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)

  • mark2 says:

    I have just returned from Waitrose in Stratford-upon-Avon where I paid using a ‘Beauty’ gift card. I used self checkout so there was no-one to query the card type.

    • Anna says:

      I imagine Waitrose in Stratford Upon Avon is a sheer delight!

      • mark2 says:

        It is indeed. The one in Worcester (the largest in the country I am told) is even better with a large homeware and children’s clothes department, two cafes, a wine and tapas bar and a community room available free to local organisations (under normal circumstances). Sushi of course.
        Worcester itself is very historic and worth a visit if you ever make it to Indigo Stratford.

        • ankomonkey says:

          Stratford still has the sushi counter doesn’t it?

          • mark2 says:

            Yes, although the only Asian food that I have found that I like (in UK restaurants) is Lebanese. But then ‘Italian’ food in UK is usually disappointing.

        • sloth says:

          not that it matters but I thought the one in Canary Wharf was the biggest. They used to have a decent steak and oyster bar there and good wine selection. haven’t been there since April as wfh but assume it hasn’t changed 🙂

          • Lady London says:

            I think the Canary Wharf Waitrose sells more Champagne than anyone.

        • Harrier25 says:

          I prefer the Crowne Plaza in Stratford. During lockdown we have stayed at both. Whereas the Crowne Plaza was extremely covid clean, the Indigo wasn’t!

          • Anna says:

            Hmm, I looked at both, the CP does family rooms on redemptions but the Indigo looks sooo quaint and Olde Worlde! And the reviews seem generally excellent. If the CP had a lounge, that would probably swing it but I don’t recall one being mentioned.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Didn’t realise Stratford had one. My local is Kenilworth which isn’t that fancy but never really busy.

      As I said before the beauty cards are branding only and work everywhere as it says on the back of the packet.

      You can’t use beauty treatment experience cards elsewhere but they aren’t sold by anyone but JL.

      • Harrier25 says:

        Yes it’s quaint but is in the middle of the town centre while the Crowne Plaza is next to the River, so in a nicer position and was fully refurbished a few years ago.

        • Harrier25 says:

          Yes, the CP Stratford does have a lounge, but was closed when I was last there at the end of July.

  • James says:

    Re BA flight changes, seems to be lots of changes today!
    I booked a 50% Avios ticket in the last Avios sale, paid partially by voucher. This shows fine in MMB but has not been ticketed yet.
    BUT, the flight I booked has now been canceled! Will I still get the same option with an invol cancel to redate to a new flight later in the year? I was hoping so, as its HND in Feb, which is not looking likely….!

    • Jonathan says:

      Yes, you’ll still get the same options. If anything you’re better off as the 365 day limit for rebooking (if that’s what you want) starts from ticketing not booking date.

      • James says:

        Good to hear, thanks.
        Would you suggest I contact them now, or just leave it until shortly before the first flight? It is a feb booking to HND.
        I just thought it might cause a problem if they got round to ticketing and either ticketed it based on their suggested change (day before), or canceled it.

  • Tw33ty says:

    Anyone had thier virgin wine code for account switching yet

  • Anna says:

    @Peggerz, just seen your question re the IC O2 from yesterday. We booked 2 nights in a junior suite using BOGOF certificate which would include lounge access anyway, and this got us an upgrade to a one bed suite due to Ambassador status. We also booked 2 nights in a standard room, one on points and one on a DBB package. We asked to keep the one bed suite so we can take our teenager with us and they have let us do this for £80 pn. So the cash cost should be first night in the suite plus the DBB rate for the 4th night, plus £160 for the upgrade for nights 3 and 4. I don’t think we’ll get lounge access (or equivalent offering) for nights 3 and 4 though.

  • MKB says:

    Regarding the issue of Qatar’s unbundling of business-class benefits and whether seat selection and lounge access would continue to be available on award bookings, the answer appears to be no, even on bookings made prior to the change.

    I have two bookings for travel next March, travelling solely on QR and in business class. They were each booked through American using Aadvantage miles. Both were bought and ticketed last May. One booking has had to be re-ticketed this week due to a flight cancellation.

    Managing my booking on Qatar’s website, I no longer have options to select seats and the information on which lounges I can use has vanished. This is true for both bookings.

    • memesweeper says:

      Bad news if that’s how it works out — thanks for the heads up @MKB

    • Andrew says:

      Qatar confirmed a couple of weeks ago that Avios redemptions new and old would continue to get full benefits. Maybe AA have a different arrangement.

  • MinR says:

    Can anyone advise on any points-earning opportunities for international money transfers to a USD account?

    Currently use TransferWise charged to Debit Card, as I understand payments with Curve incur a Cash Advance fee on the underlying card.

    • memesweeper says:

      If you run your own business then there’s Amex FX payments

      • Rob says:

        Midpoint is an official Avios partner and very cheap I believe – search for our article.

        • MinR says:

          Cheers Rob! Exactly what I was after. Their fees are very similar if not exactly the same as Transferwise.

  • A says:

    Re: the Amex Berkeley offer on plat – does anyone know if spend at the restaurants (eg winter at the Garden) goes through as hotel spend to trigger the offer? I know the T+Cs say room spend only but have seen these trigger before depending on how the restaurants process payments. Thanks a lot

    • Anthony says:

      I’ve not tried it but I presume not since there’s also a maybourne hotel group restaurants offer which includes the restaurants at the berkley

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Yes I remember having the hotels offer in March as well as the restaurant one and paying at checkout for my room didn’t trigger the restaurant offer (I thought I might get a cheeky bonus)

        Leads me to believe the hotel and the restaurants are charged on different merchant accounts. The Connaught grill didn’t trigger the restaurant offer either so that is also different.

        • A says:

          Very helpful responses – thanks both. Will be there with a group so will pay for everyone and see if we get lucky…

  • Dezbez says:

    Just be careful with all those gift cards – they are not without risk!

    • sloth says:

      I like how they go into detail to describe what half is…

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Agree though I don’t see M’s Or Amazon going bust any time soon.

    • Vit says:

      Yes, also with the news that lastminute dot com are made to pay millions of refund back now (which is a great thing) I am a bit concerned that they may go bust along with my ~£900 gift card with them. Thinking of just make flight booking 12 months ahead now.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Unfortunately every chance they wouldn’t have paid for your flight. Perhaps a £1000 flight so you can top up with a credit card and get s75 protection

        • Charlieface says:


        • Lady London says:

          if you pay even £1 of the cost of an item over £100 with your credit card the whole thing gets Section 75 protection.

    • Brighton Belle says:

      I still have £100 of Jamie Oliver gift cards. They are still useful as plastic ice scrapers.. These form a matching set with multiple restaurant gift cards whose expiry coincided with lockdowns just when we were forced to listen our Prime Minister telling us how the virus was beaten and we’d all be having a jolly Christmas to look forward to. Gift cards are not reliable stores of value.

      • Small Shop says:

        Jamie Oliver is worth £240 million. Send the gift cards to him and ask for your money back. You can find the address of his £6million Finchingfield mansion with a quick google.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        The restaurant and pub ones should have been extended. The only one I had was for my local (M&B) and was extended by sending them an email.