Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HfP chat thread – Friday 21st August

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We have decided to run this new daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the de facto repository for random comments and questions.  With the news flow being lighter, we are running fewer ‘Bits’ articles.

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 at home, 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 it 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: https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/08/21/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-friday-21st-august/comment-page-1.  The page will refresh with this article but the comments will now show the first page and not the last page.

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 (181)

  • Anna says:

    Anyone stayed at the Voco Solihull? I’ve booked 2 nights for a weekend when we need to be in the Midlands, I don’t think the location is anything spectacular but the hotel itself looks pretty decent for £48 pn. What’s Voco like for status recognition?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      It’s should have been fully refurbished by now and is actually a pretty decent standard.

      it’s about 5 mins walk from the city centre with parking right outside, it says its chargeable but the barriers were up and staff said it was free

      I haven’t bothered asking about upgrades as used for somewhere to sleep for a night out a couple times but I don’t feel i was given the worst room either time.

      • Anna says:

        Thanks – it looks quite nice in the pictures but sometimes that’s deceptive!

  • Rma says:

    Can anyone access any of the shopping sites via the BA shopping portal? Been trying for two days and it doesn’t work. Most annoying, as it has worked perfectly for years!

    • Anna says:

      Just tried and got an error message. I haven’t used it for a while as most of my preferred retailers seem to have been removed, and the last order I place with them resulted in the avios being taken back a few days later but I couldn’t face chasing it up!

    • Sandra says:

      Worked fine for me yesterday & purchase showed as tracked & confirmatory email from BA this morning to say points on way. Also used last Fri with Apple store and points plus the 200 BA bonus points for spending over £120 in one transaction landed in my account Weds.

    • Andrew says:

      Works fine for me.

      But, remember the whole point of these sites is the tracking. If your browser or internet security package is set to block tracking – then it’ll stop working and probably just display a single pixel on the screen.

  • Anna says:

    Re the Lululemon/Amex recent offer, I placed an order last week and the 2000 bonus avios posted before the payment had even cleared!

  • Lady London says:

    What is it about LuluLemon that makes it so popular? I have a friend who is not a brand chaser and she loves it. Can anyone explain why? or is the outrageous pricing just a status symbol?

    • Anna says:

      I’ve never bought anything from there before, the prices generally offend my Northern sensibilities 🤣. But I’ve saved so much money from not travelling this year I’ve been giving myself a few treats and I do have a weakness for nice luggage. And it was discounted AND I got bonus avios so that makes it totally justified! I’m loving the lime green and black backpack I bought, can’t wait to take it somewhere!

    • Harry T says:

      @Lady London
      My girlfriend really finds their legging very comfortable and hard wearing (she goes to the gym a lot). I have some of their trousers that I wear to work – they are very cool, flexible and cut well for athletic builds. The most comfortable trousers I’ve ever worn, and formal enough for most occasions. I also have a pair of their jogging bottoms, which are also tremendous for gym or home wear. We purchased our LLL wear in Melbourne, taking advantage of a briefly strong exchange rate and generally much lower prices. The UK gets ripped off compared to Australia and America.

      • Lady London says:

        Tx both. Used to wear dancewear as day wear ages ago, if they’ve got the cut right and the materials wick as you say, sounds like LuluLemon could be ideal for travelling. Will pay more attention to the brand.

        • Harry T says:

          Oh yes, these are the only “formal” trousers I can travel in. The joggers would be ideal for long haul too. There’s a discount section on their website called “we Made Too Much”, which is much cheaper, FYI.

          • Lady London says:

            Hmmm. That’ll be me going after those bargains like a rat up a drainpipe then.

          • Vit says:

            Thanks Harry. That’d be my go-to. Who’d have thought that’s what they call their SALE section. Not me at least. 🙂

      • iamfugly says:

        Oh yes…I would also like to add I too am always on the look out for well cut clothes for MY very “athletic build” too! :p
        Thanks for the heads up 😉

    • Nick_C says:

      I wouldn’t have heard of the brand if it had not been for Amex offers, but I googled them to see where the silly name comes from (assuming that the company was not actually started by someone called Lulu Lemon) and was pretty disgusted by what I found on their Wiki entry.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lululemon_Athletica

      Not a company I would choose to do business with.

    • Louise says:

      Quite simply their clothing, in particular, their leggings and trousers are just soooo comfortable!

      Expensive, but keep and close eye on the website and there are lots of bargains to be had. Out of 6 pieces I own, I’ve only paid full price for 1.

      I love their Align and Invigorate leggings but their On-The-Fly 7/8 trousers are the best travel pants I’ve found.

  • Anna says:

    Data point re the Indigo Newcastle – if you choose the free drinks voucher they give you a little slip with your status ticked which determines what kind of drink you can have. Platinum gets wine or beer (still about £15 worth) and Spire gets cocktails!
    I know a lot of people don’t rate IHG status but I’m finding it a lot of fun. Even without free breakfast I feel that it beats Hilton gold as their room prices seem a fair bit higher (especially at the moment) which cancels out the free breakfast benefit. On another recent stay, at the Indigo Durham, I asked for twin beds for my teenage son and nephew and they were given a room which would be the size of a junior suite in a lot of hotels!

    • Harry T says:

      Glad to hear your enjoying the status and hotels.

      I had a similar thing with the drinks vouchers at IC Prague. The kind gentleman who checked me in gave me an extra drinks voucher and ticked Spire on it (I was Platinum Ambassador). I think I looked a bit run down after a rough connection in Schiphol! The hotel treated me very well as Ambassador, with extra drinks vouchers; fruit, nuts and wine as a welcome amenity; and a decent upgrade from their smallest room, which I booked in the sale. I would recommend the hotel if you’re ever in Prague – it’s a bit corporate but the location is excellent, it’s cheap, and they treat status guests above and beyond the terms of the programme.

    • Lady London says:

      As @BJ has said Hilton is not being flexible about their prices at the moment.

      Have looked at them for a few upcoming trips Sept-Oct but offers in 3 other chains are beating them without evrn trying with pricing close to half the price of the Hilton/Hampton next door.

      I gather lots of Hilton hotels are only very recently reopening but sticking to former rack rates is not going to do them much good right now.

    • Aston100 says:

      No status recognition at Indigo York a couple of weeks ago. No upgrade offered due to hotel allegedly being full, yet rooms available on the IHG site.
      Reception staff not particularly friendly or helpful, and trying to talk to them with a huge table blocking access to the slot in the protective screen round the reception desk made communication difficult, especially if you are slightly hard of hearing.

      • Aston100 says:

        Though, I notice Crown Plazas on the other hand have been pretty decent with status recognition, even for those below Spire.

      • Kai says:

        Try Principal York then 🙂 Service was a total disaster and most rooms had no AC when it was 30 degrees when I stayed.

        • Aston100 says:

          Ouch! I’m not sure where Principal fit into the IHG hierarchy, but I presume somewhere around the Kimpton brand range, and therefore would have expected better surely.

        • Josh says:

          Indeed. Principal York is style over substance. Snobby staff, stuffy rooms and inept at breakfast. If you do complain, you will have to push for a manager to get involved before receiving any service recovery. Inept isn’t the word.

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          Despite the superb location for those travelling by train and a fairly recent refurb, the Principal York is a listed building built by Victorians, with all the limitations that brings. Not the best choice in York if comfort is more important than “feel”.

    • Crafty says:

      Isn’t this what every IHG hotel does? Certainly I get this ticked slip at every HIX I stay in

      • Aston100 says:

        I’ve never seen this at HIX, but the ones I went to seemed to give the same to everyone from Gold upwards.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Yes all the CP IC Kimpton Indigo do from my experience

        Noticed Cocktails only on the slip if it’s got a decent bar

      • Anna says:

        I’ve not had status for very long – also at the Durham Indigo we didn’t get offered anything, though they did give us a few extra points I noticed after the stay.

        • Peter K says:

          I also thought all IHG give you this, certainly in my experience.
          Gold gets a beer/house wine or a snack.
          Platinum gets a beer/wine +snack.
          Spire gets a cocktail + a snack.

  • Chris says:

    On 5 Jan we booked 2 x Business Class, cash, return flights to Florida for mid October, returning mid November, including just one night’s hotel, with BA. Yesterday, we received an email telling us our outward flight had been cancelled. BA have rebooked us on another flight, same day apologising for any inconvenience. Are we now able to request a refund? Or second best, request a voucher? Or should we wait? We would appreciate your advice. Thank you.

    • Lady London says:

      Yes you are fully entitled to s cash refund of the whole ticket if even one flight is cancelled. Your flight number has changed so for sure thats a cancellation giving you these rights.

      you wiill have to call to request refund. recommended times 8.00/8.30 or 7.30pm. dont presd any buttons even if the right choice appears just hang on.

      Do not take a voucher unlesd there,’s a 241 or other voucher in the booking in ehich case the validity of the underlying voucher might be extended by taking a voucher for the whole thing.

      You can also choose (possibly much later, or sought-after holiday period) date to do the same travel. This is at your choice and is called “rerouting” and you will not be charged any higher fare – also a right you can choose under EU261

  • Mycity says:

    Hi, if I upgrade my curve card to metal do I need to wait for the new card to arrive before the benefits start?
    Also can we still pay Brighton using Virgin linked to Curve with the metal card or is it counted as a cash? Thanks

    • Spk says:

      Your benefits start immediately. The counter for your daily / monthly / annual usage is reset when you activate the new card.
      Not sure about the Virgin card – will leave it to the experts to comment!

    • Connor says:

      Yes, Virgin works fine.

    • Connor says:

      Use it for receiving payments for any sales in the EU, never had any problems, great exchange rate and good support.

    • James says:

      Sorry to be dim whats Brighton?

      • Andrew M says:

        It’s a seaside city on the south coast of England. It’s also the home of a popular financial institution.

      • MD says:

        It’s the head office of a certain non Visa, non Mastercard credit card company.

  • AJA says:

    Has anyone here used Transferwise? I am looking to send some money to relatives in Brazil. Their rates look really good.

    • Rhys says:

      I have when I lived abroad. They were the best I could find at the time.

    • Connor says:

      Use it for receiving payments for any sales in the EU, never had any problems, great exchange rate and good support.

      • AJA says:

        Thanks Connor. I’ve set up an account and have initiated the transfer. Seems to be relatively straightforward. 🙂

    • Harry T says:

      I used them a fair few times for transferring money from Australia to the UK. They always had the best rate (I did my research), and I can’t fault the user experience. All went faultlessly.