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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.

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Comments

  1. Chelseafi says:

    O/T. Do you still get referral points for the BAfree card, I know there are a couple that you don’t get any referral points for, so just checking first. Thanks

  2. O/T Back from a 35k points night at the Langley…. Restaurant still a shambles. We gave up after the starters as mains were still not served after 2 hours. Spa is superb, gym fantastic too. And rooms very well appointed.
    Worth a visit, but eat dinner at the Red Lion pub in Stoke Green down the road. And we had a great brekky in the cafe in Langley Park a ten minute walk away.

    • Benilyn says:

      Interesting! i have mine booked for June so lets see if it improves. What was their excuse??

      • New Card says:

        We went a few weeks ago – on the advice of HFPers we didn’t eat there (The Tudor Room in Egham, not too far away, is exceptional). I’m not quite sure how it’s possible for a buffet breakfast to be shambolci with only 4 tables in use, but it was. However once all was sorted the breakfast food was pretty good, though nothing special.

      • They were “busy and had lots of room service orders”!! But as has been mentioned, there were only about 12 tables for dinner. It is def worth going, and if you are lucky in June, the outdoor pool will be brilliant. Just eat at other places suggested by HfPers…..

        • Oh, and might be useful for some – they will let you pay to upgrade a redemption booking to a suite that will fit 2 rollaway beds for kids…..

          • That’s interesting – how much is it to upgrade?

          • +1 would love to know the cost?

          • She implied it would be roughly the diff in price between a room and the suite. So i’m assuming £150 to £200 ? But would need to call up to check my specific dates…..

    • Thanks for the recommendation.. will look to book a table here for one of the evenings we will be there in December.

      Does anybody else have any other lunch/dinner suggestions? – Tudor Room looks like a nice option, but ideally something a little closer, and preferably cheaper.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Strange been there a couple times and eaten breakfast/lunch/dinner over the various days.

      Not encountered that long a wait and everyone seemed to get what they wanted. Last visit breakfast was packed and no one seemed p*ssed off.

      Perhaps they are still working on staffing levels etc?

  3. Benilyn says:

    OT: How do you see if your free night from IHG Credit Card from 10k spend has come through on anniversary date? I want to book!

    • It shows in your IHG account on the website and app – next to your points balance on the app.

    • I didn’t notice it for ages when it came to mine – Ambassador free nights show up in their own section on my account but the credit card free night is on the top left hand side (of the desktop website) in the box where it shows your available points.

  4. guesswho2000 says:

    OT AwardWallet – free upgrade coupons (10x available) – free-i6e5zlmoe4 (Rob feel free to remove if this steps on your toes, I don’t think these would?)

  5. OT how long does it take when you purchase Hilton points to arrive thanks Jason

  6. “We were massively oversubscribed with 120+ applications for just 20 seats, so we ended up picking names out of a hat.”
    Visions of Rob sat in Pret tearing up bits of paper and dropping them in his flat cap. 🙂

  7. Sky News should be interesting tonight. Rob on at 7pm

    I’ll repeat my easy suggestion of just upping APD for all flights, that should still hit Frequent Flyers the hardest and deter unnecessary mileage runs.

    Also make the average family of 4 think carefully about a staycation rather than the Med ever year.

    • Shoestring says:

      how much extra APD would it take to make you stay in the rainy cold UK over summer as opposed to going somewhere warm such as Europe (on our doorstep)?

      thought about this before – and £50 each (Economy) would just not even figure

      it would have to be something pretty fierce such as £100 or £200 (Economy) to make people change their minds about a holiday in their place in the sun

      in which case, I’m voting for the other side come the next election

      • Peter K says:

        This is so true. It would take a lot to stop those who go away once a year every year from going. Those who aspire to go away but do not have the funds will be further marginalised by an increase, even if modest, and those with plenty of funds paying cash to fly business will keep doing so.

        • 88% vs 12%. I guess it’s always easy to hit the minority rather than tackle bigger problems like for example packaging industry. The amount of packaging that is produced is unnecessary. Why does the food you buy in shops have to be wrapped in plastic and then also in a carton box? Why do companies like Amazon deliver small items in extra large boxes thus producing more waste?

      • Harry, I agree. If it is indeed a real “emergency” then a Gov could make unnecessary behaviours and purchases prohibitively expensive and alter the tax codes for allowing a minimal living standard.

        As for flying & APD , if they wanted to make a real statement they could impose £250 for short haul and £500 for long haul and triple that for Business, but I’d want to see the rest of society taxed in the same way on unnecessary actions.

        For what its worth, I think XR are fanciful with their 2025 target, I would wager also few actually realise how much petroleum products are embedded in their everyday lives giving them a standard of living their grandparents would consider living in luxury.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          If it was that then I’d have no problem driving to Paris to start my long haul family holiday.

          It has to be global to make any difference.

    • I guess I am not alone in being ok with that provided that INV remains exempt from APD 🙂
      New policy is merely a stop-gap solution, beloved of politicians who can look forward only 5 years at best. It is not so much new policy alone that we need, as new technology. The latter cannot flourish so long as the energy industry lobby thrives in its current form; were it not for them we would all have been driving PEV for some years already.

      • BJ – there’s even if battery technology improves greatly there’s not enough readily available raw resources (copper/lithum/cobalt) for Petrol/Diesel cars to be entirely replaced with EV cars

    • Lady London says:

      Ummm they promised that the first lot of APD when they introduced it, would already go for that. And has it ?

      Don’t want to be rude, but would any mug actually believe they would ringfence any more money if they succeed in ripping us off any higher amounts as well? would show a failure of learning from the first time, if we believed that 🙂

      • Describing paying tax as ripping off is very emotive language.
        But is any tax held separately to be used only for a single purpose based around the justification for the tax? How would you even identify a reasonable use of APD

        • It feels like a very blunt instrument. A non-travelling family with 4 children has a much greater impact on the environment than me and my one child taking a couple of holidays per year. Should we therefore tax people for each child they have as well?

          • Actually I’m in favour for incentives for encouraging limiting families to just 1 child. (and therefore disincentivising 2 or more children)

            The point is about flying, for the vast majority of us that do it, it falls under a unnecessary and highly polluting “want” rather than a basic human need like shelter, water, food, heat.

          • I wonder about individual tradable carbon budgets. Those that want to fly a lot and are wealthy enough to do so would purchase ‘Pollution credits’ from those that do not fly once they had exhausted their own allocation. Overtime the number of credits in circulation could be reduced. This would have the effect of discouraging excessive flights but would also have a redistribution effect benefiting those who are less wealthy / fly less. This could work on a national level. On a global scale it’s still appalling to think that the populations of the poorest countries are being shafted again by the actions of the richest.

    • Was he on, I only saw Gilbert Ott

  8. happeemonkee says:

    O/T

    Booked a one way flight on Virgin using miles from LAX to CDG on Delta metal for next year (Delta One suites) Received an email yesterday to say Delta had cancelled the flight. Got in touch with Virgin today and asked to be moved the Virgin metal LAX – LHR flight instead but they said there was only PE award availability left, not Upper I thought they have to put you in the same cabin as booked as long as there was revenue availability. Was I wrong.

    • Shoestring says:

      you’re probably stuffed as EC261 won’t apply to (originally) Delta metal flying in from the US to Europe

      you could probably insist on getting your original cabin class if you were prepared to wait for availability to pop up later, ie wait a few days

      • Happeemonkee says:

        They’ve put us on the same flight 24 hours later. None of the other options were appealing

  9. The dinner sounds great and I would have loved to have gone but my partner would never forgive me as she is just as much a points / travel junkie as I am so the single ticket application I can understand but it does eliminate some of us from ever attending, maybe events in the future will have some couples tickets available for the likes of us!

    • Shoestring says:

      are you joined at the hip? 🙂

    • Michael says:

      Next time you and your wife should flip for it if you are successfully pulled from Rob’s hat.

      • Or you could both apply! Single ticket application per person, not per household!…

    • To be honest, probably even less likely as – for example – Virgin would want 20 BA Golds for their money (and we’re talking around £4k here) and not 10 BA Golds and their partners ….

      • Unless someone wants to talk to those of us who save miles for years and travel on a highly restrictive budget, I doubt if I’m anyone’s target audience. Current goal is Australia & home via S America in April 2021 and all my points are going towards that.

  10. Shoestring says:

    Just don’t let whoever chose the menu options choose again. Or was it just a poor choice offered by the restaurant?

    • They actually only wanted to offer 1 choice per course! However, I told them we had vegetarians and vegans (bit of a fib as I didn’t know who was coming) so we were allowed to merge three menus together.

    • Shoestring says:

      Apologies if that came across badly/ worse than I meant. I wouldn’t be excited about eating that menu, though – very poor.

      • Shoestring says:

        Can’t beat chicken 🙂

        • There’s a KFC round the corner so you should be able to get a boneless banquet for one should you go along to a future event Harry 🙂

        • Lady London says:

          Chicken is a “lowest common denominator” when you don’t know who’s coming. Lamb is a good fallback – in the UK has a bit more taste than chicken. Then you only have to cater for vegan/vegetarian. That’s why you see chicken too often on any event menu. Plus it’s cheap.

  11. OT When do the Virgin bonus points post from Tesco Clubcard auto convert? My statement date ends on the 17th October, wasn’t sure when to change my account back to vouchers.

    • Shoestring says:

      16th October

      • Shoestring says:

        tbh I’ve earned so few Tesco Clubcard points this quarter, I can’t really be atrsed to turn off autoconvert to Virgin, as the effort is worth more than any kind of result or saving

        • But, watch put.for voucher refunds. 4 out of my 6 x £47.50 change have not returned to the account. CC IT are chasing them now for 2 weeks. Simply can’t explain it. Know l will get them back, but slightly concerned. It’s a lot of avios…

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