Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Wednesday 19th 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.

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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 (139)

  • Jim says:

    Want to cancel return flights to Edinburgh booked with BA avios (only paid £1 taxes). Am I correct in saying I have to phone up to avoid the voucher and will they now charge £35 per person to cancel? We are planning to delay the trip for a year at present

    • Harry T says:

      Correct. Depending on your plans, may be worth waiting and seeing if BA cancel your flights anyway. They’ve cancelled all of mine this year, some of which went to Edinburgh!

      • Jim says:

        Thanks Harry, outward flights are on Friday, so little chance of cancellation now. I cancelled a BA holiday in March 2 days before the flight and they cancelled the flight 2 hours later! Almost as though they were just waiting for me to do it…

    • memesweeper says:

      You could take a future travel voucher and preserve the £ 35 if you’re sure you’ll want to redeem for the same thing at a later date. It’s been suggested that you need to redeem for the same *passengers* but that’s not been my experience.

  • Anna says:

    Speaking of Edinburgh, I booked 2 nights at The George in December when the points “sale” was on. It’s currently closed and they are being rather vague about whether my stay is going to go ahead. I emailed them to ask ab out it as OH is working over Xmas and this is our pre-Xmas “treat” instead! They said, “We can’t confirm when we’ll be open but our sister property the Kimpton is already open.” I am assuming that means they would move our stay to the Kimpton, but if that one is full, can I ask for another (UK) city? Ideally, though, we’d like to enjoy the IC Ambassador benefits as we haven’t been able to do an IC stay since we both joined!

    • Peggers says:

      Hi Anna.
      Previous to my messages about the IC Edinburgh not opening until January, I’ve had nothing further to change that info. However tourists are returning to the city in reasonable numbers now and, along with staycationers, the hotel’s view could change. I’ll try to find out.
      The Kimpton is a nice hotel, very central, good restaurants, pool (not open yet!) etc. Was there not something recently with the new AMB 40k deal about using this at Kimpton’s too? I may have picked that up wrong tho.
      I’ll get back if I get more info.

      • Anna says:

        Thanks Peggers, I appreciate the updates! The hotel is still taking bookings though I don’t know if that’s an IT glitch. They’ve told me they are really busy in December so it’s quite bad that they clearly have a lot of bookings but aren’t being honest about whether they can honour them. I’m doing one night at the Kimpton in Manchester for the IC Ambassador offer do don’t need another paid stay in the short team. The 2 nights at The George were only 52k points so I’d rather move the booking than cancel as points rates have gone quite high again now.

    • Hugh Jardon says:

      Ah Edinburgh! a woman after my own heart, Edinburgh. ancient Scottish capital, magnificent Holyrood House ,Arthurs Seat and the awe inspiring castle, many times I have sauntered up from Morningside with my litre bottle of Irn Bru in hand and contemplated how the hell did JK Rowling come up with Harry, Effervescent Edinburgh home to such luminaries as Sir Walter Scott, Alexander Graham Bell, Ronnie Corbett, the Bay City Rollers and that bloke of the telly who married Abi Titmus the lucky sod.

  • Ikaz says:

    I was due to fly MAN-FRA-EU on Lufthansa a couple of weeks ago, about 10 hours before my flight I got a cancellation email for the first leg and was put on a later flight, maintaining my connection (layover reduced from 10 hours to 3 hours). I sent a compensation request online once I got back to the UK and just got a call from them approving my 250€ compensation due to the 7 hour delay.

  • Nigel W says:

    Are people still having issues with Curve refunds going to ‘Curve Cash’ instead to the actual credit card? Just had a refund go onto Curve Cash, even though from the email they sent out a few weeks ago this was supposed to stop?

    • Travel Strong says:

      That’s a beneficial glitch, not a benefit 🙂 Use that curve cash to pay off your amex and be happy with the points gain from not refunding back to the original card. It’s a shame that its being ‘fixed’ at all.

      • Travel Strong says:

        *That’s a beneficial glitch, not an issue

        • James says:

          Agreed, I quite liked the new refund process. But strangely enough I have 3 refunds on the same day from the same retailer for the same order. Not sure why the retailer didn’t process it as 1 refund but 2 went to Curve cash and 1 went to card oddly.

      • Nigel W says:

        Oooh hadn’t thought about using it for paying Brighton. I shall give it a go! Thanks

  • Waddle says:

    Heathrow coronavirus test scheme will cots £150 per person and travellers will get results within 7 hours. The airport hopes this will help end quarantine period for those returning from countries not on the safe list.

    Collinson is helping run the programme. Don’t they run Priority Pass and Lounge Key? They should allow discounts for pass holders 😛

    • D cummings says:

      I doubt it, as it’s basically useless where someone was infected a few days before they fly to the UK. For our future safety i would hope the govt give it a big thumbs down.

      • Anna says:

        One of the TV doctors was saying the other day that this test isn’t reliable enough for health professionals to endorse.

      • RWJ says:

        Agreed – thoroughly useless security theatre. Like so many things at airports !

  • Team Plat says:

    Datapoint: Went to a restaurant listed on shop small map yesterday. When it came to the bill, amex wasn’t accepted by card terminal. Had to pay by mastercard. Uploaded receipt to amex document centre and called up asking if they can manually apply £5 credit because one reason to visit that particular restaurant was to use the SS offer. Amex agent in Brighton declined and said not possible under terms. Also tried on live chat too but they declined also.

    Bit weird as I’m sure I’ve read on here that amex have manually applied a credit before in previous Shop Smalls when the shop is listed but amex was not accepted.

    • Jonathan says:

      They used to do it quite freely for many issues but feedback is last 2 rounds they resist much more. I think you pretty much need it to be on map, sticker in window & Amex used with no credit to get your £5 now!

      • Team Plat says:

        Yup, I’m going to start asking in advance on amex acceptance rather than assume to avoid any future embarrassment!

        • Mark says:

          Imagine choosing a restaurant not on the quality of food and service but on the fact you get 5 quid knocked off your bill.
          Do people really do this type of thing?

          • memesweeper says:

            Personally, if all other factors are equal, yes, absolutely. But I won’t take bad food, bad service, or an inconvenient location to save a fiver either.

            I went to Chini Chor (apologies for the spelling) on Bath Road a few weeks ago — it’s excellent and cheap if you’re killing time near Heathrow by the way — because it’s on Shop Small map and the two neighbouring and equally good curry houses weren’t. Bill arrives, they don’t take Amex anymore. Ce la vie, I’m not going to complain to Amex about it, but it swayed my choice of restaurant for sure.

          • Team Plat says:

            As memesweeper said below.

            Don’t be too quick to judge.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            mark yes people do that hmmm struggling to know how you would know quality of food if not eaten there ?
            we have tried 4 in Bognor up to now one a cheapo (Regis beefeater)
            other 3 will revisit

          • stevenhp1987 says:

            Yes, especially when you double dip with Eat Out to Help Out!

          • Peter K says:

            Some will, yes. That’s why easy out to help out is creating busy restaurants.
            However, some will choose a restaurant based on quality or product (from previous experience or reviewers) and service and expect to get an extra £5 off as a bonus as the restaurant is on an official list that says the amex card holder will get it.

  • Stephen Walker says:

    Does anyone have any secret strategy to not get a “go away and call back later” when phoning the BA 0800 number? I keep trying with no success including all the possible selection combinations but same result. I want to use a 241 for an open-jaw LON-TLV, AMM-LON which I believe requires a phone call to do?

    • Anna says:

      If you want to secure your seats and have enough avios you can book the outbound leg using your 2 4 1, then make a separate booking for the return leg as if it was a normal award booking. You can then call BA at your leisure and they will refund half the avios you used to book your return leg. However, they won’t adjust any fees/taxes you’ve paid if you do this, so you need to check that you’re not paying over the odds.

    • Lottie says:

      i couldnt get through yesterday tried at 7.30pm and got through pretty quick so i think early and late and the best times to try

    • Andrew Mc says:

      Yes, don’t select any options whatsoever!

      • ChrisC says:

        I called 7.15 last night to get refund for an avios flight that got cancelled earlier in the day. Would rather have the avios back than take a voucher.

        About 10 mins waiting and 5 mins to deal with the issue. Didn’t select any options.

        Call made much harder because people were shouting in the background of the India office so I kept having to ask por things repeated. Most unprofessional.

        Also got told off for calling the wrong number when I called the number in the email!

  • A270 says:

    Please advise. From what I read, quarantine list meetings happen every Thursday. It was every 3 weeks before but weekly now. If a country doesn’t go on the quarantine list tomorrow, does that mean someone can travel on say, Friday and be back by Thursday without having to quarantine?