Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

More thoughts on whether air miles should be banned to reduce climate change

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There was a big reaction to my piece on Tuesday about whether frequent flyer schemes should be banned because they encourage additional flying which exacerbates climate change.

Here are four interesting asides – three of which you should NOT take too seriously – from the last 24 hours:

I apologise to any HfP readers who live in Continental Europe and who watch Sky News.  As was posted in our comments yesterday:

“Sky News don’t fill the ad breaks with ads out here in Europe – you get some ads but also filler pieces and snips of ‘international’ news interest.  Twice an hour I’m getting Rob’s 5 second analysis of Frequent Flyer programs, it’s unrelenting.”

We can only hope that the reader who posted:

“You really need to work on your delivery when speaking. You sound like a chav. And surely your office is big enough for the camera to actually be in it?!?!”

…. isn’t in Continental Europe …. (and, no, our office is not big enough to take a full size TV camera, a lighting rig and leave the required gap between the lens and my face.)

I moderated a panel discussion at the Flybe leadership conference in Exeter on Tuesday.  During the Q&A, one member of the audience – who introduced herself as a 23-year old graduate trainee – asked myself and Flybe’s head of loyalty, who was on stage with me, whether we thought a loyalty scheme was the right thing to do given the environmental concerns.  The genie is out of the bottle.

The best comment I saw on this topic, which I repeated on stage at Flybe, came in an email from a reader.  He claimed that Avios and BAEC were a force for good against climate change.  British Airways business class is so dreadful that everyone would be taking more harmful indirect flights on Emirates, Etihad etc if it wasn’t for the lure of the tier points …..

The report that kicked off this debate was written by academics at Imperial College.  A comment posted on HfP on Tuesday said that Imperial College staff are not allowed to collect frequent flyer miles or hotel points when travelling on university business.  I have absolutely no confirmation if this is true or not, or whether it may have influenced their report 🙂  (EDIT: we now have the actual policy in the comments below. Miles collected whilst travelling on Imperial College business are “not for personal use” and should therefore be redeemed for future business travel.)

Comments (168)

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  • Shoestring says:

    Furious commuters drag Extinction Rebellion protesters from the roof of a London Underground train after they converged on stations to bring chaos to the network (beardie gets told what’s what – video)

    • Shoestring says:

      The eco-activist group has now said its members will protest ‘mischievously’ at Gatwick airport from 11am, promising ‘musicians, clowns and singers.’

  • Aliks says:

    I want to buy 45,000 or so Marriott Bonvoy points to spend on a five day holiday in Valencia next March during their Fire Festival of Fallas. Its a big event so all the city centre hotel prices are sky high, but with points the AC Hotel is reasonable.

    My question is about when the +30% bonus offer expires. The website says “… through October 18th ..” does this mean I can buy up to midnight on 17th or up to midnight on 18th.
    Can any American speaker translate?

    (In case you are wondering, I am anxiously waiting for my Virgin MC card to arrive)

    • Rob says:

      23.59 on 18th and probably US West Coast time zone unless rules say something else.

    • marcw says:

      Have you looked at Melia hotels? Might be a lot cheaper.

      • Aliks says:

        Yes indeed Melia is quoting good prices, but their city centre hotel is full in Feria week, and the other TRYP hotels are some way out. Also, the Marriott 5th night free makes a big difference.
        I need 80,000 points to buy 4 nights, I already have 30,000 on hand so need to spend £350 to buy 50,000 in the sale (probably less actually as I will earn a few thousand points on my SPG card in the next month)
        Various ways to cost this out, but just say my Marriott points are worth .4p and the 5 nights are costing me £470 or £94 per night.
        The quoted cash price is £984 for 5 nights . . . . .

  • MarkH says:

    OT1- my mother has a cash Hilton booking but no status. If she adds me as a guest will she receive my gold benefits – key one being the breakfast? Assume she would just say she’s checking in first and I’ll be arriving later? This will be in Malaysia if it makes any difference.

    OT2 – Thanks for responses the other day re connection time in Madrid when having to collect bags. Have given myself just over 4.5hrs which i think should be enough.
    One comment mentioned that as I am flying Iberia business from RIO I can access the business class lounge in T4S, even though my onward Iberia flight (on a completely separate booking) is in economy. Is that definitely the case?

    • Anna says:

      Was the Hilton booking make from your account? If so, it’s definitely possible in theory for a single staying guest to get breakfast, though they might get suspicious if it’s more than one or two nights! Otherwise, I have asked Hilton to link a BA holiday booking to my account (at the HGI in Rome) and 3 of us got free breakfast for 4 days so it never hurts to ask!

      • MarkH says:

        No it’s from her account. Thinking it might be worth me rebooking under my name and putting her as a guest…

    • John says:

      Gold benefits are for the member when they stay. If you wish to commit fraud, nobody can stop you but Hilton may decide to close your account.

      • George says:

        Girlfriend used my hilton number in a stay in Birmingham without me knowing and got a room upgrade and breakfast, on a booking! Everything turned out fine.

    • Lyn says:

      MarkH – I tried to reply re lounge access but my comment ended up as a separate comment on the newer comments page.

  • Oh Matron! says:

    “If China Eastern will move from Heathrow Terminal 4 to Heathrow Terminal 3”

    Didn’t virgin learn not to do that when Delta were allowed in?

  • TedL says:

    O/T, Need some advice. Had a CW flight LHR-EWR on 7/10/19 which was cancelled on 4/9/19, BA offered alternate flight LHR-JFK which departed 2 hours before Newark flight which I accepted. On returning I claimed compensation for the cancellation and reimbursement of cost JFK-EWR where I had an airport hotel booked. BA response was that it was due to an engine problem due to a manufacturing fault in engines supplied by a third party. As such was beyond their control and they are not liable to pay for such events.
    I replied yesterday asking if it was the ongoing Trent 1000 engine problem, over which they have already lost several cases for compensation, and if so they should reconsider their decision. This morning they replied as follows:-
    “I can confirm that the manufacturing fault is the ongoing issue with the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engine. My supervisor re-iterated that the problem’s between Boeing and Rolls Royce, and is out of BA’s control, and therefore we’re not liable for EU compensation.
    Article 5.3 of the EU Regulation 261/2004 states a carrier is not obliged to pay compensation if it can prove the delay or cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances, that couldn’t have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. In Recital 14 and 15 of EU Regulation 261/2004, extraordinary circumstances include weather, strike and the impact of an air traffic management decision which gives rise to a long delay. This means you’re not entitled to compensation under the EU Regulation for your delayed/cancelled flight.”
    Am I right in thinking that this engine issue is not “exceptional circumstances” given the time it has been going on. Advice on how to proceed would be appreciated.
    In addition my reimbursement claim has also been rejected as not their policy when a flight to a nearby airport is accepted. Any advice.

    • Shoestring says:

      You’re entitled to compo, black & white case proven many times now, see this thread where there are many examples of precisely your situation

      BA are still doing their best to [initially] deny compo on the Trent engines, so the usual course is to take out a MCOL case against them, in which case BA will fold before it gets heard & you’ll get your compo. If you can’t spare the time, Bott & Co will happily do it for you for their fee (about 35% I think).

    • Lady London says:

      @Shoestring whether those dates are US or UK format wasnt more than 2 weeks notice received?

      • Shoestring says:

        sorry somehow I missed the dates – yep cancellations with more than 2 weeks’ notice = no compo

      • Doug M says:

        So they could have refused it for a legitimate reason, but still went with the misleading, or do we say lie?

        • Shoestring says:

          they can cancel for zero reasons as long as it’s 2 weeks away

          don’t forget they must provide an equivalent alternative flight plus duty of care (or refund if you choose – only if you choose)

          • Lady London says:

            Noting that anyone who accepts a refund immediately loses any right to duty of care. The trick is to insist on a rebooking and not accept a refund. As soon as a refund it accepted the airline is off the hook. That’s why you must remind the airline it’s your choice, not theirs, if you get refunded or if you choose, they must book you a reasonably close replacement flight that is acceptable to You. Not one that suits Them.

            personally I’d have accepted the other flight but told them I would need my nonrefundable hotel booking reimbursed as well – before agreeing anything. Plus would get it in writing from the airline and only then would agree.

        • Anna says:

          I think they are just completely incompetent! Why would anyone give such a long and rambling answer when they could have said, “You had more than 2 weeks’ notice, forget it”?!

        • Lady London says:

          🙂 Well spotted, @Doug M 🙂

          I personally think it’s time the CAA got the **lls to get the amount of compensation that can be awareded, to a passenger multipled by a factor of up to 3 in cases where the pre-court decline by an airline was “vexatious”. [egregious].

          Otherwise what incentive to the airlines have to admit they are liable for compensation and pay out promptly? Right now, nothing.

          • Shoestring says:

            the other point is: BA won’t ever pay for the OP’s consequential cost of the hotel cancelled in Newark, you would have to have deep pockets to challenge them further than MCOL on consequential losses & would probably still lose the higher courts

            so OP’s hotel cost is for insurance/ possibly S75 claim – but don’t waste your time chasing BA on that one

            BA *would* have paid for you to get from JFK to Newark

    • TedL says:

      Sorry the flight was on the 7/9/19, been out aso didnt see the comments re date.

      • Shoestring says:

        that changes everything, see my first reply, you are entitled to EC261 compo and there are plenty of examples of people who have successfully claimed it, in more or less exactly the same position as you (see the Flyertalk thread I referenced)

      • TedL says:

        I was flying to join a cruise on the following day so didnt want to jeopardise arriving in good time for it so didnt really have any option but accept the flight that was offered.

      • Lady London says:

        In that case Shoestring advice stands. There is no way BA cannot pay you compensation. Suggest you follow the steps advised by Shoestring. (that’s assuming your dates are in UK format not US).

        Go get ’em, Tiger 🙂

  • ankomonkey says:

    If VS are code-sharing with China Eastern, does that mean the end of the Air China redemptions?

  • Gordon says:

    Does the Amex Marriott offer of spend £200 get £50 back work on buying points?

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