Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Starwood's loyalty points, or SPG points, are amongst some of the most valuable frequent traveller reward points around.  As well as being able to use them at some fantastic properties (I had a memorable stay in the St Regis, Miami last year), you can transfer them into just about all of the major airline miles.

In the UK, you can collect them primarily with the Amex SPG card. You can also transfer Amex membership rewards (MR) points to Starwoods points , but only at a poor 2-for-1 ratio.

Given that they are quite hard to come by, it's always good when you come across a way of getting better value for them.

The Starwoods Nights and Flights promotion allows you to redeem 70K SPG points for 5 nights stay in a cat 4 hotel, AND also get 50K airmiles transferred to the frequent flyer programme of your choice.

Let's examine the offer in detail.

5 Nights in a category 4 SPG hotel would require 40K SPG points
50K Avios or AA miles would require 40K SPG points.

So if done as two separate redemptions, you would require 80K points.

The promo, which must be done via the call centre (it can't be accessed online), gets you the above for 70K SPG points, a saving of 10K SPG points.

Now of course the promo only works for you if you were intending to stay at least 5 nights anyway (extra nights can be tacked on at the regular rate), but if you are staying at least 5 nights, and you were considering also doing a transfer into an airline program, use of this promo would be the best way to go.

The important T&C are that you can only transfer to an airline program that normally transfers at the 1:1 ratio, and also you must pick a category 4 hotel. There is a similar program for category 3 hotels, which requires 60K SPG points, and results in an 8K SPG points saving.

You'll find the details of the programme at the bottom of this link.

Sunday, 5 October 2014


Both Avios and BA have partnered with survey companies, who will reward survey participants with free avios. On an on-going basis, these do not provide a great return for the time that you invest in doing them, but the initial sign-up bonuses are well worth having.

Avios partners with "e-rewards" and "rewards for thoughts.". e-rewards gives you 750 avios for signing up and completing your first survey. Rewards for thoughts gives 600 avios. 

Sign-up for e-rewards here.

Sign-up for rewards for thoughts here. currently partners with just "e-rewards". Again, you will get 750 avios for your initial survey. As a pre-caution against e-rewards picking up that you have already registered, I suggest using a different email account.

Go to this page, at the bottom you'll see the link to sign-up.

When you are all done, you'll be in line to get 2100 avios from the 3 sign-ups. And don't forget, if you have a partner, they can also sign-up for another 2100 avios.

Friday, 1 August 2014


UPDATE...Irish Independant confirmed Aer Lingus has "concrete plans" for new USA services

Hear a rumour/speculation today, courtesy of, that Aer Lingus will be launching further flights to the USA in 2015.

If true, this is great news for expanding redemption options out of Ireland. Recall, that you can redeem BA avios on Aer Lingus flights. The big advantage (other than that it super handy for those living in Ireland), is that the taxes and fees for a return flight are around £80, as opposed for the equivalent flight out of the UK. Aer lingus currently flies Boston, Chicago, Orlando, New York and San Francisco.

The rumour suggests that one of the news destinations will be in Texas, so either Dallas, Houston, or less likely Austin. It is also suggested that another East coast destination will be added.

If these flights are coming, one would expect an announcement within the next few months.

UPDATE. Irish independent today ran an article quoting the Aer Lingus CEO

"I will not mention any destinations but we have very concrete plans," Mr Mueller, pictured right, said. He added that those plans would come to fruition before he leaves the airline next May."

So no longer in the rumour dept, it's now a case of wait for the announcement.


Flying long haul direct out of Belfast is limited to the single United Airlines destination, of Newwark, New York. It's unlikely that many people have United miles, as the opportunities to collect them within the UK are few and far between.

Monday, 28 July 2014


I just received an email from Iberia , offering double Avios when booking Iberia flights. Note that you must book on, booking on or will not get you the double Avios, and of course you need an Iberia avios account.

Flights booked until the 31st of August, travelling by 31st December, are eligible with the exception of  flights beginning with IB7xxx, IB5xxx o IB4xxx, IB36XX, IB39XX.

More on


Its the start of a new Tesco Club Card points collecting quarter, and this is traditionally a time when Tesco launches some clubcard promos.  The start of this quarter brings an offer for converting to Virgin Miles.

Convert Tesco vouchers between the 28th of July and the 8th of Sept, and you'll get 750 Virgin miles for every £2.50, instead of the usual 625 miles. That's a 20% uplift.

Additionally, if you turn on auto-convert, you'll get an extra 1000 Virgin miles. This looks like an attractive offer. However, worryingly, anyone who already had their Tesco account set to automatically convert vouchers to Virgin may have missed out on the 20% uplift, as the auto convert happened a few days before the 28th of July. It will be interesting to see if they still get the 20% bonus miles.

This is one reason why I don't have auto convert on, it means you are likely to miss out on bonuses and promos.  However, if you are thinking of converting all of your existing vouchers to Virgin, it makes sense to convert, and then turn on auto-convert. This will get you the extra 1000 miles. Once you see the 1000 miles post to your Virgin account, switch auto convert back off again.