Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Friday 9th October

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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 (249)

  • rams1981 says:

    Anyone had issues with Revolut recently? Card suspended needing more info and after 3 days still no explanation other than to say they have identified activity against their T&C. Surely they cant just sit there for 3 days without dealing with it. £2k+ balance.

    • Coucou says:

      Naughty boy – what have you done? Spit it out.

    • the_real_a says:

      Top up / cash out… ? So 2014 🙂 Another prepaid card held mine for 4 months until i raised an FCA against them (upheld in my favor). What you will find is that anything they deem to come under “compliance” allows them carte blanche with your funds. Although often its more incompetence than a made decision. But the general guidance is that you should never MS with the rent money or any funds that you cannot do without for several months.

    • Aston100 says:

      My Revolut got temporarily frozen when I made a purchase in Rubles, using a VPN in order to obtain a better price.
      Not sure if that’s relevant to this conversation though.

    • Lady London says:

      I hate to make you worry but there are reports of this happening to people for
      not much at allin some cases and Revolut not dealing with the person trying to sort it out for months.

      After they updated their app, for dpme unknown reason Revolut wants me to re-upload all my ID again. This cant be for cause, since I haven’t been using it and only used it for a couple of straightforward purchase transactions a while back. My passport page is too shiny undee artificial light of and I dont have time in daylight to satisfy this stupid request right now. Revolut is a pain in the a$$ when they spring things like this.

      The best way I can think of yo describe Revolut customer service is it reminds me of having to deal with Russia prior to the fall of communism.

      Good luck getting it sorted and I hope you are not one of the ones whose account Revolut blocks for months.

      • rams1981 says:

        Yep I’m ok to be without the money so that’s fine. But no response for 3 days is appalling.
        I did read an article from the FT where someone else as without around 250k as they weren’t sure it was money laundering. No phone number to speak to people means never ever leave material amounts with fintech banks.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          £250k in a Revolut account … bloody hell someone trusts these fintechs far too much.

  • Aston100 says:

    Have 6 months left on a BAPP. Companion voucher was obtained last month.
    Got around 2k avios left in BAEC.
    I don’t MS with the BAPP – I wouldn’t even know how to since it isn’t useable with free Bendy nor with the Revolutionary app.

    If I cancel I can probably get back about 50% of the fee.
    Spoke to Amex customer services who can only offer 1 extra avios per pound for the next 3 months. Nothing else.

    My only other card of note is the free IHG.
    I can’t see how I’m going to earn enough avios through normal spend to obtain a 241 redemption to a decent long haul destination in the next couple of years.

    So I guess my best option is to cancel and get the 6 months refund and wait for Creation to reintroduce the premium IHG card, right?
    Or maybe even get the preferred rewards gold (1st year free) – but I won’t be getting a signup bonus.

    Any thoughts from anyone?
    Given the vast amounts of avios people seem to be holding or have available, I can only presume there is some serious MS going on that I’m unaware of(not that I would go out of my way to MS specifically of course).

    • Aston100 says:

      Oh just for clarity, I had enough avios earnt through normal spend for a 1st class redemption (using companion voucher) booked to asia a few weeks ago. Thats why I’ve got almost none left now. I will not be able to replicate that level of spend again anytime soon, and certainly not within the lifetime of the companion voucher, I think.

      • meta says:

        You need to up your game. I don’t do any MS and between my partner and me we still manage to collect a minimum of 100k Avios a year without a problem. I do that without any card churning (I never churned). It takes a lot of time for sure, but it is possible. Have you thought about card referrals? Do you put absolutely every single expense as much as you can through the card? Do you use portals when you shop online? Have you thought about booking holidays for friends and family or even colleagues. Do you jump on almost every opportunity published here and on other blogs relevant to you? These are all the things that you should be thinking on a daily basis.

        I get some people don’t have that time, but not everyone does MS.

        • Aston100 says:

          Thanks meta. Sounds like a lot of effort.
          Is the BA store reliable for tracking purchases? I’ve got bad experience with the two sites that cannot be named (and which have apparently led to my initial two replies not appearing here).
          I’m seeing several comments about card referrals. Is it not enough to refer one’s partner and then become a supplementary on that, and then do the reverse a year later? are people doing referrals on the same card more frequently than that? practically churning surely?

          • meta says:

            There is always someone outside your immediate household you can refer to the card who is not in the game yet. BA e store, it tracks regularly for me and others too. You have to be comprehensive in your approach and always always make sure you are maximising points earnings. There are ways to double, triple or even quadruple dip. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve seen my friends (who I’ve previously referred for the Amex card!) pull out a non-points card when we are out. Basically in our household before any purchase we think about how we are going to maximise points earnings.

            I mean it gets easier with time and you learn a lot of things, so you don’t have to think about it as much. It does require a lot of effort at the beginning to learn the tricks. Not everyone has that luxury.

          • Lady London says:

            A nice bit of MS-ing sounda sooo much easier than all that. Are you sure you guys aren’t doing any ? 🙂

        • Erico1875 says:

          It is a hobby.
          Between me and the wife we spent £3K to get 25K bonus Avios. That got us 4.5 K avios on the spend. She then got me a sup card (3 K bonus) she then referred me (9K Avios) I got my card, spent 3K and got the 25K Avios+ 4.5Avios for the spend, added the daughter for sup card. another 3K Avios. Referred the daughter for another 8K Avios.
          83K Avios, 2 x 2 41 vouchers in a year no hassle

          • Aston100 says:

            Indeed Erico, but good for just that first year only. There is a 2 year gap between these signup bonuses now as far as I can tell. So you wouldn’t be getting 50k of that avios in the second year.

      • Travel Strong says:

        Cancelling or Downgrading to the free BA card is the usual route at this point, downgrade if you like a simple life and wish keep an amex credit line ticking over. Cancel if you have a better strategy (regarding referals, partner spending instead, future signup bonuses, earning next 241, etc…)… (I would be cancelling).

        P.S. Welcome to the dark side, that virtuous ‘I don’t MS’ concept is lying in tatters 😉

      • Anna says:

        Best earning strategy is to cancel and refer your partner, if you’ve got someone who’s happy to play the game with you. There are bits of MS still going on these days but you can still build up a decent avios balance with referrals, sign up bonuses, shopping via the BA e store and earning avios on cash fares (as blue you get about 15k avios for the cheapest J fare to a Zone 6 destination).

        • Anna says:

          Book travel with BA unless you can get the same deal cheaper elsewhere, and pay on BAPP for 3 avios per £1.

        • Aston100 says:

          Hi Anna, are we talking about referring one’s partner and vice versa for the same card long before each card year is over? I didn’t think that would be acceptable to Amex, and sounds a bit like churning?

          • Anna says:

            There’s nothing to say you have to hold a card for a particular length of time. Before the 24 month rule came in a lot of people were churning every 6 months – Amex changed the rules but didn’t take issue with individual cardholders.
            I think MS is more of an American thing but basically you’re doing it each time you use money more than once, if you get my drift! Much easier with MC & Visa though than Amex.

          • Polly says:

            Yes

    • Harry T says:

      I’ve obtained plenty of Avios and MR from referrals, retention offers, upgrading to Platinum etc. I don’t manufacture spend. Shopper portals can be helpful. Truth be told, I’m not even sure why I have so many Avios at this point!

      • Aston100 says:

        I don’t think I’ve seen anyone on here actually confirming that they do MS.
        Like, everyone is in denial or something!

        • Harry T says:

          I genuinely don’t. I know how to but I don’t consider it to be worth the risk. I also like to maintain a good relationship with companies.

          • BJ says:

            Come on Harry, holding amex to ransom is a more gentlemanly pursuit than MS?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I do. It’s not free (curve metal) but get the points at a fraction of the flight/room value I can exchange them for even if I was pessimistic.

          Tbh I don’t do the e stores as too many instances of the points being recalled.

      • Lady London says:

        There’s also adding supps.

    • Vit says:

      @Aston, I am basically at the same stage now. Got just enough for F tagging along 2-4-1. I suggest maybe applying for PRGC and refer your partner? I did that and somehow my partner get the bonus (i.e. spending £4k to get 10k MR point) and I did not when we know for sure we’re not eligible. So you can give it a try, if no luck at least you would get the referral bonus.

      We did not have family here — just a few close-friend which we did referral. So we had to churn. My last churn with the Green upgrading to Plat to spend £4k earned me 74k MR point thanks to AMEX IT glitch. I may do it again as we need a new sofa and a few more expenses on home renovation. If you have any upcoming large expense, maybe considering doing this route?

      I am 4 months left till the end of my free PRGC — I know what to do if the situation remains as it is now. 🙂

      ps. I am actually focusing on IHG spend now. Hopefully getting some good stay when travelling is open up.

    • BJ says:

      Why ask questions, you just get the wrong answers.

      • Aston100 says:

        Hello Cryptic BJ. I noticed you were being a bit mysterious the other day with Anna too.
        I’m happy to play along, give me a clue…. how many letters? is it a book? a movie? rhymes with…?
        🙂

    • Harry T says:

      @BJ are you not meant to ask for what you want? It worked with my platinum card.

      • BJ says:

        Ask if you must, personally I think it is better just to kick the ball into their end, see how it bounces and play it from there. Didn’t you see the extra comments I added today? My strategy is in there and there is no need to read between the lines.

        • Harry T says:

          Did you add to the other thread?

          • Harry T says:

            Can’t see a strategy comment…

          • BJ says:

            Go back to where we started the conversation, not today. I added a reply to Anna and a reply to you. It is all there staring you in the face, don’t get caught up in the wood and the trees thing.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          @BJ not seeing the strategy unless you mean cancelling all cards but 1 failed for you?

    • Mark says:

      You called and asked to cancel, and they offered you 1 extra Avios per £ spent?

      • Aston100 says:

        Mark, if that question was for me then the answer is yes, that is what they offered me.
        Sorry on my phone I can’t easily tell which reply is meant for which post.

    • Harry T says:

      @BJ
      Unsure if we are talking about the same comments or I’m just being dense, but I still don’t get it 😊

      • Crafty says:

        No idea here either, I spent about half an hour trying to figure out the “code”! Something to do with a bunch of grapes, then I decided it was just a figure of speech…

  • Anna says:

    Result – Ryanair has cancelled my October half term flights to Carcassonne. Glad I decided to sit it out and not pay their swingeing change fees. Just need to read through the long email now and find out what hoops I have to jump through to get my money back!

    • Anna says:

      Actually it was pretty painless, BA could learn a few things. Just wait and see if the refund appears now …

      • Harry T says:

        Tbh Anna, aside from the issues with my 241 (someone pressed the wrong button), I’ve been pleasantly surprised by BA customer service. I’ve had over ten cancellations this year and they’ve been lovely every time I’ve rang. Just got off the phone to a lovely lady called Jenny at BAEC who refunded my Avios and taxes for a cancelled booking. Took me five minutes to get through. My other half has also found their customer service to be delightful.

        • Anna says:

          Not the CS, that’s been pretty good recently if you can get through. I meant STILL not allowing refunds online. Ryanair form took about 15 seconds to fill in & submit. Don’t tell me BA can’t do that.

          • Lady London says:

            Oh, they could… and did, as we all recall.

            Then BA blocked this pre-existing 15-second ability to request refunds, completely off their website When HfP’ers worked out a way to still request refunds, BA blocked that too

            Mr. Regulator…yoo hoo ! I hope you’re only waiting for BA’s cashflow to turn positive again (which would be the gentlemanly thing to do) before you fine BA enough to let them know it wasn’t worthwhile.

      • BJ says:

        OT @Anna, just saw your comments re Mary and posted a couple of tour links for you.

    • Harry T says:

      And I’m glad you’ve got the cancellation and refund (hopefully). It’s almost always worth waiting for a cancellation.

  • Harry T says:

    Did anyone else receive the email about the 10 points per pound when spending at Marriott hotels on the Bonvoy amex? I actually think this is a very generous offer. If you have Platinum status with a Bonvoy amex, then you’re earning 15 Bonvoy per USD and 10 points per pound.

    Between this and the free nights, I’m a fairly happy customer. I’m glad Marriott is still investing in the credit card market over here. I wish Hyatt or Hilton would make similar moves!

    • BJ says:

      Seen Hilton Park Lane for 49k on many nights next March if that’s of interest to you.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Good offer c5% back but I’ll be using my cards with £50 off £200 instead first 🙂

    • Anna says:

      I don’t have Bonvoy Amex any more but my £1700 RC stay in April will apparently earn me 64000 points! Is this right? Or am I just going to be disappointed?

      • meta says:

        The offer is only till 31 Jan. So unless there is another offer then, it will be 6 points per £. But still you should do pretty well with that spend. We also don’t know what kind of Marriott promo might be happening at the time. Double points, although quite unlikely as Marriott offers haven’t been as good as before.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        @anna 10 points per $ £ @ 1.3 USD but less tax I would get 30k or so as a platinum without using my Bonvoy AMEX. As it’s a Ritz Carlton its outside the UK so 3% fee wipes out the 6/£1 (which I’ll sometimes still use as I get more than 0.5p at the places I’d use them) (the 10/£ runs out by then)

  • Harry T says:

    British Airways Book with Confidence policy has been extended indefinitely.

  • Jill (Kinkell) says:

    Good grief! Just turned my iPad mini from portrait to landscape and saw the Recent comments bar down the RHS. My lovely peony avatar is Huge! Surely a techy. issue to sort out, Rob or Rhys?

    • Rob says:

      It’s a cache issue. Go Safari / Advanced / Website Data and then delete the HFP data. This should do the job.

      It’s very frustrating but a website cannot force a browser to clear the data it stores (which it stores to make it faster to load the page next time you visit). This is what causes it. It happened on desktops too on the day we reset the avatars.

  • RedCurtains says:

    Anyone able to give any insight on the upgrading from Gold to Platinum. My 10k points has posted (on card anniversary once I paid the balance -earlier than DD). However, I was previously told my Brighton CS that if I upgrade on the phone, I will not be credit searched whereas if I do this online then I will be? However an international agent just put me through to a Brighton CS agent who then put me through to an international one (maybe as out of hours) who said – this is not true, it will still be credit searched & It will take 1-2 weeks to get a reply… I politely hung up so I can consider my options. Any experience from anyone on here?

    • RedCurtains says:

      *30 days after card anniversary

      • Nick says:

        There is no ‘rule’ about when you will or won’t have a search. I always do when applying for anything at all with Amex, others report that they don’t. Regardless of phone or online. YMMV of course.

        The main thing though is to realise that a search doesn’t really mean anything. Unless you’re about to apply for a mortgage or something else serious, a credit search won’t do much harm. It drops off the record after 12 (?) months anyway. Most people can ‘get away with’ far more searches than they have normally.

  • Crafty says:

    OT: A Marriott Bonvoy free night voucher, that was until very recently showing in my account as extended until 31/1/21, has disappeared from my account.

    Its original expiry date was sometime late 2020, so I assume this is a glitch to do with the extension.

    Has anyone experienced something similar, and been able successfully to resolve this?

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