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What happened at the Head for Points reader dinner last week?

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Last Thursday we held our first Head for Points reader dinner at Quo Vadis, a restaurant in Soho. It is one of the things we are trialling following some DIY market research where many of you said you were keen to come to different types of HfP themed events.

I should start by apologising if you registered your interest but were not selected to take part. We were massively oversubscribed with 120+ applications for just 20 seats, so we ended up picking names out of a hat.

We are hoping that this will be the first of many such dinners so hopefully you will be able to make one in the future.

We ended up with a great mix – roughly 66% male / 33% female and with a 55 year age gap between the youngest and oldest person present!

Back to Thursday night….

We started with a champagne reception in the very stylish blue room.  Unfortunately, since it was dark, my iPhone struggled a little to capture it ….. it really was nowhere near as dark as the picture looks.

HFP reader dinner Rob

It actually looks like this:

Quo Vadis Blue Room

This was followed by a delicious three course meal in the Marx room, around this large table:

Here is everyone from my end:

HFP reader dinner

Everyone seemed to enjoy chatting to their neighbours. I was worried that the table might be too large and that people would struggle to hear but some readers even chatted across the table, so it can’t have been too bad!

This is the view from Rob’s end of the table (his phone can clearly do better low-light images than mine):

The feedback we have had from all who attended is that they had a great night. Everyone seemed to start chatting very quickly. If you have been to our Christmas or Summer parties you will know how friendly everyone is!

We have to give a special thanks to Tim from Reward Flight Finder who came in as a last-minute sponsor.  Whilst we were originally going to run the dinner as a loss-making trial, Tim very kindly stepped in to cover our costs, which also allowed us to increase the drinks budget.

(There were many happy Reward Flight Finder users in the room.  If you’ve never tried it, give it a go.  You can search BA Avios availability in seconds – far more quickly than you can at ba.com – and set up alerts so you are emailed when seats open up on flights you want.)

Does your company want to sponsor the next HfP Reader Dinner?

The idea behind the dinner – apart from offering a more intimate evening than our large parties – was to trial a concept which we can offer to our travel and loyalty partners as a fun form of market research.

We believe that we can persuade hotels, airlines, car hire groups and credit card companies to underwrite future events if we provide the right mix of people.  This should allow readers to attend for free or at a nominal cost.

Our readership is so big that we think we can meet most requests.  If Virgin Atlantic wants to treat 20 BAEC Gold card holders to dinner to learn what would make them switch, or Emirates wants to meet 20 people who have recently flown BA Club World to Dubai, or Marriott Bonvoy wants to pick the brains of 20 top tier IHG Rewards Club members, we are in a great position to arrange that.

We can find the right readers, validate their credentials and get everyone together in a room.  Let us know if your business is interested.

Comments (164)

  • BrightonReader says:

    So what was actually discussed ?

    Any common themes / issues that people have on frequent flyer programmes?

    Ideas they have re improvements?

    • Tim says:

      The title states ‘What happened…’ and then doesn’t say what happened 😂

    • Nick says:

      If the dinner had been this week the diners could have discussed a report just released, commissioned by the Government’s climate change advisers, which, amongst other frequent flyer issues, suggested that air miles schemes should be axed as they encourage jetsetters to take extra flights in a bid to maintain “privileged traveller status”.

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/14/air-miles-should-be-taxed-to-deter-frequent-fliers-advises-report

      • Ian M says:

        No doubt they’ll soon want to replace frequent flyer schemes. Instead of awarding us miles/points to reward our loyalty, they’ll punish us, with an ever increasing tax imposed on every flight we take. Can’t wait…

        • Ian M says:

          The BA Amex card should surely be scrapped as soon as possible. Not only do the avios it awards encourage people to fly more, but the 2 for 1 voucher allows you to take a 2nd person and double the carbon footprint. Those lovely Extinction Rebellion people will soon be outside the Amex office in Brighton.

      • Roger* says:

        Of course, they won’t understand that FF schemes were invented on making use of otherwise unsold seats.

        AFAIK not one extrs flight has been made to accommodate frequent flyers with the single exception of a QF flight exclusively for their FF members (but ready to be proved wrong if appropriate).

        • Doug M says:

          Without offering an opinion on the underlying issue your point is clearly circular.
          Create a scheme to fill unused seats, seats are used.
          Don’t do this and frequency decreases so that supply meets actual demand rather than demand created to meet existing supply.

          • Lady London says:

            Better stop building any motorways then. Especially things like the M25. They are empty for 24 hours after opening. Then completely chocca ever since.

            So if we stopped building motorways then the demand would go down? So we’d better not allow any more airplanes in the sky? and watch the cost of flying on the remaining airliners go up and up? er…. government is not interested in that ! what government is interested in, is taxing it…! 🙂

      • Lady London says:

        Oh no! not the Guardian on “that” again!

        Other than fake climate change and variations on “soak the rich” (which this is one of) they don’t seem to run much these days 🙂

        • Doug M says:

          An overwhelming number of scientists believe Climate Change to be real, and those that don’t are often in the pay of energy or oil companies. What are your professional credentials to arrive at the fake part?

    • Rob says:

      No idea 🙂 It was so noisy I couldn’t hear beyond my two neighbours!

      • Lady London says:

        Just like the parties then.
        I’ll hazard a guess that you have come up with a brilliant way to get particpation from the 39,800 lurkers, Rob 🙂

  • Adam says:

    A BA sponsored dinner would be interesting…”Gold card holders received a personal welcome where their name was robotically called out from an iPad. This was closely followed by an apology that their first choice of meal wasn’t available. And to ensure the experience was entirely authentic, the champagne was poured in nanoscopic measures”

    • Ian says:

      and this time the discussion was recorded, as BA asked everyone to present their ideas on how to cut costs further.

    • ankomonkey says:

      🙂

    • ankomonkey says:

      And diners were all cramped together with insufficient legroom and had to pay the waiter for their food as it was delivered.

      • Lady London says:

        And crumbs (and maybe some other unmentionable substances) all over the seats before they sat down.

  • Polly says:

    Cat,
    Did you make it?? Didn’t try, as in Thessaloniki climbing around ancient sites. Looks like a great concept.
    Bit like Tony Blairs ask the people! dinners! Ha..

    • Blue Mountains says:

      Hope you are enjoying the lovely weather in that gorgeous city and the incredible food! If you have a sweet tooth, make sure you try bougatsa (sweet creamy pie) and trigona Thessalonikis (pastry cones filled with cream). I am currently further south than you and making the most of the glorious weather at the quiet and empty beaches (hardly any Greeks and no tourists)… bliss!

      • Polly says:

        Hey, we are now south too. We are actually staying in Paralia..til Thursday morning. Heading to Dion later today. Just gorgeous and yes have tried local treats.

        • Polly says:

          Staying at the Cosmopolitan hotel and spa. One of those luxury diary auction bids. Great value. Totally empty beach.

          • Unsavage gerbil says:

            I was at the Cosmo in Sheffield last night, eat all you like for £15, weather wasn’t great, but hiked up the Fulwood road afterwards and visited the ancient site that is the Bulls Head.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Liking that username…:D

        • Blue Mountains says:

          Katerini and Olympos, nice one!! It was snowing up there just last week. You are certainly going “off the beaten track” and getting to know real (not touristy) Greece, well impressed! We are currently a bit further south in Attiki, beach hopping 🙂 Are you on a tour of the North or are you going to be heading elsewhere too?

          • Polly says:

            Def off the beaten track. Very old world. Nice where you are too. No tour, just choosing our sites. OH a classisist. We met on an archaeology dig in Cyprus many moons ago, so this was a long planned trip to see some old fav sites. Nuns and latin got me into it.
            At Pella on Thursday. It’s fab..we will return to visit Thasos at some point.

      • BFT01 says:

        Since Thomas Cook went bust there are very few packaged holiday tourists around,
        Not sure if that will change once the purchase of Thomas Cook by Hays travel goes through or not?

    • Cat says:

      I did make it Polly, it was great fun. It was a very pleasant evening, the food was lovely, and the company was even better! I thoroughly enjoyed myself! As excuses go, being on a lovely holiday, exploring ancient sites and sunning yourself on empty beaches in Greece is an excellent one! I’m trying not to be jealous as I carry my marking home! Hopefully see you next time Polly. X

      • Polly says:

        Thought l spotted you in the shadows there..not on a half term trip then?? And yes hope to catch up at the next doo…loving the sites, too busy for beach here, except the odd walk. This is educational ha ha. But we love it..perfect temp.

        • Cat says:

          Three more days until half term, 18 more lessons and a small mountain of mock exams and books that need marking to climb. I’m absolutely not counting, no no no.
          There is not enough tea in the world to keep me awake and alert until then.
          I’m behaving myself (for once) after my awesome summer holidays, and will be having a mini staycation and celebrating my gorgeous niece’s 4th birthday. I might sleep lots too!
          Keep enjoying Greece Polly, it does sound absolutely lovely!
          Let me know if you want to meet up for a drink when you get back! X

  • Crafty says:

    The value of HFP seems increasingly to be concentrated into these private, in-person events, which as BrightonReader suggests, we don’t then properly hear about. This leaves very little actual content for the readers of the website. I can’t remember the last time I picked up an actionable tip from HFP (this used to be a weekly occurrence) – probably not since the demise of Amex.

    Is there just less out there, or are you actively deciding to put less into the public domain?

    • Henry says:

      There does seem to be a little more bone than meat lately.

      • BJ says:

        A reflection of the times. New credit card opportunities, middle of the day breaking news on tge latest clubcard bonus offers, and ultra cheap airfares exUK to name but three have all substantially dried up. Cannot report nonexistent news; I suppose Rob could widen the scope of coverage but it’s fairly obvious he is keeping it focused on the main interests and opportunities available to most UK-based travellers and readers.

        • meta says:

          My experience is that you always have one good year, followed by a bad year. This year it has been mainly about devaluations whereas last year we had some lucrative promos. Even if there is not much actionable stuff, the site has given us some pretty good tips over the years, so we can do some things on our own.

          • guesswho2000 says:

            Oh that IB promo…I don’t see that coming back next year, but you never know!

          • Alex Sm says:

            We have all been left in substantial Avios debts since then – no idea whether this will be written off…

        • Richard says:

          Agree, not much out there earning wise, but happy that hfp seems to be (I’ve not crunched the numbers!) filling the gaps with more reviews and news.

          • guesswho2000 says:

            +1 on the reviews, I’m enjoying the extra coverage of those, even if the earning oppos are less.

    • Rob says:

      There is no value in running things via dinners which, if Tim had not stepped in, would have lost us over £1,000!

      Future dinners will have the conversation guided by the sponsor, albeit places will be free or with a nominal charity donation.

      • Russ says:

        Oh well now you’re talking….

        Happily sponsor an event if I can drone on all evening with a captive audience regarding my inept relatives who didn’t turn up to a gig saying ‘well it doesn’t matter really because you paid in points’ or, why SAS thinks calling a cardboard box of food in business class ‘the cube’ changes it from being a cardboard box. And if there any people still left after the first 3 hours, I will breakout an unopened airfix kit of Concorde which we can then build together and then fight to the death over who gets to paint it.

    • marcw says:

      There isn’t that much sausage and bacon in the points world anymore. Very standard and recurrent promotions. Aside from that, the main program this site covers – BAEC – hasn’t changed really in the last 4 years? (yes they changed partner redemption values, max 1.500 Avios more per segment). There are juicy things outside BAEC – Flying Blue – very valuable if you are flexible. Some special Promo awards launching on Thursday, with a very generous travel period, until March 2020. JNB in Premium Eco for 29k, Seychelles 38 K in Business, Tokio PE 30K, Mexico, Seattle, Nairobi in Business 36K. Many in Economy worldwide from 11k.

    • Ben says:

      I think it’s a mixture of there being less out there, together with now being more ‘in-the-know’…

  • Richard Branson says:

    If any reader suggests I touched them under the table, I can categorically confirm that I did not. Lovely meal thank you. Yours Richard

  • TripRep says:

    Is VS working on RFF again?

  • TripRep says:

    Ends 28th Oct

  • Oli says:

    I think Amex may not have linked your last/exisitng MR account. Happened to me and wife when we churned Plat Charge card via green upgrade and with that we got a new referral allowance.

    10k points only? you didnt get referral?

    • Bazza says:

      Yes, its been reported before, def being kept hush hush on this site(don’t know why as Amex must know what we are doing, right?) but seems churning is still in full effect. I am going to start churning and referring again. Getting a bit fed up going to the PO with the Amex for PP top ups.

      • BLT says:

        Just to add some balance, my OH applied for Amex plat 6 months after last cancellation, did not receive welcome bonus.

      • Polly says:

        And no welcome bonus teacker on my bacc which arrived 2 weeks ago. Wonder what will happen when l put 1k on it?

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