What are Heathrow Rewards and are they worth collecting?

Aug 30, 2020

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While major airlines and hotel chains have their own loyalty programmes, London’s Heathrow Airport is so large that it has its own loyalty programme.

If you’re shocked to hear that, you’ll be even more so to learn that it can provide excellent rewards if you’re a regular user of the programme and shopper at Heathrow Airport.

Related: The comprehensive guide to the lounges in Heathrow’s Terminal 5

An empty International Arrivals hall is pictured at Terminal Two of London Heathrow Airport in west London, on May 9, 2020. - Britain could introduce a 14-day mandatory quarantine for international arrivals to stem the spread of coronavirus as part of its plan to ease the lockdown, an airline association said Saturday, sparking alarm in an industry already badly hit by the global pandemic. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Earning

As well as a standard per £1 earning rate, there are plenty of bonuses that make Heathrow Rewards a great programme.

For starters, you will receive 100 points just for opening a Heathrow Rewards account. You will then earn 1 Heathrow Rewards points for each £1 spent at Heathrow airport on the following:

  • Airport shops;
  • Airport bars, restaurants and cafes;
  • Paid-for-entry Heathrow airport lounges such as Plaza Premium and Aspire lounges;
  • Heathrow Parking; and
  • Heathrow Express.

Note that currently, some lounges, retailers and food and beverage providers at Heathrow are closed due to COVID-19. For example, Terminals 3 and 4 remain closed while flights are consolidated into Terminals 2 and 5.

Related: Will I have lounge access? A complete list of the lounges currently open in major UK airports

You will also earn 1 point for each £10 of currency exchanged at Travelex at Heathrow Airport. You’ll want to check these rates against both UK High Street currency exchange booths and the rates at the destinations you are flying to, as Travelex usually has poor rates of exchange because of its convenience and locations.

Heathrow Rewards also partners with Rocketmiles, where you can earn up to 10,000 miles per hotel booking, and for spending money with Heathrow Premium Services.

You will need to present your Heathrow Rewards card when paying for each purchase — either the physical or digital card. Tobacco purchases are excluded from earning.

What can be a shortcut to excellent rewards are some of the high-end retailers at Heathrow that offer luxury goods at tax-free prices. You may be saving up to purchase a particular camera or handbag, and planning to do so the next time you are flying through Heathrow. If so, it’s certainly worth signing up to the Heathrow Rewards programme. Combine this by paying with a credit card that earns rewards and you can double-dip on your spending, earning even more value.

A few passengers walk around the near-deserted departure area at Heathrow airport Terminal 5 in west London on September 9, 2019, as the airline
(Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Related: Heathrow consolidation: Which terminal is my airline flying from?

You’ll earn an additional 100 points when you spend £250 or more in one transaction, and an additional 100 points when you spend £500 or more. So if you spent £500 on that handbag you have been eyeing after opening a new account today, you would earn 800 Heathrow Rewards points.

There are also additional earning bonuses from time to time in certain categories, or with certain retailers.

Once you spend £750 at Heathrow in any calendar year, which doesn’t have to be in a single transaction, you will automatically receive a Premium Heathrow Rewards membership. While this won’t give you access to the Concorde Room, it does double your per pound earning rate.

Related: The first hotel in Heathrow’s Terminal 3 opens today

While you may have spent a significant amount of money with an airline for your flight from Heathrow, unfortunately, this isn’t eligible to earn Heathrow Rewards. Similarly, money spent directly with an airline while inside Heathrow, such as paying for an upgrade or excess baggage at check-in, would not earn any Heathrow Rewards.

(Photo by JeanCuomo/Getty Images)
(Photo by JeanCuomo/Getty Images)

Redeeming

So what to do with the Heathrow Rewards points you have earned?

You can convert them to vouchers to use at hundreds of stores and outlets at Heathrow, Plaza Premium lounges or Heathrow Express, at a rate of 500 Heathrow Rewards points for a £5 voucher. This gives you an effective cashback rate of 1%.

You’ll get a higher effective cashback for redeeming for Heathrow Parking — 500 points for a £10 voucher, so 2% back.

But here at TPG U.K., we are big fans of transferring to airline miles and points, as we believe it’s easy to get outsized value from points rather than 1% cashback.

You can transfer your points at a rate of 1:1 to the following programmes:

Although each programme has its own unique features, we would probably suggest transferring to British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, given the ease of using these programmes in the U.K.

Heathrow Rewards regularly offers bonuses on transfers of points to airline partners, so keep an eye out for the chance to earn even more rewards.

(Photo by Daniel Ross / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Daniel Ross / The Points Guy)

Bottom line

If you are passing through Heathrow airport regularly, or have been considering making a large tax-free purchase, you may be able to get excellent value from the Heathrow Rewards programme.

The programme is free to join and you can do so here.

Featured image by Shutterstock

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