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)

  • Dominic says:

    Realise this is very lazy, but HfP had an article a few weeks back (I think!) about saving MR points when downgrading Amex Gold; can anyone share the link? My search failed me…

    Thanks!

  • MarkH says:

    I had been hoping BA would cancel my reward flight tomorrow but it looks to be going ahead so have had to cancel myself.

    Flights were 68k Avios and cash element was £100 so rather than pay £70 cancellation fees to get he avios and £30 back I took an FTV (well 2 FTV’s as there were 2 of us going).

    I know that I will need to call BA to use them, but how does it work? Are the avios and cash amounts simply deducted from the amounts due for future reward flights?

    • ChrisC says:

      Yes.

      • Andrew says:

        And you can only use it towards future Avios flights, not cash bookings

    • Char Char says:

      I found I could change the dates for next year at no cost, not having to mess around with the vouchers

    • MarkH says:

      Thanks all.

      From reading an article on another site I was actually worried I might have to use it towards a cash flight and they were going to convert the avios at some silly rate.
      Wouldn’t have been the end of the world but it’s reassuring the avios stay as avios as I’m pretty much guaranteed to get better value!

  • Lemeng says:

    My Amex Gold card year ends in 6 weeks’ time. I’m too far short of the spend target to trigger the 10,000 MR bonus, thanks to spending so much less since the pandemic took hold in March and now going back into a period when it’s hard to spend lotsn thanks to the second lockdown. Does anyone know whether Amex is considering extending the deadlines for cardholders to meet the target, because of the pandemic? Did this happen at all during the first lockdown? Or should I just go ahead and cancel the card and get a small refund on the membership fee?

    I asked Amex customer service this and the helpful agent said he didn’t know if there’s a plan to offer any extensions, which didn’t take me any further forward in deciding what to do.

    • Harry T says:

      I haven’t heard of anyone been offered an extension for spending 15k in a year. If I were you, I’d say you don’t think you can hit that spend due to travel refunds, and are considering cancelling the card if you can’t get an extension. You may get a retention offer. I’m currently getting an extra 2 MR per pound on my Gold card, which makes domestic transactions 3 per pound, foreign spend 4 per spend, amex travel and foreign airline spend 5 per pound. If you are offered something similar, do the maths and figure out if you would come out ahead.

    • Dan says:

      Agree with Harry T. I did the same spiel about wanting to cancel and managed to negotiate a 5000MR for £1k spend over 3 months – which I thought was decent. If you phone up and they don’t give you anything, hang up and wait another week and repeat and the offer may show up!

      • Harry T says:

        Good thoughts from Dan! I think his retention offer is the one that most Gold card holders have been given, based on HFP comments. It’s a decent return on a £1000 spend but you may do even better with an offer similar to mine, depending on projected spend. See what they offer and don’t be afraid to HUACA.

        • Harry T says:

          I should say my offer was also for three months. I’m going to ring again when it expires in January to ask for another offer.

          • Dan says:

            I will do the same when my offer ends as getting 2MR on additional spend will also be helpful if that is an option. Getting to a Brighton call center agent is probably the secret here, the Manila based agents are not particularly generous when it comes to these things.

          • Abc says:

            Did you call them when the card anniversary was due or after the 10k bonus was posted?

          • Harry T says:

            Called before the card anniversary. About a week or two before.

          • Lemeng says:

            Thanks for the info. I’ll certainly try HUACA.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      Already been beaten here! I’m a big advocate of saying you’ll cancel and see what they’ll do. Many gold cards get offered 5k MR for 1k spend in 3 months or 2 additional points per pound. Personally when I did it I got offered both of them… but could only pick 1.

      Youd be surprised what companies do when they want to keep you!

  • Cat says:

    Hey, has anyone bought wine from Tordoffs before? Are they any good? I’m wondering about stocking up for Xmas using a rather good combination of offers!

    • Steve says:

      I put an order in yesterday, so I’ll report back in the next few days on how many credits actually post. I did get two separate “you’ve used your offer” emails from Amex, so it looks promising so far. Never used them before though so no idea how good they are.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      They look expensive, please do let me know how they are.

  • Harry T says:

    @LL
    I’ve used LastPass for about 13 years and never had any issues.

  • Harry T says:

    Anyone reckon the Selfridges and Harvey Nichols offers may return after expiring? I haven’t used them yet but would prefer to use them for Black Friday sales. Current offers expire in eight days though.

    • Peter K says:

      If the stores survive they will likely arrive again at some point. It’s unlikely they’ll be back in time for Black Friday I’d have thought. They are likely on cards now to stimulate sales from those who woukd otherwise wait until Black Friday to make a purchase.

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks, Peter, good thoughts!

        Does anyone know if Mr Porter run a decent Black Friday sale? Surprisingly haven’t used their site before.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Sure they’ll be back I bought a couple HN gift cards on one card/supp combo and left the other so hopefully I’ll get it again when I can spend in store.

      I was in selfridges the other day so just bought some gift cards and I’ll hold out for Black Friday to spend them.

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks! I’ve definitely missed the boat with buying gift cards, I think: seem to recall you shouldn’t buy them online if you want to trigger Amex rebates.

        I seem to recall someone said you can use HN gift cards online now? Still got a £75 one lying around

        • Andrew says:

          HN gift cards online trigger no problem – you even earn 2 Avios per £1 on the BA site. I’ve done this multiple times during this offer and the £100 platinum ones. Free delivery too. Selfridges you can’t though. And neither Selfridges nor Harvey Nics is going anywhere – they’ve survived world wars, they will survive a month of lockdown (HN Edinburgh is still open).

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks, Andrew. Didn’t realise the one in Edinburgh was still open, but makes sense given the difference in restrictions.

            What do you normally buy at Harvey Nicks, out of curiosity?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        HN GC can be purchased online and you get 2 avois/£ via the BA portal.

        Selfridges can’t.

    • Harry T says:

      Can you use the HN gift cards online? Their website says you can’t…

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Another poster mentioned you phone after purchasing online via card and have it adjusted for the GC value but not tried that myself.

        • Andrew says:

          Yes that was me. You can email customer services after you’ve placed the order and it’s been dispatched with details of the gift card and they will refund to the card you paid for the order with by the amount of the gift card. So I wouldn’t use Amex to pay for the order with as if might revoke the rebate if it’s the same card.

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks, both. Just emailed Harvey Nichols and they have confirmed Andrew’s comments apply – you can email post order to apply the gift card and receive a rebate.

            Good point about using another Amex/card, Andrew.

      • Andrew says:

        I tend to but the menswear designer clothes, usually in the sale. The majority of Harvey Nics clothes are “own bought” rather than concession, which means the fixed retail price ends once the season changes and they are free to discount by whatever they see fit regardless of what the designer is offering in the sale. Fendi is my go to brand online, when the stores are open then Dior, but they must have an agreement not to sell online even out of season. Dolce, Gucci and Moncler also online although the latter two rarely discounted. The 10% rewards weekends are also good as they often offer a discount on brands which places like Harrods which are concession run don’t participate in.

        • Harry T says:

          Thanks, interesting to hear about. I didn’t appreciate the difference between own bought and concession.

          I may well buy some Harvey Nichols gift cards to spend on Black Friday (on menswear!) – do they usually do a decent sale?

          I recently bought some Church’s shoes in HN Knightsbridge for less than half the RRP because they didn’t come with a box!

          • Andrew says:

            They do usually do a decent sale but not until a week before Christmas – Black Friday (if this year is like previous ones) will be 30% off, but it will be 50% by the actual sale and in the dying days of the sale in January 70% or higher, sometimes with an additional 10% off for Rewards. Well done on the shoes – sales are so good for bargains like that – I never bother with high street sales as the stuff is cheap enough to buy full price with no hassle and hunting around in a big pile, but sales make designer prices a little easier to swallow and justify.

          • Harry T says:

            Thank you, Andrew – the advice on sales timing is invaluable. I shall buy some gift cards then, and bide my time.

            Yes, the shoes were quite a find. I needed some new formal brown shoes and I found this tiny section in the shoe part of HN Knightsbridge where they display the final sale/clearance items in limited sizes (last I checked they still had some Church’s in other sizes). Fell in love with the shoes immediately and was quite surprised to find they were reduced to around £150 from £395 due to the box missing. Used a gift card from the previous Amex offer and the £100 Amex Platinum offer (Waitrose, JL, Harvey Nics one) to make a great deal even better. You’re right – this is where the sales in the physical stores really shine. I can afford to pay full RRP but I’d rather not!

          • Andrew says:

            Quite a find indeed! I do think Harvey Nics make the biggest reductions of the department stores and then combine that with Amex offers and some HN reward points and they’re practically giving it away!

    • Harry T says:

      Andrew, it sounds like you’re a pro at this! Hopefully we can shop in HN stores again soon.

  • Kai says:

    Does Morrisons stock Amazon gift cards? Went to two stores today and didn’t find any. Ended up trying to buy the one4all ones instead, yet the cashier had no clue how to adjust the amount to more than £15!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      They do normally.

      They also sell their own gift cards which can be used to buy Amazon, JL, M&S etc cards at your leisure

    • Harry T says:

      They stock amazon usually – I bought a load last time we had the Amex offer. Also worth topping up on John Lewis (use for JL or Waitrose) and Netflix/Apple store (saves you money if you normally subscribe to Netflix or Apple Music )

    • Doug M says:

      Yes definitely have Amazon normally. Can’t speak to one4all but with the JLP variable ones if you self checkout the till allow you to choose the amount. The scale won’t detect the card by weight, so as said by others just throw a till located chocolate bar on. Previously I got really fed-up finding only £25 or £50 vouchers, so was pleased to find £100 Amazon and £15 to £100 JLP ones this time.

    • Aston100 says:

      None at the one I visited the other day.

  • Alan says:

    Can anyone answer a couple of questions about taking our Platinum AMEX

    Are there referral bonuses available on the Platinum card

    Would still qualify for the free first year Gold Card membership if downgrading from Platinum once i have collected the sign up bonus

    • Harry T says:

      You can refer someone from a Platinum card and receive 12,000 MR.

      You may be able to downgrade to a Gold card but they should technically charge you for the first year. Some people have been given the Gold charge card as a downgrade and received a free first year. I was not given this option when I last downgraded.

    • Rob says:

      1. Yes
      2. No, seems not – but if you cancel Plat (and spend the points) then apply for Gold a few weeks later it would work

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I downgraded to gold in the spring and received the first year free.

        • Rob says:

          Interesting. In general this hasn’t happened, albeit this is purely based on reader reports as I’ve never done it.

          • Harry T says:

            I specifically asked for a free first year on the Gold card when downgrading and was rebuffed. Mind you, that was before I realised you always need to speak to Brighton.

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