Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Saturday 29th August

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

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Comments (133)

  • John says:

    There was a bragging sub-thread about best value for avios yesterday… Here’s mine:

    Just booked a last minute business+leisure trip to Germany next week, cash price was £1000 ish for the two flights but surprisingly avios was available, so 8p for the outbound and 14p for the return!!

    I just wouldn’t have gone if avios seats unavailable so real value to me is usual 0.6-1p.

    I wonder if this is BA speculating that Germany may be added to UK’s naughty list and trying to profit? Wasn’t affected by the other recent additions so don’t know what the prices were doing or if it was possible to get award seats on the “escape” from France/NL/CH etc

    • Erico1875 says:

      £1000 return is really ridiculous for a short flight like that. There should be a cap on what they can charge. Gouging your customers is the only fitting description

      • Spk says:

        Buy BA shares. Fly other airlines.

      • Rob says:

        Eh? It’s called charging what the market will bear. If someone is willing to pay £1000 then fair enough. There are plenty of ways of getting to Germany, including non flying ones.

        • xcalx says:

          “Eh? It’s called charging what the market will bear. If someone is willing to pay £1000 then fair enough. There are plenty of ways of getting to Germany, including non flying ones.”

          Rob, I Have seen you accusing companies of “Gouging ” Is it not Gouging when its BA

          • Rob says:

            It’s rare I would accuse anyone of that, since most ex-bankers / ex-economists / business people understand how supply and demand works.

            For example, I have found Uber surge pricing to be fantastic. When I was a young man in London, I would very often find myself unable to get a taxi when the weather turned bad or it was late at night. Since I am generally price insensitive (within the bands of Uber pricing) Uber surge pricing means I am guaranteed a car whatever the weather. If it’s chucking it down at 8am and Uber wants £20 to get me and the kids to school, which is a sub-10 minute drive, I’ll pay the £20. The £20 fare prices out everyone else and gets me my car.

          • xcalx says:

            I started a plumbing and heating business in 1979 and ran it until I retired last year and passed it on to my sons. In all those years we never gouged a customer just because we could, eg winter and boiler not working. Maybe that’s the reason we have continuous work year round from existing customers and recommendations, whilst watching other companies fail year after year. But then, what would I know about business after 40 years.

          • Charlieface says:

            It so happens I mostly agree with you, but many people wouldn’t. See the big hoo-ha around little bottles of sanitiser selling for £50.
            My view is: any company is free to screw me but don’t be surprised if I screw them back

    • Harry T says:

      Whilst I can’t deny that was an excellent sue of Avios, I always think it’s a little silly to say that you’ve achieved a certain value per Avios, as it’s likely most people wouldn’t pay the exorbitant and unusual cash prices. I always base it on what I would pay as an alternative – eg I’m quite happy paying £1000-1500 for long haul J, so I base using a 241/Avios on that alternative (also worth factoring in the tier points and Avios you would earn by paying cash). Also, you can buy Avios for around 1p.

      I guess there’s also value in the Avios getting you to somewhere you really need to be, especially last minute. And for those who cannot afford First or Business flights, then Avios may be a means to experience something unique and special (although BA taxes and charges on a medium to long haul 241 are often at least 50-75% of the price of a decent sale fare, so you need a certain degree of capital).

      The best value of Avios for me is flexibility. It’s useful to be able to cancel or change flights for a very modest fee of £35 each.

  • Vit says:

    Question for those took the upgrade route from Green to Platinum please – – how soon does it take for the 20k MR Point to be posted to your account?

    Cheers.

    • Sandgrounder says:

      Usually, when the purchase that took you over the qualifying amount posts, the bonus posts too. Occasionally things don’t work properly though.

      • Crafty says:

        Have done in twice in last 6 months and on both occasions this happened like clockwork.

    • Harry T says:

      Within a day or two of you hitting the spend.

  • Michael C says:

    Rob/anyone: reckon I could pay for an Amex Plat (non-business) as a business expense for a sole member company (so I can make personal use of it without justifications)?
    At the moment I use a BAPP for everything, then for those expenses that correspond to the business, I make a bank transfer from my business account to the Amex bank account.

    • Genghis says:

      Only the business element can be claimed as a valid expense, probably by apportioning based on spend on the card (ie can only really be done at year end). But I’d try to keep ltd co finances as separate as possible from personal finances. Get a personal card but only use it for business expenses and then put through the whole fee.

      • Oli says:

        Apportioning would not work. To be deductible an expense has to be “wholly and exclusively” be made for the business. As you’re using the card personally, you would have paid the card fee anyway so it’s not deductible for your business.

        • Genghis says:

          Incorrect. Can be apportioned. So as long as the amount put through is “wholly and exclusively”.

          • Rob says:

            Genghis is correct. If this wasn’t possible, how would people who work from home be able to aportion parts of their rent, utility bills etc?

            I apportion my mobile bill, my mobile phone, our home utility bills (given that I always did some work at home, despite having the office) and certain card fees.

          • Michael C says:

            Is there a fixed way to calculate utilities, etc., Rob? I’ve always worked at home full time: I believe when I moved to the UK I was told it’s based on square metres of your office space compared to the house as a whole?!

          • Michael C says:

            Thanks again! The pints are on me at the…HFP Xmas drinks night?!

          • Louie says:

            Not unless Australia lets me out of the country before Christmas!

          • Oli says:

            Utilities costs are different, they are incremental when you use them for work. A card fee is different, as it is a fixed cost that you would incur anyway as long as you need the card for personal use.

          • Jonathan says:

            If you’re apportioning a proportion of home energy/council tax etc then you do realise that proportion of your house is liable for CGT when you sell it?

          • Mark says:

            No, only applies if you are claiming a proportion of mortgage interest and/or improvement costs.

          • Lady London says:

            I’ve got an idea there’s a thing about not having any specific part of the house used just for business, that might help. Otherwise CGT risk on sale

      • Michael C says:

        Great explanation Genghis, thnx!

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Although it’s not essential, I’d strongly suggest keeping credit cards as business-only and personal-only (unless you’re very insolvent it’s not like it’s an issue having multiple credit cards).

      Any incremental saving achieved by putting business and personal spend through one single card is likely to be more than wiped out by your annoyed accountant (or worse still your annoyed self) having to spend ages picking through every transaction over the year to separate out the two.

      • memesweeper says:

        ‘Although it’s not essential, I’d strongly suggest keeping credit cards as business-only and personal-only (unless you’re very insolvent it’s not like it’s an issue having multiple credit cards).’

        +1 … it’s a nightmare with Amex as you may find you have to apportion things like credits from Shop Small. Keep it simple, have a dedicated business card, or none at all.

        • Lady London says:

          Some people just get a supp and use that exclusively for business. Then the transactions would download nicely for Accountant.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Nothing stopping you from getting a supplementary gold card for all of your business spend then no one should spend more than a few mins on excel separating the transactions.

  • Reney says:

    Morning all, I would love some help to plan a staycation in the UK. I would like to take my (older) parents for a week away, we could do with a change in scenery. Probably close to beaches or nice country walks (basically nature). I think a house would be more suitable than a hotel, and would prefer places not too crowded. I was thinking of late September when everyone is back to school. A friend suggested Toad Hill Cottages, I was surprised (maybe a bit naive) everything is pretty booked till late October! Any recommendations on companies to use for holiday let, places to go that wouldn’t be too wet and cold into possibly late October? Ideally around a 3/4 hour drive in any directions, from Oxford area. Thanks for any ideas in advance.

    • Anna says:

      I think you’re taking a risk on the weather anywhere in the UK at that time of year, but Anglesey has all the things you’re looking for and a good selection of rental properties and high-end “lodges” which might be another option. Out of the school holidays you will find deserted beaches, especially at the far side of the island towards Holyhead. There are also lots of good eating options, from pubs to formal restaurants. You can download maps of some fantastic coastal walks (you can walk most of the coast of you’re so inclined).

      • Anna says:

        hometogo has a lot of rental properties, though I haven’t checked availability.

      • Lady London says:

        I agree with @Anna the weather cant be relied on anywhere UK at that time of the year. Isnt the East Coast of Scotland around Dundee likely to get more sunshine and milder weather? The V&A in Dundee if it’s wet?

    • Bloomers says:

      We recently enjoyed a lovely week away with an older relative on the Isle of Wight at Atherfield Green Farm Holiday Cottages. Peaceful, well appointed and a short drive to some great pubs. Each cottage includes a downstairs en suite bedroom as well as two upstairs. I would suggest contacting them directly for a better price…….

    • Michael C says:

      Hi Reney – I believe we’re roughly neighbours!
      Just a few mins. outside your time limit is the area of Castle Combe/Bradford/Lacock in Wilts, all lovely.
      If you don’t mind going a little further, I took my mum on one of our best Uk trips ever to north Somerset. Rolling hills, coast, N Trust, Lorna Doone!.

    • Peter K says:

      The Isle of Man is lovely with some very gentle walks, or more energetic if your prefer.
      The Lake District is always wet but that’s part of its charm.

      • Bill says:

        The ISLE of Man border is closed to non residents. Only non resident key workers are permitted to enter. 100 days today without any cases of coronavirus

        • Bill says:

          Ps. There is an “air brodge” between IOM and Guernsey. But that’s it.

    • Harry T says:

      Finding somewhere with good weather that isn’t busy will be harder this year than usual, due to the current enthusiasm for staycations. My mother always enjoys renting a house by the coast in Norfolk, so that’s worth considering. If weather is a priority, I wouldn’t consider going north of the midlands in October, that’s for sure. Do be careful with renting cottages though, I’ve heard about some awful behaviour from these companies recently, including double booking and denying refunds. Best of luck with your holidays!

    • Philip says:

      Hi Rekey, my neighbours have a nice place on the Kent Coast they rent out which might be of interest :-

      https://www.kentandsussexcottages.co.uk/coastal-kent/littlestone-cottages/ek767-sandcroft

      You’d be able to explore the delights of South Kent / East Sussex, especially the “5th Continent” of Romney Marsh :-

      https://theromneymarsh.net

      Cheers,
      Philip

    • xcalx says:

      Try this site choose a country plus a date and you will get a 4 week window. The certs costs $320 for a seven night stay from sky auctions, some dates are cert only others are plus the fee shown. Certs can be used worldwide. I love messing with this site. Not used for a while as cruising took over for a couple of years but the way that’s looking I may be searching Caribbean locations sooner rather than later.

      https://vacationrentalcertificates.com/?page=_map_search

    • Reney says:

      Thanks all! Will be doing research based on the various advice.

    • Charlieface says:

      Cottages.com with Tesco vouchers is x3 up to £99 voucher

  • Graeme says:

    Morning all. Some EC261 advice needed – my Air France flight (CDG to Dubai booked with Virgin miles) in March was cancelled and they put us on one ten hours earlier, which doesn’t work for us at all.

    My understanding of EC261 was that they were required to put me on a flight that suits me – there’s an Emirates flight that is perfect, and in four minutes last week a chap at Virgin approved it and told me to wait for an email. A week later it hadn’t arrived so I sent them a message asking for it – they say they emailed me declining my request (they didn’t) because they don’t have an agreement with Emirates. Is that right? I thought the flight was basically my choice as long as it was reasonable. I’ve read the regulations and can’t see definitively either way.

    I’m sure this is obvious (apologies for that in advance) but it’s not one I’ve had to deal with before. Thanks all.

    • Anna says:

      They can’t decline it on the grounds of not having an agreement with a particular airline (BA also tries to pull that one!) but I’m not sure that a 10 hour difference in departure times would entitle you to automatic re-routing with Emirates, however inconvenient it would be for you. I’ll happily stand corrected though!

      • Graeme says:

        Thanks Anna. I deem it unreasonable as it gets us there the night before we want to arrive (requiring a hotel) and we won’t be in Paris in time to catch the flight (separate flight already booked). Of course what I deem unreasonable and what they deem unreasonable are probably quite different! That said, they didn’t argue that, they declined because of the agreement thing.

        • Chris Heyes says:

          GRAEME To put the ball in their court ! Ask them under duty of care to either put you on the flight you requested
          Or if not explain you would arrive a day to early therefor require them to pay for 1 night hotel stay plus reasonable food
          (note i have managed to do this a couple of times with BA though)

          • Blenz101 says:

            Needs to be over 12 hours to be their problem. You need to accept what they are offering and suck up the costs. The airline can reasonably expect you to get to the departure airport, if you booked from somewhere you can’t get to it isn’t their fault.

            If you had looked at EU261 to try and find your rights surely the 12 hour rule would have been obvious.

          • Lady London says:

            which paragraph is the 12 hours in?

          • Blenz101 says:

            EU261 doesn’t cover it but the 12 hour delay for a reschedule is the maximum of what airlines will go to. Google the key words and this will come up as the first results on several websites.

            The OP has no right to an EK flight other than by the goodwill of AF which is apparently not forthcoming.

          • Lady London says:

            Sorry @BlenzI disagree. EU261 does not contain the 12 hours that you refer to. As a statute EU261 trumps any European airline’s own made-up rules and lack of procedures. I am sure you know that but mentioning for others.

            There are hints from other things in EU261 that a maximum reasonable move would be 4-5 hours later and considerably less if forward move and that an extra overnight is considerably less acceptable if ahead of the passenger’s booked time.

            IMPORTANT If OP checks their booking the flight number will have changed giving passenger full rerouting rights
            VS and AF would surely rather voucher or refund as that lets them off the hook- rerouting is worth far more. Plus there is the little matter of how difficult it has been for passengers to actually receive any money due from VS and AF so I.hope OP sticks to their guns and goes for rerouting. At least one of those airlines will still be around to send the bailiffs into after an MCOL judgment.

          • meta says:

            Was it pre-covid or after? BA are no longer doing that and it is written into their manuals. I had an agent quoting this to me from the manual, stating re-route for cancelled flights only allowed on oneworld both for cash and reward bookings. So BA and it seems Virgin are deliberately breaking the law. In the end I booked a different flight myself and will be taking BA to MCOL.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            BA can right whatever they want in their manuals doesn’t mean it complies with the law

            The ONLY bit of 261 that has been suspended is the part for compensation for late arrivals. Duty of care and rerouting is exactly as it was pre covid.

          • Lady London says:

            not suspended @TGLoyalty. Still in force, including the exceptional circs clause that exempts airlines from compo claims due to extant Covid circs.

          • meta says:

            Sorry my reply was to Chris Hayes. I absolutely agree with @TG Loyalty and Lady London that’s why I said that it is evident that airlines are deliberately breaking the law by writing it into their manuals and training staff to deny customer’s rights. I just wish CAA had more powers to fine airlines for such behaviour.

          • Lady London says:

            Airline internal procedure manuals and lack of procedures and airline systems that cant provide a ticket on another airline when your booked airline cant offer a ticket on themselves that transports you ‘with reasonable despatch” compared to your booked flight timings, are not valid excuses for failing to provide your EU261 rights.

            They make it d+++ed inconvenient though as your last resort is to fund alternative ticket yourself then take time to sue them. Even if the judgment is a slam dunk in your favour how many people have the resources and appetite to do that? 1% or less? This is why airlines reckon they win.

            Just as the airlines would like EU261 removed or relaxed, I would like to see a punitive surcharge on any court award given to the passenger. Otherwise airlines have everything to gain by delaying and obstructing most claims so passenger takes the loss from the airline’s failure and if the airline loses a claim there is no penalty as the airline only pays what they should have anyway.

          • Lady London says:

            @Meta when I looked at fares for your return from Portugal after BA cancelled your flight they were under £100 for Y . So I rather suspect BA will settle once you file the MCOL claim rather than actually bother turning up for court.

            for the h*ll of it, make sure you add in any other expenses and the statutory 8%p.a. interest (pro rata for the number of days till BA settles your claim) you are entitled to.

          • Lady London says:

            I wouldnt specify Emirates to them even if you know perfectly well that’s the only flight that will get you there ‘with reasonable despatch” close enough to your originally booked timings. The ‘reasonable despatch’ is your right, not the specific airline. I would defo not accept a day earlier requiring an extra hotel night especially if it broke other arrangements and I’m pretty sure EU261 says you dont have to. Text of EU261 is easy to read just google.

            If this goes as far as MCOL not sure if you need to name both Viegin and Air France as defendants. Got a feeling AF as operating airline is responsible but I think theyre even more EU261-denying than VS.

    • Jonathan says:

      “ My understanding of EC261 was that they were required to put me on a flight that suits me” that’s not quite what it says. They have to offer a reasonable alternative, reasonable not being defined so you’d be looking at getting arbitration/court involved if you can’t agree.

      It’s definitely not their problem to deal with your existing flights to Paris, I’d say 10 hours is borderline for insisting on Emirates, you’d have a much stronger argument over the additional nights accommodation (although they’d be ok to put you in the airport Holiday Inn instead of wherever you’ve booked for remainder).

    • Graeme says:

      Thank you all very much for your help, I really appreciate it.

      A couple of things – I know it’s not on them to help out with our flight to Paris, I was just highlighting further the inconvenience the change poses. We’d need another day off work as well.

      I don’t care who the flight is with, the Emirates one just suits time-wise. I’ve read a big long document today and can’t see reference to 12 hours anywhere – lots of four hours, but not twelve. To me, having to arrive the night before is a major inconvenience. Also their reason for declining is the lack of agreement with Emirates, not the lack of inconvenience.

      @LadyLondon – the flight number has changed. I’ll give it all some thought but I’m pretty sure I’ll be sticking to my guns.

      Thanks again everyone – I really appreciate it. We’re in Spain at the moment so I’ll digest everything properly on Tuesday when we get back.

    • Charlieface says:

      Speak to AF as well as Virgin, AF are actually the ones liable.
      They’re playing games, you’ve got a legit claim

  • Anna says:

    Did I see on here recently that you can now pay the Amex Platinum fee monthly? OH and I are now only 6 months away from being able to re-apply, so in the absence of travel opportunities at the moment I am re-evaluating our long-term points collecting strategy!

    • FG says:

      Yes, Anna, I have recently switched from paying the Plat fee annually to monthly. It does increase your overall fee to £576 instead of £575.

      I called Brighton CS about 2 weeks ago to ask, wasn’t expecting for them to say yes to this but there we are!

      • Manny_D says:

        Does this apply to upgrades to? I’m thinking of upgrading to the platinum from the green, but when I called CS today they mentioned it couldn’t be done.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      You can request for it to be billed monthly and I think you pay a £1 extra, probably due to rounding 575/12 to £48.

      • Anna says:

        Thanks, this makes it a much more attractive option given that we’ll probably both apply next year.

  • Roger says:

    Is there any workaround to re-book a BA flight on alternative date if the online option does not offer you more expensive flight option (presumably due to original fare bucket).
    I have checked alternate flight I need are sold separately but not offered as part of online re-booking.

    • Roger says:

      To answer my own question; it was sorted by calling customer service.

  • AndyK says:

    Advise needed.
    I’m looking at Canada trip next summer.
    Am I correct that I can transfer my Bonvoy points to Aeroplan schema as want to book some internal flights?

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