Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 13th 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.

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Comments (240)

  • Jakki says:

    Does anyone know how often the Hilton honours bonus buy points promo is offered. I missed the one that finished in December. Many thanks

    • babyg says:

      I’m hoping to hear an answer for this too… i want to extend my Conrad Maldives trip planned for later this year, but could only afford to do it if done via a points redemption, the cash price for 5 nights is approx £6000 vs around £1900 in points)

    • dezbez says:

      Not sure if there is a set frequency but last year it seemed it was running more than it wasn’t – if I were a betting man (& I am), I suspect it won’t be too long until they offer it again.
      Rob or someone else may have a more informed view, though.

    • Rob says:

      Frankly, in 2020 they running more often than they were no. None of the hotel chains is running a bonus at present. My best guess is that things pick up next month.

  • BS says:

    Any news on if/when the Barclays Premier avios bonus will be kicked off. I am considering upgrading to HSBC premier or moving to Barclays. Obviously if there is a slug of avios I would chose the latter! I imagine once I have gone through the administrative faff of doing one of these, I am not going to want to move/change again.

    • Grant says:


    • 747_Brat says:

      I would have loved to switch to Barclays for the Avios myself. But Barclays Avios partnership is a long time coming. And having upgraded to HSBC Premier recently, I can confirm it sure is a lot of faff!

      The other option is Citi Gold. You will receive 100,000 Avios for joining Citi Gold, if you qualify.

      • BS says:

        How much/what sort of faff was involved in upgrading to HSBC premier?

        • 747_Brat says:

          The whole process is very mismanaged. In my case, I upgraded from Advance to Premier, and opted for the Premier Credit Card during upgrade. To their credit, my account was upgraded to Premier in real time, and I received the debit card shortly after.

          But I am still waiting for the credit card to come through. They shamelessly admitted yesterday that they have lost the credit card agreement I signed in the branch. I had to go through the whole card application process again.

          Like me, many others have reported here on HfP that they had to wait upto 8 weeks to receive the WE/Premier Credit Cards, and that too after a lot of efforts in chasing HSBC. If you are one of the lucky few to get the card in first instance without the faff, be very grateful.

          • Polly says:

            Weeks and weeks of hassle. The back office really don’t know much about their own processes. Many times, had to explain stuff to them about their own t and c issues..unreal.
            But a great card once you get going, and once it arrives. Great earner. We have dropped to premier until we can fly again.

            My original p/work was lost x 2! That was after a very long hour interview, plus we had been previously customers, so they even had our records.

          • Andrew says:

            Lots of “lost” paperwork there.

            Should write to the ICO and express concern about HSBC’s handling processes.

            I’ve worked in one of these processing centres in the past. You wouldn’t believe how much paperwork was dumped by staff unable to keep up with throughput. Taken home to be destroyed or dropped through the office shredder. When we got rid of the office shredder and all confidential waste spot checked, we had our first toilet blockage…

      • babyg says:

        I signed up to the Barclays Premier account about a year ago, got the avios (cant remember maybe 25k) and the £200+ for switching, and now its time to move… thinking HSBC premier is the way to go.. any tips on how to maximize the move?

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          Right now there’s nothing I’m aware of, I just bit the bullet and opened the ac because I want the MasterCard

          • 747_Brat says:

            Any particular reason for opting for a Mastercard, which I presume is one of the Premier Credit Cards?

  • Tracy says:

    Is there an Amex upgrade to platinum from green bonus anymore or has that ship sailed?

  • Definitas says:

    We just received an email to say that our pending Global Entry renewal applications (Submitted in February last year) have been approved (without the need for a repeat interview). Great news in the current climate. All we need now is vaccination and approval to travel!

  • Aston100 says:

    I want to book between 6 and 8 nights at an IHG property.
    Currently it is showing a book now, pay later rate at an excellent price per night.
    As I know the dates of the 6 nights that I will definitely be staying, would it make sense to book the whole stay as 3 separate bookings as follows:
    1 * 6 nights (these are the core dates I am 100% sure about) and 2 * 1 night on either side of that. I can then drop 1, both, or even none of those 2 * 1 nights nearer the time as my plans become firmer.
    Is there a better way of doing it? are there any issues I haven’t considered when booking it as 3 sets of consecutive dates? (perhaps I’d have to change rooms?).

    It is an IC and I don’t have ambassador if that matters – though I may just ‘buy’ that nearer the time with 40k points.


    • Genghis says:

      A few thoughts:
      – is the rate cancellable?
      – I always book my reward nights at IHG as individual nights so I can chop and change things (i.e. bring in IHG credit card nights, move plans around etc). Occasionally cleaning isn’t done so remind them. Welcome bonus often posts multiple times. I’ve never had to move rooms: I email in advance to link all reservations.

      • Aston100 says:

        Hi Genghis and thanks for the reply.
        It is cancellable upto 3 days before check-in date.
        Book now, pay later (presumably at the property).
        The cash price is ridiculously low, but the points price has not been reduced, so requires about double the points compared to cash.

        So, I guess you are recommending booking 8 * separate one night stays, and then cancelling individual stays if necessary and when ready?

        • Genghis says:

          I’d book a cash rate as what you actually want plus the two either side. I wouldn’t bother with 8 separate bookings.

        • Phil says:

          Same as Genghis, book as separate nights, then email the hotel ahead of the reservation to link the reservations… it’s also a helpful opportunity to remind them of your Ambassador Status (if you upgrade) and enquire about any Club InterContinental offers (some properties do discounts for Ambassadors, which can work out quite attractive for couples).

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      On this topic, is there a benefit of buying ambassador at the hotel instead of online?

      • Genghis says:

        No direct experience but I think some have managed to negotiate a decent upgrade out of it.

        Also on this, now that IHG seems to have done away with the 10% rebate option, I don’t think there is any point renewing AMB until you actually need it for your next stay. The cost remains the same. Perhaps someone at IHG will see that they’re shooting themselves in the foot a bit.

        On another note – I used the 6 month extension recently; relatively easy to do.

  • N says:

    Need to change a low 6-figure EUR sum to GBP. Any recommendations for any companies that can do this? More keen on good rates vs points earning!

  • G says:

    I am not sure if this is news but:-

    IHG Rewards – All qualifying nights stayed in 2020 for Elite members will be rolled over into 2021 and count towards status earned in 2021.

  • Ben says:


    I need to book the return flight on a popular route with a 2-4-1 in the next few days. I know I could book it separately and add it the following morning- although it will be two different bookings.

    There is availability now for a few days before I want to come back- should I book that and change it online at 12am? Is that pretty straight forward? I don’t mind paying the £70 change fee.



    • Alex says:

      I would wait – if you’re happy to call at midnight then I would do that and try to get the date you want first. If you don’t get the date you want, then book another date and keep your eyes open for what you want. The current release of award seats seems to be much higher to try and push some bookings so you should be fine

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