Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Friday 27th 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 (323)

  • Jamie says:

    Curve mantra: use for cash. User for instant transactions that you know will never need to be refunded. Never use online. Never use for hotels. Never user for anything that needs or might need to be refunded. That way, you aovid their messing up, as they will, and do, and also limit the consequences when they go bust, which they will. Having been one of the original subscribers, and still with corporate black, I forgot about my rules. And now have a series of Amazon transactions that have been double charged. So, remember the rules, remember that Curve is generally ****, and in the meantime: enjoy!

    • Titus Adduxas says:

      I use my curve almost exclusively when Amex isn’t accepted. I’ve never had a problem with refunds and any double billing has always corrected itself without any input from me.

    • RH says:

      I think Curve is great – I’ve never had a problem with it and always use for HMRC. And I use abroad on week-days so no FX.

    • Phil W says:

      Use mine all the time. No issue with refunds or double charging. Probably user error.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Agree with others I’ve been using it since Day 1 and the only time I was double charged it was automatically refunded a few days later.

      I don’t use it for items I think I’ll need s75 protection.

    • Harry T says:

      It’s great for buying food and beverage when abroad, especially as many places don’t take Amex (and FX fees rarely make it worth using amex for such spend).

    • Mr. AC says:

      Was double charged once, and not refunded by hotels for incidental spend holds a couple times. Was always sorted after contacting support. Support actually looks into the issue and reads what you write (unlike many other companies). Feel comfortable using Curve, at least so now.

      Also, because I’m paranoid, I have a spreadsheet tracking all my Go Back in Time card switches over the past 2 years…. Over 200 – 0% failure rate! They go back to the original cards like clockwork.

    • MD says:

      @Jamie
      Entirely wrong on all counts, but you do you I guess.

  • Lumma says:

    Just checked my Curve limits this morning (was 2k pa) and it’s been increased to £1.6million a year, £100k a day.

    I’m on metal and had a card since the beginning

    • Lumma says:

      £100k was the ATM yearly limit – it’s 9k per day!

    • Mouse says:

      Seems to be universal. Maybe an error?

    • The real John says:

      Interesting, same here, I have blue commercial with the original permanent backcash retailers and was on 50K, now 1.6M

    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      I got £1.6 million today too – up from £50k on the original basic card.
      Does this mean I can earn enough points to buy a hotel?

    • gareth says:

      Few comments late last night too. Everyone’s has done the same- suspect it will go back down!!

    • The Urbanite says:

      Give it a few weeks and we’ll be seeing reports of people’s underlying cards being killed…just make sure your proof of source of funds covers your spend!

      • aDifferentSimon says:

        the KYC alerts are going to be going crazy!

      • DZOO says:

        Yes exactly, unless they’re reduced soon this is all going to come to a screeching halt for everyone!

      • BP says:

        I wonder what an honest answer would result in. The fact is most people can evidence the source of the funds even if it’s not a normal spending pattern.

        • memesweeper says:

          In my experience, if it’s not normal, the banks will hate it. The fact you can evidence the abnormality is beside the point, it seems. Banks don’t want the risk and haven’t got the resources to investigate properly.

    • Travel Strong says:

      Mine is slightly different. No change last night, and 1.4m / 4.5k this morning. Make hay?!

    • @mkcol says:

      Exactly same for me!
      Friend alerted me with a £1.4M limit 🤣

    • Matty says:

      I’m seeing ‘unknown’ against some of my limits.

    • Nigel W says:

      Thanks to this thread and just checked.

      I’m on Curve Black, got 9k per day limit and £1.6 million annual limit!

      • Titus Adduxas says:

        The 1.6M represents 6 months worth of £9k a day. It’ll likely be a Black Friday special which will be removed again shortly. Given the daily limit, the annual one is frankly irrelevant.

        • Lumma says:

          Well you could spend £3.2 million without the annual limit…

        • The Urbanite says:

          On that tier the monthly limit is £150k, suspect it will still be enforced even if not shown.

    • TechnoT says:

      Don’t get too excited now 🙂 Way more likely to be a bug than anything else

    • BJ says:

      Yeah, mine went up from 500k to 1.6M too. Just posted at end sorry, working backwards through the comments as usual.

    • Stuart says:

      Mine is the same – the limit was £3000. I have the free card so am very surprised

    • John says:

      Anyone tried to make a transaction this morning?
      I had used my monthly limit before limit increase last night.
      Just tried to pay HMRC ( usual payment) and declined. Plenty credit on underlying card !!

    • GeorgeJ says:

      I have the ordinary card and really only use it for foreign cash and non amex spend. High rate of strange entries but they normally get sorted after a few days, certainly the most problematic card I have.
      Like others limits are all to pot, annual spend 160million at 900k a day and 100k a day for the ATM. Looks like they have added at least a couple of decimal points to everything.

      • GeorgeJ says:

        Looks like they have fixed it for the time being. Limit is back to normal 1.6 million and 9000 a day.
        I have turned the card off for the time being.

    • Nic says:

      Definitely a front end bug. Take a look at your timeline and you might see that someone has confused pence and pounds. Apparently, I spent three hundred and fifty quid on a pint the other day.

      To double check if it was front or back end, I tried to spend the several hundred pounds(!) in my Curve Rewards balance. Sadly declined.

      Expect a swift update to the app shortly correcting it all.

      • Sean says:

        I’m on the free card and only have a 1.4m annual limit – only 4.5k per day though – going to contact curve and complain (no not really).

      • The real John says:

        no, i spent £5000 on a random number generator as usual

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        “Apparently, I spent three hundred and fifty quid on a pint the other day.”

        Nah, that’s just central London prices. 😀

      • BP says:

        It’s a back end bug. I was already at my monthly limit and decided to splurge on some bonds. There’s no monthly limit being shown at all now.

  • TripRep says:

    We using this chat for any Black Friday bargains? Looking at Laptops and TVs the discounts don’t seem as good as previous years.

    Dell use to have 40% off XPS laptops, now 15% off.

    Amazon selling a LG 4k TV for £100 more than it was on Prime Day.

    Any bargain noise cancelling headphones out there for travellers?

    • Andrew says:

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-55058121
      Which? found that 9 out of 10 BF “deals” are the same price or cheaper earlier in the year.

    • TripRep says:

      Might be useful, £10 saving at Amazon for buying via their app for the first time?

      https://www.hotukdeals.com/vouchers/ps10-off-ps30-spend-at-amazon-for-first-app-purchase-3604775

    • AJA says:

      I think the reality is that Covid has sapped any real enthusiasm for black Friday this year. Businesses are trying to protect the bottom line too with the outlook not exactly buoyant. Looked at the travel offers on the two articles and nothing inspires me to book especially as travel restrictions are still so prevalent. That said I did buy a new Samsung S20 5g phone with £100 off the price (about 14% discount). Bought via BA portal but no Avios received yet and I don’t think they will as I realised the small print says Avios won’t be awarded on discounted items which is a poor show. I find BA portal increasingly unreliable with random clawbacks months later. Shame really. At least I get the Avios via the BAPP card.

      • Andrew says:

        Yes anything discounted or when using a promo code usually won’t track – my recent Selfridges purchases using the 20% off code haven’t tracked. Sometimes you get a lower rate – Harvey Nics gives you 2 Avios per £1 on sale or promo items rather than 14.

        • meta says:

          Mine didn’t either. I submitted missing Avios claim on Monday (purchase arrived last week) and got response yesterday that all approved. Avios in my account this morning. Surprisingly quick!

          • Andrew says:

            Oh great. I’ll put in a claim then!

          • AJA says:

            Thanks meta, I will also put in a claim. I will give it a week to see if they do track. Worst that can happen is that it gets rejected. Headline offer is 6 points per £, double the normal rate so not to be sneezed at. On a separate but related note i also noticed that JL now awards on net value excluding VAT, it used to be on total price including VAT that you paid.

          • meta says:

            And just to add, I did use the code as well.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I would get too excited by that either might be clawed back in a day / week / month / year

          • meta says:

            @TGLoyatly Unlikely as this got investigated. I have an email from the team and if clawed I can always refer back to the email and request it back.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            They only know there was a transaction if the supplier doesn’t pay out because a voucher code was used it will be clawed back.

            Why I like T C B vs miles stores. Once it’s been paid out it’s yours.

      • Lumma says:

        Bought a Note 10 with 25% off (with code although code was listed with the phone) from Samsung via the ba portal and got the avois within a week.

        I’ve even had avois post from Samsung for items I’ve later cancelled or returned. I once got 4×1,500 avios from Samsung for something I was trying to buy that kept failing at the payment (I eventually had to give up as it was reducing my available credit)

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Samsung might be the one to try then 🙂

          Hilton is awful I don’t think they’ve ever paid out and not been clawed back.

          • meta says:

            My case is entirely different to the usual clawbacks as I have it in writing that they investigated with retailer (Selfridges) and that the retailer confirmed transaction and the amount to get back. If they claw it after this, I will just threaten them with court like I’ve done so many times before. In those cases they’ve always paid up immediately. I suspect they actually receive monies from retailer, but to protect their profits they are not passing on.

          • Lady London says:

            +1
            Hilton was diabolical via Taco Bell -when they were at 4-6% (and did not have a condition busting any Hhonors members down to 25pc of that) they simply never, ever paid out. Everyone said the same.

            Then Taco introduced user feedback – and around that time Hilton simply disappeared.

            They are back recently but given their record I should think they won’t pay out. And if someone is HH member then at 1pc they’d be better to go via hotels.com instead and get a 10pc free night accrual plus any Taco positives.

  • Paul says:

    Im trying to find a cheap way of buying iTunes gift cards.
    Could any offer tips as to where I should look? (Initial searches have proved unsuccessful, but I’m sure I’ve had 20-% off in the past – via PayPal from memory)

    • Andrew says:

      Morrison’s if you have the Amex offer

    • avstar says:

      Sainsburys are offering a decent discount on Itunes – at least 10% – when i was there yesterday

    • The Streets says:

      I got £200 of iTunes for free via Amex Platinum Business card offering £20 off when you spend £20 at Currys

    • KBuffett says:

      Amazon currently have 10% off.
      Tesco had 15% off at the beginning of the month.

    • Harry T says:

      Can you use the Apple store gift cards to pay for iCloud storage and Apple Music? Because I could use my amazon gift cards from Morrison’s (10% off) to stack with this offer and get 20% off.

      • Zana says:

        iTunes gift cards yes – I do this now but not Apple store gift cards. They are different with the latter being “currency” for electronics & accessories in Apple stores (or online). Morrisons sells iTunes gift cards, not the Apple store gift cards.

        • EwanG says:

          Little tip for anyone who then ends up with Apple Store gift cards (for buying physical goods instore/online) and wants iTunes gift cards for Apple Music / Cloud / News etc. If you get any of the former (e.g. from buying a new device this weekend), you can then spend the Apple Store GC and buy an iTunes GC instore. Did this last year. I don’t believe there is a way to do the reverse.

  • Andrew says:

    Anyone with the Bicester Amex offer and concerned that time or travel guidance will prohibit them using it – it’s been extended to 31 Jan.

  • Steven says:

    Question for Hilton Honors Members – to take advantage of the free room upgrade (appreciate it is subject to availability), I’m guessing you need to manually check in? Had a look at the app and the digital check in option shows just the same room booked. Thanks.

    • The real John says:

      If you are gold/diamond in non-COVID times your booking usually gets upgraded on the system in the morning. But if you want to shamelessly beg for an even better room you have to go to the front desk.

      These days, some hotels don’t upgrade because they claim they have pre-cleaned certain rooms and leave them empty for 2 days or something along those lines.

      • The real John says:

        Morning of your check-in date I mean

      • TGLoyalty says:

        “want to shamelessly beg for an even better room you have to go to the front desk.”

        You can politely ask via the in app messaging. No begging required.

    • Anna says:

      You can always call the hotel prior to your stay and ask if there’s any possibility of an upgrade. Hilton have hardly ever turned me down (I think the only time was when the MAN one genuinely had no larger rooms on a peak date), and obviosuly if you agree it in advance they have time to do the cleaning.

  • Andrew says:

    Thoughts on Shop Small going ahead given that 40% of the country won’t have access to pubs, restaurants or cafes? Shop Small becomes quite limited when it really is just shops.

    • Harry T says:

      I suspect the stealth continuation of the national lockdown may have killed any plans. Perhaps they will have a special Cornwall edition!?

    • mark2 says:

      In the summer I saved about £600 almost all in shops/garden centres

    • Charlieface says:

      Forgot about Paypoint have you?

  • Tim says:

    Wondering if anyone has a clear picture on the reduced quarantine rules?

    I had thought that if I return from Mallorca on the 11/12, I could get my test done on the 15/12 (since that’s day 5 inclusive) and then potentially have a clear result by the 16th.

    But, a friend raised a good point that I am wondering if anyone has a view on-does the new ruling apply to anyone or is it just those people who actually arrive on or after the 15th?

    • AJA says:

      I think it only applies to arrivals from the 15th. You arrive on 11th so have to follow rules in place on that day. Same as countries added or removed from travel corridor – date of arrival applies.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I posted something from Paul Charles yesterday which said arrivals before the 15th can be released early if they test on or after day 5. Just need to submit a new locator form.

      Check his Twitter if you want further clarification.

      The 15th is the first day you can be tested as released rather than the first day you can arrive and take part.

      • Tim says:

        Amazing. Thanks TG!
        I’ve had a look at Pauls Twitter and he seems quite sure that this is the case – but I am yet to see any clear, official guidance on this so think I will tread water for a few more days before confirming in the hope that there is a bit more clarity around it.

    • Mouse says:

      Simon Calder also confirmed this in The Independent:

      “I am arriving earlier in December. Can I take a test?

      Yes. Anyone arriving in England between 1 and 10 December will be able to shorten their quarantine by applying for a test on 15 December. For example, someone who arrived on 1 December would normally be expecting to be able to leave their home at one minute past midnight on 16 December – the two weeks’ self-isolation starts from the day after arrival.

      But by taking a test on 15 December, they can end quarantine as soon as a negative test result is received on that date.

      Travellers arriving on 11, 12, 13 and 14 December will also be able to shorten the length of quarantine, by booking a test for five days after they were last in a quarantine country.”

      https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/quarantine-test-covid-rules-list-uk-b1760803.html