Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Thursday 6th August

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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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Comments (269)

  • meta says:

    Just arrived in Amsterdam. On the way to Pulitzer I passed by Kimpton De Witt. It’s closed for refurbishment and you can see major works underway in the lobby and restaurant. Nothing to do with covid. I wish they were honest rather than lie to customers that they are closed due to health and safety regulations!

    • Anna says:

      Have a lovely time and let us know what the Pulitzer is like.
      Just a thought though, I think quite a few hotels are taking the opportunity to do refurbs and other works while close due to COVID so they might not be as deceitful as they appear!

      • Lady London says:

        +1. a hotel in a major tourist city would be nuts to schedule works in peak tourist season otherwise. Even if their main clientele is business travellers there’d be enough tourist business in that location for them to avoid any non-forced closure in summer

        If Amsterdam was a ski resort you might be right. Oh wait…Holland’s flat. 🙂

      • meta says:

        The way they worded their email is that it was due to government regulations. Pulitzer is lovely for now, but I wouldn’t pay £350+ night for it, but luckily it’s only 80 euros for me😀

        • meta says:

          Absolutely everything is open and there are a lot of tourists. 787 was full that tells you a lot.

    • ChrisC says:

      Emyr told me it was due to open on the 25th.

      Must be changing the restaurant as that’s going to open under a new name (? Celia)

      rather than Wyvers. They remodel the bar last year and replaced the garden with a cafe/bar area which was a much better use of space.

      It better be open on the 31st as I have $100 credit as part of Emyr special rates !

    • TGLoyalty says:

      perhaps to solve their problem with little friends running around the lobby

      (no personal experience purely from comments here)

    • Navara says:

      Maybe the health and safety regs are to stop you getting a brick on your head walking through the lobby⛑

    • AJA says:

      To be fair major refurbishment works would constiture a health and safety hazard and I doubt anyone would want to stay in the hotel with all the noise and dust.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Major works in the lobby sounds pretty unsafe to me!

  • Soloflyer1977 says:

    Hi all, a quick bit of advice…
    Flying with BA tomorrow in CE. I got an email saying that I can check in my hand luggage as the flight is very busy. Does this mean that I can check in 3 bags (2 bags – CE allowance and hand luggage bag within the hand luggage dimensions). Many thanks

    • Nick_C says:

      Sounds like it, but don’t check in any valuables or medication.

    • Venturelog says:

      Yes i got that email as well. Although i didn’t check my cabin bag in and we were fine, despite flight being busy. The new BA boarding system makes it easier to have space in the overhead lockers. I hope this stays. On my return BA flight they boarded using priority first.

    • Lady London says:


  • Harry T says:

    Data Point: BA have just cancelled my 241 to Abu Dhabi for December. Using Google Flights and their own Reward search, I can’t see any BA flights to Abu Dhabi for Nov or Dec.

    • Lady London says:

      Aaargh what about your Formula 1 race attendance then?

      I am so sad for you as if the race is still going ahead anytime in those months, it looks like you will just have to suffer and demand a reroute on Qatar. I feel so sorry for you 🙂

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks for asking, LL. As the dates haven’t been confirmed yet for the Grand Prix, I’m just getting a refund of the taxes and charges (nearly £1400!). For reasons that are no longer relevant, my flights were booked from London but it doesn’t look I will be in London for those dates now. So I think a refund gives me the most flexibility and cash flow at the moment.

        • Harry T says:


          • r* says:

            What are you planning on doing with the hotel booking?

            Im not confident that there will be any fans at the gp and even if there is, wether its going to actually be worth going as surely there wont be any of the concerts and partys that wouldve made it cool anyway.

          • Harry T says:

            I’m not sure. I booked using Bonvoy points. Theoretically if I cancel then I will be charged the room rates in cash though. I bet I can probably get out of that by either asking the hotel, escalating to Bonvoy, or claiming on travel insurance or charging back on Amex. Will be easier if they categorically don’t allow spectators!

          • Cormac says:

            Hotel cancellation shouldn’t be an issue. Its pretty clear that with the F1 access fee that we paid along with the points that the booking was for the GP. And as the GP looks to be moving to early December dates for 2020 – its unreasonable to hold us to the original dates.

    • Magarathea says:

      My Abu Dhabi flights for March 21 have also just been cancelled.

    • Sukes says:

      Going by what’s on sale on the BA site, I would guess they’ve cancelled abu Dhabi flights through to end Sept, flights are on sale for Oct. The winter season from end Oct appears to be dropped with flights on sale again from Mar 21. Tourists remain unable to fly into UAE apart from Dubai (entry is banned by UAE authorities) with no date announced for possible lifting of the ban. I’ve got flights dep Dublin (on Etihad) end Sept so keeping a watch on announcements – the Irish embassy website tends to be more useful than the UK FCO.

      • Harry T says:

        That’s exactly what I’ve seen too. Dubai still seems to have plenty of flights. Given the proximity of the destinations and Dubai’s greater popularity, I guess it makes sense.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Same here. I might hold off making a choice on what to do though for a few weeks.

      Any data points on being re routed to other destinations other than The country you were booked to? as I don’t fancy visiting Dubai instead of the GP.

      • John says:

        Just been told by You First on rebooking avios first due to flight cancellation, substitute destination must be within 200 miles

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Convenient mileage. How many destinations does BA fly to that are 200 miles apart.

    • Anna says:

      They were going bonkers releasing a load of avios availability a couple of weeks ago to AUH/DXB in December. This is BA so it does make you wonder if they were trying to claw in as much revenue as possible from taxes/fees in the hope that people would accept vouchers when the ineviatble cancellations came?

      • Anna says:

        I know this because I set up alerts over Xmas/NY when it looked like OH might be able to get a few days off (no joy). I never bothered to cancel the alert and at one point I was getting 5 or so emails per day advising me of new seats being released.

  • bill says:

    Generally speaking when do BA Cityflyer finish operating their routes to UK ex-AGP ?

    • Anna says:

      Do you mean the regional routes? MAN is usually about half way through September – are you wondering like me why you can’t see any award seats for July 2021?

      • bill says:

        Hi Anna, i noticed that – however we are realistically looking at travelling later in the summer of 2021 and I am doing my initial research. Good to know MAN usually runs in to Sept. That would be the time of our return flight. I think they also do STN (from AGP).

      • bill says:

        By the way – goes a little further in to July 2021 than

  • Mr. AC says:

    Just paid something with Curve, and MCC passthrough seems to have been reactivated. No e-mails nor Tweets nor updates in the Community forums. Kinda ticked off about the lack of warning / communication. Especially after Curve users made it clear they care about it in the forums…

  • JanH says:

    Advice please……
    I want to book 4 x CW Avios flights using 2 x 2-4-1 for next September to Canada/USA (flexible on destination and return). 3 Questions;
    1. If I book as soon as the flights show can I then ring up and add the return 3 weeks later?
    2. If 1 applies will I have to use 4 x 2-4-1 vouchers?
    3. Will the taxes be more than if I wait and book all flights in one go?
    Hope this makes sense!

    • DanL says:

      Jan book as soon as they come available and you can add the return later, but you’ll need to call the contact centre to do that (which is challenging at the mo)! You only need 2 companion vouchers, companions are only valued ex UK. Should be little/no difference in taxes.

    • ChrisC says:

      Remember that BA only guarantees to release 2 CW reward seats when it first releases tickets.

      Of course they may release more but the guarantee is 2

      • ChrisC says:

        Taxes should be the same.

        BAs surcharges are a different matter all together

        You can get a good idea by doing some dummy bookings – a return, a separate outbound and a separate inbound and that will give you an idea of the entirety of the taxes, fees and surcharges

    • Anna says:

      Rob did an article about booking the return legs on US flights, I think you need to call and make sure you ask the agent to ADD the return flights using the 2 4 1s. Don’t book them separately then call to apply the companion vouchers as BA won’t refund the excess taxes and you’ll be paying a fortune unnecessarily.

      • TheThunderer says:

        I just made this “schoolboy error” today… largely because it’s so hard to get through to BA right now. Anybody guesstimate how much I’ve overpaid? Cw lhr to Atl, Charleston to lhr, charged me £1,005. Any suggestions to sort?

        • AndyGWP says:

          Could you not phone up BA and get them to cancel your inbound tickets, and hope they land back in ‘the pot’ so they can scoop them up straight away and they can then apply them to your 2 for 1 booking (properly)?

  • Stanley says:

    BANKED ??! Gives 1 avios per £1 spent to consumer, 0.1% retailer transaction fee. What could possibly go wrong……..

    • Peter K says:

      Interesting. I wonder who uses them….

    • Rhys says:

      Watch this space…

    • Connor says:

      Time to setup an online store I think…

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Surely there’s a cost to the retailer for giving the reward (but then why would you stop at 1/£) or they’re just burning through investor money

      • Joe N says:

        They hint at an added cost for offering Avios in their developer documentation:

        “How much does it cost to give my customers Avios points?
        Please contact us or talk to your Customer Success Manager to discuss rewards pricing.”

        • Rob says:

          It’s an interesting one. The point of using these guys, as a company, is to cut costs but it is more of a faff for the customer.

          In a perfect world, these guys would replace the existing Visa / MC payment processor, but they can’t (not sure why). This means that check-out is going to show MCard / Visa / Paypal / Banked. Going via Banked is, for the customer, additional effort (or perhaps not, if it is one-click like Paypal so you don’t need to dig out card info). The Avios are a bribe to get you to go to the trouble of signing up for Banked when you first use it and not just selecting Visa / MC.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Benefit to the retailer is you just gave up your chargeback / s75 rights as you’ve paid and intermediary?

          • Rob says:

            But have you? It’s not clear if your payment goes through Banked or if you are simply using their processing technology.

            We will go and see them and get to the bottom of this.

  • YH says:

    Just received cancellations for BA flights I booked to Dubai in November in First. I was hoping they would be running a single A350 which would force a downgrade to the Club Suites and ideally 75% Avios refund.

    It looks like they are flying a 789 on that route as that’s what I’ve been rebooked on. So no partial refund but at least I get the smaller First cabin!