Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 14th 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 (300)

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  • Baji Nahid says:

    Wondering if anyone has used their teacher promo tickets that they had won through qatar airways? Did they ask you to show any teacher evidence at check in? Or ask you anything about the form that you had to fill in to win the tickets? Curious to know

    • Paul says:

      I would like to think that this was not necessary because all those who applied were indeed staff in schools, not people whose only connection to a school was that they were was taught by a teacher in a school once.

      • BP says:

        I really hope they do check. This wasn’t a free for all for the general public. No doubt there’s some people who applied to chance their arm and I suspect the poster may be one of these people.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        The sort of person that would essentially rip off teachers in a Global pandemic … well…

    • xcalx says:

      ” Did they ask you to show any teacher evidence at check in?”

      I do hope so.

    • Dave says:

      No teacher should have been up at 2am on a school day!

      • Cat says:

        Many, many teachers suffer from insomnia, particularly on Sunday nights when this promotion started. Many other teachers have young children that don’t always sleep through the night.

    • martyn ford says:

      Why are you asking?

  • James says:

    50% off Qmiles for the next 2 days.

  • Cat says:

    Hi all, just a quick note for anyone using their £400 offer at The Langley in the next couple of weeks – I stayed this weekend and had a great time, but you should absolutely book your slots in to use the spa facilities as early as possible (the spa is absolutely divine, and they keep the numbers using it at any time really low, so social distancing isn’t too difficult). If you go for a spa treatment (you can use Emyr’s $100 F&B credit at the spa, and it doubles up nicely with the £50 off £200 spend lots of us have on other AMEX cards), the “Journey to …” treatments are great, and quite affordable with $100 + £50 off! Service is amazing (I couldn’t believe when they offered to drive me to and from the pub for dinner, free of charge).

    Thanks for highlighting this offer when it appeared Rob, and thanks for all of the bits of advice HfP people! Much appreciated, I had a lovely weekend!

    • Tom H says:

      We were there too this weekend, had a great time! Stayed in the main house rather than the other building which was nice. Shame the pool wasn’t open as that really is awesome. As Cat says, service was great again. As Plat, other than breakfast no extra benefits though. Hotel was near capacity according to the front desk, although it never felt busy.

    • Anna says:

      Sounds fabulous, Cat. It must have felt like being the lady of the manor being chauffeured to the pub!

      • Cat says:

        It did! I couldn’t believe it when they offered!

        More hotels should do this! The concierge asked me to phone when I was ready to leave, and they were there to pick me up in less than 10 minutes!

    • KBuffett says:

      I used my £400 off at JW Marriott Grosvenor House this weekend. As Platinum Elite I was upgraded from the Executive Room I’d booked to Executive Suite, free continental breakfast and lounge access. The service was on point, staff all around were experienced and extremely pleasant. Dinner at the Steakhouse was great, as was lunch in the Park Room. Great city hotel and would love to stay again.

      Hats off to Rob and the HFP teams for highlighting the offer.

      AmEx have certainly outdone themselves with Platinum offers this year, they’ve definitely retained by loyalty. Hopefully more to come, but I doubt we’ll see anything this generous.

      • Michael C says:

        Hi, KB – what was available in the lounge? I’m booked for Grosvenor House this weekend, which has no lounge but I’ve been offered a “food and drinks package delivered to your room”?!

        Sheraton PL only has soft drinks in lounge, plus “Pre-Dinner Drink available between 5.30pm & 7.30pm”….not sure whether the DrinK in the singular refers to the generic “Drink is nice” or one single drink!!

        • meta says:

          Pool is opening from tomorrow at Langley according to reservations team. It doesn’t look busy on weekdays, so hoping they’ll upgrade me as Plat. I am booked into one category below suites in the main house in two days time!

        • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

          Soft drinks (an expanded selection compared to normal) and biscuits throughout the day. Packaged snacks put out in the evening. Miles off a normal lounge service but to be fair to them the snacks and soft drinks were an ‘expanded selection’ and were reasonably high-end.

        • KBuffett says:

          The lounge has soft drinks and ‘premium packaged snacks’. Biscuits.
          No hot food or Buffett. If you have lounge access, you also get a voucher for a singular alcoholic drink at any restaurant with a substantial meal or delivered to you room (with no meal necessary).

    • YC says:

      Any recommendations for dinner/lunch outside the hotel?

      I’m resigned to no upgrades for plat especially on weekends it seems 🙁

      • Cat says:

        I quite liked the Red Lion – it was standard, hearty pub fare and a little busier than I’d have liked, but the portions were large and I was happy!

        I got upgraded to a Junior Suite (because there was a problem with the garden room I had booked!

    • jason says:

      cat, which pub did you go to? was it any good?

      • Cat says:

        The Red Lion – it was standard, hearty pub fare rather than gastropub fare, but it was decent. It’s unlikely to win any awards, but it was good enough that I was happy!

    • Igloo says:

      We were at the Langley last night booked through Amex FHR. We are both Golds and got upgraded to a deluxe suite (having booked the standard room) which was a very pleasant surprise!

      The pool opened today and we had booked to go in advance. It is nicely done and I felt relatively safe the whole time. I think we were one of 4 couples in the pool area whilst we were there (I don’t know if this is the maximum they allow).

      The staff at the hotel went out of their way for us and were attentive throughout. Could not have asked for more.

      • George K says:

        Also at the Langley today! Loving the place so much…

        One thing which was not clear to me before we came was that there is a specific timeslot to use the pool if you have children. They block out about an hour and a half each day (usually around 3-4.30) and if you want to use the pool outside these hours, it’s adults only.

        Fair enough, of course… thankfully we’re here for two days, so we’ll fill our boots.

        Have fun everyone!

  • Chris says:

    Now lining in Europe, I’m looking for best was to generate avios and a BA 2-4-1 voucher.

    Any advice? I spend almost exclusively euros.

    • blenz101 says:

      Where are you in Europe? If in Spain then collecting via Iberia Plus should be pretty straightforward and they offer Visa cards.

      If you are in a country that offers and widely accepts Amex you can check to see if BA or Iberia are a member of the local Membership Rewards scheme so you can transfer that way. You can still spend on your UK Amex in Euro but as I am sure you are aware will incur a 3% forex fee.

      As for a 2-4-1 I think it is only the UK (and USA) that issue these vouchers. Don’t forget you also need to start each 2-4-1 journey from the UK reducing the value of the voucher as you will need to get back from Europe on a separate ticket to begin any journey.

      • Chris says:

        Thanks. I’m in Austria. I had a Amex platinum here but the service is terrible. Its like a Amex 15 years ago, paying the same rate as UK but getting no deals also no access to online services. I have a an ICC Amex platinum at the moment but I am not traveling like before and I see no offers or deals the app is rubbish compared to UK amex.

    • Dave says:

      I would probably forget about the 241 voucher and look to take advantage of any ex EU cash prices. With the hassle and cost of starting in the UK plus finding Avios seats, the value of the 241 won’t be much.

  • AndreasJ says:

    Hi All. I had flights booked to go to Portugal with TAP for Christmas. Original flights were both cancelled and they put us on alternative flights on the same days. At the time they emailed me with our new flights and said I had 72 hours to confirm any of the following options: a) accept these changed flights b) choose flights on other dates c) or request a refund voucher. I didn’t pay attention to the email, however we have decided to lay low and not travel. Am I now in my rights to request a full refund, not only a voucher? And their 72 hour time limit, is there any legal basis behind that? Many thanks

    • Anna says:

      You are entitled to a refund for flights cancelled by the airline – TAP should have informed you of this right but airlines are being rather sneaky in this respect. I don’t think a 72 hour limit has any basis in law, but you may have a tussle with TAP to get them to pay up.

    • mr_jetlag says:

      TAP voucher should have a 25% bonus, mine does…

    • Lady London says:

      make sure you inform them you’re not taking any alternative flights they may be default book you onto and then claim you are a noshow. full right to cash refund let them know and record you said so to whom and when and request to receive your refund within 14 days. I think EC261 requires 7 days actually. I personally would send them an email mentioning when you told them and who you spoke to as well.

      If they dont pay in 30 days do a credit card Section 75 or request chargeback on any card or do mcol. Try card first. Dont give TAP any more time.

      Reason is even in peacetime was reported TAP just ignores all corrrspondence about fulfilling EC261 rights. I saw recently on another source TAP’s accounts even got officially frozen by the authorities in Germany for nonpayment of EC261 judgments made by courts.

      So go card claim if you can then mcol only if that doesnt work

      • AndreasJ says:

        Thanks – spoke to them and I see they are playing games – they said they put me on alternative flights and I ‘acknowledged’ the new booking – I did no such thing, so I am pushing them. Flight is this Saturday but I confirmed on the phone I will not be taking the flight, so they said they would ‘suspend’ my tickets for now… let’s see. Thanks for the tips so far.

        • Lady London says:

          “suspend” is the Portuguese word for “keep your money”.

          Send them a formal email giving them 14 days to refund in cash in full. State specifically you do not want your ticket suspended you insist on a cash refund in accordance with your rights under EC261.

          Then follow as above.
          Letting TAP “suspend” gives you no prizes for being nice. It just wastes time for you to get your money back.

          • AndreasJ says:

            Thanks LL. Email has been sent. They are totally fobbing me off now, haven’t responded to an email in 2 days. I’ve been trying to call their 24hr Gold hotline (status match), I have probably spent 1.5 hours listening to music before being cut off, all whilst dialling a number in Portugal! Not the best experience ever… As the original booking was for a flight this Saturday, I doubt they will confirm the refund before then, so at the risk of doing a ‘no show’ should I inform my credit card company (AMEX) that I am having issues with this refund?

  • Number9 says:

    Any one looking for quickish avois Look Fantastic 15 points per£ points in account in under a week. New customers 20% off … through BA store.

    • Andrew says:

      Just remember the tracking reliability of that site – don’t count on always getting your Avios. It’s a bonus if you do.

      • Genghis says:

        And a bonus if they’re not taken away! At least with other sites, once you’ve got the reward it cannot be taken away at will.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Usually 20% off vouchers exclude you from the offer. Being in your account doesn’t mean it won’t be reduced later unlike other cash based sites.

      • Nick says:

        ‘Taking away’ of points through the shopping portal is the merchant’s fault, not BA’s. If the shop doesn’t pay up, the benefit will be removed. Annoyingly (for everyone except the merchant) the contracts have very long payment periods, which explains why it can take so long.

    • Number9 says:

      560 points in my account in 5 days even before the parcel arrived.

  • BuildTheWall says:

    Received the second batch of BA first class crockery yesterday. No damages in both packages and they look lovely. Thanks HfP!

    • Polly says:

      My teacup and saucer set came without the cups… some hope of getting the cups, not!

  • Benilyn says:

    IHG Premium Credit Card free night redemption – titled UK Free Night Reward on IHG website. Is it correct that is a separate availability category compared to the standard reward night? I always thought they were the same and when I tried to book yesterday found out they had separate availability 🙁
    Is this correct or a glitch?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      There does seem to be however I don’t know if that is a glitch or intentional.

      I recall other posters saying they’ve called and had it applied.

      • Benilyn says:

        😡 said no, I tried twice, they checked around etc and no luck. I had my ducks all lined up to book 4 free nights and 2 points redemptions. This property is accepting UK Free Reward nights up to April 21 but not beyond but has reward nights after April 21

        • Lady London says:

          call ihg in uk. perhaps they can even book it centtally. dont call usa as their rules are different. This property is playing a game.

          note one of the recent ihg free night offers, that particular free night had to be used by end March or April I forget which.

        • Anna says:

          I’ve had the opposite problem, hotels accepting my bonus free night cert for the Ambassador renenwal but offering reward nights for where I want to book an additional night. I managed to book 2 nights at the Indigo Stratford Upon Avon in the end by checking what was available each night – the Saturday they had no reward nights but accepted the free night cert, the Friday had reward availability so it worked doing it that way round. Sometimes you just have to laboriously check every night to see what the options are.

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