Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Sunday 18th 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 (148)

  • Mr. AC says:

    Are there any switch-able current accounts that can be opened online apart from Starling, Monzo and Virgin Money?

    • Mr. AC says:

      Actually scratch that, of course there are… I forgot that for regular folks opening high street bank accounts online works (doesn’t work for me because I’m not on the electoral register / don’t have years of credit history).

    • Nick_C says:

      Open a second current account with a bank where you are already a customer? I did this with Halifax purely to get a donor account to switch. The account was opened and operational instantly but I had to wait three days for the debit card in order to complete the switching form.

      • Mr. AC says:

        Interesting! Wasn’t aware that this was generally possible. Will research. Cheers!

        • Nick_C says:

          Certainly is. I have two current accounts with Tesco and a further two with TSB, both taken out originally for high interest.

  • Baji Nahid says:

    Im trying to calculate how many tier points i would get if I flew from Edinburgh to New Zealand and back with Qatar. Trying to find the tier table but no luck, maybe im just looking in the wrong place.

    Alsooo, since a few retailers are not taking amex, such as uk gov website, tefal etc, do you think it would be advisable to open up a curve account and use that with an underlying amex card for payment. I wonder if that would work.

  • Mark says:

    Anyone knows if I can purchase other gift cards with a Tesco/M&S gift card? Asking because I can buy Tesco gift cards at 4% discount, M&S at 6%. Thinking how I can get creative 🙂

    • John says:

      You shouldn’t be able to but it may work if the Tesco cashier doesn’t notice. Doesn’t your portal offer other retailers

    • johnny_c-l says:

      I’ve always done this with Tesco, and Morrisons, never had an issue buying other gift cards with them and a nice way to get extra savings as you point out.

    • Simon says:

      It’s against Morrisons policy but you can do it at self checkout no problem although best to limit yourself to no more than 3 third party gift cards per transaction

    • TGLoyalty says:

      M&S don’t sell 3rd party gift cards but no issues using one to buy at Tesco or Morrisons

    • KBuffett says:

      Self checkout and be discreet. Don’t try more than two vouchers

  • dezbez says:

    Morning all. Popping in to Bicester Village today – did I read in a previous thread that you can buy a gift card there (for use in most stores), and this would work with the current Amex offer (ie spend £300, get £40 back)? Thx

    • Andrew says:

      Yes and for once the terms (if you click on the list of available retailers) says it DOES include gift cards. Available from the visitor centre. Ignore what they tell you about it not being accepted at Prada because it is. Also if you have Amex Platinum or Centurion card you can show this at the visitor centre to get a VIP card which gives you extra 10% off at places not participating in the current Privilege promotions (10% at Dior and Cafe Wolseley are examples of VIP discounts you wouldn’t get with Privilege) and of course that discount is available all year and not just when this private sale is on.

    • Michael C says:

      Don’t know about the card, DB, but if you’re making a day of it, nearby The Bull in Launton does an incredibly cheap and very ok Sunday lunch in a lovely setting!

  • Simon says:

    I have a few thousand Expedia points expiring soon – is there any way to make any value from them? Are they worth trying to retain? Thanks in advance

    • mr_jetlag says:

      Best way is to book a “VIP” hotel where they are worth 2x value. So at least £20 per 1000 points.

    • AJA says:

      I didn’t know that Expedia points expire. A quick search reveals they expire after 18 months of inactivity but a redemption or earning resets the clock. Does booking a hotel that was subsequently cancelled count?

    • ChrisC says:

      how many is a ‘few thousand’ and what is the cash value?

      knowing that will get you more specific advice on how to get the most value.

  • Tony says:

    So BA moving more flights from LGW to LHR, good news for those of us living in the north of England. BA lost a lot of business due to the inaccessibility of Gatwick, Cruz and Walsh did not care… BA can no longer afford to forget about those of us living north of the Watford Gap…

    • JohnT says:

      Read on another blog they cancelled the LHR Barbados and moved them to LGW one!

      • Number9 says:

        Oh really ? I was only entertaining Barbados if the flights were from LHR. I don’t live up North but still detest Gatwick.

      • Rob says:

        Would not be surprising given that BGI bookings must have collapsed. We cancelled ours for next week – no losing half the holiday due to quarantine ….

        • Paul says:

          Depends how long you go for.. It you take a PCR test on Wednesday before travel, travel Saturday (3 days after initial test), test in Barbados on Sunday (4 days after initial test) then results on Monday and out of quarantine. So yes, potentially 2 days out of 7, but also only 2 days out of 14..

          Mind you, quarantine depends on where you are staying – some hotels allow use of pool, limited restaurant etc so you arent confined to your room necessarily..

          LOTS of availability at the moment if seatspy is correct…

    • Anna says:

      Let’s see whether MAN-LHR services reflect this, they seem to be reduced year on year!

    • Genghis says:

      If arriving by train from “the North” (into Euston or Kings X) and then continuing to use public transport, Gatwick is probably quicker to get to than Heathrow (Thameslink from St Pancras).

      • Anna says:

        There’s no way you can get luggage for a family for a 2 or 3 week break to LGW or LHR on a train!

        • Callum says:

          The number of families on the train with luggage every time I go to or from an airport says otherwise!

          I can see why you wouldn’t want to (especially if you’re one of those families who like to pack the kitchen sink), but it’s definitely not impossible.

        • Doug M says:

          If each person only takes what they can carry it’s simple. I see plenty of people on public transport with luggage. Because you don’t want to or choose not to is not the same as ‘no way’.

        • @mkcol says:

          Of course you can, even on a skiing trip where you’re taking your own equipment.
          It just takes organised parents & compliant kids.

          • Anna says:

            Where do you put that much luggage on a train? It’s all very saying only take what you can carry, but that’s not realistic if you want things like books, diving equipment etc to properly enjpy your holiday. The last few train journeys I’ve been on there was barely enough room for the humans, let alone full size suitcases.
            By the time we’d got a taxi to the station, train to London, changed trains for the airport, it’s a similar price and far less stressful to drive and park at the airport, but even that is massively inconvenient compared to flying from a local hub.

          • Princess says:

            I agree that kids and luggage are a tricky combination. Every trip I now cut down more and more without missing things. Last trip in September we only had 2 normal backpack for us (the one you would normally use to go around daily) and our 4 years old brought their little back pack. We moved much easily and quicker. Now even going to Gatwick is less painful!!!

        • babyg says:

          airportr your luggage (well when they re-open in November).. works a treat

        • David says:

          of course you can get in on a train.

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Anna your obviously not a seasoned Train passenger lol
          book an early cheap train to London (1st class of course) 12 weeks in advance (or an Avanti family ticket 1st class special price either Manchester to Euston or Preston to Euston £200 up to 2 Adults and up to 4 children
          use lifts at Euston/Victoria
          when you get to Victoria look for red disabled doors coach that has loads of room for luggage (it’s always were the toilets are)
          or Gatwick express (never caught express ourselfs)

    • Callum says:

      You do realise they were at capacity before and using Gatwick as more of an overflow? I know some people on here (especially those who name drop the CEOs!) like to act as if BA has some sort of bizarre vendetta against the north but that’s clearly not true.

      • Charlieface says:

        The perception mainly came from the dropping of non-LHR flights out of MAN and BHX, which were quite popular.
        Personally I think they should scrap LGW completely now and move the second hub to MAN.

        • David says:

          Charlieface- The non-LON flights were utterly incompatible with the model.
          I’d have put my red pen to them just on the argument they were a distraction.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Not really as they were using planes that were grounded due to LCY restrictions.

            Recovering anything above running costs was extra cash. But to think you can run flights for a few weeks and everyone jump on them is fanciful.

          • David says:

            TGLoyalty – I think this is in reference to longhaul exMAN and bhx eurohub etc.
            The weekend cityflyers are not what people are usually referring to, or if it is – they argue it is not enough.

    • ChrisC says:

      Why do people perpetuate the myth that Gatwick is somehow inacessable for those traveling from the north because it is patently untrue.

      I’ve seen plenty off people get of the East Coast trains at King’s Cross and head over – avec luggage – to St Pancras for the Thameslink nd then get off at Gatwick.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Getting two or perhaps three trains is no where near as easy as getting on a flight at Manchester

        I’ve been on a train with luggage and it’s not easy, especially for a family. Fine for me alone but once it’s 2+ people I’d much rather drive or find another carrier.

      • Ronald Jeremy says:

        It’s actually easier to get off your East Coast train and change trains to a Brighton bound train at Bedford or Luton Airport Parkway ( Lifts on all platforms) than the longer walk at KGX.

        • Genghis says:

          If EC trains used the midland mainline, it might be, yes. But they don’t.

          • Ronald Jeremy says:

            Ah you got me, I meant EMR trains! I should know having travelled down from Sheffield enough. Now tonight’s dinner is arborio rice chicken risotto with asparagus tips, followed by Home made apple strudel

          • Darren says:

            …and a pint of Carling?

      • Darren says:

        Done it once, to BGI as well. It was ok but a pain.

      • Tony says:

        I have made this journey twice, never again. When BA stopped the MAN-LGW flight what message did this send to those living in the north? I am using Emirates and (preferably) Qatar from Manchester for journeys that BA route from LGW.

  • Vit says:

    Anyone has had experience with MMB online on BA website changing reward flight from peak to off-peak and get any due avios back?

    While trying to change my flight It stated that “When you change from a peak to an off-peak date you will be refunded the difference in Avios within 10 days. For an immediate refund, please make the change via your local Service Centre.”.

    I am not in urgent need of immediate refund and can wait within 10 days so don’t wanna call in and queue up the phone line to CSA.


  • Nathan says:

    Does anyone know current BA offering in first/business to Dubai? Due to fly in a few weeks and not looking forward to a packed lunch!

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