubcard Auto-Convert

Get 2,000 Virgin Points by activating Tesco Clubcard Auto-Convert

Tesco and Avios may have gone their separate ways but Virgin Atlantic remains a Tesco Clubcard partner.

Virgin Atlantic has launched another bonus if you agree to convert your future Clubcard points. You will receive 2,000 bonus Virgin Points if you switch your Tesco Clubcard account to auto-convert points to Virgin Flying Club.

There is also an extra carrot this time around. One person who sets up autoconvert will win 40,000 Virgin Points.

To turn on auto-convert, you need to visit the Clubcard website here.

Sign in to your account and click on ‘Clubcard Account’.  Select ‘Account Management’ and then ‘Voucher Schemes’.  From this page you can select the “Virgin Points” box to enable auto-exchange.

Note that:

  • you must activate auto-convert by 22nd December
  • you must keep auto-convert turned on until at least the next Tesco voucher date of 27th January
  • you must have at least £1.50 of Clubcard vouchers available for conversion on 27th January
  • you must not have received a bonus for turning on auto-convert to Virgin Flying Club in the past
  • your 2,000 Virgin Points will be awarded by 27th February

I am usually a little sceptical about auto-converting your Clubcard points. You would miss out if a conversion bonus came along, or indeed a better Tesco Clubcard offer launched with another partner.

In general, it is better to keep your Clubcard vouchers in a drawer until you need them, or until a conversion bonus appears.

However …. the days of lucrative offers on Tesco Clubcard seem to be over.  2,000 Virgin Points is also a VERY good incentive – you’d usually need to spend £800 in Tesco to earn £8 of Clubcard vouchers to receive 2,000 points.

On this basis, assuming you’d only generate a few pounds of vouchers per quarter, you are likely to be better off by activating auto-convert for a while and seeing how it goes.

You can see details of this new Tesco / Virgin Points bonus on the Virgin Flying Club / Tesco Clubcard page here.

Comments (32)

  • RussellH says:

    I only got 1000 Virgin points last time the Clubcard bonus was offered.
    Lodged a complaint, but only ever got an auto-response. Nothing further ever from Virgin.

  • Paul says:

    What is the requirements when auto converting from Clubcard to Virgin? Do the account names need to match, or simply the address?

    • jimmyjimmy says:

      I’ve converted Clubcard (in wife’s name/same address) to Virgin without any issues, wouldn’t expect auto convert to be any different but you never know.

    • DaveL says:

      I was wondering whether there would be any issues having two Clubcard savings (OH and I) both converting to the same VFC account…

  • Aston100 says:

    Oh bum. I had been intending to take a tube from Heathrow to Marylebone (to take a train back to the midlands) in the morning of 3rd Jan. Sounds like the Piccadilly line is out of action that morning.

    Anyone have any suggestions? will have a fair bit of luggage, so perhaps an Uber might be best.

    • Nick says:

      There’s loads of options – even with the Picc line running I’d still likely not take it for that journey. One option is the paddington train, then short walk (or bus) to Marylebone. Another is local bus to Gerrards Cross (or Uber, it’s not particularly far) to pick up the Chiltern train there. Third is the Oxford bus, which is currently stopping at High Wycombe (ditto re the train). Fourth is RailAir connecting bus to Reading, then Crosscountry train. Fifth is National Express – if you get one of the real Express ones it’s actually a pretty fast run to Digbeth.

      • Aston100 says:

        Thanks Nick.
        With 3 full size cases and 2 cabin bags, I’d be looking to avoid the bus, lots of steps and walking along the streets if possible.
        Was playing around with the TFL Journey Planner (which seems to work up to a month in advance) and I’m wondering if the Heathrow Express to Paddington followed by the Bakerloo line to Marylebone might work that day? IIRC there’s a bunch of steps though and I’m not comfortable with leaving a bag or two at the foot of the steps whilst walking up with the rest.
        Not sure, but it looks like there might be step free access at Baker Street. If so, isn’t that just a 5 minute walk on the side road to get to Marylebone?

        Don’t do London often so forgotten much!

        • Nick says:

          Yes, that’s a good option, I’d forgotten that one. Better on the TfL Rail train rather than HEx as it drops you right next to the platforms for the Baker St connection (use the H&C line rather than Bakerloo as it has a lift at paddington). I would also seriously check out Uber to Gerrards Cross if walking is an issue – it’s about 10 miles from T5 and should be under £30.

          • Aston100 says:

            Thanks Nick.

          • CH says:

            The OP is departing from Marykebone Station; H&C doesn’t go to Marylevone Station, only Bakerloo. I would recommend train to PADDINGTON and then TfL bus or Uber/taxi to Marylebone Station. Anything else will involve far too much up & down for that distance.

          • Nick says:

            @CH the OP specifically mentioned he was ok walking from Baker St to Marylebone. So the advice stands and there’s no need for shouty caps when it’s actually YOU (see what I did there?!) who can’t/won’t read.

        • Ryan says:

          Another option is getting a bus from Heathrow:

          – Bus X140 to Northolt station then 10 min walk to Northolt Park rail station (Chiltern)
          – Bus 278 to West Ruislip rail station (Chiltern)

          But as mentioned I think it’ll be faster, easier and cheaper getting a National Express from Heathrow.

  • Pogonation says:

    How often do clubcard points convert nowadays? I haven’t used TC for a long time and only have 11 points in my account so would need to make another 139… Is there enough time to actually have £1.50 of vouchers or do they only convert to vouchers every wuarter like in the old days?

  • Smid says:

    So when they say the tube is off, does that mean we can’t get between T3 and T5? Hatton Cross to T3 or T5?

    Not chosen hotel yet for night of the 23rd, for once getting one on the Hoppa might be the best choice.

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