Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Monday 18th 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: https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/05/18/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-monday-18th-may/comment-page-1.  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 (211)

  • Brasov says:

    @Lady London what is the HPV scandal of which you speak?

    • Lady London says:

      Some US states mandated vaccinations with a new vaccination against HPV (human papilloma virus) this was required in order to be allowed to attend school. Some of those states allowed parents to object such as on religious grounds.

      11-year old girls died. Others were permanently damaged. IIRC there was still a state or two that did not allow any exemption. Even after word got out, some schools and states continued to insist on compulsory vaccination.

      I believe early measles?or German measles? vaccinations had similar problems.

      • Michael C says:

        Some countries (off the top of my head, Spain & the US) have chickenpox vaccinations, while the UK continues to go for herd immunity (or paying a private dr. for jab!).

        • guesswho2000 says:

          Yes, in common with many vaccines which protect against a threat that don’t post a huge threat to the population or potential cost to the NHS, it can be elected for but isn’t required.

          I’m not a Dr, and can’t name others off the top of my head, but that is the reason some travel vaccines are free and some aren’t, as I was told by my Doc in the UK when I last got some.

      • Catman says:

        I googled it and there are also people saying that cervical cancer rates have gone up not down in the vaccinated girls

        • Andrew says:

          People? Or peer reviewed clinical research studies.

          “People” including Corbyn, have made all sorts of claims about 5G.

          We had ours done for both HPV and paid for Chicken Pox. The latter is a no-brainer. A week off school (and work for us), high chance of scarring to the face and body, or (at the time) £50… The former, well you don’t want to think of your sons or daughters shagging their way through University – but I do one day a week in GUM so very familiar with reality.

        • ken says:

          I would like to see peer reviewed evidence of this.

          Girls aged 12-13 were only offered the vaccination from 2008 onwards, and as the NHS only offers the smear routinely from aged 25, then its clearly too early to be making massive claims, other than the fact that the first date from Scotland showed an 88% reduction in cervical pre-cancer and the benefit also showed up in older woman presumably as a result of herd immunity from the 2 main viruses.

  • Andrew says:

    Avios bookings on BA.com – when I search LHR-HKG it shows no availability, when I search LHR-Manila on the same date it shows loads of flights and availability with CX, connecting in HKG. If I ring Exec Club, will they be able to book me just on to the LHR-HKG sector on CX as it’s showing as available? Is this usual practice that BA.com only shows BA metal availability for routes they fly and not partner metal availability?

    • BJ says:

      CX availability on BA is all over the place at the best of times. Try calling and if they get you a seat don’t let them apply the telephone service charfe as it was their fault seat is not showing online.

    • Ming the Merciless says:

      CX use tied segments a lot. I came across this issue trying to book cX from Adelaide to LHR.

      Flight was available on both segments if booked on the same PNR but I wanted 2 separate booking to make use of the low HKG fees but was unable to book on the same flights.

      • Andrew says:

        Thanks, so it could be that even though it lets me book LHR-HKG-MNL, if it’s tied to that journey it might not allow a simple LHR-HKG booking. Might give BA a call then – I think as Gold the fees are waived anyway for phone booking.

        • BJ says:

          Correct, but I just don’t see married segments being much of an issue at the moment. You can always put in a request to get married segments removed enabling you to book the sectors you want. However, I’ve only successfully done so with BA I think it was, I would not be confident they can do it for another airline. Have you tried LGW or have CX scrapped those flights?

          • Andrew says:

            I’ll give it a try calling BA then. And I want to fly first class which I think they only have from LHR.

          • Callum says:

            British Airways has married segments? I’ve never come across that before, are you sure?

  • Rob says:

    The Marriott Bonvoy ‘buy points’ deal is live – see https://storefront.points.com/marriott/en-US/buy?irgwc=1

    60% bonus which is biggest ever seen. Works out at 0.6p per point, slightly above my 0.5p valuation.

    Full discussion tomorrow.

    • BJ says:

      Unfortunately though, only a whisker better then the 50% bonus offer (0.64p) back in February due to the fall in the £/$.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Unfortunately for us yes. 100% bonus and I would have snapped up the full allocation. We have until end of June so the fx rate could move to our advantage.

    • Harry T says:

      Looks like they’ve doubled the limit you can buy too, which is useful considering their redemption costs.

      • Harry T says:

        I make it 0.57p per point if you bought the maximum – across two transactions, that’s 180,000 points for 1250USD/1026GBP.

        • BJ says:

          Or 250,000 Honors points with 100% bonus. Interesting choice, illustrates the desirability of having a specific goal in mind before purchase as opposed to speculative purchase. However, given it is easier to get status with Hilton than Marriott then the free breakfast etc might just swing speculative purchases in favour of Hilton. Doesn’t work for miles generally but will do in some specific circumstances.

          • Harry T says:

            @BJ
            Great points. As it looks like I won’t have enough leave left for Tokyo olympics (friend is getting married in Italy in June), I think I won’t be buying Avios with the current offer. I have no other use for them at present – as you wisely point out, it’s always best to have an immediate plan for points when buying them.

            I already bought 320k Hilton to use on the Conrad Tokyo for my girlfriend’s birthday! Great deal when cash prices are high.

            I think I will be a buyer of Bonvoy as can use them at the Langley (we loved it), the W Amsterdam and some other European properties we have our eye on. As Italy is opening up in June, looks like my holiday in August can go ahead and I will be able to complete a Marriott Platinum challenge before our stay at the W Abu Dhabi for the Grand Prix.

  • SL says:

    Hi

    What are the best ways to pay HMRC with Curve metal? Does Virgin still work? Or is Miles and More the best way?

    Thanks

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I believe M&M works directly.

      • Rob says:

        It does but M&M will come for you if you pay business taxes. I do my VAT via Curve and PAYE direct.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Do HMRC have different MCC or different merchant codes for the types of transactions? Wondering how M&M differentiate

          • Rob says:

            It comes up on your statement differently. Merchant code is the same I think but Affiniture / Diners is not a big business and anyone who looks at your statement to see why you are earning so many miles will see ‘HMRC GOV.UK VAT’, ‘HMRC GOV.UK PAYE’, ‘HMRC GOV.UK SA’ etc there.

  • John says:

    I’m due to receive some fairly large credits to my AMEX card over the next few days for refunded holiday payments, these will be more than I will spend on the card for some time, is there an easy to way to get this returned back to my bank account? (I couldn’t see anything obvious of their website)

    • Tom says:

      Yes, just contact them once the funds have hit via live chat or call them.

      Occasionally they may ask to see a copy of your bank statement to prove you own the bank account in question.

    • roberto says:

      You need to call or chat to get a refund , can take a couple of weeks to you bank account.. Be aware you will get a corresponding deduction of MR or Avios from the credit back unless its to a cancelled card (which makes no difference in getting your money back).

      You could cancel you card today of course after clearing out the balance if possible and start again with a new card depends on your situation.

    • Jody says:

      You can do it via live chat or phone call. I’ve had to do it a few times.

      Seems to be that if it is for over £500, they ask for a bank statement to be uploaded, but if it’s under £500 they don’t bother.

      Can take up to 10 days to get to your bank account (no idea why it takes so long, I’ve had to do it a couple of times with my Halifax credit card and both times I’ve been told it will be in my bank by the end of the next working day (and it has been).

      • Genghis says:

        I had a net £2k+ credit balance refunded without uploading bank statements. I pay by DD from that account if that makes a difference.

        • Stuart says:

          I had a similar amount refunded but unlike you I don’t have a direct debit set up so had to provide a bank statement

  • Spk says:

    Anyone else got the Amex Bonvoy card before changes? What’s the last date for earning 3 points per £? I remember Amex sent a mail stating they’ll inform us in June about the changes.

    • BJ says:

      End of June IIRC. Haven’t decided on my strategy yet. Applied for SPG three days before the changes and was both very shocked and distressed to get Bonvoy…

      • Harry T says:

        @BJ me too!

        • BJ says:

          I think I’ll just let it go, amex have been so good to me. They’ll ask and I’ll tell them why but I’ll leave any retention/compo up to then without pushing for it.

          • Harry T says:

            You’ve definitely been lucky with Amex! Don’t blame you for being lenient. I will personally push for a retention offer of some points or a better earnings rate. I like Marriott hotels, especially Luxury Collection. If they don’t offer me anything, I will probably apply for a BAPP again.

  • BJ says:

    All a bit nuts really when considering that UK residents will be a bigger threat to just about everybody else than visitors will be to us. In the short term travel to/from the UK will be determined by other governments, not our own.

    • Callum says:

      It’s not remotely nuts because that’s not remotely how transmission works. All you need is one single infected person.

      Think about it logically. At one point, there was a SINGLE person with this virus, now there are over 5 million. Infection absolutely can spread from a low infection rate country to a high infection rate country.

  • mark says:

    Hi all
    I currently have a personal amex platinum thats up for renewal, are amex offering any incentive to stay with them as most of the benefits are essentially useless for me in the current climate.