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)

  • Jane says:

    can someone remind me what is the best way to pay HMRC now that standard curve attracts a fee ? ideally to earn HH or IHG points – does Rev work ? thanks..

  • meta says:

    I just got an email from hotels.com. 5% extra off code BFRWD5 and more importantly you can collect reward night with this code!

  • ChrisBCN says:

    Anna!

    The boss of West Coast just said Christmas tickets will appear over the next few days, by Tuesday at the latest.

    • Anna says:

      Lol, thanks!

      • David D says:

        Reading the details on the app, the tickets should be up on the 1st December. Whether that is midnight or generally around 4am is the question.

  • Mike says:

    What is the deal with BA shopping? Is BA or the Retailers paying for the Avios? Some retailers give you a mind boggling 16 Avios per £!

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      Retailers pay ba to give you avios. Sometimes they claw them back for no reason tho…

      • Mike says:

        Got it. I made a partial return/refund and they haven’t clawed back the points, over a month now hmm

        • Colin says:

          Just be careful Mike. I made a purchase with John Lewis back in April thru BA shopping portal. Avios posted immediately. Faulty item & returned within a day of receipt ….. the Avios were reclaimed last week – 7 months later!!

        • Gavin says:

          I’ve had Avios clawed back over a year later in some cases in error – and there’s no way to appeal if it’s been that long.

          • Jill (Kinkell) says:

            I browsed the brew dog site, thought about a purchase but didn’t proceed. Lo and behold, Avios awarded and in my account as if I had purchased. Fully expecting them to be clawed back eventually. The site can generate a lot of Avios but is a real pain when claiming for missing Avios. It’s also difficult to assess what you should get as Avios are not awarded on vat, delivery and a few other things. My recent M&S spend of £106 only got Avios awarded for £88.37!

          • EwanG says:

            @Jill – you said “It’s also difficult to assess what you should get as Avios are not awarded on vat, delivery and a few other things.’ Absolutely, they can be very inconsistent. For example 2 purchases through the BA portal at John Lewis 8 days apart. First transaction points on full spend, second transaction is effectively on the ex-vat amount!

    • KBuffett says:

      Gap have 50% off everything on their site (upto 60% in some cases), plus 5% if you are a VIP member, and BA Shopping are giving 20 points per £

  • Anna says:

    Our Feb trip to Vienna has been cancelled by EasyJet and I don’t think there’s any point booking another foreign trip at this time. So I’ve booked a little road trip to the West side of Scotland mainly on points and free nights in case we’re still in Tier 3 by then. It’s 1 night at the HI Dumfries (I know it’s a HI, but it looks pretty good and was only 12k points for a King Exec room for 3 of us), 2 nights at the Kimpton Blythswood Sq using Ambassador free night plus a second room on points/free night cert, then the last 2 nights in 2 rooms at the Trump Turnberry for a total of 140k Bonvoy points. It feels like quite a bargain few days as cash rates reflect that it’s half term!

    • JonD says:

      Will be interested in hearing about the HI Dumfries as I have thought about that one before. I’ve stayed in the Premier Inn at Dumfries before and it was surprisingly good.

      Also, since you are in the area Culzean Castle is worth a visit.

      • RussellH says:

        Will Culzean be open in Feb? We spent a few days in Fife at that time this year, so just pre-Covid restrictions and all the NTS and Historic Environment Scotland places were closed then.
        Likely to be worse next Feb.

        • Anna says:

          Historically we’ve often visited Scotland in winter (quiet, breathtaking snowy mountains etc) and a lot of stuff does tend to be closed so tend to do a lot of walking and visiting beauty spots. I’m assuming museums in Glasgow will also be open if things are getting back to normal by then (big if, I know!)

          • Anna says:

            One dazzling sunny January day some years ago we walked up Ben Lawers in the snow (3 hours up, 2 hours down!); it was so clear that we could see across to Ben Nevis from the summit. Worth travelling at that time of year for the views!

        • Lady London says:

          ? Likely to be worse next Feb ?

      • Anna says:

        On my list!

      • Blindman says:

        We stayed one night on points in August this year.

        Upgraded to an exec room and given FREE breakfast as it was a reward booking (12.5k)

        Nice place.

        • Anna says:

          I saw a review on Tripadvisor that says reward stays get free breakfast, obviously that would be a great bonus. HI breakfasts very decent for the price IME.

          • Anna says:

            The exec room was the same points price as the standard one so of course I booked that!

      • Mouse says:

        Also worth driving up the A719 from Culzean to Ayr – some beautiful seascape views when the road rises up between Croy and Dunure. Wanlockhead lead mining museum, in Scotland’s highest village, is also quite interesting if you like that sort of thing.

      • RogerC says:

        I stayed in Dumfries. The stay was notable both for the fact that I had to search the hotel for a receptionist to check in and for the couple making out in a ground floor room with the curtains open…..

    • RussellH says:

      I like the HI Dumfries. Although the building is old (was still the local psychiatric hospital when I lived in Galloway), it is now mostly a University Campus. The hotel has far more character than most HIs. Rooms are new, even standard ones quite large, with very nice beds. Bar looks nice, but is a bit ordinary in terms of food and drinks. 12k points excellent
      First time I was there it was still very new, but as the Credit Card machine was in the name of the owning company, not HI I had a battle with whoever it was issuing my IHG credit card at the time.
      It is now owned by Jupiter Hotels, who were spun out of Ramada Jarvis when the went bust. Mostly now Mercures, including the big tower at Manchester Piccadilly Gardens and the one near the Reebok Stadium in Bolton.

    • James says:

      Trump Turnberry 🤢🤮

      • TGLoyalty says:

        While I don’t like trump it’s a very good property with some very friendly welcoming staff.

        With things like this you have to think do I support the local economy, the great staff and uk travel economy or do I protest against the owner who I’ll never meet see or hear about.

    • Lady London says:

      Can you get them to reroute you on Austrian or another airline?

    • Liz says:

      We spent a week on the Culzean Castle campsite in our caravan in Aug when the weather was mid 20’s every day! We had some stunning sunsets across to Arran and the Ailsa Craig every night. The Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway coast is a lovely drive. We visited the most southerly point in Scotland – the lighthouse at the Mull of Galloway. We climbed the Merrick hill which is the highest point in that area, recreating a photo from when I was 14! We drove past Trump Turnberry several times but couldn’t bring myself to go in. Ayr is my hometown so it was nice to revisit and catch up with some friends. We also drove up to Largs and caught the ferry across for a day of cycling round Millport finishing with an ice cream at Nardini’s – but we had the weather!

    • Olly says:

      Anna, is the Ambassador requirement of the free night that you pay for the second night in cash or does by using Kimpton for-go this requirement?

  • Pete says:

    Proud money saving moment. So I re-priced some February Miami flights on BA in the sale (which were originally ex-EU). Two came to £2,500 direct from LHR. Then inserted the Daily Mail voucher code, which brought it down to £2k. Then cancelled the positioning flights to SOF for a £500 voucher. Then inserted an old e-voucher, which brought it down to £1,400. And then got my €300 deposit back from the original booking deposit via BA Holidays as there were a bunch of schedule changes on that booking 🤪

  • Mark says:

    Does anyone know if Virgin will be doing the £1 golden ticket promo this year?
    It was on cyber Monday last year if I remember?
    Thanks

    • Rhys says:

      Nothing yet. All the golden ticket promos are notably absent this year.

      • Mark says:

        I was really looking forward to the competition and mad search for the flights..never mind 🙂
        Thank you

  • Nick says:

    On the theme of refunds and similar. I bought a new Samsung phone in mid October, sent of my trade in for the £75 allowance, receipt of it acknowledged, end of story I thought….Early November Samsung debit £75 from my BAPP card, email says reclaim for my trade in!? I have spent more time trying to sort doing this than my day Job! Amex have taken on dispute transaction, but, believe it or not Samsung UK customer services state the issue is with Customer services based in Manilla. I have escalated it to CEO, no joy, was promised a refund of money within 3-5 days on November 6th, nothing!
    I thought about instigating MCOL in the hope I could get some recompense for my wasted time and effort, still pondering that

    • Pete says:

      Wow, that’s crazy! I tend to use Music Magpie for old tech, generally decent prices and good customer service.

      • Nick says:

        Pete the fact UK Customer services just metaphorically ‘shrug their shoulders’ was an eye opener for me. The other issue is that Manilla folk do not get the intonation or expression of UK words, terms and phrases, that is not racist, just a fact! I feel almost helpless, which is even more annoying!!

        • Pete says:

          And you have tried every trick in the book as well…! MCOL may be your best best now!

          • Lady London says:

            yes include 8% statutory interest in your claim.

            At MCOL (=Small Claims) level I think the only way you can get something for them putting you to this trouble in such an obvious case is if you include a request for a “preparation time order” perhaps quoting your usual professional rate against the number of hours’ messing around they’ve forced you to do.

        • Tiff says:

          Well, that is racist, and also insulting to repeatedly spell the name of the city incorrectly.

      • Peter K says:

        We’ve found Music Magpie lie about the condition of goods you send in.
        Sent an old apple product in due to a £10 bonus offer, it was described as one level lower condition than we did so we rejected it and had it sent back so lost the bonus.
        Had a think and sent it back again very shortly later at the lower level of condition and when received, guess what, they dropped it’s condition level to one lower than the level they themselves rated it a few weeks previously, though it had not left the box since!
        This was this year so now will avoid as can’t trust them not to try to scam us.

    • KBuffett says:

      One of the reasons why I have stuck with Apple. When things so wrong, their branch network etc does help. Also their CS are generally USA or Ireland based. I’ve escalated to senior management in both Ireland and USA and they’ve always resolved issues.