Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 21st 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 (189)

  • Annabel says:

    Morning. Where I have completed a BA 2-4-1 by calling up next day to apply 50% Avios to inbound journey – any further changes /cancellations made are potentially charged at x4 £35 ( if not wanting FTV )? Or do BA consider this scenario as one booking and not two now? Thanks

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Do you have 1 booking reference (PNR code) for the return trip or two (one for each way)?

      If it’s one it’d be £70 if it’s two it’s £140

      • BJ says:

        I am interested to know your experience too because there seems to be some evidence lately that if you call then BA will only process the 1xPNR while if you book online and then call they will still leave you with 2xPNR. The flexibility of the 2xPNR is worth the potential extra £70 IMO but that said if you had flown the outbound and needed to get home for a real emergency BA would help.

      • Annabel says:

        Ah yes two unfortunately. Thank you though

      • Pete C says:

        Mine are on two PNRs but the CSA said she’d left a note on the system to say they were linked – in this case I’d try to argue that changes should be treated as if it were one booking

        • Jonathan says:

          A note on the system is worthless. You have 2 bookings in the eyes of BA. There is a flip side in that you’re return leg is flexible to T-24 rather than inflexible from 24 hours prior to outbound. You also get the benefit of lower Taxes/Fees for eg. Japan & Hong Kong.

    • Definitas says:

      I am completely confused by the plethora of opinions and actual experiences of people who have booked an outbound 2-4-1 and then phoned to add a return. The last time I did it was pre-covid but my Transatlantic return was definitely done with one PNR and taxes were recalculated. Is that no longer an option?

      • Jonathan says:

        No, that’s gone out the window.

        • Jill (Kinkell) says:

          Really? I booked outbound on line ( domestic + LH) waited for seat availability, phoned up and in bound added with recalculation of Avios and taxes etc. All on one PNR. Isn’t that the normal way?

          • BJ says:

            Yes, I think Jonathan might have missed that Definitas called to add as opposed to adding online. Adding online and calling for adjustment gets you 2xPNR. Simply calling to add return without having first locked them in online gets you 1xPNR. I am now unsure if they will offer 2xPNR option if you just called; I tried to do that a couple of months back and the agent claimed she couldn’t do it, that I had to first lock in the flights online.

      • Aston100 says:

        That is what happened to me a month ago.

        • Jane says:

          I thought out of the window if you book return online and they try to join them, but OK if you call to add on the return. I did this in august and although not ticketed yet the price I was quoted for the taxes was as per a standard return and not 2x one way.

          • Definitas says:

            Thanks Jane. That was my understanding but I have read contradictory statements.

      • Liz says:

        I also booked outbound online and phoned up to add the return. One PNR number and revised taxes to be charged – still waiting for them to be credited And the ticket reissued though.

    • C says:

      They wouldn’t allow me to link 2 separate PNR’s using a 241 and they had to cancel the return flight and amend the existing outbound flight to include the return plus do a recalculation of the taxes and fees. I tried calling twice and got the same answer. Be warned as the answer seems to vary depending on who you speak to at BA. Luckily it only cost an extra £30pp in taxes as it was a Mexico trip.

  • SammyJ says:

    What’s the best value option for an overnight stay before an early Sunday morning T5 flight, for a family of 4 (teens, so not a sofa bed – prob 2 rooms). Also need parking (6 days) and considering staying the Fri too, with a day in London on Saturday. Nothing expensive. Only status is IHG Platinum.

  • TGLoyalty says:

    Received a new £50 off £150 spend at Radisson Hotels this morning on my Platinum card valid until 31/12/20

  • Mart says:

    Just booked Barbados for December with virgin
    Used a credit card voucher+ 45k miles. It’s return upper class if all goes well what a bargain.

    • Andyf says:

      How does flexibility work with Virgin Bookings and Points? Also if the flight goes but you can’t due to quarantine on returning you’ll loose it all right?

      • TripRep says:

        You can cancel a VS redemption with> 24 hours notice and (eventually) get a full refund. Just need to pay £35 admin fee.

  • Craig says:

    Has anyone stayed at the Hilton Syon Park recently? I have tickets for Xmas at Kew and would rather avoid public transport.

    • Tim says:

      Syon* Park grounds. Apologies for autocorrect!

    • Craig says:

      Thanks Tim, that works for me. 40 mins walk isn’t great if the weather is really bad but it’s better than 3 hours plus each way by train.

  • Anna says:

    Has anyone stayed at the IC O2 recently? Thinking of booking a few nights between Xmas and NY if we’re out of Tier 3 by then but apparently the lounge and most of the restaurants are currently closed. Rates are extremely reasonable for London (unlike the Park Lane which is evidently expecting to be busy!), and the City Intercontinental suite would be ideal for 3 of us. We’d probably drive down and park at the hotel as this looks a better (and cheaper and more reliable) option than the train at that time of year.

    • James. says:

      Hi Anna, went to the IC O2 back at the beginning of Oct when they first opened. Was OK. Didn’t have the same feel as the year before when we stayed. Were give a complementary “small” bottle of prosecco for the Wife as it was our anniversary but not glasses. The room had the bare minimum, not glasses no mini bar just toiletries. The link to the O2 was closed as a result of COVID (imposed by the o2 strangely) but this should be open now. Didn’t eat there as went into the O2 to eat. Attempted to book breakfast but was told fully booked though the hotel felt empty so assumed that was down to skeleton staffing.

      • Anna says:

        Thanks – I’m getting quite used to hotels not being what they used to be! I’ve emailed now to ask what the club offering would be as I’ve booked a suite with my Ambassador bogof so hope we would at least get breakfast and some snacks and drinks.
        Christmas rates are ludicrously low if anyone fancies spending it in the city (especially as family get togethers might still be off the cards) – £90/27k on some nights for a standard room.

        • Andrew says:

          Just to manage expectations – North Greenwich is quite far from central London – and apart from chain restaurants like Nando’s, the O2 doesn’t offer much. It’s kind of like staying on a retail park.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Its not far to Canary Wharf which i quite like on a weekend!

            There’s a shuffleboard spot that’s re-opened if anyone fancies trying something different.

          • Andrew says:

            That’s true, Canary Wharf is much nicer than the O2. And it’s not too far to Westfield in Stratford either. But certainly if you’re looking for that central London Christmas lights experience, you’re better off booking a central London hotel and being able to walk about rather than take public transport.

          • Rob says:

            Not really true. Because the Jubilee Line is so quick, you are in Central London far more quickly than staying in many ‘traditional’ locations like Kensington or Earls Court.

          • mr_jetlag says:

            From the IC O2 it’s twenty minutes to Green Park (Regent Street shops) About the same from most hotels outside Mayfair itself.

          • Anna says:

            Yes – hoping to spend a day exploring Greenwich then just take public transport to any other places we want to visit. I’m hoping it’ll be quiet! And travelling with either one or 2 teenagers depending on the circs, Nando’s and other chains are perfect …

        • Michael C says:

          We did the Emirates cable-car thingy a few weeks ago (zero queues, of course) + thought it was great!
          Travelled by boat to N Greenwich, and of course Jubilee Line straight into town.

        • Peggers says:

          Hi @Anna. I’d be interested in the reply from IC O2 re club lounge. Thinking of booking for early January 2021.

          • Anna says:

            I’ll report back, Peggers. It says on the website you get breakfast in the (open) restaurant and other offerings via room service, but not if you’ll get charged for that!

    • memesweeper says:

      I can’t comment on the hotel (although I have a booking for next year) … but the Jubilee to central London/the Wharf is fast, and the boat to central London is great fun and quicker than you might think.

      • Jill (Kinkell) says:

        To Anna: Loved the boat trip…can use oyster cards on it. Cable car’s a novelty as is the Design museum on the north side , just beside the terminus. A walk down the pedestrian walk to the Thames Barrier which has an interesting wee museum and history of the barrier etc . We liked the IC O2….. upgrade room, lounge access gave us afternoon tea plus the canapés and drink and brekkie.
        They have a penthouse bar, but we didn’t get in as full. ( our stay was last
        year for a Buble concert in O2 …. poor visibility and got complimentary tickets to Buble in Aberdeen Exhib centre later, and Muse concert the next night at Stratford…it was fabulous)

    • Pid says:

      Stayed in the city Intercontinental suite several times around Christmas and never found the travel into central London difficult, even with 2 toddlers.

      Thinking of booking again so hopefully lounger offering is OK.

    • Bazza says:

      It’s going to take a lot longer than 20min to get from the IC O2 to Green Park. Just to reach the jubilee platform at O2 is 10 mins. Then you got the long walk from the depths of the earth at green park to reach street level. I’d be very surprised if you reached regents at in less than 45mins. North Greenwich is way out and even takes an age to just get down to Greenwich on the bus.

  • C says:

    Morning all. Has anyone had any luck getting a standard Eurotunnel ticket extended beyond the 1 year validity? We moved our original trip in September (as couldn’t quarantine due to moving house shortly after return), which was booked in June, to November but with things as they still are currently and with me being pregnant will not travel then either. Unlikely that we will be able to use the ticket before baby is born now and would like to use it next summer instead. Just wondering if anyone had any luck asking for a discretionary 3/6 month extension? Thanks

  • Mco says:

    Can anyone recommend a good current account? Not looking to earn points but one that comes with some benefits would be good. Don’t mind paying a monthly fee. Do any come with credit monitoring?

    • mark2 says:

      Most banks do a premium account offering travel insurance, (usually better than Amex Platinum with cover for many existing conditions and facility to add others), breakdown cover and phone insurance.
      Also many offers for £100+ to move account..

    • DJ says:

      NatWest offers Credit Score monitoring using TransUnion data.

      Alternatively, I quite like Lloyds Club and HSBC Premier.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      Nationwide have a very good current account product, excellent customer service too and usually a refer a friend cash bonus.

      • Nick says:

        Seconded for Nationwide. However many ‘switching’ accounts I do, NW has remained my ‘true main’ account and I have nothing but praise for them. Obviously if you want a bonus just take whoever offers the best and switch again if the service is crap.

        Don’t worry about credit monitoring – MSE offers that totally free (through Experian).

        • Genghis says:

          Agreed re credit monitoring. If you use:
          MSE – Experian
          Clearscore – Equifax
          Credit Karma – TransUnion
          then you cover all agencies, for free.

    • Definitas says:

      Another vote for Nationwide from me too. They are easy to contact, the banking app is reasonable and the package for the Flex Plus is remarkably good value if you need the annual worldwide travel insurance and car breakdown cover. We have had misfortune to have to claim 3 times on the insurance and it has always been relatively painless and very fair. If you have a joint account both people are covered, including the car breakdown cover. I would definitely recommend reading the terms and conditions and comparing it with similar products. (I am retired and have no link to NW).