Airlines have loyalty schemes, hotels have loyalty schemes so why shouldn’t airports have loyalty schemes?
As we move towards August – always a busy period for travel – I’ll be looking more closely at a couple of different airport membership programs.
First up, I’m revisiting the Heathrow Rewards scheme with a reminder of the excellent 3,000 Avios sign-up offer that’s running at the moment.
What is the Heathrow Rewards program?
Heathrow Rewards is a free loyalty scheme that allows you to earn points whenever you “shop, eat, drink or park at Heathrow”. That includes changing currency, parking, duty-free shopping and the Heathrow Express.
How many points can I earn?
Members begin by earning 1 Heathrow Rewards point per £1 spent.
Heathrow Rewards Premium
After spending £750 in a calendar year, you’ll receive an upgrade to the Heathrow Rewards Premium tier. This got a proper overhaul at the beginning of the year with a bunch of additional benefits added.
Here’s a comparison of the two membership tiers:
How to spend your Heathrow Rewards points
There a variety of ways to spend your Heathrow Rewards points including:
- Airline miles – Transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to airline miles including Aer Club, British Airways Executive Club, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Miles and More and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
- Shopping vouchers – Convert your points into vouchers that you can use to shop at Heathrow. 500 points = £5 shopping voucher
- Heathrow Parking vouchers –Redeem 500 points for a £10 parking voucher.
- Heathrow Express – Exchange 500 points for a £5 discount voucher.
You can find more info & full Heathrow Rewards T&Cs here.
Earn 3,000 Avios at no ‘cost’
Heathrow Rewards have been running a very generous welcome bonus offer since early this year. Don’t worry if you don’t have imminent plans to travel through Heathrow though, the offer is due to last until 31st December 2018.
You’ll receive 3,000 Heathrow Rewards points (worth 3,000 Avios) when you sign-up to Heathrow Rewards and spend £150 before 31st December 2018.
In order to receive the bonus you need to:
- Make sure you enter the code: BAECAO18 on the registration page. (If going via the link above it should be prepopulated, but just double check it’s there)
- Spend £150 in qualifying transactions on a single day before 31st December 2018 (the only major non-qualifying transactions seems to be currency purchases).
Can your bonus be worth more than 3,000 Avios?
Transfer bonuses from other ‘flexible currencies’ such as Amex Membership Rewards, Tesco Clubcard and HSBC Premier Rewards to Avios have pretty much dried up in recent years. Heathrow Rewards, however, have been running semi-regular promotions offering either a 50% or even a 100% bonus.
If you were to convert your points during a 50% bonus period, the sign-up bonus would be worth 4,500 Avios per account – an excellent deal!
How to easily spend £150 at Heathrow
If you’re scratching your head wondering what you can possibly buy at Heathrow that will bring you up to the required £150 spend, gift cards are your friend. WH Smith and other retailers stock numerous gift cards which you can use to bring spending that you would have done anyway, forward slightly.
For example, say you need to buy some items from John Lewis in the next couple of months, simply stock up on John Lewis gift cards while at Heathrow – and have the added benefit of triggering your Heathrow Rewards sign-up bonus.
Purchases made at landside shops also count towards the required spend. If you live/work near Heathrow you could choose to meet the spend requirement that way. I’ve used this option a number of times in the past and popped in after dropping off someone at the airport.
Maximising the deal
Heathrow Rewards allows a number of free points transfers between members each year. This means there is nothing to stop you getting a card(s) in your partner/child/parent name and simply transferring the points across to yourself (with their permission naturally 🙂 ).
Additionally, don’t panic if you’re travelling in the next few days/weeks. You don’t need to wait for the physical Heathrow Rewards card to arrive in the post. You can still sign-up and then download the Heathrow Rewards app or print a paper copy of your card to present in-store.
If you forget to show a Heathrow Rewards card at the time of payment you can also send Customer Services with a copy of your receipt(s) and they’ll add your points retrospectively. You can do this with receipts that are up to 3 months old.
Earning points on your parking, pre-departure meal and duty-free shopping etc is a nice extra and regular points promos mean that you may end up with a decent pile of points.
I have triggered a couple of these myself this so far this year and may well look to do again before the offer expires in December.
If Avios aren’t your thing, this bonus is still worth £60 in Heathrow Parking vouchers or £30 in shopping vouchers, so there should be something here for everyone.