Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Saturday 4th July

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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 (178)

  • Vit says:

    Morning all, quick question on amex platinum please. I’m holding the gold amex credit card, if I understand correctly, I wouldn’t get any amex MR points if I were to apply for amex platinum and meet spend requirement?

    • Andrew says:


    • Andrew says:

      I think Platinum is the one exception (as they want your £575) to the rule about needing to not have another points earning Amex in the last 2 years to qualify. Do a quick search for Rob’s articles about Amex signup – he’s done loads.

      • Vit says:

        Hi Andrew, that’s what I initially understood as well from Rob’s article but it seems to have changed (maybe recently).

        What are the rules for qualifying for the sign-up bonus?
        The bonus is only available to customers who have not held a personal American Express card which issues Membership Rewards points in the previous 24 months. This would include Green, Gold, Platinum and the American Express Rewards credit card.

        • Rob says:

          Nothing has changed since March 2019. What you quote above is the current rule.

          • Vit says:

            Thanks for the confirmation Rob. I am just looking for the best way to top up my avios with upcoming window replacement bill.

          • Onlysuites says:

            What about the upgrade to platinum route that gives 20k? Do you not get the points if you hold a gold cc?

          • BJ says:

            @Vit, you can almost certainly replace those windows much cheaper than you can via any company that accepts amex. There are loads of window companies in most areas, just ask around friends and neighbours to identify reputable ones. If you spend what you save on the next buy avios promotion then you’ll likely be getting a lot more than 20k avios. My sister recently replaced one window and the quotes varied by almost £400.

          • Vit says:

            @ BJ, thanks. yes that’s not the cheapest we found but most reliable and local as well– the merchant only accept MC and VISA credit card and that’s why I am trying to use amex via billhop. Considering 35k bonus point + 5k spend MR points for a fees of ~£150. That’s not bad at all as the last time I look at purchasing with 75% bonus, it would cost me around £350 for 50k avios. But as I just found out I would only receive only 20k bonus upgrading from gold + 5k spend. I don’t think I will go for it.

          • BJ says:

            @Vit, it would be 20k + 5k for spend as you describe + 5k for.adding a supp so 30k. Plus 12k for every card you can refer. If you can refer your husband to green and he can upgrade to platinum and add a supp then that is another 25k. With your planned flight expenditure I am guessing hitting the additional spend target would not be a problem.

          • Vit says:

            @BJ, Wow! that’s just beyond me! haha. (headblown emoji) I think I would need a spreadsheet for this! Thanks again for the tips. HFP member never fails to surprise — in a good way! 😉

          • BJ says:

            You don’t want to go down that route though unless you have some referrals lined up to go at the outset and you are sure you and your husband both have a good chance of getting platinum. You would be wanting to consider cancelling your platinum before your husband were to make the green to platinum upgrade application.

    • Rob says:


  • Andrew says:

    R rate has crept back up in England, rising above the crucial threshold of one in London – looks like our freedom will be short lived!

    • Craig says:

      Not necessarily, with so few cases it’s very difficult to calculate R and small measures can have a significant impact. What we really need is for contact tracing and subsequent self-isolation to be robust.

      • Nick_C says:

        And we need people to follow the rules, instead of encouraging others to break them!

        • Andrew says:

          Israel is the latest country to see their infections go back to worse than March, following the lifting of restrictions a few weeks ago. I give it 3 weeks from today – a week of socialising+14 days before London and other cities are another Leicester and then possibly the whole country again.

          • Ian says:

            But why go back into lockdown? The reason for the lockdown in the first place was to flatten the curve and ensure the NHS was not overwhelmed. The NHS ICU capacity was never breached. What would be the justification this time around?

          • Lady London says:

            @Ian Errr..I dunno. even with hospitals with space and ICU beds open, perhaps because even hospitals and ICU beds cant save everyone? and perhaps that even if they survive, victims can be left with conditions that mean they struggle for the rest of their (possibly much shorter) life? Medicine is not the answer to everything.

          • Ian says:

            And what do you think the long term effects of lockdown are? You have to weigh up the 2. Both have risks. There is no clear evidence the lockdowns save lives, there is however very clear evidence that they cause great harm.

          • Lady London says:

            I’m actually with you @Ian we need to maintain social distancing and everyone that is not in a higj risk group medically needs to go back to work now. Only the vulnerable should continue to self-isolate.

            I just wanted to point out that there are still people that need to be protected and that medicine isnt all-powerful and doesnt fix everything for everyone.

            If we can get the Swedish effect ie more people getting infected simply by us all getting closer some of the time but only a low percentage die or are seriously affected, whilst keeping the vulnerable safe, then this might be the best we can do. The ecomomic damage has got to.stop.

    • Nick_C says:

      R and growth rates are estimates. The values are shown as a range, the most likely true values are somewhere towards the middle of this range.

      London’s R estimate is in the range 0.8 to 1.1, so is probably still below 1. But it might have exceeded 1.

      The growth rate for London is in the range -4 to +2, so is probably still negative, but may not be.

      But estimates suggest that the rate of infection is not declining as much as it was a week ago. We are on a knife edge, and peoples behaviour as we further lift restrictions is critical.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Is there any publication of what the government believe is an acceptable rate per 100k or 1m residents?

      • Andrew says:

        On a knife edge as we open pubs on a Saturday. You couldn’t make this stuff up!

    • Rob says:

      Get your calculator out and work out how long it would take with an R of 1.1 to get from London’s 8 cases per 100k to Leicester’s 140, assuming a 2 week cycle per case …..

      • Toby says:

        Where are you getting two weeks from? Everything I’ve seen suggests 3-7 days as the mean generation time. Two weeks seems incredibly unlikely as the average.

        Agreed on the basic point, though.

      • Nick_C says:

        30 iterations. Or 90 days assuming a 3 day cycle.

        But that goes down to 11 iterations if R rises very slightly to 1.3 or 7 iterations (21 days) if it rises to 1.5.

        That’s why we all need to continue to practicing social distancing, which was seriously lacking on my first daytime trip to Waitrose in more than three months this week (too posh to socially distance are we?). I certainly won’t be going to the pub today.

        Maybe SW3 has a low rate of infectivity currently, but unless you throw a cordon around the area you have no guarantee who you are in close proximity with.

        • J says:

          @Nick_C. I may be misunderstanding this, but doesn’t that make the, somewhat bold, claim that every carrier infects everyone they will ever end up infecting on the first day they become infectious?

          • Nick_C says:

            CDC has estimated the incubation period for COVID-19 to be from 2–14 days.

            Evidence indicates that people who are infected with 2019-nCoV may be at their most contagious in the 48–72 hours before symptoms are noticeable. In addition, it is now estimated that up to 25 percent of infected individuals remain asymptomatic and may unwittingly infect others.


          • J says:

            @Nick_C: Yes I’m aware of that, but what I was getting at is if we take average incubation period onset as 5 (which seems to be the current average best guess). Subtract your 48-72 hours to give an average latency period: 5-2.5 = 2.5. Then to work out an infection time rate you are looking at X = 2.5 + {R(day1),….R(day14)}. Unless R(day1) is almost equal to R (i.e. almost all infections occur on day one of being contagious), a “3 day cycle” looks to be way off.

        • Lady London says:

          Well said, @Nick_C.

          we might have less than 1 per 100,000 in leafy Brompton or the City of London (where even stray dogs are of a high class). But 3? miles away in Deptford, still in London, I’l bet it’s a lot higher than that.

  • Qwertyknowsbest says:

    Has anyone obtained any clarification from Amex platinum insurance re medical cover (not concerned about cancellation) for travel to countries no longer on the foreign office advisory list?

    I have called Amex twice and received vague answers.


    • Andrew says:

      I’m hoping Rob can do an article about this. I’m hearing reports that Amex are saying that if you booked a trip to say USA today (with FCO no go advice in place) for say February next year, and by December FCO advice is lifted – you still won’t be covered because you booked during the no go advice period, even if that advice is then subsequently lifted. Seems odd – I understand you aren’t covered if you booked under no go advice and that remains in place when you’re due to go, but would have thought if the advice then changes you would be covered.

      • Marcw says:

        Don’t book anything until restrictions are lifted. Don’t give free cash to airlines.

      • Tariq says:

        How about if the advice flip flops between go/no go as the lockdown evangelists seem to imply.

        Would it be reasonable for Amex to cover you if you were unlucky enough to not be able to take your holiday because the advice had changed back to ‘do not travel’ just because the advice had changed to allow travel at some point after you booked during the earlier period of ‘do not travel’ advice?

      • Eugene says:

        That is correct. I spoke with Axa (who run Plat Travel Insurance). I cancelled a trip to Spain booked last week and rebooked this morning . Otherwise your cover is only partial- non covid claims only. So definitely wait till the FCO advice turns green on your booking day to avoid any potential covid claim on your trip in the future.

        • Andrew says:

          It’s annoying for Avios bookings – as it’s the early bird…. Might just take out separate cover then. And what is Covid related claims and what are other claims?

          • Eugene says:

            Covid is any expense you incur which is related. Ie lockdown hotel, hospital bills etc

      • Qwertyknowsbest says:

        That is basically what they told me.

  • Oli says:

    As my daughter has Eurostar points that expired soon, I’m trying to transfer them to my account. But whenever I click ‘Share points’ a white screen pops up. When I call customer services, they explained sharing points ca only be done online. Any advice?

    • Qwertyknowsbest says:

      Have you tried a different browser, can sometimes address this kind of problem. Also worth checking if you have Java enabled (Google it).

  • Liz says:

    I thought purchasing Marriott points reset your expiry clock. I bought some on Monday and the bonus points finally posted this morning but the clock hasn’t reset. What are other peoples experience with this?

    • Blindman says:

      Has your account been inactive for 24 months?

      Points Expiration: To provide you ample time to redeem points, the expiration of points will be paused until February 2021. At that time, your points will only expire if your account has been inactive for at least 24 months.

      • Liz says:

        No i had the credit card up until 3 mths ago. It shows 1.7 mths and hubby is at 1.9 mths – he has the credit card which seems to be changing his each month.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          In the app do either of the transactions have a star against them? If they do then that will extend your expiry.

          Looks like the 50k I bought in Feb didn’t but the bonus did.

    • Anna says:

      Liz, my account says “points expiration paused until Feb 2021”, then after that expiry will be 24 months after last activity.
      I haven’t worked out yet if points expire all together or in the order you earned them?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        expire all together 24m after your last qualifying activity.

      • Liz says:

        Yes mine says that too. The bonus ots has a star but not the base points. I have made a note to check in Mar 21 to see if the date shifts then. Thanks everyone.

  • TripRep says:

    Live blogging from my local ‘Spoons since it opened a couple of hours ago, 4 pints and a fry up lovely.

    Just kidding, sat at home with a cuppa. So we thinking that we’ll be getting many more local lockdowns by late July/early August?

    Florida broke the 10k record daily cases yesterday, no wonder Fauci is concerned.

    Was meant to be in Switzerland this weekend, easyJet cancelled both flights so I have claimed a refund, ETA 4 months?

    • TimM says:

      ETA around 2 months after claiming. The CAA appears to be applying pressure on the airlines to speed refunds up so it could be less.

  • Diydegsy says:

    Any advice please. Booked an easyjet flight for my elderly father 6 months ago from Belfast return to Liverpool. Easyjet changed the flight times from 13.30 to 18.00 for the 19th July. I thought the flight must be cancelled but when I went in to my account I found I could change the flight back to the original time but had to pay an extra £24 which I did and I thought I would try and get the money back at some time later from them. I haven’t been able to contact them by phone over 1 hour holding and or email as it says mailbox full.
    Now I’ve had another email today saying they have changed the flight back to 18.00 but his original one is full. Anyone know a better way to contact easyjet please?

    • Lady London says:

      looks like they cancelled the 13.00 flight just their systems hadnt caught up with each other.

      personally I have no idea why under any circimstances you would pay £24 more onto the booking to get the flight you could have had for free – or chosen any other flight at all for that matter- after they’d cancelled your flight or moved it significantly which is what they did.

      Now you would have a devil of a job getting that £24 you shouldn’t have had to pay, off Easyjet. They might reluctantly issue a voucher after some discussion but those are hard to use, cost more to use with Easyjet and you had a right to choose another flight whatever its cost free of charge anyway.

      IIRC Easyjet said a while back they were opening something like 8-4 or 8-5 so i would call them when they open. Personally I’d insist on a full refund as even though they should, they probably cant give you your £24 back as well as give you a free move (that you’re entitled to) to another flight. So I’d want my £24 back and taking a full refund would be the only way of getting it.

      Then I’d make a new booking for another flight.
      Of course this only works if new flight hasnt gone up massively in price in the meantime.

      When they move or cancel flights Easyjet eventually sends you an email with choices you can click free of charge for your various options (though they dont stress the refund one it’s there and it’s your legal right anyway).

      Over to you.

  • Don says:

    With over £1000+ in credit I am surprised to get emails from Igloo asking me to re-instate my direct debit. Can I safely ignore? I prefer to top-up by Amex.

    • Anna says:

      What is Igloo? I get emails from OVO sometimes asking me to increase my DD (I top up with IHG), but it’s calculated on what they think you’ll spend over 12 months and sent automatically so I ignore them. Nothing happens. Or re-instate your DD for £5 a month or something.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        I tried that on Ovo & they didn’t like it, they wanted to see evidence of hardship to prove I could not pay monthly high DD? I just canx DD & now pay by Amex.

        • Don says:

          Our yearly bills are not even £1000 so after two months with them for my account to be £1k in credit (earning 3%) is surely sufficient.

      • Crafty says:

        It’s an energy company, which obviously you know given you immediately proceed to talk about another energy company.