Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Monday 6th 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 (145)

  • Tical says:

    Posted this last week and appreciate the guidance by Anna and Lady London. Situation is: BA cancelled outbound leg of flight (booked with Avios and 241 voucher) with less than 14 days notice and refused re-routing citing lack of ticketing agreement with the sole other carrier flying the route from Heathrow. I booked a replacement one way flight, raised a formal claim with BA (rejected) and sent off the info for a S75 claim with Amex. Question is do I also start a money claim online concurrently and what happens to the return leg of the flight BA cancelled?

    • memesweeper says:

      *personally*, and I’m no legal expert, I’d not take the S75 route at all. Complain in writing to BA, point out their EC261 obligations, send a letter before action, book refundable tickets on the alternative airline, and then explain to BA this is their last chance to book you on the alternative airline before issuing a MCOL.

      MCOL itself is struggling under its case load at the moment, but seems to just about work. Good luck!

      • Tical says:

        Thanks – I have actually already booked and flown the alternative flight. I will try with BA one more time this time as a final letter before action. What about the return flight though?

        • memesweeper says:

          I know they automatically cancel your return ticket if you fail to fly the outbound … but if *they* cancel, I’ve no idea. Can you still see it in MMB?

          • Tical says:

            yes, return is still visible and not cancelled in MMB

    • BS says:

      I disagree, but I think it is because I am more risk averse.
      I WOULD go down the S75 route, and charge Amex for the cost of the single one-way flight. This is because there is no risk (beyond simply the cost of the newly purchased ticket) – you are not liable for BA’s cost in defending the claim if successful. There are also not legal rules you need to follow, nor would you be expected to turn up at court.
      If amex say no, you can send them to the ombudsman, for free, and ask for additional compensation.
      Following all of this, even if you are unsuccessful, you can then take BA to court for the money.
      For S75 to work, you would need to make sure you are using a credit card, there is a direct link between the service provider and those taking the money, and you needed to have acted reasonably (choosing the cheapest available replacement ticket etc.)

      • Freddy says:

        Agree with BS, I’d initially do the s.75 with amex and follow through with a financial ombudsman claim if necessary. I had a s.75 claim with amex and all was fine. Don’t waste your time with a MCOL if you don’t need to

        • memesweeper says:

          The financial ombudsman has a six – nine month waiting list. ADR is a little better but not much. MCOL is much, much quicker if you are confident you are going to win.

        • Lady London says:

          @BS MCOL is Small Claims Court so neither side can be made liable for the other’s costs if they lose. It’s possble that a judge might find a claim a massive waste of time, vexatious etc, and override that to award costs against one of the parties but that’s rarer than rockinghorse $hit.

          As @memesweeper says dont use MCOL unless last resort. If i was forced to in an open and shut case where airline was being really silly and just trying to wear me down then I’d be annoyed enough to request a preparation time order as well.

          Perhaps that’s one way of teaching BA it doesnt just cost their passenger fear, stress and waste of time when they refuse passengers rights they clearly owe but costs them extra money as well.

          Meanwhile @Tical stick with Section 75 claim and get the final answer on that before considering other steps. Next step would be insurance. Only after that MCOL.

          Btw keep a close eye on your return flight in case that gets cancelled as well. Have your plan ready dont assume they will refuse again. Keep notes of everything.

      • Charlieface says:

        You can actually take Amex to court equally, and technically you don’t need to go to BA first before you raise S75

        • Lady London says:

          I wouldnt take Amex to court. Why spoil a beautiful relationship?

          after you win, if you paid on their credit card they are jointly liable and I would only mention that to Amex if by the time I got judgment or could enforce it, the airline had gone bust.

  • N says:

    Wasn’t yesterday’s F1 wonderful?

  • George K says:

    Had no luck moving a Marriott redemption for July to June next year without triggering the additional points from their March category change *and* the introduction of a peak/offpeak calendar. I tried my best but they wouldn’t budge, so had to cancel the booking in the end as I don’t have the 40%-50% additional points that would have been required (and even if I had them, I wouldn’t give them to be honest…)

    The hotel just reopened, but we are obviously unable to travel. I tried to appeal for common sense (and the fact that an agent told me at some point that I could move it with no extra charge) but no luck…

    • Harry T says:

      Sorry to hear that – which hotel was it?

      • Rob says:

        Langley did the same to me.

        • Nick M says:

          Me too… have currently rebooked for next Easter but it looks like the higher rate will be due, so I imagine it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll keep that at the moment

      • George K says:

        It was the Westin Costa Navarino in Greece. The hotel has been apologetic from the start, but adamant that they couldn’t move the booking themselves, but Marriott could. Upon calling Marriott, they basically said ‘tough’ and that if I want to move it, I need to cough up another 60k of points.

    • Anna says:

      Did you actually let them make the new booking and check whether they had charged the extra points. I was told by the Langley I would need to use extra points, but the new booking showed the old rate, and the Langley then confirmed they were only saying what Marriott told them to and that it looked like I would be okay…

      • Rob says:

        No – and in the end it would have been pointless as they following week they announced they were closing until at least November, when I’m not so keen to go!

        • Anna says:

          I managed to move my booking to New Year weekend – OH is working at Xmas so it will hopefully be a nice treat for him – it should still be all Christmassy then and I can’t resist a roaring fire with my pre-dinner drinkies!

      • Nick M says:

        Have you checked on the desktop site rather than just the app? – After your comment last week I was a little excited as it looked as though no points were due… but on the website it then says that points will be deducted a couple of weeks before the stay

        • Anna says:

          I will check but I’m actually not that bothered. I would owe an extra 15k points BUT, due to a fluke I made the original booking on points advance in a very small window when the Langley was showing my required nights at 30k and 35k points, but once I had 65k in my account I contacted Marriott and they agreed I could pay the original 65k points, but my account shows that I paid the new price, which was 75k. So I’ll only have to effectively pay 5k points if they take the extra, and I’ll still get a bargain break at peak period!

        • Anna says:

          Where does it say the extra points will be deducted? All I can see on my booking on the desktop is that the full cost of the stay is 75k points (even though I only paid 65k). That’s a contract in my opinion!

  • Scottydogg says:

    I might possibly be moving to Canada next year , anyone know if there is a Candian version of head for points 🙂 ?
    I always though , played right , USA has more options for aquiring free points compared to the UK . I look forward to churning some cards , provided im able to apply for credit straight off the bat

    • Rob says:

      The US does. Canada doesn’t 🙂

      There are a few sites around but most are more ‘deal of the day’ than trying to give a holistic one-stop-shop view like we do.

      The HFP model is unique, I think. You can’t do it in the US because there is too much happening to cover every development from all the major airlines. You can manage it in the UK – there is just enough going on each day to give us content without overwhelming everyone.

      It’s also very easy in the UK to do a ‘one size fits all’ site, because your ‘one size’ is basically London-based professionals. North America has a lot more leisure flying due to the size of the place so the interest in miles and points is broader, which at the same time makes it harder to write a site that appeals to everyone.

      • Rob says:

        Is Canadian Kilometres still going?

        Truth is there is a gap for a decent site which covers the market properly.

    • Lyn says:

      You may find US card churning less of an opportunity than you expect. Yes, the sign up bonuses can be very good, and some cards give hotel status. However, Amex sign-up bonuses are once per lifetime per specific type of card, and some other issuers can be once every 2 or 4 years.

      Also, you may not be apply for US cards living in Canada. The range of actual Canadian cards is fairly limited.

  • Tom says:

    I am £900 short of a 241 voucher in my BA card. Can I send a friend £900 via PayPal? Would it qualify as spend? And will my friend get charged a fee? Can’t see a definitive answer! Thanks

    • Pat the Postie says:

      buy some gift cards for places you would normally spend the money

      • eligold says:

        I ran into a ton of trouble trying to by amazon gift cards online. It kept tripping the security team, repeatedly blocking my account.
        Anyhow, I appear to have hit the 10K and did get the 241 and am now selling the Amazon vouchers I did manage to buy, on Ebay.

    • Andrew says:

      You can buy something returnable from a shop, wait until the voucher hits and then return it. You would then have to spend £900 extra next year unless you cancel the card and start again.

      • Rob says:

        Not if the refund falls in the same card year!

        • Andrew says:


        • eligold says:

          oh, so now that i’m in the new card year do I no longer need to worry about refunds?
          as I posted in recent days I literally JUST scraped the 241 voucher but am to fearful to return some stuff in case they clawback the 241

    • The Urbanite says:

      Probably ok as a one off but neither Amex nor Paypal like seeing these payments too often!

    • Chris Heyes says:

      [email protected]’ve Set Exactly £900 to my Daughter (different surname) But used business not f&f on purpose as not to “ALERT” PayPal around £30 fee (as if I’ve bought something i do it only once a year) again so i don’t Alert Paypal, although once did it twice a year, also once did £1400ish
      The advice on here is Paypal could suspend your account if money laundering is suspected
      I would take the £30 charge hit myself rather than risk transferring as Family payment

    • Chris in CA says:

      I was in a similar spot and bought myself a £1000 amazon gift card.

  • Liam says:

    I flew for the first time since lockdown on Monday last week, LAX to ORD on AA. When dropping off our bags we had to confirm to the agent that we had not tested positive for Covid within the last 14 days, had not shown any symptoms, nor had we come into contact with anyone who was Covid-positive. Mask-wearing is mandatory at LAX and on AA flights, except when eating and drinking, and the rules seemed pretty well adhered to. Not quite so good in the terminal at ORD, sadly, although a majority were still being sensible. The terminals were probably a little busier than I expected (9.55am flight) but still considerably less busy that normal, and I’ve never had a faster experience between getting to the LAX perimeter and actually being dropped off outside the terminal.

    I don’t quite know what the deal was, but AA were messaging us in the days ahead of our flight warning that it was going to be busy and offering us the chance to change our flights for free (even though all changes on AA are currently free anyway, and, bizarrely, the only option we were offered when following that particular message was a 12-hour journey involving a layover somewhere). In reality, I would say Y was about 60% full, with the empty seats mostly being Main Cabin Extra (more leg room, front of the cabin) where we were. J was not full (I think about four empty seats of 16 total) and there was only one person on the upgrade list, which would be unthinkable in normal times.

    We were handed a paper bag by the cabin crew when we boarded, which contained a bottle of water, a disinfectant wipe, and some biscuits. Overall the flight was uneventful. I don’t think I’ll be flying long-haul any time soon, nor will I be flying as much as I was before, but I wasn’t deterred from flying by the experience.

  • Flybynight says:

    Hi, I just accessed the BA app to check my avios balance and it’s not showing anything I’ve spent on my Amex in the last 3 months in the total, although the spend shows up in my recent transactions. Anyone else having this problem?

    • Ja says:

      I had that problem with my virgin card. When I queried it, it was because I had a refund on the card. Could that be the problem.

    • Charlieface says:

      Does your Amex account show it as transferred? They may have the wrong BA account number

  • Craig says:

    Hilton question: I am aware that my current Hilton status (Gold) is also valid for 2021. However, are stays that I’m making this year counting for status from 2022 or are they not really counting for anything (won’t stay enough this year to make Diamond)?

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