Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Saturday 9th January

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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 (278)

  • Tom1 says:

    Looking on the bright side – any recommendations for Hilton or Marriott properties on golf courses in Europe?

    I know there are some very nice ones in the Canaries – but thinking Spain/Portugal for a sunshine+golf break when we can travel again.

    Would like to use points if possible. Thanks 😊

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Hilton Vilamoura matches the description of what you are looking for. Got a positive mention on the comments thread the other day, I think.
      Conrad Algarve doesn’t have its own course but weirdly does have its own golf pro. Not sure what that’s all about.

      • Tom1 says:

        Thanks – yes, that’s on my radar. I’ll search the comments to see if I can find it.

    • Harry T says:

      I very strongly recommend Penha Longa near Lisbon – had an excellent four night stay there in summer 2020. It is a Ritz Carlton resort that has a massive gold course. I don’t play golf but I’ve walked around the course and it’s very picturesque.

    • Louise K says:

      As per Harry Penha Longa is very good, quite resorty.

      Hilton Vilamoura is next door to Pinhal golf and then you have all the Vilamoura courses nearby and the operate a shuttle. Some nice restaurants in Vilamoura you can take the shuttle or take a 25 minute walk to.

      Conrad Algarve is very nice but in a bit of a strange location – Quinta do Lago / Vale do Lobo courses nearby.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Doubletree Forest Pines & Spa Resort about 20mons SE of York. Might have a higher probability of your trip going ahead.

      • Charlieface says:

        What is that like, I’ve been eyeing it? Do they give Gold upgrades?
        Both with and without children. I like countryside. Any thoughts?

        • Brian W says:

          I’ve stayed at Forest Pines numerous times for work (not golf) and have enjoyed an upgrade to a suite 3 or 4 times before as Diamond. Sometimes I’ve not had any upgrade at all however but it is a decent hotel with a good gym and pool too. Restaurant option and breakfast are also very good in my opinion and parking is free throughout your stay. Only downside is the rooms don’t have A/C. Rooms have Sky Sports on the channel list which is unusual but welcome if you enjoy sports.

        • dezbez says:

          As a golf course it’s one of the best in that part of the country – 3×9 holes which you pick and choose (Forest course in particular has some stunning holes). Like any British course though, its so much better when the weather is good.
          Can’t comment too much on the resort – I’ve only stayed the odd overnight between rounds in basic rooms which were just that – basic.

          • Tom1 says:

            Agreed on the course -and decent value too. Played 18 holes in October for £20 each which is a bargain considering the quality of the course. Lots of leaves around though!!

      • Tom1 says:

        Haha thanks! I managed to trigger the last Amex Hilton offer by playing golf there.

    • Will says:

      The Marriot at Praia d’el rey in Portugal.
      Two superb golf courses on site – Praia d’el rey itself and West Cliffs.

  • Alan says:

    Could any of the travel experts on here tell me if there is a way of using Avios or Virgin miles for a flight from London to Tbilisi this October.

    I know there are no direct flights but ideally would like to do the trip on a single ticket

    • Bob says:

      Avios – QR fly there
      VS – AF fly there although doesn’t look its searchable online – no results

      • kitten says:

        I think JL does it but via Tokyo. Isnt Aeroflot in OneWorld?

        LH or LX is how I would go but wrong alliance.

        • 747_Brat says:

          Aeroflot is part of SkyTeam!

          • kitten says:

            perhaps virgin milea have access then?
            .
            I think Air Georgia? used to be at LHR once per week but no idea if they have any affiliations.

    • Mr. AC says:

      No good options with miles I fear. Aeroflot mentioned in the comments, but it’s SkyTeam and doesn’t fly the route currently anyway due to strained relations between Russia and Gerogia.
      I’d suggest a cash Lufty ticket. I think you can still get Star Alliance status via TAP for cheap to make the trip better…

    • Alan says:

      Thanks for all the replies, after looking at the options I think we will have to fork out for Lufthansa.

  • Anna says:

    https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/special-features/new-clinic-manchester-offers-same-19568759

    Covid testing in Manchester including Fit to Fly. Still ridiculously overpriced though!

    • Blenz101 says:

      MEN were either paid or just printed a press release for that nonsense.

      The on-site Manchester airport testing from Collinson offers a PCR test for £45 less.

      Plenty of places offering tests in Manchester which a Google search will turn up and prices can easily be compared.

  • Ana says:

    Hello!

    Do you recommend any online place where I can buy a tesco or amazon gift card using paypal?

  • Tarmohamed says:

    ExpressTest Heathrow. Was booked for 19:50 on Friday, arrived 19:40 and was our turn at 20:00. Result arrived at 15:30 Saturday, less than 24 hours. £80 each.

    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      + 1 for same experience with Express Test at Edinburgh Airport.

      Just a shame that we can’t fly anywhere in EU now!

      (because of their Covid rules)

  • Dan says:

    Quick data point – read earlier that a few folk on here had phoned up asking for retention offers for the Amex Gold card.

    I phoned around 2pm (UK time) and got through to Brighton who did not a budge an inch and only reiterated the fact that there is an anniversary bonus on the card already.

    Hung up and phoned again 9.30pm, this time ending up in Manila (I think?- guy had a quasi-American accent) who said he would check my account. he put me on hold for less than a minute and said he could see an available offer of spend £2.5k in the next three months for 10,000 MR which I gladly accepted.

    Shows the need to persevere when the say ‘No!’ And very unusual that Manila ends up being more generous than Brighton as normally it is the other way around.

    • 747_Brat says:

      I faced the same scenario today and received some rare generousity from Manila with the same offer you mentioned!

      P.S.: I can tell the agents are based in Manila, because when I harmlessly flirted with a lady agent today in Tagalog (Philippines’ native language), she laughed hysterically! 😎
      I am sure she wasn’t expecting that from a UK based Amex customer!

  • DT says:

    Brewdog giving out free beers if you pay £1.95 delivery, long wait to get on the website though

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