Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Sunday 17th May

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We have decided to run this new daily chat thread on Head for Points.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the defacto repository for random comments and questions.  It is unlikely that the news flow will be so big over the next few weeks that we will need many ‘Bits’ articles, however.

The comments under this article are where you should post questions about travel and, indeed, anything else on your mind.  At this tricky time, and given that many of you are stuck at home self-isolating, we want the HFP community to have a place to chat.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as its keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

By default, HFP shows the last page of comments under the article.  If you want to see the first page of comments and read them all from beginning to end in order, click here:  The page will refresh with this article but the comments will now show the first page and not the last page.

We will continue to monitor how this is working.  Let’s see how it goes.  Take care!

Comments (153)

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

  • Optimus Prime says:

    Out of curiosity – if an American tourist comes to Europe without travel insurance, catches codiv-19 and needs a ventilator,etc. Do they also get a $1m bill?

    • Jon says:

      No. I imagine the max in NHS for a 2 week ITU stay with ventilation would be ~£100,000. Although they can, very few hospitals I’ve worked at actually charge foreign tourists. They are just not set up to get them to pay, even if the American in question has iron-clad insurance that will just cough up. Although there are departments for this, they only work Monday – Friday 10-3. And with bed pressure the patient is discharged on a Saturday or out of hours, and never heard anything of the required payment again.

    • AJA says:

      In the UK the NHS is free at point of delivery so turning up at A&E as an injured tourist I think you will initially be treated for free. You will have to pay for medication issued on a prescription and any subsequent treatment they will ask you to pay. I think elsewhere in Europe they will ask you to show a credit card or insurance before treating you.

      • J says:

        In an emergency, in A&E I’d be very disturbed if a credit card was required before treatment. Insurance is compulsory for everybody here (in Germany) but in an emergency, they’ll carry out whatever treatment is necessary and worry about the billing later. I’ve even had the same experience in LA – where I attended a walk in clinic, received treatment and I was given a bill at the end (and discount for settling immediately, which I did and then reclaimed from travel insurance).

        • Clive says:

          Never live in Thailand then !! First procedure regardless of anything is to check that you have the means to pay.

    • Harry T says:

      Anecdotally, the NHS has gotten more ruthless at chasing down people who don’t pay their medical bills, due to a perceived issue with medical tourism (more of a political stance than a realistic assessment of the situation, I’m sure). I have heard of debt collection agencies being used to track people down, and they have a habit of being extremely unpleasant. Some Trusts are even using these on NHS staff if they have been overpaid in the past (regardless of whether the staff member was aware of it).

      In summary, your risk of being charged is almost certainly lower than in some countries, but the situation has certainly gotten more hostile in the UK, probably due to the general political shift towards aggression against foreigners.

  • Jon says:

    I have a large amount of Flying Club points and want to book MAN-LAX in April 2021, specifically 2nd-11th. I know the flights are available for cash as of yesterday, but not having watched Virgin Atlantic like a hawk for a long time, is there a rule of thumb as to when the Reward seats might become available?

    And is the number to ring for assistance when booking (to use upgrade vouchers, and to buy Miles Booster miles) the same as everyone will be ringing for refunds?

    Thanks in advance

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Always best practice to run all tap outlets and showers for 5 mins and be out of the way.

      • John says:

        For individuals, definitely. Just wonder if Marriott are going to make this a permanent policy for all hotels, or if this is a one-off initiative by this particular W.

  • Harry T says:

    Has anyone successfully talked amex into a retention offer on the Bonvoy amex? I’m currently on the grandfathered earning rate of 3 points per pound, and I’m going to call up when they write to me to switch me over and ask for a retention offer. Want to get a feel for what people have managed to wrangle.

    • E says:

      I wasn’t on the grandfathered rate but I called Amex about my Bonvoy card last week to see if there was any movement on fees or earning rate as I was thinking of cancelling. They said there was nothing but they were looking at promotions in the future. I said I’d think whether to cancel as card was now of limited benefit with the hotels being mostly shut. But nothing for me anyway.

  • Harry T says:

    Anyone who takes advantage of Lloyds Banking Group offers to save money when paying Council Tax at the Coop – do any particular accounts seem to get the [email protected]@ck offers more? Does a certain spend pattern on the card make them more or less likely to appear on your account?

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Anyone have any experience with how long it takes at present to get a reply for an upgrade to Rewards Plus card for Virgin Money. Two weeks ago I completed the link application to boost rewards up to Reawards plus but no emails received and CS could not provide me an ETA when I called to chase.

      • Qwertyknowsbest says:

        I had long delays, miscommunication and in the end made a complaint and told them to forget the upgrade. They confirmed that they had, gave me £50 compensation for my trouble. Two weeks later I get an email telling me that they have now upgraded the card. No idea if they have and no fee so far.

  • Bootlace says:

    I hold the personal Amex Plat and BAPP, my wife has a supplementary Plat.

    My question is;
    At the present time, with longer to hit the bonus spends in place, what is the best strategy as of today to max on MR which we will convert to Avios.
    We have a small business so will also go for Capital on Tap deal at 10500 Avios.

    • Rob says:

      Your wife would qualify for Business Platinum or Business Gold immediately (assuming she’s not had her own Membership Rewards account in the last 6 months).

      You could cancel your personal Platinum – and empty your MR account, as it will be closed – and then wait 6 months and then apply for Business Gold or Business Platinum.

  • xcalx says:

    I saw a few posts this week re removing some members to use up small avios amounts for an award. Is it as easy as clicking on remove member also how long until that member can rejoin another household account.

    Some Avios award availability has come up for TPA-MIA-SJU flying AA As these flights can’t now be cancelled online would the cancelation fee be £35 per flight. Trying to keep to award flights in case of cancelations to the November Transatlantic cruise into Tampa and the Puerto Rico cruise. I have been able to cancel this route before for £10 ish where as £140 seems a bit steep if it’s per flight x2.

  • Jack says:

    I was looking at IHG reward bookings for Atlanta in October and noticed that virtually all said “excludes taxes and $5 amenity fee” even for HIEX properties.

    Up to now there has been no tax on reward stays as no cash changes hands…and no amenity fees. Is this IHG trying to claw back some revenue?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      IHG has never promised no amenity fees for award stays.

      I believe only Hilton specifically say this is the case in the T&C’s.

      • Jack says:

        Yeh but amenity fees for all their HIEXs?

        And what about the plus taxes?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          It’s up to the individual hotels but perhaps they are all run by the same operator in that area?

          sales tax on 0 is 0 but if there is a fixed amount tourist tax then Technically that is payable.

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