Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

My feedback on your feedback on HfP

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On New Years Day I ran an open forum where you could post suggestions for ways of improving Head for Points.  I am grateful to everyone who took the time to comment or send me an email, especially those people who said they liked everything just as it is.

I replied to some ideas in the comments to the original piece, but I wanted to respond to a few ideas here as well.

One comment that comes up on a regular basis is a request for a forum.  It isn’t going to happen, sorry.  There are a number of reasons, but primarily:

  • it would take a huge amount of admin time, even if I found volunteer moderators
  • the advertising revenue from forums is poor as readers tend to flick past them to get to the latest posts
  • it would take the focus away from the ‘comments’ area of HfP articles
  • Flyertalk already does a great job of covering British Airways issues

Very few sites have successfully managed to operate a forum whilst keeping the focus on the core content.

Here are some things that will change (and some which won’t):

A few people felt that the competitions took up ‘space’ that could be used for articles.   I do not fully agree with this, but I accept that the ‘last chance to enter’ articles are unnecessary for regular readers.  I will therefore try to run four articles on days when one of them is a ‘last chance to enter’.  By coincidence, today is one of those days.

Someone suggested the idea of a calendar.  I like this.  At present, closing dates for various offers are spread across the credit card pages, the ‘Hotel Offers‘ page and the ‘Avios Offers‘ page.  It would be good to bring all of this together.  I’m not sure what method would be easiest given the large number of people who do not visit the main site because they read via mobile, RSS or email.  I will experiment with a ‘Final Reminders’ post every two weeks, probably on a Saturday.

Someone suggested the idea of an ‘executive summary’ on the ‘Hotel Offers‘ pageThis is already up and running – you will see that I have added a paragraph with my suggestion of where you should focus your stays in the coming months.

Someone said that, when I review a hotel or airline, I should go into more detail as to what points I used and how I justified the valuation.  I fully agree and will aim to do this, starting with my Etihad trip to Abu Dhabi in two weeks.

Some people asked for more ‘beginners’ information.  My general view is that I don’t want to go any deeper than I already do with the ‘Beginners‘ page.  Anyone who has ever emailed me will know that I try to get back to everyone and I simply do not have the resources to deal with lot of questions from people who know absolutely nothing about frequent flyer or hotel loyalty schemes.  I would prefer HfP to be an intermediate stop for someone who already has some miles and points, has spent some time learning about the subject and now wants to really get to grips with it.

There were various requests re comments.  Some people want them kept open longer – my view, to be honest, is that there is little point commenting on a three-month old article as no-one will see it.  That is not why they are closed off, though – it is to reduce robot-generated spam.  Closing comments after 3 weeks means that literally 97% of HfP articles cannot be spammed.  Some people wanted more comments in the right-hand menu – I increased this last year, I may increase it again.  What I cannot do for technical reasons unfortunately is run a dedicated page of comments.

Someone suggested that I add the partner links to the mobile site.  This makes sense and I have added a small click-through Amazon link to each page of the mobile site.  I have not added eBay, BA, IHG or TopCashback – eBay is fairly small in terms of revenue and I’m not sure that many readers book BA flights or IHG hotels via mobile.

A couple of people were interested in ‘success stories’ of great redemptions.  I have thought about this before (as, if I’m honest, ‘holiday filler’ material!) and might do it.  Perhaps I could offer a £25 3V gift card to people willing to write 300 words on their best ever use of miles and points?  Keep an eye out for this one in 2015.

I have read every single suggestion to the original article, so if I haven’t mentioned your idea above then don’t worry, it is lodged in my subconscious and may emerge in one form or another in the future.

Comments (46)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Thomas says:

    Thank you Rob, great to see how feedback is taken “on board!”

  • Anon says:

    More boobs, hilarious! 🙂

    Like the idea of the calendar.

    My Conrad Maldives redemption is next month, that’s got to be up there in the Top10 “Success stories”

    Also maybe whats the best upgrade you’ve had, hotel/flight, etc???

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      I got back from the Conrad Maldives in Nov. I utilised the AMEX fifth night free for Hilton Honors and, Avios for business on Qatar, including snagging the A380. The only trick I missed was the free night cert with the Hilton CC.

      All in I spent £5k on an amazing holiday for two that would have cost well in excess of £20k had I used (or the desire to use) cash.

      I dont know of a better point/price holiday out there.

      • Rob says:

        How did you find food pricing at Conrad Maldives? A friend who went found it steep. When we were at the One & Only a few years ago it seemed to be ‘high end London’ pricing but no worse.

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          It is in line with London but the quality is better. You might pay £25-30 for a Thia Curry, for example, but once eaten you would have gladly paid double. While not cheap, I thought the resort offered really good value.

          Also, as and aside, Gold & Diamonds get a free breakfast which is the best of any hotel I have ever been below 6 star standard. This negates the need for lunch which brings the bills down.

          Oh, and free drinks 4-5pm followed by a half price happy hour 5-6pm also helps.

          As above, I don’t know of a better redemption. To keep it a secret would be to deny others. Begs the question, where else offers such bang for your points?

  • Mr(s) Entitled says:

    It is a great site. My one wish is that the articles could come out earlier (I assume their release is automated?). For many of us 7am is a slot already under competition from various activities. Any chance they could be launched at 6am?

    Shame about the boobs.

  • Tim says:

    Yes, I have to agree with the 07:00 comment. I hve a folder of links I open before I start work and 07:00 is usually a little late for me. I often read the previous day’s HFP and sometimes I have already missed the opportunities. I am usually at my desk for the start of the Today programme at 06:00 and would appreciate pre-written, automated posts arriving before then!

  • Anon says:

    Agreed, any reason why they are 7am, if you wake before 6am seems a shame having to wait until 7..

  • Worzel says:

    I thought posts were coming out earlier?

    Peter’s comment on the post/article above this was at 5:06 am. ?

    • Rob says:

      They are earlier, currently 4.50, 5.50 and 6.50 to line up with the new email service (to start next week) which can only cope with sending emails on the dot of the hour.

      They used to be 6 / 7 / 8 if you remember then it went back so the last one was 7am. I can push it back to 4 / 5 / 6 if people prefer, it makes absolutely no difference to me as (obviously) I am not up writing them at the crack of dawn!

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        With the hourly release it is the money shot that is too late for me. The best does tend to get saved for last.

        I for one would like the site to be complete/current by 6am.

        • Rob says:

          OK. Will switch it next week on the same day the new email system launches.

  • Dave says:

    Please consider adding better spam protection (numerous ways to do this via WP plugins) so comments can stay open longer. So frustrating.

    Love the Hotel summary btw, fantastic!

    • Adam says:

      Agree with adding protection instead of closing articles.

    • Rob says:

      I have the best spam protection WordPress can provide, including a Captcha for first time commentators. There are still 23 spam comments in the trash box overnight despite 97% of articles being closed.

      • Dave says:

        Ah – just realised this must be a hosted blog not self hosted then? Hence the inability to add extra spam protection?

        • Rob says:

          It is self hosted but even with Akismet and a Captcha it still gets through.

  • JT says:

    Love the site and it has helped me learn a lot on FFP even though I’m a beginner. Where are you still finding 3Vs to give away?! None in all the tescos I’ve been to recently (London).

    • Rob says:

      I was planning to send a friend to Gallions Reach where there are unconfirmed sightings occasionally. If not, my Mum will have to buy some in Yorkshire!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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