Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Saturday 27th 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 (156)

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  • John says:

    Update to AJA and Lady London about my insurance thing a few weeks ago. The company is Nova Insurance. I think it was sort of Amex’s fault in the end though.

    The insurer was supposed to refund me pro-rata for a half used policy, but they dragged it on for 4 months. One agent was in charge of the case but his communication was abysmal and his other colleagues couldn’t/wouldn’t help and some just lied to get me off the phone. My emails to the complaints address basically got routed to the guy on my case and were ignored. Thus I went to Amex.

    Amex said they disputed the amount of the refund we thought I was owed, I thought under section 75. The entire transaction was temporarily refunded while they nvestigated, but somehow their final decision was just to chargeback the whole thing and they didn’t tell me! So I believed they were still discussing with the insurer until the insurer threatened to take me to court for some punitive damages.

    Once I realised Amex had erroneously clawed back the entire amount, I sent a cheque for what I thought I should have paid.

    The agent on my case eventually agreed the legal guy was being silly and their communication had been poor. They still wanted me to reimburse them for Amex’s chargeback fees, but the refund calculated by them was more than I expected. I complained to Amex and they repaid me the amount of the chargeback fees, so profit in the end.

    • Oli says:

      Out of interest, how much is a chargeback fee?

    • Amber Lynn says:

      Oh good thanks for that, now what you having for breakfast?

      • John says:

        A free room service breakfast from Hilton diamond would be nice… Maybe in 2-3 weeks

    • AJA says:

      Thanks for the update. That was extremely poor service from the insurer and I think it’s bad that they wanted you to pay the chargeback fees but good you ended up in profit in the end. You’re lucky you were initially able to pay by Amex even if they weren’t open with you about what they’d done.

    • Lady London says:

      @John well done.
      Nova sounds like a $h1tty insurance company. If they behave like this now, can you imagine how much worse off you would be if you’d ever had a claim? And to ask you to pay their chargeback fee for the whole thing caused by their idiocy or dishonesty? you are well rid.

      Well done you for circling back and paying them the part payment you had calculated was all you owed. Thinking about it Amex can prob only do full chargeback of a transaction not partial. You would have been exposed if you hadn’t made a point of paying them the correct amount after the chargeback so thanks for mentioning this.

      Thanks also for letting us know.

  • Robert says:

    Anyone had their bonus 2-points/£ on BAPP spend for Tesco/Waitrose post yet? I know it says “up to 90 days after end of promotion”, but AMEX is usually pretty good at the “within 5-days” posting for promotions usually.

    • Spursdebs says:

      Yes I’ve got mine it tied in nicely with Tesco double Clubcard points on 3 shops I had on my account Clubcard Account͎.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Remember to purchase a number of gift cards before it ends at these stores. Might not be 10% off like Morries but double avios is still good.

      • Andrew says:

        I got a 2 month trial of Clubcard Plus so I get 4×10% offs in store over the period and the BAPP offer too. So that’s a total of 5.9 Avios per £1 and 10% discount – no bad

        • Craig says:

          Where did you get the trial from or was it targeted?

          • Peter K says:

            I had it targeted by post before lockdown. Mrs K did not get the offer on her account.

          • Andrew says:

            I think targeted – they emailed on Thursday to offer it to me, have to activate the two month trial by mid July and of course remember to cancel it before the £7.99 a month kicks in.

          • Lady London says:

            I was offered the trial when it launched. My normal activity with Tesco is rare. I didnt take it up.

          • Lady London says:

            …but I did alert a friend who does her main shop in Tesco. So I suppose their marketing must have worked! She didnt get a free trial offer.

      • JohnT says:

        Yes bonus points posting normally a working day after payment processed (both Tesco and Waitrose). Also works fine with Pay+ transactions. Just got to start finding shop small places open again!

    • NvT1115 says:

      I have been getting my bonus points within 48 hrs from all the listed retailers

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      All transactions have been notified by email so far for me so will credit.

      • NvT1115 says:

        I have not received emails for all transactions but the bonus points have credited. It seems when I checkout in Tesco store I get an email but nothing when paying for Tesco fuel but the bonus points still credit

        • Yuff says:

          I haven’t had any emails but points have posted from fuel stations, after 5 days, but not a Tesco shop last week…..

    • Roger* says:

      Yes, works well with Deliveroo.

      Unfortunately, the Waitrose offer does not extend to the Rapid service for same day delivery for £5 at These are assembled at our local WR but processed via Stripe. Not in the excluded list.

  • Tanya Wade says:

    I am thinking about a villa holiday in either Majorca or costa del sol late August/ early sept. Any suggestions of companies that do high end villas? It is for a couple and we have never done a villa holiday before.

    • GaryC says:

      I guess it depends on your definition of high end. I’ve booked properties including a seafront villa in Cannes that most people would consider very high end from but YMMV.

    • Anna says:

      I looked at villas on the Costa del Sol before we abandoned our foreign travel plans for the summer but they were so disproportionately expensive (apparently this area doesn’t have a big number of villas for rent) I decided it wasn’t worth it. Prices may have come down now though, and you would definitely get a better deal in September than August because of school holiday demand. Make sure you choose a reputable company like James Villas or similar as it’s been reported that fake listings are going through the roof at the moment. I saw a villa listed on which looked like a bargain, but when I tried to locate it on google maps there was no property at the specified location!

    • pauldb says:

      How about looking at Ibiza? I don’t exactly know the score but with the clubs closed for 2020 it will be a unique experience there. It’s an absolutely beautiful island with some of the best beaches and beach restaurants in the Med and a wide variety of accommodation.

      • Anna says:

        I’m gutted to be missing this kind of opportunity but don’t want to risk a destination going into another lockdown and not be able to go anywhere for the duration of the holiday! I’m selfishly hoping that the schools don’t go back full time in the autumn so we may be able to sneak a week somewhere when things have hopefully improved a bit more!

        • Chris Heyes says:

          [email protected] It’s easy to sort schools out at least for 7/10 days A rash works every time for me lol
          The “School” actually says keep them off lol
          no come back, you just need to pick which are the unimportant School dates
          Helps when a Daughter works at School lol

    • Lottie says:

      We have used Vintage travel a few times and been pleased. More mid range then high end but a fair mix of properties

      • Anna says:

        That reminds me, we used them about 12 years ago to rent a lovely 5 bedroom property near Bayona in northern Spain. They were the only company serving that area at the time. If you want peace and quiet and amazing scenery and don’t mind that not many people speak English, it’s a gorgeous place to visit.

  • MattB says:

    I spent over £250 across a couple of transactions at selfridges using my amex recently. I had the £50 back on a £250 spend offer on my amex but doesn’t look like it’s been triggered due to cumulative spend. It was all sale stuff which we wanted anyway…worth contacting amex or is it going too be a waste of a phone call?

    • Andrew says:

      in store or online?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Looks like this offer is really online only unlike the M&S offer that was on a while back.

      • Andrew says:

        Yes it shows up on the statement as Selfridges in store and online. Think it’s only got another few days to run anyway. I was expecting an in store bumper sale but there was nothing – I think summer sales will be delayed or not happen this year due to a lack of production in Europe the last few months, so if they have a sale they have nothing to replace it with.

  • Augustiner says:

    Trying to get refund from Virgin, they are offering 15000 miles per £100 spent if I take refund in miles, any thoughts?

    • Chris L says:

      They’re not in great financial shape. I’d be cautious! Also by the sound of it you’re not going to be able use those miles any time soon. Probably not this year.

    • GaryC says:

      Personally I would avoid Virgin miles, and cashed out about 200k for wine and Hilton points earlier in the pandemic, despite the poor rate. The airline’s financial situation seems too precarious and their route network too concentrated on places I either cannot or would not want to travel to. If this refund offer wasn’t there, ask yourself how much you’d pay for miles in hard cash our of your bank account, and if it’s less than 0.67p per mile, take the refund.

      • Andrew says:

        Virgin is an airline of the past, they will never return – cash out and take the refund.

        • J says:

          I think Virgin will be fine – some people here cashed out their miles at a huge loss in a panic so now want to see their demise 🙄

          • Alejandro says:

            +1 🤣👍

          • GaryC says:

            Given I got the miles for free mostly from work travel, I hardly cashed them out at loss :p I’d also hate to see Virgin go bust, I love flying with them and think their Clubhouse is the best lounge in the UK (even over the hallowed CCR and T3 Cathay lounges). To me it was pure economics – the value I ascribed to the miles was less than the value of the wine and Hilton points they could be converted to. If anything, given the deteriorating environment in the US, and particularly the parts of the US I typically fly to as a leisure traveller, it’s hard to see any opportunity to use them in the short to mid term. Discounting any arbitrage opportunity with Virgin Wine, and assuming they could only ever be used on flights, 0.25p/mile is probably my ‘buy’ level at the moment.

          • BJ says:

            I’ve routinely cashed out Virgin miles for years and got better value than I could ever get flying UC so the loss is not automatic. For example, somebody cashing out recently in a panic and booking Amstel a week ago will be quite delighted.

    • Dezbez says:

      That’s interesting, I’m surprised they’ve not done this before now. Wonder what would happen if you tried to ‘negotiate’ eg make it 20k per £100 and you’ve got a deal? I strongly suspect they’d say no but you never know…

    • Lady London says:

      that would get you 22,500 miles per £100 spend if converted to Hilton. that would get you £9 – £45 value depending where you spent them.

      Would you be willing to lose that much?
      Even if Virgin failed so it was a total loss, if you paid by credit card you would do a section 75 claim on thr card and get the whole sum back – or a replacement ticket might also be possible.

      • GaryC says:

        Looking back at what I converted, and it was 137500 for £550 of wine vouchers, and 60000 for 90000 Hilton Points. I reckon on about £300 of direct value from the Hilton Points, and having Diamond status there are additional freebies which can make for a nice stay. You suggest it’s a “loss”, but I think that’s a common fallacy. For sure the value I got from them was less than I might have got if I’d used them pre-Covid, but that’s irrelevant, the world has changed and the only thing that’s relevant is their value now. There’s a relevant adage in trading “Cut your Losers, but let your Winners ride” because human nature generally makes people pre-disposed to do the opposite.

        So however bullish you might be about Virgin’s financial future, about the US pivoting their policy and getting on top of Covid, about borders re-opening, about general travel insurance being available for new trips to the US, and about a vaccine becoming generally available, Virgin miles as an asset are both higher risk and have lower utility than in the past, so are worth less. Quite how much less is down to a personal assessment of those factors – I value them at around a quarter of what I used to historically, but some may consider this overly bear-ish.

  • Chris Heyes says:

    I Wouldn’t say Virgin are dead, never to return. But it’s obvious from lack of reporting by Rob recently they are in a “VERY” precarious position
    I would expect there will be an “Announcement” sometime next week good or bad
    or by the very latest the week after

    • VJ says:

      What is the use case of cashing out shy of 10000 VA points

    • Andrew says:

      With the US borders not opening this calendar year, things won’t be looking good for them unfortunately.

    • BJ says:

      I disagree, I suspect that a year from now Virgin will more closely resemble their pre-Covid selves than BA.

      • GaryC says:

        On what basis? Their finances are far inferior, the revenue they generated in good times was a shadow of IAG’s, and they have a route network concentrated on destinations it’s not possible to enter and with a growing Covid crisis, so little diversification in their portfolio. Rationally, how do these factors sum up to a story of Virgin resembling their pre-Covid selves in such a relatively short time frame?

        • Rob says:

          It does look difficult, but you never know. Look at how Italy has gone from dog’s dinner (in terms of controlling CV) to a model state where you’d be happy to visit.

          • GaryC says:

            I agree re Italy – they took some tough decisions and turned what was a horror story around. The difference with Virgin though is that almost every relevant factor is outside of their control. The only ray of hope I can see are some routes to the North-east and Mid-west US states opening up, coupled with the current 8 state internal quarantine and some agreement with the EU.

  • Martyn Ford says:

    BA flight cancelled 5.50pm on Thursday, Gold line answered immediately, refund requested and the money is back in my Amex account this morning. All most impressive.

    • Gavin says:

      It’d be more impressive if they’d just let you request a refund online like usual (which was always automatically processed instantly)

      • Martyn Ford says:

        A global pandemic was always likely to change things a bit.

        • Anna says:

          I’m not sure it can infect BA’s It systems though.

          • ankomonkey says:

            That’s probably where it started – a computer virus made by dodgy IT and passed to humans who use the dodgy website 😉

          • Paul74 says:


      • Lady London says:

        I suppose if they reinstate that function in their IT, which would be a simple matter and save everyone lots of time, this would point up BA’s guilt in taking specific action to hinder and deny customers their statutory right ubder eu261 to be paid a refund for flights BA cancelled, which is technically due within 7 days.

        So I suppose BA doesn’t dare switch the functionality back on, on their website yet.

        I will regard our regulators as toothless and lazy if they do not choose an appropriate moment to fine BA an amount that will let BA know this denial of passengers rights causes them a massive loss. BA
        gained liquidity for their own business but at the expense of customers some of whom would have been in deep financial trouble and struggling to feed their families. So it’s only right that when BA has the cashflow to pay the fine (£200 million?) the regulator should ensure BA’s behaviour results in a loss.

        • Doug M says:

          This stuff only makes sense in comparison to similar cases. Lufthansa completely refused refunds, the German gov gave them €9 billion. You yourself have commented on French hotels offering very restrictive vouchers rather than refunds. KLM/AF billions more in state aid. You propose BA pay £200 million for making it difficult?
          How is that in anyway fair or balanced against the wider EU picture?

        • Doug M says:

          Also, for what it’s worth. Insiders and regular posters have commented on FT that even straight forward refunds often don’t work in a fully automated way with BA IT. So it maybe far more complex than a few lines of code.

  • Andy Shipp says:

    BA cancelled the return flight I had booked to Antalya at end of August. As 14 quarantine will not be required for Turkey is there any possibility they will start opening these flights back up again ?Originally departure was from LGW, so I doubt no appetite on BA’s part ?

    • Anna says:

      They would have to re-route you on another airline if you wanted this option.

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