Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 20th 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 (208)

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Heathrow starts Covid testing for some departures today:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54604100

    Who’s going to book for Italy and take one for the team?

    • BJ says:

      Seems a fundamentally flawed approach though, presumably we’ve lost all money, miles etc if we fail the test? At least the PCR test 72h before is going to be more widely acceptable and if we can get results from it within 48h we have a chance of getting avios and money back. Or am I missing something?

      • meta says:

        +1
        Also, you need a PCR test, not some rapid test. Like anyone is going to change this rule, just because Heathrow introduced it.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Europe has decided on a mitigation strategy rather than elimination so I really don’t understand the adversity to cheap rapid testing.

          Yes you will miss a few cases and you’ll get odd false positives but you will reduce the risk. Any positives can be given a proper PCR test. These tests aren’t being carried out for clinical diagnosis and treatment!

        • Alan says:

          I was in Italy last week and had a free test on arrival, the results were back in 1hr so they are probably using a quick test.
          The downside of on arrival testing is the risk of having to spend 14 days in quarantine if it comes back positive.

      • Anna says:

        And are PHE ready to swoop on any passengers who test positive but decide they’re getting on the plane anyway (there will be some!)

    • The Streets says:

      I’m off to Hong Kong in the next few weeks so perfect timing for me.. will save us £100pp from where I was planning to get tested

      • meta says:

        But if you test positive, you will possibly lose your flights, etc. And beware that the result might be false positive.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          If flying BA you can take an FTV right up until the last min I believe.

          • Rob says:

            Yes you can – up to when check-in closes I think.

          • BJ says:

            Thanks, didn’t know that, it changes everything. However, what happens if we are connecting from regions and only place we can get tested is LHR?

          • The Streets says:

            Thank you – all very valid points and might make me fly with BA over Virgin

  • Baji Nahid says:

    So where has everyone that managed to get the teacher promo code from qatar airways, booked?

    • Dooly says:

      We booked to Qatar in March. Very optimistic but let’s see…

      • Aston100 says:

        Oh that famous school holiday in March…

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Easter is 4th April so very early but not quite that early 😉

          • Anna says:

            Indeed – some years my son’s school has had its Easter holiday comprising the last week of March and the first week in April. It’s like that in 2022 (his current school is amazingly accommodating at providing holiday dates well in advance!)

    • Aston100 says:

      There appeared to be no availability to any of the 40 – 50 destinations I checked over the next 4 UK (English?) school holidays from 2 or 3 English airports that I checked.
      In the end managed to find Muscat, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur in May half term.

      Booked Kuala Lumpur.
      £130 for the first ticket (booking class W). £444 for the second (booking class N).
      Normal cheapest cash price with QR (so not necessarily in booking class N for one of the tickets) would have been between £550 and £600. An actual saving of approx 50% off the cash price.
      Not quite the heroic & generous move that Qatar were making this out to be.

      • Aston100 says:

        That ‘normal’ cash price was meant to be per person, so a total approaching £1200.
        The ‘promo’ led to us eventually paying around £575 total.

        • Anna says:

          That’s a very good deal for school holidays. In normal times a return in economy to Orlando can be £1k pp!

      • Andrew says:

        English and Scottish school holidays tend to be slightly different (apart from Easter).

        My old school is now back after their “tattie” holidays, whereas my local school here in England have their October break next week.

        In the summer, Scottish schools start their break about 3 weeks earlier. This means that people like me go and stay with Scottish relatives on the third weekend in August then fly out from EDI or GLA for a considerable discount to the prices at LHR.

  • Jon says:

    Rob – apologies if this has been mentioned before or you already know, but there’s a glitch in the pagination of the home page articles list. Clicking the ‘older’ link leads to the next page of articles but that starts two articles after the last one on the previous page, so one gets missed out. A stray x+1 rather than x somewhere in the code, perhaps? 😉

    • Rob says:

      There is a problem when we pin an article to the top of the home page, yes (as we have with Amex Gold).

      It works fine if we don’t pin anything to the home page. It is on the list to fix!

  • pacman says:

    Was there a trip report from a B2B BA flight to Newquay on HfP? I recall reading it somewhere, it had a picture of a corn field in front of the airport but the search function doesn’t bring it up.

  • Anna says:

    Now the excitement of getting 3 half price avios seats in J to AUH at Easter is wearing off, what are the change options should we not be able to travel then? I’ve seen people mention ceing able to make changes via MMB but I have a feeling you can’t do this if you have a domestic connection.

    • Anna says:

      Just checked and it says I have to call to make any changes, I assume this is due to the domestic connection although I’m sure it could be done with some minor IT tweaks!

      • roberto says:

        I booked Nashville in the 50% off sale. I wanted to go next sept/oct next year (I should be there now) but it was outside the cut off period so I booked for Nov 2020 hoping it would be cancelled. It was, and BA let me move it to sept/oct 2021 as I assumed they would. No extra avios or additional costs required – a super service.

        So in short Anna , if you AUH is cancelled you can move it within the ticket validity period for free.

        • roberto says:

          To add, I called up and there did not need to be any award availability.

          • Anna says:

            Thanks – that’s really good to know, I wonder if you’d be able to change destinations as well!

          • Jonathan says:

            Did you get much pushback? I used same tactic at the weekend (book November, flight cancelled, shift to August next year). I got nowhere with YouFirst who were insisting on rebook +/- 14 days, reprice, refund or FTV.

            Gave up after 10 mins & called Gold Line who initially said the same but were at least happy to look into it. Had 5 mins of back & forth with a supervisor before they finally agreed. I ended up getting the BA Standard Customer Guidelines up on my computer so I could quote chapter & verse which seemed to help.

            Was there Avios availability on your new flights as that would meet their usual guidelines whereas rebooking Avios into revenue seats is a new dispensation that doesn’t seem to have filtered through to the frontline.

            Put www on the front of this for the T&C’s britishairways.com/en-gb/traveltrade/bookings-policies/policies/covid-policies

          • Lady London says:

            @Jonathan. Once again it appears BA is acting illegally
            If BA cancelled your flight there does *not* have to be avios seat.availability on *your* conenient to *you* replacement date any available seatim same class is yours.

            BA poor training, which is doubtless not an accident, inadequate or illegal terms or manuals or lack of performance, do not overridw the relevant statute EC261/2004

          • Lady London says:

            @Jonathan definitely*not* a dispensation by BA
            EC261requires them to book you into any seat – does not have to be an avios seat, at all, ang b+ggar BA’s socalled rules which are illegal

        • Craig says:

          That brought back memories of almost missing the flight whilst trying to book tickets for the Bluebird. We had 3 devices in the queueing system and one got down to 3 minutes whilst we were in the Concorde Room. Those 3 minutes seemed to take forever as we slowly made our way to the aircraft for what was our best experience in F as we had the cabin to ourselves.

        • Michael C says:

          Hola Roberto – was the period you could move the ticket to 355 days from the ticket date, or from the time of purchase?

          • Jonathan says:

            It’s 365 days from ticketing date with the caveat that flights are only put on sale 355 days in advance.

          • DZOO says:

            Is that a return by 365d (or outbound by) – assuming you need to return inside 1 yr?

        • Aston100 says:

          That was a bit brave (risky?) wasn’t it?

      • Number9 says:

        Where are you hoping to stay Anna ? We stayed at the Shangri-La lovely hotel, the suites opposite the grand mosque are huge.

        • Anna says:

          I’ve got 6 nights booked through Emyr at the Ritz Carlton which looks a bit fabulous, like Vegas on Sea lol, and 5 nights at the IC as I need to use an Ambassador bogof – we’ve already got a suite upgrade for the full stay. I really, really hope we get to go but currently 14 days quarantine is required on arrival which would obviously be unworkable.

          • Number9 says:

            I love the real Vegas it’s mental! I’ve cancelled all my trips bar January 2022 not because of COVID but family stuff. I enjoyed AD it’s very different to Dubai. I even enjoyed Ferrari world and I hate theme parks but seeing the old racing cars is worth a trip.

          • Stanley says:

            RC in abu dhabi was great couple of years ago with a 2 and 4 year old. We had a bungalow room (Venetian maybe?) with living room etc. Plenty of food choices at the hotel. Will def go back.

          • BP says:

            When I was in AD, I bought 1 week use of the Entertainer app from someone on ebay. Saved so much money on food and drink. Worth checking out.

  • Craig says:

    Is anyone else having issues with Creation’s website again today?

  • Nick G says:

    Rob/folks.

    Daft Amex question from me –

    So had my gold card for a year spent over £15k and my 10000 bonus MR points have been credited. My direct debit is due 27th October.

    Do I ring and cancel the card today and stop the DD payment? Or will Amex take the 10k points back?
    Or do I have to wait to pay the £140 fee then cancel?

    Thanks

    • Anna says:

      You’ve done well, most people report waiting a month or two for the bonus points to post. There’s nothing to stop you transferring the MR points to (e.g.) avios, cancelling your DD then cancelling the Amex as far as I can see. Or cancel the DD first – as long as you make the minimum payment there’s no need for a DD.

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Nick G I’ve never used a DD to pay Amex i just make 5/6 payments (or more) during the Month clearing the balance to zero each time (it won’t let me over pay, but shoots my credit rating through the roof)
      so just cancel your DD

      • Anna says:

        I only have DDs set up to meet the criteria for my M & S bank account!

      • Chris Heyes says:

        Nick G I should add because you have hit 15k you should/may get a retention offer could be up to 15k or more likely 5 or 10k if you push gently (take it then cancel month later)
        i have been offered 15k but in middle of covid
        one of family was offered 2 years free instead of one year

    • Rob says:

      You don’t lose the 10k. I would make a payment online via debit card, cancel your DD and then cancel the card. If the £140 fee has not been added yet you might get let off.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      Transfer them out of the card into Avios. Once they land in your account, you can ring them up and cancel. They will ramble about the benefits of the card, talk about paying the fee in instalments and then sometimes offer a retention bonus.

      Worth a shot… Usually the bonus is 5k MR for £1k spend within 3 months

  • Joe Green says:

    Does anyone remember when HMRC will stop accepting business debit cards for free and will that apply to a curve card that says business on the back?

    • Crafty says:

      It’s November, can’t recall the specific date.

      Mine says Commercial on it (not sure why), so I’m hoping not, but I think it’s a wait and see.

      • Nigel W says:

        Did you sign up when it first opened Crafty? For a year or so it was supposedly only for ‘commercial customers’ but they did no checks.

        Did the same as Alan a few months ago. A quick painless experience with them regarding it.

      • EwanG says:

        “From 1 November 2020, there will also be a non-refundable fee for corporate debit cards.” (source https://www.gov.uk/pay-corporation-tax/debit-or-credit-card).

        I just noticed that if you *accidentally* pay a tax for a previous period (in my case CT) when none is due, rather than assigning it to a newer period (which does have an outstanding balance) I had it repaid via Bacs, to the linked bank account. Well I will just have to make that payment again….!

    • Alan Todd says:

      I messaged Curve about this a month or so ago. Advised them that I was not a business and would prefer a personal card. New card was sent out a few days later and all limits reset…YMMV.