Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 1st December

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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 (324)

  • mark2 says:

    I have just received the £5 statement credit for Esso offer. I spent £32 on a gift card in Esso petrol station with Tesco Extra shop and it showed on statement as ‘Tesco PFS’.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      An Esso petrol station with a Tesco Extra? 😲😁

    • Rui N. says:

      I’ve used my offer on Esso+Spar on Saturday. I used for actual fuel (probably doesn’t matter) and paid at the till at Spar (this one doesn’t have tills at the pumps). The charge is now on my card, but I haven’t received the £5 nor my offer shows has being used.

      • stevenhp1987 says:

        I got fuel at an Esso/Spar last week. £5 hit my account today.

  • Fab212 says:

    I am on a Specsavers monthly plan for daily contact lenses with free yearly eye test. They won’t take monthly payments from a debit/credit card (DD only). Any good contact lenses alternatives to earn MR or Avios points please?

    • Anna says:

      Once years ago I paid up front for a year’s supply of Specsavers contact lenses, it probably depends who you speak to!

    • Andrew says:

      Start with finding the firm that sells the lenses that are most comfortable for you.

      I’ve had to switch from Boots because they’ve discontinued selling Alcon brand (which are really thin and work well my slight astigmatism), and could only offer Coopervision or J&J One Day Acuevue lenses instead – which are so thick and uncomfortable I might as well try and stick the old style Rowntree fruit gum in my eye.

      I’ve simply bought lenses as I need them from Specsavers or others, and *think* I used Paypal to checkout to get Amex points.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Much like many things in life … when choosing a product that affects something as utterly fundamental to quality of life as how well you can see and how comfortable it is, by sticking something into one of the more delicate and vulnerable bits of your own body Avios would be the very last thing I would worry about.
      A local (non-chain) optician near me is excellent, and takes great pride in his business, competing against the chains, not on price and gimmicks, but on care and high quality service. Once when my daughter got paint in her eye he got her all sorted in double-quick time and didn’t even charge us; as a result of which I am ferociously loyal.
      That’s how the little guy beats the soulless uncaring chain, and that’s how to choose a service-led product in healthcare. Not Avios!

      • WaynedP says:

        Well said TSS

        Interesting related Reith Lectures starting on BBC Radio 4 tomorrow with Mark Carney

        • Lady London says:

          I’d love it if he would talk about the economy because he was a good steady pair of hands but he’ll probably talk about his Green thing ?

      • Genghis says:

        Great post.

      • Ghosty says:

        My last experience with Specsavers showed how much they don’t put the customers first. I ordered and paid for new glasses choosing as always transitions instead of free second pair. I collected them the following week and they never changed in the sunlight. Went back and the young assistant said they should have been transitions, but could not figure how the ‘salesman’ had came to that price. I explained he reduced it due to me being over 60. She then said I can’t have 2 offers so would have to pay an extra £45. I refused and quoted contract law of offer and acceptance etc. to her. After talking to her manager I got my requested glasses for the price I had paid. Joe Public who would not known this would have been pressured into paying the extra amount for their error.

        • Anna says:

          I think Specsavers are franchises so you can”t tar them all with the same brush. The one I go to is excellent; the eye checks are incredibly thorough and the sales consultants are always willing to find the cheapest option for you.

          • Lady London says:

            I have found a local-ish branch of Specsavers has consistently done eye tests which have been very accurate and not had to be re-done quickly. Branches have varied.

    • M says:

      Costco.
      They do all of the fancy stuff, but have never had an issue – great range of lenses available and regular offers on dailies (4 for 3). Take Amex.

    • Louise says:

      feel good contacts take amex and next day delivery

  • JP-MCO says:

    Rob, do you think there might be a HSBC Premier credit card to Avios transfer bonus this month? They’ve run one historically in December but with everything this year wondered whether it had been axed.

    • Jonathan says:

      Been asked a lot recently. People seem to think it’s more regular than it has as there’s been at least 2 years in the last 5 with no bonus & timing has varied from Summer to Autumn. Bonus has only been 25% the last couple of times as well which doesn’t shift the needle much. In the face of capped interchange fees & the already market leading earning rate I wouldn’t bank on a repeat.

      If you don’t have an immediate need for Avios (& aren’t approaching the 3 year hard expiry) then I’d always leave points in a scheme that has multiple transfer partners so may as well wait & see but don’t hold your breath!

    • TomD says:

      Given that travel is not quite relevant now, any experience with renewing the Premier cards if any benefits/incentives were tangled?

    • Juno says:

      Has anyone tested it yet?

  • Zoe says:

    Any Switzerland based readers here? My daughter is living and working in Zurich and should really get a local credit card. Currently just using a supplementary on my BA – yes I have told her she is wasting money on FX fees! Any good miles earning options for her? Thanks in advance .

    • Rash says:

      The Amex gold in Switzerland is not too bad, no minimum spending limits to achieve the 30,000 MR points I think you just need 3 transactions.

    • The real John says:

      Doesn’t she get paid into a local bank account that comes with at least a debit card? Why would she want to spend on someone else’s card in another currency then have to convert again to pay you back?

      • Zoe says:

        Yes she has a local account with a debit card, the amex is a historic back up from when she was a student. Agreed she is wasting money, luckily she is earning plenty (for an American Studies graduate).

    • Genghis says:

      I presume your daughter is not reimbursing you? If so, she’s not wasting her money on FX fees. Perhaps a cushty arrangement for her. “Mum – I’m struggling to get a Swissy credit card, can I use yours”… 🙂

      • Zoe says:

        Hi Genghis, yes ,finally she is paying her way! She works for S&P in Zurich and can finally afford to. But occasionally my miles still get used for her flights.

        • Genghis says:

          🙂 I see it with my colleague who has pumped in about £700k to his son’s failing business. I keep telling him but love is blind.

          • Zoe says:

            That’s not helping his son is it? My daughter had a year in the US as part of her degree which wasn’t cheap but overall her subsequent interest in sustainability and move to Zurich have worked out well.

  • JohnT says:

    I heard good reports of Gatwick testing yesterday (after a lot of confusion over the weekend as they got going)

  • AviosNewbie says:

    What is the general feeling about traveling with toddlers? We have a trip to the Maldives on 28 Feb, and I just booked the hotel (refundable, of course), but am thinking about the risks of traveling with a 3-year old. Asking my 3-year old daughter not to touch anything at the airport/inflight, etc. is next to pointless. We haven’t traveled anywhere this year, and those who have – are you traveling with kids and how’re you thinking about the risks?

    We still have 3 months to go and things could change (for better or worse), but I am wondering at what stage I should consider possibly canceling. It’s all very confusing!

    • BuildTheWall says:

      May i know which resort you have booked? Am looking for toddler friendly resorts too.

      • AviosNewbie says:

        Kanuhura – I have done really in depth research on all resorts, so if you have any queries feel free to ask. What dates are you going?

    • The real John says:

      Unless you are overweight or have other conditions or you had your children a lot later in life, I think the risk of getting moderately to seriously unwell is low.

      The only reason I haven’t gone anywhere with my 1.5 year old is that the places we need to go have enforced quarantines on arrival and he isn’t going to do well with that.

      At age 3 they should know how to wash hands? Make it a game

  • ChasP says:

    just converted some Tesco vouchers to Avios at 600 per £2.50

    Previously was given 800 (the old grandfather rate)

    anyone else ?

  • ChasP says:

    sorry yes to clarify always tracks at 600 but previously hit account as 800 this time only 600 arrived

    have queried with Tesco