Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Thursday 3rd 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 (365)

  • Kevin Devlin says:

    The missus and I are doing the “178,000 Avios” plan getting the Marriot Bonvoy Amex, then the Platinum Amex then the BA Amex Plus in sequence and benefitting from referral and welcome bonuses. We’ve both hit the £3000 spend in the first month on the Marriot Bonvoy card and sitting on just over 30,000 Marriot Bonvoy points each now. This corresponds to 10,000 Avio each. I’m looking for some advice on how long we should wait before applying for the Amex next card, The Platinum Card? I know too many credit applications within a short space of time is not desirable. Perhaps we should wait a few months?

    • Rhys says:

      I did that strategy and then applied for the ARCC at the very end, no problem, and these were my first credit cards! Your credit score will take a hit if you track it anywhere but it’ll bounce back after a while.

    • Chris Heyes says:

      If you can as soon as you spend on any card soon as it shows on card pay it off straight away (i mean straight away don’t wait until end of month) even if you are making 5/6 payments each month you will find rather than taking a hit your credit score will rocket up (no idea why it should but mine did and stops up)

    • DT says:

      If you combine your Bonvoy points and hit 60,000 points to transfer to Avios, I believe there is a 5000 point bonus on the transfer

  • Roger* says:

    We have a ‘changed seats’ e-mail from BA for the inbound leg of our cancelled and rebooked 2-4-1 to Cape Town next year.

    New seats are 5EF, the 2 seats in the middle of a 1-2-1 across 777 Club cabin, a configuration not shown by Seatguru.

    Could this be Club Suites? We both normally prefer window seats, but I’m thinking 5AK may rob us of comfort, Any advice, please? Thanks.

    • Doug M says:

      Have a look at the aircraft type in the booking, I think the 77L is only club suite with no first. If it is then those are the middle pair.

      • Roger* says:

        Not sure – row 5 (Club) is the first row available to us at

    • Rhys says:

      Yes, this will be Club Suite. You could do 5A & 6A if you both want window seats and to be near each other (rather than on opposite sides)

    • ChrisC says:

      Seat guru is unreliable. Use the seat maps on either the BA or the BA Source Websites.

      Why do you think A/K will ‘rob us of comfort’ when they are the window seats?

      And yes it looks like new club suite.

      • Roger* says:

        No great reason – just that the QR pairs look a better bet than singles. Of course, they are different airlines.

    • TokyoFan says:

      Yes we’ve had a changed seats email this morning – LHR-SYD now appears to be being flown by a B789, and SIN-LHR down from the A380 to a 4-class B772 (in May/June 2021)

      • dragonfly says:

        Same here, LHR-SYD end of May changed from B777 to B789 – seats changed for us as well.

        • Jill (Kinkell) says:

          Likewise for ORD to LHR. We were reallocated to middle pair Row 5, which I subsequently changed to 5a 7a as we like window seats and are not bothered about talking to one another . It’s an overnight flight anyway! Doesn’t matter that 6a was occupied.

          • A says:

            You can always check on the flight if 6a is alone and ask to swap if you did want to be closer. Myself and partner often aren’t massively bothered about being next to each-other on night flights as you say though, just eat then sleep.

    • Lady London says:

      With the number of people reporting they booked a flight on an A350, but are beingre-seated on a B789, does it look as though BA has delayed their programmed orders of A350’s and suspended their rollout ?

  • John Caribbean says:

    I’ve £30 off £150 at Harvey Nichols on my gold. Will this work across multiple transactions (online) or do I need to hit the £150 in one go

  • David says:

    Has anyone done the Sofitel Test & Rest package? Just wondering whether the results come as a certificate as well as the app, and if app only are countries likely to accept this?

  • Dips says:

    IHG Credit Card Reward Night – expiring in Dec 2020, has anyone had any luck getting extensions past this date or compensation if it cannot be used?
    Also a friend who is also disputing this with IHG says there are two types of certificates for free nights:
    – the ‘old’ type which is no limit on the redemption
    – the ‘new’ type which has a limit on the redemption to 40000 points value
    This became when he was offered 40000 points due to being unable to use his voucher before Dec 2020, I am still to be offered anything.

    • GaryC says:

      I had an extension on an IHG Credit Card Reward Night, expiring July this year. I’d originally spent it on a stay in Budapest in March which was cancelled, and I asked them if they could extend it, and they obliged.

    • Lee says:

      40000 points is limit for American issued card

    • Anna says:

      No limit on redemption value for the free night certificate on the UK card, unless we are about to be told otherwise …
      The bonus free night for joining or renewing Ambassador this autumn as a one off is capped at 40k points, in case that’s where the confusion has arisen.

  • Chris says:

    Just been downgraded for F on a flight next June with BA. Does EU261 75% refund for downgrade apply? Booked with Avios…

    • Rob says:

      Yes, but BA will deny it. May require CEDR arbitration to get the full 75% back.

      • Dan says:

        I’ve had the same thing. Except, MMB says it has been cancelled (outbound) and the alternative offered is the inbound flight. I can’t see anything else in MMB until I ‘accept’ the change. Can I still chase for eu261 if I accept? Was used with 241 so will definitely be a fight through CEDR or MCOL! Second question – cost was 85000 avios (half price sale) and cash element included £429.20 x 2 carrier imposed charges. Are my calculations right that I should be asking for the following? 85k x 2 x 75% x 1.6p + (429.2 x 2 x 75%) = £2,683.80?

        • Rob says:

          Arbitration cannot award Avios, only cash, so that bit is correct. The taxes are not included IIRC.

          • Dan says:

            Thanks Rob. I excluded taxes. Would I not get the carrier imposed charges?

          • Rob says:

            Seems to depend who you get at CEDR!

          • Charlieface says:

            The taxes are excluded from the 75% calculation as you get the diff between the two classes. Surcharge you have a stronger argument, it’s effectively part of the price

  • Song says:

    Hi, my BA outbound flight was cancelled by them for next February. I’d like to rebook to travel this month instead which the call centre staff on the phone told me yesterday was possible. However, when calling back today to confirm I’d like to proceed, the new staff on the phone today said it was only possible to bring forward the outbound flight by a maximum of 14 days. I can’t find any mention of such a policy on the BA website – can I ask if anyone knows if this is a policy that I can’t do anything about or if there’s some way for me to get the flight re-booked for this month like I was told on the phone yesterday? Thank you

    • memesweeper says:

      Hang up and call again. If this doesn’t work, escalate to supervisor. They ought to be able to do this.

    • Jonathan says:

      You need to call back & quote the updated Standard Customer Guidelines.

      They’re quoting off the historic rules pre Covid (which were probably not in keeping with EU261).

      Is it worth an updated article on this Rob/Rhys as it seems like there’s been a new wave of cancellations?

      • meta says:

        I can actually change the date of my cancelled flight for next year online. No need to call. Have you tried that?

      • Song says:

        Interesting – thanks, that’s a very useful link Jon – so when they say “new travel dates: up to ticket validity” – what does the ticket validity refer to here?

        • Charlieface says:

          355 days from booking, which in itself is non-compliant with EC261, as you may have booked at T-355.
          Just insist on the dates you want and keep asking for supervisors, or HUACA

          • Lady London says:

            IMV any admin issues with rerouting you on a date more than 355 of when you booked are for BA to solve by writing you a new ticket and should not be used as a barrier to re-routing you on a date convenient to yourself.

            Lots of people travel to attend events that occur only once a year, or can only get enough leave to travel at a particular time of year.

            So perfectly reasonable to have arranged your ticket far ahead of your flight date and then if the airline cancels on you, perfectly reasonable for your next convenient date to be about a year from that.

            BA should be re-ticketing via a new ticket and not just saying their inability to endorse an older ticket should block someone’s right to reroute their flight to a time when they can use it if BA cancelled their originally booked flight.

        • Rob says:

          365 days from when you paid the taxes on the original.

  • James says:

    Quick question re Amex hotel offers. For the Hilton spend £200 get £50 credit, is this just room spend, or will bar / restaurant spend (when staying) count too. I assume it will as when paid in one bill its just a total amount, but anyone any experience with this?
    Assume same applies to other similar Amex offers, IHG, Marriott etc?

    • Anna says:

      Anything charged to your room will count, so do it that way.

    • Rob says:

      Anything counts. Cumulative counts – I just triggered one which was 8 separate charges to my card to get to £200.

      Bar / restaurant spends even if not a guest counts as long as it goes through the card as the hotel.

      The Costa Coffee on Kensington High Street, for eg, is actually part of Hilton Olympia and charges go through as Hilton Olympia and count towards the £200 as I found myself.

      • Brighton Belle says:

        Umpteen Greggs sausage rolls bought with virgin points and gallons of Costa-Hilton coffee is going to seriously impact your wellbeing even if it’s all part of a meal deal strategy 🙂 I suppose you could burn some hotel points on a month of spa days to reverse the decline

      • KBuffett says:

        And you didn’t do an article on the Costa loophole? 😉