Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 7th 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 (221)

  • Niall says:

    Does anyone know if UK-based private PCR tests required for travel to certain countries are reimbursable via either travel insurance (e.g. Amex Plat) or private medical insurance (e.g. Axa)?

    • Jonathan says:

      Definitely not for either. Same as they won’t cover travel vaccines, upgrades to business if you have a bad back or screening tests in absence of symptoms.

      • blenz101 says:

        Niall – I would certainly check if you have private medical. I have worldwide cover provided by my employer through Aetna due to being based outside of the UK. They have certainly covered the cost of PCR tests. When there has been a case of Covid in our office tower all staff have been advised to take a test and use pay and claim to cover the cost.

        They may not cover you for travel but if you had suspected symptoms or had been advised by track and trace to get a test there may well be a good chance you are covered. I know plenty in my building who have now claimed for multiple tests for various reasons via private medical.

  • Andrew says:

    Wheely offer on Amex Plat – my reading of it is that there is no spend threshold, just needing to spend 3 times. Seems the minimum fare is £12 so potentially a £36 spend to trigger a £50 credit. Although the journeys are likely to be a bit more expensive especially as it’s a quote rather than a fixed fare, but certainly seems easy to break even and get 3 free rides.

    • memesweeper says:

      Good luck getting any further than a stones throw for £12 🙂

      • Andrew says:

        I’ll happily throw a stone 3 times to make a £14 profit! A week ago everyone was in raptures over earning 1000 Avios by renting a bike 3 times – this seems a better deal.

      • Lady London says:

        TBH out of peak hours I’m not seeing much difference between regular taxi and Uber around Zones 1 & 2. Haven’t done a lot with Uber yet but that’s how it’s shaping.

    • BP says:

      Book a car with a long wait. Cancel after 5 minutes and you pay the smaller cancellation fee. Do this 3 times and profit 😀

  • paulm says:

    A few new Amex offers this morning incl Hyatt and Marriott which might interest a few..

    • AndyGWP says:

      Yup. Marriott spend £200 get £50 back seems decent 👍🏻

      • Anna says:

        Marriott expires 31/12, my next stay is in February 😬

        • Anna says:

          Though would a spa day at our local Marriott qualify?

          • Andrew says:

            Depends which till it goes through.

            If it’s front desk, “Marriott Grimsby”, definitely.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            In my experience it really depends on the hotel. If the spa is fully integrated it’s just billed as if it was the hotel (The Langley does that for example)

      • Harry T says:

        At long last! Just in time for my September travels.

        • YC says:

          Always worth double checking if the hotel is eligible before paying the 3% FX (for example Marriotts in Greece/Turkey are not part of the Amex offer)

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Luckily UK and Germany are included

          The remaining warmer corridor destinations like Greece, Portugal, Turkey are excluded

          • Harry T says:

            @TGLoyalty
            University Arms in Cambridge isn’t on the list for the offer but do you reckon it might work anyway? Or is their IT pretty good?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Sounds like a mistake as every other hotel in the UK is but if it doesn’t auto post you won’t get manual credit.

    • Andrew says:

      £100 back on a £300 spend at Hyatt is eye catching (checkout spend until year end).

      That’s probably just enough for a 3 day autumn break between weekly announcements.

    • Michael C says:

      Connaught/Berkeley 100 on 300 (room only).

    • J says:

      If used outside the UK no way around avoiding Amex FX charges though which will eat up a chunk of the saving?

      • Pangolin says:

        The charge is ~3% so easily worth swallowing if you’re getting £50 off £200 or £100 off £300.

        If you have the Marriott Bonvoy card, that generates triple points at Marriott properties so it offsets the FX load.

    • Pangolin says:

      What’s annoying is that I have the Bonvoy card and the Marriott offer doesn’t appear on that. Of the three Amex cards I have, it only appears on the card I hardly ever use these (BA free card).

      On the Bonvoy card I get triple points for hotel spend so it’s a shame they couldn’t include it on that.

      • memesweeper says:

        Log out, log in … you may find it there tomorrow … mine showed up after my Gold card

        • Pangolin says:

          OK thanks, I’ll check tomorrow, but normally I check offers on the desktop where I always have to log in anyway.

  • Luckyjim says:

    Does anyone know of free trials or special offers for co-working spaces? We work/ Regus, that sort of thing?

    • Andrew says:

      Don’t forget the local independent ones.

      At the moment, you might be better off phoning around for offers. These places are like gyms and car dealers, the best deals aren’t published on the interweb

      • Luckyjim says:

        The independent ones I’ve looked at are still closed. Possibly permanently. Ibis and Virgin Money Lounges are also closed.

    • Rob says:

      If you want a private office, WeWork is fully negotiable. No leeway on hot desking or day passes AFAIK because those are not negotiated locally.

    • Lady London says:

      Accor has a new program of offering work spaces in its hotels.

      • Pangolin says:

        Interesting. Do you have a link to that? I normally don’t use Accor so hadn’t heard of that.

        • Lady London says:

          They used to call it Nextdoor , seems they’ve renamed it wojo. Monte Carlo is in there though!! as well as Barcelona. Looks like their European expansion plans got delayed by Covid but Paris looks good. There were some very tasty promotions last year for 1 free day when they launched. A bit of digging makes this look like the current link
          https://www.wojo.com/search?ref=reborn_header

  • eligold says:

    I’ve just noticed that BA Avios bookings to SYD are showing RFS. Is there actually a saving on what it used to be, and how much?

    Also, can someone explain to me the difference between the flight that shows up as a direct LHR-SYD and the one which is LHR-SIN SIN-SYD. I see the price is slightly different and same for the amount of Avios but what are the differences based on?

  • meta says:

    Looks like reward flight saver has been rolled out to all long-haul destinations. I can see it for Dubai and for Tokyo. Only economy though. Fees seem to be based on distance £50 for Dubai, £100 per one way for Tokyo.

    • Andrew says:

      Same as New York which started at the beginning of the year – economy only. But good value if you’ve got Avios to burn and want a cheap flight, remembering the advertised economy fares are for HBO whereas Avios always comes with baggage.

  • Aston100 says:

    Wife just qualified for a BA companion voucher.
    The message on her Amex screen says “Start earning towards next year’s voucher from 07 Apr 2021”
    Does it mean any further spend on her BAPP (prior to 7th April) will not count towards another companion voucher?
    And why 7th April? Is this something to do with her BAEC account year?

    As I found the whole BA reward experience quite stressful the other day, I am unlikely to want to go for a 3rd companion voucher anyway, so she may as well just downgrade to the free BA card shortly.
    If only we’d applied for the IHG black card before they stopped it in April. Seems going forward my only points earning will be done through the free white IHG card.

    Thanks.

    • Darren says:

      It’ll be her card anniversary, one voucher per membership year. Correct on the spend not qualifying.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Any additional spend from now until April 7th 202a won’t count towards another voucher as you only get one per card year.

      April 7th would be the card anniversary.

    • Fred says:

      Why was the experience stressful?

    • Anna says:

      This is why if you’re putting enough spend through for 2 vouchers per year, it’s useful for one card year to be, say, Jan – Dec, and one June – May, so you haven’t got one card sitting inactive that you’ve paid the fee on. It is a bit of trial and error though when you first start, and we still end up in September/October each year having earned 2 vouchers, (plus Amex gold £15k spend bonus this year!) and waiting for OH’s BAPP to reset In December in time for Xmas! We’re both eligible for Platinum bonus next year so I’m hoping to be able to plan slightly better and have only 1 BAPP on the go as we won’t need 2 more vouchers next year.

      • Sandra says:

        Just triggered my voucher, valid until March 2023. Have to wait until 7 Jan (membership year start) before I can start spending for the next one. Got in early this year to get the 6 month voucher extension with 2 new iPhones bought via BA e store that have netted 11399 Avios with the current bonus offers, although had I known Apple were going to increase their e store Avios from 3 to 6/£1 I would have bought both together rather than one last month and one this month!

  • Ammar says:

    Are the hotel offers eg Marriott/Hyatt cumulative or you have to spend in one go?