Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 30th 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 (236)

  • Blindman says:

    So, booked a VS reward flight yesterday and used the Credit card voucher.

    CS rep insisted this was a “Companion voucher” and consequently booked 2 SEPARATE tickets for Me + Mrs B (2 different PNR;s)

    I got what I wanted but this is surely not correct?

    Only hassle I can see is that if I cancel it’s £30 x 2
    Seat selection is separate though IIRC I can ring them (!) to “Join” the tickets.

    Took 2hrs on the phone so wasn’t going to HUACA

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Its £30 per person on a PNR

    • Hanif says:

      Same thing happened to me when I booked earlier this week.
      Also the issue cannot see companion’s ticket on my flying club account.

      I think its £30 person regardless of same or different PNR

      • Blindman says:

        Thanks both

        When the chaos has settled (!?) I’ll ring to join them both.

    • Craig says:

      I had two PNRs on my last voucher booking.

      • JLNF says:

        Virgin told me that this is how they do this – if you want to use the CC voucher to get a companion ticket for a new booking you would get two PNR. They can link them in their system, but still remain separate in effect.

        • Jimmy says:

          Thats just not the case – I used one 241 and another upgrade voucher and all three tickets are on one PNR.

    • Alan says:

      I was wondering how long it took for you to get someone, I’m not holding much hope I’ll be able to book before they shut at 10pm!

      • Rob says:

        They don’t shut at 10pm. If you are in the queue you get answered. Guy who dealt with me recently told me he finishes around 1am.

  • Amar says:

    Can we not upgrade from Gold to Plat online anymore? The link below now just says to call the number listed.

    https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/benefits/upgrade/platinum-charge/index.html

    I downgraded from Plat to Gold last week. You reckon they’d offer me the 20k points to upgrade again? Might be taking the piss a bit since I only had the Plat for a month and got 92k points out of it (35k retention + 35k bonus + 5k supp + 5k spending +12k referral)

    • Rob says:

      Gold credit or Gold charge? The offer doesn’t work from Gold credit.

      • Amar says:

        It’s a charge card – but looking at all of the comments below, I realise I am taking the piss here. Wasn’t aware they “ban” you for this sort of activity – I’m not the primary but will be careful going forwards

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Honestly think you’re taking the piss and they’ll know

      They can see all your old cards.

      • Lady London says:

        +1.

        There’s taking the pi$ and there’s royally taking the pi$. That’s royally taking the pi$.

        • memesweeper says:

          I think the removal of the online link to upgrade and the new requirement to call-in has been invented especially for you @Amar. I’d leave it till well into next year myself.

        • KP says:

          And the same guy will complain here once Amex bans him and takes his MR points

          • Lady London says:

            I don’t mind if that happens. The problem is the provider only has to see a few blatant ones which really do take the biscuit, and that leads to an opportunity that could be exploited reasonably longterm, instead getting removed by the provider for everyone.

    • Sam says:

      Why the desperate need for MR points? Surely it’s about playing the long game (and not pulling stunts like this…)

    • Waddle says:

      So Amex offers you a retention bonus in good faith for keeping the Plat and you ditch it regardless by downgrading in hopes of getting another bonus. “MIGHT be taking the piss” would be putting it mildly.

    • AndyW says:

      They have you a retention bonus having held the card a month?

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Have a 241 from Glasgow-LHR-San Diego.

    All the flights now cancelled, except for the first flight on the ticket – GLA-LHR on Dec 23rd. Looks unlikely that will now be cancelled since it is Day One of the Xmas pandemic.

    Question: Can I just ignore the cancellation emails and phone after December to rebook on a date of my choice (up to 355 days after I bought the ticket)? Or will I be a no-show because the first flight is running?

    Not sure of future date I’d like to rebook to at the moment, and bought in the half-price Avios sale – so would rather not refund.

    • Lady London says:

      I would ring up and tell them before the flight to make sure. Just say you will be contacting them at a later date as presumably an entire family celebration will now have to be reorganized.

      • Lyn says:

        Colin, I agree with Lady London’s suggestion to call before the 23rd to be sure, but definitely ask them to keep it open for you until you decide on a new date.

        BA is currently messing around with the San Diego route in the summer schedule from late March, showing no first class and leaving from T3 once more.

  • Leafwarbler says:

    Just booked BA LHR-YVR for July. Anyone know why I can’t book seats in Club for the outbound? It just says seat selection is only available at check in. I’m silver…

    Thanks

    • Nick_C says:

      Possibly because it’s not been ticketed yet?

    • Alexander says:

      Last time this happened to me, the ticketing hadn’t gone through correctly, took a phone call a few days later to correct it. Maybe wait a day or so and see if it corrects itself. If not I’d call them back

      • Leafwarbler says:

        Bizarrely, the booking hadn’t picked up our membership numbers, even though it was using an FTV for a cancelled 241 flight. All sorted now; thanks for the replies.

        • MKB says:

          I had the same on a new booking using a FTV. Had to manually add the Exec Club numbers.

  • James says:

    Anyone aware if I can do a balance transfer from Halifax MasterCard to pay off my Amex platinum? Halifax said they don’t work for ALL Amex cards but could confirm to me which they work for. As the Platinum is a charge card, I’m not sure which way it would go?

    • James says:

      Couldn’t confirm*

    • Anna says:

      Have you tried doing it? I don’t think I’ve ever done a balance transfer from Amex so it may not be allowed – you might get round it by going bendy as an intermediary!

    • WillPS says:

      Not done it since 2017ish – but back then it was the case that the form available at application stage wouldn’t accept Amex numbers, but the form available through online banking did accept it. This would have been a transfer from an Amex Plat. Cashback.

      I can’t see why ‘some but not all’ Amex cards would apply any more – presumably they previously had issues with MBNA/Lloyds/Barclays/TSB issued ones (in which case you’d just use the accompanying MasterCard/Visa).

      YMMV.

    • BuildTheWall says:

      When i tried a year back, Amex said they dont accept (inward) balance transfers.

      • Charlieface says:

        Which is ridiculous because all they see is a Faster Payment/BACS.
        The issue is a lot of credit cards force you to use a 16 digit ref, which means Amex is excluded

      • Lady London says:

        ummm that’s not what a balance transxfe

  • dezbez says:

    Given all that’s going on, have people been inclined to change their valuations of points, Avios, etc. these last few months? If I think of Virgin for example, it sounds like there are some ridiculously cheap redemption offers (especially when you factor in vouchers/upgrades) and availability seems to be amazingly good by historic measures (which admittedly is an intangible benefit). Similarly we’ve seen some decent redemption opportunities with IHG these last few months. Given this, are people happy to pay slightly more per point today than they were say 12 months ago?
    Although it might not be permanent, it definitely feels like there have been some positive re-valuations in some areas.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      No as the cash fares are equally as low

      In fact I wouldn’t be booking a redemption at all with £1k cash fares available.

      • Rob says:

        The thing is …. BA’s Future Travel Vouchers are not the panacea you think. Let’s assume I book 4 x £999 tickets and cancel them for covid reasons. I end up with a £4k FTV. What happens if BA starts getting all sensible with its pricing? April 2022 gets ever closer and suddenly there is nowhere I want to go under £2k per ticket?

    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      Given the availability of £999 business class flights, I am reducing my valuation of avios.
      I had increased my valuation because of the flexibility, but now – thanks to that flexibility! – I have loads of them. So another reason to reduce my buying price.

  • BuildTheWall says:

    Does Amazon sell any gift cards for other brands? Found a restaurant choice one, but would be great if i can get some John lewis cards. Trying to maximise the amex MR offer.

  • Peter says:

    A Virgin moan……but not on the voucher
    The website has given odd results all weekend. Ideally wanting LHR-MIA next October. On minute the return flight is available, then not, then its back on Sunday, then Monday, then the points required changes from 54k to 79k
    In the end booked MCO as the backup on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday MIA becomes available, but you cannot cancel and rebook on website and trying to converse is impossible.
    Shame really
    Any suggestions for nice beach hotels near Orlando? Thanks

    • Anna says:

      From Orlando you’ve got to travel at least a couple of hours to get to decent beaches – further for the Miami/south gulf coast area, so it depends how far you want to go!

    • Doug M says:

      I’d say 90 minutes in either direction. East to the Atlantic coast at Cocoa Beach or maybe Daytona, and the same for the west to the Gulf Coast, Clearwater, St. Pete’s Beach. The Gulf coast is nicer in my opinion, the sea calmer and warmer. In Clearwater there’s a large Hyatt, and also a Wyndham. St Pete’s beach is miles of near continuous hotels along the cost, from motels through to a very well thought of Don Cesar, prices across all budgets.
      It’s quite motel like, but I really like the Bilmar beach hotel in Treasure Island. A couple of pools and a very relaxed vibe. Certainly not luxury, but if you want beach the location is perfect.

    • AndyW says:

      Miami is really not a bad drive, if that’s where you want to be just drive down