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)

  • Chelseafi says:

    Anyone know much about the new Hotel “Domes of Corfu” opening in Pelekas, summer 21, I was told about it whilst at Miramare but can only find it on BA Holidays, I think they said it’s A Luxury Collection and it’s a Family Hotel, so might be another good option similar to Domes Elounda? If anyone’s currently at Elounda they could find out 😉

    • Rob says:

      My man at the ownership company has promised me some info at some point.

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        When they provide the information, please could you mention any accessibility / disability info?

        Everyone is different, but a few sentences is usually really useful.

  • Ghosty says:

    Virgin have emailed me to say they have changed my Seattle flight time and flight number for a end of May-mid June 2021 trip. Outbound by 2 hours earlier and return by 4.5 hours earlier. Just tried doing a dummy cash booking and they appear to have dropped a flight and only have one direct Virgin flight to Seattle.

    • dezbez says:

      Ditto! I was going to post pretty much the exact same comment (ours are booked for Aug).
      Not sure whether to read much into this, other than it’s Virgin anticipating it won’t be able to support two flights per day by then to Seattle and this is maybe part of its diversification strategy away from the US, and so it is freeing up planes for other routes?
      Interestingly, I still had the pick of seats in the UC cabin on both legs, ie very few bookings by the looks of it.

      • Ghosty says:

        Same with the seats for me DezBez, currently only me in UC. With the earlier flight return time I will probably visit the Seattle area for the first part of the trip and Alaska for the 2nd part of the trip. Alaska to Seattle the day before return and stay overnight at Sea-Tac

        • Eppleby Green says:

          The Sleep Inn at Sea Tac was cheap, very clean with a good (free) breakfast. The airport shuttle was particularly good!

    • Nick_G says:

      Ditto for me!

      When I booked, Virgin had 2 flights to DEL. They cancelled my flight and put me on the other flight next day. It turned out to be a blessing for me, because this means I have to wait for a lot less time for my connecting flight.

      I reckon someone at VS is playing with the schedules and trying to make the schedules more efficient.

  • David says:

    Like you, I converted (and possibly unnecessarily devalued) 450K VFC Miles into Hilton points, keeping 250K + 2 “2-for-1’s” to cover 3-4 UC trips in 2021-3 and assuming the Hilton points will be redeemed on UK & shorthaul trips. Let’s hope Virgin Red doesn’t pivot to a retail bank “rewards scheme”.

  • Harry T says:

    Interested in any thoughts on whether it’s worth my keeping my Amex Gold card. My free first year is over and I have received my 10k bonus points for spend £15,000. Amex have given me an extra two membership rewards per pound as a retention offer, until January, so I earn three MR per pound for all transactions aside from airline and Amex travel spend which earns 4 and 5 respectively. However, £140 is £140. What do people think?

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      Personally, once the retention offer expires what is the point? You could get a nice tasty bonus on BAPP.

      Thats what I’m going to do in April.

      • Jonathan says:

        You can’t get a sign up bonus if you’ve just cancelled a personal type Amex card then take out another one, even if it’s different card entirely

        I’m not entirely sure, but I think only the Platinum charge card is exempt from the rules on sign up bonuses

        • Super Secret Stuff says:

          You can but only if its BA free or BAPP. Rob has done an article on it.

        • Genghis says:

          BAPP rule is “I understand I will not be eligible for any Welcome Bonus award if I hold or have held any personal British Airways American Express Card product in the past 24 months.” I.e. if you’ve just cancelled a Gold but not had an avios earning Amex in past 2 years, you’re eligible for a SUB.

          • Harry T says:

            What do you think, @Genghis? Keep my Gold card whilst I’m earning three times the usual MR points, or cancel it and sign up again for free in a couple of months?

          • Genghis says:

            @Harry T. Run some numbers. Will your projected return on earning the extra 2 points (ie the delta only) outweigh the card fees? I don’t really like paying card fees but pay over £500 in annual fees, all for valid reasons.

          • Harry T says:

            @Genghis thanks. I think the return on three points per pound should beat the pro rata monthly fee.

      • Harry T says:

        I’m not eligible for a BAPP bonus, unfortunately

    • Jonathan says:

      It really depends how much spending you’re projecting to do during your bonus months. Either way this is still good going, and if you believe you’ll spend £15k by this time next year (for the bonus 10k points), then it sounds good. That’s just my opinion though

    • Lady London says:

      Does Gold get Shop Small? If so then I’d keep it through that then dump.

      You’d have to hope Amex wouldnt choose you to refuse same card again in future or reduce your credit limits to reduce their lending exposure as seems to have happened to a couple of posters on here though.

      • Vit says:

        A very critical thinking from LL here. I personally think that Shop Small might be a bit underrated but I guess it depends on its availability in your local area and your shopping behaviour. I happened to have multiple amex cards over a short period during the last Shop Small (i.e. BA blue, Green, Gold and Plat) and managed to have a saving of £120 across all main and supp cards.

        So yes maybe worth keeping the card for another two months if you made quite a good saving from last time Shop Small but that is another two months worth of fees (~£23)? Of course, only if amex brings back Shop Small this winter?

        Fortunately I have not, YET, had any problems with amex reducing my credit limits etc. though.

        • Crafty says:

          Interesting, I think Shop Small is massively overrated. Basically one or two people on here dash around “saving” on all sorts of frivolous luxuries (so it isn’t really a saving) and bang on about it all year round. I found it vaguely useful when living in London (stamps and beer from cornershops), and sometimes a nice bonus (meal out or a piece of meat from the butcher’s), but otherwise pretty slim pickings unless you’re extending to products that you actually wouldn’t have bought just so you can say that you saved.

          • The real John says:

            Shop small reduces the price of items from too expensive to about right. So I make no savings but get a few things that are normally sold at prices I wouldn’t pay.

          • Vit says:

            @crafty, I see you point of view and actually experienced similarly to you during our few years down in London but as mentioned above — it entirely depends on the availability within your local area & (more importantly, to me anyway) your shopping behaviour. We do a lot of oriental / thai recipes groceries shopping and the local places we normally shop participated in amex shop small, along with local coffee bean shop, etc. That, to us, is a big win! 🙂

      • sloth says:

        do we even know if there will be a Shop Small this December since we had one in the Summer?

        • Jonathan says:

          Don’t count on it, it almost certainly costs Amex huge amounts of money, hence is to why there’s strict rules on it, and when it ran in December, it only ran for roughly a week

          American Express is a business, not a charity

        • memesweeper says:

          No idea … but personally I make back in offers more than I pay in Amex fees. The optimal number of cards for me seems to be two, plus supplementaries. The BAPP will miss our on offers that clash with BAs commercial interests, so bear that in mind if swapping out a Gold for a BAPP.

      • Harry T says:

        Yep, should get Shop Small. Thanks for your thoughts. I may keep it until the bonus points retention offer ends in January and then call to see if they can offer me anything else.

        • fivebobbill says:

          What’s the renewal fee for Gold, £140? Sure Shop Small has been limited to a max of £50 per card lately!

          • The real John says:

            So £100 with a supplementary, plus 10K points for spending £15K plus some other random offers.

            If you can use a few offers you should at least break even on the fee, i.e. didn’t really save money but you still earned 1 MR per £. Depends on whether you’d rather try for another signup bonus in 2 years

          • Harry T says:

            Supplementary card gets £50 too. Tbh there’s not much you can do with shop small in Newcastle.

            I’m currently getting three points per pound on all transactions. I value an MR at 1p.

            Hopefully we get some more good offers.

  • AviosNewbie says:

    How long does it take to get the Virgin upgrade voucher on the Virgin credit card after meeting the spends target? And does it just pop into the flyingclub account just like the BA companion voucher? My bonus points have posted, but don’t see the voucher anywhere. thanks so much!

    • Jonathan says:

      Is this the voucher for spending £500 with Virgin Atlantic flights / Virgin Holidays, because I’m in the same situation, it’s not entirely obvious where the voucher is.

      I’m guessing this is what you’re asking about, and not the voucher for spending £10k in a year (or £20k on the free card)

    • dezbez says:

      I recently got mine and i don’t recall it taking too long, think it was within a few days IIRC. And yeah, it just lands in your account.
      Assume you are talking about the recent £500 spend offer, rather than the regular credit card offer?
      Interestingly, I haven’t received the bonus points yet though….

      • AviosNewbie says:

        sorry, actually I was referring to voucher for the £10k spend on the card. Is that awarded only at the end of the year or immediately after completing the spend?

    • AndyW says:

      If you are asking about the 10k/20k voucher – Mine hit a couple of weeks after the statement on which I hit the annual spend target. I was expecting it to arrive at the same time, but it just arrived as a line item on my flying club account a bit later, didn’t have to follow it up.

      • dezbez says:

        Mine likewise. It’s not very obvious in your account though, just a line item in transactions

  • A270 says:

    When booking Marriott’s family rate of book one room and get the 2nd 50% off, do you need to add two rooms and pay as normal (no discount shown at checkout) or do you pay for one room selecting the family rate option and they send an email with a code or something? Tried a dummy booking for both and don’t want to get it wrong.

    • Rob says:

      Book at full price, hotel adjusts at check out.

      • FM says:

        Interesting – does this apply to all marriott properties? Any links to t&cs? Thanks

        • Anna says:

          No, it will be a featured “deal” when you look at specific hotel rooms. Probably more than usual at the moment though. Kimpton is running something similar, though when I enquired about it recently it was actually cheaper to book 2 rooms separately on the IHG website so you need to check if the figures work for you.

          • Isherwood says:

            Accor properties such as Novotek sometimes run a similar promo “family” offer. Discount shows on the Accor website and books through ok. We used it in August to stay in the Novotel J4 M4. Decent pool, big rooms with door through to adjoining room. Very handy for M4 (obvs) and our west London relatives. £100pn for the 2 rooms. Parking was extra.

        • Rob says:

          The T&Cs show in the Rate Rules when you try to book.

  • alan says:

    Has anybody else had issues with the timings of triggering the virgin credit card reward voucher?

    account opened on 25/9/19 – but year end being counted as the statement generation date of 3/9/20 – and being £100 or so shy of the £10000 spend on this date – despite reaching it prior to the actual account opening anniversary 25/9/20

  • 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?)