Hilton How to get cheap hotel stays to extend Your status?

As a Diamond member I need 30 Stays or 60 Nights to extend status for next Year, sometimes I’m short in stays so I need to get some cheap Hilton stays. In past the best option close to London was Bracknell Hilton where day rate could cost as little as 32GBP, with free breakfast for Diamond members and swimming pool it was good opportunity to have little break with kids where, but since September 2018 is no longer possible to book day stay where.

The cheapest day rate options now is now DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London Heathrow Airport for 49 GBP, if You prefer hotel with indoor swimming poll when Hilton Cobham is for 59GBP. Remember what Hilton count checkout date as date of stay. So every 2 days you can stay at the same property to get advantage of stays. You must also checkin You cannot just reserve and don’t show up.

If You live in Turkey You can book some hotels for only 5000 Hilton Points and this stays count towards status, also during current promotion 2019 Points Unlimited You can get 2000 extra points per stay and another 10000 points every 5 stays, so generally You get 4000 points back per stay if You will make 5s stays during promotion. Plus 1000 DIAMOND MYWAY BONUS as Diamond member. So lucky members who live close to 5000 Points hotels they can get status for next year for free!

The cheapest rates for nights stays are at weekends, at 15 February 2019 You can find

At 16 February 2019

and 17 February 2019

Your miles will expire what You can do to “cash it”

We collect miles but sometimes they will expire before we can chance to use them for flights. Some programs giving solutions other way, for shopping credit.

Etihad – you can convert your points into virtual Visa card

Step 1 – Getting started
Download the Reward Card app or widget and sign up to create your free account.
Step 2 – Converting miles to cash
Enter your Etihad Guest number. Then follow the simple instructions to turn your miles into cash.
Step 3 – Start shopping
That’s it. Your Reward Card is now ready to use!

Miles and More – Lufthansa Group convert 3000 miles into 10Euro voucher

Choose your voucher.
Put your voucher in the shopping cart.
After redeeming the miles you will receive your voucher by e-mail
The voucher can be redeemed immediately after receipt in the online shop or in the branch of the provider

Rent a car with 60% discount via OPODO

Till 25 January 2019 You can book a car with 60% discount at OPODO.CO.UK, Promotion is valid for rental up to 48 hours. Here is sample booking for car rental in Berlin:

Make sure to click button “Validate Code” at Payment page, then price will go down. In this case from 46.68 GBP to 18.67 GBP. It’s cheaper to rent a car than take taxi. If You have step over up to 2 days You can use this promotion to visit some interesting places instead just waiting at airport or in hotel.

A discount of up to 60% off is available to the standard online rates from 12:01 GMT on 16/01/2019 until 17:59 GMT on 25/01/2018 on www.opodo.co.uk. The offer is valid for selected pickups locations where the pickup is after 00:00 GMT on the 01/02/2019 and has maximum 2 days hire duration. The offer is subject to availability. – The discount offer will only apply to the car hire price displayed on the website. – This offer applies to all new reservations made for the specified sale destination and cannot be applied to existing reservations or applied retrospectively. Reservations made prior to the offer period, cancelled and rebooked during the offer period will not be eligible for discount. – The discount will not apply to any pre-bookable extras such as insurance excess & security deposit protection Insurance and GPS products, or any other options or additional fees. – Discount cannot be combined with any other offer, promotions or similar.

Celebrate 100 years of British Airways

British Airways turns 100 this year and to get its special centenary year underway, as part of its January Sale the airline is offering customers the chance to book a flight from just £200 return to some of its most popular long-haul destinations.

To find this offer You need to go to this page www.britishairways.com/en-gb/offers/sale/sale-100 and offer will be visible at 12 midday every day from 21-24 January

Today It was JFK and CPT for 200GBP economy ticket
Outbound travel between 25 Feb – 22 March 2019. Return by 29 March included check in baggage.

Pretty good offer but very hard to get You must be quick and flexible, because is limit 100 tickets per day….

Why I will credit my flights to Alaska Airlines?

Mileage Plan is the Alaska Airlines loyalty program which everybody should know. The main perk of this program is free stopovers on redemption flights. For example You can use 25000 Miles to book business class flight from SIN to KUL. If You choose to fly on JAL Airlines You will have stop at Tokyo, which can be very flexible 1 week,10 months and it’s free. You will spend only 25000 Alaska Airlines Miles.

If You looking for First class redemption on Cathay Pacific you will need 70000 Miles for US trip to India or Dubai. With also free stopover which can be at HKG. Its also possible to book JFK-YVR (stepover) OVR-HKG-DEL/DXB for 70000 Miles. It’s the sweetest redemption which You can get. Make note that booking Cathay Pacific redemption is possible only on phone.

Here is current list of partners :

  • Aer Lingus
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor
  • Emirates
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • LATAM Airlines
  • PenAir
  • Qantas
  • Ravn Alaska
  • Singapore Airlines

Star Alliance – points sharing

Few programs in Star Alliance Group allow You to earn miles when family or friends travel, You can keep points in shared account and earn enough miles for redemption ticket quicker.

SAS Eurobonus point sharing

You can start pooling miles at any time with Eurobonus , where up to 8 family members or friends can collect miles together. It’s very good program especially for families with kids because redemption for kids under 12(toddlers doesn’t require miles for tickets) require only 50% miles then flying on SAS. Redemption tickets with partners require 100% miles.

Return long haul Adult Kids under * years
18 12 2 (toddlers)
Economy Go 60000 60000 30000 0
Economy Plus 80000 80000 40000 0
Business 100000 100000 50000 0

For family 2+2(under 12) You will need only 300000 miles for return business ticket from Europe to USA,Japan,China its amazing opportunity. You can also book one-ways which require 60% miles, so one way business ticket for family 2+2 will require 180000 miles.

Lufthansa Miles & More

Miles & More members in Germany, Austria and Switzerland can also share miles this function is available only in Miles and More App on your phone. 2 Adults and up to 5 kids can share miles. Lufthansa also offer for under 12 Years old but its 75% miles for redemption flight.

Aegean Miles + Bonus

Only Silver or Gold members can open Together account which allow to up to 6 people share miles. The best thing is if You only need 5000 more miles for reward You can sign 5 friends and each of them will receive 1000 miles bonus for registration. After 12 months You can remove member from Your account but You will keep all his award miles! And again You can sign in another friends to Your account and took their miles…

Together account works almost like free transfer opportunity but remember You must hold at least Silver status with Aegean to do it. Other thing is what Aegean program is the quickies way to reach Star Alliance Gold card. You will need 24000 miles to reach silver (1000 miles is from registration, If you will took 2 legs on Aegean miles requirement for silver will be only 12000 points in 12 months. After reaching silver you will need 48000 miles in next 12 months to get Gold card, but if You will fly 4 legs with Aegean You will only require 24000 Star alliance miles.

To keep Gold car You will require 4 legs on Aegean and only 12000 miles or 24000 miles without 4 flights on Aegean. I keeping my status doing 3-4 trips between LHR-WAW each return trip cost me around 120GBP.

Autoslash.com smarter way to book a car

During trips often I need to book a car, I don’t care about rental insurance because I have it with My American Platinum Card.

For quick rentals I use opodo.co.uk which company have offen protions for 50-60% off promotion for rentals up to 48h.

For rentals over 2 days I use Autoslash.com Friend ask me for help with rental at LHR for 5 days so I fill out quote request and in few minutes You will receive email with link to offers.

54 USD for 5 days rental is not bad, but when I click in link I got this:

Its amazing offer just under 5 USD per day, this companies put cheap rates on internet and trying to earn extra money offering You own insurance. Good for my friend what he have Amex Platnium Card and he choose Ford Focus for 28USD, this booking he can cancel for free. But this rate only is for mileage up to 95 freemiles, after they will charge 0.18GBP per mile! You should always read terms…..

In past I used Autoslash.com to rent car in Berlin and get this quote for cheapest car with Hertz

Pick-up: Wed, August 08, 2018 – 10:00 AM
Drop-off:Thu, August 16, 2018 – 10:00 AM
EUR 92.25
plus 25Euro CROSS BORDER FEE I drove with this car to Poland and back 

I got new Fiesta RS due Presidential Circle status with Hertz. It was great car but I damaged 2 front allow wheels and had to pay extra 474 Euro which was refunded later by American Express Rental Insurance. Keep in mind if rent a car it better to have full insurance.

American Express Cards Travel inconvenience

One day Your flight can be delayed and you miss your connection. If its on the same ticket You are protected but if You bought separate tickets You can be in trouble by spending lots of money for emergency hotel or new flights.

One of perks to have credit card is what it came with some travel insurance, but You must remember to buy flight ticket with this card and use this card for all necessary purchases like:

  • food and drinks
  • hotel cost
  • taxi to hotel
  • new tickets to Your original destination

I focus in this post on American Express card which I use (Platinum and BA Premium), but every card is different so I collected information from card insurance policy’s and here is some summary.

During my trips on 2 occasions my bags was delayed. There are no set rules for how airlines must assess baggage claims. For delayed baggage, some airlines offer immediate one-off payments at a set amount to cover emergency purchases (I saw one at HKG agent paying in cash for family which was disconnected with 4 of their 5 bags). Some airlines will pay per day up to maximum number of days. Some will just cover cost then You provide them receipts.

What should I do when I cannot see my bag or bag is damaged?

  1. Report it ASAP at arrivals baggage hall you have airlineagents which deal with situation and they will provide You Property Irregularity Report (PIR) which is essential to make any claim.
  2. For damaged bag You can inform airline in writing (email) within 7 days.
  3. Airline is obliged by Montreal convention to cover cost of essential items. To maximum 1,131 Special Drawing Rights SDR which is worth over 1200 GBP.

But believe me easier is to claim your travel insurance than deal with airlines. For example British Airways advice to claim from your travel insurance company first, only if You tell them what You don’t have insurance they will deal with You but it take time….

On this table you see how much You can claim from AMEX.

American Express: Maximum compensation after: Claims per year
Card: 4h 6h 48h
The Platinum Card 300 300 600 not defined
British Airways Premium Plus 0 750 1750 3
The Starwood Preferred Guest® 0 600 1450 3
Preferred Rewards Gold 0 200 200 3

All purchases should be done before You receive Your bag and bag must be delayed 6h, after 2 days some card give You right to additional allowance in the table I gave total amount after 4,6,48h Your bag is delayed. You must keep all receipt and pay with Card which You have insurance.

The most interesting perk is what Amex allow claims in cases of flight cancellations. I took advantage of it when our flight was cancelled 6 months in advance and airline re-booked us to flight 1 days later. So we had to spend extra day at MUC after our trip to Cuba. So i booked Hilton Munich airport suite for family (I could book 2 rooms but prefer to have 2 small kids together with us). And we took dinner at Hotel restaurant we had limit 600GBP for accommodation and 600GBP for food but spend less than half of it.

travel, food, accommodation claims per year
The Platinum Card 300 for person (inlcuded 150 only for food) unlimited
British Airways Premium Plus 200 per family 5
The Starwood Preferred Guest® 150 per family 3
Preferred Rewards Gold 200 per person 3

Make note of difference some card are better for families. In case of only accommodation cost the best is Reward Gold. For family of four 800GBP should be more than enough for 1-2 days delay.

After trip You can claim money from American Express, they will need all receipts, tickets confirmations which You paid with their card! After few days You should get bank transfer for all expanses. Last Year I made 2 claims with them and this year I will make at least one because one of my flights is cancelled and I will have to spend one day more at hotel during trip.

How to book cheap flights with kids during school terms?

We spent October school break in UAE. I booked it almost one year before to take advantage of LOW COST tariff with UIA.

One way ticket from LGW to DXB via KBP can cost only 60 GBP even during peek days. Even better because to get this price You must book 2 separate tickets to get to Dubai. So we book LGW-KBP spend 1 full day in Kiev and fly to Dubai. Be aware what it was hand luggage (7 Kg) only fare. But if You travel with family its good to pay for 1 check in bag which cost 37GBP for LGW-KBP flight.

We took PS 112 from LGW at 12:20 on 19 Oct 2018 and landed at 17.40. We book one day car rental with hertz for only 20GBP. And stay at Kiev Intercontinental using only 15.000 IHG points. I love IHG point breaks promotions and we were lucky.

I check some destinations and prices for one way flights from KBP:

  • Cairo/Egypt CAI 29 GBP
  • Tbilisi/Georgia TBS 14 GBP
  • Dubai/UEA DXB 30 GBP
  • Amman/Jordan 29GBP
  • Tel Aviv/Israel 29GBP
  • Yerevan/Armenia 14GBP
  • Teheran/Iran 29GB

This is Ukraine Airlines Destination map which You can buy very cheap one way tickets if You book at least 10 months in advance.
You should notice Cairo on map, which is perfect to take advantage very cheap tickets from CAI in First and Business.