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.

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Comments (115)

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  • Kipto says:

    The ability to move from the free ba Amex card to the Premium Plus card or move the other way/cancel is not available to do online anymore. You have to ring up now. Phoned Amex on the provided number and was told that “ new card” applications are only dealt with on Monday-Friday 0800-2000. Poor from Amex

    • Harry T says:

      I suspect they’ve done this because of abuse of the system – it was only a matter of time.

    • BJ says:

      IME it is, you just apply as a new applicant, it recognises you already have an account and requests you sign in whereupon it continues to process your application as an upgrade or downgrade.

  • Keely says:

    Morning can I just check my strategy with you all please? I’ve come unstuck before so want to make sure I’m in the right place…
    Referred for MR Gold (from my free BA Amex) for 18yo son when the increased 20k bonus was on (me as supp). Just about to hit that bonus . Husband is on 2 year hiatus , can reapply April next year.

    Im thinking I should refer son again for blue Amex (I know he won’t get intro Bonus) , get myself as a supp, cancel mine so I can then restart my 2 year clock rather than waiting til next April . I’m about three months away from hitting 10k so don’t want to upgrade yet even though I know I’d get more points for referral. Husband can be referred from
    sons card in April . In this way I can reset my clock earlier but we’ll still have Amex for collecting . (Son is in HH account , doesn’t care about points (I’m sure he will in time!) but it’s good for his credit rating too.

    Is this the right approach? Can I get referral bonus for the same person if they apply for a different card?

    • BJ says:

      Right approach is to get your son a supp for at least 6 months and have him use it regularly. Then follow the strategy recommended by Rob if your sons situation can support it which is doubtful. Getting an 18yo multiple short term cards is not going to help his credit file. There seems to be some evidence lately that amex are being more cautious in approving applications and also about the amount of credit offered.

      • Keely says:

        Mmm ok thanks. He already has a cc in his name …so do you mean get him a supp on my card? Surely for his rating it would just be better then for him to keep the Gold mr card for the first free year? In reality I’m spending on this card currently and repaying it. His card is used too a healthy Amount ( not too much) is going through and being regularly repaid .

        • BJ says:

          Good if he already has a card in his own name and uses it sensibly. There are others here with better advice on the subject than me but I doubt too many credit facilities for an 18yo is a good thing with respect to credit files. Amex seems to afford more weight to their own internal files than to the external agencies as far as I can tell. For this reason getting him a supp on your card for while might be a good idea but I’m not suggesting an application in his own right would be unsuccessful.

          • Keely says:

            Ok thanks .i think I’ll just stick with his gold card for now (me as supp) 👍

  • Ben says:

    Anyone have any feedback to how long the recent Marriott status match takes? Website says 10 business days but I was thinking of a last minute trip to Cyprus next week…!

    • meta says:

      5-6 days for me. Applied Friday midday, got an email on Tuesday and account was updated by Wednesday morning.

    • BJ says:

      Reports duggest they are trickling through; obviously they will have a huge number of requests.

      • Nomad26 says:

        Mine took 6 days for the email to come through and a further 24 hours to reflect on my account.

        • Stephen says:

          APOLOGIES
          After reviewing the documents you submitted, we were unable to approve your registration.

          Did anyone else have this issue? Uploading proof of Hilton Gold + recent receipt

          • Jay H says:

            Got the same. Resubmitted with the hope someone with a brain cell review this time. Clearly shows status and a stay within the last 12 months.

  • ljg says:

    My 85 year old father accepted a BA voucher for flights cancelled during Covid – he was in Portugal at the time. BA are refusing to convert these into a cash refund – is there anything he can do. BA are saying no.
    Thanks for any help – I have tried to look on the site but found nothing.

    • Rob says:

      If it was a cash booking, no, they won’t convert it to cash. You should have called BA to request a cash refund in the first place.

      It seems that Avios tickets which were turned to vouchers CAN be turned back into Avios and cash if you pay the £35 fee.

      • LJG says:

        Thank you Rob – it was at the start of Covid and he had poor internet access and insufficient info.

        • Charlieface says:

          Insufficient info might be grounds for claiming cash. Under EC261 it’s very difficult for the airlines to get away with a voucher unless the customer specifically agreed to it.

  • Ben says:

    May be just in time in theory…!

  • Aston100 says:

    Wanted to share my experience with booking reward flights for the very first time.
    Bear in mind I don’t MS and am very new to miles & points, and all my avios and hotel miles are organic (no churning of Amex etc)
    A couple of days ago, I noticed excellent availability in first to destinations in south east asia for July & August 2021.
    I didn’t have enough avios to do a return booking. I did however have a stack of clubcard points I could convert. I submitted a request to convert a sufficient quantity.
    I then posted on here in a panic seeking advice on how to progress in the absence of sufficient points. There was talk of potential £35pp change fees, and maybe paying additional taxes/charges due to 2 * 1 way bookings being merged into a return.

    I had enough avios at that time to book a oneway outbound in first utilising my companion voucher. So I did that, and then waited nervously for the clubcard avios to arrive.
    These avios arrived today (took about 36 hours).
    I rang You First on 0161 448 3013. Took 6 minutes to get through. Very helpful chap, very patient. I explained the situation and he was able to book me 2 * club seats on the inbound (no first availability), and merged them with my first class outbound. I was charged taxes/charges equivalent to a normal return trip rather than 2 * 1 way (I did the maths). I was also not charged any admin fees or anything else. The chap explained they are waiving change fees due to Covid. He further confirmed that if first availability appears on the inbound leg, I will not be charged any fees for changing from club to first – only the additional 35k avios.
    Overall an excellent experience with You First.
    A very nerve wracking reward booking experience, mostly as I don’t know what I am doing, and also because I was expecting the return seats to disappear. There was also the threat of the outbound first seats disappearing as I was asking questions on here and looking up various info.

    A thanks to those who responded to my queries 2 days ago. And a thanks to this site for providing useful info, particularly regarding You First – a service I had not heard of until now.

    • AJA says:

      Well done! I do hope you get to travel. My first experience of First using a 2-4-1 companion voucher got cancelled by BA but a very quick call to You First on a Saturday morning sorted out the instant refund of Avios and companion voucher, cash paid for TFCs appeared on my Amex on the following Monday. Makes me want to book First again, hoping I can find reward availability and they still have a First cabin when I come to do it.

    • memesweeper says:

      Good news ASTON100 — enjoy your trip

  • Aston100 says:

    Further to my post from a few moments ago about having booked some reward seats to/from asia.
    Can anyone kindly assist me with choosing seats. I appreciate there may be equipment changes and all sorts before July 2021, but a reference point is always useful.
    787-9, 8 seats in first class (1a & 1k blocked). My choice here is the centre pair in either row 1 or row 2. Which would be better please? I can select these for free now.
    Same aircraft, club world. 2-3-2 layout. I have no status with BA so I may pay if there are definitely seats that are better than others. This is an overnight flight, so perhaps I’ll wait till online check in opens if all I’m doing is sleeping from 2 hours into the flight. But still, if there are seats better than others, would appreciate any thoughts. 2 adults.

    Incidentally, what is the chance of club suites appearing on 787-9 aircraft?

    Thanks.

    • Anna says:

      Well done on your redemption. It gets less stressful as you get more used to all the different bits of the process. You First are the absolute best bit of BA and after having to cancel F and non-F flights this year, I intend to fly at least one leg in that cabin whenever possible in future!

      I think if you book on the phone, you do get the taxes/fees adjusted, it’s just if you book your return leg online and call to have avios refunded, they won’t do it – though whether you actually lose out depends on your destination.

      I personally wouldn’t pay to choose a CW seat, especially on an overnight flight. The more people do this, the more BA will keep hiking the prices (some seats are over £100 to reserve now). A window seat does offer a greater feeling of privacy, if that’s important to you. but I still wouldn’t pay extra for it.

      • meta says:

        Well done! I wouldn’t pay for CW either. I my case 95% of the time I get the preferred seat. General public are clueless about seating and pay for the worst seats in the cabins.

        I prefer the mini CW cabin on 787-9 and seat 7A which has direct aisle access. We usually select 7A,B or 7J,K depending on the flight path (I like to have the best view on approach). Failing that 13A,B or 13J,K is good too although possible noise issues from PE. It’s very rare that I don’t get one of those.

        For F, personally I feel the middle pair is the best for a couple if flying for the first time. Now, we tend to select window seats as I like looking out.

        Rob did a few articles recently on seating, so that might help you.

        • Aston100 says:

          Thank you. I presume the food service starts from the front, in which case I would expect row 13 to be left with mostly macaroni and seasonal veg right?
          Or do they do it from back and front simultaneously? sorry, got no experience of BA premium cabins / dormitories – I honestly can’t believe they’d shove 42 seats into business class on what is a medium sized aircraft.
          I mean Qatar a380 has IIRC 52 seats in J, but those are 1-2-1 reverse herringbone taking up the bulk of the upper deck, so they at least have an excuse.

          • meta says:

            I always pre-book the main course from London. You have to do it at the latest 3 days before the flight. The menu will appear on Manage my Booking from 30 days before and you can select main course from then. From elsewhere, I never had a problem getting first choice for the main. It might happen for a starter or dessert, but for me it’s very rare. Maybe I’m just lucky, but there is always a risk.

          • Anna says:

            I’ve never not got a decent meal in CW, but it is fun when you can choose it in advance. We’ve always had good seats as well, the best time was last year when BA were using the F cabin for overspill and we were put in there with the pilot’s family, I’m guessing because we hadn’t pre-booked seats in CW!

          • Lady London says:

            Does the old rule about dont do any meal ordering as this would stop you being upgraded, still apply?

          • @mkcol says:

            No.

          • meta says:

            No, don’t think so. I also doubt that they would upgrade @Aston100 to F on the way back as they would first look at solo travellers with cash tickets, status holders, etc.

          • Doug says:

            Status on BA largely works against you for upgrades. They upgrade those their algorithm thinks they can entice to book a class up next time, that’s often not status holders.

    • Jonathan says:

      Absolutely no chance of Club Suites on a 787-9, they’ll be about the last planes to be converted.

      If you’re not bothered about window seats (1A & K will be blocked for Golds till 48-72 hours prior to departure) then I wouldn’t care about row 1 or 2. Row 1 slightly closer to galley but then you’ll get food first so more likely better choice.

      In business the forward mini cabin is quieter & quicker service but unlikely to be available for free. As a couple I’d want a window, there’s a limited number of pairs at next to bulkheads (therefore close to bassinets) where you don’t have to step over someone else to get out of window if they’re sleeping but if relatively flexible then it’s not that tricky.

      • Aston100 says:

        ***Row 1 slightly closer to galley but then you’ll get food first so more likely better choice.***
        8 first class seats. Is there genuinely a risk of not loading sufficient quantities to cater for (at most) 8 passengers? Especially out of LHR?
        Thanks.

        • ChrisC says:

          BA don’t load 8 of everything though they do load more than 8 entrees in total.

          Cabin crew walk through the cabin asking for your 1st and 2nd choices and once they have done that know if they can meet all the requests for 1st choices. if they have more requests than they can fulfil they go down the manifest and take status into account.

          Being in the front of the F cabin is no guarentee you will get your 1st choice as they don’t serve the cabin that way

          • Aston100 says:

            Thank you.
            I’ve just booked the middle seats in row 1.
            Mostly because I doubt I’ll have the opportunity to sit in the very first row of a BA aircraft again.

          • meta says:

            I’ve never been asked about 2nd choice, only the first choice and only if they don’t have it they come back and ask for second choice usually with a suggestion. But @ChrisC is right, they don’t load everything. That’s why it’s good to at least pre-book the main.

    • Chris Heyes says:

      ASTON100 Well done your on your way to being a expert (well not quite but a few more booking and you will
      One bit of advice i would pass on is:
      If you are on an overnight flight on the way back
      Why would you get first ?
      We normally fly first going (day flight) to take full advantage of 1st
      But coming back we always go for Business Club,
      After all you will be asleep on an overnight flight
      In fact we have just booked Business Class going (was no first available) but Club Suite 787-10 waiting for return to be available
      If one of your party has a disability (ie deaf one side, or any other disability) the whole party gets free seat selection
      We take advantage every trip
      more than two 1st seats as started to become rarer now though
      we could find four on each flight before although only for 1 hour at 1am planes 787-9 and 787-10 less 1st seats

  • DK says:

    I am planning to transfer some Bonvoy points to OH. Is there a way to get a very small amount of points to round up before that?

    • Rob says:

      Amex transfer, have a drink in a hotel bar on the ‘we give points for food and drink’ list.

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