BAPP - where best to book flights and hotels?

Discussion in 'Miles & points via credit cards' started by Aston100, Mar 23, 2019.

  1. Aston100

    Aston100 New Member

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    Planning ahead.
    I should have a BAPP in about 3 months time.
    Aiming to spend £10k to activate the 241 companion voucher.

    I am planning a holiday for summer 2020.
    The flights will almost certainly be with Qatar and will definitely be ex AMS or ex ARN
    The cost of this holiday will go significantly towards that £10k target spend.

    My query and confusion is around the best avenue for buying these flights and hotels using my BAPP.
    The options as I see them are as follows:
    • If I book directly with the airline and hotels I will be charged a foreign usage fee of 2.99% but will receive certain benefits from the hotels including free room upgrades (worth about £50pn or more - this is a significant figure and combined with the other benefits worth nearly £500 in total). I understand I will earn 1.5 avios per pound.
    • If I book through Amex travel services UK, there is no foreign usage fee. I understand I will earn 1.5 avios per pound. However I don't know if there is any additional benefit. I will still have my Amex gold preferred rewards card active - so do I get additional member rewards points despite using the BAPP to purchase? The t&cs are a tad unclear.
    • I understand if I book through BA Holidays site I will receive 3 avios per pound. However, I am struggling to get the exact Qatar Airways flights to show up due to the site trying to force me to use BA and route back through LHR (The Qatar flights are visible on the return journey however). Also, the hotel I want to book doesn't show up. Finally, I feel I may get charged in Euros hence incur a 2.99% foreign usage fee.
    So am I right in thinking I can immediately dismiss the third option or is there a way to speak to BA Holidays and get them to manually book the exact flights and hotels?
    If the first option is a no, then which of the remaining two options is better (the room upgrade value is greater than the foreign usage fee)?
    Is there any other option I've overlooked?
    I do have a Halifax Clarity (zero foreign usage fees) for foreign transactions, but as I say the cost of the flights and hotel will go significantly towards meeting the £10k annual spend on the BAPP to activate the 241 voucher.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Aston100

    Aston100 New Member

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    Does anyone have an opinion or suggestion please?
     
  3. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Hi Aston - just saw this.

    For the sake of the enjoyment of your holiday (upgrade etc), I would definitely just go with option 1.

    As regards whether you use the Amex or the Clarity to pay, you'll earn 1.5 Avios per £1 , so (assuming you value Avios at about 1p each), you're really down 1.5% compared to using the Clarity. If the holiday covered the full £10,000 spend, that's £150 - so that's the max damage really, which isn't too bad. If you'd otherwise struggle to hit the target in time without spending money on things you wouldn't otherwise buy, I'd just stick the holiday spend on the Amex.
     
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  4. Aston100

    Aston100 New Member

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    Thank you, sounds like you are advocating option 1 - book directly with the airline and the hotels using my BAPP Amex and absorbing the foreign usage fee whilst benefiting from the free room upgrades and additional bonuses offered by the hotels for coming to them directly.

    Just to be clear - are you aware of any benefits to be had by going through Amex Travel Services? Other than not incurring a foreign transaction fee. As I say, my gold preferred rewards card will still be active (though I'll be using the BAPP for these bookings), and maybe I misread but it almost seemed to me that the t&cs implied possibly getting some sort of reward as a preferred rewards cardholder with no mention of what type of Amex was used for the booking:

    "Do I earn Membership Rewards for travel when booking the American Express Travel website?

    Yes. Cardmembers enrolled in the American Express Membership Rewards programme earn one additional Membership Rewards point in addition to their standard earn rate for every full $1 spent on flights, prepaid hotels, car hire and experiences on americanexpresstravel.co.uk/travel. This excludes cruise bookings and Fine Hotel & Resort and The Hotel Collection bookings. "

    Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  5. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Yep - option 1 is what I would do.

    Plat cardholders can get some decent benefits at some (usually) expensive hotels by booking via the Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts Programme, but you have to book fully flex rates and the options are usually quite limited. Gold cardholders can access a similar sort of thing called The Hotel Collection, but the benefits aren't really very impressive and again the options are limited.

    I've had an Amex Gold/Plat for years and years now and book a lot of hotels, but have never actually seen an Amex FHR or Hotel Collection deal that was good enough to make me book that way.

    Remember, you can usually get a decent amount of cashback from TopCashback or Quidco if you click through from them to IHG/Marriott/etc and then book direct.
     
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