Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 28th 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.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as it keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HfP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (210)

  • Baji Nahid says:

    Anyone spot any sweet spots in airfares during the boxing day sale?

    • Ali M says:


    • Andrew says:

      The sweet spot is keeping your money and waiting until there is more certainty on the possibility of being able to travel and booking something then.

      • Rob says:

        Not true.

        I could have booked our preferred Dubai hotel for £250 fully flex for this week back when the UAE was shut. I didn’t.

        When the UAE opened and came off the quarantine list it was back to £1,000 per night – and we need two rooms. This is why we have spent the last 10 days shuffling between various points options, none quite as good.

        As long as what you see is cancellable / refundable / voucherable ….

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          What is your preferred Dubai hotel, Rob?

        • Olly says:

          I’m with Rob, as there are some very good deals if you’re willing to take a punt. Booking it the longer you can in the future the more chance of it going ahead. Having said that we had a cracking couple of holidays September and October to Rhodes for buttons with only a few weeks before departure. Just make sure it’s refundable!

        • Brian says:

          That’s a hotel, not an airfare

          • Andrew says:

            Indeed. Not sure why the conversation moved to cancellable hotel rooms when the question was about airfares in the Boxing Day sale?

          • Mouse says:

            The same point holds for flights as hotels though, prices are dirt-cheap and generally refundable (for a voucher in the worst case) at the moment – once the pandemic is under control there is a pretty good likelihood that prices will go up again and flexibility will be reduced – it’s a no-brainer to book some flights speculatively now

          • The real John says:

            The very big difference between flight tickets and hotels is that hotels don’t actually take your money when you make a flexible booking (unless you want them to).

            And if you do pay in advance, much of the time you can just ask the hotel to shift the booking with very little hassle. Or if you used, the refund is instant.

  • Tom says:

    2000 extra virgin points when opting in to Tesco Clubcard auto-exchange

  • Matthew says:

    Anyone had their £20 mastercard refund from easyJet yet? Still waiting….

  • david says:

    Does anyone know how to book the Al Safwa first lounge in Doha – I have an 8 hr stop over and its cheaper than the transit hotel.

    • Andrew says:

      There is no guarantee that a private room will be available when you enter the lounge – you’re booking an entry to the lounge and if on the day all the private rooms have been taken, you’re sleeping on the sofa. Also to note – Al Safwa has still not reopened yet, so depending on when you’re travelling you might not even have the option.

  • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    Any recommendations for a UK IHG redemption with a one year old in tow? Rather unhelpfully, doesn’t ask the age of the child on the booking so assumes they need their own bed, eliminating most redemption options. I assume that full service properties will be able to provide a cot on request. Spire but not Amb if that makes a difference.

    • Pid says:

      I never put my kids in the booking as it always limits options. Once reserved I then email the hotel to confirm they will take fit 1 or 2 cots in the room. Most then have then offered me a larger room even on redemptions. The odd occasion they have confirmed the cots would exceed the maximum occupancy for the room at which point I just cancel and book again, although this has only been in overseas hotels. I do not recall a Hotel in the UK that has not added a cot into a room.

      • BuildTheWall says:

        This problem happens on other hotel chains too. In some hotels, the premium rooms easily accommodate 3 people, but get filtered out when searching for rooms for a couple with one kid.

      • Crafty says:

        +1. Almost never had a problem; whereas “declaring” the child at time of booking tends to result in no or few rooms available.

    • The real John says:

      Agree with Pid just book the adults. I bring my own cot anyway (it’s like a tent designed for babies)

  • Erico1875 says:

    Is anyone else losing the urge to travel?
    My usual Easter trip to Goa was cancelled. However, we did manage a week in August in Italy but further cancelations of Lanzarote and Malaga have really dampened my enthusiasm for booking any future holidays or break.

    • AJA says:

      I haven’t lost the urge to travel. But I have lost the urge to book anything. I am waiting until after I get the covid vacation

      • AJA says:

        * Vaccination not vacation!

        • Doc says:

          Even COVID vaccinations will not guarantee travel till the whole world decides on acceptance COVID vaccination passports ( like yellow fever) for travel. Ignoring the ethics of this ( for people who can’t have vaccinations etc) this is still a long way away although Qantas are looking at this option I believe.

          • Pedro says:

            Plus, UK is THE worst country in the entire WORLD with the fast jumping covid stam in in terms of the other countries most banned location.

      • Anna says:

        +1, hoping not to have to wait too long for the vaccine as I’m 50 but it’s complicated by having a teenager who presumably won’t receive it.
        Just as an aside, OH and I went for Covid tests yesterday as we had tummy problems on Boxing Day and I had seen my parents the day before (plus he is key worker). The testing centre was deserted apart from the volunteers running it, yet we are being told not to get tested unless we have symptoms and our infection rate locally is rising again – we are never going to come out of the top tier at this rate. Negative result arrived approx 24 hours later on email and text with all the details on so I presume this could theoretically be used for travel. Before the virtue-signallers descend, this testing centre has been there for several weeks now with hardly anyone using it!

        • Charlieface says:

          Mass Covid testing for asymptomatics is very problematic from a serological point of view, due to false positives. This is nothing to do with how busy the test centres are. Upset tummy is not a symptom of Covid.

          • Anna says:

            If you do some research, it absolutely is and is recognised in many other countries. Teachers here are now requiring school children with sickness/diarrhea to be tested. Google “gastric coronavirus” unless you’re a medic with incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.

          • Anna says:

            And yet mass testing enabled Liverpool to drop to Tier 2 – or do you disagree with that methodolody as well?!

          • Rob says:

            It’s an interesting question. At present, if you test 200 people then 1 will be infected. How many false positives would you be willing to accept per 200 people tested, given that those people and their contacts would be forced into isolation unnecesarily?

          • Nick says:

            My big problem with putting hope in ‘vaccination passports’ is that there’s currently very limited evidence on the effect on transmission among the vaccinated. So it’s all very well Anna (and other oldies) having it, but if other countries haven’t yet been able to complete vaccination their own programmes then they still won’t let you/us in as we could still be a risk.

          • Charlieface says:

            Well, agreed, there may be research to that effect. But the NHS does not admit it, so that is the point you need to be making, that the NHS is ignoring research.
            Testing asymptomatics means that the vast majority don’t actually have Covid, in turn skewing the numbers massively in favour of a false positive. This is why, with a 1% false positive rate, approx 1% of people got a positive in July and August.

          • kitten says:

            chilblains on feet can also be a symptom of covid now, like loss of taste ot smell or distortions in taste or smell.

            I think the underlying theme on those might be blood vessel damage

        • Andrew says:

          Covid test for an upset stomach??!!

    • Olly says:

      I have the phrase, “It is what it is” help me manage my disappointment of numerous cancellations this year but mainly being realistic that the likelihood is it may not go ahead. It’s a case of managing expectations for me. A Dubrovnik holiday was cancelled sat in the LHR departure gate just about to board early on in the pandemic and Swiss Christmas ski holiday was cancelled last week two days before departure, being last minute examples. We’ve got NYC at Easter but that may not go ahead either. Book everything as refundable is the only way and be realistic. People around the world have got bigger issues.

    • Andrew says:

      Yes no urge to book and just be disappointed again. Waste of my time planning and researching and booking a well thought-out trip with each element at the right price to then, 6 months later cancelling it all. I take Rob’s point earlier up the page that it can pay to take a gamble – but that’s the same as anything, buy when the price is low and hope it goes up. Depends how you want to spend your time and tie up your money – but it’s not for me at the moment.

    • The real John says:

      I have zero urge to book anything because I don’t want the hassle of cancelling and rebooking.

      All the places I want to go currently impose 2-3 weeks quarantine and/or not allowed to go in the first place, so there is no point.

      I am confident that when travel is permitted into those countries and quarantines are lifted, that at least one of the places will have reasonable prices for imminent departure.

    • Doc says:

      Not lost the urge to travel but as other people have mentioned, lost the urge to book currently since all my trips since March 2020 have been moved to 2021 and I can’t plan anything in 2022 yet since my trips of 2021 might still all get cancelled due to COVID!!!

  • Ed says:

    BA related – Is it possible to take a FTV for just one passenger on the booking, where the remaining passengers still fly? Thanks.

  • Anuj says:

    Is the new virgin red app promo code generic ? If so can someone share please.

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