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)

  • BA-Flyer says:

    Can someone please remind me of my options if BA cancel a flight that was booked through Avios (the travel agency), with a Lloyds voucher? Avios have emailed me the option of cancellation and refund. If I want to re-book, does there still need to be Avios availability or can I insist on the dates that suit me best?
    Could I change the destination (BKK) to SIN if the Avios and tax are the same?

    • Jonathan says:

      Can rebook regardless of Avios availability but may have to push for it. No entitlement to change destination although they might consider it if there is Avios availability.

    • memesweeper says:

      The Avios are higher to SIN than BKK.

      You can insist on a rebooking at a later date to suit you. This may require an escalation to someone senior at the call centre. I’ve done this twice and the process is never straightforward but it does work — it’s based on your legal rights.

      You can also accept a voucher and immediately use it to book on another route. I’ve generated a couple of these and I’ve been able to rebook quickly. However, depending on demand, the queue on the phone can be extremely long when you are trying to use the voucher. For a cancelled flight I would not accept a voucher unless you know exactly where and when you want to go, and that you have sufficient Avios to do it, and there is plenty of availability.

  • The Original Nick says:

    I asked this question last week but missed the replies. Please can anyone advise on what the Amex Platinum travel insurance is covering at the moment? I’m suppose to be travelling to Dubai soon.

    • John Caribbean says:

      I wrote to them and asked the other day. No cancellation due to covid as covid is a known event. I’d booked my flights pre pandemic, so they seemed to be covered.
      Medical claims would “be considered”.
      I asked about cover for if I had to stay in the destination country for a quarantine reason, and they responded that they didn’t have specific coverage for that, but were covering it under a medical emergency provision, £150 a day for either 10 or 14 days (I don’t recall which)

  • Keiths says:

    Either Amex Customer Service has seriously deteriorated, or I have been a muppet.
    The 2 year Amex run started this year (was every 6 months until they changed the rules). I referred Mrs for the Marriot card, then the Amex gold for the 20K MR’s.
    Yesterday I noticed her account showed we needed to spend another £818 to get the welcome bonus. However, under that it showed the spend on the renewal bonus was already £3.7k – this was the correct spend.
    We were on the online chat for 2hours.
    1)they could not explain why the welcome bonus spend was showing £1600 less than the actual spend, even though the correct spend was registered against the renewal bonus tracker.
    2)More importantly, they said Mrs was not entitled to the welcome bonus anyway as she had the Marriot card a few months back. They kept quoting T&C’s re holding a previous Amex in the last 24 months.
    I am sure that this was clear on HfP that the Marriot card (or the BA Amex) did not impact the welcome bonus.
    They would not budge
    I have raised a formal complaint, and hope I have not misinterpreted HfP!

    • Spk says:

      The rules changed a year back.

      • Keiths says:

        They changed from 6months to 24 months, but I am sure this didn’t apply if you held Marriot before the Amex gold /platinum as Marriot does not earn MR’s

        • TGLoyalty says:

          eligible for the Platinum bonus if you’ve not held an MR card in past 24 months

          Eligible for gold bonus if you’ve not held ANY personal Amex in past 24 months.

    • Anna says:

      Sometimes payments can take a few days to register for bonuses, especially at weekends, I don’t know if this is the case here.
      My understanding is that your wife could have got the sign up bonus on the Platinum MR card, but not the gold, as this is affected by having the Marriott/SPG card. Rob has done articles explaining how best to maximise opportunities under the current rules.

      • Keiths says:

        I think I have been a muppet.
        We normally go with the Platinum and cancel the card within a month (I have sat on several thousand pounds worth of Sainsburys vouchers in the past!).
        Seeing the Gold bonus was 20k MR with no fee I thoughtit was less of a faff.
        I ‘assumed’ that Gold would be the same eligability as the Platinum.
        Now I am thinking that this was not the case
        Rob’s write-up at https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/07/06/earn-178000-avios-from-amex-bonuses/ mentions Paltinum and not Gold.
        Doh – just set my earning clock back 2 years AND missed out on this cycle’s bonuses.
        Still strange that the welcome bonus was showing on-line, albeit with the wrong spend.
        As an aside, both her (and my subsequent) application both stated that we would get the welcome bonus.

        • Anna says:

          It says that, then in the small print qualifies this will only be if the 2 year rules applies!

    • Harry T says:

      Unsure about 1). I’ve had a recurring issue where the yearly bonus trackers on my gold card reset part way through the year. I’ve rang several times about it but it hasn’t changed. I’ve already hit the 15k spend but the tracker doesn’t think I have.

      2) Alas, your missus isn’t eligible for a bonus on the Gold card after holding the Marriott card recently.

  • Frankie says:

    I’m hoping someone can help (please) with a questions about BA baggage. I am flying to Sicily tomorrow and want to take my favourite beach parasol as checked luggage. Wrapped up it’s dimensions in cm are 100 X 10 X 6 and on the BA website it is stated that the max dimensions are 90 X 75 X 43 for checked luggage. Do you think I’ll be allowed to take it as my checked luggage? I am allowed 2 pieces of free checked luggage as I’m silver BAEC and want the second one to be my parasol. Thanks in advance to any replies.

    • Lady London says:

      Luggage size is something they are likely to be very sttict sbout. Dimensions are often set by local luggage handling rules of whoever has to handle it and what airport equipment is used.

      Unless you can try to ship it as sports equipment? does not seem worth the effort and there is some risk of damage to it.

      I had a bit of a chuckle because from the outside it looks like wanting one’s own parasol in Sicily is a perfect example of a ‘first.world problem’. But your name looks like Franco and you’re going to Sicily so I’ll say no more 🙂

  • Munch says:

    Just want to check my Amex strategy. I assume Amex personal is now in 3 categories – branded, Rewards & BA.
    My 2 year renewal dates are as follows:
    Ba Card Sep 2020
    Plat Personal April 2021
    Bonvoy June 2021

    I assume I can apply for these cards in this order and still receive a full bonus?

    My 6 months renewal for a Plat Bus is Nov 2020 – can I continue you apply for the Business card as this does not affect any of my personal renewals?

    • Anna says:

      You need to apply for the Bonvoy card first out of those 3 if you want the sign up bonus. It won’t affect the BA/MR bonuses, but those cards WILL stop you getting the bonus on the Bonvoy/SPG.

      • Munch says:

        Anna thanks for the update.
        If I forgot about the Bonvoy for now I would receive the bonus BA and then the Plat? I assume I would need to wait 2 years after the closure of the Plat to receive the bonus on the Bonvoy card?
        Is the Plat bus completely separate so I continue to cycle every 6 months?

        • Anna says:

          I don’t know about the business card, but Rob has written about it. You can get the BA and ordinary Plat bonuses but that would bar you from a Bonvoy card for another 2 years after you closed both of them, so it depends if you want to wait a bit longer and reset the clock on all of them. So from what you say, if you waited until June next year, you could apply for the Bonvoy card, then the other two, and get all three bonuses.

      • Genghis says:

        Only assuming “BA card” means BAPP. If BA blue, then no bonus.

    • Peter K says:

      Just checking you’ve not had the gold or green personal amex cards in the last 2 years as that would stop you getting the Plat bonus even though you’ve not had the plat card itself for 24 months.
      Also, if you’ve had any other personal amex cards (eg. Nectar) in the 24 months up to your Marriott card then you won’t get that bonus.

  • Rahaney says:

    I was in a similar situation several months back on here. The change from mr earning cards and those that earned other points to “any personal” Amex caught me out too.

    Bottom line is the Marriott blocked you from intro bonuses in everything apart from a BA card.

    It would have been the Platinum too but your PRGC has barred that one now aswell.

  • Bonglim says:

    HI all. Group help needed.
    If you cancel an avois booked tickets – how long does it take for the avois to appear in your account. Is it immediate?

    The situation is we have 4 flights coming up to Portugal, want to change it to somewhere else, and don’t have enough avois to book the next flights until the avois from the previous flights hit my account. Is it possible to call BA, get them to cancel one set of avoid flights and book directly on to other avois flights (confirmed availability).

    The reason for the last minute change is the new option includes restrictions of travel based on getting coronavirus swab results – which may or may not come in time. So may still want the original flights.
    Thanks!

    • Anna says:

      It CAN be immediate – when I called to apply 2 companions vouchers recently, the first lots of avios appeared in my account while I was still on the phone having the 2nd lot refunded. However, it can take a few days, and in recent months I have seen people posting that they have needed to chase up missing avios after several weeks. BA might change your flights without having to cancel and rebook, though, I’ve lost track of all the different policies currently!

      • Anna says:

        Depending on how short you are, BA is doing a bonus for buying avios at the moment.

    • MDW says:

      I did this several weeks ago for an outbound to SIN & a return from BKK. The Avios spent was refunded into my account immediately. However, 6 weeks on and am still awaiting for the taxes & charges to be refunded to my Amex. Called several times and was told will take 21 working days. Well, that has come and gone…… Frustrating ehh..!

  • Secret Squirrel says:

    How long at present are seat reservation fee refunds taking from BA?
    Been weeks but still no sign, got AA refund 2 weeks ago done at the same time.

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