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)

  • Jill (Kinkell) says:

    My Denver 241 flights were cancelled/downgraded from F-CW. I spoke to BA to discuss options. If I very reluctantly accept the downgrade (no other F opportunities to Denver and therefore have to take it) and ask for it to be noted in the booking that I am unhappy and with great reluctance am taking it , do I take the refund difference of avios and put in a claim for the the 75% after I’ve flown? or by doing this ,no chance of putting in claim after? CS rep gave a few options but noticeably not the 75% claim that could be made post flight.

    • Lady London says:

      you’ve made a note that you’ve told them you are unhappy being downgraded and factually they are offering no other F option (keep your own note just in case this does not stay noted on the PNR.

      All you have to do now is fly it, keep your boarding pass and claim.

      • Lady London says:

        do it all at the end after flight is taken as that more safely excludes BA from trying it on saying you accepted just the class difference return of avios/cash.

        @Nick made a comment yesterday that indicated that currently would be the position BA would take – and everything @Nick has ever said about BA has been correct ahem.

        • Jill (Kinkell) says:

          Thanks. As ever, your advice and comments are much appreciated.

    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      I have three flights to Denver from May until September – and all have now been downgraded.

      Why wouldn’t BA just cancel my ticket – with that amount of notice, that would get them out of the 75% claims?

      Reluctant to get in touch until within 14 days of the flight just in case they do cancel. And it also gives me the free cancel flexibility!

      • Chef says:

        I don’t believe that a downgrade from First to Club does allow a free cancellation?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          It doesn’t but they’re idiots for not allowing it as if you fly you can claim back 75% of the Cost for the sector downgraded.

  • Baji Nahid says:

    Hello guys, I would really appreciate some inside knowledge as i’ve only done the reading.

    I was looking for a debit card as such that has no FX fees when I am using it abroad. I was thinking of opening either a monzo or starling bank account. Does anyone prefer any? Or does curve charge FX fees? presuming the underlying card would charge you if you used curve abroad?/

    I appreciate all the help.

    • Lady London says:

      some were using Halifax card (apparently has offers and no FX)

    • Alex says:

      Use both Halifax clarity credit card and starling bank account. Been happy with both.

      • Harrier25 says:

        Starling have just been awarded the best current account supplier award for 2020 by Which?
        Monzo came 2nd and First Direct were 3rd.

    • BuildTheWall says:

      Get a credit card like Halifax clarity or Barclays fx fee free cards – these ones don’t have Fx fees and even give you some rewards. More importantly, you get credit card protection for purchases abroad.

    • Phil says:

      I mostly use Curve abroad with underlying IHG Premium Credit Card. Have had no issues with Creation (IHG CC issuer) charging Fx fees for purchases or cash withdrawals abroad plus I earn IHG reward points on all transactions. From memory Curve do charge a 0.5% Fx fee at weekends (i.e. Friday evening thru to Monday AM) to cover unexpected fluctuations in Fx rates over the weekend.
      Also use Revolut and Monese which have Fx free and cash withdrawal allowances. I find across Curve, Revolut and Monese I can access up to £600 pcm of foreign currency cash withdrawals without having to pay any account fees.

    • Harry T says:

      Halifax Clarity is good and it’s handy to have an actual credit card to big purchases or car hire etc. Monzo and Starling are both excellent. Probably best to carry a Clarity for spending, and one of the aforementioned banks’ debit cards for cash withdrawals. Starling used to allow unlimited free cash withdrawals abroad but I’m unsure if they still do. Curve is a decent alternative if you have an underlying points card but be aware they charge a fee on weekends.

  • Boi says:

    If a city is in tier 3 are you allowed to book workspace by hilton? Also can someone (my sister) check in on my behalf?
    Do they ask for ID or what work you will be doing? I am in Canada and Leeds has the cheapest rates. Thinking of booking several days to use amex offer and push for diamond.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Ive done one mattress run and one day rate both checked ID and From what I’ve been told tier 3 are asking for proof you are staying for one of the permitted reasons but pretty relaxed on what the proof is. For a day room probably even more relaxed if you turn up with a laptop and an excuse about your net not working etc.

      • Boi says:

        Thanks. Maybe I can ask her to go with one of my old work ID and a laptop (sounds risky).

        • Anna says:

          I would say it’s pretty risky if your profession is what I recall from previous posts. Your sister could get in serious trouble.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I wouldn’t.

      • Rob says:

        When you turn up at 9am carrying a laptop bag and are checking out at 5pm it is not exactly difficult to convince them you are there to work.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      I’m thinking the same, have a mattress run or two to finish and was going to combine a couple of nights with working from the room as an office – the regulations don’t make it clear to me whether that’s a permitted reason?

      • meta says:

        No one is allowed to ask for ID in the UK. There are some hotels that will ask for ID. I always tell them that I don’t have it and just show the card that I booked with. They seemed to be fine with it. Yesterday I stayed on workspaces rate at Hilton in London and they didn’t ask, not even verified the card. Points and nights posted correctly overnight.

        • Jonathan says:

          Equally they don’t have to let you stay/work on their premises. Could quote easily cancel & refund if you refuse what 99.9% of the population would consider a reasonable request!

        • Anna says:

          Of course they’re allowed to ask for ID, they are a private company and can set whatever terms they like – much like nightclubs requiring you to be searched prior to entry. I often wonder why hotels don’t do it more often, given the amount of fraud that goes on with people using stolen credit cards and the like.

          • Lady London says:

            I always hand my passport over to a hotel with credit card when I am checking in even in UK just automatically as I’m used to doing it everywhere else.

        • Anna says:

          @meta, I think you mean no one is required to carry ID in the UK; there are many instances where you can be asked for it, both from public and private agencies. In some cases you are not obliged to produce ID (though this could result, say, in being refused entry to somewhere), and there are limited circumstances when this might lead to further action.

          • meta says:

            Yes that’s what I meant sorry for using wrong wording.. In all my experiences at hotels a card in my name, especially the one that I booked with is sufficient no need for photo ID. I mean if you’re same gender as someone else on the booking and bring their card with you they can’t know.

          • Anna says:

            Yes we are crazily liberal in this country, despite what people seem to think. I have dealt with frauds where someone has booked an expensive hotel in the name of someone on a stolen credit card, managed to get the pre-authorisation done before the card is cancelled then run up a massive bill by ordering room service and making long distance phone calls then driving off into the sunrise before being rumbled! If the card company is happy the card owner isn’t complicit the hotel is usually left to absorb the losses as of course they now can’t charge the bill to anyone. A lot of this could be avoided if people were asked for corroborating proof of identity at check in.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @meta yes usually card does it but not always. Both insisted on photo ID even I’m after I said I’d forgotten it.

          • meta says:

            @TG Loyalty Wow! Did you offer to show another card in your name? Care to share which hotel so we can avoid? The only hotel that actually insists on seeing two cards is Aloft Excel although when I was there in September they didn’t ask for anything.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Today’s was the doubletree Heathrow for a day room. I’d avoid it because it’s just very dull rather than because they asked for ID.

            It’s not really name and shame as it’s their business and they can set what rules they want to do business.

      • Rob says:

        No problem at all, I did some during November.

        Could be tricky getting your sister to check in though. The only acceptable excuse would be if you were working there together which seems an unlikely story.

        Staying overnight is arguably different from using the hotel as a day room and not staying over, but the most you will get is the hotel asking you to sign a disclaimer saying you are on business.

  • Boi says:

    looking to buy wine. What are the currect stacking deals?

    • Andrew says:

      Tesco have 25% off when you buy 6 bottles of any wine or champagne (can mix and match) unlikely to find anything better value.

    • Hanif says:

      Boi, Not stacking offer, I use Nakedwines
      here is a voucher for £80 off when spending at least £120, (so can be £40 for 12 bottles)
      I get £10 voucher if used, Please delete if not allowed.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Laithwaites has a LBG offer plus 20% on airtime rewards (XMKEY9J6 is my referral code)

      Could also stack with the usual portals.

  • Carol says:

    For anyone who has had problems with their BA crockery order – I rang 01933 235500 and a gentleman gave me an email address for Kuehne Nagel customer service. . I received a response within 20 minutes and my correct order is being despatched tonight. This is after a fortnight of fruitless emails and phone calls.

  • Lady London says:

    PS If you do get judgment on MCOL then IHG offices (if mcol finds threm liable or jointly liable) then IHG corporate offices are located at Gerrards Cross nearish LHR so easy to send the bailiffs in. possibly accompanied by a Daily Mail reporter… IHG are you reading this ? Are you going to help Creative fulfil your obligations ?

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Ok so I assume this is the end of a long thread – where’s the rest?

      • Aston100 says:

        One day we’ll get proper forums in here, with the ability to search for comments & keywords, and get notifications when people reply to you etc etc
        Until then, It’s a bit of a game as to where your replies end up.

        • Crafty says:

          One day someone will set up a rival forum and lure the regulars across. I hope Rob isn’t too complacent!

      • Lady London says:

        page three low down

  • Stagger Lee says:

    Can someone advise me about the value of a voucher in this situation.

    I’ve got a 241 trip booked to Canada in June and BA have cancelled my return and rebooked me on a flight the next day. When I check my booking my two options are accept the new itinerary or ask for voucher as a refund.

    Normally I would just ring and get the full refund in cash but this was booked in the ½ price Avios sale so I would obviously only get the Avios I paid back. If I take the voucher would it cover just the Avios I’ve paid or the amount it would cost to rebook at normal Avios levels?


    • Gavin says:

      The value of the voucher is only the Avios you already paid. If you use the voucher to re-book you will have to stump up the extra Avios – assuming there isn’t another 1/2 price sale. If you want to change the dates, you can change for free now without paying anything extra but don’t take the voucher.

      • Stagger Lee says:

        Thanks. I guessed that would be the case but wanted to check.

        As an add on question, Am I allowed change the outgoing dates as well as the incoming? I would need to do that as the new return flight would mean me using an extra day’s leave which I don’t really want to do?

        • Gerard says:

          Does anyone know do you need to wait for BA to cancel return also prior to changing dates, booked using companion and on 1/2 avios sale

          • Eugene says:

            Twice I’ve had one leg cancelled and was able to rebook whole trip in one case and took the refund in the other

    • Lady London says:

      BA is trying it on.

      You have much better rights, that they’re illegally apparently not advising you of. (Wouldn’t be the first time.)

      The short answer is that due to BA’s cancellation of your original flight you have the right to choose replacement dates convenient to *you* for *all* the flights on your booking not just the cancelled one(s). At no cost, no change fee, even to more expensive days. 2for1 included.

      If you accept the following day then BA is responsible for 3 meals/refreshments no alcohol for the extra 24hrs plus your hotel bill at any reasonable local rate prevailing and transport to and from hotel.

      To keep the length of your holiday the same you could just move the outward to a day later free of charge. You’d still keep the free hotel they cancelled the return flight.

      It does not look to be in your best interests to take a refund as you couldnt replace the trip with only a refund as you omly get what you paid. FTV same amount with more restrictions and they keep your money permanently. FTV would extend validity of a 241 within it but imv not worth losing 50% for.

      You dont have to do anything till much closer to your outgoing flight the different seat they booked you is still there.Think carefully because you only get one shot to choose before they cancel your flight.

      If BA tells you you can only move to something like 14 days later or 3 before that’s rubbish. Hang up and call again there is no such restrictionbin EC261/2004 statute which legally supersedes BA’s own ideas of what it would like.

      If you look back at this thread past 1-4 days you have plenty of detail on this especialky from me, @Jonathan, @Anna and others. Look in last paragraph of the article text above for link to previous days.

      • Stagger Lee says:

        That’s brilliant. Thanks so much for the advice,it is incrediibly helpful.

  • Liz says:

    Is anyone having trouble getting in to the Curve app. The app tries to open then immediately closes. I have uninstalled, reinstalled, rebooted, updated my phone – iPhone 5s – still no joy.

    • Connor says:

      Possibly because you’re using a phone that is 8 years old and hasn’t been supported for years?

      • Liz says:

        It was working fine till just recently. I rarely use my phone so don’t need to pay for an up to date one. I’ve only had this one a couple of years.

        • yorkieflyer says:

          Yes same here and have reported to Curve, perfectly happy with my 5S too and don’t see any need to add to the mountains of waste electricals. For the benefit of those in doubt, it is supported with regular updates from Apple.

    • Anna says:

      I think wee Nicola Krankie is messing with the internet up there!

    • whiskerxx says:

      Liz – I have exactly the same issue and it followed the app being updated last Thursday. The support staff at Curve appear generally useless. I have a chain of emails to them and each of their replies asks me to clear my cache, reboot my phone and send them a screen recording. Its not worded as the same standard response though. They have said their engineers are looking into it. The email issue rather than the phone issue prompted me to ping one off to shachar bialick, but now I’m wondering if I should have done more research. Is he the CEO of curve? Maybe not? If he is, he is as useless as his support team. No response. I would as a minimum expect an standard acknowledgment of receipt. Maybe he is out spending all the money we gave him. Thanks for posting, it’s reassuring to know that its not just my 5s. Usually works perfectly well and I’m not dumb enough to keep upgrading my iphone just to have higher resolution selfies 🙂

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