Tag Archives: money

ACT NOW – Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold Card Offer Expiring

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The offer of a free Marco Polo Gold Card when signing up to the Amex Platinum card expires on 31 March. For full details of the deal, see this post.

If you want to take advantage of this amazing benefit, you need to sign up NOW in order to get your Platinum card through in time to sign up for the Marco Polo Gold Card.

A fresh referral link is on the Miles Mogul facebook page. I am extremely grateful for each and every referral!

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog by entering your email below to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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Get money back for everything you buy online with TopCashBack

Following on from yesterday’s post, here is a bit more information on TopCashBack – in my opinion the best paying cashback site in the UK.

How does cash back work?

When purchasing anything online, click through to the retailers site from a cash back site like TopCashBack. The cashback site will offer a percentage cashback on any purchase you make after clicking through from the cashback site. This tracks in your cashback account, and once confirmed, can be paid out in various ways, but most simply, directly to you bank account FOR FREE!

How much cash back can I earn?

Some sites pay a cash amount, and some pay a percentage on your purchase. Remember, almost every retailer you can think of have an offer. I have included some popular retailers, and some stand out deals in the table below (correct as of 7.2.14):

Retailer Cashback
Expedia 12.6%
Apple store 3.15%
Amazon 6.3%
Ebookers.com 13.65%
Thetrainline 3.15%
Marks and Spencer 3.15%
Sky TV/Broadband £236.25 (up to £194.25 for existing customers)
TM Lewin 12.6%
Aviva home insurance £63.00
Heathrow Airport Parking 9.45%
Plusnet Broadband £105.00

Turning cashback into avios

There are various different ways of being paid your cashback. The most simple is a bank transfer directly to your bank account. You can also get vouchers with retailers like Amazon and M&S and topcashback will give you a 5% bonus!

You can also take advantage of this 5% bonus and get paid in Tesco Clubcard points. These can then be converted to Avios at a rate of 1:2.4!

An example:

You book a week in a hotel after clicking through to Expedia from topcashback. The total cost of the hotel is £396.82.

You receive 12.6% cash back for this purchase = £50.00.

You transfer to your Tesco Clubcard account (1p=1 point) so with the 5% bonus you now have 5500 Clubcard points.

You convert these to Avios (done quickly online or on the telephone) at a rate of 1:2.4. 13200 Avios lands in your BA Executive Club account!

How do I get 500 Clubcard points (1200 Avios) just for signing up?

It is completely free, you just need to sign up though my referral link by clicking here!

I get a small bonus, for which I am extremely grateful, and you get your free Avios/points which you otherwise won’t get!

Conclusion

I urge you all to sign up (here!) and use this for all your online purchases. My accounts have paid hundreds and hundreds of pounds which I would never have received!

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog by entering your email below to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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Free Lounge Access for a year, 35,000 points and MUCH MORE with Amex Platinum without paying the £450 fee!!

After a ridiculously long time away, I am returning to share a deal that I just successfully took advantage of myself that I don’t want anyone to miss out on.

The product is the American Express Platinum Charge Card.

An overview

The benefits are second to none, and the best part is that you keep most of the benefits, even after cancelling the card.

This is absolutely key, because Amex charge a hefty £450 annual fee for the card, BUT this is refunded pro-rata when you cancel the card. You may only need to keep the card for a month of so, so you can expect in this situation to only pay a total of £37.50. An absolutely fantastic deal!

When I cancelled my card yesterday after 5 weeks, Amex simply gave me a full refund. I kept the benefits and paid nothing.

What are the benefits?

I will focus here on the benefits you will get to keep even after cancelling the card.

Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Gold Card

IMPORTANT: This is only available as a benefit until 31 March 2014. YOU MUST APPLY BEFORE THIS DATE.

This gives you “Sapphire Status” in the One World Alliance. So whenever you travel on airlines such as American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Iberia, Qatar and any other One World airline, even when travelling in economy, you will get the following perks:

· Free business class lounge access (plus 1 guest)

· Business class check-in

· Priority boarding

· Free seat selection at the time of booking for every passenger on the same booking (on British Airways you have to usually wait until 24 hrs before your flight)

· Free extra baggage allowance (2 x 32kg bags on British Airways)

Click here for full details on the Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold Card

Hotel Status

 

Set out in the table below are the cards and their related benefits that you will receive for three different hotel groups.

Group and status Brands Benefits Link for more info
Club Accor Platinum · Sofitel· Pullman

· Novotel

· Mercure

· Ibis

· Adagio

· Thalassa

· Free internet· Welcome drink

· Late check-out

· Early check-in

· Room upgrade

· Executive Lounge

Club Accor Platinum
Starwood Preferred Guest Gold · Westin· W Hotels

· Sheraton

· Four Points

· Le Meridien

· St Regis

· Aloft

· The Luxury Collection

· Element

· Late check-out· Room upgrade

· Welcome gift

Starwood Preferred Guest Gold
Club Carlson Gold · Radisson· Park Plaza

· Park Inn

· Country Inns & Suites

· Free Internet· Early check-in

· Late check-out

· Welcome gift

· Food and drink discounts

Club Carlson Gold

Car Hire Status

You will also gain status in Hertz and Avis. This gives you a number of benefits including free upgrades.

Sign-up bonus

American Express are offering a bonus of 30,000 Membership Reward points if you spend £2,000 in 3 months on the card. This is enough for 3 return flights in Europe, or a return flight to Tel Aviv if converted to Avios. For more information on what you can do with these points, click here. IMPORTANT: you will not receive this sign-up bonus if you have held the American Express Gold Charge Card, or the Platinum card within the last six months.

Referral bonus

If I refer you, Amex will give you 35,000 miles! This is a hefty increase. If you are eligible for the sign-up bonus, this is well worth it, and I will be extremely grateful for the small incentive Amex give me!

Cashback

If you are not eligible for the sign up bonus, I can still refer you, but as you will not get any bonus points yourself, you could go down the cashback route. Topcashback.co.uk are offering £52.50 cashback for signing up to the card. This is paid very quickly. If you then cancel the card quickly enough, you will not pay any of the £450 fee, and you will have made £52.50, and kept the benefits of the card.

If you decide to go down this route, PLEASE sign up to topcashback through my referral link: http://www.topcashback.co.uk/ref/nickykelvin

If you do, you will receive a bonus 500 Tesco Clubcard points!

I would recommend signing up for topcashback anyway, as you can make money on pretty much all your online purchases. This can be extremely rewarding, e.g. getting 10.5% back on Hotels.com could give you some serious spending money as a bonus on your next holiday! I will do a full blog post on this soon.

Your options:

Route A – for those who don’t have either the Amex Gold or Platinum charge card

1. Sign up through my referral link (here – on the Miles Mogul Facebook page or contact me for a referral email)

2. Sign up for all the benefits outlined above through Amex (this is very simple)

3. Spend £2,000 in 3 months on the card to get 35,000 (only if you use my referral link – otherwise 30,000)

4. Transfer your Membership Rewards points from Amex to your preferred programme (this will be British Airways Avios for most of my readers)

5. Cancel the Platinum Card and receive a pro-rated refund of the annual fee and keep the benefits.

Route B – for those who already have the Amex Gold card or don’t want to spend on the card

1. Sign up through my referral link (here – on the Miles Mogul Facebook page or contact me for a referral email), or through the topcashback referral link to get £52.50 and 500 tesco club card points (through this link only).

2. Sign up for all the benefits outlined above through Amex (this is very simple)

3. Cancel the Platinum Card and receive a pro-rated refund of the annual fee – in my case, after 5 weeks, they refunded the ENTIRE fee. I paid nothing.

 

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog by entering your email below to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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TOMORROW – LAST CHANCE TO BAG 35,000 MILE BONUS

Tomorrow (31 May 2013) is the last day of the 35,000 AAdvantage point bonus on the MBNA AAdvantage Amex+Visa.

I have gone into detail on this cards advantages, its bonus, using the bonus, and details for apply in this post from back in April.

I have taken this card myself, and find the freedom of having both an amex and a visa on the same account refreshing.

Remember, the AAdvantage miles you earn can be spent on any Oneworld airline, including British Airways.

For the bonus, apply through this link. Unfortunately, there are no referral treats for the Miles Mogul on this one!

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog by entering your email below to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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20,000 Starpoints (=25,000 Avios) bonus is back!

It is always a happy day when a credit card reinstates a huge bonus, and American Express have gone and brought back the 20,000 Starpoint bonus for their Starwood Preferred Guest (“SPG”) credit card. I took out this credit card a few months ago, but they withdrew the bonus before I had a chance to write about it on here.

spg

What are the benefits of the card?

  • A 20,000 Starpoint bonus (worth 25,000 avios when converted)
  • Earn 1 Starpoint for every £1 spent
  • Travel inconvenience insurance (covering flight cancellations and delayed baggage to relatively high amounts) and travel accident cover when you buy tickets on the card.
  • Refund/purchase protection.

How does the bonus work?

  • You must spend £1,000 in the first three months (a relatively modest target to hit)
  • Amex will credit 20,000 starpoints to your SPG account (apparently they set this up automatically, although I had to call them and give them a nudge)

How much will it cost?

  • There is an annual fee of £75
  • After three months, your bonus points will have been posted and you can cancel the card. You will then receive a pro-rated refund. If you do indeed cancel, you will end up paying around £20 overall.
  • It is possible to apply for the card through Quidco or Topcashback to receive a £15 cashback, so if you play this right, you can pay just £5 for your 25,000 avios. This is an insane deal!!

What are 20,000 Starpoints worth?

  • Airline Partners – When converting to an airline programe, they give you a 5,000 mile bonus, so you effectively have 25,000 miles plus whatever you have earned on top by spending on the card. Here are some airline partners where you can transfer your miles:

– British Airways

– Delta

– Qatar Airways

– Singapore Airlines

– Thai Airways

– United

– Virgin

– Etihad

– American Airlines (great to boost your AAdvantage miles hoard if you took up the AA MBNA card offer I wrote about a couple of weeks ago)

  • Hotel Rooms – you can redeem your points for hotel rooms under the SPG umbrella. These hotels include:

– Westin

– St Regis

– Sheraton

– Le Meridien

– W Hotels

– Four Points

  • There are various other options such as train trips, transferring to another member, giving to charity, unique experiences, and redeeming with partners such as amazon or iTunes.

Extra 1,000 Points!

To boost your hoard, if I refer you, SPG will give you an extra 1,000 starpoints. Please email me at nickyjameskelvin at gmail dot com to request a referral for your extra bonus points!

Conclusion

This is another fantastic offer that is not to be missed. I would recommend all of you taking out the card, spend the grand and then cancelling. This simple benefit will allow you to reap huge rewards! You’d have more than enough avios to upgrade to business class on a trip to New York! For more information, and to apply without a referral for extra points, click here.

Please be in touch to organise a referral and as always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog by entering your email below to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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FOURSQUARE UPDATE – “NEW” OFFER LAUNCHED

I have really taken my time with this one, apologies!

At the start of April, Foursquare launched a new offer in conjunction with American Express.

This month’s offer is as follows:

· Harrods – Spend £100 – Get £25 back

To learn how to make use of these offers click here to check out the original foursquare post for full details. This post explains exactly what you need to do.

This is not as generous as the last £25 for £50 offer, but it still effectively offers a 25% discount off everything in Harrods, including concessions and gift cards. A quarter off the price of an iPad for example is not to be sniffed at. I have utilised the discount to buy a pair of Oliver Peoples frames in the opticians downstairs (which is an unbranded David Clulow). You can also collect Harrods points on your purchases by asking for a loyalty card at the till.

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog by entering your email below to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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Loophole – Boost your hoard of miles by at least 8400 Avios!

baby-3500-points-t3f

Loopholes are what the Miles Mogul dreams of, and here is one of the best loopholes out there at the moment.

I have just done this myself, and would recommend anybody seriously collecting Avios to do the same.

What’s the deal?

Tesco are running a promotion at the moment giving a bonus of 3,500 Clubcard Points for taking out a life insurance policy.

These points can be freely converted into Avios. At the standard conversion rate they are worth 8,400 Avios (3,500 x 2.4), but Tesco often runs transfer bonuses, so if you wait for one of these to come along, you may get even more bang for your buck.

How much does it cost?

The policy costs £5 per month, and the points get posted after three months. You are then free to cancel the policy after making three monthly payments.

The total cost is therefore £15.

How do I sign up?

1. If you don’t already have a Tesco Clubcard account, sign up here for free.

2. Apply for the life insurance using this application form on the Tesco website.

3. When prompted, Input your Tesco Clubcard number and this promotional code: LIFE50PTSP1

4. Complete the application and input payment details.

5. Put it in your diary to cancel the policy in three months time.

6. Once the points have posted to your Tesco account, transfer them to Avios online immediately, or wait for a transfer bonus

7. You just short of a free return flight to Europe for your trouble!

8. You have until 21 May to apply.

In conclusion

This is an unmissable deal. You can effectively earn a free flight to Europe for £15 and 5 minutes of your time. (Not to mention your life is insured for the next three months!)

It is absolutely essential that you check out all the terms and conditions. Don’t take my word as gospel!

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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Foursquare Update – New Offers Launched!

The partnership between Foursquare and American Express provides one of the juiciest benefits to an Amex cardholder.

I gave a detailed description of foursquare and how to use the offers in this post.

As mentioned in this post, Foursquare seem to be releasing new offers on a monthly basis.

This month’s offers are as follows:

· Debenhams – Spend £50 – Get £25 back

· Fenwick/Bentalls – Spend £50 – Get £25 back

These are fantastic, as these two shops pretty much sell everything you could ever want, and by using multiple amex cards synched with foursquare, everything is effectively half price!

Please please check out the original foursquare post for full details. These are offers not to be missed!!

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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Spending Avios – Low taxes on Air Berlin

Another way to avoid extortionate UK taxes on air travel is to use your Avios with Air Berlin.

Air Berlin has a good network of routes from Germany, and you can use Avios to book these flights, quickly and easily on ba.com.

How much can I save?

The savings on taxes are truly astounding. I have taken a couple of screen grabs to illustrate the difference. Here I have selected dates in November for return flights from London to New York on British Airways, and then Berlin to New York on Air Berlin.

Here is the cost of the British Airways flights:

And now the price of the Air Berlin flight:

This is a huge 82% saving of almost £300! You must factor in the cost of the connecting flights to Berlin, but these can be picked up extremely cheap, especially by using a Reward Flight Saver (read about these here).

This is just one small example. You should check the Air Berlin website for their full list of destinations, and try some dummy booking to see how cheap this can actually be.

I like luxury, what about Business Class?!

It should also be noted that Air Berlin is essentially a low cost carrier, but have an excellent business class product. The hard product is actually improving as we speak, as Air Berlin’s partnership with Etihad bears fruit, and the Etihad business class seats are installed on Air Berlin’s aircraft. This is a way of making even more significant savings, and enjoying some premium travel!

The new Air Berlin business class product:

Here is another astounding price/tax comparison between BA and Air Berlin for a return business class flight to New York:

British Airways: £530 taxes

Air Berlin: £65 taxes

It should be noted that Air Berlin only release 2 business class redemption seats per flight, so availability can be hard to judge, and you will not be able to redeem seats for more than 2 people in business class on the same flight.

Where can I go with Air Berlin?

They have a huge network, you should check out their website to see if they can take you where you want to go, but here is non-exhaustive list of some of their most interesting destinations from their various bases in Germany along with the amount of Avios and taxes due:

From To Avios (Return business class flight – half for economy, half again for one way) Taxes
Berlin Abu Dhabi 50,000 £48
Dusseldorf Cancun 100,000 £82
Berlin Chicago 100,000 £62
Berlin, Dusseldorf Los Angeles 120,000 £62
Berlin, Dusseldorf Miami 100,000 £62
Munich Mombasa 80,000 £79
Berlin, Dusseldorf New York 80,000 £62
Abu Dhabi Phuket 80,000 £27
Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf Varadero (Cuba) 100,000 £50

How do I book?

Due to Air Berlin’s different bases you may be best to find what you want on the Air Berlin website first.

Then sign into your executive club account on ba.com, click on ‘spending Avios’, and ‘book flights with Avios’. You can then search for your flights and book directly through this service.

Is there anything I need to be careful of?

Yes, here are a few issues you should be aware of:

· You will have to pay or use Avios for a flight to Germany (although this should be insignificant compared to the saving you stand to make).

· When booking your flight to Germany to catch your Air Berlin flight, this will be a completely separate and unrelated booking. As such, if this flight is delayed or cancelled, and you miss your onward flight, Air Berlin will have no responsibility to help you. It is often sensible to plan ahead, for example, fly to Germany the night before a morning flight.

· Some destinations, e.g. Los Angeles, will cost you more Avios on Air Berlin than they would do by catching a BA flight because being that little bit further away in Germany, they fall into the next bracket up. However this can work in your favour! Certain destinations such as Abu Dhabi cost less Avios. In all cases, taxes will be a great deal less with Air Berlin!

· If you book your flight from London with Avios to connect to your Air Berlin flight on one ticket, you will be charged the full Air Passenger Duty, thus wiping out much of your saving.

In conclusion

Using Air Berlin is a way to may enormous savings, especially on premium travel, to a huge range of destinations. Be sure to consider it as an option for your next long haul flight, and maybe even take it as an opportunity to explore a German city on the way!

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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Bagging a cheap upgrade

However enthusiastic you are about air travel, one thing unites all travellers… the desire to turn left on the aeroplane.

Much of what I write on this blog is focussed towards attaining premium classes without paying premium prices. Upgrading Using Avios, as per this previous post, is one of the most cost effective ways of having a fully flat bed in the sky, and will extract the maximum value for each Avios if done correctly.

Along with paying full whack, shameless begging, and using Avios, there are other methods of bagging an upgrade, and today I will look into Pro-active Online Upgrades (fondly known as POUGs). Just like trying to avoid extortionate UK air taxes, there is no exact science behind chasing a POUG, but there are games to be played!

What is a Pro-active Online Upgrade (POUG)?

After you have booked a British Airways flight, you may be offered to upgrade to the next class of travel through “Manage My Booking” (you can sign into this on the British Airways site to look at details of your flight, select seats, book hotels etc.)

BA will charge a cash fee for the upgrade.

BA may also offer similar cash upgrades in the airport at check in, and a trial of on-board upgrades is also being conducted.

Here is what a POUG offer looks like for an upcoming flight of mine to Madrid:

Now the outbound offer is nothing to shout about, but on the inbound flight, an offer of £79 may represent excellent value. I went on to check how much this upgrade would have been by simply booking business class on the website, and this would have come in at £239. This is £145 more than what I paid for my ticket. By upgrading after booking, utilising this POUG, I stand to save £66.

This is on a short-haul flight. The savings on a long-haul upgrade could be more significant.

So in the first instance, you should always check on Manage My Booking, by clicking on “upgrade using cash” to see if you can have yourself a bargain upgrade.

Can I speculatively chase a Pro-active Upgrade?!

In short, YES! As they say, you must speculate to accumulate.

Here is method that can be tried, but should be exercised with maximum caution. I would only advise doing this with a flight that you definitely want to take anyway, just in case anything goes wrong.

The loophole that shall become your friend is BA’s policy of allowing you to request a full refund of any flight (including non-refundable flights) within 24 hours of booking. This is in place to assist people who have accidentally booked tickets with the wrong name, or for the wrong date.

However, nothing stops you cancelling if you haven’t managed to find a cheap enough POUG!

Here is how it works:

1. Book your desired flight in the class of travel below that you would really like to travel in (you may only be able to upgrade by one class)

2. Immediately log in to “Manage My Booking” using your name and booking reference

3. Follow the links to “upgrade using cash”

4. Check if BA are offering you a POUG, and if so, check the price.

5. If this is satisfactory, upgrade, pay, and you’ve won!

6. If not, immediately cancel your flight (or keep it if you still want it in that class of travel!)

Can this go wrong?

It would be foolish to conduct such a plan with full confidence you will receive a refund. You should check BA’s terms and conditions carefully, and be aware that they may change. To be safe, only try this trick when booking flights you are happy to take anyway, that way, you can’t be disappointed.

How much is the average POUG?

There is huge variation between prices offered (if offered at all). However, the magical world of Flyertalk has a thread titled “Pro-active Upgrade Cost Tracking Thread” (click here to view). There are currently over 1700 posts detailing how much people have been offered upgrades for and is a fantastic place to get a good feel for POUGs. I have put together a few recent offers from the board in the chart below as a quick reference guide:

Route Class of upgrade Price
London – Cancun World Traveller Plus £150
London – Sydney World Traveller Plus £189
London – Madrid (and many other European destinations) Club Europe £79
Houston – Heathrow Club World £525
London – Hong Kong First Class £399
London – Hong Kong World Traveller Plus £199
London – Kingston, Jamaica World Traveller Plus £179

WARNING – you may still earn tier points and miles in accordance with your original booking class.

In conclusion

If you are after an upgrade, this is a method that may well suit your circumstances. It is ALWAYS worth checking both online, and at the airport. You may get lucky and get your upgrade for bargain price.

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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