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.

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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)

  • A says:

    Anyone successfully used the Wheely current offer on BAPP (Spend three times, get £50 back, once)?

    • Harry T says:

      I’ve used it on Bonvoy amex and supp.

    • KS says:

      Yes, completed on mine. One ride remaining on supp.

      • A says:

        Thanks, both. The offer terms click through to a dead link for me, even though it is saved to my card – are you aware if it is a minimum spend of £50 across three rides, or a credit of what you spend across three (up to £50)? Thanks a lot

      • Cam says:

        Completed for me as well. Three rides that together ended up being ~£110, so after discount they were about the same as Uber assuming no surge pricing (and far more pleasant). The combined distance + time billing does add up when in traffic in central London, but the quality and experience is very good.

    • Graeme2 says:

      It worked for me. Got a free upgrade to the S class on one ride as well – going to be hard to go back to uber!

      • Andrew says:

        Worked for me, had 3 rides total cost £54.50, £50 credit back. Cheaper than the tube at £1.50 a journey. No requirement to spend £50 minimum, so you can make a profit. It’s an excellent offer, not sure why more wasn’t made of it on here.

        • A says:

          Yes, that’s what I was thinking – seemed pretty good to me and wondered if I was missing something…!

          • Harry T says:

            Wheely rides can be expensive in central London, I’ve found! Still a good offer and excellent product.

  • Simon says:

    Just to let people know; hens teeth do exist!!!

    Recenly rang BA to use an evoucher to Gibraltar; ’cause of their Avios 50% ‘sale’ got a rebate of some 4600 points!!!!

    At same time noticed on Seatspy (brilliant) a ‘fit’ for B/Cl x 2 return direct to Maldives. Spoke to very nice BA guy. Upshot used a 2-4-1, £1208.94 taxes and only some 62,500 Avios again ’cause of the 50% sale!!!!

    Could only have done this with the help of HFP aticles and Seatspy search engine.

    Moral: keep your eyes open!!!

    Father Christmas came early

  • Tri87 says:

    Asked this question on yesterday’s thread re spending the £400 Marriott Amex offer. Have reached out to Emyr already on options, and done a bit more research on the London hotels.

    Think I’ve narrowed it down to:
    1) 2 nights at JW Marriott with non-refundable member rate incl. breakfast for £510
    2) 3 nights (2 + 1 free) at Westbury through Emyr incl. breakfast for ~£540

    I discarded Park Tower Knightsbridge as reviews seemed to indicate its ‘luxury’ status comes from location (which I don’t like much), very noisy, old, and smelling of smoke in some circumstances.

    Couple of questions:
    1) The Marriott member rate indicates is “non-refundable prepay”. Am I right in thinking this will charge my card beforehand and still trigger the offer? I’m not too worried about the non-refundable bit…

    2) I’d like to split the bill between two cards – £401 to trigger the Amex offer, and the rest on an SPG Amex to get the points. Can I do this at the hotel? How is this affected by prepayment in point 1?

    3) Any general suggestions on which hotel option I’ve listed? I’d rather have 2 nights at a great hotel, than 3 at a less than great one (which the Westbury appears to be).

    Thanks all!

    T

    • Kevin C says:

      Of those two I would choose the Westbury.
      My room at the Park Tower was more luxurious than any Marriot I’ve stayed at.
      I’m not sure the offer will even work on a pre-paid rate. Plus you will get extras going through Emyr.

      • Tri87 says:

        Thanks for your answer.

        1) In In terms of of booking through Emyr for JW Marriott his quote was much higher than the member rate which includes breakfast, effectively meaning sole benefit of $100 credit (which is lower than the difference). I’m Gold and would anticipate a complimentary room anyway upgrade (excl. suites – not sure if Emyr’s upgrades include suites?)

        2) I think I confused the prepaid rate with the Park Tower, the JW Marriott is “Member Rate Welcome Back, includes breakfast, 25 percent off Flexible Rate, see Rate details”, free to cancel 2 days before checking in, so I should hopefully be covered there.

        • Tri87 says:

          Also, thanks for your opinion on the Westbury. Looking at Marriott member reviews, Flyertalk and Tripadvisor there appears to be a clear discrepancy between both though I cannot judge how much of it is based on value for money.

          Westbury rooms look tiny!

    • Harry T says:

      1) probably would work but I wouldn’t book a non refundable rate during the pandemic.
      2) you can split bills across amex cards if you pay at checkout but that won’t work with a prepaid rate.
      3) sorry, haven’t stayed at either hotel. I can recommend the W, which is included in the offer. I stayed there a couple of weeks back.

      • Tri87 says:

        Thanks for your response – looks like the JW Marriott doesn’t do prepaid rates which is good.

    • Graeme2 says:

      I’ve booked the Westbury for this weekend using the offer – would be happy to give you my thoughts after staying. Shame that the hotel’s restaurants are closed but a good opportunity to try some of the others within walking distance. I avoided the JW Marriott becuase whener I’ve been in the public areas it’s felt a bit impersonal, but the rooms do look very nice.

      • Tri87 says:

        That would be super helpful, thanks for offering!

        Not sure what Rob’s policy is on handing out contact info here but hopefully this doesn’t violate any policies….my contact info is tri87hfp AT protonmail DOT com. Hopefully more efficient than trawling through hfp chat threads each day next week 🙂

    • Amar says:

      I would also choose the Westbury (which I have) – staying this weekend for 3 nights (~£550, $100 credit, incl breakfast and possible room upgrade). Will let you know my thoughts

  • Connor says:

    Well, I finally found out why Amex have been having a hissy fit with me for the past 6 months.

    My credit limit was reduced from £13,000 to £5,000 back in May. Spoke to a guy from the credit team who said he could see no apparent reason and I appealed by providing some bank statements. Unfortunately the appeal was rejected, though no reason was ever given.

    I phoned up today to ask for a credit limit increase after putting £28k through the card since then, always paid on time and in full and was rejected again. The representative then called through to the credit team after I pushed a bit, and apparently my earlier appeal was denied due to me “falsifying my income” (which I haven’t, the bank statements provided show MORE than the income I stated going in to it.)

    Since then I’ve had absolutely no offers on my card in the past 6 months (I even had to ask for Shop Small to be added manually) and I also get a “not eligible” message when trying to get my refer a friend link.

    I initially though Amex were just trying to protect themselves by reducing credit limits, but it just seems whoever reviewed my appeal was a bit dense. This has no doubt left a bad mark against me with Amex, so I’ll see where a complaint gets me but no doubt I’ll get told to bugger off.

    • Harry T says:

      You need to escalate this as high as you can. It’s possible you may have inadvertently put in an incorrect figure in the income box when applying for the card or something. I doubt amex want to lose a relatively high spending customer right now! See if you can get someone with a brain at Brighton.

      • Anna says:

        Do they actually check income? I’ve never known them check with an employer (AFAIK) and now I’m retired they clearly can’t check on that because they don’t ask you where your income comes from! Also they don’t ask where partner’s income comes from, so can’t check that either.

        • The real John says:

          I don’t think any card issuer routinely verifies income, but they reserve the right to, and they use National Hunter to compare with all previous credit applications in the past 6 months for consistency (if inconsistency is found, data may be kept and credit applications during the next few years may all be double-checked)

          If retired they can still ask you to send in bank statements

          • meta says:

            Actually they do sometimes. When my partner opened Platinum some years ago they called his employer which was rather strange as he already had BAPP two years prior and they never called when he opened that card. MBNA did the same with Miles&More card.

        • Connor says:

          They seem to have a new system using Open Banking. It’s an Experian service that you log in with your online banking details and they can see all your transactions for the past 12 months.

    • Lady London says:

      I would pursue the complaint and wben resolved in your favour ask that those conclusions that were found to be without foundation be struck out of your file and an apology letter issued to you and placed in your file.

      You have in this time also missed a few non targeted offers that were very lucrative us some targeted ones I would calculate a % of. Till Amex systems catch up you will for sure for a period keep missing new ones. I’d tot all this up to a number you’ve missed out on and would be looking for as much as possible as 12 months’ fees to be waived and not less than 50%.

      Not sure if FOS would regard this as a slur on your name if you dont get satisfaction but could be worth checking

      • Genghis says:

        Chance will be a fine thing. My “abuse” of Amex with shop small basically caught them with their trousers down, was perfectly legit per the terms, but they didn’t like it as it was costing them money. As such, they shut me down, despite the facts.

        Good luck to OP. They’ll probably issue a final response and get you to go to FOS. However, OP really needs to work out their actual “loss”. Amex decreasing credit limits for whatever reason is perfectly allowed, so as long as contract followed. Amex offers are not a contractual benefit etc. Go through the T&Cs with a fine toothcombe and find where they have not acted in compliance with terms. It wasn’t too hard for me and I picked them apart in FOS complaint. Note I’m now an Amex customer again.

    • Tom says:

      That is really interesting because the exact scenario you describe has happened to me. I originally linked it my downgrade from Plat to Green but that could be because at that time they asked for my income etc again.

      If they are matching declared income to other credit applications that could explain why they have flagged me – the income I declared for my mortgage doesn’t include my self employed income as the provider wanted 5 years worth of accounts to back this up which I didn’t have at the time (only been in business 4 years).

      Did amex ever ask you to verify your income before this?

      • Connor says:

        Never asked before. I’m self employed too. I’m wondering if weren’t happy as the income was a bit sporadic rather than a set salary every month,

        • Tom says:

          70% of my income comes from my normal job and 30% from being self employed with a chunk of that via dividends so like you mine is a little sporadic too.

          At least I am pretty sure why I have been treated poorly recently – strangely they did allow me to upgrade my blue BA to BAPP recently though.

      • Lady London says:

        Also people’s incomes do vary over even quite short periods so which idiot thought of this as a test for fraud?

  • Harry T says:

    Does anyone know if the additional two MR per pound offer for certain retailers on the Gold amex card also applies to the supplementary card holder?

    I’m currently earning five points per pound on my Aldi shopping but would be nice if I didn’t have to give the gf my card lol

    • Harry T says:

      So I can use the card myself – I do trust her!

    • The real John says:

      It should do, but you can just do a test transaction first? Alternatively you could add your card to her phone for google pay or whatever, not sure if that works at all retailers

      • Harry T says:

        Good idea. I can give her the card and I can use Apple Pay or something. A small test transaction sounds like a good idea too.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      It should work if it’s a proper retention offer

      an actual offer that’s saved to your card like the deliveroo bonus wouldn’t

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks. It’s the Deliveroo, Aldi, Curry’s etc one. For some reason it didn’t appear on the supp.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Apple Pay is probably the best bet.

          I believe google pay doesn’t work the same way so offers don’t trigger. No idea about android pay.

  • Igloo says:

    Interesting idea by the Sofitel LHR to introduce a ‘test and test’ package… although the test described in the article doesn’t sound like a PCR so I don’t know how effective it will be

    https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/heathrow-airport-hotel-covid-tests-pcr-arora-sofitel-flights-coronavirus-b1374128.html

  • John W says:

    Qatar airway EU fares ……… Too risky ?
    I want to fly on boxing day , but the fare from Brussels is £700 cheaper than Heathrow for business ….. Problem is , is this too risky in current climate . I am thinking positioning flight gets cancelled , I will be stuffed !

    • ChrisC says:

      Depends on the timing of your positioning flight and then your QR flight.

      But ex EUs can have issues even during normal times. The usual recommendation is to position the day before

    • Jonathan says:

      Brussels?! Belgium is the global Covid hotspot at the moment so I wouldn’t touch that with a barge pole as you might find wherever you’re heading will restrict entry to anyone who’s passed through. You will also have to quarantine on your return if away for less than 14 days.

  • N says:

    Hilton seem to be firing the first shots for 2021.

    – status extended to march 2022
    – halving status requirements for 2021
    – rolling over all nights from 2020
    – no expiring points before 31/12/21

    • Harry T says:

      I’m hoping Marriott Bonvoy makes a move to match this!

      • Andrew says:

        And IHG. They were last to the party last time, so I’ll wait a month or two.

      • Stu N says:

        Marriott have just updated their cancellation policies for non-flexible rates yesterday. I phoned to try to cancel or move a non-flex rate today thinking I was chancing it but agent highlighted policy change and refunded no problem.

        https://clean.marriott.com/#flexiblecancellation

        Nothing on status just yet – they did extend by a year and give everyone a pile of free nights didn’t they?

    • BJ says:

      Makes me Lifetime Diamond if the extra year counts for that but I doubt it.

      • Harry T says:

        It may well do. I believe it counts for Marriott, so perhaps Hilton wouldn’t want to seem mean?