Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Wednesday 17th June

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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 (127)

  • KBuffett says:

    I just wanted to say thanks thanks to Rob for the Marriott Platinum challenge tip back in 2018. I contacted them yesterday on Twitter to ask if they would extend my (already expired) status under their current status extension policy, and they’ve reinstated Platinum and extended it to until Feb 2022. So I’ve had around 30 months of Marriott Platinum (and a few months of Titanium, when Bonvoy was launched) for a couple of short stays and a few mattress runs.

    I’ve also cheekily asked them if they can reinstate me as Titanium instead of Platinum!

    Does anyone know if I can use this to status match anywhere?

    • Rob says:

      Have a look at

      Obviously the ‘open to all’ Hilton status match will take it but that is more of a challenge than a match.

      In any event …. matches tend to be once per lifetime. Your best bet is to milk Marriott now until Feb 2022 and try to match elsewhere when you are at the point of being demoted.

    • jason says:

      Kbuffett did they drop you gold initially?

      • Lawro says:

        Also wondering about this? I had no luck with the Twitter team having dropped to Gold in April (originally Titanium when the programs merged).

        • jason says:

          They have just upgraded me too, i also got declined with a earlier request. Back to Platinum until 2022

      • KBuffett says:


  • KBuffett says:

    Update: They’ve refused Titanium.

    I’d welcome any tips and tricks to make the most of this status. I also currently have 500,000 each of Bonvoy, Amex MR and Avios.

    • Peter Kemp says:

      Best way to make the most is to go where you want to go. I know it sounds cliched but getting the most enjoyment from it is the best way forward. If that is beaches for you, go that direction. City breaks? Use for those.
      Just aiming for the most value per point is not usually the best way to use them.

    • Harry T says:

      Travel to where you most wish to visit. Once you’ve decided on a destination, in terms of maximising benefits, it is worth checking which of the Bonvoy properties you’re interested in provide free breakfast and lounge access for Plats.

      Couple of tips: Ritz Carlton do not give free breakfast or lounge access to Plats, and only upgrade Titanium and Ambassador to suites. Worth booking through Emyr to get the STARS benefits of free breakfast, if you want to stay at a Ritz (plus 100 USD F&B credit etc). Emyr booked the Hotel Arts (RC) in Barcelona for me and the STARS package included breakfast and guaranteed 4pm checkout.

      EDITION also don’t provide breakfast to Plats, and don’t have lounges. Again getting Emyr to book a STARS rate for you provides breakfast, if paying cash for your stay. Emyr has booked the Barcelona EDITION for me and the STARS benefits appear excellent.

      Luxury Collection should give you free breakfast but don’t tend to have lounges.

      JW Marriott hotels often have lounges and provide free access to Plats.

      If you’re mainly staying at cheaper properties than the above, I doubt you’ll get much bang for your status buck aside from potential room upgrades, unless a poorer quality free breakfast is worth a lot to you (could add up for you if you travel a lot, mind).

      It’s worth checking Flyertalk threads for hotels you’re interested in, to learn more about their treatment of Plats, as some can be more generous than the basic program conditions stipulate.

  • Go says:

    Has anyone tried to pay bills such as council tax at the Co-op recently? I tried paying at the till a few days ago but was told they no longer offer the service and I had to go to the in store post office (which I presume doesn’t accept Amex)

    • Sandgrounder says:

      The Post Office do accept Amex for postage etc, not sure about bills though.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        I’ve had issues at the P.O using Amex to try to pay bills, some tills appear to block Amex.

        • Lady London says:

          A rule that’s often advised by sophisticated people like @BJ here, is don’t ask, don’t wave the Amex card about, just put it in the machine and it may work – whatever they might say if you do either of those two things.

          Has been known to work at some of each of Co-op, P.O., and other places.

          • Rhys says:

            I had a conversation last night with a friend who said he didn’t want to be the person who always asks ‘do you accept Amex?’ To which I said, I don’t ask, just assume it does and then if it fails just use a debit card. It’s surprising these days how many places accept it.

          • Genghis says:

            And lots of places still say that don’t take Amex when in fact they do!

          • memesweeper says:

            … and some don’t take Amex by contactless, but do by chip and pin (and/or by Apple Pay).

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      It might of been told something not exactly true at your Co-op. A few have noted recently on here that individual stores are making up their own policies to not process card top ups and bills etc using C19 as the reason to not handle cards.
      My local store still processes these type of payments so maybe try another store or ask to speak to that stores manager.

    • KJ says:

      My recent council tax payment at Co-op (on the 14 June 2020) was OK.

    • Sukes says:

      Anyone had success at using Amex to pay rates bill via paypoint in a Coop in N Ireland, whether recently or historic?

      • JohnNI says:

        I pay my rates each year at my local Spar using Amex with no problem. The maximum amount is £200 so I had to split bill into 5 transactions but it all goes through as one at the end.

    • Andrew says:

      It’s difficult to say when you just say “the Co-op”.

      There’s about 25 different retail Co-operative on the High Street.

      Some simply present as “Co-op” such as Clydebank, Mid-Counties, Heart of England and Co-operative Group, whilst others present under a distinctive brand like ScotMid who also trade as “Lakes & Dales”

      Each have their own EPOS.

      • Lady London says:

        Very interesting @Andrew, I had no idea there were so many! whilst confusing, looks like there could be opportunities for the discerning here.

  • Lottie says:

    Does anyone know if BA will credit Tier points for flights cancelled by them? . I have just had the “would you like a voucher email” for my August flights, so assuming that means cancellation in a couple of weeks it will be my 4th BA cancellation since my TP end date of May. I dropped from silver to bronze then so it’s my understanding that I only get the extension to bronze not put back to silver, so I could really use the tier points to hit even the reduced levels (I can only travel in School holiday) . Thanks for any advice.

    • Rhys says:

      They won’t. But you can call them up and ask if they will nudge your status up based on the cancelled flights.

      • Lottie says:

        Thanks, All the cancelled flights are in this TP year so I assume I will have to wait until May 2021 to do that?

        • Rhys says:

          No you can call them whenever. No guarantee they will do anything, though

  • Geoff says:

    Looking for advice please. Malaysia now requires covid-19 testing on arrival, 14 days self isolation and a final test on day 13. They suggest getting the test done up to 3 days prior to departure and obtaining a certificate to show results in order to save waiting time on arrival. They normally expect 2 hours for results if done on arrival but busy times could lead to need to be held in quarantine until results available. So does anyone know where I could get tested in the UK prior to departure and obtain a certificate to show results within a couple of days?

    • Anna says:

      There are various private companies offering tests on the internet. I don’t really understand the purpose of getting tested prior to flying though (for any destination) as you’ll still have to quarantine and be tested at the end of the stay, in case you catch the virus at the airport or on the flight.

      • Geoff says:

        Hi Anna
        I understand your point In my case, getting tested prior to departure means I can go straight through arrivals without having to wait for results and potential overnight Government arranged quarantine. I have looked at the internet and only a very expensive London clinic charging £399 plus courier charges seems to offer such a service so I am hoping to fine something a bit more reasonable.

    • Luckyjim says:

      You need to quarantine for 14 days regardless of when you take test.Getting tested in advance might save a bit of time at the the airport but you will need to fill in a load of forms and who knows how smooth that procedure will be?

    • Voldemort says:

      Geoff, do you have a link to your info about Malaysia please? Travelling later this year so curious what it says.

      • Geoff says:

        Hi Voldemort
        Yes here it is

        Can access via MAS travel advisory for reference

      • Geoff says:

        Also must wear a wristband for self isolation period and be retested on day 13. I follow by reading the NST or Star online for recent updates.

    • Andrew says:

      I’m being tested weekly at the moment through work.

      We don’t get certificates, it’s just an email to say that I’m negative.

    • Stanley says:

      Just go on the NHS website and book a test – they are doing over 100,000 a day….. will be next day, and results 24 hours later….. No charge.

  • Voldemort says:

    Info point for anyone who had the £100 to spend at M&S/Waitrose etc saved on a supplementary Plat card before they removed it from the offers list. Used my GFs card to spend £100 at Waitrose and they paid the credit back automatically.

    • Craig says:

      Indeed, all six cards are working, 5.5 used to the full extent so far. I have 4 very happy children, hopefully whoever ticked the wrong box at Amex didn’t end up in too much trouble?

    • ventureloguk says:

      I used my wife’s supplementary card (obviously had saved the offer before it was withdrawn) at Waitrose. Spent over £100 on Sunday. I still cant see the refund. Was the trick with supp cards to use it before the main card? As my main one was already used on Deliveroo, which showed a refund of the amount the following day.

      • bsuije says:

        No, shouldn’t depend on main card use (at least it didn’t for me).

      • Rob says:

        Doesn’t matter. They are just being slow. A Waitrose I did on the 8th didn’t get credit until 12th.

  • Michael C says:

    Looking at Finnair flights on Avios in Dec. Loads of economy on every single flight, but not a Club seat in sight. Anyone familiar with their system – likely to appear at one stage?

  • Andreas says:

    We, like many others, have had our holiday cancelled, which I paid for on my BA Premium Plus card. I am currently £1500 away from the 241 voucher, but my spending has dropped down to almost 0. I have shiny things I’m planning to buy before my BAPP membership renewal in October that will bump me past my £1500 required spend – however, if I get the refund of £1800 from BA, I’m unlikely to re spend my £1800 refund and spend the £1500 remaining for the 241.

    My current plan is to simply not ask for the refund yet, spend £1500, wait until the 241 is in my BA Exec Club account, then ask BA for a cash refund. I got the cancellation email two weeks ago, and the flights were supposed to be in early July. How long can I delay the refund from BA for?

    • Grant says:

      You’d be better trying to engineer a way of spending the £1,500 to trigger the 2-4-1, wait for the voucher to land in your BAEC account and then cancel the BAPP. BA will likely only refund to the original payment method so when the refund lands you can ask Amex to refund to your bank account or move the credit balance to another Amex card account if you have one in your name.

      • Andreas says:

        Hi Grant, that is a great idea actually. I do have another Amex to receive the refund (and transfer my credit limit to). Could I then immediately apply for a new BAPP card, starting from scratch (excluding sign up bonus)?

    • Anna says:

      I don’t know off hand what the refund terms are, but one option would be to take a voucher for the amount you paid for the holiday. This can be used towards any future booking with BA (including taxes/fees on avios bookings, I have done this). If you’re planning future travel with BA this would make more sense than getting a refund to your BAPP, given the circumstances you’ve outlined. (You would also have the triple avios you earned with the BAPP deducted, which doesn’t happen when you take the voucher).

    • Travel Strong says:

      Last time I had to find an immediate £1k spend, I pulled forward the purchase of 4 x tyres for the car (stuck them in the shed) and bought supermarket vouchers for the rest of the value. Supermarket vouchers usually cap at £500, you can buy more than 1 no problem, and I will buy food anyway one way or another!

      • Lady London says:

        Good idea about the tyres. Especially as the idea of having a separate set of winter-type tyres for that season seems to be gaining some traction in the UK.

    • Roberto says:

      If its a Ba holiday they normally automatically refund the money in less than a week.

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