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The HfP chat thread – Sunday 29th 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 (201)

  • BuildTheWall says:

    Marriott gift card sale – would that get 10x points on the Amex Marriott card?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Depends if it’s actually processed by Marriott lots of points and gift card sales aren’t processed by the actual loyalty programmes.

    • meta says:

      It is only open for US and Canadian cards, so no 10x.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        The GC promo? Because 10x Marriot points on the uk card at the moment.

        • meta says:

          Yes the 15% off gift card promo that is starting tomorrow only available to US and Canadian cards.

    • Kai says:

      If you pay with a non-US card the transaction is 95% gonna be voided.

    • Track says:

      eGift Cards are all in U.S. Dollars and can be purchased by residents of USA/Canada only.

  • Rob says:

    Will curve ever get Amex back. My “black legacy” card is getting dusty in a draw somewhere as the upgrade options do not seem to have any Value to me at Present.

    • Matt says:

      Seems unlikely – it’s been a long time with no news, and after Amex have twice stopped working with Curve I’d be surprised if they went in again.

      It’s a shame, because Curve is almost a useful product – if it actually was “all your cards in one” and if it actually did have fee free FX every day then it would be useful. As it is my legacy black gets used for taking cash out occasionally and in Boots and a few other places where I get 3% curve rewards.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Unlikely

      It has plenty of other uses.

    • Jonathan says:

      If Amex could be used via curve, then people would never carry their Amex card around with them, if enough people did this, then over time shops would begin to see a fall in Amex transactions and thinking that there’s no use in accepting the cards anymore, they would withdraw the option. With this in mind, Amex acceptance would vanish from the high street and internet, being left behind as simply a card that many will have never seen before, and for legacy users a memory.
      Just about the same thing happened with Diners Club, many people don’t know that the payment card type even exists, many will have never had one in their hands, and for those who do have one of their cards, know that only a very limited number of places will accept the card for payment. Although Diners haven’t been a major card for many years, and their popularity has never really been very strong to say the least, that’s what could happen to Amex if there was no reason to use their cards. This is just the UK market, we can assume that there’s no bendy equivalent in places like the US, but the countries where Amex have bases and issue card to people that live there, the stronger they’ll become

      • BuildTheWall says:

        There’s no business case for curve outside Europe as the fee for credit cards is much higher than debit cards. No cap on interchange fee.
        I agree that Amex would never work with curve as they’d be losing customer data, which is their selling point to merchants

      • Harrier25 says:

        This may all be true if Curve actually had enough active users for the reduced use of AMEX to show up enough to make a difference. I just think AMEX took a look at Curve’s business model, saw it was open to abuse and decided that they did not wish to be associated.

        • BuildTheWall says:

          Why would Amex care about curve’s business model? Do you think other banks looked at it and approved? Nobody cares except Curve management.
          Amex is worried about losing access to customer spending data and their own brand disappearing.

          • memesweeper says:

            Amex care about their merchants’ line of business, I think they will certainly care about Curve’s business model.

            For the reasons given above I can’t see Amex supporting Curve unless a regulator forces them to.

        • BuildTheWall says:

          If u r talking about MS, it’d be very easy for Amex to block the MCC, while allowing genuine transactions to continue. MS isn’t the reason why Amex rejected curve.

    • Joel says:

      Has anyone else’s Curve limits been massively increased recently?

      • Rob says:

        Everyone. It is a test.

        • LST says:

          Shame I can’t even use my curve card. They have told me that I need to supply a selfie and ID, which I have done, but no news on when I can actually use the thing. It’s been pretty useless so far.

    • Bazza says:

      Zero chance of that. With the huge amount of MS dicussed on here on a daily basis involving the use of Curve and Rob informing that this site is read my all of the Amex management. No way they are getting involved

  • Steve says:

    Are there now Covid home tests available to purchase? What are people doing about Christmas, was thinking if self tests are available would be great to asking everyone to get tested before meeting up. If it works for airlines?

  • Roy says:

    Amazon Triple Points (AMEX Offer). Does anyone know whether topping up your account has definitely triggered the bonus? T&Cs state under transactions not eligibile: “transactions where you buy a gift card, store credit or a voucher.”

    • TGLoyalty says:

      They always say that and it’s always nonsense. The only time it won’t work is if it’s processed by an intermediary.

      Account top up is processed as an Amazon transaction like any other. And 3x posts fine.

    • Charlieface says:

      Anyone know if it’s possible to pay Amazon Marketplace seller fees via Amex, and will it process in the same way?

  • Juno says:

    I have a choice to convwrt to avios, krisflyer, Asia miles and Etihad. Which one should I choose if I live in London? Avios is obvious for routes but the fees on top of the avios make it quite ridiculous but is it still the best choice?

    • Rob says:

      The other 3 can be topped up with Amex points so you have flexibility. It is best to reverse engineer though – decide where you want to go and see who has the best rates.

      Asia Miles is a waste as oneworld like Avios. Singapore gets you access to 26 Star Alliance airlines – but note the hard 3 year expiry. Use them or lose them.

      • Juno says:

        Very helpful, thank you! Seems like Avios is best for now. Maybe if I plan a trip to Asia then Krisflyer will make more sense. The 3 year rule makes it not very attractive for converting just to keep for the future!

    • BuildTheWall says:

      Asiamiles isn’t great after they removed the stopover option. The only significant benefit is the multi carrier reward chart that is similar to BA, but needs a bit of research to pull off bargains.
      Krisflyer could be the best choice to travel to Asia – one of the best airlines; stopovers allowed; easy to get premium cabin redemptions on Singapore airlines; arguably the best airport.

  • Crafty says:

    IHG aficionados. In your view, what’s the better hotel for 2 free credit card nights, to be taken over an April weekend for my wife’s birthday (no kids), in the UK. I think given the year we’ve had, she’d like some relaxed luxury. Edinburgh The George or Kimpton Fitzroy? Or are there any other credible contenders? Have to choose by end of December (expiration of one of the vouchers).

    • memesweeper says:

      Some rooms at the Kimpton in London are too small for a ‘treat’ stay. Elite S tatus with IHG should reduce your chance of getting one of those. Other than that it’s a fab hotel.

      • Tom H says:

        Stayed at the Kimpton just before this lockdown, beautiful building but very average stay (no upgrade, tiny room, really poor service in palm court) especially compared with the renaissance st pancreas which I stayed at the following week (IHG spire amb, Marriott plat)

    • dezbez says:

      I can highly recommend (along with many others on HFP, I suspect) the Hotel Indigo in Bath, if you are able to use the vouchers there

    • Peggerz says:

      @Crafty.
      Add the Kimpton Charlotte Sq to IC George in Edinburgh. It’s a nice central hotel (when it re-opens) with a pool/gym and you’d be Nicola Sturgeon’s neighbour (!) Added to that the new Aizle restaurant is highly commended.

    • Anna says:

      Although unfortunately all my IC stays have been cancelled this year, the one I’ve found best for upgrades and freebies is the IC 02. It seems very easy and inexpensive to get upgraded to a suite with lounge access (or equivalent offering). It’s obviously out of central London but you can get into the city fairly easily and the spa looks fabulous if you both want a bit of pampering. I am really hoping we’ll get a chance to stay in the not too distant future as it looks like the kind of place you wouldn’t even need to leave to have a lovely time!

      • Peggerz says:

        @Anna. I’m off to the IC O2 soon and hope some of the bars/resto’s & spa/pool have re-opened. I am also Amb. How much was the upgrade you were offered to -I assume- a club room? I don’t know when the Lounge may re-open of course.

    • Adam says:

      Stayed at both and used CC vouchers for both. There is no luxurious feel about The George. Both have rooms which are on the smaller side. Kimpton offered a free breakfast as a spire elite and gave a small credit for their cafes and restaurants.

      • Crafty says:

        Thanks for all the feedback, if a bit depressing all round. The only unequivocal endorsement is for the IC O2 – not something I would normally consider – I would have assumed a rather soulless experience?

        • Rob says:

          The hotel is impressive – just the location is a bit odd. Upside, of course, is river views from many rooms.

    • EwanG says:

      For the past few months The George have removed any availability for redemption stays (Reward Nights or the CC free night), otherwise I’d probably use one of my vouchers there. Might use it at Blythswood Sq (Kimpton Glasgow) instead

      • Anna says:

        I needed to use an Ambassador free night certificate so have booked the George for our silver wedding anniversary in March (depending on what things are like by then!) Manager apologised for the lack of reward nights (staff claim they are not aware of it), and offered me an 3 cat upgrade from standard room to suite for £40 pn so I will be quite happy with that. We booked a standard room, manager offered 2 cat upgrade and I negotiated the suite upgrade on top.

  • Mike says:

    Argh… IST-LHR re-timed from 5pm to 8am. One flight a day as well so nothing I can do really but to either cancel or take the 8am right?

    • ChrisC says:

      Yes likely those are your only options.

      Which airline?

    • AJA says:

      That’s not good. You could also take the 8am flight the following day and have BA pay for one night in a hotel under duty of care.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Or ask to be re routed on Turkish closer to your original flight time. Can’t make 8am if you’re working or have other plans pre 3-4pm and can’t take the 8am the next day if you need to be in turkey for something that morning.

        Might have to MCOL that one though but they’ll lose as it’s your right.

        • Mike says:

          Thanks all. Yes indeed flight number has changed.

          1) How do I make BA pay for the hotel and at what stage do I do so / how much will they pay for it?

          2) So BA will be ok to route me onto Turkish despite being on a difference alliance? (though the 2.40pm departure is their worse J class in 2-2-2 config, better than BA still however). If I do go down this route, do I call in BA to force them to do so or? Assume my TPs from BA are gone right for this leg?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            If you go down duty of care I’d ask BA when you rebook if they deny all knowledge you can claim after the flight has happened. About £200 including F&B with no alcohol but it has to be reasonable not booking a suite when you’d normally stay in the base room etc.

            Re rerouting you must phone BA but be prepared to fight for it as ba will say no. Though as I said you can MCOL after the fact or if you paid with a credit card and it’s over a £100 flight even use your s75 protection. Correct no TP.

    • Lady London says:

      flight number has changed, right? if so you have full rerouting and duty of care rights as it is then a cancellation by in them

      • Mike says:

        Thank you, TGLoyalty!

        Guy on the phone at BA said there’s no guarantees and if I do change to the flight the next day, I should keep the receipt etc and submit after that. But he says he can’t promise anything and that is up to the customer relations team to handle.

        On this ‘duty of care’ bit, is this something out of goodwill or is there a regulation in place for that? EU261 dosent apply (if it matters) because the flight is more than 14 days out.

  • Anna says:

    Re my comment about the Langley – I spoke to Marriott via Facebook and they said they refunded my points 10 days ago and changed it to points advance, but I can’t get an explanation as to why they would do this without even telling me. I need to check my account as I haven’t noticed a 75k point increase, but it might be worth keeping an eye on any points stays in case they suddenly get moved to points advance and the nightly rate suddenly increases (again)!