News in brief:
Get an 80% bonus buying IHG One Rewards points
Until 10th June, you can buy IHG One Rewards – the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc scheme – points with a bonus of 80%.
The bonus kicks in with a minimum purchase of 5,000 points. The purchase limit has been increased to 250,000 points, meaning that you can receive a maximum – with the bonus – of 450,000 points for $2,500.
You would be paying 0.45p per point. This is higher than our target value of IHG One Rewards points of 0.4p but it isn’t difficult to beat 0.45p.
I wouldn’t buy speculatively with an 80% bonus as I am fairly sure that a 100% bonus for everyone will be along in a few months. If you need to top up your account in advance of a planned short-term redemption, however, you might as well do it whilst the bonus is on.
John Lewis suspends applications for its credit card
Whilst it doesn’t earn miles or points, we have occasionally mentioned the John Lewis / Waitrose Partnership Card in the past.
Until the launch of the new Barclaycard Avios credit cards, the Partnership Card was one of the better options – although still a weak one – for getting rewards from a Visa or Mastercard. You got 1.25% back on your spending in John Lewis and Waitrose and 0.25% back elsewhere.
Applications for the card closed yesterday. John Lewis is planning to move it from HSBC to NewDay.
There is an interesting comment in the press release on the announcement. NewDay said that:
“our proprietary credit decisioning capabilities allow us to responsibly say ‘yes’ to more customers, which will enable even more John Lewis customers to enjoy the much-loved Partnership Card rewards.“
This sounds, to me, as if John Lewis and HSBC may have fallen out over the acceptance rate for the card, albeit you would expect the John Lewis / Waitrose customer base to be good credit risks.
However, it is also the case that NewDay has just lost the contract to run the Amazon Platinum Mastercard. NewDay’s private equity owners are believed to be planning to float the business in the medium term and will need a ‘good news’ story to convince investors that it is still a growth business.
What isn’t clear is what happens to existing cardholders. John Lewis says that:
“There’s no immediate change for current customers, who can continue to use their card and collect points as normal, and we’ll write to them this summer about the change.“
There are two possible scenarios. One is that NewDay buys the existing ‘book’ off HSBC and customers get a fairly seamless transition. The alternative is that HSBC switches Partnership Card customers to a generic HSBC card and they are forced to make a fresh application for the NewDay product.
If you have one of these cards, you should be seriously considering dropping it for the free Barclaycard Avios card. Even if you have no interest in Avios, you can convert the points into Nectar and get a 0.8% return on your spending – more than 3x the 0.25% return you get from the John Lewis card.
Elizabeth Line opening date set – but what about Heathrow?
You have probably read in the press about the opening of Crossrail / Elizabeth Line, which is now planned for 24th May. Unless you want to go to Bond Street, which won’t open until later in the year ….
It is worth noting that, for now, nothing changes regarding travel to Heathrow.
There will be no Elizabeth Line trains passing through Paddington until next year. For now, services from Central London will stop at Paddington. You will need to go up to a surface level platform to catch a separate Elizabeth Line train towards Heathrow and the west.
All that happens on 24th May is that the existing ‘TfL Rail’ branding will swap to ‘Elizabeth Line’ branding. The rolling stock won’t change as TfL Rail has been using the new Elizabeth Line trains for some time.
You may also have read that Elizabeth Line services will not operate on Sundays. Whilst this is true for the central area, between Paddington and Abbey Wood, services WILL run on Sundays on the line from Heathrow and the west into Paddington.
At some point in 2023, once the necessary signalling works are complete, trains will run directly from Heathrow into Central London.