Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 26th August

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We have decided to run this 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/2020/08/26/the-hfp-chat-thread-wednesday-26th-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 (183)

  • ChrisC says:

    Rob could you consider a separate sticky thread and/or an FAQ as a home for all the posts about curve and revolute et al as some days they just dominate the daily chat threads and often it’s the same question being asked over and over again and it’s very difficult to identify the non curve posts because they get lost in the morass.

    • Nick_C says:

      A separate thread for all the things people shouldn’t be discussing openly anyway?

      What shall we call it? Manufactured spend? Loopholes that will shortly be closed?

      • Jonathan says:

        I’d rather Curve, Revolut, Ernie etc were banned words like [email protected] back etc. Frankly if you don’t understand what you’re doing & have to ask very basic questions (& can’t manage a simple Google search to discover the multiple times your question’s already been asked) then you shouldn’t be playing such games as it’ll end in tears.

        Yesterday’s comment about how unfair it was being charged interest by Barclays for using their HH Card to pay their Amex bill was the perfect illustration. How could you possibly think that raising what you were doing as a complaint will end in anything other than Barclays ending their relationship with you?!

        • mark2 says:

          There was something strange about that interest. I have made many such payments (and similar ones) and have never been charged any interest. I wonder if it was actually charges from Curve if using wrong service level.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            The only certainty is that this game is drought with uncertainty.

            Things can change daily at either the merchant or the card company. And while they pay lip service to giving 2 months notice of changes to terms and conditions in reality they don’t when it’s related to how they treat MCCs as theirs no published T&Cs

          • The Urbanite says:

            The way card issuers treat MCCs has largely been a constant in my opinon.

            What can change is the MCC that merchants use and this can catch people out. It’s not the fault of the card issuers that this happens, but at the same time they are rather opaque on how cash advances work.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            is *filled* dunno what was going on there.

          • The Urbanite says:

            I MCC checked Amex with my debit card yesterday and it’s still MCC 6012. Wonder if the interest was appended to a different transaction?

          • Mark says:

            @Urbanite which debit card do you have that displays MCC? None of mine ever seem to show it

          • The Urbanite says:

            You can make the transaction then call the bank to check – I’ve done that a few times when curiosity has gotten the better of me.

      • AndyW says:

        Agreed. Let’s all leave this subject well alone.

    • memesweeper says:

      Occasional FAQ articles wouldn’t be a bad idea: my first suggestion would be British Airways Future Travel Vouchers, not niche uses of Curve. Curve is only incidentally related to the core topics of this site, which are points and travel.

      • ChrisC says:

        But they seem to make up a disproportionate number of the comments which means the comments on travel and points get lost.

      • Doug M says:

        I agree the endless Curve questions are frustrating, especially as the answer to lots of them is do a small amount and see. But Curve has been a superb IHG/Avios points earner for me, and is as related to travel as Santander Bikes and many other topics covered. Lots of questions on many subjects are repeated over and over, it’s just the way it is, scan it and move on. The current situation is there’s a lot more Curve action than there is travel.

        • rams1981 says:

          Make hay whilst the sun is shining. MS like it or not is how the average person can accumulate enough points to take their dream holiday every year. Curve, Supercard before it and all those crazy Tesco clubcard point opportunities for cash gift cards (sadly before my time) are opportunities which are becoming fewer and fewer.

          It would be nice not to have the same questions every day but I didn’t know about a MS opportunity i’d like to hear more about it so i understand why they come up. It’s a chat thread so fair game as far as I am concerned.

          Some pointers:
          Seagulls -> US and quick delivery
          ERNIE -> savings with Rishi
          nonlinear card -> rhymes with swerve

      • Rob says:

        No-one actually knows exactly how FTV work!

        • Nick says:

          If you want to post specific questions on FTVs here I will answer as many as I can… I do know how they work!

          • Rob says:

            For example … I’ve had readers contact me saying that call centre staff refuse to change a short-haul FTV to a long-haul flight. Presumably not true.

            It isn’t clear whether extra names can be added to the booking using the Avios and cash in the voucher.

            If the FTVs all come separately, it isn’t clear how the person who actually paid for the tickets in the first place is meant to use a voucher sent to (for example) a friend for whom we had booked and paid, for their own use.

          • Nick says:

            So there’s a difference between the FTV and the e-voucher that is now replacing them, and I think you might be muddling them up. The e-voucher is issued to a name and email address but can actually (subject to a few security protocols) be used for anyone to travel. So none of this should be an issue in that case – if someone else gets the voucher because they paid originally, they can just pass on the voucher number, and new pax can be added as required.

            An FTV however is actually just a suspended booking that’s temporarily made more flexible, so some conditions do remain. One of these is that the ‘voucher’ has to be used by the original pax – the reason is it follows the same name change rules as the original booking did. Nothing about a FTV will ‘come separately’ – again, because it’s all just held within the original booking. This is why there are restrictions on switching between Avios and cash bookings. However, you can indeed switch between LH and SH flights, I really don’t know where that came from. The most annoying thing about redeeming the FTV is that it has to go to Manchester for manual ticketing, which has quite a hefty backlog to get through.

    • Lady London says:

      Do you want it plated up, @ChrisC ? Next time I accidentally lock myself out of my flat, I’ll be sure to switch on my headtorch so any neighbour that doesn’t know me will be sure to call the police as I climb through my bathroom window to get back in

      • ChrisC says:

        Not sure what locking yourself out has anything to do with a request to Rob to perhaps have separate threads to cover curve etc.

        Some days it really is a pain to read the chat threads to find the non curve posts

    • ashish says:

      I wish I could get this HH to pay into ISA. Now I am discovering was to spend on Virgin and transfer before it closes.

  • Michael C says:

    Slightly weird morning question (although I know there are many entrepreneurial types around here!):
    has anyone any experience with setting up and using an e-company/e-residency in Estonia? My (online service) company has 98% EU clients and, as I’m now UK-based, I was just thinking of having a contingency plan to cover any surprises next year…

  • KBuffett says:

    Are there any discounts at hotels for NHS/Healthcare workers other than the Marriott code?

    • Anna says:

      Hilton does a public sector rate, valid at weekends. You need to use the code PR11PN in the “Special Rate” drop down box. Not all hotels offer it though, so it can be case of trial and error.

    • Harry T says:

      I think there might be a Hyatt one, but I believe it doesn’t earn elite nights and points like the Bonvoy one.

      I can confirm the Bonvoy one provides the nights and points.

    • Andrew says:

      Loads.

      Just register with your employer’s preferred platform using your .nhs email address. Check on your work home intranet page for local arrangements, you’ve probably got Health Service Discounts or Perks At Work. I don’t think either are overly fussy as long as you have the .nhs email account to sign up with.

      There’s also blue light club.

      If you are Scottish, NHS Staff Benefits focusses on benefits North of the Border – with discounts on Macdonalds and Apex (there’s 10% funds return with LBG on Apex at the moment, so check your everyday offers). There is also a range of independent hotels with offers including Peebles Hydro, Crieff Hydro and Perth Station hotel. They also have bonus Clan Point offers on Loganair. (I don’t think you have to prove you are Scottish, and anyone a .nhs account can join.)

      Some of the Royal Colleges also have their own deals – eg Cheap Volvos if you are a Royal College of Surgeons member.

    • Lady London says:

      Accor does a pretty genuine 25 %. Sorry I havent got the code as my source is not HfP so not fair to post a link here. Pretty sure it was in the Offers section of their website but you may have to log in as sn ALL member.

  • Adam Heeroo says:

    Is BAEC book with avios down for everyone?

    • meta says:

      Yes. It’s not working since last night. Last night I got technical problems error. This morning I get 404 page!

      • meta says:

        It actually looks like the whole BA website is down!

        • Lady London says:

          Could be good news. Perhaps they took it down to set up one of the rare 50% avios spend required promotions. The time of year is almost right. Y only though, last time.

    • Ron says:

      BA released a lots of US to London Avios seats yesterday for July/ Aug21 and then the search function started to go wrong. Not sure both related, but the app was showing availability on some days, but when you get the flight details page, it showed as error.

  • Oli says:

    I’ve had return flights cancelled by BA for the August bank holiday, booked with cash for myself and Avios for my wife and kids. I have not yet called for a refund; am I right to think that I can call later (eg in November) to be rebooked on the same route for Christmas?

    • Rob says:

      No. That only works for Avios bookings.

      • S says:

        Not true. Why would it only apply to avios bookings?

        • Rob says:

          No idea. Perhaps it can be done on cash bookings but no-one has mentioned it AFAIK.

          • Lady London says:

            Surely asking for a reroute on a later date convenient to the passenger is given by EU261 regardlessof BA’s policies if it was BA that cancelled the flight?

          • Lady London says:

            *in which case if it’s this coming Christmas that is wanted then no reason not to call now although you can also wait.

  • BJ says:

    Big thanks to @Lee and @Vit, just got my £100 for switching to Halifax Reward account despite being an existing customer 🙂

    • Rhys says:

      Is this possible? I’m an existing customer too.

      • mark2 says:

        The restriction is that you have not had a bribe from them since April 18
        https://www.halifax.co.uk/bankaccounts/current-accounts/reward-current-account.html
        and you open a new Rewards account see T&C

      • BJ says:

        @Rhys, I was in same boat but initially did not switch as Lewis site stated you were not eligible if you were an existing account holder. However, Lee and Vit both commented they got the bonus despite having accounts already so I gave it a go. The bonus posted yesterday ahead of the switch completing today. I don’t know if the terms direct from Halifax posted by @Mark2 are same or different to those listed on Lewis site. However, on Monday when I was inside my existing account online (not app), a full page banner popped up inviting me to switch into my account for £100 so it seems right enough and now confirmed by at least 3 of us. If you really wanted to make it watertight there is still time left to switch your existing account out, letting it close in the process, applying for a new account and starting a switch by 14 September. This is what I was contemplating before Lee and Vit confirmed existing accounts were not a problem.

        • Rhys says:

          Thanks. So you switched an existing Halifax account? Or a different bank?
          Edit: just checked the T&Cs and looks like you can’t get the reward for switching from an existing Halifax current account

          • sloth says:

            you can’t get the incentive for switching an existing Halifax account to a Reward a/c, but just switch another non Halifax a/c. BTW I have also done this and had an existing separate Halifax a/c and got the incentive

          • BJ says:

            I switched HSBC account into Halifax.

          • Connor says:

            Open a Starling account and switch it over. £100 for 10 minutes work.

          • Charlieface says:

            That’s what it looks like to me, if they are crediting anyway that’s good to hear but no complaints if it doesn’t work:

            You are not eligible for the offer if:

            You open and switch to any account other than a new Reward Current Account or new Ultimate Reward Current Account.
            You change your existing current account to a Reward Current Account or Ultimate Reward Current Account and switch to that account.

    • Lee says:

      @BJ You are welcome. Also paying AMEX count as spending towards £5 rewards each month

  • Ba7478 says:

    Not quite sure what that Heathrow Air Traffic Control send off for a BA 747 a few days ago was about (maybe the last scheduled commercial flight?) but there are still approximately 8-10 of them parked at the BA maintenance hangers on the eastern perimeter

  • Graham says:

    With talk of Czech Republic potentially being added to the UK quarantine list this weekend, what are my options with my BA flights?
    I booked last week with cash, to fly mid September. No accommodation has been booked. I have travel insurance booked in February with RAC. Assuming the flights won’t be cancelled, will I be able to get an FTV or evoucher? Or will I gave to pay to cancel or change?

    • Andrew says:

      They could be off and back on the safe list by then. There’s little point on wasting time with “whatif” anxiety.

      And don’t pay for any flights with cash at a travel agent! Credit Card direct booking every time.

      The only thing than anyone can reasonably do going forward is always book a return flight for a Friday. The general rule seems to be an announcement on a Thursday for an early morning Saturday cut-off.

      • Graham says:

        Thanks, I’ll stop the anxiety but just wondering what my options might be.
        Cash booking with Amex (maybe I should’ve used a credit card instead).
        I booked to fly out on a Thursday, return on a Monday.

        What are the usual options in this scenario? Would I be able to get an FTV/evoucher?

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