Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Wednesday 8th 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 (223)

  • Jason says:

    Sorry asked this yesterday but missed out the important question ! from the artical on 5th May
    Is your Avios flight cancelled by British Airways? You can rebook for ANY date, even if Avios seats are not available!
    I have a booking in September for South Africa does that mean from those that have had success that I can book upto august next year

    • Steve says:

      Once (if) BA cancel your flight, at the point you are booking you can book up to 355 days in advance. So if it’s already cancelled and you log in today you will see flight availability out to June 2021.

    • Umba says:

      I think you can only book within the validity of your original ticket which I believe is 12 months from the date you made the original booking.

      • Matthew says:

        Correct. So if you booked the original flight at T-355 then you cannot do this. New date must be within a year of original ticket issue date.

    • The other Kevin says:

      I have had a couple of Avios flights that have been cancelled and have only seen the re-booking availability for other Avios flights, definitely not ANY flight.

      • Matthew says:

        It’s not for any other flight like EasyJet are doing. It’s same cabin, same off peak/peak avios price range as per original booking and same route.

    • Rob says:

      You can rebook for 355 days from the date you paid the taxes on your original booking.

      • pauldb says:

        I have cancelled flight I need to get round to re-booking. The rebook option in MMB is live but will only let me choose flights with avios availability which is a bit strange but not too surprising. I assume if I want to push for any date I will have to call, but I’m going to preserve my optionality for a few more weeks.

        • Matthew says:

          I got nothing in MMB but called and got offered any date.

      • Charlieface says:

        If they are liable under EC261 for rebooking, they would have to facilitate that in any way possible, including cancelling and rebooking the whole PNR.

  • MIchael C says:

    I’m sitting on a big stack of Black Friday Melia Rewards points. I’ll need to do a dummy booking or buy some more to keep them active. Have they ever done pay with points hotel sales, or is it all revenue based anyway? Looking at the website the price vs points seems to be a bit all over the place.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      I don’t recall a sale. They have a small amount of inventory at fixed prices, the vast majority is revenue-based. The value per point on revenue isn’t too bad though and it’s nice that you can use it to book any board basis as well as any room.

  • DJ says:

    Hi, I just upgraded to the Platinum from Gold charge card on Friday last week. Is the offer for double points and 0.9P per point redemption still available?

    When I did a dummy transaction with John Lewis, with “use points option to check out”, I had £4.50 = 1000 Points only.

  • Cat says:

    Ooh, I’ve just found out the BA gave me silver status after all – I would have got it this summer through Qatar flights in business, positioning flights with BA, and a quick half term trip to Scotland to hike the West Highland Way, but they were all cancelled obviously.
    I didn’t think they’d give me the status, as the bulk of the Tier points would have come from Qatar!
    I’ve never had airline status before!

    • Lady London says:

      I’m pleased to that turned out for you @Cat.

      Have you managed to get anything bookef to go away after all those cancellations?

      • Cat says:

        Hey Lady London! I’m staycationing this summer (hiking the Cotswold Way, then about half of the South West Coast Path), then I’m hoping to be able to make my trip to Croatia and B&H in October half term. I also have a weekend booked in Marseille and a weekend booked in Budapest that I may or may not cancel, and I’ve got return flights in Cathay First to Singapore – I’ll probably head to Indonesia and do a massively reduced version of my plans for this summer.

        What about you – what are your travel plans for the near future?

    • Lyn says:

      Well done, Cat, that’s good news. Hope you enjoy both your hiking paths this summer, and have a chance to make good use of your new status as well.

      • Cat says:

        I’m sure I’ll find a way to make use of the status soon Lyn!

        How are your travel plans shaping up?

    • Babyg says:

      Who did you contact cat?

      • Cat says:

        I asked about it when I phoned to deal with refunds for cancelled flights. They transferred me. Good luck!

  • ankomonkey says:

    I’m considering the IHG properties in Athens. Does anyone have any experience of their hotels there? Would be for 2 adults and 2 children. I have IHG Plat for what it’s worth… Thanks!

    • KevMc says:

      We stayed at the IC 3 years ago, which is nice. The staff are lovely, and the lounge is very nice; great food, great wine and you can sit on the balcony overlooking the Acropolis. The restaurant and bar in the lobby are both fine choices for a drink/something to eat.

      It is a little outside the city centre and is about a 15-20 minute easy, safe walk. As it is to the south of the centre, it is very easy to get a taxi to the coast if you’re going to go to the beaches or go for a boat ride to any of the local islands etc.

      • Rob says:

        Agree with the above, although it is a good 6-7 years since I stayed. The Hilton is also worth a look and there is a new Grand Hyatt in the centre which will be ‘fresh’ if nothing else. If you’re feelish flush, the Four Seasons (a beach resort) is the place to go but its a good 15-20 minutes ride back into the centre. It is astonishingly pleasant though – we had a couple of nights there last year.

        • ankomonkey says:

          Thanks Rob. We also plan to visit Santorini and the accommodation costs there will dictate our Athens budget! So we may be in the Athens Ibis Budget 😉

          • Chris Heyes says:

            [email protected] in Santorini as well stayed at Volcano Views very very nice you might get a good deal now, we stopped in their private villas (expensive) but walked round their rooms brilliant and less expensive with same very high standards
            Also stayed in The Windmill not same high quality but what an experience the one in Oly where everyone goes for Sunset photos (it’s private though) crowds have to be outside grounds
            We allowed a couple up for Wedding photos with photographer only, they was over the moon lol
            well two couples actually on dif days lol
            photographer was led on floor trying to get Windmill in shot, so we took pity on him lol
            Also allowed a couple on for a romantic evening as we was going out, they had takeout and wine
            The Windmill is the one on all the photos, literature ec

      • ankomonkey says:


    • Chris Heyes says:

      [email protected] with Rob about the Hilton, stayed there 2 years ago (nice upgraded corner Suite) Lounge nice, Breakfast downstairs excellent
      If you stay at the Hilton Two unmissable places to visit just short walk down from the Hilton s the
      War Museum, (we went in for 5 min, ended up walking round 2/3 hours could have stopped longer)
      Went back another day that’s how good it is (very early to modern)
      You can’t miss it Helicopters, Tanks and Anti-Tank Guns “OUTSIDE”
      Second unmissable is just further down (about 10/15 min walk is “Changing of the Guard”
      If you’ve never witnessed it i wouldn’t like to spoil it for you but believe me it’s very unusual well worth a watch you are aloud camera’s and Video, off memory 3/4 times a day (every day)
      Doesn’t sound that interesting but believe me it is (try to get there about 10/15 min early)

      • ankomonkey says:


      • ankomonkey says:

        Thanks for the Santorini advice too. The Windmill looks like an incredible place to stay, from the outside at least 🙂

    • Optimus Prime says:

      We stayed in September, booked with points. We liked it and would stay there again if/when come back to Athens.

      They have a free shuttle to the city centre (takes you there in 5 min if no traffic). They have an indoor pool but we didn’t have to try it.

      We did have dinner at the rooftop restaurant – awesome view and food.

      BTW during our sightseeing we had lunch at this place –
      Amazing traditional Cretan food and very cheap!

    • Peggers says:

      Hi @ankomonkey.
      I was looking at IHG properties for October for one night in transit through Athens and decided on the Crowne Plaza, with a good deal during the recent points hiatus. The IC seemed further out of town compared to a more central CP and this was mentioned in many of the reviews of people who had stayed at both.
      However we are just a couple. The pool etc at the CP is small and the 24hr club lounge doesn’t look THE most exciting in the photos.

    • Cat says:

      Hi ankomonkey, I highly recommend Oia Mare Villas for stunning sunset views, and just lovely rooms. In Athens, I really liked both the King George and the Hotel Grande Bretagne. Both have stunning views too.
      Have fun!

  • Dave says:

    Random Eurostar question, I have a booking to Brussels from London but want to get off at Lille instead. Is that possible?

  • Crafty says:

    The issues faced by many with BA refunds. Can anyone confirm if these issues equally apply to a refundable booking that is voluntarily cancelled by the customer? Or should I expect to receive this refund as normal, within a few days of cancellation, without being forced to join an obnoxiously long telephone queue?

    • Anna says:

      You’re options are usually displayed when you start the cancellation process, so if you get sent to a voucher page you know you have to call for a refund. Otherwise the system will show you the refund amount and ask you to tick a box to agree that it’s correct.

    • ChrisC says:

      many of us a reporting that the call wait times are a lot better than they were when the pandemic started

      My last few calls have all been answered within around 15-20 minutes (and other people have been reporting similar or quicker times) which whilst not instant isn’t in the “obnoxiously long” category either

      • Genghis says:

        I called on Monday afternoon to get a refund. There was a relatively long message but call answered within about 2 minutes. Avios and 241 refunded almost immediately. Cash received to Amex today. All relatively painless

      • Allycat says:

        Not really a data point about call wait times as I had an F Avios 241 booking cancelled and spoke to YouFirst who answered immediately, but is a data point on refund time. The agent quoted long queues on fees refunds being processed “up to 21 days”. I requested a refund on Thursday last week and the Avios and 241 were refunded by Friday, and the fees were refunded to the BA Amex on Tuesday so only a few days, not 21.

        • Crafty says:

          Thanks everyone. Sounds good.

        • Alan says:

          You did better than me, took over 10 weeks for refund of the cash element and I had to ask the FT Refund Helper to get it sorted.

  • TripRep says:

    Disneyworld, Florida is due to reopen this weekend.

    Seems a crazy idea when hospital ICUs are at capacity and we’re 3 weeks away from seeing the impact of this weeks record new daily cases.

    I wonder if Virgin will delay restarting their Orlando and Miami routes to later in the Autumn?

    • Lady London says:

      And people bringing their children there from all over the world… let alone from every US State. All visiting Florida, which has one of? the? highest rates of infection.

      I’m not really sure I’m reading this. Because it cannot be true.

      • jamie says:

        Nowhere near the highest rate of infection per 100,000 pop, but yes it won’t help suppress the virus.

        However it’s a just a different approach, you always have to balance risk and a lot in the US feel that if lockdown is the cure, then the cure is worse than the disease. You can’t shutdown economies forever and you can’t completely eradicate the virus.

        • TripRep says:

          Agreed to some extent, but the irony is of course that the economy and society can’t continue as “normal” if ICUs become totally overwhelmed.

          US really is car crash TV at the moment, stock market detached from reality being ramped for DJT re-election hopes while covid exploding.

        • marcw says:

          No one talks about eradication (in modern history, only one virus has been eradicated). The point is containment. The benchmark is not the economy, but health services. Once they collapse -again in some US states- they will go into lockdown (again). We just have to dance along with the virus for many years. Self responsibility – definitely -, but Authorities have to play their role as well.

      • Nick_C says:

        “And people bringing their children there from all over the world”.

        Well, not all over the world. People still can’t enter the US from the UK and EU.

        I think the spread of Covid across the US was caused by people fleeing the NE tri-state area and going to Florida, where they infected holidaymakers and second home owners from across the country.

      • BJ says:

        It can be true, almos 63 million Americans voted for Trump (almost 3 million fewer than Clinton IIRC).

        • Cat says:

          No, no, no BJ, there were 3 million cases of electoral fraud…

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        Disney seems to get the publicity, but it’s worth noting that Universal in Florida has been open for a month already.

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