Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Saturday 25th 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 de facto 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.

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Old chat threads are hidden from the HFP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (185)

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  • Nick G says:

    Rob

    Where are you planning on visiting in October? I know you’ve said before you have a few days away then.

    Planning on a short trip then just not sure where yet after some ideas for a family break ideally with a bit of sun

    • Rob says:

      Currently doing a week in Dubai followed by a week in Oman, but requires the Dubai quarantine rule to be dropped (as the kids need to go straight back to school) and for Oman to open up. Former should happen, latter is trickier and we may end up doing the 2nd week elsewhere.

      • John says:

        You are expecting Dubai to be put on the exemption list?
        Have a booking for mid September. Not sure it will be on list – advised by Amex not insured unless it is!

        • Colin says:

          He might be referring to the UAE rather than the U.K. quarantine requirements.

          As it stands (From the FCO website):

          “ Quarantine Requirements
          Stringent entry restrictions remain in place upon arrival in the UAE which may include, but are not limited to, a mandatory Health Authority Covid-19 test on arrival, mandatory quarantine for at least 14 days and follow up testing before you can be released from quarantine. Once released from quarantine you must continue to comply with all measures put in place by the UAE authorities to prevent the spread of coronavirus.”

        • Rob says:

          It’s all redemptions / flexible hotels. Easy to unwind.

    • Darren says:

      I’m torn between Algarve/Nice/Venice in Sept.

      I might book them all and cancel closer to the time so that we’ll get away somewhere.

  • Paul says:

    Has anyone been able to get any sense out of the Hertz web site or app recently?
    Every booking seems to require you call and while they answer quite quickly the level of service is dire. I am presidents club but after 4 days trying to book a car at Glasgow Airport I gave up and rented from Sixt. Looks like I will now lose all my Hertz points as a result but frankly they are harder to use than Avios

    • Lady London says:

      sometimes logging in first could avoid a “call to book” message

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Not unconnected – also PC and I have a 5 figure hertz point balance since I have never found a use for the points generally (only during holidays where the fixed one week redemption makes it utterly useless)

      Any suggestions on trying to liquidate them before the receivers get in before me!

      • meta says:

        Transfer to Marriott/IHG via US version of the site.

      • Charlieface says:

        Hertz in my local branch were nice to me and let me do 2-weeks back to back, and not drop off the car off in between. I just called them up with the mileage, they checked it in and back out.

  • Andrew says:

    A former colleague has just moved out of his expensive but grotty HMO room in London rather than renew the lease. All amicable.

    He’s negotiated a B&B rate at a major brand central London hotel for £45 a night for the next 6 months. Payment in full in advance, I’m not allowed to say which hotel or chain.

    There’s definite downsides to hotel living, but that’s a no-brainer rate. No Council Tax contributions, no tv licence, no internet fees, heating, lighting. Fresh towels every day, housekeeping done, so close to work he doesn’t need a travel card.

    In case wondering, no points.

    • Anna says:

      I’ve always thought it looked really glamorous living in a hotel, like a Bohemian artist or writer, or a character in an Agatha Christie mystery. It probably only is if you’re based on the Cote d’Azur or similar!

    • Josh says:

      No washing machine either

      • Anna says:

        In my fantasy they do your laundry and bring it back beautifully pressed! Rob will probably know a few hotels that do this 😀

        • Darren says:

          At a ‘corner shop’ in Samui a few years ago I collected my laundry that I’d dropped off the day before, all good, but I didn’t ask for my Calvins to be starched and pressed. The chafing wore off after a few days.

      • Andrew says:

        No shortage of laundy options in London – even during Covid-19.

    • the_real_a says:

      I once did that for a month in between rentals – at a brand new campanile! I put on nearly a stone in weight having a cooked breakfast every morning. The head chef of the restaurant had trained at one of the top schools in France and the £7.50 special each evening was absolutely superb. Good times.

  • Simon says:

    Some info on Curve.

    I joined in Feb (after COT moved to Visa) on a low limited. Pushed every time I hit the limit to increase. Went metal when that came out, as I put a lot of hmrc tax payments through. When I got push back on any limit increases (usually wanted more varied spend) I played along and bought a few coffees etc, then 6 to 8 weeks later asked again. Just got the full bump to 9k daily, 150k monthly and 1.6m annual. Also got them to switch the card out to personal rather than business. Just want to thank the contributors to this blog as I’ve had a couple of mega holidays out of this game. Just wish I was in the known in the early days!

    • MaeStro says:

      I’ve been in this tier for a few weeks – just need to mix the spend and not overdo the MS.

      The only problem with limits being too high is it will begin to ruffle the feathers of the credit card companies if they’re having to award millions of points on savings deposits or business tax payments so I’d still excise restraint!

      • Jonathan says:

        Agree. If you start cycling credit limit in a big way (no longer possible on Virgin) then you’ll flag a review from the card provider. When they see its cashlike transactions then the money laundering alarm bells will start ringing. Best to play it slow & steady than go out with a bang.

        • S says:

          How much are you managing to do per month on Virgin? I’m managing £13,500 on mine and £8,000 on my wife’s without any issues.

          • Jonathan says:

            I spend up to the 14k credit limit but make sure there’s a decent number of normal transactions in there (maybe 1k) split between the odd £100 food shop plus lots of coffees etc.

          • Jerrry Butler says:

            £20k a month? yeah right.

        • The Urbanite says:

          Take it from me, it’s best not to go beyond the £500k set of limits if points collecting is your game. Once you start spending more a certain amount a day, Curve’s risk engine goes into overdrive and they will enforce the “no cash recycling” condition.

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            Has this happened to you Urbanite?
            If so, Did they reinstate normal conditions of play after a while?

          • The Urbanite says:

            @Secret Squirrel To be fair the Fair Use Policy does pretty much cover all MS and they were very friendly when reminding me of this. Can’t fault them really, it’s not good for business to lose Curve!

  • C F Frost says:

    Greetings. Looking to burn some Bonvoy or Hilton points late Aug in England, country club style. But – must be dog friendly. As in puppy friendly.. Has anyone any good tips?

    • Cat says:

      Hanbury Manor – it’s dog friendly, the pool and spa are marvellous, there’s a big old golf course if that’s your thing, the food’s good…
      I spent a happy month there during the Olympics, when my OH had a room there for use between long shifts at the GSK anti-doping lab in Harlow!

    • Harry T says:

      Trump Turnberry (Bonvoy, Luxury Collection).

      • Harry T says:

        It’s Scotland but meant to be well worth the drive, and they are allegedly dog friendly.

      • mutley says:

        There’s a good reason the R&A won’t award the Open to Turnberry.

        • Michael says:

          Why’s that?

          • mutley says:

            Notwithstanding the owner is a racist and misogynist, I have it from a very reliable source that at least one member of the R&A committee won’t vote to put Turnberry back on the Open venue roster until trumps out of office.

          • Cat says:

            👏 to that member. Good job!

  • John says:

    Did a referral from gold business card to a platinum business card.
    New card received and confirmed they will receive 45000 avios on £6000 spend as a referral.
    My points not received. Chat says can take 8 weeks. Has this changed? In past received within a couple of days.
    Thanks

  • Secret Squirrel says:

    How many on here manage to use Curve blue to pay seagulls as BJ points out?
    I’ve tried desktop – rejected. Tried App – Rejected?
    Do you have to have Metal as BJ states he has blue like me?

    • Harry T says:

      I can’t pay seagulls without getting charged now. I’m blue.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        How does BJ do it- anyone know?

        • mark2 says:

          Have you switched in ‘Fronted’?

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            I’ve read discussions but never tried, how do you turn it on in the app?
            Can it still be done using blue without paying any fees?

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            Ok found how to turn fronted on but you get charged 1.5%.
            Doesn’t BJ state he doesn’t pay any fees?

          • Doug M says:

            I def don’t turn on fronted. NS and Amex previously worked without it. NS worked without fronted this morning, will try Amex in a short while and let you know.

          • Doug M says:

            @SS. Just tried to pay Amex £300 and it was accepted in the Curve app but then declined. To be fair it’s always been the case that it fails one time in 3 or 4 for me. I think IHG refused rather than any Curve problem. Did you start small, build up a history of that type of payment?
            I have Blue (free) card and fronted turned off, that makes no sense to me, paying 1.5% for buying in my case .8p worth of IHG points, or .5p worth of Avios of which I already have more than I need for the foreseeable future.

        • Rahaney says:

          Included in metal fee or blue/black w/ fronted at 1.5%

      • Doug M says:

        @HarryT – charged by Curve or underlying card?

        • Harry T says:

          Curve

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          @Doug:
          Tried to pay under £30 this morning as a test but not in the app but on tablet via chrome.
          I tried the app last week & still did not work?
          So try again a small amount?

          • Doug M says:

            No idea, curve now saying the £300 I tried to pay was declined, but showing with £4.50 fee. I’m wondering if the decline was actually Curve attempting to process, and only checking I had fronted turned off after they ask for the authorisation confirm.
            Maybe with Amex the only way forward is Metal.

          • Doug M says:

            Reading what HarryT says and my own experience Curve seem now to require fronted on for Amex. I’m sure someone will have said before. Hard to keep up with the info.

  • David D says:

    Does anyone have a number for contacting BA over a cancellation of a flight in a holiday booking? Looking to take a full refund. The regular number is currently not accepting calls as they are too busy.

    • Sean R says:

      BA have diverted all their numbers, including the status specific numbers, to these two only:

      +18777677970 (US)
      +442032500145 (UK)

      I received a refund yesterday for two flights using the US number (via Skype to keep costs down), but you may need to redial several times before you get into a queue. I tried about 6 times before I connected and was on the phone about 40 mins. Good luck.

      • David D says:

        Thanks Sean. I’m on the US one already, have an international call plan so it is covered. 23 minutes, and finally through and already received the Avios portion of the booking.

        • Anna says:

          If BA has chance and it’s a package holiday, they will contact you to ask whether you want a voucher or refund as package holidays are subject to much stricter regulation than flights alone etc. They texted me the day they cancelled my holiday to Spain and sent the voucher I requested within 24 hours (which I then used towards next year’s flights).

          • Anna says:

            *cancelled, not chance!

          • David D says:

            All cancelled Anna, I have not personally booked a package holiday since my early 20’s to Barbados with my Uncle as a bucket list trip for him. Even this was for my partner’s parents to celebrate their Golden wedding anniversary and her Mum’s birthday. Once I was finally through it was straightforward, just the cutting off is annoying. To contrast, I have been getting through in seconds for all of the flight changes required with another airline of which there have been 15 now this year, even now in my mid 30’s I have to learn to be patient.

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