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:  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)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • C F Frost says:

    Interesting opportunities in the Lufthansa WorldShop for the M&M collectors… With Germany having dropped VAT, prices are reduced significantly and a few attractive bonus miles options as well in luggage. I recall as well there may be a code for a discount kicking about.

    • Lady London says:

      I checked a German retail site and they had banners saying they were giving the lower VAT rate, but prices were exactly the same.

  • Bigmaggot says:

    Has anyone else noticed that all curve transactions have mcc 8999 since the switch?

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Yes, it’s been mentioned.

      I assume it’ll be temporary. Doesn’t really open any doors though.

      • S879 says:

        What does this MCC mean? I have Curve Metal. Can I still use Curve to pay my Amex bill?

        • stevenhp1987 says:

          Merchant Category Code. It defines what type of transaction. E.g. 6012 is paying a financial service for merchandise or debt. 8999 is professional services.

          Some cards treat 6012 as cash, some don’t. 8999 would never be a cash transaction.

      • Connor says:

        Does if you know what door to go through 😉

  • Jimbob says:

    Being a bit bored and having drunk the best part of a bottle of Chablis………

    I reckon I’ll manufacture 500k avois this year without flying. I’m new to this game, and most of the loopholes have been closed down.

    So, to those that have been in the game much longer, what were the good (but now closed) promotions and loopholes , and what’s the most avois you’ve made in a calender year?

    • BJ says:

      Well, I did over 500k in first three months this year, flew nowhere and drunk nothing 🙂

      • Jimbob says:

        That’s BJ telling me, I must try harder ( and possibly drink less)!

        • AndyGWP says:

          He’s half right!… cheers 🍺🤣

        • BJ says:

          If you get 500k though then you’ll not be that far behind me at the end of the year. It wasn’t anything clever, mostly amex referrals. If you and others want to search I broke it down in comments earlier this year. Unless something useful comes along I doubt the rest of the year will be very good. For the moment I’m just piling up Hilton and IHG points, no great secret how that’s done either if you follow HFP regularly, including today.

          • Graeme2 says:

            Ah yes, on 23 Feb. I now remember reading it at the time and wishing I was so organised!

          • Polly says:

            That’s a lot of friends and family right there!

      • Graeme2 says:

        Have you considered creating a service whereby you sell your methods on an NDA basis? Could be a decent moneyspinner!

        • BJ says:

          I do have an idea for something I think would be totally new but I just cannot be bothered with effort required. HFP is all anybody in the UK needs to do well in this game IMO. These days I just follow HFP, and LoyLob for broader scope hotels. I lost interest in other blogs and FT not long after Rob started this, now I just look at the others once in a blue moon.

          • Optimus Prime says:

            This blog has become my home page since I found it, agreed most of the information useful to UK residents can be found here.

            If you’re interested in ex-EU deals you should follow a couple of more blogs though.

        • The Urbanite says:

          @Graeme2 the thing is to be on that level requires a lot of technical knowledge, infrastructure in place and access to certain resources. And even with these things there’s a glass ceiling without building a history and relationship with the entities involved.

          For example, I could say that you could top up a certain prepaid card £250k – £1m with the Lloyds Avios credit card, Capital on Tap or HSBC Premier credit cards which offer between 0.5 and 2 Avios per £1 of spend. And it would probably work for some people. But others might be excluded by cards being closed to new applicants, or being ineligible to apply for the others, or unable to make forex bonuses cost effective. Then your points collecting might be stymied by low credit limits, or any of the financial institutes concerned shutting you down before you get anywhere near 6 figures of spend because they don’t trust you. Also have to watch out for the National Crime Agency and police who can and will take your money and bank it until you can prove your innocence if you haven’t done sufficient foundation building. They can get suspicious over a £200 cash deposit so don’t assume immunity to scrutiny doing MS volumes!

          You could also play the Amex game, but they have been curtailing earning opportunities from the referral and churning games for some time now. They also forbid manufacturing spend on their cards officially. Unofficially they seem to turn a blind eye below a certain level. If you find a way to get beyond that level, they might perform a financial review and cut their ties with you for breach of T&Cs.

          A route that’s good for one person might be totally inaccessible to another for these reasons which is why I believe selling information is of limited use. Also heard many stories of people going too fast too soon, triggering red flags and losing valuable resources unnecessarily as a result. Just have to look at comments on here of accounts being blocked and closed to see this! The fun and games of this, trapped money etc is why it’s risky to pick the easy low hanging fruit routes off the internet without first learning the ropes.

          Best way to do the MS journey in my view is to start at the beginning and pick up the technical bits as you go along. Ongoing mentorship or information sharing is a better way of learning things in my view. Some people are willing to trade good information and others might be willing to mentor – personally I’d ask someone for a referral link to use (Amex or something similarly decent, not these places offering a 50p referral bonus!) or give some routes of value in return for some pointers.

          Most importantly of all an enhanced level of personal organisational skill is required to generate points like that.

          This is just my opinion as an outsider who is new to points collecting looking in – anyone feel free to disagree!

    • The Urbanite says:

      Sadly Avios don’t excite me to get that many – rustled up enough for a HKG – PVG return in Y which I’m happy about as it saves a few quid.

      500k Avios over 3 months is a lot – bravo to anyone who manages that!

      • BJ says:

        I just enjoy the challenge of sustaining and meeting my avios goals against a backdrop of ever-changing opportunities.

    • pauldb says:

      It’ll be hard to ever beat the 12.5 avios per £ introductory offer on the Lloyds Avios card. Not sure how I didn’t get locked out by PayPal for the money I moved around.

      But being nostalgic I’d have to go back to the Tesco days – filling trolleys with frozen ready meals, palmier biscuits and printers/toasters. And churning life insurance of course.

      Simple ones: the bmi credit card got you a long haul J flight with just the sign-up bonus and £200 cash. And signing up for the Jumeriah programme briefly got you a free £300 night in one of their Dubai hotels, just by spending $50 in their London restaurant.

      • BJ says:

        Those were the days 🙂 All started for me with a case of wine that got me out to Rio via Miami and back via NYC. I’m sure quite few on here got hooked courtesy of Hoover.

      • BJ says:

        Yes, those were the days 🙂 All started for me with a case of wine that got me out to Rio via Miami and back via NYC. I’m sure quite few on here got hooked courtesy of Hoover.

      • Polly says:

        And don’t forget the cabbages and game reservations. The 150 cc pts per gift card spend was great too.
        Re the Lloyd’s avios it was 25/£ on travel spend, which got many of us rolling. BA allowed us to come back on F from the Middle East as no Y seats available. That was it for us, was converted well and truly by then.
        But am not brave enough to go the transfers route to MS, sadly. Now only earning about 200k/ year.

        • Genghis says:

          Amex churning used to yield around 400k pa or so for us, even better when you were then able to x-ref between card “groups”.

          Add that to the genuine work travel, genuine spend and MS I was doing – I have mentioned closed routes in the past in the comments – and some of the weird offers (the cabbages as @Polly points out, the Mr Muscles, the Now TV boxes (and re-selling some of the boxes and passes to my colleagues)) and we were doing v well.

          Now we earn fewer points but then my spending has gone down significantly too.

      • Rob says:

        You could easily beat it – by getting 25 Avios per £1 on foreign spend on the Lloyds card!

        I put £40,000 through that, so over 1 million Avios.

        All the transactions were refunded when the promo ended. I expected to lose base Avios (so I’d end up with a net 22.5 Avios per £1) but Lloyds didn’t actually remove anything so I kept the full 25 Avios per £1!

        • Optimus Prime says:

          I found this site in April 2017, missed a lot of opportunities. Though I had fun searching the 3V articles and reading the comments! Some commenters even had the policed called on them by Tesco store managers!

          • barney says:

            I was working in a Tesco in West London and used to have a guy call up asking me to check the racks for 3v cards. I always told him – none there…..

            Well, they were not there for long as I was buying them!

            Think his name was Nick? if you are reading…. sorry!

            Spent on F to LHR – Houston

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