Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 9th 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 (280)

  • Simon says:

    Dear Avios experts.. Advice please: Have 100% avios booking for 4 X RTN CW to Malaysia for next week purchased in May. We’re not going to travel and I was hoping BA would cancel them, alas not. There is a long dated 241 in the booking. Would like to move it to next Dec. Would you take the voucher or take a refund (call centre said £50 per person). Pros/Cons?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Pro save £35 per person (it should just be £35 each)

      Con use by April 22 and has to be the same two people on the booking.

  • Rob says:

    Not heard anything.

  • Derek Scott says:

    Could BA be about to retire some of their A380’s? I’ve just had a cancel and rebook notice for June next year, swapping out First fir Club, as they’ve switched the route from A380 to A350.

    Okay, so I get to try out the new Club Suite, but has been thinking of delaying holiday to June 2022… not sure if the change allows me to cancel with refund (deposit only on BAH)

    • Paul says:

      Just had my B772 swapped to the A388 for JNB in March. More likely shuffling where demand fluctuates than mass retirements…

      • Andrew says:

        I think a continued mothballing rather than a retirement. With 747 gone they will want some large aircraft for when things pick up. I’ve had Singapore for April switch from 380 to 777 (non-suite)

  • Ben says:

    Has anyone been to Bahrain recently? Im heading there over new year and wondered if there were any tips, or experiance of getting the COVID test on arrival etc.
    Thanks in advance

  • TJ says:

    My flight to Dubai in first now arrives at 23:45. Does anyone have any suggestions in terms of the best option for accommodation? Just head down to my 5* resort hotel (feels like a waste of a day/night)? Or book 1n in an airport hotel? Any other ideas?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Have to decide if it’s worth the hassle of moving the next day.

      If I was alone I’d grab a cheapie airport hotel so I could get to sleep ASAP and just move the next day. If I was with family I’d go direct

    • Rob says:

      Stay near the airport. It’s what we are doing next week. Loads of cheap options – under £100 will get you a five star at present eg the new Sofitel Obelisk.

      • meta says:

        I booked Le Meridien Dubai in Jan for the first night before I move to Waldorf Astoria in Ras the next day. £63 incl. free transport to the hotel. This is standard for Marriott Plats and above.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Stayed there. The royal club (you’ll deffo be upgraded as Platinum) is or atleast was very good.

        • Rob says:

          Bit of a dump though based on my one stay there!

          • meta says:

            I’m just doing overnight after arriving at 11:45pm with BA. After breakfast I’m gone as I have negotiated early check in with Waldorf Astoria. As long as it’s clean, I’ll be fine.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Were you given a room in the newer Royal Club part or are we taking different properties?

          • Rob says:

            I’m talking about the one directly opposite the airport. I think we got lounge access but I was with the kids, who were little then, so I can’t remember clearly.

          • meta says:

            Yes, Le Meridien Dubai is directly opposite the airport. There is Royal Club wing. Another one is Le Meridien Fairway a few minutes from there.

    • ChrisC says:

      If it’s just you then personally I’d just go straight to your resort.

      Will save the faff on having to move hotels the next day.

      Rob has young kids to think of and it’s probbaly better to get them off to sleep soon after arrival and then move the next day.

      • Rob says:

        At £500 per night over Christmas for a decent beach hotel, you may think differently!

        We have done it both ways over the years but there comes a point where you are just pouring money down the toilet. We land at 1am next week and won’t be at the hotel before 2.30am. I either pay £500 at the resort – which comes with other issues, such as getting to your room in a sprawling resort in the middle of the night – or we crash near the airport, wake at 10am, have a light lunch and a swim and then pop over at 2pm to pop in to our main hotel.

        However …. on the way home we are on the 7.45am and we are not staying at the airport the night before. We’ll bite the bullet and not get full value for our last day.

    • BLG says:

      What time does business and economy arrive.

      • BLG says:

        Thats a reply to @TJs comment “My flight to Dubai in first now arrives at 23:45.”

    • BP says:

      Stayed in a Hilton Garden Inn near the airport in 2019. Was excellent value and the room was 5* quality which was surprising.

  • Stuart H says:

    Hi all,

    I have a premium ihg creit card, i hit the £10,000 spend for a free night in March 2020.

    After 2 months the free night was not showing on my rewards club account so i started chasing it up, it’s now December and neither ihg or creation have resolved the matter.

    I paid the £99 credit card fee purely for this perk.

    Any advice appreciated.

    • Anna says:

      Have you posted here before about this, there have been a few in this situation? I think someone has even resorted to legal action or at least some sort of online claim!
      It’s really odd – both my free night and my OH’s appeared with our 12 month statements so clearly there’s an issue with certain accounts.
      What responses have you had from Creation/IHG?

      • Stuart H says:

        My anniversary date was also March but I hit the £10,000 before that date, the creation dashboard showed “you have earned a free night”.. my annual statement shows the £10k spend…. Ihg and creation blame each other

    • Dan says:

      Has your card anniversary passed? It doesn’t get awarded immediately. I had a similar issue at the end of my first year and a complaint eventually sorted it out.

    • Craig says:

      Having done some research it appears there is a fault with the website £10k tracker. Initially it counts up, shows spend and on the right of the tracker as an amount and £0 on the left. When you hit the target a message that you have earned your free night appears. The next bit I’m not 100% certain about, but when refunds occur the amount on the right disappears or appears to include the £99 fee but the message that you have earned your free night doesn’t.

      The situation isn’t helped by Creation’s woeful customer service, I was promised several times that it would be resolved which it wasn’t. I then made a formal complaint which was responded to by the fact I had spent £9924 and didn’t qualify for the free night. They also stated that I hadn’t sent proof of the website error which I had done three times but they had failed to attach the proof to the complaint even though it was on my account. I am waiting for them to review the findings of the complaint with the evidence provided. This has been going on since June and I’m very close to referring them to the FOS.

      I can’t say for certain that you are in the same boat, this just highlights the issues I’ve had.

      • Stuart H says:

        Thanks for your insight, it sounds very similar but i don’t believe i had any refunds to drop it below £10k… Creation and ihg are a perfect match, their customer service are as bad as each other

    • TGLoyalty says:

      When exactly is your card anniversary? Hitting 10k is only one part of the puzzle.

      Did you just hit 10k or did you go comfortably over?

    • r* says:

      I’m missing my free night voucher as well, IHG only replied with ‘allow time for the free night to be loaded’. Ive now msgd creation.

      Still no sign of them extending the expiry of the free night vouchers that expire at the end of the year either, which is pretty appalling on its own.

      • Stuart H says:

        They told me to allow some time but many months later here i am, and as you say the non extended expiry dates is getting ever closer

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Tell them you will Escalate to FOS and that will cost them far more than your free night.

  • Matt says:

    Same problem here. Both Creation and IHG customer services confirm that I _did_ earn the free night and that it _should_ have appeared in my IHG account after the end of my credit card account year in March 2020… But it didn’t/hasn’t, and neither of them can actually make it happen. I’ve all but given up ever getting it to be honest.

    • Anna says:

      That is woeful CS, IHG should just give you 70k points as that’s what the max value of the certficate is!

      • Lady London says:

        If it’s that bad for that long and you have a solid file of correspondence including confirmation that you’ve qualified, I think I would write to them jointly (to each with a cc: to the other) giving them 30 days to credit the due free night to your account. If they fail to do this within 30 days you will expect the cash cost of your upcoming hotel night (ideally name the hotel and the rate and, if you have it, the date of stay planned/booked ideally shortly after the 30 days) to be credited to your card account.

        …”Should neither of these things happen in fulfilment of the contracted 1 free of charge night hotel stay that [IHG or card – name which] confirmed on [date of email, or statement if you can prove it] you had successfully qualified for, then you will consider referring their nonprovision of contracted benefit to the Financial Ombudsman.”

        Make sure it’s a relatively expensive hotel as that may serve to concentrate their attention.

        Refer somewhere to the extensive and tiring correspondence since [date] and (if you feel like it) your reluctance to…. Put “Provision of earned free hotel night required by [30 days:date] in subject line or a text heading.

        Be very, very sure the night is not supposed to be credited only on some anniversary regardless of how early you qualify, before you do this.

        My feeling is that IHG is doing all they can to conserve cash so is not paying bills generally including to associated credit cards and that they are just stonewalling Creative who run the UK IHG credit card. Your threat of FOS gives Creative ammunition and not having to pay a night in cash might get IHG’s attention.

        If they still dont sort it you could MCOL the cash amount naming both Creative and IHG Corp as defendants and let the court sort out who owes you the cash – your claim would obvs be a bit bigger by then. Depends if you can be bothered but FOS/potential outflow of cash vs points rate/reputational damage might wake them up.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          FOS must trump MCOL in these circumstances?

          • Lady London says:

            should do
            MCOL might do others in same situation some good though (plus it would shake IHG’s stonewalling – once you have judgment you can send in bailiffs to premises to distrain property and IHG/Creative would have to pay bailiffs fees (which can be substantial) as well.

            Not that it should get near thay far.

            From when people reported having difficulties getting the free night I am wondering if after the card was closed IHG is effectively in walking away from the free night obligation on the existing cards as well.

            IIRC the timing matches and now even wondering if Creative closed the free-night-accruing card because of difficulties of getting the free night credits honoured?

            Perhaps some kind of corporate restructuring is going to hapoen at IHG because IIRC I saw they had done a buyout of pension liabilities relatively recently too.

        • Anna says:

          I would recommend the Kimpton Seafire in Grand Cayman, it’s about $1k per night or 70k points which is an absolute steal, especially as you can book a studio for 4 people on points!

        • Stuart H says:

          Thanks for your detailed advice, much appreciated.
          I also earned a free night in March 2019, that time i received it and i used it at the Seafire in Grand Cayman last Xmas /new year, cash price was well over $1k per night

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Can’t you escalate to the financial ombudsman after this long? Or give them one last opp and say you will if they don’t reply within 14 days.

        It’s a stated benefit of the financial product so they can’t just wash their hands of it and it will cost them a lot more than the £250 a night in IC PL might cost via the voucher (obviously that’s where you were going to stay with Covid)

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        I read about someone who got a 100k points night credited for a free night by CS.

    • Stuart H says:

      This is exactly the same, they just can’t make it happen.

  • Gormlesstraveller says:

    The premium IHG card is a HfP Reader Favourite and anyone complaining about it might want to read the comments here more closely.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      The benefits are great for £99 a year.

      However, the customer service is every bit as shocking as everyone claims it is.

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