Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: Air France KLM and Etihad partner, Watchfinder deal, Hyatt 25% buy points discount

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News in brief:

Flying Blue miles will soon be redeemable on Etihad (and vice versa)

Air France KLM and Etihad have announced a stronger co-operation agreement which will, amongst other things:

  • allow you to redeem Etihad Guest miles for Air France and KLM flights
  • allow you to redeem Flying Blue miles for Etihad flights
  • benefit from reciprocal elite benefits

The current codeshare operation between the groups will be expanded to cover another 40 routes. We have already seen Air France announce flights to Abu Dhabi, although the reason for this wasn’t clear at the time.

The expanded codeshares are meant to be in place for the upcoming winter flying season. None of the loyalty changes will happen immediately although I suspect most should be in place within 12 months.

In terms of relevance to HfP readers, the following are worth considering:

  • if you earn miles flying with Virgin Atlantic, would you benefit from crediting to Flying Blue instead to take advantage of Etihad redemption opportunities?
  • if you earn miles flying with Etihad, would you benefit from crediting to Flying Blue instead, given the ability to redeem on Etihad and the entire SkyTeam alliance?
  • if taxes and charges are reasonable, there may be value in transferring American Express Membership Rewards points to Flying Blue instead of Etihad Guest if you want to book Etihad flights. If nothing else, the miles would be easier to re-use if you ended up cancelling your flight.

We’ll keep you updated when we know the timeline for these changes. You can find out more on the Etihad website here.

PS. It is worth considering whether Virgin Atlantic may be looking at a similar deal. It already works very closely with Air France KLM via its transatlantic joint venture, and Virgin Atlantic Holidays would benefit from access to Etihad inventory at preferred rates. British Airways and Qatar Airways already have a deep relationship via their joint venture agreement, joint oneworld alliance membership, joint use of Avios and the 25% shareholding that Qatar Airways holds in BA’s parent company.

Air France KLM and Etihad partner

Watchfinder runs a Rolex flash sale which stacks with Amex cashback

Watchfinder, the pre-owned watch specialist (owned by Richemont, so no issues with legitimacy), sent me a note about a Rolex flash sale they are running this week.

Details are here and the discounts run to Friday.

This should stack with the current American Express cashback offer for Watchfinder. If targetted, you will get 5% back on any purchase of £2000+, up to a maximum of £200 cashback.

As usual, you need to search for the offer in the Amex app or your online statement page, making a separate check for each card you hold, and click ‘Save To Card’ if you see it. The cashback deal runs to 30th September.

Get a 25% discount buying World of Hyatt points

Get a 25% discount buying World of Hyatt points

Hyatt is offering a new 25% discount (equivalent to a 33% bonus) when you buy 5,000+ World of Hyatt points via this link. The offer runs to 10th October.

This is obviously worth a look if you need to top up your account.  It may also be worthwhile if you are considering a stay in a top tier Park Hyatt such as Paris, where buying the points may be cheaper than paying cash – here’s my Park Hyatt New York review where I did just that.

There is no change to the annual ‘buy points’ cap so you are restricted to 55,000 points, assuming you haven’t already bought some this year. This will only get you one night at the very top hotels but 2-3 nights elsewhere.

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

The upside is that a 25% discount (equivalent to a 33% bonus) is at the top end of the offers that Hyatt runs.

We value Hyatt points at 1.2p. At the top end you are paying $990 for 55,000 points, which is 1.43p each. You won’t get a steal on this basis but you should still come out on top at a good hotel on an expensive night. It’s also fair to say that, given current hotel prices, my 1.2p valuation is very conservative.

For example …. taking a night in October when I’m back at Park Hyatt New York on points …. the cash rate is currently $1,459 including tax. You can buy 45,000 points to book the same room for $810.

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 started letting you book suites online for points and there are some bargains to be had. Here is how I used that feature in Paris in 2021. Looking at suite upgrades, you are paying 6,000 points per night – or 9,000 for a premium suite – which would be (x 1.43p) £86 per night. This is good value, especially if the suite automatically gets you lounge access too.

The Hyatt ‘buy points’ site is here. The offer ends on 10th October.

Comments (43)

  • Matt says:

    Rolex flash sale = only 50% markup on the RRP… I both get it and don’t get it at the same time.

    • lumma says:

      I’m not sure what’s the most genius way of getting rich people to waste their cash. Expensive watches or $1,500 hotel rooms in NYC…

      • Andrew J says:

        “Expensive” watches aren’t a waste of money at all – they are clearly an investment which not only holds its value but appreciates considerably, as Watchfinder demonstrates. Buy a new Rolex, wear it for a few years, sell it for twice what you paid for it – seems pretty good to me.

        • Gordon says:


        • Thywillbedone says:

          You need a LOT of caveats to that statement to make it hold true (as to brand, as to model etc etc). As investment literature always warns: the price of your ‘investment’ can go down as well as up. Much of this market is a charade.

          • Michael S says:

            People also forget about servicing cost of a Rolex, which can be anywhere between 500-1,000. All those 10+ year old submariners that sell for 8-9k effectively lost money on real basis, if you factor in servicing cost. Not to mention an alternative investment in any stock market index would have been much better

            People really need to stop thinking about buying a Rolex as free money. Yes, everyone knows a submariner sells for 3-4k on top of a RRP but that’s a recent phenomenon since covid and it’s bound to correct itself. Plus, very few people who can actually convince a dealer to sell them one would flip on the market next day. If I get one, I’d be happy I got a good “deal” but I’d still wear it from time to time, knowing I could sell whenever I want at a profit but I would prob not sell it in case my financial situation completely changes

            So buy a rolex if you really want to wear one. Not as an investment

        • lumma says:

          There was an argument on here a week or so ago about how carrying a wallet with cards and ID in was so outdated yet wearing a watch isn’t?

          Even the keep it for 5 years then sell at a profit reeks of a pyramid scheme, someone down the line isn’t going to make a profit.

          I can appreciate high end watches as a piece of engineering, but that’s all.

          • Matt says:

            I also suspect Watchfinder takes a healthy margin, which probably eliminates most of your profit. Especially as it won’t be easy to sell on your own, given how many “replica” watches are out there.

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          ““Expensive” watches aren’t a waste of money at all – they are clearly an investment”

          Nope. They offer no intrinsic return, and their “utlility” value is about £5. Therefore they offer speculation, not investment, as their value relies 100% on the “greater fool” principle. Important to know the difference. Of course nobody would deny that purely speculative assets can make returns; sometimes very big returns.

    • Rob says:

      You can’t buy a Rolex in a store. Multi year waiting lists which you can only get on by buying 2-3 other watches from the shop first.

      • Andrew J says:

        Well you can buy in a store, but you’ll need to join a waiting list. What you mean to say is that you can’t just walk in, first time and buy one.

        • Matt says:

          You can certainly join a waiting list, but whether or not you make it to the top without having a history with Rolex is another thing. Perhaps for a Date-just, but less likely for a Daytona.

          • Rob says:

            Yes, you will never get to the top of the list without substantial additional spend.

            It also doesn’t take a genius to realise that the system will be corrupt in many cases. Why should a shop sell to you when the owner can sell to a mate who resells it to split the profit?

            You are basically adding your name to a list to be given £5,000 of free money. Oddly the list isn’t moving in your direction any time soon.

          • Gordon says:

            People should be careful buying and selling Rolex watches often for profit reasons, you can be blacklisted!

          • Ruralite says:

            There’s a heck of a lot of Submariners around (not) to the extent that genuine ones can’t get a Submariner watch without waiting on a long list or paying a premium I know that!

          • John says:

            How can I open a Rolex store?

        • Lady London says:

          That may vary with the location. It has with 2 other brands I took an interest in.

      • Track says:

        If it’s that of a problem, why not save up and buy AP or Patek then?

        Rolex is a common, mid-range brand. When it’s on your hand, its hardly possible to distinguish from similar designs and makes, only if looking hard and close.

        • Dev says:

          IIRC, The Rolex GMT can not rotate in 0.5hrs so useless if travelling to India where it’s x.5hrs away from which ever timezone.

      • CC says:

        Was in Lunn’s in Belfast earlier this year and they had 2 Sky Dwellers just delivered that they were willing to sell. Obviously something like a Daytona is impossible without going on list / building a relationship with dealer. If you are walking past Rolex or an AD just ask if they have anything, you can still get lucky.

  • Jack says:

    Hyatt: is there any benefit from a points redemption if it doesnt include breakfast?

  • Mikeact says:

    I look forward to redeeming KL miles for an A380 Business ride down to AUS….if available, and the price is right .

  • Alex B says:

    Are the Hyatt redemption rates sustainable? The loyalty scheme must be leaking money with those sorts of savings?

    • Richie says:

      Not if the hotel room would otherwise be empty.

    • Rob says:

      It’s an interesting one with Hyatt. Actually the issue is NOT the cost of buying points. Hotels never get more than $100 for a redemption so if you pay $800 for the points then the scheme makes $700.

      Hyatt is different though in that it GUARANTEES redemption rooms if standard cash rooms are there. It MUST be paying the hotels something close to the standard rate beyond a certain number of redemptions per night.

      Don’t underestimate the scheme though. I met the GM of Hyatt Regency Blackfriars two weeks ago. The volume of nights being driven by World of Hyatt is huge. Oddly World of Hyatt is driving far more business than IHG One Rewards even did when it was a Crowne Plaza. This is because (if you divide the number of scheme members by the number of London hotels) Hyatt far outweighs IHG, and Hyatt members are more loyal.

      The cost to the hotel of points, free breakfasts, giving up suites it could potentially sell etc is peanuts compared to the savings from having a large % of guests book with them without requiring any marketing and without paying 22% commission to an OTA.

      • JDB says:

        When I used to travel to the US a lot for business years ago, Hyatt was always the superior option in the middle price range and their quality vs immediate competitors remains that bit better. Park Hyatt in particular is well above Ritz Carlton, St Regis, Waldorf Astoria etc. and keeping the Hyatt name in the branding speaks volumes.

        PH hotels are encouraged/allowed to have distinctive characters rather than being hidebound by brand manuals and they can do this by employing very superior GMs on a par with those found at non mass market groups. These GMs have the business acumen and hospitality expertise/experience to understand that top quality hotels need to have soul and be very individual, just like their guests. It costs PH more to provide, but enables them to price accordingly and guests pay the price because they recognise it is earned.

        • Rob says:

          With New York, it is worth noting the room size. Standard Park Hyatt rooms – the very smallest – are 500-625 square feet. This is twice the size you’d get at many hotels, and indeed many New York ‘suites’ are no bigger than this. A large part of the high room rates here is due to the space you get.

      • Track says:

        Maybe that’s because IHG One does not offer any good benefits, except for the relatively new top tier status.

    • Gordon says:

      Hyatt have deep pockets, Example- They purchased the Apple leisure group in 2021 for $2.7 Billion cash, and took on some debt! And they haven’t stopped there.They are also expanding in Europe. In London, there is the new park Hyatt (opening Q1 2024) and Hyatt regency etc. I have been loyal to the Hyatt brand for many years, also I have been satisfied with the redemption’s.

      • Rob says:

        Apple was bizarre and remains bizarre … all-inclusives may or may be having a moment but there is minimal synergy with Hyatt and World of Hyatt, and with most guests on packages they won’t even be earning in the loyalty programme. I doubt many WoH members want to redeem there either.

        • Gordon says:

          You say that Rob – But I have had some lucrative redemptions at their AI properties in the Caribbean over Christmas and the new year, literally buying points when there’s an offer on as the cash prices are ridiculous. My daughters and son are signed up to Hyatt and transfer their points that I fund to my account once a month in the run up the Q4 if my account is running low, which gives me 10 to 14 days Peak, It works quite well, especially now there are so many more properties to choose from now they have Apple under their belt!

  • Julia says:

    I’ll just chuck this in here in case anyone else is in the same boat. If you have a Rolex but can’t find the receipt or box then most outlets won’t let you use it as a down payment towards an upgrade. You need either to show a servicing receipt or, get an insurers valuation in writing. They will want the box as well and you can buy one on Ebay.

    • ken says:

      Always find it strange that despite every Rolex owner knowing that the box and papers adds significant value (particulalrly the guarantee card with serial number and model), that there are so many “genuine boxes” on ebay.

      • Gill says:

        Don’t assume people don’t have spare “genuine” spare Rolex boxes !
        We had our safe stolen with 12 Rolex gold and gold gemset watches stolen.
        Watches were not in Rolex boxes as boxes for this type of watch are the large size.
        Consequently I do have 12 spare “genuine” Rolex boxes 😀

        • PK says:

          Maybe you should have kept the watches in the boxes not the safe 🙂

          Joking aside that must have bee a terrible loss, I don’t even wear my bog standard submariner regularly in the UK anymore given the increase in thefts 🙁

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