Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Saturday 7th November

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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 (212)

  • Baji Nahid says:

    Was wondering if anyone currently have any MAC cosmetics offers on their amex cards at the minute?

    • Andrew says:

      Yes 12% on several of my cards and my NatWest rewards account.

      • CF Frost says:

        I struggle with NatWest. Nero spend resolutely fails to register, as do one or two others for bigger spends, and completing the ‘missing points’ online form does nothing at all: they fail to acknowledge and fail to respond at all – the promised response time is meaningless. I don’t think there’s a phone number or other means. Has anyone had better luck chasing? (I may be better sticking with the card that my name is on.)

        • Andrew says:

          I think I’ve only used it once – for Harvey Nics 5% back when there was no Amex offer on. Worked fine, was pending within a couple of days and paid out a month later as per the terms.

        • Crafty says:

          I have also found them useless, I did eventually get what I wanted but after multiple instances of the experience you describe. Unfortunately I can’t remember the action I took that did actually succeed.

    • Harry T says:

      Yes, I have the 12% rebate offer on several amex cards.

  • Dominic says:

    Does anyone know if BA Wine Flyer gets charged to your card as Laithwaites or BA Wine Flyer?

    Asking due to an Amex offer on Laithwaites…


    • Anna says:

      I’ve always been charged as Laithwaites, I think it’s essentially one company.

    • John Caribbean says:

      Came through for me twice (different cards) as laithwaites, despite using the Wine Flyer route via BA rewards. Blue light code if you can get one is useful too

  • Anna says:

    100% bonus offer on buying Hilton points – perhaps that’s where all our Barclaycard points have gone?!

    • Ian M says:

      Yeah, still waiting. Waiting on a large amount. But not in much of a rush, don’t have much travel planned!

  • Lucy says:

    Any healthcare workers here noticed that the price at Aloft Excel has shot up? I used the NHS rate to stay a few nights at £41 in October and could see that rate was available up until the end of the year.

    I’m now looking at the rest of the year and that rate has shot up to £79 – which is significantly more expensive than the package rate. Temporary blip? Too many people doing mattress runs?

  • Number9 says:

    I’m fed up of thinking about doom and gloom stuff so thinking about my trip to South America in 2022 instead, I need to fly to Buenos Aries to board ship, we are going to do Iguza Falls first. BA fly direct but no 1st class.
    I have million avois points 2 241 and there are 3 of us maybe 4 going.
    I’m looking at a way to go 1st class but know I’ll have to transfer somewhere and can only use 241 on BA metal.
    Looking for suggestions at which airlines have the nicest 1st and where I can use points.
    I know Iberia go via Madrid but not keen on flying with them.

    I think BA fly to Brazil with a 1st class cabin? My thinking there was we could do that and then fly to the Falls and come back to Buenos Aries that way?
    Any suggestions on flights or route welcome?

    Already assumed there might be restrictions in place or swab tests to take.

    • Matt says:

      BA fly F to Sao Paulo, generally with good avios availability. You can fly from there to the Brazilian side of the Falls (IGU) pretty easily I think, and from the Argentinian side (IGR) you can fly to Buenos Aires.

      If you’re wanting to start with the Falls then this doesn’t add an extra flight on – you’d have to take an internal flight there after the long haul.
      I wouldn’t bother allowing much time in Sao Paulo, though that might just be my preference.

    • Anna says:

      This sounds amazing and just right to cheer you up! Another option might be to try & bag F seats to MIA or another US hub (always assuming the US has recovered by then 🤦‍♀️) and connect there for Argentina or Brazil. Obviously there’s normally a huge choice of flights from the US to South America because of the proximity and other links between the 2 continents.

      • Genghis says:

        MIA – EZE is 4,406 miles
        LHR – EZE is 6,904 miles.
        It’s hardly “close”.

        • Anna says:

          To be fair, I said proximity of USA to South America, which as they are physically joined makes it pretty close at certain points!

        • Brian says:

          Aren’t connections via the US also to be avoided given how uselessly slow their systems are and how long it can take?

          (I’ve never connected via the USA myself)

          • Anna says:

            Depends how badly you want F seats, but I personally like a US city break before or after a Caribbean beach flop and don’t find the experience too onerous.

    • krys_k says:

      In my limited experience (once!) and obviously in a different pre-Covid landscape, like you are planning, flew in F to Sao Paulo with the intention of flying to falls and then onwards to Buenos Aries. However, booked the flight to Sao Paulo just three weeks prior to departure (two places opened up and on whim booked F to Brazil and J back from Santiago with three weeks in between) and found that with such short notice flights to Falls were very expensive. That’s a long winded way of saying book well ahead for cheap internal flights (the international flight from Sao Paulo and other internal flights were very reasonable). As an aside I would highly recommend going to Bom Jardim (its Bonito without the crowds) – was well worth it.

      • Number9 says:

        Wow thanks everyone I’ll sit and read all this properly in a bit. I’m not really interested in Brazil, although I did suggest to my Son we went to a football match and his reply “ you must be **** joking mother they are mental “ 😂

        • Jill (Kinkell) says:

          We wanted to stay at the Copacabana Palace ,but told it was sold out. Little did we know the Stones were there and playing a concert at the Maracana Stadium. Shows to do careful research as to what’s on!

    • Jill (Kinkell) says:

      We flew F to Rio, had a few days there , then internal flights to Iguacu then onward to BA. A few days there before boarding a ship. Internal Avios ( at the time Latam ) flight from Santiago back to Rio and F home. Great trip. Not sure if it’s still F to Rio ,though.

      • Matt says:

        No F to Rio anymore, but if you don’t mind J then Rio is infinitely nicer than Sao Paulo

    • Michael C says:

      Each to their own, of course, but seems a lot of “work” just to swap Club for First and then not stop in Brazil?!
      We were upgraded (on board) to First last year when flying to SP, and while it was lovely, I didn’t think there was a massive massive difference.
      Also, if you wanted to do a bit more than a simple return flight from Baires to Iguazú, there are also direct flights from the Falls to, say, Salta or Córdoba, so you could do a triangular route.
      Having said that, my own fave for that time of year is Bariloche, but I’d also happily stay in the capital for a fortnight or more!
      Anything you do will be fabulous – wonderful country!

      • Number9 says:

        I’m doing a 14 nights South American and Antarctica cruise. The Falls are an add on just because it seems a shame not to go as we are in that part of the world. You can only do and see so much and I would rather do the Falls than Brazil.

        • Lev441 says:

          Sounds great. I loved Iguazú so much, i made a detour there on my Argentina trip on 2018 and it was worth every penny. Where is your trip finishing? Something to think about is that one way Avios fares from Brazil cost about £20-25 due to no surcharges being allowed ! So may be worth booking 2 x one ways although could only make use of the 2 for 1 in one direction if so!

          • Michael C says:

            BA have sadly put an end to that, Lev, by introducing their own super special surprise “carrier surcharge”.

          • Number9 says:

            Cruise ship docks in BA end of trip. So will come back there. I’m going to have a chat with family see what their thoughts are.

          • Lev441 says:

            @michaelc – booking via still gets around this – and in fact is just £8 now!

        • Michael C says:

          That makes sense! If you do end up doing F to SP and just want a quick stop-off, the Pullman by the airport is fine. Shuttle straight there (thus avoiding nightmare traffic, tennis + pool. And of course contains the fabulous Base Steakhouse.

    • Lammy52 says:

      We flew from Rio to Iguazu post cruise last year, only a short flight, before returning to Rio to fly back to Heathrow on BA.

    • Magic Mike says:

      Late reply but I have done exactly that – F to GRU, then GRU-IGU, spend 2 days at Iguazu, one day on either side, (they’re very different, get a taxi across the border) then fly out of IGR to AEP domestic on the Argentinian side.

      Well worth an add on to your Antarctica itinerary.

      Make sure you get to where you are boarding the Antarctica ship well before (like 2 days before) you need to board – things sometimes don’t go to plan in Argentina. You do not want to miss the boat!

  • Hannah says:

    BA have started doing a lot of last minute cancellations. Had a flight from AMS to LHR this morning at 11:20 cancelled at the airport. The connecting LHR to NCL at 12:50 has also been cancelled. Anyone with upcoming flights should probably double check them.

    • Anna says:

      How is BA dealing with this, Hannah – finding alternative flights/hotel etc? Hope you get back without too much hassle!

    • Paasan69 says:

      Just received an email that my ATH -> LHR on Dec 6th at 18.50 has been cancelled. Not automatically rebooked on to an alternative flight. No option available to rebook on, only call option available for the time being.

    • Lady London says:

      Please tell us how it turns out.

      • Hannah says:

        The flight was for my boyfriend who is relocating to the UK. Supposedly they tried to contact him to let him know but he didn’t get anything from them. In fact he received a confirmation email for the LHR to NCL leg after it had been cancelled.

        In the end they moved him to the direct KLM flight this evening with minimal fuss. The outcome was absolutely fine for us but I can imagine if someone had been stuck at Schipol for 12 hours they wouldn’t have been too impressed.

  • TGLoyalty says:

    Now a full ban on travel for non uk citizens / residents from Denmark. Everyone in your household must also self isolate with you for 14 days (unlike the normal travel quarantine rules)

    • Lady London says:

      seems sensible.
      We give the government a lot of stick but this one seems to make sense.

  • Paul says:

    Anyone know if the bendy one over the Hong Kong one can settle a John Lewis MasterCard statement without being treated as a cash transaction?

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