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.

  • Oscar the grouch says:

    Please don’t ruin etihad for me.

    I’m sorry to be ‘that’ person, but as you know a lot of hard graft goes into understanding and putting to best use points/miles. Some things are best left to the more experienced points/miles collectors.

    • Rob says:

      Ironically I just got an email from a HFP reader suggesting I cover Etihad Guest Seat sales! I think the massive influx of Americans looking to burn their AA miles will have a hundred times more impact than a couple of articles from me saying how nice the new J seat is.

  • Oh! Matron! says:

    Hey, you can’t keep all the people happy all of the time. This is the first feed I read in the morning when I get in 🙂

  • Henry C says:

    Good responses – I particularly like the exec summary idea for hotels.
    Thanks for all your hard work on HFP.

  • PaddyAndy says:

    Just a short comment. The blog is an excellent resource and I would ask for very little to be changed. I understand that a forum very quickly becomes unmanageable but just wondered if it were possible to have a weekly “open post” for comments to be left regarding reader hints/tips/suggestions. It also might save you from the many email you must get saying “have you seen ………….”

    but above all many thanks for all your work and effort.

  • Alan says:

    Thanks for providing feedback on our feedback, Rob 😀

    I really like the calendar idea – how about running it as a Google Calendar with a publicly accessible view-only link? That way anyone who is interested can add it to their own calendar.

    Also like the trip report for 3V idea – have had some good redemptions recently 🙂

    Totally agree re your take on an open forum. With regards comments staying open longer – were there to be a way to address the spam issue then I could still see the benefit, as those who were interested in that post would have subscribed when commenting and thus still receive updates even if a couple of months had passed.

  • Chewbacca says:

    Great site and lots of useful info (first posting here). I do find some older posts very interesting that don’t appear to allow further comments hence having to head over to flyertalk to ask for clarification. Presumably you don’t want older posts commented on (bit like tripadvisor I guess)?

    Don’t know whether anyone suggested ability to create a user profile to facilitate posting or is this already possible?

  • Think Square says:

    On the “four articles” thing… I totally missed this article when I visited HFP this morning, as it was 4th of 4, I was expecting 3, and 3 articles happen to fit on my screen. It’s only by chance I noticed it now. Please can you make it clear if you’re posting more than three (as you already do with the occasionally “breaking news” mid-day articles)?

  • Rob says:

    I’ve just started using the site but find it very useful. One thing that would improve its usefulness would be a quick valuation table containing an estimate of the value of a point/mile from each programme. I think the info is there but it takes some time to dig for it.

    Also, as an aspirant for the “triple crown”, gold in each of the three alliances, a comparison table of airlines and mileage requirements for each status would help.

    • Rob says:

      I have thought about a valuation post and it is likely to happen. I already quote valuations in articles so all I would be doing is pulling them together in one place.

      The comparison table you suggest is trickier than you think because of the way partner earnings are treated. If you fly Airline A, scheme B may give Gold for 100,000 miles but only earn 0.5 miles per mile flown on Airline A. Scheme C may give Gold for 150,000 miles but give you 1 mile per mile flown on Airline A. Given that the alliances have 20-30 members each it is a ludicrously complex task.

      That said, I’m sure someone could develop it as an online tool where you plug in how many miles you fly per year on literally every airline in the world (and in what class, and whether the tickets are flexible or not) and then tell you which scheme would get you status.

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