Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Tuesday 7th 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: https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/07/07/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-tuesday-7th-july/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 (190)

  • Tony says:

    Is it just me or anybody else also seeing all transactions through Curve getting declined? both MS and actual spending

    • Doog1000 says:

      yep and curve support has been ignoring emails on this for a week

    • BJ says:

      Mine has worked perfectly since the changeover, just as I would like it to. But with all these stories I always think the best one is going to he an issue.

    • Brighton Belle says:

      In many of my declines it was triggered by having the card saved in the browser I was using or saved as a payment type on a site when it was a Wirecard version. Deleting the saved card and paying with Curve in its new incarnation meant the transaction went through. Setting up a payment by typing in the the same card details again always fixed it. None of the card details have changed but there is something different in the payment details when it’s going to Wirecard or the new processor. You can’t see this difference anywhere.

      • Doog1000 says:

        that’s helpful Brighton Belle – seems to have fixed it for smaller transactions
        however for larger transactions still asking me to verify in curve app and then when you open the app no prompt for any kind of verification
        Anyone else have same issues?

        • memesweeper says:

          On the day of the changeover I couldn’t approve anything. Re-downloaded/upgraded the app and all was well.

        • Luckyjim says:

          Oh you mean when the payment website says you have five minutes to verify the payment? I had that issue a while ago. You need to enable app notifications in your Curve account profile. It also seems to work best if you don’t have the curve app open when you are making the payment.

          • Doog1000 says:

            thanks so much Luckyjim – this has sorted it! this forum is much better than the company support channels 🙂

    • TGLoyalty says:

      No issues at all. Been using it fine with multiple retailers.

      • Dave B says:

        Same card works sometimes not others. Not had any refunds for weeks , some only token £0.01.

    • Rossy says:

      Yup, I’ve been getting transactions declined for paying off a CC balance that previously worked fine. Quite frustrating

      • Rob says:

        I put £3k through today (a transaction which insisted on a debit card) and £2k yesterday for PAYE. An attempt to use Curve Cash to part-pay HMRC failed however, and has done for a few weeks now.

    • Ali M says:

      mine are charging ok

    • Rossy says:

      Interesting datapoint: I was able to make a small payment using my Nationwide CC the underlying card to pay the balance of a different credit card. However when I tried to make the same payment again but using IHG as the underlying card the transaction was declined. Makes me wonder if the transaction is actually being blocked by IHG and not Curve? For reference, I haven’t made any other cash-like transactions using IHG in the past week that would take me over my limit.
      Is anyone else having similar experiences?

    • the_real_a says:

      No issue on high amounts since the changeover. If you are not getting the notifications make sure you are on the latest version of the app, and turn off power saving for that app (otherwise it hibernates) in the settings menu. Make sure all notifications are allowed for curve.

  • Oliver says:

    I was due to go from Bronze to Silver because of the reduced TP thresholds.

    After a week of “you have achieved silver” but everything else still showing as Bronze, the app and website have finally updated to Silver.

    All with less than 24 hours until my membership year resets – BA really does like to cut things fine!

  • Andrew says:

    Goodbye First Direct Visa Offers.

    Email came out overnight to say it will close on 7th August.

    • Oli says:

      Same with HSBC

      • spk says:

        Where do you see hsbc offers?

        • Oli says:

          I registered long ago (can’t remember how) and receive an email with offers every Friday. I never used any of them though!

    • BJ says:

      I think all these schemes are on their last legs.

    • Andrew says:

      Amex offers seem to have dried up too – just a few random e-commerce companies I’ve never heard of. You would have thought the retailers, restaurants etc would be falling over themselves to tempt us out of our homes. Gotta spend money to make money people – not the time to be scrimping on your marketing budget.

    • Kipto says:

      They were very poor anyway.savings of 2% etc.

    • Baji Nahid says:

      Same with the bank of scotland.

  • Neil says:

    BA have just agreed to operate a daily flight Newquay to LHR.

    I have a 2-4-1 flight booked in January – LHR to Vancouver.

    Is it possible to start a 2-4-1 booking from a regional airport and connect at LHR and If so what are chances of being able to change existing booking like mine to do so?

    Thanks.

    • Anna says:

      Perfectly possible to connect from the regions – if there are bios seats available you can call and ask for it the be added to your current booking. You might get charged a change fee as well as the RFS fee, but no extra Avios. If there are no award seats you might have to book a separate cash ticket but I understand these are pricey!

      • Anna says:

        *avios seats!

      • Neil says:

        Great, thanks! There are Avios seats available so will give them a call!

        • Anna says:

          I’m assuming BA aircraft are being used for these and it’s not a codeshare with another regional airline (if there are any left!), this is a condition of the 241.

        • BJ says:

          I don’t see you getting away without the £35 change fees. I imagine they will just tag it on but if not you will need avios availability for the whole trip. As Anna states it also needs to be BA operated.

  • Doog1000 says:

    Also don’t know if anyone can give any clarity as government websites not that clear:

    Due to go to France on July 9, returning July 14. Seems like voluntary quarantine will still be in place as outbound flight day before relaxing of rules – would I be safer to move outbound to July 10 when rules stop or am I safe to continue on July 9?

    • Rachel R says:

      I’m in France at the moment, having travelled on Sunday. We were told to complete forms on the plane, which we did. But these weren’t collected by the French authorities, despite us asking if they needed them. I think you’ll be fine.

  • MarkH says:

    Hi – I’m looking to make use of the IHG free night certificate at the Porto IC and add on a couple of reward nights. Will get them to join the bookings so we don’t have to move room.
    Is it better to book the certificate night as the first night or the last in terms of likelihood of an upgrade etc? Or is there no difference?

    I’m spire btw, although comments seem to imply that doesn’t count for much!

    • Rob says:

      The free night cert covers the 2nd night and must be a weekend night, so you might not have much choice. Best to check the individual night prices – if Sunday is cheaper than Saturday, use the voucher for Fri/Sat and not Sat/Sun.

      However, for best room, do this. Use the voucher for your first two nights and book a better room for cash (most hotels put deluxe rooms and suites up for voucher use). Add the standard reward nights on the back. Most hotels will let you keep the better room all the way through.

    • memesweeper says:

      Being an IC just set your expectations that you won’t get an upgrade and you won’t be disappointed. Given the new cleaning regimes in hotels I think upgrade chances will be less than ever before. Also hotels will now move heaven and earth to avoid having a guest change room. *paying* for two days for a better room and tagging on the free night is more likely to work.

      • memesweeper says:

        Rob is talking about the Ambassador free night; I am talking about the IHG Creation cars free night. Which do you have?

        • MarkH says:

          Thanks all and for clarifying memesweeper.
          It was indeed the credit card free night I was talking about.

          Makes sense about the unlikelihood of an upgrade and also being made to move rooms.

          Looks like the points cost is the same for all the nights so it seems it’s much of a muchness which way round I book them.

          • memesweeper says:

            My experience with ICs is no upgrade or very modest upgrade despite Spire Elite. Ambassador is the status they care about. If you want to ‘force’ an upgrade then you’ll likely need to use cash I’m afraid.

      • Optimus Prime says:

        And now they can give you 10k points instead of an upgrade 🙁

        • Rob says:

          As Porto did to me (well, I got the choice of a bad upgrade or 10k).

          • Optimus Prime says:

            I guess in some hotels with dozens of room categories that look exactly the same (such as IC Times Square) you’re actually better off with 10k points.

          • Anna says:

            I’m IC Ambassador – currently IHG are offering 3 nights for the price of 2 plus a 1 cat upgrade at some properties. I booked 3 nights at the IC Vienna but they will only give me the upgrade they are offering to everyone else, which seems a but mean.

  • Graeme says:

    I realise there are more appropriate sites to ask this kind of thing on, but there’s such a big spread of people on here I’m hopeful for some good info.

    I’m a UK resident living in the UK. I need to open a South African bank account to have rent from a property deposited into there (the letting agent won’t do anything more than a local bank account). I’ve done some research (lots of room for more, which I will do) but I’m not getting much back from SA banks (which accurately reflects my time living there fifteen years ago). Does anyone know of any simpler routes? I don’t qualify for HSBC Premier, which would do it.

    Thanks all.

    • Rob says:

      Can’t Revolut or similar open a pseudo local account with a local sort code etc? I just checked TransferWise and they don’t, but surely there must be an equivalent?

      • Graeme says:

        Thanks Rob – Revolut aren’t there, but I’m looking into other virtual accounts. Fingers crossed.

    • Andrew M says:

      Investec operate in the UK and SA so maybe they have something?

      • Graeme says:

        And there was me thinking I’d thought of all of the major players! Having looked at their site I’m probably not worth enough, but I’ve dropped them a line – thanks for the suggestion.

    • spk says:

      Open a local bank account and transfer between the accounts using Transferwise?

      • Graeme says:

        That’s the problem – I haven’t got a local account!

        • BLT says:

          Transferwise has borderless accounts which include South Africa, you should be able to have money paid in to the South Africa Transferwise account and transfer it at market rates to your UK Transferwise account.

          • Rob says:

            TransferWise doesn’t offer SA ‘local’ accounts though, I checked. The person paying the money clearly is only prepared to do standard transfers to local bank accounts and not an IBAN-style one.

          • Graeme says:

            Shame – they’d be perfect if they did. Just need to find the company that does do exactly that.

  • Aston100 says:

    Hello, is there a way to use a companion voucher and avios for flights to places such as Phuket or Penang? I. E. Where BA fly to the capital but you’d need a domestic flight to the regional airport (in these examples, those regional airports are international airports)?
    If not, I guess the safest way would be to fly BA to KUL or BKK as appropriate with the companion voucher, and do an overnight and a separately ticketed domestic flight?
    Or is there a better way please?
    Thanks

    • Rob says:

      No, you’d need separate tickets and so run the risk of an unprotected connection.

      • BJ says:

        In either case it is a simple matter of arriving at the airport whenever, proceeding to Air Asia ticket desk and booking the next available seat. Not a great financial hardship. If arriving BKK though you need to take taxi or shuttle bus (free if next flight is prebooked) to DMK. However, I think it would be something of a tragedy myself to proceed to either of those destinations without first taking the opportunity to spend at least one night in Bangkok or KL.

        • memesweeper says:

          … I’ve done self transfer at BKK and it’s painless. Leave plenty of time — my last BA flight there was four hours late. Traipsing to DMK ain’t great but there’s a free bus.

        • Aston100 says:

          Thanks for the info (also to everyone else who responded to my query).
          Are you suggesting that Air Asia walk up prices are very cheap?
          Comparable to their normal online prices when booking far in advance?
          I’ve never ever considered rocking up to an airport and buying a ticket for a flight on the same day. Had presumed it would be extortionately priced.

    • Jonty says:

      For Penang you might want to take the train or bus from KL, depending on a host of things.

      • Aston100 says:

        Thanks. Looks like a train is definitely a possibility for Georgetown.
        Maybe a train one way and a plane the other.

        • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

          The train stops on the mainland at Butterworth – you need to take a ferry or taxi across to the island.

          If you wanted to fly to Penang and had a bit of slack in your itinerary then you could consider a night or two in KL. The airport train takes just under half an hour and drops you out opposite a great Hilton (and a Le Meridien and Aloft).

        • Mark Peterborough says:

          If you are considering the train , make sure you have a look at The Man In Seat 61 website, its a great resource

          • Polly says:

            Yes agree, really helpful when we talk the train up to Kandy couple of years ago. He even advises which seats to book, which carriage etc. It was such good advice, we really enjoyed the trains, even if they were full of the Barmy Army Brigade..

    • the_real_a says:

      MS wings are bookable by avios, but does not show in the booking engine. Essential for places like Mulu although the cash price is not expensive. Having said that I find Air Asia perfectly adequate for shorter flights and prices are embarrassingly low especially to Penang, Langkawi etc

      Surprisingly buses are extremely comfortable in Malaysia, you might want to think about breaking your trip at Ipoh and head into Cameron Highlands. But as mentioned above the direct bus will take you straight into the center of Penang otherwise you need to brake the train and take the ferry (which is enjoyable) at butter-worth.

    • Polly says:

      Always best to do at least an overnight in those cities before heading back on a 241. And as BJ says do a couple of nights in either city. Avios seats are often available ,ate on MAS to and from PEN, but we were hoping to take the train up to Butterworth in Nov. But will probably now fly on avios. Dirt cheap. Enjoy, whichever you chose. We do this trip annually and it’s so easy to hop around Asia.
      Re Air Asia last minute flights, they quite often Bering down prices to fill planes closer to departure dates. But if you need to be somewhere definitely better to book ahead.