Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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  • If you book through FHR you can make a single booking for multiple rooms and get the same benefits across all rooms. Eg if you book 2 rooms then everyone will get breakfast, every room will get an upgrade and every room will get the property credit. Some hotels may be awkward about the credit and insist that 2 $100 credits aren’t the same as a $200 credit. If you’re booking through FHR you may also be able to use some of the FHR offers eg 3rd/4th night free – there’s a full list of all properties with offers on this page on the Amex website

    If you’re booking through Marriott or Hilton then you may be able to get an extended stay rate that might knock 15-20% off the flexible rate but you’d end up needing to pay for breakfast. Hilton gold will get you breakfast for yourself plus one person sharing your room. Marriott gold won’t get you free breakfast at all. The FHR rate will pretty much always be the same as the flexible rate on the hotels website.

    in reply to: Korea

    You’re definitely not unlucky, Korea is a reasonably expensive country and has gone up a lot in recent years. There was a brief blip during the pandemic when hotel prices dipped a bit but they’re back up to their normal rates.

    Hotel prices in Korea are high right now for a couple of reasons. There’s been a big push towards status chasing in recent years and so you’ll typically find a lot of cheaper hotels booked for long term mattress runs. Also with travel in Korea being restricted during covid, there was a big push towards hotel breaks where people would visit a hotel to stay in the hotel. Add in the limited vacation days that people in Korea get and this tends to mean holidays within the country. For example, the Hilton you mentioned in Busan isn’t actually in Busan but it’s a resort about 10 miles away with a decent Korean style spa which makes it popular for people wanting a break in Korea.

    There’s also been closures of a few big hotels, eg the millennium Hilton seoul has closed which has increased demand on other Hilton’s in Seoul but with the small footprint that Hilton has in Seoul its meant a lot of the smaller hotels are busier.

    If you’re not willing to pay the sorts of prices that chain brands are charging now then Korea has a lot of high quality independent hotels that are also in places off the beaten track. Or if you’re set on staying in chain hotels then Marriott has by far the largest presence and is continuing to expand across the country but the chances of getting your status benefits is reasonably low owing to how busy they are.

    in reply to: Best Price Guarantee

    I think over the past year I’ve managed to make 8 claims and 6 of them have been approved. In all cases I’ve had a response within 24 hours which means if I didn’t get the rate matched I was able to cancel my booking with Marriott direct. I’ll give some examples of my claims below:

    Hotel: Courtyard New York Times Square West
    Marriott rate: $716.16
    Third party and rate: $519.36
    Comments: Approved – final rate was $446.50

    Hotel: Gewandhaus Dresden
    Marriott rate: 210 EUR
    Third party and rate: 180 EUR
    Comments: Approved – final rate was 135.15 EUR

    Hotel: AC Brescia
    Marriott rate: 725 EUR
    Third party and rate: 689 EUR
    Comments: Declined – booking didn’t include city tax whereas Marriott did

    Hotel: Sheraton Frankfurt Airport
    Marriott rate: 122.5 EUR
    Third party and rate: 114 EUR
    Comments: Declined – slightly questionable reservations site

    Hotel: Moxy Bordeaux
    Marriott rate: 115.3 EUR
    Third party and rate: £93.19
    Comments: Approved – final rate was 80.29 EUR

    Hotel: Renaissance Bordeaux
    Marriott rate: 175.28 EUR
    Third party and rate: £146.42
    Comments: Approved – final rate was EUR 120.87

    Hotel: Fairfield New York Downtown
    Marriott rate: $246
    Third party and rate: $220
    Comments: Approved – final rate was $165

    Hotel: Basel Marriott
    Marriott rate: 365 CHF
    Third party and rate: £157.40
    Comments: Approved – final rate was 138.71 CHF

    If you make a claim against a site like Expedia as long as the conditions are similar then it’s likely to be approved, a lot of those hotel booking sites you see on Google aren’t valid for comparison. Also it’s in the hotel owner’s interests to make sure the rates are the same since they’re going to get find on the order of $50-$500 per breach of the terms as well as needing to accept the lower rate. That means you can sometimes find good BRG claims on new quiet hotels where the owners don’t necessarily know what they’re doing yet.


    Thanks for the info hadn’t noticed this one.

    Which other lounge in South terminal is recommended with amex platinum?

    The Club Aspire lounge and Clubrooms are both closed until further notice. Your options are either the No 1 lounge or the MyLounge, but the MyLounge option is only open between 7AM and 2PM.

    I’ve also got a platinum card and a blue ba card. Currently on my platinum I’ve got 103 offers and on my ba card I’ve got 26 offers. I’ve held both cards for roughly the same amount of time but my spend is biased towards my platinum. I’ve got quite a bit of overlap across the offers, things like Pure, Kitbag, Aveda etc etc are available on both but currently my platinum has a lot of offers for restaurants like Hakkasa, yauatcha etc

    in reply to: Refusal to honour statement credit offers

    Similar situation here. Spent the £200/£75 back with Marriott offer in Paris, 30th July. Bill came to £204. They claim it came to 199.17. Their conversion! Excluded the 2.99% which was almost £6. They told me several times l met the criteria on phone and chat, until this week they said l didn’t. Expressed concern so asked for supervisor, who offered me £50 goodwill. Pressed on, said they would see if their manager would approve the £75. Told her l was humiliating to beg for the £75! And that Amex were nit picking excluding the exchange fee…. Phoned me back as promised with the full offer. Almost 4 months. She mention she could allocate up to 7k Bonvoy points, should have taken them. But probably would have only given us £75 x 2! Useless.

    Other one we are waiting for is the One Fine Stay night, added an extra night. OFS billed us directly, supposed to have 200 credit back, it was a 276 bill. Again, big discussion, hadn’t a Clue where to find it, had to guide them…. Asked us to phone them back Today, can’t. So will do next week. So yes, having to drag certain credits out of them.

    Saying that, the restaurant credits both U.K. and Singapore posted quite quickly. HN now to buy a gift card/candle.

    I’ve had a situation relating to this recently. I had a setup where I’d get to £395 spend in GBP plus the 2.99% to take me over the £400 offer on Marriotts. I asked on chat about what settled amount meant and the chat agent was absolutely adamant that the offer would apply if the transaction fee caused it to go over the threshold. In the end though we didn’t need to worry as we went well over, but I’m thankful I have it written down for the future now.

    in reply to: Amex FHR hotel booking

    When I book through FHR I do regularly see a bit of difference between the pay at hotel rate and the rate as quoted online. For example if I book a hotel and choose to pay at the hotel then it might price at £220 but the equivalent pay now rate might be in the region of £223. Your comments suggest that one might be a pay in advance rate and the other is a pay at hotel rate, however, I wouldn’t expect that to lead to a £400 difference.

    The only other thing I can think is whether one rate had a different cancellation policy to the other. I’ve noticed an increased number of FHR hotels offering non-refundable rates now rather than the usual 24 hour cancellation policy.

    in reply to: Dubai

    I can’t answer the questions about the Jumeirah hotels but on the second question I’ve seen that Marriott also offer a dine around package which allows you to go half board at other hotels’ restaurants if you’re staying in one of the participating hotels.

    in reply to: New £300 Platinum dining credit July 2022

    Just been to Fish Cheeks in New York. We didn’t use the credit here but we found the place because of the dining offer. Lunch was excellent, the crab curry was incredibly spicy but tasted amazing. I’d 100% recommend it if you’re in NY even if you don’t use the dining credit here.

    in reply to: Post new Amex statement credit offers here!

    An interesting new offer just popped up on my platinum card – spend £6.99 at reward flight finder and get £6.99 back up to 3 times before April next year.

    in reply to: Post new Amex statement credit offers here!

    A new offer popped up on my platinum this morning – spend £50 anywhere get £10 back 3 times


    I have a suspicion as to what has happened here. Given the cost of the hotel in local currency is reasonably high, as soon as you had a sufficiently high number of nights, the total cost of the hotel overflowed a 32 bit integer. Some part of the site clearly couldn’t cope with the large numbers caused by a high daily rate in a currency like Rupiah.

    Unfortunately I think in this case you’ll get no recourse as it was just a “presentation” bug rather than an invalid rate. The hotel clearly knew the actual rate was 169000000 per night and since Marriott processes all payments at the hotel I would anticipate the hotel would be able to process such a high rate which marriotts it couldn’t.

    in reply to: Post new Amex statement credit offers here!

    Quite a few new offers for me today
    De Beers Spend £1000 get £200 back
    Game Get 10% back
    Fortnum and mason Get 10% back
    Farrow and ball Spend £200 get £20 back
    Selco builders warehouse Spend £150 get £15 back


    One thing to consider with airport lounges is how long they’ll actually let you stay there. I’ve just taken a look on priority pass and you’ve got a few lounges which will only let you stay for 3 hours at a time (lounges in concourse A and C) but there’s also some in concourse B which will let you stay for 4 or 5 hours when using a lounge card. I can’t comment on whether any of them are worth spending 5 hours in though.

    How do they track your stay?

    It depends on the lounge, I’ve got a feeling that quite a few don’t care, especially if it’s quiet. You’ll be reminded of the limit when you arrive but that’s about it. Some of the lounges, the main one I can think of being Amex centurion lounges, won’t allow you access until 3 hours before your flight is scheduled to leave to limit how long you can actually spend in the lounge.


    One thing to consider with airport lounges is how long they’ll actually let you stay there. I’ve just taken a look on priority pass and you’ve got a few lounges which will only let you stay for 3 hours at a time (lounges in concourse A and C) but there’s also some in concourse B which will let you stay for 4 or 5 hours when using a lounge card. I can’t comment on whether any of them are worth spending 5 hours in though.


    I booked a couple of nights for early next year. Standouts are the Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville for £210. The main reason for booking though is that these are prepaid rates but refundable. I booked the Barcelona edition for one night through FHR later this year for about £330. So now the 2 stays combined will be enough to trigger the Marriott luxury hotels offer on my Amex.

    The rate discount was about £40 which isn’t bad either. I also booked an AC which saved me a couple of pounds as well.

    in reply to: UAE Mini Tour trip report

    Great write-up @bruinbrown – thanks so for much detail and useful comparisons between the options. I think you’ve covered a lot of the Dubai / UAE resorts that often get mentioned on here, so it makes for a very handy summary for some planning that I (and lots of others) will likely be doing at some stage. You seem quite taken with the RC Al Hamra in spite of the food but I wondered if you’d had a look at the beach etc. at the Waldorf and whether that might be an option (not Marriott of course)? I get the impression it is better value than the RC but perhaps suffers from having too many large groups/ kids etc so may not be as peaceful as the RC for a couple. It looks like you packed a lot in and made the most of your Platinum status and hopefully you two had a great trip!

    We drove past the WA on the way to the RC and the building looked stunning – to the extent that we actually planned to have lunch in the WA on the last day until we realised the Lexington Grill was only open in the evening. It’s definitely a much bigger hotel than the RC and I’m sure that gives it a very different feel.

    I can’t comment on the WA beach but if it’s similar to the beach at the RC then the sand is quite sharp due to the amount of crushed shells. Whilst you could walk barefoot down to the sea, there were a few places where it was more noticeable and was uncomfortable to walk.

    in reply to: Best hotel breakfast in London

    Whilst it’s not a hotel breakfast, Hide on Piccadilly has an excellent breakfast.


    There’s 2 parts to the Barclays Premier Avios, there’s the premier bank account which can be opened in branch, online, by phone. Then, once you’ve created an account and can see the account in the app then you can opt into the Barclays Avios Rewards within the Barclays app.

    in reply to: Points and Nights for redemption stays

    You’d get credits for the nights, and points for any incidentals during the stay, but your hotel cost is 0 and so you won’t get any points for your stay cost and you’ll get no points for your city taxes etc. If you’ve got any status with Marriott then you’ll also get the bonus points on your spend. If you choose a welcome gift of points then they’ll credit as well. You might also get any points from promotions.

    in reply to: Moxy Platinum guarantee

    Looking at the bonvoy terms and conditions says the following

    United States, Canada, Europe: 500 Points per Stay or U.S. $10 F&B credit per night of Stay for Member +1**

    Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Middle East, and Africa: 500 Points per Stay or F&B amenity per Stay or U.S. $10 F&B credit per night of Stay

    So in Europe you should be getting the $10 per person per night (don’t forget you don’t get a $200 credit but $20 per night). Although in the Middle East and Africa the welcome gift is a F&B amenity.

    in reply to: Can you achieve Platinum Elite in 9 nights?

    No, my mistake, I’ve just gone through my Twitter DMs and it was 16 nights for platinum not 12

    in reply to: Can you achieve Platinum Elite in 9 nights?

    I signed up for it back in February and the terms were to complete 12 nights within the next 3 calendar months plus the current month. I.e. sign up on the 1st Feb and you get February, March, April and May or sign up on the 28th Feb and get March, April and May. I’m not sure how often they offer it and whether it’s targeted or not. Not long after I signed up they stopped accepting applications. If you’re interested I’d suggest just messaging them on your preferred social media platform asking whether they are offering a status challenge at the moment.

    in reply to: Can you achieve Platinum Elite in 9 nights?

    The Amex platinum gives you gold status but doesn’t give you the 25 nights to get the status.

    If you take out the bonvoy card then you do get 15 night credits leaving 35 nights needed for platinum.

    If you’re looking to get platinum with a lower night threshold, you can occasionally message bonvoy on Twitter or Facebook and ask for a status challenge where 12 nights in 3 months gets you platinum, however, they don’t publish when this is available and you don’t get platinum until after the 12 nights.

    in reply to: Korea

    Summer in Korea goes one of two ways, it’s either incredibly hot and can easily reach over 40 in certain parts of the country or there can be typhoons which are intense and lead to rainfall for weeks at a time.

    I would definitely recommend spending quite a bit of time in Seoul, each time I go, I can easily spend 5 or 6 nights there. I’d say the best areas of Seoul over the past few years have been the areas north of the station. Dongdaemun, Namsan, Jongno are all great areas. The metro is cheap and easy but Seoul is a really big city. The shilla Seoul is definitely the best hotel I’ve encountered in Seoul, the rooms are dated but the service and food are incredible. The Signiel is great for views across Seoul but there’s not really lots in the neighbourhood. In terms of cheaper areas, I think places like Myeongdong have declined during the pandemic and aren’t as lively as they were 5 years ago but you’ll regularly find some great hotel deals around there. It’s quite easy to pick up a 4 points or courtyard for £50 per night.

    Outside of Seoul, Busan is great but I don’t think you need too long there. After 1 night I’m usually bored. It’s great seeing the hundred storey skyscrapers around haeundae and walking along the beach but there isn’t as much to do as other cities. The Hilton resort just outside Busan is great for 1 night as well.

    Jeju is great and should definitely be on your list as others have said. Make sure to get some Jeju black pig or ribbon fish, both local specialities.

    For me one of the best things about korea is the food and different cities have different specialities. Jeonju is great for banchan and makgeolli. Gyeongju is great for a really historic feel. Pohang is amazing if you’re a fan of seafood, if you can stomach wriggling octopus, there’s a few places in the seafood market which serve sanakjj.

    To travel between cities, the train is probably the easiest option. The high speed train is fast and comfortable. You can take the munghungwa train to save money but it’s much slower. Flights to jeju are very busy and Seoul to jeju before the pandemic was the worlds busiest flight route but because there’s so many seats your tickets should never be that expensive.

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