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)

  • Gavin says:

    Need to stay in a hotel for 8 nights from 16th December. Hilton is best option

    Is it worth applying for Plat, getting the Hilton status, then a pro-rata refund? Is there enough time? Would make my money back on breakfasts plus have the status and get more points from the stay

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Very tight to be honest you’d have the card in 2-3 days but updating your status can take anywhere from days to months.m unfortunately.

      The fee is pro rata refundable but you can also just ask to be billed monthly.

    • ALL over the place says:

      Why not do the status match? Gold for 90 days and one more night will get you Diamond

    • Sprocket Man says:

      If you have status elsewhere you could do the status match

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      You could do the status match and get gold for 90 days. You need to stay 10 nights for the match to be for the full year, I think the double nights promotion would trigger it on your stay (and you’d be very close to the 18 for Diamond).

      • Gavin says:

        Status match won’t work as I don’t have any other stays at competing brands in the past 12 months – down to Covid. I’m Gold with IHG due to having once had their card but don’t really have the time to be doing a mattress run.

  • Maria says:

    Has anyone managed to get a refund/points on the Amex Platinum renewal fee recently?

    • Tom1 says:

      Reported yesterday someone was offered 50,000 on renewal and turned it down. Not sure if they had already had any ‘free’ points earlier in the year.

    • dave says:

      I got a clear “NO” when i asked earlier this month. Said it was because i’d had points given to me in May and you can only get a points renewal offer once a year. I said it was surely in the previous card year but they didn’t budge

    • Anne says:

      I got 50k on Sunday. Card fairly new and also a green to plat upgrade so rang more in hope than expectation but 50k offered, accepted and in my MR account by that evening

  • Nadeshka says:

    New offer on BAPP – 1500 avios when spending £100 anywhere by the end of the year.
    Think I’ll manage that!

    • Nadeshka says:

      Poorer offer on husband’s BA Blue card: Spend £500 anywhere get 500 Avios up to 2x

    • Jonathan says:

      Does that mean the £100 has to be spent in one outlet or is it accumulative

    • Mike says:

      Seems like everyone is getting that on their BAPP but not me! And I’ve spending a lot on it…

      • meta says:

        Nothing here either since beginning of November on any of the cards in our household. They tried their usual targeted offer spiel, but I had this happening before so I am having none of it. Told them we’ll cancel all cards in our household if this is not resolved soon and take them to ombudsman. They can’t play it’s not part of core benefits when it’s openly advertised on their own website and elsewhere. There is a reasonable expectation to get at least some offers on a monthly basis. We have 3 main cards each. The agent raised a formal complaint for me, so we’ll see.

        • Coucou says:

          Customer service? Ombudsman? That is so outdated. Email the CEO and the board directly.

          • meta says:

            Thanks for reminding of this route. I will actually do this.

          • Lady London says:

            Twitter, Facebook – public shaming is oft reported to get action generally.

      • Nick says:

        Mike likewise £8.5k in last 6 weeks

    • Ja says:

      I have received no offers on my BA Amex since September and have again queried it.

      Amex said offers are not a core benefit and all are targeted. I will however get lots of exciting offers in the future. This is the 3rd time they have have said this to me. I’m still waiting.

      • meta says:

        Did you tell them you’ll cancel your card?

        • Ja says:

          I tried that last time and they just said wait until after the end of the month so I don’t lose my avios and they will close it for me

      • Charlieface says:

        Try removing the card from your online account and re-adding it

      • Rum says:

        I have the same issue and spoke to them again today about this. Got fobbed off that “you have offers already” to which I got a bit annoyed. All the offers I have are useless to me.
        If nothing new comes up following reopening of businesses from tomorrow, I’ll be lining my cards up for cancellation one per week starting. I have HSBC now and will look to max out on it.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Receiving no offers and not receiving ones you like are two different things.

          I’ve found that as you slowly use offers you are less likely to be targeted again on the same card.

          One reason why chopping and changing cards can work in your favour.

          • Rum says:

            Sorry I should have clarified. I’ve had offers up to and including the end of October. Apart from one or two which I did use, since then I’ve had nothing new come through, hence the disappointment. That’s basically a little over one month without any offers at all.

          • meta says:

            Not true. A friend of mine has not churned an Amex Plat and BAPP ever and they have the cards for over 8 years. They put several thousands of pounds through the card every month. They continue getting all the offers all the time. Amex needs to sort out its IT issues. It is clearly a problem as a lot of people are reporting the same issue. It’s not like I am receiving offers that I don’t like. I am not receiving any at all.

  • Optimus Prime says:

    Amex Spain T&C’s for both Gold and Platinum personal cards now say you’re eligible for a signup bonus only if you’re a new customer. I think in summer they still had the 6-month rule.

  • MarioC says:

    Does anyone have experience booking reward seats to Havana on Virgin Atlantic?
    I called this morning to check availability, but the agent told me I can’t redeem seats on flights to Havana due to US embargo.
    I remember someone here shared a link to a forum (maybe Flyertalk), but can’t find anything at the moment.

    • MKB says:

      When I did it a couple of years ago, I think I booked one reward ticket online. To get a free companion added using a voucher, they got me to call the bit of Virgin Holidays that is set up to handle Cuba, because that is legally separate and doesn’t trade with the US apparently.

  • Munch says:

    Any hotel recommendations for San Francisco. Looking to stay 3 nights – usual tourist spots (Alcatraz, Golden Gate etc). I have IHG, Hilton, Marriott and Radisson points. Not really bothered by super lux as should be out and about enjoying the city. Probably prefer to be somewhere with interesting restaurant options.
    I assume public transport options are easily available? Not looking to hire a car until after finishing the 3 days in San Francisco.

    • ChasP says:

      public transport’s good – or at least was pre covid – get a 3 day pass on your phone great value as it includes a trolley car – if you can get on one!

    • Motormike says:

      Stayed at the Hilton Financial Centre taking advantage of their best guaranteed rate discount, back in Feb. Hotel was nothing special, but very central to all the main attractions and competitively priced compared to nearby properties. Short walk to the pier to catch the ferry to Alcatraz, and used Lyft to get to to further afield places like GG Bridge.

    • Dan says:

      Been many times…Fishermans Wharf area is touristy and at the end of the F-line Street car…there are a number of IHG properties about.

      A number of times, I have stayed at the dated but clean Whitcomb, a solid 3 star along Market and 9th.. search for it thro a screenscrapper and direct to compare rates..note there may well be a ‘resort fee’

      Note the Hiltons are very high $$$

      Any help? email me drdanielmacdonald at gmail dot com

    • ChrisC says:

      Get a MUNI pass. There are several available some of which don’t include the cable cars so chose wisely. MUNI has an extensive network (assuming it all returns post Covid) and you can get to most attractions in the city using it.. You really don’t need a car plus parking is $$$.

      You can igniore BART unless you plan on geting it to/from the airport or plan to go to Berkely or Oakland. It’s a different system to MUNI so has different fares and passes.

      If the cable cars are back up and running then the California Line is best for a ‘just to say we did it’ trip as it’s less busy than the Powell/Market and Powell/Hyde lines from market street to fishermans wharf.

      Book Alcatraz via the official National Park Website which will direct you to the official ferry operator. Book in advance. For something different see if they are doing the ‘night tours’ (well early evening) as they open up parts of the prison not opened during the day and is a lot less crowded but I wouldn’t recommend that for young children as it can be a bit scary once the sun goes down.

    • Anne says:

      I’ve stayed at the HI Express at Fisherman’s Wharf twice and it’s perfectly acceptable, was being refurbed last time I was there (June 2018) so rooms were pretty decent. Location is excellent, short walk to Fisherman’s Wharf and the Alcatraz ferry, cable car line less than a block away and tram stop less than a block in the other direction.

      We’ve booked again for Sept 2021, 40k IHG points a night which was very competitive vs the cash rate – I bought some to make up the difference and saved a good few hundred quid.

      I think what was the standard HI next door is now a Kimpton…

      • Munch says:

        Cheers everyone for all the replies. Looks like no car needed for the first part of the trip. IHG seem to offer the best value points options. Thanks for the tips, probably should book Alcatraz sooner rather than later.

  • rI says:

    Bought 250 of amazon card that did not work from Morrison’s after long chat with amazon customer services was told to go back to Morrison to rectify.

    After seeing two managers and 30 minutes lateraled throwing all my toys out of the pram was told that all there amazon gift cards are not working and were removed from the shelves a few days ago. Got a refund was able to slip in on to my debit card the hardest 25 I’ve made in a long time.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      There might be a certain type but it’s not true all Amazon cards aren’t working. I bought £250 on Friday evening and activated just fine.

      It’s shocking that they didn’t sort it out straight away Instore.

      • Martha says:

        TG. What do you do with them all?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          We buy stuff on Amazon : )

          Though always remember to look around ie it was significantly cheaper to buy 2 Ring floodlights pack direct from over BF than Amazon less 10%.

    • Lee says:

      Same thing happened at Tesco yesterday. Trying to use my Esso offer to buy Amazon GC and been told all Amazon GC doesn’t work so removed from shelve

  • Mike says:

    Morrisons dropping off Points Away tomorrow, VS say “Retailer Closure”.