Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 19th October

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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.

HFP-Wordmark-Black

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as it keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

By default, HfP shows the last page of comments under the article.  If you want to see the first page of comments and read them all from beginning to end in order, click here: https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/10/19/the-hfp-chat-thread-monday-19th-october/comment-page-1.  The page will refresh with this article but the comments will now show the first page and not the last page.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HfP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (196)

  • BJ says:

    Quite a few of us now hopefully headed for Tokyo next June based on avios sale comments. I have been tracking Kimpton Shinjuku for several months and it has now come available for reward stays at 70k/night. Haven’t had a chance to explore all the angles but at over £400/night the bottom line is that it is worth buying points for when 100% bonus is on. While it is a bit higher than I would like, I think it is probably worth 20k more than the ICs. Definitely a better deal than Hilton Tokyo at 70k currently and Conrad at 95k currently. However, I expect both of those to come down at some point. High status on Hilton though will make it a tough call.

    • Fred says:

      Are you aware of the planned entry requirements?

      • BJ says:

        No, what’s the latest? We booked over two months ago and then used the avios sale to lock in various options in tbe hope something is possible. Still 8 months away and we can cancel all plans up to 24h before so should get something (or nothing). Not to bothered about situation now, a lot could change by June.

        • Andrew says:

          We said that 7 months ago – and yet not much has changed!

          • meta says:

            Well things have changed. They’ve let business people, cultural exchange, foreign students and residents with visas and permits in albeit with 14-day self-isolation.

          • BJ says:

            Hence the triple option 🙂

    • Optimus Prime says:

      Thanks for the heads-up. I’ve just noticed IHG charges 5000 JPY per extra adult per night, starting with the second adult! Do other chains do the same?

      • BJ says:

        Thanks for this, I’ve seen it with IHG paid stays before but not reward nights. Never came across ot personally at any other hotel.

        • Optimus Prime says:

          I’m checking on the mobile app: looks like it applies only to cash bookings. The IC Strings extra adult charge is 6500 JPY

          • meta says:

            Remember you can use Ambassador free night at Kimptons (does not have to be weekend). So you could lock in a suite (seeing Junior Suite for £500+) and then the rest on points. Hopefully you get to keep the suite.

          • BJ says:

            I always look out for it now, same as I look out for variations in cancellation policies on Hilton reward nights.

          • Genghis says:

            It was normal for hotels to charge a significant amount for more than one person when I was living there. My girlfriend at the time would book the hotel and then I’d sneak in and out so we could save a few yen.

          • r* says:

            One thing to watch out for at IC in tokyo is that if you book a 1 person room you might actually get a single bed room. Last year there were points rooms available, but the points rooms vanished if I selected two people.

    • Harry T says:

      Thanks. Will have a think. Need to burn some Hilton points though.

      • meta says:

        Also 35% off best flexible at Kimptons (25% off on weekends) until 28 Oct for stays till end of Sep 21. £317 for Premium King at Kimpton Shinjuku.

      • BJ says:

        I’ll need to cancel Indigo Bath, Kimpton Bangkok and Holiday Inn & Suites Shin Osaka if I’m to make points for it. Still have my Ambassador Black Friday gamble to come though which might help but with Diamond Hilton will remain a first choice if it goes down to the typical 57k in June. Thanks @Meta for highlighting our options. When considering that even budget options can cost £130-150 then Kimpton seems not bad at all.

        • meta says:

          There is also new Prince Kyoto Takaragaike, Autograph Collection at 50k points per night, although rates are quite reasonable (£150+). It is former Grand Prince Kyoto hotel and a bit further out in northern Kyoto. Rooms do look a bit tired, but maybe they will do some renovations. However, the real deal the moment in Kyoto is the soon to be opened Mitsui at 70k Marriott Bonvoy points. I haven’t seen it lower than £700+ per night. It also has an onsen.

          • BJ says:

            Thanks @Meta, Oakwood suites has rebranded as HI Gotel and Suites Shin Osaka. It launched at 12.5k/night but has since gone up to 15k. I know there are much better locations but it is only a few minutes from Osaka Station by train so I couldn’t resist. We will have our JR passes anyway so what we lose on immediate locality we will gain on convenience for exploring other cities. My previous experience with Prince Hotels was poor so I never went back.

          • BJ says:

            Last time I looked CP Kyoto was down to 22.5k if anybody fancies that. There is also a new Mercure opened within walking distance of Kyoto Station. Rates look excellent for decent sized rooms. A bit higher on Saturdays though as to be expected.

          • Optimus Prime says:

            For your first time in Japan – would you recommend starting or finishing in Tokyo? Asking because almost all the suggested itineraries I find start with Tokyo but for our dates I’m seeing better/cheaper hotel availability if we finish there.

            I guess the main inconvenient is to get off the plane and straight onto a train to Kyoto or Osaka.

            Another question – Has anyone been to any of the Ritz-Carltons in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto? If so, would you recommend them?

          • Rob says:

            To some extent it depends on how you normally travel. If you are not a ‘big city’ person then full-on Tokyo can be overwhelming. Kyoto is more laid back and more geared to tourism so you break into it a bit more easily.

            We’ve reviewed the RC Kyoto, it is very nice – and very expensive. May be worth buying Bonvoy points and doing a redemption.

          • Optimus Prime says:

            Thanks @Rob, I had completely forgotten about your trip to Japan!! Will check out your review now.

  • Kevin C says:

    Yes, it looks like it isn’t opening until 15th November at the earliest.

  • Ben says:

    Any Award Wallet codes out there for existing members Rob/anyone else?

    • Sundar says:

      Seeing as no one has replied yet, here you go for a first-time user upgrade :
      free-pxzvvm

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    Anyone got a 2nd retention bonus from amex this year? (ring up only)

    Considering trying my luck again. Last one was awarded at the start of July and credited by about mid August. Card membership ends in March.

    Got an excuse lined up already…

    • Andrew says:

      When I rang about 3 weeks ago (before the second £100 thing launched) I was told nothing further was available for me, but I think everyone is different when they progress the cancellation process to all but the last stage – so you might get a different answer. He also said something else was coming very soon – presumably the £100 which did indeed land a week later. And then there as the hideousness of last week’s £400 Marriot stay for a few and not others – so I’m tempted to ask again if there’s anything they can offer me as the card is seeming increasingly pointless.

    • Navara says:

      Wife cancelled Gold today, no retention offer just a mention of the availability to take out a ARCC

  • Harry T says:

    I’m beginning to think they won’t reopen this year tbh

  • Aston100 says:

    I noticed a message on the Amex account home page:
    “As a top referrer, keep earning 12,000 Avios for each approved friend. It’s just our way of thanking you for being one of our best referrers.”

    Not seen that before.
    Pity as I’m going to be cancelling shortly.

  • Matthew says:

    BA hol booking. Is it ok not to collect car at all or will I get charged for a no show?

    • OHR says:

      I have not collected (Dubai – March! and was fine (told the agent when booking I may forget to collect – she seemed in on the game as was the one that suggested adding the “care hire” to make my itinerary price – which was correct).

    • The real John says:

      Should be fine

    • BLT says:

      Hi Matthew
      I didn’t pick up the BA hol booking car in Dubai last November, for the F1, no issues!

  • ChrisC says:

    BA IT strikes again.

    I have LCY-AMS-LCY in December. Already been rebooked a few times.

    Email this morning that the LCY-AMS has been cancelled and have been auto rebooked to Rotterdam ! despite other flights being available to AMS from both LHR and LCY. I’m sure Rotterdam is lovely but it’s another 1 1/2 hours on bus and train to get to Amsterdam Centraal.

    So I spend some time looking at which routing suite me best and then just as I’m about to call I get a second email advising the return has been cancelled and I have been rerouted to fly from Rotterdam. But not at around 7pm but 7am! Again there are several other flights that day back to LCY and LHR.

    It’s just incredibly frustrating to have to spend time sorting out yet another flight change and because this is an FTV booking I have to call rather than do it online. But the most grating is why switch me to Rotterdam when there are still available flights ex AMS.

    • Ronald Jeremy says:

      Very frustrating, never mind, just think about all of that lovely Stroopwafel and kroket you can enjoy when you finally get there. Last time I was in Holland I was speaking to a Dutch friend of mine and we were discussing the relative merits of the countries cheese, he recommended Beemster Vlaskaas, you can get some at Schiphol which has some pretty good shops, although probably not at 7.00am unfortunately.

      • ChrisC says:

        I do my cheese shopping at either the Lindengract or Albert Cuyperstraat markets like the locals do. I sometimes pick up somethign at Albery Heijn or Dirk.

        No over priced airport or tourist shop cheese for me thanks very much.