Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Saturday 5th September

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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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Comments (115)

  • John Caribbean says:

    Amex Plat Fine Hotels and Resorts stays. Can I book these as a gift for a family member, or do I need to be on the reservation or there in person with my card

    • Harry T says:

      As i understand it, you need to stay and pay on one of your personal Amex cards. Though you could ring Amex and ask?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Or atleast the person checking in needs to have an Amex card in your name

        Some hotels can insist on the card used to book. Are gold supps eligible to book FHR I know Platinum was I don’t actually remember checking the gold ones.

    • Rob says:

      Needs to be you, although the other person could pretend to be you if its a UK hotel – no-one demands ID.

  • Manny_D says:

    Hi all,

    Thinking of upping my flight reward game with either a BAPP or Virgin Atlantic Plus MasterCard. I know each airline has its pros and cons, but does anyway have an insight of which card is the better option to go for?

    • DJ says:

      There are only so many places you could fly to with Virgin Atlantic at the moment … I would put more money through BA for now.

    • Doug M says:

      Broadly speaking similar. Virgin card a bit cheaper, voucher a little different so could be described as better or worse depending on how you use it. I think the determining factor is things outside the card. BA route network vastly superior. BA chances of being in business by the time you use it, also probably better than Virgin. Virgin product liked by many, personally I have no issue with BA Club World. Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow far nicer than any BA business lounge.

      • Manny_D says:

        Thanks for the insight. In terms of use I’m mainly looking at 2-4-1 redemptions on Business or First Class (Upper in Virgins case). Depending how easy this is on either would help sway my decision in my opinion. In terms of lounges, the Platinum Amex should give me access to some decent ones (once I decide to upgrade).

        • Doug says:

          I’m assuming Virgin fly where you want to go. The Amex Plat won’t get you anywhere like the Virgin Clubhouse. Many of the UK lounges Plat is good for won’t let you in without a £5 booking in advance, they use capacity reasons. Some of the Amex lounges in the USA are very nice, if crowded. Assuming you don’t have Virgin status you’ll need more miles to use the Virgin voucher as a 241 in Upper.

    • AJA says:

      You really need to decide which airline you prefer. Others have listed pros and cons of both. If you are still undecided which airline alliance to go for then why not just get an AMEX Membership Rewards card (either Gold or Plat) and collect those as they can be used on either BA or Virgin?

    • Harry T says:

      Depends where you live and where you fly to.

      Other factors:
      VS may go bust within the year and don’t fly short haul, or many routes at all at the moment. BAEC is a better frequent flier scheme too.

  • Jonathan says:

    Virgin easier to generate large numbers of miles at the moment but equally very limited route network currently & chance the miles will be worthless. BA probably safest option as your first program.

    • memesweeper says:

      +1

      … but, when they are flying, Virgin have the better product on most planes.

      Depends on your appetite for risk I guess. BA probably isn’t going bust in the next six – nine months, Virgin might.

      • Manny_D says:

        More so looking at flying mid next year, so may be worth building up the Virgin miles. I agree BA do not seem likely to go bust, but hopefully the Virgin restructure would keep them going once routes resume.

        • ChasP says:

          in addition to the above
          BA guarantee a certain number of reward seats per flight
          Virgin’s mastercard easer to use (esp with Curve as well so if you do a lot of overseas spending)
          but AMEX customer service is leagues ahead of Virgin

    • Paul says:

      Is Virgin voucher given when £10k spend hit on +card or at card anniversary? If the former can you earn more than one voucher in a card year?

      • ChasP says:

        Yes and No
        given after you hit 10k but only 1 per year

      • Rob says:

        Comes once you hit £10k. Only 1 per year. Same as the BA Amex.

      • Paul says:

        Thanks guys!

        • ChasP says:

          worth remembering that you can reapply 6 months later so cancel after a year and reapply.
          In 30 months you can get 50000 bonus miles add on the 30,0000+ miles from spending and the 2 upgrade vouchers

          • Travel Strong says:

            If you have a good credit limit with a virgin+ card, just keep in mind you are not guaranteed to get the same if you cancel/reapply. Some laughably low limits being dished out recently.

            I was going to cancel/reapply but am now thinking twice. As I would also miss out on 6 months of points (60k miles with current limit).

            ave the risk of being given a terrible credit limit. Every time I cancel and reapply my limit has shrunk!

  • HM says:

    Does anyone know if HSBC UK have any offers for switching to Premier at the moment? £175 CASS offer is suspended due to COVID (?!) and I can’t find any references to a UK referral programme. Cheers, HM.

    • Rob says:

      Referral scheme is shut. No upgrades are allowed. They are accepting new application from new customers.

    • Doug says:

      I opened an HSBC account for £175 offer, with intention of switching some investments there, and upgrading to Premier. I’ve since received a further £250 redress for their uselessness in the transfer of investment. £425 to the good and HSBC wouldn’t get any kind of positive from me.

    • HM says:

      Thanks all – won’t rush it then… :/

  • antoinette says:

    my BA flights to Ibiza for next week have been cancelled. Would BA move these to May 2021 for free?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      They should and I’d think that’s reasonable since it’s really a seasonal destination (for most) and quarantine is likely to be in force for a while

      • antoinette says:

        Thanks. I called earlier today and was told they can only move it 14 days.
        Just called again and the advisor changed it to May without any probs.
        Worked out v well as I had paid £60pp for a long weekend in September and now moved it to May bank holiday, currently showing at £403pp

  • S879 says:

    Question regarding Marriott Travel Voucher. The expiry was extended till 31st January. I know I can redeem the Cat 5 voucher for 45,000 Marriott points but that seems such poor value as opposed to staying 7 nights in a decent hotel/resort. My issue is it is unlikely I’d be able to use it abroad by 31st January. We see a family of 4 with 2 school going kids. I am a teacher so can’t risk quaratining. Can a family member use it abroad? Usually passport is checked at check in. I’m not keen on using it within UK either. The standard rooms are small and we will need to pay a big supplement per night for a bigger room and extra beds.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Can’t remember if Marriott is one of those that allow you to use your points to redeem for family it’s worth a phone call.

      I know I have for Marriott moments.

    • ankomonkey says:

      I am in a similar situation. Marriott CS told me I could gift the hotel certificate/voucher or use it myself. They said the points rebate option no longer exists. YMMV.

      • S879 says:

        Oh, so I can have 45,000 points back for partially used packaged? I’ve already used the miles; just the 7 night voucher remains. Anyone had luck with them extending the expiry beyond 31st Jan?

  • Aliks says:

    Not sure if anyone is reading at this late hour, but I have a cancellation question.
    BA has cancelled all flights to and from Genoa in September, which is a pain as we were due to fly back on 27th Sep

    BA do fly back from MXP (Malpensa) and PSA (Pisa) which are 3 hours away by train from Genoa. However, I would rather go back with Ryanair who have a reasonable flight from Genoa on 27th.
    Question is whether BA will honour their obligation to book me onto Ryanair. I know they have flouted this obligation in the past – what are my chances?

    • Andrew says:

      Ringing to ask is probably your best course of action.

      • Aliks says:

        Yup – but forewarned is forearmed

        • meta says:

          They won’t. The agents are trained to deny this. I was in a similar situation 2 weeks ago. I called BA twice and both times denied. I also called Amex to check my options about S75 claim as purchased on BAPP who were rather vague, but said that I should minimise the costs. I have then proceeded with purchasing a more suitable flight.

          On return (and it is important not to do anything with your original ticket!), I submitted a claim first through BA for reroute and duty of care. If I don’t hear from BA within reasonable timeframe (I’ll give them 2-3 weeks), I have several options.

          1) I am most keen to take them to MCOL, partly out of principle (as they are training agents to break the law)
          2) Do S75 claim via credit card
          3) claim on insurance (I booked pre-covid)

          I am hoping someone more reasonable at BA will look at this and don’t want to be dragged through MCOL and waste their money on lawyers in current climate. But it’s BA, so who knows.

  • Aliks says:

    Thx meta I think I will repost tomorrow and get the wisdom of the whole team to decide how to call this one.

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