Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 27th 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 (301)

  • Baji Nahid says:

    Rob, i had seen you liked a post on linkedin from the guy who ran the routes online site regarding daily airlines schedule changes. Sad to see him close the website for good! was a god send to get information about schedules etc.

    • Rob says:

      Agreed. I am waiting to find out the story. There is real value in this information and, even if Routes is making cuts, he seemed to be one guy on his own doing it so the cost was modest. I would hire him myself but obviously you need access to airline systems which Routes will have and I don’t.

    • AJA says:

      I saw that post too. Sad news. The way it was written it was very sudden.

  • Nick says:

    Morning all. I have seen the answer to this but cannot recall what it was. Will buying Harvey Nics gift card online trigger £30 off £150 spend on Amex card. Thanks

    • KBuffett says:

      People have been saying yes, it works

      • Andrew says:

        Apparently you can earn Avios on buying gift cards via the BA shopping portal too.

        • sk123 says:

          It’s a shame you can’t use them online. How outdated for such an expensive store! How soon do the gift cards arrive. If I order today before midday will it arrive by Friday?

  • KS says:

    Data Point: Called up Amex to cancel platinum card and got 35k points to offset the annual fee.

    • KBuffett says:

      Is this the first time you’ve done this since March 2020?

    • James says:

      Would be interested to find out if anyone else has got this who previously got offered points to stay with Amex.

    • Graeme2 says:

      I just tried this, with my annual fee coming up next month, but all I got was the switch to monthly fee that others have mentioned before. (After they offered that I did explicitly ask about a retention bonus and was rebuffed.) But I got already 20k points in April or May.

      • Andrew says:

        Same experience – I got the 20,000 in the spring and tried again a few weeks ago but was told nothing further but that ‘exciting offers’ we coming up. This was Brighton. The points offered now are higher, but that’s mainly because in the spring the burn rate for the points was x2, so the cash value of them is the same.

        • Sandgrounder says:

          Speaking of ‘exciting offers’ still nothing in the post for me re the Harrods deal. Many others heard nothing, or is it just me?

          • KS says:

            Nothing for me in the post. But then I had turned off promotional offers by post so no surprise.

          • Dave says:

            I just phoned up to discuss cancelling my card, my new card year started yesterday so got hit with the £595 fee.

            No retention offers available as I had one back in May and it’s “only one every 12 months”. They did tell me about the Harrods offer and it will be available to all platinum cardholders. Although no idea what i’d buy from there! (do gift cards count?)

          • Andrew says:

            *£575 fee

          • Andrew says:

            But good to know that Harrods is open to all – not like the Marriott fiasco. Gift cards in store count, online likely to count, but with Christmas coming up there’s probably something you can buy from there – perfume, cosmetics, toys and the prices for these type of items is the same as elsewhere (although toys would be cheaper at Amazon). They have a large Apple department if you want a new iPhone or AirPods or something. Oh and the book department even sells stamps if you need to stock up for Christmas cards. The good thing about this offer, like the previous £100 ones for John Lewis etc is that you don’t need a single transaction of £100 or more, lots of small transactions count too. Have a nice lunch too!

          • Tom1 says:

            Nothing for me either.

  • Michael C says:

    New regional Canary Island law being passed this week so that, although via the new corridor you don’t need a negative test to travel/arrive, you WILL need one for any form of accommodation exceopt for private homes.

    • Harry T says:

      Please could you share a link?

      • Michael C says:

        Only have it in Spanish so far, Harry. I get the impression the regional govt. wanted to implement it prior to travel, were told they couldn’t, so have invented this “back door”. Hope you work it out.

        • Harry T says:

          Thanks Michael. Seeing mixed reports about whether it will be required before arriving.

      • Erico1875 says:

        Just Booked Melia Salinas in Lanzaeote on Sunday for a stay mid November. If I need a test its getting cancelled

    • Harry T says:

      So I’ve just found a couple of news reports about this. Seems a bit short sighted to mandate that travellers need a test before travel, as many countries do not have the testing infrastructure in place to allow people to get a private test turned around within 72 hours before arrival. I certainly can’t manage this in the North of England. Testing on arrival in a similar manner to Germany was originally proposed and this would have been a far more sensible strategy.

    • marcw says:

      Let it get first published in the Canary Islands BOC. Before it gets published there, it’s just propaganda.
      There’s intention to publish it in the BOC by the regional Government, but it won’t last more than a week, since it will be challenged legally.

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks, @marcw. If they do get this through, how long do you think it might take to get implemented? I’m travelling 8th November.

        • Anna says:

          I also doubt it will be implemented – the Canaries are considered a fairly low cost sun and sand destination by many Brits and a LOT of people won’t pay £99 for a test, especially if it involves going to Liverpool.
          I love the islands, by the way, plan to visit more once we’re not limited to school holidays when prices are tripled!

          • Sandgrounder says:

            I think there are other testing options that don’t involve visiting Liverpool! You can park on the street right outside the building so from the tier 3 point of view it seems as safe as it can be, but agreed some won’t want to visit any of the ‘very high risk’ areas for a test.

  • Nick_G says:

    I have a ticket booked with VS in Premium Cabin for travel next month. I just got a schedule change email from VS, in which I noticed that they have swapped A333 with Boeing 789. Although the seats on both aircrafts are identical, I reckon the 789 cabin is more fresh compared to A333. I am therefore thinking of upgrading my outbound leg to Upper Deck. VS is quoting £300 or 18,700 Virgin Points for the upgrade.

    My queries are:
    1. Do I get miles for the upgraded class of travel, if I choose to pay for the upgrade in cash? And if I upgrade using Virgin Points, would I still get the miles for class I had booked originally and paid for in cash?

    2. My understanding is that the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is unavailable while Terminal 3 is closed. I am not sure if this has changed recently and whether VS would be back in T3 anytime soon. But when I try to use the Heathrow Terminal Finder, it shows that my flight on 21st Nov would fly out of T3. Please could someone provide latest information in this regard. Needless to say, I would consider an upgrade only if I can enjoy sometime in the Clubhouse.

    3. Is it advisable to travel in the Upper Deck when the on-board services are limited due to Covid? And you are basically paying just for the lie flat seat, which has little benefit for me due to the daytime flight.

    TIA.

    • Andrew says:

      2. T3 is not opening any time soon.

      3. Virgin do not operate any 747s from LHR now so there is no upper deck option.

    • Jonathan says:

      I’d pay 18,700 miles to upgrade to Upper Class in a heartbeat even if there was no lounge or onboard catering. That’s about £187 by most people’s valuation (less if you generate your miles for essentially nothing).

      Much more space, comfort & better food/drink.

    • ChrisBCN says:

      3. Don’t call it Upper Deck – call it Upper Class or just Upper (there isn’t an upper deck). For your 187,000 miles you will get a seat all by yourself, nobody in your personal space, chance to lie down if you wish, bigger IFE screen. You should also get better meal/service too. For me, the seat alone is worth the miles, especially if you are travelling for longer than 4 hours or so.

      • Nick_G says:

        Thanks Jonathan & Chris.
        Would you know if I get miles for the upgraded class of travel, if I choose to pay for the upgrade in cash or Virgin Points?

  • David says:

    I’m cancelling my BAPP next month to start the 2 year cycle. But I also have 4 flights with BA booked on that card going all the way to May. Given the high likelihood of cancellations, do I need to hold onto the card to make refunds easier? What happens if they refund but the card has been cancelled?

    • Louise K says:

      Refunds can go back on a cancelled card.

      They show in your account and a call to CS will have it transferred back to your bank account.

    • Harry T says:

      I’ve had numerous refunds to my cancelled BAPP from cancelled BA flights. I just log in to my old account and use the chat to ask Amex to transfer the funds to my linked bank account. Easy peasy.

    • Scallder says:

      Keep the cancelled card on the Amex app – must easier to see when refunds hit rather than waiting for Amex to send you a statement through the post.

    • David says:

      Thanks for the replies all, had cancelled cards before but never had to think about highly likely refunds that would come months later! Good to know it is an easy process

  • Nick says:

    BA last night cancelled a return leg of my flight SOF-LHR-SOF, I have already flown the outbound and they have now cancelled all flights on this route for November so the earliest they can rebook me is 2/12, I was supposed to be flying 8/11!

    They basically told me it’s my problem and I can have a voucher/refund or wait three and half weeks to get back and fly on 2/12!

    Are they actually allowed to just abandon me mid itinerary? I asked to be rebooked in another carrier like Bulgaria air who has a flight on 8/11 from LHR and they just said no only if we cancelled less than 24 hrs prior to departure.

    Seems rather unfair they can dump customers mid trip.

    • Polly says:

      No, they are not allowed to get away with that.
      Get onto them, they are obliged to put you on another carrier. If they refuse, but try HUACA to get a more experienced csa, then your option is to buy yourself a return flight, and claim on MCOL. They should pay up late the day before the hearing…nasty behaviour!

    • james says:

      They abandoned me in Atlanta in MArch and I’ve only just got the credit for that – said I couldn’t have a FTV because I had started my journey.

    • Jonathan says:

      There’s definitely some rule breaking on BA’s part here, they’re not allowed to behave like this.

      You need check the CAA’s website for information on your rights.

      You’re also entitled to compensation under EU261 law, since the flights were cancelled less than 14 days before departure

      • Anna says:

        Compensation is suspended due to Covid, but BA definitely have to get Nick home in a reasonable timeframe, on another carrier if necessary.

    • Nick_C says:

      If you were happy to stay here until December, they would have to provide you with food and accommodation at their expense!

      • Lady London says:

        What nasty behaviour from BA.

        Not everyone would have the funds available to purchase an alternative fare back from Bogota, or even the US, just because BA has finally got around to deciding a flight someone paid them for is not viable for them.

        I can understand BA’s routine tactics of failing to train agents in the law, failing to provision agents to use the internet to purchase rerouted tickets like everyone else does if BA is so sure they cant provide needed reroutes using their standard GDS systems, systematic denial of liability for rerouting and other duty of care even when that liability on BA is unambiguous, as practical tactics BA might employ if they fear fulfilling their liabilities is going to be onerous.

        But abandoning a passenger in this way halfway through a paid ticket is shameful and should lead to heightened punishment and not just reimbursement.

    • Nick says:

      Thanks for the responses guys I will try to speak to BA again today.

      Whole experience has just made me question my confidence in future bookings with BA, I don’t want to be stranded in Kuala Lumpur In may (if I go) if a similar situation occurred.

      Appreciate the responses thanks

      • Rhys says:

        Read up on EU261. It’s very clear that this sort of behaviour is NOT allowed. Rerouting and duty of care are essential.

      • Lady London says:

        I think I would open and say the flight they propose as a replacement is acceptable although inconvenient and adk them to confirm which hotel they are planning to accommodate you in until that date and what arrangements will they make for your meals for that period – oh and can they also provide a taxi to the hotel on the date if your cancelled flight and another taxi from your hotel on the date of the replacement flight.

        Make it clear you are not in a position to pay those expenses yourself and so you will require those things to be provided. Altermativelty they may wish to reroute you on another airline arranging with that airline directly as you do not have the funds. Say you are quite prepared to extend your visit on the above basis if they.still prefer to put you on their later flight. Should that later flight they have put you on also be cancelled, obviously you will expect these duty of care provisions to be extended.

        Keep a record when you speak to them and give them 48 hours to respond.

        In many countries it’s possible to get inflated receipts and if I was BA I really wouldnt want to leave passengers in these countries for an extended period if I’d cancelled their flight. It would make sense for BA to reroute their passengers rather than abandoning them.

      • Tical says:

        Was in the same position on that route in July. Bought a replacement ticket myself and have filed the papers with MCOL already as BA refused rerouting

        • Lady London says:

          Where’s the punishment for BA in that? the law needs to get some teeth here and make it more painful for BA to flout the law especially when they have left passengers in the lurch.

          Right now it’s far less pain for BA to flout the law, and far more pain they cause passengers by acting illegally. Until that symmetry changes British Airwaya is just going to carry on disregarding paying passengers and treating them badly.

  • Crafty says:

    Apologies for posting again (from weekend), but Andrew’s kind suggestion of trying via the app unfortunately has not worked for me – it tells me the system isn’t responding (and has told me this for 2 weeks now) –

    Can anyone help me with a really simple but infuriating issue I am having? Where in the Amex website can I find a breakdown of my Membership Rewards earning? I feel like I have clicked everywhere. There are many options for how to redeem my points, but I can’t for the life of me see how to check on my earning, transaction by transaction. I know this used to exist and must still!

    • Harry T says:

      I can only find it in the app! It’s hidden on the desktop site.

      • Harry T says:

        I seem to recall I once did find it on the desktop actually, so it must be possible. Just awkward to find.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          It is possible but like you say very awkward. It takes you to the old website design to do it aswell.

          I believe you need to click my points in the hamburger menu when you are looking at redemption options and you should be able to click your points balance and it takes you to your activity.

    • Ikaz says:

      Login, in your transactions(where you see your spend) click “view recent activity” then “points summary”
      You should also be able to access a different screen with the same info from “membership rewards” then “my points”

      • Crafty says:

        Thanks Ikaz, this one actually works for me! Disregard my other post down the thread.

    • Craig says:

      For me, login, green box ‘Use your Points’, top right ‘Points Summary’, this brings a drop down with ‘My Points’ as an option?

      • Crafty says:

        Thanks for the help. All these routes lead me to a broken page with “We could not find a page matching your request”! Sounds like it could be a problem specific to me. A pain, as I don’t want to ask Amex about this (I think I’ve been given more points than I should have).